I have always taken photos. Of my family, of my surroundings, holiday snaps and so on. I now have a serious sort of camera however. It’s a whole new way in which to view the world. Which requires me to take photography seriously. Well, sort of. It sort of involves me walking miles or driving around for miles looking for interesting things to take photos of.
And today, I ended up at Thoresway, because I had spent an hour or so over on the east coast at our accountants, agonising over the ins and outs of annual figures I’d rather not have to agonise over or even consider at all. After stopping off at a supermarket to purchase essentials for teatime, I set off for home. And as I seem to have an incurable habit of veering off the obvious route simply for the sake of it and for the sense of adventure I took the turning for Irby, stopped to take a couple of photos of a broken and abandoned red brick building, then headed to Beelsby (note to self : I need to re-visit this village with my wellies and camera to shoot the manor and adjoining buildings). From BeelsbyI followed roughly the signposts that led in the direction of home, never worrying that I might get lost, as lost is not actually possible in the modern day and age of the map book on my passenger seat, my iPhone and the AA should I get completely desperate.
So at Thoresway, a deserted and beautiful hamlet even in bleakest December, high in the Lincolnshire Wolds, I parked my car well up on to the path so other cars could get through (not a single one came in the next half hour). It was bitterly cold; flurries of snow had fallen, the crunchy remains lay on the grass in the churchyard. I took shots of St Mary’s Church and of the decaying Thoresway Manor Farm buildings from the churchyard.
Many of the ancient and some of the more recent headstones in the churchyard are dedicated to men and women who spent their lives farming land in the surrounding area. I didn’t see a single other living soul in the half hour or so I was tramping around; although several birds perched themselves on the weather vane atop the church whilst I took photos.
Driving home up hill and down dale (signs said 10% for some of the hills) I still saw no other vehicles or people; it was late afternoon, the light fading and I could see for miles across the top of the Wolds landscape. I silently gave thanks for living in such a beautiful part of the world.
This tall tower mill was built in 1831 by the millwright Ingledew. It worked by wind until 1903 when an oil engine took over. It was modernised subsequently, with the old gearing removed. It had six sails which drove four pairs of stones on the third floor and the upper stone spindle glut box bearings survive in place. The only other wind-driven gear to remain is part of the sackhoist, which used an endless chain. The cap has been replaced by a low concrete dome which is supported by the old oak sheertrees. There is a large hurst frame on the spacious ground floor which formerly contained two pairs of stones while a large grain cleaner by E. R. & F. Turner of Ipswich is on an upper floor. The tower was lastly used as a grain store, but has now stood empty and abandoned for 15 years, along with the rest of the mill site buildings.
This is a very short, potted history of a fascinating old building just down the road from me, which could tell a thousand stories if only it could talk. I stumbled across this mill, standing out against the striking blue sky whilst walking on a very chilly December Saturday afternoon. My home county has a wealth of old and interesting places and buildings to visit and for me, to photograph, as my camera accompanies me most places I go these days.
Years ago I earned a small income from writing a regular column in our county newspaper. It was called “A Slice of Life”. At that time reading the local paper was the only way for ordinary peeps to catch a local slice of Lincolnshire life. I really wish it was still that way now.
I’m talking the 1980’s mind you. It’s almost 30 years ago that I had to make sure my copy was printed out in a very specific way on A4 sheets and in an envelope ready to post 4 days before the deadline date. And those sheets had been edited and re-edited countless times beforehand with my trusty blue pen. And still on publication day I would collect my newspaper from the shop and cringe to find that the printers had made ridiculous and inexcusable errors with the type setting, or they couldn’t spell or use punctuation effectively.
I really wish it was still that way now. I think.
Because each morning, each evening or whenever I consult the BBC news on my iPad or my iPhone, I see that it was updated the last time I used it. And then it updates again. And again. In reality, I can access the world news in reality, as it happens, almost. And news presenters or journalists or pushy opinion makers or celebrities or politicians or general influencers can impress their thoughts upon me 24 hours a day. So that in the evening whilst I’m eating dinner with my husband the pair of us have a whole shovelful of useless daily shite to discuss, chew over and spit out as unnecessary.
Would I be without my electronic gadgets? No, I would not. But I think I may have to delete the newsfeeds and world news updates I have coming in, smacking me in the face on a regular basis, worrying me half to death with exaggerated tones of gloom and doom, only to disappear into cyberspace well before my morning coffee is even brewed the following day. Meantime I have slept badly worrying about the possible consequences.
I do want to turn the clock back, so far as the news is concerned, to the days when it came in the form of a weekly newspaper. Or by listening to the 6 o’clock news. Selectively. Anything more than that is an affront on any attempt at living peacefully or productively. Of course I cannot do that – I don’t have a time machine (a subject of a much earlier post). I can choose though what I watch or listen to. And there is a delete option which used to be called the “Off” button.