Saturday, 29 December 2007

This week, before the cold!

The gates of Hell. (or the door to IKEA, depending on your point of view).

The spoils of war. And new cushions for the sofa in my study.

The Inn at Whitewell, one of only two pubs which the Queen owns!

One of the Dining Rooms.

The view to the fell.

If you saw this out the window, you'd be shocked!

A corner of the Inn

Byrnes of Clitheroe.

Which sells wines....

Even some from the colonies! It's amazing how they're getting on now.

And places I have never heard of...

There be witches!

This week, before I succumbed to a cold, I spent the winnings of my latest gambling spree! What is this, I hear you saying? Gambling? Worry not, I am not about to start some Benny Hinn style confession and redemption saga, but I bought ten tickets (at 20p each) for my parish raffle and I won the first prize, of Fifty Pounds! I promised everyone that I would spend it on drink, so I went to Clitheroe, a lovely town just to the north of me in my beloved Ribble Valley and went straight to Byrnes Wine Merchants, a cavern of delights for any oenophile. Afterwards, I went with a friend to the Inn at Whitewell nearby.

This Inn lies in the Duchy of Lancaster estates, which therefore belongs to the Queen, who is the Duke of Lancaster. Indeed, only in Lancashire can you follow the loyal toast ('The Queen' with the words 'The Duke of Lancaster'. In the Isle of Man, which is a silly place, you can say 'The Queen, the Lord of Man'). Queens aside, it was a lovely lunch, with the finest view in the land, for my money, taking in Longridge Fell and Pendle Hill, famous home of witches! There is now a coven of witches in our Parish, which has caused much amusement. A tiny minority have expressed deep unhappiness over this, but we are happy to lend them chairs for their meetings. We hope to be a tolerant lot and to set an example of Christian charity, not of knee-jerk uninformed tabloid style lunacy.

I have also been to IKEA, which for me is a penitential exercise, to stock up on lights and candles for the sprung stocks and lamps in Church. I hate going but am sure that I can offer it up for the poor souls in purgatory!