6th June

This evening started with a visit to the Lacock village D-day 80th anniversary celebrations, amidst concerns as the local gazette had reported closure of the main road to and from the village from 7pm onwards for repairs.

With everyone having arrived early, we started with Danny Wooton giving a brief talk entitled "9+5 from Norway" where he showed images of his trip from Bergen to Kirkenes by ship back in February of this year.

The journey started in Bergen, where there was surprisingly little snow and extreme clothing was not required:

Bergen © Danny Wooton

Bergen © Danny Wooton

No snow at Ålesund:

Ålesund © Danny Wooton

At Trondheim, however, snow, grey skies and lower temperatures had arrived:

Trondheim © Danny Wooton

Tromsø © Danny Wooton

Once above the Arctic Circle, full survival gear was required at all times when outside, and signs of human habitation became more scant:

Towards Norway's Northern Frontier © Danny Wooton

Danny also saw the Northern Lights, and spoke about the challenge of photographing them from a moving ship:

Northern Lights © Danny Wooton

He then reached Honningsvåg, Europe's most northern city, where little schoolchildren are always encouraged outside for breaks, no matter what the weather

Honnigsvåg © Danny Wooton

Then followed a talk by Brendan Whyte entitled "Medieval Graffiti".  Brendan has spent the last few years photographing church interiors as well as the interiors of other medieval buildings, looking for evidence of graffiti.  Far from being the scourge it is in modern times, graffiti in medieval times was seen as a good thing.

The simplest, and earliest form was a circle. It was believed that evil spirits, wandering through the air, on finding a line, would follow it to its end.  Thus one finding a circle, would be trapped forever.

Although these circles are difficult to find now - and not helped by the uniform colour of church walls - before the Reformation, church walls were highly coloured and decorated and this graffiti would have been easier to see.

An elaborate circle, carved with a compass, or similar device © Brendan Whyte

The fact that the majority of medieval people couldn't read or write cut down the "Kilroy was here" messages which plague our own age. 

Crosses, VV and RR were also discussed, along with Mason Marks.

Mason Mark © Brendan Whyte

"V V" © Brendan Whyte

"V V" © Brendan Whyte

Brendan mentioned that the church porch - something we hardly consider now - had more significance in medieval times.  For instance, only Lords were married at the altar, only Knights married in church, everyone else was married in the porch.

As the ages wore on, more people learned to write and so more names with dates appeared.

Churches will often have a small door on the north (darkest) side. This was left open during Baptisms to allow any demons expelled by the baptism to escape.

"Mason" Marks © Brendan Whyte

A date inscribed © Brendan Whyte

We then finished with a review of photos taken in May:

Greenhouse under aurora © Danny Wooton

Aquilegia © Amanda Gregory

Arctic Ice © Ros Vickers

Open Garden © Caroline Howe

Aurora over forest © Craig Purvis

Bluebells at Erlestoke © David Eagle
Callanish © Graham d'Aucourt

Clouds © Derek Liversidge

Dandelion Clock © Helen Day

The Bride Arrives © Howard Morland

Happy Landings © Philip Male

Damselflies at the Open Garden © Rob Macklin

Sunshine © Sue Power

The next meeting, on Thursday 20th June, will be the last of the year.

Members are reminded to fill in and email a copy of the annual club questionaire to help organise future events.  This can be found on the Google Drive.  Please remember to make a copy of it before altering it.