Some things that slipped by me earlier.
A Special Sort Of Gardener
Among all the rich carving on the staircase at Hatfield House it would be easy to overlook this particular example. The man in the extravagant pantaloons and impractical hat is John Tradescant the Elder, who was Robert Cecil's gardener at Hatfield in the early seventeenth century. He became one of the first "plant-hunters", that varied and eccentric band of Englishmen who travelled abroad in search of plants to enrich the gardens of their masters.
He went on to create other gardens, finishing up as the Keeper of his Majesty's Gardens, Vines and Silkworms. In between times he voyaged to Archangel in Arctic Russia and on campaigns against Barbary pirates. Obviously he was rather more than a humble gardener and his close friendship with the scheming Robert Cecil suggests he may have used his post as gardener as a cover for other dealings.
As if this wasn't enough, he also found time to amass a collection of curiosities which became Britain's first museum. The collection is now housed in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. You can also see the tools of his trade illustrated on the stairs at Hatfield.
Just inside Cambridge University's Downing Site are these two cast-iron feet set in the pavement. It is called "Earthbound" and is the work of the sculptor Anthony Gormley. Allegedly it is a life-size statue of a man buried upside down with only the soles of his feet showing. What do you make of that?
While at Thriplow Daffodil Weekend I went into the craft barn where many artsy-crafty items were being sold. But I wonder how many looked about them to view the craftsmanship which fashioned this ancient barn.
Also at Thriplow was this fine little car dating from the 1950s. What makes it special to me is that it's the same model and even the same colour as my Dad's first car when he learned to drive at the rather advanced age of 45. I checked the registration but it wasn't dear old TUL277.
A lesson in how not to lay bricks! Hatfield House was largely constructed of bricks salvaged from the earlier palace which stood on the site. Maybe this nearby dwelling was made from leftovers from that project.
Double Parking - Cambridge Style
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