Friday, 25 July 2014

Such a surprising afternoon...

Deciding that Apple and Blackcurrant squash wouldn't cut it and a beer not quite right that time o' day, I had a fancy for a ginger beer, one of the very few soft drinks I can stomach.  Of course,we had none in stock, so we decided a trip into the village would be in order. Being still too damned hot and feeling a bit listless, I grabbed my camera to catch a shot or two of a mystery shed near where I live.
Turned into the drive of the place to find it is actually a shop, a flower shop, it seems. I never knew, even though I've lived hereabouts for 7 years or so.
It was locked and I thought I ought to seek permission to take pictures, so I strolled down to the house, called "hello", to be received by a delightful old lady who seemed to think my request perfectly normal and called me in to chat to her husband, an equally delightful old chap who said I should come and go as I felt fit!

Clearly the place had once been a serious producer of flowers and fruit.  Evidence of greenhouses was everywhere.

It was, in fact a modelmaker's dream of a site, full of semi and completely derelict buildings of the best kind.
Cop this little range
Or this mighty challenge!

But the one I'd come to see was this one.
I'd been seeing this shed for years and for some reason today was the day to photograph it.  I was intrigued by the large windows on the top floor, wondering if it had been for weaving or some craft, but no, it seems it was where the vast numbers of tomatoes once grown here were "brought on", hence the orientation of the building, to catch the sun. And proof that this site was all about growing stuff?  Look at the wall...witness marks of three earlier greenhouse gable ends.
The wreaths on the sliding door mark the fact that the people now mainly earn their livings from making up funereal and wedding wreathes and posies.  It seems this has always been a shop.
I prefer the older sign!

A pleasant chat with the old couple and another with a friend of theirs who had stopped to make sure we weren't up to no good and from whom we have bought many strawberries and off we went in search of the ginger beer once again.
Costcutters didn't have it but the newly owned Post Office shop did, so we thought that was that. Back the way we came, but as we crossed the bridge, we espied a lovely old wooden river cruiser going up the Well Creek. By the time I'd turned round and stopped, I saw he'd pulled up rather suddenly at the chip shop staithe. I got round there and spoke to the chap, who opined that weed round his prop had caused overheating. I assumed an old petrol engine, but no, this old girl had had her Morris Vedette side valve replaced with a modern Lynch electric motor, 3 Kv diesel genset and Li-Ion electric car batteries!  All completely hidden away.
By the time I'd tied it up for him he'd changed into his dodgy Speedos and walked into the freezing river to drag hands full of weed
off his prop, the usual cause of overheating on a boat on inland waters.

The really odd thing is that only an hour earlier, I had been speaking to a client who wants just such a boat mastered as his first foray into 7mm scale scenic products.
This one shot gives me all I need to know for sections of the hull and clerestory roof.
She was built by Banham's of Cambridge in 1938 from teak.  No wonder she is in such superb condition.  Teak goes on forever!

And so, finally, home, to eventually get my ginger beer and a cream cake that somehow appeared in Chris's shopping bag twixt sheds and boat!

Some afternoons are very surprising.


  1. Glad you got your ginger beer, Martin...and a cream cake :-) Yes, that tomato shed with it's witness marks would make a fabulous model, for sure. The boat, too is a real beauty and a fine example of the boat builders craft.

  2. Sorry for the delay, Iain. I've been helping my son get his windscreen back in his Triumph Renown. Bank of Dad and all that. He did help build my shed and then wired it all, so a day on the car seemed right. Finished off the light, cleaning and painting the diff for my Triumph Special. What a busy old Hector I am! Cheers.