We did two trips to the South West England. Some of Steve’s relatives (on his Mother’s side) still live in the area so we agreed that we needed to meet them and find out a little bit more about his Mum’s side of the family.
Steve’s Mother’s cousins still live on the estate on which they grew up and have farmed the area for a couple of generations now. We stayed with Mary who lives in the original Kennels (now renovated into a lovely little cottage) of the estate and in her back yard you can still see the foundation of the original runs which housed the hunting dogs once used to hunt game and foxes in the region.
Mary fascinated me, she was the soul of the earth and said it how it was, never married yet a very capable human being when it came to the land and it’s offerings. Mary cares for the pheasant who inhabit the woods on the farm, feeding them regularly so that they do not “wander” off (her words, not mine). During the shooting season a collective of hunters come to the property to shoot the pheasants, paying a fee to do so. Circle of life so to speak.
I’m so glad I got the opportunity to take Mary’s portrait before leaving.
We discovered some family history that we found fascinating and were escorted around the area on a couple of day trips which we thoroughly enjoyed and it really was wonderful to see the area in which Steve’s Grandparents were born and raised.
They lived in Dodington Hall which still stands today and even has it’s own little church which unfortunately had been closed by the powers that be due to dwindling parish numbers attending on a regular basis. Let’s face it nearly every small village has it’s own place of worship and it’s sadly something the younger ones do not want to do “early” on Sunday morning.
It really was a precious few days and we were well looked after by all involved…..thank you.