Death of the phone box

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A picture that tells a story.

In the ‘About’ page I suggest that the mobile phone, and its ability to send emails, pictures and texts, must accept some responsibility for the demise of the postcard. If that is so, then it must be even more accountable for the gradual disappearance of the good old phone box. These bright red icons of Britain are disappearing in large numbers. In my childhood these were the only way to make a phone call. Few families had a phone at home but one of these boxes was never far away. Now, and understandably, people prefer to carry a mobile, complete with all the contact numbers and a whole range of other information and capabilities they could ever wish for.

Many people in picturesque villages have been saddened by threats to remove their phone box, even though they probably didn’t use it. The phone box was part of the overall scene. However, rather than the boxes being removed, some people and parish councils are now ‘adopting’ an old red phone box and they are now being used to house ATM machines or defibrillators, mini art galleries, libraries or book exchange stations.

The good thing about digital photography is that it gives a record of exactly when the photo was taken and I was surprised to see that I took the one above at Sandringham Estate way back in July 2005. This must have been the time when more and more people were owning mobile phones and consequently turning their backs (as in the photograph) on the traditional phone box. You can imagine this couple had just purchased their first mobile and were enjoying the novelty of ringing family and friends from a holiday or day out.

Sandringham postcardphone box Sandringham

In like a lion, out like a lamb

‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb’.  Weather lore goes back centuries and even today many of these sayings have some degree of accuracy.  The trouble with March is that it doesn’t follow the transition from lion to lamb, or winter to spring, in a gradual, measured way.  Each of its 31 days could be a fraction of a degree warmer, and the wind that little bit calmer, perhaps with a slightly more noticeable change on 21st as a token gesture to mark the first day of spring.  But no, March keeps us guessing.  A few days of fine weather followed by days of cold wind, frost, and, like today, a sprinkling of snow.  If she’s feeling particularity mischievous, March will give all those things, and more, in a single hour.

Charles Dickens describes it particularly well in his quote on the back of today’s postcard.

St Giles', CauldwellSt. Giles’ Church, Caldwell, South Derbyshire

St Giles', Cauldwell, back

Lent Lilies and Dove Cottage, Grasmere

The first day of Lent, so it is appropriate to mention Lent lilies. Until recently I didn’t know that’s what daffodils are also called (thank you BBC Gardeners World). The native or wild daffodil is also known as the Lent lily because it generally comes into bloom and dies away between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

High on the list of places to visit in the Lake District is Dove Cottage, near Grasmere.

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Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage was the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy from 1799 to 1808. He married Mary in 1802 and she and her sister moved into the cottage. Wordsworth’s intention was to have a time of ‘plain living but high thinking’. Three children arrived in four years so in a small cottage with four adults and three babies how ‘much plain living and high thinking’ was possible is anyone’s guess. He did however write much of his poetry during that period.

A tenuous link to ‘postcards’ is that in 1813 Wordsworth became postmaster and distributor of stamps for Westmorland at a salary of £400 a year. Postcards didn’t come along until many years after that but had they been around in Wordsworth’s time this is what he may have sent…Daffodils backDaffodils by Wordsworth

Little did he know that it would become one of the nation’s favourite poems.

Daffodils

Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits…

The first of the month. Did you remember to say rabbits as soon as you got up?  No neither did I.  In fact, in over 800 firsts of the month in my lifetime I don’t think I ever said it!  I recall being told about this strange superstition as a child, and it cropping up in the odd conversations, but that’s all.  Anyway, enough rabbiting on.  It is just a way of introducing this post about Hilltop Farm, the home of Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit.

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stamp 3We visited the farm in October 2016 and we could see why this provided so much inspiration for her tales of Peter Rabbit and friends, still enjoyed around the world today.  When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top Farm to the National Trust, and it is now open to the public as a museum. However, for us her greatest legacy is the gift of 15 other farms to the National Trust which cover large areas of the Lake District which can be accessed and enjoyed by all.

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In the garden it was easy to imaging Peter Rabbit enjoying a tasty snack of carrots until the sudden appearance of Mr McGregor.

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National Trust Hill Top Farm

In search of snow

We like to have a stock of snow scenes which we use most years for Christmas cards. It involves a little bit of forward planning (too late thinking about it in August!) so three or four years ago, when we knew there was snow in the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands, we set off in search of it. With a flask of coffee, snow shovels and travel blankets, just in case, we headed towards Buxton but it was only when we were beyond Leek that we found the much sought-after snow.

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stamp 3Greetings from Flash, the highest village in Britain. This was once disputed by a village in Scotland but ordnance survey and the BBC got involved and confirmed that Flash was indeed the highest.  Needless to say, it’s very cold here with a good covering of snow. The sun is shining thus giving us ideal conditions for photographing the snow.  We are not venturing off the main road as the minor roads are not so good. Also staying fairly close to the car. Off to Buxton now for hot food and drinks!