Sunday, 18 March 2012

On The Road Again

What's On Your Rooftop? 

Since I showed you some boxing hares made of straw on a rooftop in the village of Horseheath I seem to be encountering all manner of beasts perched on the thatch of various Cambridgeshire cottages. I can well understand that someone might want a representation of a pheasant standing guard upon the ridge. But a wild boar.....??

An Unusual Church

A few weeks ago I went out on a walk. I took the camera but I took very few photos. The weather was atrocious, the paths were muddy or non-existent and I became rather grumpy and fed up with the whole enterprise. I now realise that I should have taken some pictures as my mishaps and misery would have made a very entertaining post (for you to read from the comfort of a favourite armchair). But towards the end of my ordeal I came across this odd little church in a village near Baldock. It wasn't open but I did wander around the churchyard and take a snap. That little tower on this end of the building is actually a bell-tower albeit a rather scaled-down example. There's a lot more to investigate here some day.

Two Scenes, Seldom Seen

The Corn Exchange in Cambridge is so well-known as a concert venue that residents of the area say the name without it ever crossing their minds that its original purpose was for the selling and buying of grain; wheat, barley and oats which are collectively known as "corn" in this part of the world. I wonder how many people queueing up to see All Time Low, The Stranglers, or even Joan Baez recently, glanced up to look at these depictions of past times.

The Old Bakehouse

Near to the old well-house that I showed you recently stands this neat little building. It was taken from its original site and rebuilt here in 2005. It's a farm bakehouse and since the oven could take 12 loaves at a time it's almost certain that other villagers would have brought their bread to be baked here. And the tiny building on the right? Yes, it's exactly what you think it is!

Two Good Dogs

Oddly enough, at a time when pubs are closing all over the country, breweries are still opening! These are small breweries making high-quality, old style ales. Last night my brother and I sampled some Good Dog Ale and very good it was too. Curiously it's brewed in Sussex and sold from a vineyard in Suffolk - yes, we actually have vineyards in East Anglia these days! The label bears the wonderful inscription "Good Dog Ale - makes you want to sit and stay!" 

Take care. 


  1. I liked the little church with the "unusual" bell tower. But, I take pictures of really old, broken down houses, so maybe the unusual just appeals to me. When I see an abandoned house or barn, I alway wonder, "why did somebody just leave this like that?" Sad, but maybe there was a story with a happy ending to it, also. Good post, John. My love to you and the family!!!

  2. I quite like the idea of having something on the roof to distinguish the house - 2nd from the end of the row might become 'the one with the cockerel on top'.

  3. I think the wild boar on the roof is fabulous and decidedly original:) I also love those carvings (wood or stone?) on the Corn Exchange, what a wonderful depiction of agricultural life in the past. Must look out for the Good Dog Ale, my other half is a Real Ale fan. I shall be in both Suffolk and Sussex during the summer so should be able to find it.

  4. I noticed one in a village close to Peterborough that is in the shape of a pig?! Maybe they were/are pig farmers! ;)
    It is always good to see the different characters that different thatchers put on the roofs, I always thought it was some sort of signature, perhaps I am wrong!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

    1. I've read the "signature" idea too, John. But it doesn't seem to make sense; there's only a few thatchers around here and there are all kinds of animals featured, very few of which have more than one example. If there is a trademark I would guess that it's in the detail of the ridge itself. But perhaps I'm wrong!

  5. That is intruiging the wild boar on a rooftop for sure. You will forever be looking upwards for that little ‘something’ now John. I smile as you recount the grumpy-day. How cold is it sitting in those churches on a winter Sunday?! Wonderful depictions from the Corn Exchange too. The tiny building aside the bakehouse, we used to call them the out-house! I smile nowadays as I think toilets are now indoors, and cooking is taken outdoors (bbq). That’s funny the inscription on the ale label. Sounds like a good drop and you had a nice wind down with your brother.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my gave me a few good laughs with new names for boats! Loving your blog, think I'll join your followers!

  7. You offered up a full plate here, John. As you probably know corn is reserved to describe maize in our part of the word, except on the rare occasions when someone refers to John Barleycorn. And the good Dog looks exactly like that, so "sit! ... stay!"

  8. Another varied walk through your countryside. I am charmed by the animals on the ridgeline of thatched roofs, as well by your story and photos of the Corn Exchange's decorations. You even got a laugh out of me in your tale of Good Dog Ale.

  9. Here in the State some clown would go and take pot-shots at the figures on the roof top. Sit & stay, I like that.

  10. Hello John, Such interesting photographs as always. I used to live in a cottage with a bakehouse and my partner's place in France has the remains of the village bakehouse in the grounds- we plan to restore it (when life and time allows...) Jane x

  11. I'm a great believer in looking up. A great many of our buildings have delightful details above eye level like the corn exchange.


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