Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A mill, a ruin and a blob.

I have made a promise, no more awful "Wey" puns.
Still at Pyrford as we fancied a walk today. We set off up the towpath as far as Papercourt Lock and then did a loop up to Pyrford village.

This was Newark Mill which stood just below Newark Lock from the 17thC. until December 1966 when it was destroyed by fire, in less than an hour according to contemporary sources. It is believed that a mill had stood on the site since Saxon times.

A short way (I resisted the temptation) up the lane towards Pyrford, on a now dry side arm of the river, are the remains of a quite sophisticated eel trap. Originally built in 1818 it is thought to have been partially rebuilt in 1909. Unfortunately it is on private land and I could not get close enough to see how it worked.

Also on private land stand the crow haunted ruins of Newark priory, they look benign in the light of a fine spring day but tonight, under the cold light of the full moon, as the bats flitter among the cold stones.........

St. Nicholas' church sands on a prominent hill above the flood plain of the Wey, it is a complete Norman church with medieval wall paintings.

Closed due to electrical works.

But that is indubitably a Norman arch.
We also passed several intriguing old houses but, as is the way in Surrey, they were all enclosed by high walls or thick hedges.

We are baffled, we saw a couple of what can only be described as "blobs" of this, both on dead willow stumps. At first we took it to be some kind of fungus but on touching it, it had the consistency of uncooked meringue. If it's cuckoo spit I don't want to be around when the adult frog-hopper emerges. Mind you, Pyrford is mentioned in H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds" as the landing site of one of the Martian invasion cylinders, so it could be something the government doesn't want us to know about. Just adding a bit of conspiracy theory to liven things up.

I do know that yesterday was St. George's day which is traditionally the day you pick these to make dandelion wine. They are actually mildly diuretic so, if you wish to avoid getting up several times in the night, limit your intake. Personally I'd stick to a nice pinot grigio or my favourite, Portugese vinho verde.

Watch this space.............

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