Sometimes, you're blessed with an opportunity to experience something that wasn't even on your Life List. Well, this was such a day! Strolling down the Footpath, crossing over the Football (Soccer) field to Elham for the Summer Food & Craft Festival, this was going to be a day to rub elbows with the locals and soak up village life. Plus, it wasn't raining! There were 28 booths selling everything from Samosa's, lace, and desserts with names such as Spotted Dick and Victoria Sponge. I went for the Samosa's, skipped the lace and anything spotted or spongy. What is it with English food and the unappetizing names? I digress.
A sign read, "Church & Bell Tower Tours" so I meandered over to check it out. Since I was early (how American of me), I received a special tour that included venturing up to the top of the tower and outside onto the base of the spire. When was the last time you rang church bells in a parish built from 1170 to 1200? Think pre-Magna Carta!
Climbing up the multiple levels of tight circular stairs (think finger tip to elbow wide), I rang 2 bells, saw the village clock ticking away, and crouched precariously on 500 year old beams in the belfry while the bells rang below. By the way, during the 2nd ringing portion of the enclosed video, it was so loud you can't hear me shouting and I reduced the video sound by 40%.
Needless to say, I was plugging my ears and trying to film at the same time. Climbing to the top, standing outside at the base of the tower spire, I felt like the luckiest lady on earth. Why? Because this little tour represented a life experience that I've always wanted to do but just thought it would never happen. Yet, here I am, enjoying an unexpected life. Being my birthday weekend, I took this to be a, "Here, my daughter; enjoy this little gift from God."
Below the pipe organ, the indoor portion of the festival gained steam with more visitors and American country music playing. Think Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Patsy Cline. Say what? That's like ordering a beer and receiving wine-no connection whatsoever! It's just one of those things with travel that make you chuckle out loud.
Did you know my surname is Bell? I kid you not.
After a day of chatting with locals, wandering the back neighborhoods, seeing an English garden that would intimidate any Aphid or Gopher, it was time for a pint and some noshing over at The Abbot's Fireside Pub; built in 1451. Can you make out the date in the roof tiles?
As I returned up the hill with a happy tummy and Folsom Prison Blues stuck in my head, I felt so full of blessings, pinching myself that this is my life...minus the Victoria Sponge.
I hope you enjoy this little video "Where The Bell's Are," which is rough and unedited on purpose to show the full experience. Thank you for watching and sharing.