Friday, 21 December 2012

Solstice in the Marshes

Last year I offered my libation to the midwinter sun at the site of the Arminghall henge: this year, the offering was tea instead of homebrewed ale, and the site a touch... livelier. Watching the sun rise over Buckenham marshes, the roosting rooks and crows suddenly took off, seemingly all at once, from the nearby woods, into the day ahead. An amazing sight to experience and a beautiful sunrise: not the worst way to start what is supposed to be the end of the world...

The Earth Is a Temple of the Sun

Happy Midwinter, y'all.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Tree Sprites: The Fairies by Norwich Market

Christmas fairy lights in the trees on Gentleman's Walk, Norwich. It wouldn't be the most energy-efficient idea in the world, but I propose a cultural shift: instead of Christmas lights, towns and houses light up over the winter with more general 'seasonal' lights. Mid November through to late February, say, to help counter the New Year blues a touch. The stripping of the lights in the grey early days of a year always feels so harsh and brutal.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas in Doggerland

Another couple of images lurking on my hard drive, from (I think) January 2011. It was certainly into a new year. Have always quite liked the image of discarded (natural) Christmas trees following the festive season. They make the unremitting misery of January feel even more bleak. This tree, dumped in the wash on the beach just outside West Runton, also ties into my neverending fascination with the decaying coast.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Deep Hole Formi(ng)

An image I found lurking forgotten on my hard-drive. I've babbled on about my fascination with coastal erosion and the lost Doggerland before: this is an unused image from a load I took whilst walking the beach and cliffs at Happisburgh, the village that is being slowly claimed by the sea.

Deep Hole Forming. Sums up quite a lot, in its own small way.

"Once Our Foe:" The Grave of Jean de Narde, Dereham

In the churchyard of St Nicholas, Dereham - the same churchyard in which St. Walstan's Well can be found (as detailed in an October 2012 entry), lies a memorial for a French soldier called Jean de Narde. The imposing-looking bell tower of St Nicholas actually stands apart from the church proper - apparently the actual church tower is not strong enough to hold the bells, making this separate structure necessary.

Supposedly dating from around the early sixteenth century, in the late 1700s the bell tower had something of a different use - that of a holding prison for French prisoners of the Napoleonic wars. On October 6th 1799, one of these prisoners managed to escape the tower, only to be shot, and killed, by a guard. He was buried in the churchyard.

The memorial was erected in tribute to de Narde in 1858, and includes a line I found particularly moving when I read it: "Once our foes but now our allies and brethren."

Sunday, 25 November 2012


Spotted in Norwich city centre. Apparently, Norwich was the first area in the UK to see postcodes introduced, as a trial area, back in 1959.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


'Help. I Lost My Rag With You.'

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Arch: Forgotten UEA Bridge

In the woodland grounds of the UEA, somewhere behind the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Off a track that mainly seems to be frequented by dogwalkers is this little bridge, curving over what is barely a stream. I think in the summer months this pretty much dries up completely. I couldn't tell you its age or anything about it: at a guess, I'd assume this little site was once part of the grounds of Earlham Hall.

Whatever it is, I like this little arch. Equal part fairytale, equal part romantic.

Monday, 29 October 2012

"Junkies Go Home:" Waste Woods

Across the road from Norwich's 'secret garden,' the restored nineteenth century Plantation Gardens, lies a strange scrap of forgotten waste woodland I assume was once part of the same quarry. (The famous 1988 image of the double decker bus sinking into a collapsed hole in the road, courtesy of instabilities caused by medieval chalk mines beneath the surface, happened mere yards away). I don't know what this chunk of crumbling wall is, or how many years it has stood. I like this place as a weird grotty twin to the Plantation Gardens.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

"Contained the Remains of Withburga:" Saint Withburga's Well, Dereham

"Wihtburh (or Withburga) (died 743) was an East Anglia saint, princess and abbess who was possibly a daughter of Anna of East Anglia. She founded a monastery at Dereham in Norfolk and a traditional story says that the Virgin Mary sent a pair of does to provide milk for her workers during the monastery's construction. Her body is supposed to have been uncorrupted when discovered half a century after her death: it was later stolen on the orders of the abbot of Ely and a spring then appeared at the site of the saint's empty tomb at Dereham." - Wikipedia entry for 'Wihtburh'

In the churchyard of St Nicholas' Church in Dereham, this supposedly holy well remains, quietly minding its own business. According to another Wiki entry, on the history of Dereham, attempts were made in the eighteenth century to turn the town into a new Bath or Buxton by building a bath house over the well. The building was apparently ugly and unpopular and was eventually demolished in the late 1880s.

I visited on an overcast day. A young woman was sitting on a bench by the well talking loudly on her mobile phone. I felt a bit shifty, poking around with a camera, but she paid no heed. "I f**king didn't! I f**king didn't! I'm f**king telling you, I f**king didn't!" she kept yelling down the receiver. I never found out what she was denying.

This final image is of the lady herself, on a fifteenth century rood screen inside the church.