Thursday 14 November 2013

Shere Delights

Taking a walk round Shere in my beautiful Surrey hills is one of the most pleasant hours one can spend. Starting from the school and strolling through the old village, past the working forge and the Lucky Duck café, across the bridge and under the willows where toddlers paddle safely in the shaded shallows. Turn past the old bakehouse and the row of cottages that stand opposite the allotments with their fun scarecrows, not forgetting to notice the flower pot men in one of the gardens, then quickly up the ride through the avenue of worthy ancestral chestnuts on to the rise above the village where you can look down on the shingled steeple of the church amongst the blue wooded hills.
It occurred to me yesterday, when admiring this view, that I had not once set foot in Shere church and decided on the spot that this should be remedied at the end of my walk. And what a delight it was, on entering, to find this embroidered banner - my hasty snaps just do not do it justice. (The banner is very long and goes up high - about 18 feet - and the multiple light sources and placing of the crucifix with its shadows make it difficult to photograph.) Set in the St Nicholas chapel, the banner is alive with young children in many aspects of play around the central figure of St Nicholas who has two children in his arms - behind the crucifix. Looking at the very accomplished design, I was certain this was a special piece.

I discovered the banner had been designed Diana Springall who was for many years a panel lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a former chairman of both The Embroiderers’ Guild. Sad that I had not found it before, I was delighted at last to be seeing it.

There are serious embroidery skills employed on the altar cloth - don't miss it.

And should you want to make a nice day of your walk and church visit, then you might like to start or finish with lunch at the incomparable Kinghams  restaurant on the road opposite the school - it is a truly delightful dining experience.

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