|I stopped off in Bristol on the way down to catch up with my lovely greeting card chums. I really miss seeing them, but we're planning a proper day out soon.|
It was a pretty full on schedule and I camped out in an empty house again, but it was lovely to see everyone, albeit briefly and spend time in the country towns and villages of my childhood.
Even though I wasn't staying in Merriott, where the family home was for many years, I always like to drive through, just to check all is well. It's very rural. Not a place in any kind of hurry. People say hello when they pass each other on the street, even if they have never met before.
Most of the village is made up of 17th and 18th century hamstone cottages, hamstone being the local honey coloured stone, quarried at Ham Hill, a place we spent a lot of time running around in during our childhood.
|Manor cottage, a grade 2 listed farmhouse built in 1663, which sits at the end of our road. I love the mullion windows with curly ironwork|
The village is still encircled by working farms so it's quite common to get caught behind a tractor. In years gone by, you'd get stuck behind animals moving from barn to field, but that doesn't happen any more.
|Pronounced 'Tamill' by the locals, just down this lane is the mill which produced the sailcloth for The Victory|
Merriott was mentioned in the Domesday book, mainly for its rich agricultural land but also in relation to its mills which produced cloth for sailcloth, including for Nelson's ship, The Victory. This means something to me, as my four times great grandfather fought alongside him in the Battle of Trafalgar.
|The old lock-up, where drunks would get put in for the night by the local constabulary after drinking too much cider|
At one point the village was owned by the family of the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, but after she was executed, the lands were seized by the crown and redistributed. There was a rumour that our school, not so far away, was haunted by poor old Lady Jane. Who can blame her for not finding peace?
The latest upsetting of the peace relates to Damien Hirst's sister, who has bought the old King's Head pub then shut it and tried to gain change of use to make it into a house. The locals aren't best pleased.
So, do tell, what's it like where you come from? What's great or interesting about it?