September 29 – Swavesey to Gillingham via St Neots

Quiz evening with Janet, Peter and Uncle Fred

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

One of the places we had meant to go to while we were in Swavesey was St Neots. So as we were leaving today I planned a route which would take us to St Neots picking up a trail of church micros before we pick up the A1 to Deal.

Holy Trinity at Elsworth was a plain church but it did have a big wooden screen with a Decalogue on it near the back of the church. It only had one stained glass window but did have a triple sedilia and a double piscina.

Next was St Peters church at Papworth Everard which was not open but I found the cache hiding in the roots of a tree. Luckily the nettles and blackberry surrounding it were not too high so I was able to reach it without being attacked by vegetation too much. Holy Cross at Yelling was also closed. There was a second church micro at Yelling Baptist but there was a church service going on taking place and we did not feel comfortable wandering around the churchyard to collect the numbers so we left that one. We passed a wind turbine farm of eight turbines on our way to Toseland. St Michael’s church was closed but there were two church micros within walking distance so we got two for the price of one.

Holy Trinity church in Great Paxton was built in the early to the mid-eleventh century in the Romanesque style of architecture. The church was huge and would have been a great church to visit but again it was closed. In Toseland, we found a church micro and a village sign cache. It is only a small village but a very busy road which makes retrieving and replacing caches tricky but not impossible.

Finally, we reached St Neots, Cambridgeshire which lies on the banks of the River Great Ouse and has a population of about 40,000. The town is named after the Cornish monk Saint Neot, whose bones were moved from the hamlet of St Neot on Bodmin Moor on the consecration of the Priory of St Neots circa 980. Pilgrimage to St Neots brought prosperity for the town, and it was granted a market charter in 1130. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the town enjoyed further prosperity through corn milling, brewing, stagecoach traffic, and railways.

We collected a church micro at St Joseph’s which was easy to find but hard to park as it was deep in the heart of suburbia with narrow roads, parking on both sides and one lane in the middle for two way traffic. The cache was down an alleyway behind the houses. Across the road from the Evangelical church, we got some petrol as it was the cheapest we had seen today (£1.29.9) and grabbed a pastry for lunch. I had trouble with the hint for the CM but Mike didn’t. He saw the hint and the geocache and we were off to find St Marys in the town.

St Mary the Virgin, St Neots was a wonderful church with an excellent display of John Hardman Powell stained glass windows showing a variety of biblical stories. These included “The Raising of the Widow’s Son at Nain”, “Adoration of the Shepherds”, “Adoration of the Magi”, “Agony in the Garden”, “The Triumphal Entry”, “Anointing of Christ’s feet”, “Healing of the Cripple at the Pool at Bethesda” and many others which are all named. There was also one C.E. Kempe window named “Jesus Trail before Pilate.” which was hidden behind the organ. The chancel had lovely tile work,  a wooden ceiling with gilded bosses and an amazing stone wall monument for the Rowley family with an effigy tomb of George William Rowley behind a gilded metal screen. There were also three 15th-century misericords with shields on them. The altar frontal was lovely in gilded wood with a low angel reredos. The Victorian pulpit depicted Mathew Mark Luke and John and St Peter and St Paul. There were also six magnificent angel poppyheads in the choir. We collected the coordinates and we walked to the footbridge over the river. The cache should have been easy to find but we could not locate it. Also, GZ was like the MI and it was hard to look consistently without being muggled. Eventually, we had to give up which was very sad.

We found one more church micro at St Mary the Virgin in Eynesbury where we had parked the car and then we headed off to St Denys church in Little Barford. I think we parked in the wrong place but we walked to the church which was across a paddock. It was a Conservation Trust church from 1508. It had a monumental brass and two nice stained glass windows. There was a lovely gold tile reredos. The ceiling in the  There was a painted ceiling in the sanctuary and a painted screen to the chapel. It took us a while to find the cache and we circled the old yew tree many times. We had to be very careful of the ground as it was full of foxholes We looked and looked and we were just thinking we would have to give up when Mike spotted it. A pine cone handing in a yew tree, what is wrong with this picture? Then we had trouble extracting the log until we found a bit of stick which we could use as a pick. I signed the log and then we could not find the log lid which was still hanging in the tree. Luckily Mike finally saw it so we replaced the geocache and we headed on our way to Gillingham.

Yesterday I rang Janet, my childhood best friend from Chatham, to tell her that we were going to be in Gillingham for two nights and to see if we could get together. She invited us to join them at their church in Gillingham for a Harvest Tea and Quiz evening. We thought that sounded great and we met Janet, Peter and Uncle Fred there at six. Also on their team was Mark, who we have met before and Dave who is one of the youth group organising the food for the evening. We had a choice of Ploughman’s lunch with ham or cheese with salad, bread, potato salad, coleslaw, beetroot, Branston pickle, and egg. For dessert, a choice of apple crumble and custard or cherry tart. The quiz started and there was a paper with 40 photos of famous people though mostly English and then about eight rounds of ten questions on subjects like films, English TV, Food, lovely things, music, the human body and other things. Mike and I said that we were pretty hopeless at quizzes as we had got a booby prize at the UK Mega in Wales. She replied that was OK as they were hopeless too and usually aimed for the booby prize. The evening was heaps of fun and after starting at the bottom we managed to climb to 6th place out of ten teams. We used our joker on the music round as we had three musicians on the team and that allowed us to double our points. By the end of the evening we slid back to bottom again getting 92 points, the ninth-place had 108 and the top team had 122. So we got the booby prize which was a very nice wooden spoon each, a very good prize which will be very handy and we will be reminded of all the laughs we had every time we use them. There were also some raffles and Mike and I won a raffle and got a lovely bottle of hand pressed rapeseed oil which Janet says is really nice. Uncle Fred had struggled with the quiz as the sound was loud and with a hearing aid was impossible to hear. I was having trouble too and my hearing is still reasonable. Halfway through the evening, we stopped for the tea which was lovely and really well presented.

We left just before 10 and as we drove down the road my cell phone turned off so we had to find our way back to the Premier Inn without the GPS’s help. We got some milk and a couple of other things from Asda on our way.