JUL
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Lacock 'Then' and 'Now'

Being retired, I have for the past three years been dabbling (for want of a better word) in watercolour painting. Recently while searching for inspiration I was browsing through an old photograph album belonging to one of my wife's long passed on relatives. This album dates from around the 1850's and has a lot of pictures of Lacock. We dated it because it contains a picture of the last broad gauge train to go through Swindon.

Looking at some of these photos I thought I should come back up to Lacock and make a few sketches and take some photographs, (after all my wife was born and brought up in Reybridge). Accordingly Reybridge was the first port of call, where we were amazed at how low the river was and the amount of reed growth that was evident. Having done the necessary with the thatched cottages, we pressed on into Lacock itself.

Our next stop was St. Cyriac's church. Again, sketches and photographs were taken, so we decided to look inside (and why not? We were married there after all by the Rev. Brocklebank). I didn't notice any difference but Mabyn (my wife) immediately noticed that some pews had gone and we spent quite a little time looking for the kneeler that she had embroidered when she was in the choir. We did not find it on this visit as time was pressing but we will have a more thorough look on our next visit (and there will be one!).

Feeling a little thirsty we decided on a cup of tea in King John's Hunting Lodge, where to our amazement the teapot contained leaf tea and was accompanied by a tea strainer! What a refreshing change in these days of tea bags. As I said, time was pressing, so regretfully we had to make our way back home to Bristol. One thing did strike me though, and that was except for the fact that the roads have been tarmaced and a flagpole erected in the churchyard, everything was basically the same as it was in the 1850's, except for the cars of course!

Ah well - time to get some pristine watercolour out and proceed to ruin it by drawing and painting on it.

Gerald and Mabyn Rees (nee Wootten)

Many of us will remember Mabyn Wootten when she lived with her family by the bridge at Reybridge, and sang in the choir.

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