13/7/2018 – Tardebigge and an unexpected, most wonderful, experience!
Tardebigge has featured in and out of my life for as long as I can remember.
Being driven through the area by my parents, aged around seven I guess, my sister and I would spot the water-tower in the grounds of beautiful ‘Hewell Grange’ and tell each other it was really ‘Rapunzels Tower’.
As a school-girl I would cycle up to Tardebigge for my after-school job at Hewell Kennels; how I loved walking the dogs around the open fields which border Hewell Grange at Tardebigge. I think it was actually a remand centre and open prison in those days.
During my early teenage years I would catch the Redditch to Bromsgrove bus regularly to meet boyfriends, or go to Finstall and Bromsgrove Youth clubs; the bus route was via Tardebigge. I often walked down the peaceful canal too – never dreaming that one day I would live on a narrowboat right there.
From my late teens (and due to the construction of the Bromsgrove highway) I almost forgot Tardebigge existed, never having reason to visit. It was only in 2016 when my OH and I purchased our narrow-boat – Very Pinook – that I rediscovered this very beautiful area which lies between Redditch and Bromsgrove. It was also when we met a couple living-aboard on their self-built narrow-boat, ‘Brahms and List’. John and Liz have been friends ever since, although we don’t see an awful lot of them due to time and busy schedules etc etc.
Today, Tom and I drove up to Tardebigge court – a gem of a place which provides units for crafters and musicians as well as a tap-room and other small businesses – to take a memorial ring to be repaired to the Pure & Simple Jewellery company (I had trodden on the ring and bent it). Julie, the proprietor, makes and designs beautiful jewellery – my ring contains some of my Parson Russell Terrier, Rosie’s, fur and ashes.
Tom had popped in to see our boater-friend John at his workshop in Tardebigge Court.
Leaving the ring to be polished, as suggested by Julie, I wandered along to see John and…WOW, was I surprised. The workshop that was still being constructed when I last visited a few months back, is finished and he has some beautiful pieces of furniture in progress.
John said, ‘Go through and see the workshop now it’s done’.
Tom added, ‘Have you seen the piano?’.
Now, I have never seen a piano in a woodwork-shop before but there it was (covered) standing proud. John offered to play for me, which I gladly accepted, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the melodic, haunting, joyful sounds that came out of the instrument via his talented fingers. I was mesmerised; fairies, dancing flowers, butterflies, pixies, hobgoblins, Japanese children dressed in Kimonos with cherry blossom floating around them – all of these were in the room with me. Such is the power of a great piano player and classical music.
My reason for writing this blog is: If you are within 30 miles of Tardebigge in Worcestershire visit Tardebigge Court. Seek out John’s workshop and ask him to play for you (if you don’t ask you don’t get). I believe he will be doing recitals in the workshop now and then although I am not sure he will be big on advertising them. Also, grab a beer or cider in Alestone’s Tap Room, and visit the Pure & Simple Jewellery Company too.
There are other workshops and a cafe (not a coffee shop but a cafe) but I can’t vouch for those yet!
I am still in awe of hearing John play today, I even pirouetted a couple of times whilst imagining fairies, butterflies and flowers dancing to the tinkling of the old Joanna.
Aren’t the unexpected experiences always the best ones? ‘Thankyou’, John for giving me such a wonderful hour this afternoon.