Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Farewell to Frog End

Thursday afternoon saw me put in the garden again during the odd sunny spell. A Comma came to visit. It gets its name from the comma-shaped marking on the underwing.

Then, as if to frustrate me for the last time, a hoverfly that I could not identify came along....

And that is the end of my Exeter trip for 2008. My thanks to all concerned for a wonderful holiday. I cannot wait to see what changes have been wrought at Frog End when I return next year – the Gods willing.

The Farmers’ Market

Every Thursday Exeter holds its farmer’s market in South Street. like GB, I have a thing about ‘proper’ markets and love seeing the natural produce on display.

It was good to see at least some wooden boxes – even if plastic ones were still in evidence as well. If only traders realised how much difference the presentation of their produce could make to sales.

Exeter’s local produce doesn’t include the exotic things that GB finds abroad but these pink and yellow brandywine tomatoes were not the sort you normally find on a supermarket shelves.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Rougemont Gardens

I went through the little archway from sunny Northernhay Gardens into cloudier Rougemont Gardens next door and by the time I left there it was raining.

This is a Strawberry Tree.

I have yet to identify this unusual tree.

A Cream-streaked Ladybird on an oak leaf.

This gatehouse was built by William the Conqueror soon after 1066 as part of the Norman castle of Rougemont.

Northernhay Gardens

On my last day in Exeter I went into the city centre again and enjoyed some sunshine in Northernhay Gardens.

War and Pestilence

This is the monument in Exeter Cathedral to the 8th Queens Royal Lancers who died in India in the 1850s. As with many wars the number who died from the 'effects of the climate', i.e. fever and disease, were nearly twice as many as were killed in action or died from their wounds.

Anyone researching military uniforms can hardly do better than visit their local churches and cathedrals. Some of the detail shown in brasses, monuments and stone statues is quite remarkable and dates from Norman times to the present day.

East Devonshires - Crimea 1830s

Royal Lancers - India 1860

The story of a statue.

A few weeks ago a statue – thought to be of St Ambrose – came adrift from the North Porch of Exeter Cathedral and landed on the ground, breaking off the head and the top of the Saint’s staff. There seems little doubt it was a deliberate act of vandalism as the half ton statue was quite firmly in place prior to that.

The statue is assumed to be St Ambrose because there are a beehive and bees by his foot. There is a legend that as an infant, a swarm of bees settled on his face while he lay in his cradle, leaving behind a drop of honey. His father considered this a sign of his future eloquence and honeyed tongue. For this reason, bees and beehives often appear in symbols of the saint's.

Last week I watched as the Cathedral’s head stone mason, Gary Morley, and his assistant, Alex, spent the day replacing the statue and attaching the head and staff. It was a fascinating exercise and in between wandering around the city centre and going around the inside of the cathedral I got photos of the various stages of the process.

I went back the next day when the scaffolding was down and no one could have told it had ever been restored. That's what I call a good job!