james' mom sent us on a drive to a very small local town named south pool. a single road snaked through the center of an old village. an interesting church stood at the top of the road on a hill. as god's house is always open, we entered the gate...
inside this small-town church, which, from all outward appearances, could've been any other church, we found some surprises---a particularly well-preserved, painted and carved rood screen! to me, this seemed a rarity: an ornate catholic vestige that survived the reformation somehow with medieval painted panels still in tact. look:
the green man is clearly seen in every panel along with some mysterious twins, enacting biblical scenes----a marriage between paganism and christianity. my pet theory is that the twins are remus and romulus and that england was aspiring towards becoming the new roman empire....but my ignorance of history steps in and interrupts this train of thought...hey, i'm no scholar, ok? it was just a pretty freakin' cool church...if you like that kinda thing...
more carving [celtic knots and green men!]:
note the red and green polychrome on some of the wood in some of the shots.
from the church we made our way down to the local pub---a funny from-black-and-white-to-technicolor moment. the windows sweated with condensation. the room heaved with shoulders and hot human exhalation. a smooth jazz trio played on in the corner. this was where the entire village population was and had been since early in the afternoon...and things were getting pretty sloppy by the time we'd arrived.
two unfamiliar, obviously not local, young men---us--- sit at a corner table [the only one free]. unbeknownst to us, it was valentine's day. there were roses on the table. we paid no heed. the table next to us full of drunken over-50's did and removed the roses after a time. oh, they thought we were a couple! we didn't care...and maybe we should've pretended---it would've prevented a soused emissary for the middle-aged, baby-boomer second-youth movement from embarrassing herself in front of half of the pub! she was dressed like...an escort: skin-tight, almost painted-on pants, zippers running waist to cuff...mohair top barely buttoned; extra lipstick glazing her wine glass red!
'oh, finally, some single men!'...she'd been heckling the guys in the other corner who were more interested in the rugby game on the tv; so, she migrated to us. james and i goofed around with her for a time, mock-courting her with the table roses...funny for the first ten minutes; but she didn't leave...until an even drunker friend finally pulled her away...
the punchline? a bemused man leaned over to me, 'guess that woman's occupation...'
'recently-fired investment banker?'
chuckle. 'no, she's gp in london...' 'gp' is short for 'general practitioner'...a doctor!!
punchline #2? the next day, right outside our flat, we saw the same woman with what looked like her mother...she didn't recognize us...ah, merciful alcohol!