The latest curiosities to make me throw the bike down on the roadside and snap away happily, the back wheel spinning, are as follows:
The Old Postbox
I see lots of these as I travel around and I have it on good authority that this is one of the oldest. It bears the cipher VR so it dates from the reign of Queen Victoria. As it stands outside The Old Vicarage in Grantchester it's probably where the poet Rupert Brooke posted letters when he lodged there. You can become quite addicted to checking out the royal ciphers to date the boxes.
The Village Pump
Before the advent of piped water in our homes people (usually the womenfolk) had to collect the family's water from a communal village pump. It was where they exchanged information about the goings-on in the village. Somewhere "village gossip" picked up a bad name but it is really what glues society together. When there was illness in my own family we made no effort to tell people about it, but word spread throughout the community and all sorts of folk arrived at our door to ask if they could help. And very glad we were to see them. Without gossip we are doomed to a very lonely and soulless existence.
A Good Year For The Daisies
I couldn't resist another photo of the Ox-Eye Daisies which have been blooming so magnificently on every roadside and field margin this summer.
The Threshing Barn
Up until the middle of the nineteenth century grain was threshed (that is the grain was separated from the straw and chaff) by hand. A team of two men would open up the sheaves of wheat or barley on the threshing floor and beat it with flails. It was slow and arduous work but provided employment during the winter months. The large doors, which at harvest time had been used by the carts bringing in the sheaves, would be closed, but a gap below the doors allowed a draught to blow through to aid the winnowing process. A board was placed across the bottom of the doorway to hold the threshed grain, this was known as the "thresh-hold". (Just in case you ever wondered about the origin of that word.)