Thursday 25 October 2018

A Snaggle Of Snippets

Time for another random picking from the hedgerows of curiosity. As I travel around I find lots of little items that don't really fit into any particular post, so from time to time I gather them all together for your entertainment and education. We'll start off in a car park....


In a car park in Hunstanton you'll come across this unlikely interloper - a railway signal, and behind it an old railway building. They are all that remains of Hunstanton Railway Station which was closed down in the 1960s. And if such items should be preserved it's surely in this little seaside town. You see, Hunstanton owes its existence to the railways. In the nineteenth century it suddenly became fashionable to visit the coast. The landowner here, the magnificently named Henry L'Estrange Styleman Le Strange, foresaw that if he were to build a new town on his land and connect it with a railway to the centres of population, then he might bring prosperity to the area. All this came to pass, though unfortunately for Le Strange he died of a heart attack in the very week that the railway was opened.


At first glance, as you approach along the footpath, this looks like a very old church. The tower has that squat gnarled look of something that may date from Saxon or Norman times. Closer acquaintance however reveals that the body of Shepreth church is solidly Victorian and the tower includes many modern concrete blocks, especially in its buttresses. My theory is that the building was almost ruinous in the nineteenth century and most of it was rebuilt, but enough remained of the tower that it was patched up using some of the old stone and in its original style.

It even includes this fragment of an early gravestone. All we can read today is "Here lyeth ye Body of Elizabeth ye Da-----r of Fr-----???" The skulls are a common feature of old memorials - they didn't mess about in those days with any fancy words or symbols but told it like it is.


Just down the road

… this showy display of potted plants in front of an otherwise unremarkable house.


This crudely carved stone is on display inside Moulton church is thought to date from the eleventh century. It's probably some sort of Sheela-Na-Gig, a phenomenon which has been defined thus: a carving of a woman with exposed and/or exaggerated genitalia, usually found on religious buildings. The female figure is the one on the left and, as you can see, is not very clear. The other figure is a man, though again much damaged. These images usually just consist of the female figure and are found on churches throughout Britain and Ireland and indeed elsewhere in western Europe. They are not common around here though there is one particularly shocking one at Whittlesford. But what are such things doing in church? There are many theories - a Celtic pagan survival, a Goddess, a fertility figure, a warning against lust, a protection against evil - none of which is at all conclusive.

A Dog's Life

Two little signs for our canine friends:


I'm not sure what I can say about either.


And finally a nice sunset taken from just outside my front door a few evenings ago.

Take care.


  1. Always interesting what you can notice around a town or village even the smallest of things

  2. Such a lovely eclectic mix!

    Poor Le Strange. Talk about rotten luck!

  3. Wonderful assortment of photos John! The 'water for dogs' sign made me laugh.

  4. Gorgeous mix of photos and images of delightful things. Interesting about Hunstanton - but I love all the flowers - heaven alone knows how long it takes to plant all those up ... and keep relatively well looked after - they are in good shape aren't they. Cheers Hilary

  5. One of the most photographed Sheela-Na-Gigs is at Kilpeck church deep in the Herefordshire countryside, but I didn't take a photo of it. I was embarrassed even looking at it.
    Was your red sky last Tuesday - it was fantastic, and appears to have been all across the country. It felt as if the world was on fire.

  6. Love the house with all the colorful flowers. Nice sunset too!

  7. As usual John, fascinating stuff. Love that dog poo sign - would like one for our estate because not everyone uses bags.

    All those pots - must take them all day to water in high summer.

  8. The display of flowers is breathtaking but I shudder to think of the maintenance involved.

  9. You had me smiling all through this post! I really like the old church (even if it's not as old as it looks) and the crooked headstones and grave markers. The stone carving mystery (what are such things doing in church is an excellent question) is really intriguing.

  10. A fascinating collection. The flower pots are beautiful and the female showing off her private parts is unusual for a church. It could be she is about to give birth?

  11. We see several towns here with old railway buildings, along a former railway line that closed in the 2nd half of the 20th century. It's good that they are kept and can still be seen in good shape.
    The flowers at the house make a lovely sight!

  12. What a wonderful mix of snippets. It's a shame Mr Le Strange didin't live to see his plans and ideas come to fruition. The sunset looks beautiful:)

  13. What a great selection of images. The house with all the plants and flowers is pretty nice to see. The sunset is gorgeous and right from your door, that is perfect!

  14. wonderful photo of the sunset. I also love the potted flowers and plants at that "unremarkable" house. The riot of colors is a pure delight for me.

  15. Oh dear that was bad timing for Mr Le Strange. It must have taken ages to water all those pot plants during the summer. The water bowl sign made me laugh.

  16. What a fabulous selection of shots! That dog water sign made me laugh.

  17. What a shame Mr Le Strange didn't survive to see the fruits of his labour! That's an awful lot of pot plants John, can't help wondering why they don't just plant a bed!The Sheel-Na-Gig is an eleventh century conundrum! I want the NO dog sign for my front lawn 😀

  18. I loved the garden shot, and the last shot...the one about water for dogs ''or short people cracked me up.


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