Okay, so a slight hiccup in the A-Z proceedings in that there is no village (or town, or city) in Somerset that begins with the letter J. So, I will skip over that, and look at K instead.
And Kingweston is the stereotype for the evolution of a village.
It’s the end of the 11th Century. You’ve supported the winning side and so, as a reward, you are given the manor of Chinwardestune. It’s good farming land, and you have a nice house there. Over time – and changes of ownership – the manor has grown strong: you have a large house, alongside which you have built a church, there are farm buildings and cottages for your workers.
And that’s it. This village, with a population of less than 150, is little more than a farm, the attached manor house and its religious building and workers cottages.
The cottages are very picturesque; higgledy-piggledy on the lane up to the manor house and farm.
Walk up the main road and you encounter the Manor House. The barrier between those that had and those that had not. A high wall rings its lands, through the trees you get a glimpse of the grandeur within, but a glimpse is all you’re going to get.
The current Kingweston House was built in the 1800s by the long-term residents, the Dickinson family. In 1946 it was bought by Millfield School and has been used by them ever since.
The Church of All Saints is of a similar age to the manor house. Set at the upper end of the village, it is an ideal space for contemplation, as it overlooks the countryside towards Glastonbury Tor.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission suggests that Major Francis Arthur Dickinson is buried in the churchyard and, while I was unable to find his headstone, he is commemorated on the Roll of Honour in the church itself.
The plaque mentions other members of the Dickinson family who died during the Great War:
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Carey Dickinson, of the Somerset Light Infantry and King’s African Rifles, died in Dar-es-Salaam in 1918.
Lieutenant George Barnsfather Dickinson of the East Lancashire Regiment fell at Ypres in May 1915.
The village has, understandably, a community feel to it. Even though the farm workers have move on and been replaced by wealthier country folk, Kingweston has a heart and a draw to it.
I have not posted as much as I would like to and, while CKPonderingsToo was never intended to be the daily blog that its predecessor was, I have let it slip more than I had planned.
A bit part of that has been down to the current situation; the lockdown may be easing, but it has yet to completely go. While the (current) new rules in the United Kingdom allow for more movement than we have had since mid-March, I have been reluctant to wander too far.
It’s not that I am fearful of going out, it’s just that I can’t be bothered to go any distance. Apathy replacing an urgent need to travel.
I moved from West Sussex to Somerset in February; it was something I we had been planning for a while – something like five years – and, after a long eighteen months of house-hunting, things finally came to fruition earlier this year.
It could not have been timed better – a couple of weeks later and I honestly don’t think it would have happened at all. The Coronavirus regulations were starting to come into place, and estate agents, solicitors and removal companies were shutting down. I genuinely believe we were very, very lucky with the timing.
I am a fatalist, and I feel the time was right and it was meant to be.
Glastonbury has held a place in my hear for the best part of twenty years. I do not count myself as religious, but it is my spiritual home, and I love it – and feel loved – here.
The lockdown restricted things in the same way here as it did across the country, with shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants closing. Glastonbury Abbey shut its doors, the Chalice Well Gardens fell more silent than it usually is, and National Trust properties also closed down.
Again, no different to anywhere else, but the Tor remained the only one of my regular haunts still alive and well.
(I appreciate that I am in a much better position to many, many others, who found themselves shut up in flats with no outdoor escape.)
We were all allowed one walk a day (either alone or with members of our own household), and I fell into a routine of going up the Tor, or Wearyall Hill, the Avalon Orchard or just across the fields to anywhere and nowhere.
The daily wanders were prescribed and we just did it, clinging on to that small piece of freedom, where in olden times it wasn’t unusual to not go out at all on any particular day.
At this stage there were good days and bad – the curtailment of one’s liberties were going to have an effect of some description, particularly on someone like me, who had suffered from stress-related depression in the past.
At the same time, we were making improvements to our new home.
Luckily the builders and decorators were still able to work, and adhering to social distancing rules, slowly the garage was converted, rooms decorated and carpet laid.
A lot of this led to rooms being disrupted and, although the house was liveable, there was a lot of compromise over space, nothing was tidy and, with the building work, there was a lot of dust. The time – and our home – wasn’t our own. (And, to an extent, still isn’t, as the decorators are still here.)
It will look brilliant when it’s finished, I know, but when you’re living through it and combining it with lockdown, dark clouds often obscure the sunshine.
The health of a close family member – my dad – has been on my mind. There are things going on in the background and I would love to be spending time with him.
(Again, I appreciate that this goes for everybody at the moment.)
While the move from Sussex to Somerset has not massively increased the journey time, the option to go and see him has obviously not been there. I have become a lot closer to him since Mum passed away, and am surprised how not being able to visit has affected me.
Yes, we are in contact by phone and email – and he has become a ready convert to the world of video chat! – but, as we all know, that doesn’t make up for going to Costa and having a vanilla latte with your dad.
I want to share my home with him, I want him to come down and stay with us, to share what I love about Glastonbury and Somerset with my dad. And that, at the moment, I cannot do.
All of this has combined over time to and increasing number of down days. Not full on depression – I have suffered with that in the past, and I am not in that dark a place – but a general ‘meh’ feeling.
Constant tiredness, not helped by a whacking dose of hay fever recently, brings a general apathy to the table. The fact that days rapidly turn into weeks and those into months doesn’t help.
Photography has fallen by the wayside for a number of reasons and, while I have tried to keep some regularity to it through the Mass Observation and 9-in-45 posts, the number of days when I have not taken photos outweigh the number when I have, something unthinkable even six months ago.
The garden has become my sanctuary of late, and I will happily busy myself out there for an hour or two, planting new plants, (endlessly) filling the bird feeders and generally pottering.
Life is not all bad, I know that, and I am in a lot better position than a lot of other people out there.
But I also know that this should not diminish what I am feeling. We are all getting through this thing as best we can. Some of us are doing that better than others, some are having ups and downs, some need more help to get through.
There is not intended to be any specific answer or words of wisdom in this post. It is just how I am feeling, right here, right now.