I’ve been exploring some of Dorset’s villages and churches. Milton Abbey was a lovely surprise -set in grounds wonderfully landscaped by Capability Brown. Close by is the picturesque village of Milton Abbas, one of the first examples of English town planning in the sense that it was designed by a rich man who didn’t want his view ruined by the sight of ordinary folk carrying on their chaotic lives in the village down the hill. Despite determined popular resistance he had the whole village demolished and rebuilt (safely out of sight) by a leading architect of the day, and then couldn’t understand why the villagers weren’t grateful.
I also visited a small village church where an ancestor of mine got married in the mid-19th century. I had never been there before. In the church was a rather nice piano, and as there was nobody else in the church I allowed myself to sit and play some Mozart and Debussy. It seemed somehow pleasing that there should be a piano in this particular church. It was a strange feeling to be playing it in the place where my great-great-(whatever)-grandfather was married over 150 years ago.