Sunday, 6 August 2017

Churchyard putti

One of the characteristics of Lincolnshire churchyards is the limestone gravestones of the latter part of the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century. These heavy slabs, once set vertically but now often leaning alarmingly, carry the usual details of the deceased. However, they also feature the decorative carving that was fashionable at the time. This includes swags, cartouches, leaves, paterae and putti in profusion. Putti (singular "putto") are cherubic heads with wings.They are said to represent the omnipresence of God. The pair above are in a Stamford, Lincolnshire, churchyard. The weathering of the stone is slowly wearing away the detail but enough remains to identify the subject.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Friday, 4 August 2017

The duck speculum

The speculum is a patch of colour on the secondary flight feathers of many species of duck. Each type of duck has a specific colour and often this is iridescent. It can be a useful clue to bird identification, particularly when birds are immature or in moult. The photograph shows the speculum of Britain's most common duck, the mallard. It is iridescent purple/blue with black and white edges. This species has interbred with domestic ducks and frequently the speculum of the hybrid is a clue to the parentage of one half of the union.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Nikon P900

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Willy Lott's cottage

If there is a more famous cottage in Britain than the one shown in this photograph I can't think of it. The building is Willy Lott's cottage at Flatford Mill near Dedham, Suffolk. Willy Lott (1761-1849) was a tenant farmer who lived there and worked thirty nine acres nearby. It is well-known because it appears in a number of paintings by John Constable (1776-1837) whose father owned Flatford Mill, the building behind me when I took this photograph. Constable's most famous work, "The Haywain" features the cottage.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Monday, 31 July 2017

Timber-framed houses

I once read that the order and symmetry of the exposed woodwork of timber-framed medieval and later houses revealed something about their age. Broadly speaking asymmetrical, seemingly (though not in fact) haphazard wok was usually an indicator of early work - say, the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries. The more orderly, symmetrical timbers that were often arranged to form patterns and sometimes include ornamental quatrefoils and such were invariably later, usually dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By that reckoning this photograph taken in Lavenham, Suffolk, shows some reasonably early timber-framing.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Saturday, 29 July 2017

A font, ecclesiastical not typographical

The 7th Edition of the Canons of the Church of England say this with regard to fonts: "In every church and chapel where baptism is to be administered, there shall be provided a decent font with a cover for the keeping clean thereof. The font shall stand as near to the principal entrance as conveniently may be, except there be a custom to the contrary or the Ordinary otherwise direct; and shall be set in as spacious and well-ordered surroundings as possible." At St Lawrence in Evesham, Worcestershire, a font must have been in the south chapel for centuries and thus the exception prevails. It is a fine setting and a good architectural composition.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Thursday, 27 July 2017


In the minds of those living in Britain, and also in the minds of those from elsewhere, there seems to be an association between umbrellas and our often wet islands. On the day I photographed these umbrellas that brought a splash of colour to a Hereford shopping centre I was carrying a (black) umbrella. Our day rucksack is permanently kitted out with two small, collapsible umbrellas. Rain is not an everyday occurrence in Britain - the dry east receives amounts comparable with much of central and parts of southern Europe. However, it does appear fairly regularly and prudence dictates that if you want to remain dry an umbrella is pretty much a prerequisite for many places and times of year.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Dry garden plants

I've seen several dry gardens in recent years. The concept of growing plants that will flourish in dry weather isn't new, but the onset of global warming has given the idea greater currency. Often such gardens have a grey-green appearance due to the preponderance of shrubs and perennials with leaves of that colour, a characteristic of many drought-tolerant plants. Here, however, in Beth Chatto's Essex garden the blue cornflowers, brown grasses etc gave a wider range of colours that I found very attractive.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Sunny Shoreditch Park

On a recent weekend the warm weather brought people out into sunny Shoreditch Park in London. Dry weather and the popularity of the park had turned the green grass yellow but that didn't stop young and old coming out to feel the sun on their faces and backs. As we passed through the park the looming buildings under construction gave a dissonant note to the tranquil scene.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Friday, 21 July 2017

King's Cross Quarter

Those of us who live in the provinces often see London as a place that not only produces money but sucks it in from where we live, depriving our communities of funds that would help to re-balance the country. London, to we provincials, seems to do everything to excess. I reflected on that when taking this photo. A provincial building site would have a painted, printed or photographic sign up to advertise what was going on. Not London. The glossy, three dimensional, internally illuminated temporary sign on these metal faced(!) hoardings hiding the building site outshines many permanent and final signs elsewhere in the country.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Nigella seedpod

Of all the plants in our garden I find "Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena) to be one of the most fascinating. Its English name is descriptive of the appearance of these blue (usually) flowers when seen in a tight group, gently swaying in the wind. However, the spiky, other-worldly seed pod that the flowers produce are completely at odds with that soft, benign name: then one of the plant's other names - devil in the bush - seems more apt.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10