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Why would I go out to photograph a churchyard on such a dull day as was this one?
All will become clear later in the post.
Here are some of the gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Bransgore;
many ivy clad, like this one bearing an anchor chain,
or this already sporting its Christmas holly.
A few are upright,
some less so,
and others had given up the battle with gravity.
The stump of a fallen tree was in good company.
This roller hid round the back of the church.
As in most of our churches today, the front door was locked.
Fortunately for me, Jenny was working in the small office accessed by an open side door.
This very friendly person showed me into the church, currently set out for the various community activities offered, that can be found on https://bransgore.org.
She put on the lights so that I could photograph the stained glass, much of the original of which has been lost.
In particular, climbing on a chair to do so, Jenny was keen to show me the preserved panel from July 3rd, 1822, bearing the etched date in the bottom left hand corner. To the left of the bottom of the orange cross the name of R. Carter, glazier, Priory Glassworks can be discerned when the image is enlarged.
Wikipedia tells us that ‘the church of Saint Mary the Virgin was erected in 1822 as a chapel of ease. The church is of brick with stone dressings, with a tower and originally a spire. However, the spire was removed in 1967. The early 16th-century font, which is said to have come from Christchurch, is octagonal, with a monogram J D, perhaps for “John Draper,” the last Prior of Christchurch Priory. The ecclesiastical parish of Bransgore was formed in 1875 from parts of Christchurch and Sopley. Henry William Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce (known for his campaign against slavery), was once the vicar of Saint Mary’s church.’
When we visited MacPenny’s Garden Centre two days ago we were given this brochure:
We would always welcome an opportunity to try out a new curry restaurant. When the proprietor had the courage to open the venture on Friday 13th, this proved irresistible. Jenny explained that the church had the facilities and was there to help local activities.
The evening in the church hall was most convivial, and the food served by the Bartlett family quite superb. Jack was a splendid sommelier who assisted his sister Sophie with the waiting tasks.
From the moment of entry our nostrils were enticed by the authentic aromas emanating from the kitchen on full view of diners. Everything was cooked to order.
Dave’ s cooking was a marvel. We began with superb crisp popadoms with a variety of chutneys. The prawn puris that followed were as good as any we have ever tasted.
Majid, the manager of the Akash in Edgware Road that I regularly frequented for more than 35 years, would remove from the table any onion bhajis that his eyes told him were not up to scratch. He, and I, would have given Dave’s full marks, for their perfect crisp texture and exquisite taste.
My main course was prawn jalfrezi, and Jackie’s prawn bhuna. Both were succulent, and superbly flavoured. We shared delicate pilau rice and soft chapatis. Encouraged to bring our own bottles, we brought an Argentinian white wine that I can’t remember. Jack kept it in the fridge for us and kept our glasses replenished. That’s probably why I can’t remember what it was.