Thursday, 26 February 2015

Look Up....And Occasionally Down.

Back in the days when I worked on a farm the words "Look up!" were used as an all purpose warning. "Look up! The boss is coming", Charlie or Bert would say to bring an end to our unscheduled break behind the straw stack. The phrase was also used when looking up would be a totally inappropriate response, as in "Best look up when you go down the yard; there's a nasty patch of ice!"

But looking up's generally a sound course of action when you're out with the camera....


....if you're in Wisbech you might see these ornate chimney pots...


....whereas if you're on the corner of Bene't Street in Cambridge (where everybody else will be gawping at the Corpus Christie clock) you can see that the London County Bank opened a branch here in 1867. Nowadays an illuminated plastic sign would do the job, but back then there was work for the stone mason.


Over in Saffron Walden, high up on a wall, is this fine example of a fire insurance plaque. I wrote a post about these here, in case you're interested. This one is for the Royal Insurance Company from Liverpool. The bird at the bottom is supposed to be a cormorant, which is the crest of the city. It's usually refered to as a Liver Bird in this context.

In a country church (I think it was Weston in Hertfordshire) are these ugly mugs...
Nobody seems too sure about what they represent, though there are many theories. Perhaps they are sinners who are condemned to spend eternity holding up the weight of the church roof.

Looking down you might find something like this....
...a carving of a Green Man, a mythical being who is covered in leaves and seems to be a representation of the pagan spirit of the woods. Again it's difficult to see why he should be in church. The Green Man is however a very popular name for pubs.

Speaking of pubs....
....on the corner of The Champion Of The Thames pub in Cambridge's King Street is the above sign. It's on a curved board which makes it impossible to read without having to wander back and forth in the traffic. To save you risking your precious lives I can tell you that this is what it says...
I'll drink to that!

But while wandering in the little side streets which lead off of Mill Road I noticed that some of these are still in place...
...it's just a boot-scraper and I remember seeing these when I was four or five years old and therefore much more down on that level. All the roads around here are paved and patches of grass are few and far between, so they must date from the time when horses pulled carts and waggons on the streets and did what horses naturally do.

Take care (and don't step in any!)







25 comments:

  1. I have to remind myself to look up, too, as I'm generally making sure I'm not tripping over something. I just love those chimney pots in the first photo.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funny that you did this post this week.... I just did a post on looking up while in Paris....great minds think alike...haha

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another delightful post John. Fabulous craftsmanship in those top two images especially. The pub sign is very apt! Do you happen to know the significance of the chimney designs? Wishing you a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great details John. Love the boot scraper. Have you seen the Imp in Lincoln Cathedral?

    ReplyDelete
  5. You found lots of interesting things. Glad you decided to look up!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fascinating photographs from your brilliant eye John. I love the way that bootscraper has been emphasised by being painted magenta to match the door!

    ReplyDelete
  7. A very clever lady called Cara Courage is an excellent one for looking up, she runs various "look up" photo projects in cities

    ReplyDelete
  8. So many interesting details. It's wonderful for those of us following that you are so observant! As I was reading through your post I was thinking that we don't have that kind of attention to detail here in Vancouver/Portland, but I bet I'm wrong about that. Your post has inspired me to look more closely as I'm out and about.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Haven't heard that term in quite a while. Great series of photos John. I have never seen a chimney so beautifully decorated. I love the pub sign too. So many interesting things here.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It looks like the fancy chimney pots are on a fairly plain building. They look like patterned socks that one could wear with a dull outfit to dress it up. Good balancing exercise scrapping your boots on the vertical boot scrapper. Lovely carving on the bank sign. I guess the pub is looking for mellow fellows.

    ReplyDelete
  11. what? you mean you took unscheduled breaks? Tsk tsk. Enjoyable post -- I love the stonework. I love getting a glimpse of the land across the sea, my family's homeland.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a lovely tour of things up and down! It's a shame that we don't live in a time where people took pride in their work like most of these photos prove.

    ReplyDelete
  13. |:You find such interesting things to photograph John, - and thank you for sharing them..

    ReplyDelete
  14. Good advice to look up and also down. I very much enjoy your creative ways of putting together a post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes it could also have been "Look Out" when one was at the wrong end of a Friesian Cow John.{:))

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a lovely post. I really enjoy spotting the little things, I shall go and have an inspired walk around Salisbury...

    ReplyDelete
  17. A nice bygone post John. I like the posh pots, not so keen on the ugly mugs, they did make them really ugly in those days, were gargoyles supposed to ward off evil spirits? What a lovely sign on the pub, and it probably meant something in those days. You have inspired me to get out and about more, I'm sure there is a lot of history around my neck of the woods.

    ReplyDelete
  18. They say that the Devil is in the details, but you show that tere is much more to the old saying than that.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You have a good eye for the unusual. Liked the story about the Liver Bird.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yes, there are hazards in looking up - but many joys too. What an ornate boot-scraper. The hollows are there on the walls of many houses in Saltaire but the metalwork has long since gone.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wouldn't it be nice if we still had stone masons around every corner. Look at their accomplishments in your photos! Here they are almost a dead art which is sad. They really were artists. -- barbara

    ReplyDelete
  22. I appreciate the little details in functional items that turn the mundane into art. It is sadly becoming a lost art.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sitting in my living room in Chicago, Illinois. I love your site, thanks for the mini-vacation in England.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).