Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 26 August 2016

Weekend Wandering: The Other Chippenham

Road sign on the way into Chippenham, Cambridgeshire

Do not adjust your blog, this really is Chippenham. It's simply different to the one you're used to seeing here on Veg Plotting.

I found myself just a few miles from Chippenham, Cambridgeshire recently, with an hour to spare before I was needed. It was the ideal opportunity to have a look at my home town's little brother*.

Chippenham, Cambridgeshire's village sign
Both Chippenhams have distinctive identifying signage - find out about Wiltshire's Unity and Loyalty here

According to Wikipedia, both Chippenhams have their names via the same Saxon roots; "Cippa's Hamm", aka "Cippa's enclosure in a river meadow", though Wiltshire's entry also suggests there may be a market connection instead via the Ango-Saxon word ceap. Both are listed in the Domesday book, Chipeham for Cambridgeshire, and Cepen for Wiltshire.


Entrance to Chippenham Park at the top of the High Street
The entrance to Chippenham Park which adds a 'full stop' to one end of the High Street

My approach to this Chippenham was dominated by a roadside wall, marking the boundary of Chippenham Park, a vast estate enclosed by Edward Russell, the first Earl of Orford in the late 17th Century.

Looking down the High Street one way
Half way down the High Street, looking towards the entrance to Chippenham Park
Looking down the High Street t'other way
Looking down the High Street the other way with the village pub, The Tharp Arms on the right
The 'rhubarb and custard' cottages

Many of the buildings along the High Street show evidence of their connection with the Chippenham Park estate. My favourites were the William and Mary cottages, known locally as the 'rhubarbs and custards', due to their external appearance. These are former estate workers cottages, with long front gardens which look like they may be burgage plots like the ones we last looked at in Helmsley.

Collage of Chippenham's church, pub, old schoolroom and signage
A last look round the village - St Margaret's Church, the Old Schoolhouse, and The Tharp Arms
Sadly, I didn't have time to find Chippenham Fen, one of the best examples of an undrained fen we have in Britain, and a National Nature Reserve. But then I would have needed a permit to visit, so perhaps it's just as well.

However, I did find time for a Friday Bench to display over at Sign of the Times.

* = I love the opening sentence on the village website:

This is the website for the village of Chippenham in Cambridgeshire. If you were looking for our big brother in Wiltshire, then we are afraid you are in the wrong place.

For me it was a case of right place, right time. I hope you've enjoyed coming for a wander around the other Chippenham with me.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Things in Unusual Places #19: Cricket

A cricket on our bedroom wall

Do you find August is the grasshopper and cricket month? They're the musical accompaniment to my allotment visits, with plenty of buzzing but not seeing going on. I even heard a familiar buzz at our bedroom window one morning last week, but thought no more about it.

Then a couple of days later I found this little chap on our way to bed. He seemed quite content, simply gently waving his antennae from time to time.

I haven't quite nailed the ID, but the long antennae shows it's a cricket rather than a grasshopper. I'm favouring the oak bush-cricket from Orthoptera's online ID sheet, as it says they can be nocturnal and may be attracted to light and found indoors.

I've also submitted my sighting to their recording scheme as they are looking to see how the populations of grasshoppers and related insects are changing in the UK. It seems my dahlia's earwig populations are also useful for this scheme!

Have you found anything unusual or unexpected lately?

Update 25th August: I felt something odd crawling up my leg last night. I switched on the light to find the cricket was gently waving its antennae at me. It's been returned outside.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Allotment Folk: Suffolk Style

The Great Escape scarecrow at Mr Fothergill's - apologies if I've given you an earworm

Here's my favourite scarecrow from the fun staff competition held at Mr Fothergill's trials field* last week. I've spared you the picture of Incy, the huge spider lurking in the opposite corner of the field, as I know some of you are of a nervous disposition. It couldn't be missed no matter where you were standing at the time.

When I posted my first Allotment Folk from Chippenham in early June, I had no idea I'd find some more in Yorkshire whilst we were on holiday. I'm on the look out for more now, as this is developing into a fun series.

* = OK, I know I'm stretching the concept of allotment by including a trials field, but you'll spot the similarities in a later post.
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