Just before Christmas we took a drive up to Dartmoor along a windy road we use all the time, we stopped beside a dingly dell and I got out to stand in the magical place and listen to the River Dart splashing and rushing over the huge river stones, the water the colour of stewed tea flowing in full spate after the recent heavy rain fall. It was soothing to listen too after a very busy week, and a lovely tranquil spot.
I noticed that the trees were trimmed for Christmas too, their twisty gnarled branches encased in beautiful green velvet.
They were decorated in long streamers of ivy, wound about their trunks and branches, which danced in the wind that sighed through the dell.
And the Hazel trees that edged the dell had lost all their leaves, but hung small stubby catkins out ready to shake out in the Springtime.
Feeling refreshed in body and soul we drove on along the road and stopped at St Raphaels church, a lovely little quaint church tucked into the hillside. I was hoping that it had been dressed for Christmas...
And I wasn't disappointed..as I pushed open the porch door I saw the lovely display that had been arranged on the flagstones. Bunches of berried holly, branches of feathery pine, and sprays of cones all sprayed silver amongst the greenery, lovely.
I couldn't wait to push open the heavy church door and see what had been done inside, and I was enchanted to see a beautiful dainty Christmas tree hung with red and silver baubles and silver bows, it was quite magical.
Besides the tree, the ledge behind the alter had also been decorated with greenery and red bows and flowers, it all looked very festive.
St Raphaels is a well loved little church I believe, and although quite plain, I think it has a wonderful feel to it, I love the watery light that shines through the plain leaded windows, and the old fashioned seats...it has been used as a school in the past, and is usually laid out as such, with the ink wells on the trestles and quill pens, and a dunces cap on the teachers table.
But this day it was laid out as the church it is, and the old granite fireplace stained with many a fire had a delightful nativity scene arranged amongst some branches of berried ivy on the massive granite mantelpiece.
And at the back beside the teachers desk was a lovely pedestal arrangement of assorted greenery and red poinsettia flowers, a traditional sort of church flower display and lovely with the hedgerow holly, firs, laurel and ivy. I loved my visit to the little church, and it was a lovely start to the Christmas period.