The Bluebells’ Welcome: A Haibun

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image: Padre’s Ramblings

My wife and I were visiting a National Trust property, and while the formal gardens were beautiful, we decided to see what was “off the beaten path.”  We went through a gateway in an evergreen hedge and were greeted by the most amazing display along a forest walk (Photo above).  It was spectacular to behold, and it is now a cherished memory.

Spring-tide forest walk
Blaze of cerulean blue
Nature’s glory greets


Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, October 30th 2019, Bluebells

Little Church in the Sea

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St Cwyfan’s in the Distance

We recently visited the Island of Anglesey in North Wales, and on the Holy Island there is a small church built on an island terrace at Aberffraw. This small white building is down a long single track road, and then on a foot path along the rugged coast.  This is Cwyfan’s Church and it is a 12th Century chapel style church named in honour of the Irish saint, Kevin.

It was originally built on the end of a peninsula, but centuries of erosion have left it on a small island (Cribinau), and is surrounded by a sea wall giving it the terraced look.

We were lucky enough to arrive at low tide, and it provided a wonderful effect, and was a reminder of the faith of those prepared to worship even in these bleakest of conditions.

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Rugged Coast

There is not much there for the “tourist” apart from the feel of holiness of the site, and the wild natural beauty of the coast.  The island itself has the church, a few graves and a bench in the churchyard. There is no parking (people park on the farm lane), and no amenities.  It is nevertheless, a moving place.

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Forest Walk at Desert Rats Memorial (Park)


Desert Rats Memorial

Churchill Tank

The Thetford Forest is a relatively modern invention with the ground works laid out during the First World War, in part to provide the much needed lumber for Britain during the conflict.  It had matured fairly well as a coniferous forest by the time of the next great war, and as such served as both cover and as a training ground for British Forces.

One unit that trained in this area was the 7th Armoured Division (The Desert Rats).  This unit was instrumental in the North Africa campaign, and served throughout the war including the Normandy invasion and then across northern Europe.


The Desert Rats Memorial is easily found from the roadway (A1065) by the prominence of the brick plinth and Churchill tank. This is added to by a 1.5 km memorial trail which passes through the Desert Rats’ training grounds. There are multiple education boards located along the route noting information on such things as the headquarters, dining facilities and training regimes; as well as data on the Cromwell tank. It is a good place to visit for anyone with an interest in the Second World War, or just wanting a quiet walk in the woods (with a difference).

Desert Rats Walk 1

The walk is relatively level, and clearly marked, and makes for a pleasant short stroll.


Desert Rats Association link