Sunday, 3 February 2008

St Mary the Virgin, Langley

It's Sunday, so I thought a picture of a church would be appropriate.

That is not the main reason for this picture, though.

The point of all this is to set up a series of challenges that will encourage me to get out and ride the bike once the initial wave of enthusiasm wears off.

Some of the goals that I am setting myself are quantitative. they cover inputs (so many miles a week, lengthening the longest ride, increasing speed) and outcomes (shortening the notch where my belt buckles, and so on). But numbers are only part of the picture - I am also setting myself some qualitative goals.

One suggestion that I particularly liked was to visit as many as possible of the churches in Simon Jenkins' book of England's thousand best churches.

There are three that are fairly close to home (Shottesbrook, Dorney and Bisham), two of which I have reached on earlier outings. The next four represent a bit more of a challenge (this one at Langley, Stoke Poges, West Wycombe and Warfield). Of course the beauty of this idea is that, a bit like a computer game, it gets increasingly difficult at each level. Beyond the first seven, reaching the next three, and a total of ten is going to be a lot tougher. And it is probably best to think of the first 100 (or even the first 20) as a "stretch goal" for some time in the future.

St Mary's church in Langley dates from 1150, but apparently the outstanding features are a pew and library gifted by the Kedermister family in the 17th Century. As it happened, the church was closed yesterday, for refurbishment, and it sounds as though visitors are only welcome at certain times. So now that I've located it, a repeat visit is called for, some time after easter, with a bit more advanced preparation. Meanwhile here is a virtual tour.

I stopped reading political comment by Simon Jenkins long ago, as his world view floated away from any grounding in reality, but his book on churches is a treat, and a pretty good incentive to explore new routes.

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