Tag Archives: bench

Memorial Garden – Old Hunstanton

While we were cruising round Hunstanton on our recent holiday we ended up in Old Hunstanton. It’s called that because it’s the original part of the town that used to exist before they built the new resort.

I knew there was a lighthouse there but I have no recollection of the ruined chapel. It must have been there, because it was built in 1272. It’s dedicated to Saint Edmund, King of East Anglia. He reputedly founded the village of Hunstanton before meeting his end at the hands of the Great Heathen Army of the Danes.

It was not a pleasant end, featuring torture, shooting with arrows and beheading, as he refused to renounce Christianity. Even if he had renounced Christianity it’s difficult to believe that his death would have been any different.

The legend is that the East Anglians recovered the King’s head with the help of a wolf. Accounts vary, but there’s usually a touch of the supernatural about the wolf in the legend. From there a cult of sainthood grew up round the dead king. The abbey at Bury St Edmunds housed his shrine until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. One notable pilgrim was King Canute, who converted to Christianity, rebuilt the abbey and, on a visit in 1020, offered his crown as a penance for the acts of his ancestors.

That is why there is a carved oak wolf by the archway.

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St Edmund’s Wolf, Hunstanton

The area around the chapel was made into a memorial garden in 1915 by a local vicar, the Reverend Alfred Toms. It was supposedly because his two sons were killed, but as they didn’t die until 1916 and 1917, this can only be part of the story.

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War Memorial Garden, Hunstanton

The story probably starts with one of the benches in the garden.

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Memorial bench – Nurse Edith Cavell

Nurse Edith Cavell was executed by the Germans on 12th October 1915. She was seen as a martyr at the time, having helped around 175 people to escape from the German occupiers of Belgium, her adopted home. This was a gift to allied propagandists at the time, though a British investigation after the war considered it perfectly legal. We had, after all, executed twelve German spies during the war – eleven shot at the Tower of London and one hanged in Wandsworth Gaol.

Nobody really comes out of a war with clean hands. Ask Mata Hari.

 

The other bench commemorates Captain Charles Fryatt , who was executed in 1916. He was a Captain on several ferries travelling between the UK and the Netherlands, who were neutral in the Great War. Once he outran a German ship and on another occasion he tried to ram a U-Boat that was attempting to sink him. Finally his luck ran out when he was trapped by five German destroyers. He was tried for the “crime” of sinking a German submarine, even though he only forced it to dive. The verdict, predictably, was death by firing squad.

He was famous at the time, but is now largely forgotten compared to Edith Cavell. I’m not sure if they are still about, but at one time he did sometimes crop up on badges and brooches at antique fairs.

Finally, what’s the link between Edith Cavell, Charles Fryatt and the Unknown Warrior?

Answer – their bodies all travelled back to the UK in the same railway carriage.

 

 

 

Street Furniture

I’ve not taken many pictures recently, so, rather than do another post with no photographs I thought I’d do a quick post using photographs I already have. They aren’t, strictly speaking, all street furniture, some are just things I saw whilst walking down the street with a camera.

 

There’s plenty to see when walking down the street, but I don’t often take the chance to picture it because I’m always worried about photographing people as they walk past. People can be very strange in their ideas about the internet and photography. I know, from seeking photo permission for various children’s events, that parents worry about you making money from it (I wish I knew how) or worry about strangers seeing them (crediting the internet with a power I’m not sure it possesses). I suppose these fears are the lineal descendents of the fear that  cameras steal souls.

 

Most phone boxes are now out of use (mobiles having made them redundant) and are now in use as homes for defibrillators, community libraries or spiders.

The bananas are from the old Fyffes warehouse in Sneinton Market in Nottingham, the bench is from Heckington and the round plate, which you may recognise from the Snape Maltings post, is known as a patress plate. I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Education and blogging, once again, go hand in hand.

Breakfast, Bench and Bug Boxes

The day started badly, as I had passed a disturbed night and felt tired, stiff and fragile. As the first light of a non-too-rosy dawn crept through the curtains, I groaned and turned over.

This was how I slept in, set off late and was unable to accomplish my first task of the day. We had barely laid out the parts for a new garden bench when the Monday group arrived, two hours earlier than we were expecting. As I’m not allowed to be a volunteer (due to the conflict of interest thing) we had to leave.

As a consolation prize Julia bought me breakfast at Harvester, which was excellent. Fruit, yoghurt, Full English, toast, marmalade, a quick crumpet (because it was there) and refillable tea. All for 75% of the cost of two Olympic breakfasts at Little Chef. I passed on cereal.

After that we returned home to find the internet was down. BT claim we hadn’t paid the bill. They seem to do this about once a year – cutting us off for non-payment without actually sending us a bill or a reminder.

By the time it came back on we were already back at the gardens tacking a pallet bench together ready for tomorrow.

Then it was shopping, chip shop and try to get a blog post done before midnight…

Done, with 12 minutes to go. I will add photos later.

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Bug boxes made from frames out of the school skip and filled with the hollow stems of scabious

The Day gets Better

I’ve just been adding photographs to the post about the attempted break in. As you can see from them, we had a CSI van and beautiful blue skies. I don’t usually go to the garden when people are there but I thought Julia could do with a hand this afternoon. She normally has to travel through town on the bus with two bags of kit as she travels from one job to the next but I thought after the trials of the day she deserved a lift.

I am such a gent. I am also currently unemployed so it seemed the least I could do.

While I was there in the morning I forgot to tell you that Julia had spotted a beautifully marked Green-veined White. I could only get a distant photo with my phone, so I have nothing to show. It’s a common butterfly, but it’s a new one for the garden list and that’s always good.

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Willow arch

Yesterday we had a good few hours, with Bill from Men in Sheds bringing his battery powered saw to help cut up pallets. We now have all the bits cut to make three new benches.

He also  brought four nest boxes in kit form so the group can put them together and paint them. Even better, he’s going to do another 20 for us. This will let us upgrade the existing boxes and leave some to sell towards funds.

Despite the break in it’s been a good week, and the fruit is looking good. All we need to do is stop people stealing it.

 

I would have taken more photos, but the batteries ran out. (These were all taken on Wednesday morning, though the post is written on Thursday.)

We were also given a perfectly usable set of 5-a-side goals the school was throwing out, or fruit cage frame, as we now call it.

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The new fruit cage

 

 

 

Paint and Pallets

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The bench, now painted

The group painted the bench yesterday.  It’s undercoated in white emulsion and then over-painted in blue wood. It’s a finish based on the available paint rather than any grasp of decorative technique, but it seems to have worked well.

They also had afternoon tea in the conservatory. It’s not actually a conservatory, it’s just one end of a polytunnel where they have a desk to work round. However, we were looking for a word to describe it, and what do you call a room where you can see through the walls? Garden room, Orangery or Conservatory?

As you can see from the photos, we lack oranges and can’t actually see the garden through the plastic so it became the conservatory. We will have to see if the name sticks.

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A not entirely accurate sign

I’m sorry about the lack of people in the pictures, as happy, smiling faces always make a great picture, Unfortunately that’s the way it is in the 21st century.

However, I’ve seen the other photos and can assure you there were plenty of smiles and paint splashes.

A Bench Made From Pallets

If you search the internet for details of garden benches made from pallets you will find far more information than you need. They are even advertised for sale, so if you want to pay £795 for some pallets with cushions on, this is your chance. What is the world coming to?

It will come as no surprise for regular readers to find that I have never spent £795 on a piece of furniture in my life. I came close once – £700 for a Victorian iron bedstead – but it’s an antique so is hopefully an investment rather than just furniture. That was actually advice a dealer once gave me – buy old furniture because it’s already knocked about and you can probably get your money back if you need to sell it.

Anyway – back to pallet benches. The Joe Swift video shows how to make a simple, functional garden bench. He used a single pallet with nine slats, we had to use two pallets because we only had 8 slats, and one of them was broken. However, it worked, and we have a solid garden bench.

We left it with a number of pre-drilled holes and marks so the group could finish it and sand it, which they duly did yesterday. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there to see it, and we can’t use Julia’s photos due to safeguarding restrictions. You will have to put up with photos of Julia instead.