Monday, August 4, 2014

Stokesay Castle Highlights.

Back in March or April, we visited Stokesay Castle, a National Trust property, It was beautiful and atmospheric.  There were daffodils and sunshine and birds singing etc. But there were two things that, for me, were highlights.

The first was this old trackway. I'm fascinated by old trackways.  This one was appears on old maps as Bayham Track. It's believed that it was a droveway for pigs from nearby Bayham Abbey to market. Britain is filled with the very old remnants of tracks and hollow ways. They are steep-sided either worn away from use or sometimes they are very ancient boundaries between fields. The two owners would dig in the middle and throw the soil up on their side producing a hollow center with steep sides. No one really know how old some of them are. But the countryside is filled with them, sometimes only fragments now. Sometimes still marking boundaries. 

Here is a closer view:

And the second highlight for me was this funny little house.

It's an ice house. Apparently one that worked extremely well. Here's the inside. the roof is heavily thatched, so that any warm air would escape through the thatch, but that the cold would be held inside.

The hole that contains the ice is very deep. Because this is built on a rise just above the lake, any melt water drains back into the lake. I love elegant and simple solutions like this one. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Finished Closet

The closet is finished, apart from some tweaks that will take place over time. I just want to show you some photos.

Straight ahead as you enter - the window seat with boxed cushion.

To the Left, the COG's 'half,' which I realize is already a bit different.

To the Right, my 'half,'

This is the other side. You can see the mirror peeping out there in the middle. It's on wheels and fits into a narrow slot there. Also note the upper right, by the light fixture, there's a hollow where my suitcases fit perfectly.

One detail: The tin was the COG's mother's and the shoes are alligator, which she paid five guineas for in the 1930s. In those days 5 guineas was worth around $400 (according to the internet). I don't think she ever wore them. 

Puzzling British Road Signs

Turns out that 'Vogue Gyratory' is a place. It is where several roads came together near the Vogue Theatre, which is long gone. I did not know that a 'Gyratory' was a place where roads come together. Now I do.

Back Again

The COG has closed down his blog so I'm going to try to start writing again. I won't have the great photos, but at least you'll know (Hi, Mom) what's going on in our lives.

The problem is that I have so many things to post, and they are all out of order. But I've decided to just post them in whatever order.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Archaeology Closer to Home

I have not mentioned something that has been happening closer to home.

When we first arrived, I was in the kitchen and the light blew out.  We messed around briefly with the fuses and lamps, but ended up calling an electrician. One of the two lights in the kitchen was already broken, so it seemed a sensible thing to do.

When he took the fixture down to look at it, water gushed out of the ceiling. It turned out that the people upstairs had had quite a small flood from the water filter under their sink (now fixed).  It didn't take much water to wreck the light, so we needed to replace them.  The electrician suggested that if we were going to change the lights, we should do the ceiling first.  I wasn't too unhappy about this because the ceiling was horrible - water stained even before this recent flood and really lumpy.  Here you see the ceiling and the temporary light solution.

Or here is a close-up:

So we emptied the kitchen and they put drywall over the existing ceiling and plastered over that, then we left the plaster to dry while we were in Italy.

The existing soffit had to be removed to plaster over the cupboards and when we got back and were preparing to paint the ceiling we discovered an old paint & stencil job that had been hidden by the soffit.  It's Pompeian Red and a distinctly fresco-ey stencil.

Hideous now, but probably quite the thing in the 80s or 90s.  Or the first century CE.

The COG has spent the last couple of days applying coats and coats of white paint to the ceiling. It looks fantastic now, but the other walls and the cupboards all look tired and worn.  

The kitchen needs doing, but it works for us now and so we are going to paint a bit and then leave the rest for later. And a big kitchen reno will wait a while, too. 

Footwear Fashion Update

At first glance these look like  ordinary high top sneakers but they aren't. Built into the inside is a raised heel, so they are like wedge sneakers, with the wedge concealed.  They were all over Sorrento - both in shop windows and on the feet of young women on the street.   Comfortable shoes turned into uncomfortable shoes. For Fashion. 

Fashion does not make sense. Ce n'est pas logique.  Non รจ logico. 

Italian Crosswalk Ingenuity

This zebra crossing in Sorrento had us puzzled - it led right into a dirt filled planter.

Until we realized that it cleverly made a right turn and led to a walkway on the side of the street.