Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Signs And Displays

A number of bits and pieces I've picked up along my meandering way....

Sculpture at Minsmere

And if you meander around at Minsmere in Suffolk, in addition to seeing a large number of shore and wetland birds, you might find odd bits and pieces of plastic rubbish washed up along the beach. If artist, Liz McGowan, is on hand she might make you a nice piece of sculpture like this - if not then put it in the bin where it should have been in the first place!

Odd Twins

Or, if your meanderings lead you through rural Essex, you might stumble upon the village of Debden, which, as you can see, is twinned with Tang Ting in Nepal. There is a Nepalese restaurant in the village too which I suspect may be the origin of the link. Even so one wonders if the local Women's Institute goes on goodwill outings to the Himalayas. Perhaps not.

In Ancient Footsteps

Just a farm track like many to be found in the fens, but unusually this one has a name....

Akeman Street just happens to be the name of a Roman road and that is exactly what this little track is. Insignificant as it looks, it's following the precise line first laid out by Roman legions over 2000 years ago. A little further along a modern road coincides with the old Roman route though I'd bet that few of the drivers are aware of the ancient history beneath their wheels.

A Right-Royal Regalia

It was during the reign of Elizabeth I that it was decreed that all churches should display the royal coat of arms, since the monarch was the head of the Church of England. These arms changed many times over the centuries and in theory churches were supposed to keep up to date with all these variations. However keeping up to date has never been the churches strongest suit and, as we've seen in recent posts on this blog, some old ones survive if you keep your eyes open. 

Many were destroyed during Cromwell's time and then, when the monarchy was restored, there was a tendency to celebrate by creating a new crest. So few older than this time exist. But this one at Wisbech is one that has survived. From the details of the central shield we can tell that it dates from the time of James I, 1603 to 1625.

Pretty as a Picture

Outside that same church in Wisbech is this prize-winning garden. This summer the theme is the art of Vincent Van Gogh. I think the idea must have been to create a sunflower picture within the frame which had been constructed. But the sunflowers rather outgrew the project!

Take care.


  1. You use your eyes more than most people, and you have the knowledge needed to supplement your photos.

  2. An interesting array of photos. I enjoy your stories about them too.

  3. A fun and interesting post. Good one John. I like the one about the old Roman route which will loosely tie into my post for tomorrow. Hey, we're a young country without the ancient history yours has.

    1. Your photo of the old Roman road seems to carry quite a bit of traffic including some large commercial vehicles. Vincent would have been pleased to be honored on your blog with the sunflowers. And Elizabeth too would have been pleased by your old royal crest photo. All photos are good examples of how history changes. -- barbara

  4. Nice meanderings. I have seen a few of those royal coats of arms in churches but there don't seem to be many left round here.

  5. Such a brilliant collection of photographs and interesting stories- Thank you John!

  6. Love the whimsical sculpture in your first shot John just a shame that the plasticy bits and pieces are there in the first place oui! I think we all might be fascinated to know what has gone on before under the very paths we take everyday, I think here in Oz it would have been bush, tree, bush, bush :) Sunflowers have a habit of outgrowing their situation :)

  7. Those Romans, so more advanced than our planners and designers so of today John.

  8. I lone your Hodge Podge Posts!
    When I drive down old roads, I often think about what were the points the road was made to link long ago that don't seem to exist anymore. Of course, we have no roads nearly as historic as your Roman ways, but still fun to ponder.


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!).