"Allison's Wonderland..." allikat's Profile
I'm pretty low-key on VT lately although I still drop by most days, have a browse of the forums and reply to any emails. I will definitely be back in a more active capacity at some point but for now I am concentrating on our new home in New Zealand's stunning South Island and growing a brand new baby Kiwi, due in August 2009.
My name is Allison, and I was born in a grimy part of East London, within the sound of Bow Bells if you got everyone to be quiet and you listened very hard. In 2002 I travelled across the world to New Zealand to spend 2 weeks with an old school friend. I had every intention of going back home and carrying on where I left off, but while I was there I met this great Kiwi guy and decided that life was short and I didn't want to find myself a wrinkly old lady wondering 'what if'. 5 weeks after landing at Heathrow airport I was back here and settling into my new life.
One thing I have always been fascinated by is old churches and churchyards. England is littered with so many wonderful old churches, with amazing history, and churchyards filled with stone angels, doves, crosses and slabs, some of which have some thought provoking or even humorous inscriptions.
In a typical English churchyard, the earliest tombstones you will see will date from the early 17th century, with a few exceptions (such as the 12th century crusaders stone at Greenstead Juxta Ongar), with the older graves found on the South side of the church. The Devil was supposed to lurk in the shadows of the North side, so that side was only used once the South side could take no more.
Which leads us to an interesting fact:
A parish church, in use for about 800 years, with an average of 6 burials per year, will have some 4,800 bodies stacked around it ~ this is what accounts for the 'moated' effect you see around many old churches.
This is a picture of St Andrews in Greenstead-juxta-Ongar in England, where I used to attend. Reputedly the oldest timber church in Europe, the walls are of split oak trunks that still bear the marks of the Saxon adze that cut them.
I also love the ruined abbeys you find in many parts of England and Wales, crumbling remnants of Henry the Eighths Reformation, in particular Fountains Abbey, Rievaulx, (both Yorkshire) and the lesser known Egglestone Abbey in County Durham and Netley Abbey near Southampton.
If I were loved, as I desire to be,
what is there in the great sphere of the earth,
and range of evil between death and birth
that I should fear ~ if I were loved by thee?
All the inner, all the outer world of pain
clear love would peirce and cleave if thou wert mine,
as I have heard that, somewhere in the main,
fresh~water springs come up through bitter brine.
'Twere joy, not fear, claspt hand in hand with thee,
to wait for death ~ mute ~ careless of all ills,
apart on a mountain, tho' the surge
of some new deluge from a thousand hills
flung leagues of roaring foam into the gorge
below us, as far as eye could see
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