Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday: Itchenor

Before diving into my Itchenor post, let me apologize for how long it has taken me to blog my way through London. A 9-day trip has lasted nearly 11 weeks! I guess you might say I got carried away. You would also be correct in assuming that everyday life distracted me many times. Anyway, this posts concludes my London series. Thanks for your patience with my snail's pace. Researching the posts, I learned as much afterwards as I did when I was there. And now, down to business!

The last full day of my London trip was spent in Itchenor, a coastal town on the Chichester Harbor in West Sussex. The name Itchenor is Saxon in origin: Icca was the name of the Saxon chief who resettled the area after the collapse of Roman Britain around 400 AD. Ora is a Saxon word which means "a bank on the shore." Over the years shipbuilding and sailing activity have played a prominent role in the life of this town. The connection to the sea is evident in the naming of the little Norman church, built in 1175 AD, which was dedicated to St. Nicholas, the patron saint of seamen.

The St. Nicholas Church with its adjoining cemetery was the first place Maurene and I stopped on our Sunday morning walk. The vicar and a woman who tends to the church were setting up for the service. They showed us around and generously gave us some postcards and a pamphlet of historical information about the chapel.

The church is quite small – a rectangular building 50 feet long and 16 feet 6 inches wide with no structural division between the nave (where the congregation sits) and the chancel (where the altar stands). Like most ancient buildings, the chapel has undergone many restorations and elements from many eras are visible. The oldest windows, pictured below, are from the 13th century. (Note the vicar, trying to disappear into the wall on the left there.)

The little chapel was very peaceful, lovely in its simplicity. I wish there had been time to stay for the service, but it was a beautiful day and we needed to keep to our schedule. As the St. Nicholas Church receded into the background, we communed with God and nature as we made our way down the road toward the Chichester Harbor.

Maurene took a shortcut down this walled path…

which opened up onto the majestic harbor view!!

Just up from the marina sits the picturesque pub below, The Ship Inn. According to one internet site I read, it is the only pub in Itchenor.

On our way back to our hostess’s house, we walked through a nature preserve.

Betty, our hostess, had a swimming pool, and after walking all morning Maurene and I were happy to join her for a dip in the pool. The mischievious Sindy did not join us.

Betty served us a nice lunch before we went back to the Chichester train station to catch the London train.

My last night was a nostalgic remembrance of the my first two nights in London. Maurene and I walked around the St. Katherine’s Dock area near the Dickens Inn and looked at the Queen’s swans.

Then we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. I spent the night with Maurene and her Abyssinian cat named Peri.

The conclusion of my London blog series would not be complete without a special thank-you to Maurene. She waited patiently when I got lost on the tube and was late. She had cash on hand when my British currency ran out. (We settled up at the end of the week.) She gave good directions and suggestions and had boundless energy and enthusiasm. She suggested the weekend in Chichester. She was the perfect traveling companion. She made it possible for me to turn a business trip into a simultaneous vacation. So, thank you, Maurene. I hope someday we can have more travel adventures together – soon!

(P.S. All the photos in this post are mine.)

© 2006, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

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