I'm not a great one for making New Year's Resolutions on 1st January. I prefer to let them evolve over the first few weeks of the year. But one resolution I have already made is to read more classics this year. Having visited both New England and California over the past 3 years I planned to read some John Steinbeck but my local library had other ideas. They were out of Steinbeck so I ended up with Edith Wharton instead and what a treat.
Ethan Frome is meant to be her bleakest book but it is beautiful and will certainly linger with me for a long time to come. If you haven't read it I would highly recommend it and it's very short so a good one to start with.
Serendipitously the BBC have been doing a radio adaptation of John Steinbeck's East of Eden so I've actually been able to enjoy that as well. It features David Yip and Holliday Grainger amongst the fabulous cast and you can catch it on the BBC I-player. I'd really recommend that as well.
My second resolution is to explore more of my local area. I often visit Uppingham, a pretty little market town in Rutland which is the smallest county in England. Sometimes I visit to go to the dentist or maybe to meet friends for coffee or, in the summer months, to watch my husband and sons played cricket. I have bought beautiful olives and crisp vegetables from stalls in the market square, I have browsed in the little gift shops but before last week I had never ventured inside the church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The main entrance is off the market square, tucked between two buildings.
To begin with I had the whole church to myself. Sun shone through the windows, dust motes hovered in the stillness. My rubber soled boots seemed intrusively noisy on the smooth floor. I lit a candle and sat in a pew.
On the pillar next to me was a statue of St. Peter, the first Pope, founder of Rome and patrol saint of fishermen, bakers, butchers, horologists and locksmiths to name a few.
On the opposite pillar was a statue of St. Paul, also the founder of Rome and patron saint of missionaries, public workers, saddle makers and authors.
Ahead of me the most beautiful stained glass window..
...behind me the early medieval font.
To be alone in this sacred space was such a privilege, the perfect antidote to a hectic Christmas and New Year.
Not all of the places I visit in my local area will be churches. I hope that there will be gardens and houses, previously unexplored villages and footpaths but St. Peter and St. Paul seemed like the perfect place to start.
Thank-you for dropping by and Happy New Year to all.