From the window of the five past eight bus this morning I snapped as well as I could the sun shining on the local harvest. One problem city dwellers (Known as 'Townies') fail to comprehend is the delay caused by a tractor wending its merry way to the next field along. While farmer Jones is contemplating his profit, added to by the generous EU, CAP which is why he is merry, the vehicles behind are filled with smouldering folks who were not in a hurry when they set out. The trail behind a vehicle dropping lumps of mud from his giant tyres can stretch for several miles. Today I smiled benignly at the people in just that position as they were headed in the opposite direction to my bus. They however did not respond kindly. There is little to beat sitting upstairs on a near empty bus in the early morning as I am sure you know. Had I ventured out an hour or so later a bus full of chatting women and screaming brats may well have been my lot. I also noted that according to my timetable a bus left here every twenty minutes, however a returning bus only departed every thirty minutes! Three go out and only two return, a mystery indeed. Could there be a depot somewhere with dozens of buses waiting around for their drivers to return I wonder? This reminds me of the No 8 London bus rescheduling in the late 70's. The drivers pointed out that had they followed the timetable ALL the buses would be travelling in the same direction at one time! Tsk!
The bells of St Peter's well ringing loud as I passed, a peal that went on for quite some time. Possibly they do this regularly as this is one of the Anglo Catholic churches that likes to be part of the town. The not quite musty interior is lit only by the large window at the far end. The dim light is sufficient for individuals needs, allowing some privacy in a busy town. The bells were only heard dimly in this ancient church, which has its own mention in the 'Domesday Book,' would you believe! The picture may indicate the interior was slightly lighter than it may have been to my eyes. I find this quiet spot strangely attractive myself.
With a camera in the hand it is important to always look up when in town. The horrid tardy shop fronts and entrances of today could hide past architectural delights. Above the dingy entrance I noticed that this once was the 'Grand Theatre,' no doubt home to many great stars, and a few bum ones also, of the past. Today it appears to be one of those 'clubs' young folks take delight in, although I myself canny remember why.
Adjoining this theatre is another pub, this time however an interesting looking building that stands on the ground that since the 18th century bore the name 'Lamb Hotel,' although this has been changed many times in recent years. I suppose there must have been a market nearby and farmers would gather for lunch here. This present building dates from 1905 and the present owners have not defaced the building thankfully. Sadly the High Street is a mucky place, not helped by traffic that has to pass through, there is little else that can be done to move it. This pic does show what lies unseen above our heads. Look up when out, but look down and ahead first!
On the other side of the street stands the Red Lion Hotel, still operating as such, and with a history dating back to 1495. The mock Tudor front dates back about 20 years however and quite a lot of pubs do themselves up this way to make themselves look older. This I suggest is to attract the customer who likes his old buildings to look like his imagination tells him it ought to look! Ah the teaching of History cannot defeat the wishful thinking of the individual!
On either side of the entrance stands these two gentlemen. The one on the left appears to be wearing a crown (Henry VII would be King in 1495 followed by Henry VIII) but the other is less discernible. Maybe he represents one of the town worthies, maybe a traveller, maybe the first or later owner. I am unclear and find nothing to aid me.
I had to laugh at this sign. The A120 is the straight road home, called 'Stane Street' after the Romans worked on it some time back, and normal weekly traffic numbers are very high. The fact that the warning of advance works end with the words, 'Delays Possible,' did make me laugh!
Well might you ask what such dereliction is doing here. This is a once busy car park at one of those 'out of town' shopping centres. There are still several major businesses working there but so many have gone that this large car park has become disused and is dying slowly. What are the chances of the Tories upsurge in the economy of bringing this back to life soon I wonder? All around this area lies the beginning of development which has ceased since 2008. I am not sure whether I prefer the wide open acres filled with beasties to the modern empty office blocks that ought to be arising there. The economy requires it but we need open spaces. Just passing by these fields, the ancient houses and wondering what life was like for the souls found there in days of yore does take away from the shopping experience that saw all charity shops visited and two books and a handful of birthday cards bought, still no jacket......
What? You have had enough? OK, I will bore you with more later.....