Monday, 15 August 2011
In Search Of Olde England (part two)
You left me yesterday in Great Munden, a pleasant enough place but inconveniently far from home. There's still a deal of pedalling to be done. So let us continue steadily on our way.
The land was gently rolling and pastoral. A Buzzard mewed plaintively overhead. I soon found myself in "ramshackle country" just the kind of stuff I love to photograph.
I'm not really sure why I'm so attracted to the dilapidated and derelict. Maybe it reminds me of those days when there was never enough money and everyone had to make-do and mend. A world that was held together with bent nails and baler twine. Or maybe I'm just getting dilapidated and derelict myself! Peeking into one of the barns I found six inquisitive eyes staring back at me.
When you cycle slowly you often catch a glimpse of something through a gap in the hedge.
When I turned back I found this amazing old house. I wonder if anyone lives there? Now, I know I said I was looking for Olde England but nothing prepared me for what I caught sight of next.
Yes, we really are back in the past now! Rich meadows of flowers and corn standing to dry in shocks. Well, we call them 'shocks' in this part of the world, elsewhere they're stooks. But why else do we say someone has a 'shock' of hair? I looked around for an explanation for my unexpected "time-travel" - is the long, undamaged straw to be set aside for thatching? - or is this all done for some film set? There was no one around to ask, which was probably just as well as I'd undoubtedly been trespassing to get that last picture.
A little further along I entered the picturesque village of Ardely with its cottages grouped around the well on the green and, more importantly, its welcoming pub, The Jolly Waggoner.
There was also a farm - Church Farm - an experiment in low carbon agriculture. The public is invited to walk around and see the entire operation, something which I would like to do someday. Maybe the 'shocks' were something to do with them.
The free-range hens looked healthy enough and a little further along I came to an idyllic scene as horses grazed in a meadow.
I was soon brought back to the twenty-first century by the sound of modern machinery efficiently gathering in the harvest, I stood and watched for a while.
Then I was brought back to reality even more suddenly by the realisation that my front tyre was flat. I upended the bike and mended the puncture before finishing my ride.