Here we are – midday on Christmas Day in Ashes Hollow, Little Stretton, Shropshire, walking across some of the oldest landscape on the planet. Such vast antiquity is perhaps an unexpected distinction within a rural English county whose location, even to the citizens of the United Kingdom, is often a total mystery.
But here it is, one of the valleys, locally known as batches, whose streams wheedle their way down from the flanks of the Long Mynd, a 7-mile ridge of Precambrian rock, formed around 570 to 560 million years ago. It is also well travelled geology, having moved 13,000 miles from its origins in the Antarctic circle where its iron-rich sediments (eroded from volcanic mountains) first accumulated on the sea bed. This was closely followed by some tectonic shunt and shift which squeezed the sediments into a U-shape, so tipping them from the horizontal to the vertical. It’s a feature you can glimpse here and there on exposed rock faces. It means too, that in one sense at least, as you pass, you are walking through time.
Time Square #27
Well it had to be done for Becky’s December ‘time squares’, didn’t it? Here we are in Much Wenlock’s town square complete with Victoria’s diamond jubilee clock cum water fountain. It’s 3.20 on the ‘next shortest’ day, and we have almost-sunshine. Keep it up weather gods.
In case you’re wondering about our shops, straight ahead is our ecclesiastical outfitters, an unusual provision in a small town. Coming up next is the clock’s view of the sixteenth century Guild Hall with its veggie market and the medieval parish church beyond:
And in the other direction one of our several cafes, Catherine’s Bakery and A.J’s household goods store. In the Square itself is the weekly cheese stall. Not exactly bustling on the last Saturday afternoon before Christmas:
Time Square #22
Wrought by sea winds over many seasons.
Time Square #21
This morning with the sun on their faces the crab apples seemed to glow like tiny lanterns. I’ve noticed that as the temperature drops so their colour deepens to a rosy gold. Not that they will last much longer. The blackbirds have been busy foraging. Better enjoy them while we can then.
Time Square #19
…in the northern hemisphere that is. In fact UK gardening buffs say December is often the BEST time to plant them – before the real frosts, but after the temperatures have dropped. If planted in warm weather tulips can be prone to fungal diseases. But whenever you choose, they do need good drainage, and quite a deep planting hole. And they love the sun as they are plainly demonstrating here. So much to look forward to then from a pot filled with bulbs. And after yesterday’s monochrome studies of the field behind the house, I felt a blast of festive red was called for.
Time Square #1 For the month of December Becky’s set us the task of posting square photos on the topic of time, however we wish to interpret it. Please join in – as and when.