Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Trampolining and allotmenteering don't mix...

I know it's been a few days since I updated this blog but, well, truth be told, I had a bit of a trampolining accident. I KNOW, and at my age too! I managed to bugger up my hip by landing on it awkwardly which set off sympathetic strains and cramping in my back, shoulder and neck so following an eyewateringly intense chiropractic and acupuncture session I was told to take it easy which, to me, meant no scrabbling around on the ground weeding or digging. There was also a weekend spent in (surprisingly) sunny South Wales in between so, all in all, the plopment has had a few days to itself. Which means that it's been growing its own couch grass again and allowing something to have a go at a couple of my baby Broad Bean plants! I've no idea if it's been attacked by slug (no trail) or possibly frost (black edges to possibly bitten leaves) but today I've covered the two worst affected plantlets with a cloche each made from tonic water bottles with the bottoms cut off - let's see what happens.

I decided there wasn't really anything worth putting up picture-wise regarding what's growing on the site but I did finally manage to get some fairly good pictures of the view from the top of the site. The whole site is on a bit of a slope - my plopment's at the bottom - but this is the view from the top. We're high enough to see across to quite a few of the Surrey Hills which you can see in the distance.

I specifically wanted to try and get a picture of St. Martha-
on-the-Hill in sunshine, as this is a pretty interesting place (she says, donning her 'archaeologist' hat). It's the highest point on the horizon in the picture above, and this is a zoomed in closeup which may be a little bit out of focus.

The hill itself is 570ft above sea-level and is visible from miles around. For the archaeologist, this in itself is usually a good reason to investigate as you can often find interesting stuff on the top of very visible hills (i.e., Iron Age hillforts, Bronze Age Barrows, etc.). Something in the prehistoric psyche compelled people to build culturally relevant stuff on top of the most visible hill in the area - I think it's all to do with seeing and being seen, and marking your place in society (amongst other things). In this case, there is evidence of prehistoric use as there are Neolithic (late Stone Age) earth circles, and flint artefacts have also been found.

The name St Martha's is possibly derived from Martyrs and there is a legend that martyrs were burned on the hill but I'm not sure when this was supposed to have happened - possibly during the religious upheavals following the death of Henry VIII, but whether they were Catholic or Protestant martyrs I've no idea.

The present day church was built upon the site of a Saxon church which is possibly one of three referred to in Domesday Book as belonging to Bishop Odo of Bayeux within the Bramley parish.

If you're ever around in this area, it's a cracking walk to do - the hill rises reasonably steeply and, on a good day, the view from the top is terrific! If you happen to be there at dawn on 1st May (which of course I am, every year....[cough]...), then one of the local Morris Men troupes comes along to prance about, waving their hankies and knocking their sticks together to welcome May Day.

Right, that's today's local history lesson over for now but, before I go, I must do some shameless plugging of my own. As I mentioned earlier, I make my own jewellery which I sell at craft fairs and online - I've added a link to my website over on the right - Feel free to mosey on over and check it out!!

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