Sunday, 21 August 2011

Worth Getting Off The Bike For

A few more oddities collected as I trundled my push-bike along the back-roads of East Anglia.

A Wall

If you want a long wall you normally need some sort of buttresses to support it. But here's another solution. It's not just a drunken bricklayer; it delights in the wonderful name of a "crinkle-crankle wall". You sometimes see them on large estate walls but this one's the boundary of a private garden.

Decorative Plaster-work

This art-form, known as "pargetting", is particularly common on old buildings around the village/small town of Clare in Suffolk. I warn you, it's easy to become hooked on searching for such buildings! (You might need to click on the image to enlarge it).

A Flowery Border

I recently cycled past this attractive sight. Farmers are encouraged to leave the edges of their fields to provide a home for wildlife. This year I've seen some really beautiful shows of ox-eye daisies in particular. But this is Borage which does occur naturally but is also grown as a crop, mostly for its seed oil. Presumably borage had been grown here the previous year and it self-sowed.

An Old Sign

Old roadsigns always used to read HALT rather than STOP. The problem was that foreign drivers did not always know the word "halt" with obvious and unhappy consequences. This one's on a very minor road and seems to have been forgotten. 

An Old Granary

The building above is almost certainly an old granary. At first sight it may appear rather puzzling to the uninitiated. The brickwork at the bottom is newer than the building it supports. How on earth did they do that? Old granaries (grain stores) used to be raised off the ground on stone supports known as "staddle-stones", mushroom-shaped stones that you still find on country roadsides (I'll look out for one for you!). This was to prevent rats and mice getting into the building. In this case I would suppose that the structure was becoming unsound so the brickwork was inserted to give extra support. The older brickwork in the end-wall has been infilled between the timbers and is known as "brick-nogging", it's replacing the original lath and plaster walls. 

And Finally.....

A rough but rather amusing piece of chain-saw sculpture. An old tree stump has been carved into something resembling the Easter Island statues. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time!

For readers of yesterday's post about elm trees here's a link to an article which may be of interest.

Take care.


  1. Very interesting, John. I'd never seen pargetting before. Nogging is fairly common in old buildings here, although it's usually covered with some kind of surfacing. Looks like the old granary needs a new roof if it's going to last. Jim

  2. Wonderful history lesson from your country - such fabulous things to see. You are indeed fortunate.

  3. Interesting things John. I love that field margin of borage. We have environmental stewardship here on the farm but cannot have field margins left as our fields are too small. A margin like that and there would be hardly anything left in the middle.

  4. Love that crinkle-crankle wall John! even the sound of it conjures up something odd - and the Halt sign - I'm sure a lot of the younger generation would have never heard that word.

  5. Really interesting photos John. I had never missed the Halt signs.. but now you mention it, I do remember them. I was interested to notice a 'rogue' plant growing up in the middle of some parsley I bought from garden centre. It has turned out to be borage and is such a pretty blue. I'm glad I didn't pull it out as a weed!

  6. Lovely halt sign, and one I've never seen before as the usual one included major road ahead. If you let me know the location I can tell my fellow collectors who can add it to their collections as well, but it's quite possibly a bit out of range for me.


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