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Friday, 17 April 2015

A real man's barrow




       Hand-built and hand-made by the local carpenter, a 'bespoke' wheelbarrow that is still in use sixty years later, apparently he used to make brilliant steps, ladders and stockyard ladders too.
       On this big old bruiser of a barrow only a new wheel has been added, well we can't believe that one is the original because it looks as if it has come from a traditional builders wheelbarrow that's rusted and rotted away. Even the paint is the original paint too, in fact everything bar the wheel is original, not bad going Mr Carpenter.
      It weighs a couple of hundredweight so that it can carry that load and many others without buckling under the strain and it's somewhat ironic that it is full of wood to be split for kindling.
      Why didn't they paint it Norfolk Bog Door Blue? It's not even finished in that other heritage colour Norfolk Green Privy.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

The daffs in the village


      Spring has well and truly arrived in West Norfolk, a succession of warmish days and very little wind after quite a chilly March that ended in a true 'lion-like' manner.
      The display of Daffodils and Aconites by the river has been splendid because of the favourable weather conditions and even the Rudd have been rising to the occasion dimpling the surface of the water and making you want fish again. Mind you they'll all have disappeared by June 16.
      The Environment Agency, or perhaps the Drainage Board, have been cutting weed though and normally that always seems to be done in the week prior to the opening day of the fishing season. Roll on we say.
      The weather must definitely be improving because yesterday morning while we were walking the two Jack Russells we saw the first Swallow, one day later than last year.




Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Last year's compost, this year's garlic



      This garlic was planted in early November and with the mild weather, sunshine and rain late last year it grew apace. No doubt the cold and frost that finally arrived will have retarded the early growth spurt but at least the plants appear to have a good solid foothold and should be able to grow steadily and with a good strong root system when the warmer weather finally arrives in the spring.
      The bulbs are planted in three raised beds full of home rotted compost made with all the kitchen waste and shredded garden waste so that should give them an even better start, and a bumper crop of garlic for us too.
      Well, that's the theory anyway, we'll see.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

The 'wee sly ones'




      We haven't featured any architectural detail for a week or two but we were coming out of a pub, unusually, when we saw this positioned on the top of a re-erected Wesleyan Chapel. Re-erected?
      Grey and austere and barely a nod to any form of Victorian adornment or decoration, the only extra decoration has been added by Mother Nature in the form of lichen and moss.
      The wee sly ones? Well, my grandfather used to call them that, don't ask me why, but he was told by my grandmother to 'wash his mouth out because the man will be watching and listening'.
      Worryingly the pointy, masonic looking obelisk thing at the top looks more Vlad the Impaler than John Wesley.
      Now for the big question, why was it re-erected? Maybe the former building simply tumbled down like the walls of Jericho, or was it the sight of all the people falling out of the pub at closing time.
      We'll never know.


Monday, 13 April 2015

A pint by the river



      Those good people at 'Caught by the River' asked me if I would produce a front cover illustration for their 'Fanzine'. It is called 'An Antidote to Indifference', this current issue is all about beer so the title was changed to that of a pub called 'The Antidote to Indifference'. What excellent lateral thinking.
      The linocut is a simple monochrome cut featuring subjects close to the heart of those who produce the 'Caught by the River' website: water, landscape, angling, birds and maybe, just maybe in those off duty moments, beer. Also in the picture is Barney, one of our Jack Russells who is an ace thief and he can be seen homing in on the pork scratchings.
      The cut shown below featuring the hop vines is for use on the website whenever that lovely topic of beer turns up.
      Well, being Sunday and the time is almost twelve thirty we reckon it's time for a pint of IPA. Or Abbot. Or Speckled Hen. We could go on but we're going to have a beer instead.
      By the way the fanzine can be purchased direct from Caught by the River for £5.00.



Friday, 10 April 2015

Asparagus bed check



      There isn't any sign of the asparagus breaking through just yet but the bed is neat and tidy and the watch for the first shoots in the double rows will be made easier by the meticulously weeded and prepared surface.
      The first stems to be picked and eaten are always eagerly anticipated and there will be a special bottle of wine opened to celebrate the moment. Meanwhile we wait for the shoots of the wonderfully named Purple Passion to pop up.
      A night of Purple Passion in West Norfolk. With melted butter?
      Well you never know.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Lost masterpiece found in Nissen Hut



      This looks like the corner of an unfinished painting by Howard Hodgkin so maybe I've stumbled on the beginnings of an unknown masterpiece; a bit of an unfinished symphony you could say.
      Even with this little sneaky peep you can see the early evening sky, the ashes rising from a Fenland bonfire and the brown of a freshly drilled beet field
      In the great tradition of Pickles, the dog who found the stolen Jules Rimet Trophy aka the World Cup in 1966, this work of art was found by Minnow the Jack Russell Terrier while she was rooting around in a Nissen Hut. Mind you, it's always dog walkers and their dogs who find bodies and murder victims but we won't go there.
      I think a phone call to Sothebys or Christies is in order so this evening so I'll unpack the whole thing and take some more photographs for authentication. The tasteful glimpse of Norfolk Bog Door Blue at the top left will probably clinch it.
      How are we going to spend the money?
      We'll think of something.