We are members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) and both go to the Medieval Church group. It is led by another member who is a great expert on medieval churches, he was a headmaster before retirement, and very good at sharing his knowledge. We meet once a month and David sets out to take us round three different churches in fairly close proximity and then we go off for a pub lunch.
Today we went into a part of the Cotswolds I did not even know existed. We started at Winstone and the church there is effectively in the middle of a farm with a no through road leading to it. We all go in our own cars and meet up for coffee or hot chocolate. David's wife, Judy, brings vacuum flasks of hot water and milk, jars of coffee and drinking chocolate, a crate of mugs and a big Tupperware box of chocolate hob nobs. As everyone arrives in dribs and drabs (there were seventeen of us today) Judy makes the drinks and passes round the menu for the chosen pub so that everyone has time to think about what they would like to eat.
David then led us around the outside of the church pounting out things of architectural interest, showing why certain bits could be classed as Saxon and others Norman and generally being very informative about the architecture. We then went inside and had a lot of the imagery explained to us. We then drove off to Edgeworth in convoy, frightening the life out of a postman who normally sees three cars a day instead of eight all together. Edgeworth was really interesting, there was a wonderful medieval stained glass window in which the colours had faded to leave a silvery sheen over everything. Our final church was at Miserden which was full of riches - the most amazing altar, some fabulous memorials carved from Derbyshire alabaster and a splendid rood screen. I would never have gone off to these places on my own initiative and am really grateful to the U3A for giving me the opportunity to learn so much about the things which interest me.
We then trooped off to The Carpenters' Arms at Miserden for lunch which was excellent. The people we shared a table with all had different things, no-one was disappointed. Onslow had liver and bacon with chips, I had faggots with mustard mash and onion gravy and the chap who had a ham baguette with chips declared it to be the best ham he had eaten for ages. I had a half of a Westons cloudy cider on draught and it was fantastic and worked really well with the faggots. An excellent accompaniment.
We have had a really lovely day out with a lot of people we have never met before. We had met David and Judy and about three other people at the last trip we went on but all the rest were new to us. We have missed four meetings because of being away at various places, but it does not matter because with this sort of thing you can just drop in and out as you wish.