Some rather battered cottages opposite Trumpington Church are having a bit of a face-lift at the moment, most obviously they're getting a new thatched roof courtesy of Peppers The Thatchers. When I took the photo the roof was looking a bit "Boris Johnson", though when I zipped past in a car yesterday I glimpsed that it's now very smartly trimmed and styled.
A few months back I discovered these odd artefacts stacked behind my local church. Meldreth has a famous peal of bells and bell-ringers travel from other parts of the country just to ring them, but every so often they need to be refurbished. Those wheels are what the bell ropes are attached to to enable the bells to be swung. The work has now been completed and according to my bell-ringing correspondent they are now much easier to ring. One day I'll get around to recording their wonderful sound for you.
Having recently been reading Robert MacFarlane's book Landmarks, which is about old words used to describe landscape features and their loss in the modern age, perhaps it's appropriate to record that this street in Stowmarket preserves the name for "causeway" which in various parts of East Anglia is usually "caunsey" or "cansey". "Karnser" may well have been a local variation, the raised section of path seems to reinforce this idea.
The Gate Of Honour
Gonville And Caius College is one of those rare establishments that was founded twice; originally by Edmund Gonville in 1348 and then again in 1557, when it had run out of money, by John Caius. Dr Caius was physician to Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth but was dismissed from his post for being, confusingly, a Roman Catholic and an atheist. He had very strict rules about who could study at the college, banning those with any kind of sickness or disability and also Welshmen. All the above is the kind of interesting but rather pointless information you learn if you become addicted to certain search engines!
More to the point Dr Caius (pronounced Keys, incidentally) built three gates in the college. One enters as a new student through the Gate Of Humility. In the centre of the college stands the Gate Of Virtue, which students have to pass through regularly. The Gate Of Honour however leads to the University's Senate House and is only used when students go to collect their degrees at the end of their studies. You will see that the Gate is grand in design but extremely small in scale, indicating how difficult Honour is to attain
There is a fourth Gate in the college which leads to some toilets and is known by students as the Gate Of Necessity.
A Note To All Romantics
For all those drooling over the traditional Romany caravans that I showed you at Stowmarket's Museum Of East Anglian Life or those who dream of living a carefree gypsy life on the roads, I should point out that many Romany people used to live in tents like the one above. They called these tents "benders", not apparently because of the bent wood supports but because you had to bend to get in!
Nah! Not really. Just some wag has been defacing the sign for Bateman Street. Again.