Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Burnett's Buddleia in Winter

I know how some folks seek completion; they want to know what happened next and did it all end well, happily ever after. So just for those who were worried the buddleia on Burnett House seems to have survived for yet another year.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Christmas Crush

While I was posting about King's Lynn the so-called festive season came and went and New Year too; seems so long ago now. Anyhoo ... here's Whitefriargate, erstwhile shopping hub of the city of culture and as you can see you could hardly move for the pressing throng all desperately getting their seasonal shopping ... 

I know I've posted many a time and oft about the decline of this street and was going to be ironic (not to say sarcastic) about the crowds down there but today I heard news that the big store on the left , Marks and Spencer, just about the only big shop left down here, announced plans for closure. It doesn't do to speak ill of the dead ... so let's just  move on, nothing to see here.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Gee but it's great to be back home

Maritime Museum
Right, so back in the city of culture a few buildings in the town appear to be illuminated in ever changing colours. This may have been a Xmas thing I wouldn't know; I haven't been back into town since a week or so before that damnable day. I shop out of town and fancy (and expensive, no doubt) lighting, expensive son et lumière shows (no matter how spectacular) and other fripperies aren't going to get me on the bus into town.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Pylons, The Loke and The Long Pond

As the sun set softly over Loke Road (or simply 'the Loke'; as the natives term it) so Margot indulged her passion for pylons.

St Nicholas' spire in the background

I admit it's the same pylon from a different view.

The short part of the Long Pond
The Loke crosses the Long Pond cutting this ancient water course in two. I'm guessing it's a monastic structure to do with drainage, monks were real clever at drainage... Old maps (1887) show a Short Pond close by and I'm guessing now filled in as no-body mentioned it when I was there. There was also another large pond named the Loke (sic) filled in and covered over and now a playground close by yesterday's picture.

If I'm right then this is the very pylon Margot used to dawdle under on her way home from school despite her mother telling her not to.

A drowning shopping trolley, when will they ever learn that they can't swim?

Some local wild life.

And with this post we've come to the end of our little day trip to King's Lynn and must make our way back to Hull. I enjoyed meeting Margot's old friends (who I'd only known from Facebook) and  even the hanging around for a locksmith in the cold of the evening seems like a dream now (OK a nightmare) ... Hoping to be back soon ...

None of this would have been possible without the kind assistance of Dave Hunter and Betsy Smith, friends also met on Facebook, who offered us a lift both ways, seems they like driving a lot. Once again many thanks ...

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Ne dumpez pas ici!

In Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portugese and Ukrainian and in English (in any fool's language you like) it is forbidden to dump your rubbish down this alley at any time. Much good that sign has done.
Seems the fly-tipping curse is pretty universal in this country. Now someone on TV just the other day had the idea, that, maybe, just maybe, charging folk about £30 to take away their old sofas and chairs could, just could, mark you, be leading to this epidemic. And that it costs the Councils more to clean up this mess than they make in charges ... and, you know, like maybe a conclusion could be drawn from this ... (I don't know how to indicate that irritating rise in intonation at the end of every statement that has become fashionable these days; a fashion that folk seem to have picked up from our colonial cousins...) 
Regarding this particular criminal installation I gather the local council think it is the responsibility of the property owners to clear this mess while the owners have a very different view possibly expressed fluently in Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portugese and Ukrainian with the Norfolk folk all nodding in agreement. What we've got here is failure to communicate...

Friday, 11 January 2019

Mere Portals

Today I post a collection portals that would otherwise just hang around on my computer. Starting with the rare Baroque barley-twist columns of Clifton House on Queen Street. Bits of this enormous house date from the 13th century.

This too is on Queen Street. There's a Devil's Alley somewhere in these parts, that I must go to see at some point.

This is the Burkitt Homes on Queen Street as well. They look pretty old but but they're just old-fashioned from 1909; fit in well with the surrounding ancient stuff.

Ancient doorway also on Queen Street.

This is opposite St Margaret's, I wonder if the floor matches the window.

Although engraved in stone this is no longer Lloyds Bank but rather the TSB. This is neither the time nor the place to explain how the change came about... It's on good old Tuesday Market and why I didn't post it  back when I showed everything else about Tuesday Market I don't know.

And last and for no other reason than I like it, here's the Customs House doorway by the Purfleet.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Some more bobs and bits

Here's some more snaps from King's Lynn. Starting with a compass structure by the Purfleet, commemorating historical activities and notable people associated with the town.

There's a maritime trail you can follow should you wish to become a full time tourist. Maybe later.

This cattle trough is near the museum in what is now the bus station and shopping centre but at one time was King's Lynn cattle market. There's a very similar one on High Street , Hull.

And a final cute memento mori from St Nicholas' that should have been posted a few days ago but somehow slipped through the net.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Some bits and bobs

Today is an assortment of photos taken because I was in full tourist mode photographing anything without much discretion. First off is Pilot Street close by St Nicholas chapel and the exorcist's house.

King's Lynn was rich enough to have no fewer than four monasteries leaching off it before good King Henry put an end to such parasitic simony and other restrictive practices. I've shown the Franciscan Greyfriars tower, there were also Dominicans, Carmelites and the above wall is the remnants of the Augustinian monastery. Because Augustinian was a bit of a mouthful for medieval folk it was shortened to Austin; this little road is still known as Austin Street.

The Tudor Rose Hotel with its fine original doorway is just off Tuesday Market Place. It's a 16th century building that comes with resident ghost , a woman in a long white dress who wanders around the place ...

This odd shaped building on Nelson Street, was a medieval pub known as the Valiant Sailor until 1925.

Last for today is St Margaret's Lane which has hanseatic warehousing dating from 1475 and leads down to the river.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

and then back to St Nick's ...

So at the end of what was quite a hectic few hours of touristic traipsing through the delightful street of King's Lynn it was time to head back to base and put our feet up before the return trip to Hull. But not before passing by St Nicholas chapel (which was now open) and having a goodly gawp inside. I promised musical angels and a literary connection to Hull and I try to keep my promises.

The first thing I noticed on entering was the warmth of the place, it was mafting to use a colloquialism, so warm it was positively unchurchlike. Electric heaters beamed out the calories like no-one was paying the bill and indeed no-one is, there's a large array of solar panels on the roof sucking up sunshine and warming us poor sinners down below. Any how I'm sure you can make out the roof beams in the above photo; each is decorated with an angel playing an instrument or singing from a hymn sheet. These carvings are over 600 hundred years old (the chapel was already old by then). As you can see this is no ordinary chapel, it oozes past opulence, the stained glass windows, the altar screen, the ornate and oversized baptismal font cover and last but not least the numerous plaques to rich benefactors (described by a really nice and helpful friend of St Nicholas as the "millionaires' row"). This delightful place reflects the enormous wealth of King's Lynn in the medieval period. It is now a community church being used for all sorts of events, musical, artistic both sacred and secular and seems to have found a new use for itself in the modern age. It is not just a monument to past religious devotion and finery (though it is that most definitely) it now serves a purpose and has a bright future.

I appreciate that this is not a very good photo so if you want to see all the angels there's this gallery of photos from the chapel's website, here.

You don't expect font covers to go missing (did nobody notice this thing leaving the building?), then turn up in an auction and finally return after a fund raising effort by the Friends of St Nick's but that is what happened to this ornate canopy. It's a copy of the original 17th century on which the Victorians destroyed. This dates from 1902 and is 17 foot in height and I suspect is screwed tightly to the floor.

This is a very rare consistory court, set aside in a corner of the chapel to try matters relating to church law.

And here as promised is the literary link to Hull. The memorial to Robinson Cruso and his family. Daniel Defoe visited King's Lynn and seemed to have had a good time: "Here are more gentry, and consequently is more gaiety in this town than in Yarmouth, or even in Norwich itself – the place abounding in very good company." Cruso is or was a common name in the area (the Corn Exchange, for example,  was built to a design by Cruso and Maberley of King's Lynn) so he no doubt purloined it for his wee book. The connection to Hull is that the fictional Robinson Crusoe set sail from Hull as I posted many years ago. Defoe, of course, could not have seen this particular memorial as he died in 1731. (Did I just debunk a local myth? Ooops!)

More memorials with attractive memento mori features.

This marble urn memorial to Sir Benjamin Keene dates from 1757 and is by Robert Adam, close inspection shows details of the Customs House and the Purfleet and goods being loaded from a ship.

Millionaires' Row. There's a saying that you cannot take it with you when you go so why not leave some of it hanging on the church wall (sorry chapel wall) to show the world what fine upstanding folk you have been.

Friday, 4 January 2019

True's Yard

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a slum once cleared must be brought back to life with a museum and so it is that the vestiges of King's Lynn's North End fishing community have become the True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum. I'd like to say it's worth a visit but in truth I didn't have time to go in and only noticed the whopping girt anchor parked up in the yard. Nor do I know who Mr True was or if indeed he was true to his name ... 

PS William True purchased the yard in 1818

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Margery Kempe: Author, Pilgrim, Mystic

I must confess to having no idea who Margery Kempe was nor why she should merit this bench memorial close by St Margaret's church. An odd looking bench indeed, one might think it has the shape of a book falling open. And therein lies a clue. Mrs Kempe, I find, was a medieval Christian mystic who wrote a book, called rather unimaginatively, The Book of Margery Kempe. I say wrote but most think she dictated as she could neither read nor write. Margery, if we may be less formal, came from well-to-do Lynn folk and married well, had fourteen children (ouch!) and started having visions of Christ after the birth of her first child (as you might)... She went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, met up with the anchoress Julian of Norwich and ... there's obviously more to this woman, her "demonic torment(s) and Christic apparition(s)" and her book than I could possibly do justice to in this little digital scrapbook ... so you can find out more yourself with a quick exercise of your Google powers and if you really want to read the book, described as the first autobiography in English, then it has been transcribed from the only known copy in the British Library and is available on line here. And oh yeah, it's in Middle English, so watch out for synful caytyfs ...

And for your further delight I find the BBC have a podcast all about Margery Kempe but it does feature (Lord) Melvynn Bragg whose voice is not to everyone's taste.

Finally, I didn't try it, but that bench looks mightily uncomfortable.