When we moored up on Friday evening the sun put in an appearance and we decided to amble up the hill to Kirtlington for a Happy Friday drink in The Oxford Arms. We popped in to say a quick hello to Jane on the way and then paid a visit to her lovely carriage horse.
Instead of walking straight up Mill Lane, on Jane’s advice, we took a detour through the woods and into Kirtlington Quarry.
What an excellent piece of advice that was. I was a bit out of breath and red faced by the time we got to the top of the quarry rim but the views were amazing!
The long disused quarry is a nature reserve now and home to a multitude of plants and animals, including these early purple orchids and ox-eye daisies – beautiful.
When we arrived in the ‘picture postcard’ pretty village …..
…..the pub wasn’t yet open so we went into the Post Office stores which doubles as a cafe and had a cuppa and an ice-cream. When we left, we still had a good half hour to wait for the pub to open, so we went to explore the local church. Part of the graveyard has been turned into a wildlife sanctuary and is very beautiful.
The inside of the church was fascinating. Immediately opposite the entrance there’s a 15th century fresco over a blocked off 13th century door. We put some money in the collection box and also paid 50p for the illustrated Church Guide which informed us that the painting depicts St George slaying the dragon, visible on the left, but St Christopher on the right is well nigh impossible to make out.
Down the middle of the Chancel floor is a glass strip that, in better light than we had, would let you glimpse the foundations of the original Saxon church. It acted as a perfect surface to reflect the lovely stained glass window behind the altar.
Above the narrow door to the Vestry there is a Saxon Tympanum carved with a ‘Tree of Life’.
The 13th century carved heads decorating the nave are reminiscent of the carvings in the York Minster chapter house.
As it turned out we were glad that our trip to the pub was delayed as we probably wouldn’t have bothered to visit the church and would have missed out on an absolute gem.
The clouds were gathering as we walked back to the boat, but the effect of the sun shining through them was lovely.
All this and we still had tea at Jane’s to look forward to on Saturday!