The great advantage of giving up the car for Lent is the opportunity to discover new roads. Anything with red on the map is to be avoided. So this morning I found myself going down the valley of the Deverills, and turning left at Monkton Deverill to climb the hill.
This leads to a small one track road which climbs more gently than the main road, through open fields with just a few sheep. At the top you can see the whole world – rolling chalk downs. Wonderful.
I was on my way to Teffont Evias for the 9.30 service for Mothering Sunday, or the fourth Sunday in Lent. Teffont is one of those unfeasibly beautiful villages: pale stone, a chalk stream running down the side of the lane. It’s the kind of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to find ballerinas practising Swan Lake. The church has been there since the dawn of time. There are monuments and carvings
with fading contours. Sir William Ley and his armed relations lie eternally in one corner, their feet resting on lions.
And on to Compton Chamberlayne, with its giant juniper tree and solid tower. Charlie handed out the flowers to everyone, men and women. Afterwards sausages and pringles and chat.
Neither village has more than a 100 people and yet the churches are well used and beautifully kept.
Back down the A30 to Salisbury to catch the train home. Not a good road. Several cars came past very fast and very close not giving any space. I do puzzle about the antagonism between different categories of road users: taxis, lorries, cars, buses and cyclists. all seem to regard each other with potential contempt; and we are all united against caravans. It’s very primitive and when you are on a bike you can feel very vulnerable. The cars were just too close, too careless today. Occasionally you know that you are deliberately targeted by drivers trying to threaten or frighten you. It’s fairly common to get abuse from car drivers. It’s a kind of ethnic conflict.