Monday, 26 August 2013

Butterflies and turnstiles.

We decided to stay another day, it is just so quiet here, no sound of a road and just the occasional airplane going over. Not a lot of boat traffic either, Caen Hill flight is closed as some clot has succeeded in wrecking one of the gates. It just doesn't pay to drive your boat into the gates, inclined to be somewhat embarrassing.
Another stroll was called for so we set off vaguely in the direction of  Alton Barnes.

 We were delighted to find that the good weather had brought out the butterflies, like this beautifully coloured small tortoiseshell.

At Alton Barnes there is a charming little Saxon church.

On the wall inside there is a copy of the Ten Commandments which reminded me of the story of the parson who awoke one morning to find that his bicycle was missing. Thinking it to have been stolen he decided that, on the coming Sunday, he would preach a sermon on the Commandments, stressing the eighth, "Thou shalt not steal." On the appointed day he set off in fine style, lambasting the sinners in the congregation and getting ready for a climax at the eighth. Alas, when he got to the seventh he remembered where he had left his bike.
From there we aimed for Alton Priors using a paved path across a field but the entrance was guarded by the worlds oldest turnstile.

England can always come up with a surprise!

At the other side of the field a bridge over a small stream also had a turnstile protecting it. Suddenly the word turnstile made sense, the device replaced a stile and it turned! Blindingly obvious when you consider it.

The church at Alton Priors is no longer in use and the inside is virtually empty but, below a trap in the floor, there are

these sarsen stones. Along with the presence of a ancient yew tree in the churchyard it suggests that this was a sacred site long before the church was built.
We returned to the boat along the towpath and were gladdened to find even more butterflies. How do they know when you are about to push the button? Because that is when they invariably launch themselves into the air, I have a myriad of pictures of places which butterflies have just vacated.

I managed to get this gatekeeper sunning itself and

a speckled wood sitting on a butterbur leaf.
We may move tomorrow.

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

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