Sunday, 18 September 2016

Well, I'll Be Bloggered!

Another round-up of lost lambs that wander the forgotten fields and neglected pastures .......oh, complete the image for yourselves!

Stitches In Time

In St Albans Cathedral are the two collage/tapestry panels above, a collaborative work by the artist and calligrapher, Susan Llewellyn Elvidge and several hundred schoolchildren and volunteers. It shows the early history of the cathedral and is a very interesting read. Will these survive the centuries as so much else in the cathedral has? Will future generations marvel at a time when human beings had time enough to stand and read such stuff, let alone create such a work?

When The Rainbow Nation Was Pink

When I was little my granny asked me what I'd like for Christmas. "The world, Granny", I replied. When the grown-ups had stopped laughing they found out that what I wanted was a globe - which was more within my gran's budget. The map above shows how a small part of the world was back then. How things change!

Protection 1

Another in the occasional series of fire insurance plaques that turn up from time to time on my travels. Displaying one of these meant that the householder had paid their fire insurance premiums and, should their property catch fire, they could expect the fire brigade financed by their insurance company to attempt to douse the flames. In theory this meant that without the plaque your house would be left to burn down. 

In practice this rarely happened because the firemen were all volunteers who lived locally so would almost certainly help their neighbours, whether they'd paid up or not. And it was in everyone's interest - residents, firemen and the insurance companies - that the fire did not get out of control; if it did it could burn down several buildings costing local people their homes and the insurance companies lots of money.

Protection 2

Early fire engines were mostly hand-carts pushed along by the fire crew. Horse-drawn carts did exist for the purpose but the long-winded business of catching the horse in its paddock, fitting the harness and backing the beast into the shafts made the arrangement impractical for most situations. In addition you had to have a horse that wouldn't panic on seeing a roaring conflagration.

There weren't many steam-driven fire appliances either and this one, from the Suffolk town of Needham Market, was the last to ever attend a fire when it was called out to a blaze in the village of Little Finborough in the year 1940.

Cornerstones Of Faith

On the corners of the tower of St Botolph's Church in Cambridge are four sculptures. They always used to be the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and maybe they still are, but at some time the old statues have replaced by new ones that look more like some pagan deities or characters from ancient folklore. More research needed.....

....meanwhile I see that the villages of Thriplow, Foxton, Fowlmere and Shepreth have an appropriately named vicar....

A Wave Farewell

A small but perfectly proportioned work of art on a door in a Cambridge side street. Not, alas, in the hamlet of Cat's Bottom, which we visited recently.

Take care.


  1. Lots of interesting little snippets today - thanks!

  2. Nice images and info John. I do like the Cat's Bottom for the ending. :)

  3. That's so weird abiut the insurance!

    And the four statues! Please let us know what you find out.

  4. Great variety. I love the town and village names in the UK, especially Cat's Bottom?

  5. I was especially taken with the tapestry, John. I searched the internet for more pictures but was mostly disappointed. Would love to see more. Jim

  6. I would love to stand and read every inch of the tapestry and admire every drawing. It's wonderful. I covet the trompe l'oeil cat door. Hmm, I may attempt one myself!

  7. An interesting collection and I like the last one best which comes as no surprise to you I bet.

  8. The fellow atop St Botolph's looks very casual and relaxed at first glance, but I notice he is holding on with his toes ;)

  9. Lovely selection. Love the cat flap complete with cat's bottom and your story about the globe:)

  10. Love the cat's behind! And the fire engine too!

  11. That last picture and comment made me smile :)

  12. Hi John - St Albans is somewhere I've been wanting to visit for some time - now a definite tempter by you ... while Cambridge is permanently on the list. And yes the cat's bottom is so much fun ... cheers Hilary

  13. Wonderful shots. I love that cat's bottom - it's purr-fect!

  14. Your eye for the unusual and interesting never fails to fascinate me John.

  15. Love your post title and your collection of stories.

  16. I would love to replicate the door with the disappearing cat!


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