A few more bits and bobs that I saw during bike rides and walks earlier in the year.
A well-laid hedge
Before the invention of barbed wire men toiled for endless hours during the winter months making hedges like the one above. The individual bushes of the hedge are cut almost through with a bill-hook and the branches are woven in and out to construct a stock-proof barrier. The hedge would continue to live and grow and also provided shelter for the animals during severe weather. For those of you who like to collect unusual and largely forgotten words, the strong leather gauntlets which were worn for the job were called "dannocks". My father spent many freezing hours at this thankless task.
If you're in the habit of inspecting old walls and stones you might have come across one of these mysterious marks. It's an Ordnance Survey bench-mark, an accurate measurement of the height above sea level of a particular point, all part of the minutely detailed and accurate work of mapping this country. If you're really interested in how the land was mapped then "Map Of A Nation" by Rebecca Hewitt should be on your reading list. It's a fascinating tale of the historical necessities which led to the map's creation and the obsessive madmen who undertook the mission. A glance at an old map tells me that the point above is precisely 59 feet above sea level.
Have a "butcher's"!
The past use of this shop in St Ives is obvious for all to see, preserved in this lovely tiling. Well done, architects, for saving this shop front. Readers from outside Britain may not know that "having a butcher's" means "having a look". It's an example of Cockney rhyming slang - from "butcher's hook" = "look".
The village pound
Most villages would have had one of these, a pound, where stray farm animals were penned in (impounded) till the owners came to collect them, usually after paying a small fee. This one is in Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire.
A model villager (or a village modeller).
These cheerful bits of craftsmanship were spotted in the village of Linton, brightening up, as well as individualising, an otherwise unremarkable house in a back street.