And There’s Not Only An Extraordinary Ancient Hedge In Brampton Bryan There Is Also…

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…where book burrowing souls can spend lots and lots of time while being sustained by coffee and delicious home made cakes.

You can find Aardvark Books just up the lane from the 300 yard cloud hedge (see previous post) – a barn full of books – old and new – on a working farm with butterscotch coloured cows out in the yard and fine country views all around.

 

And it’s not only the books, but the inscriptions inside some of the volumes: handwritten words that speak of previous owners, or heartfelt sentiments expressed to long ago friends in the gift of a very particular work, and you the late-comer voyeur can only guess at why it was chosen and wonder at the kind of person for whom it was meant.

But there are also disturbing thoughts beyond the ghosts of relationships past. Standing among these mountains of books, you are also left feeling that if all of them have been well read, shouldn’t we be more enlightened and wise than we often seem to be. Or does the fact that so many books can be discarded like this (hopefully, if doubtfully to be reclaimed by somebody sometime) tell quite another story about our present condition? Time to get thinking perhaps?

 

Time Square #18

A Good Crop All Round ~ Thursday’s Special At Hopton Castle And Brampton Bryan

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This week at Lost in Translation Paula asks us to show her photos that we have cropped to reveal detail or improve the composition. I have to say that I crop most of my photos, and certainly architectural subjects almost always benefit from a trim.

Here are some cropped shots in and around Hopton Castle. This mediaeval ruin stands in a rural and rather remote corner of Shropshire near the Herefordshire border, one of a cluster of castles built either to keep the Welsh neighbours in their place or as a piece of lordly showing off. Today, Hopton is romantically and rustically picturesque, although once it was the site of a bloody Civil War siege.  In one of my earlier Thursday’s Special posts I featured the restoration of the monument.

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Not far from Hopton and just over the border into Herefordshire is the little village of Brampton Bryan. One of its most noteworthy features is the free-form yew hedge that shelters the owners of Brampton Bryan Hall from the gaze of passing hoi polloi  and the inhabitants of the pretty estate village. The light was not good, but I think cropping the images has made them passable – at least for ‘guided tour’ general nosiness purposes:

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The Harley family who own the estate, including the village properties with their blue doors, has been around the place since Domesday. Their present home behind the hedge was built after the Civil War in 1660, and remodelled in the 18th century. I snatched a glimpse over the rear churchyard wall, but though imposing it was not very captivating, at least not compared with this next view of their own personal castle ruin. It is not open to the public so I couldn’t get a better photo.

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I can’t help thinking how very wonderful it would be to have one’s own castle ruin out in the apple orchard, never mind the stately pile.

Thursday’s Special: Section