Tinker wouldn’t stop wagging his tail or licking me. He similarly refused to stop climbing up to shoulder height and playfully nuzzling my face. As time went on it also seemed he didn’t have any immediate plans to stop sticking his tongue in my ear, and appeared completely unrepentant about finally flopping onto his back and lying belly up on my lap expecting his tummy to be tickled.
I instantly liked him – and we’d only just met.
Tinker is barely 6 months old, and his fur is as soft as a baby’s hair. He has the enthusiasm of a schoolyard full of children – and it’s infectious. It’s really hard not to smile when he’s running round open fields in huge circles and jumping in as much mud as possible while his owner tries (somewhat unsuccessfully) to reign him in.
I digress though.
I’ll rewind a little.
I was joining Tinker and his owner for a walk from their home in Alcester to the nearby village of Wixford for lunch at a pub called The Fish (link). As we set out (knowing my strange agnostic predelicion old churches) my companion suggested we have a look around his village (where there’s a really nice one) which suited me as I’ve never before walked around Alcester.
As well as having lots of charity and coffee shops it seems to have a few absolutely lovely buildings and streets as well, which are full of old world character. The oldest one I saw dated back to 1444 – which gives an idea of how long the town has been standing.
Sadly the house itself (called The Beehive) was a little underwhelming from the outside – but elsewhere there were far more picturesque streets, and clear evidence that the local garden centres are flourishing.
Near to these twee little streets is the central church (St Nicholas) which sits at the heart of the village and has a rather unusual clock. It’s built into the corner of the church tower, so that it can be seen from the length of the main high street.
Inside the church is clearly much loved – and as well as having some nice sculptures and relief carvings also has (in pride of place) the old mechanism for the clock tower which was made in 1682. Apparently it was in use right up until 1975 when it was finally replaced by an electrical mechanism.
I might be wrong but I don’t think my Apple Watch will last 300 years… This timepiece was clearly built of stronger stuff to last!
However – as interesting as this was, waiting (im)patiently outside was a rather excitable pooch – who wanted to go for a walk (in huge circles).
As we moved out of town and into the countryside I found myself in yet another part of Warwickshire that’s completely new to me – and it seemed absolutely lovely.
It keeps taking my breath away just how many places there are to explore around where I live, and just as soon as I’ve found one place to mooch around and think I’ve seen most of what there is to offer, another pops up to remind me that I’ve still barely scratched the surface!
The walk from Alcester to Wixford is around three miles and in between there’s another super cute teeny tiny little church – which sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and looks very twee indeed.
Sadly it was also very closed – so I couldn’t have a look inside. All I could do (at the request of my companion) was pose for a photo outside.
Soon after this we were on the high street in Wixford and since the whole village is barely a mile across we were at the pub in no time at all.
How to describe it?…
Well – imagine a country pub, full of old world character, a roaring fire, heavily varnished wood, dusty bottles on shelves and red leather seating with tarnished brass foot rails leading along the base of an ancient and well worn bar.
Then forget all that – because the fish is as flamboyant as they come!!!
There’s a pained shark’s head above the frikkin door and the only brass I saw was the
GIANT MONKEY WEARING A GOLD CROWN ON THE BAR!!!
If all that isn’t an arresting enough sight the back wall has a moulin rouge style diorama with a fully animated ferris wheel, a life size dancing mannequin in a tutu, a model of an elephant and a picture of a swan saxophonist!
If this sedate and relaxed attitude to interior design wasn’t arresting enough above the bar were also several camel heads all proclaiming that patrons should not ‘get the hump!’
My companion hails from London – and I’ve heard him say on many an occasion that he’s ‘got the ****in ‘ump’ so to have this instruction in his local boozer must seem like God came down from heaven and provisioned him with his very own personally customised watering hole.
I’ll be honest though – knowing him as I do I doubt he would have chosen the style of lighting they did…
However – we were here for the food and company. The service seemed very friendly and the menu looked like there was a lot of choice. Being very generous my companion very kindly refused to let me buy my own lunch, and treated me to a moroccan spiced lamb salad with minted yoghurt.
I’m not sure how many syns were associated with the ciabatta garlic bread – but I couldn’t resist eating it (plus it was really nice!)
As we sat outside eating (and Tinker ran endlessly round and around the empty beer garden in energetic circles) I couldn’t help but focusing on the nearby bridge.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I’ve become something of a lover of redbrick construction – and this particular one is of a kind I’ve not seen before. At either side was an eye catching circular tunnel – presumably added to facilitate the easy movement of livestock and pedestrians.
What an engineering masterpiece!
How cool is that?!
As I sat down to write this I couldn’t help but look up the history of this beforehand – and although its Grade II listed there’s not a lot about it on the web, as it seems that all historical data is held at the Warwickshire County Records office (link) rather than being online.
However I did find out who built it, when, and for how much..
One can only focus for so long on architecture however when there are unusual geese floating by.
I wish I’d brought my superzoom camera with me today. Without it I missed a kingfisher, a hawk, and couldn’t get anywhere near as close in as I wanted to with this little brown and tan guy.
What an interesting beak and colouring he has!
I did manage to get a little video though – and you can just about see him in the background.
After we’d watched the wildlife, chatted about bridge construction methods and finished lunch Tinker seemed eager to continue running in endless circles elsewhere.
He’s got the kind of eyes that you just can’t say no to – and who were we to argue?
By the time we’d reached my companion’s home we’d walked around seven and a half miles, talked about many interesting topics, watched Tinker run back and forth through silage, eat sheep pellets, and completely fail to trace the scent of a peacock hen that was nonchalantly strolling over the road right next to him.
What he lacks in common sense he sure makes up for with enthusiasm! He’s got a lot to learn but I’m sure he’ll get there!
Anyway – this evening internet I have some more reading to do.
I’m still doing a little every day to move myself forward – and today I feel like I’m at one with the world.
The countryside, and the weather have been kind and the company has been great.