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Day 113, Part 1: Farewell to Great Budworth

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'll tell you, it is definitely warm here today - no cloud cover, hot sunshine, and the humidity is rising. Not generally my favorite when it comes to temps, but with the slowed metabolism (bleh) from the Lisinopril, I'm always cold, so - I'll take it, lol...

Last bit o'Budworth:

Going up the street opposite the church we walked along the right, and a couple of the houses were notable. The first one had wisteria all over the front, and it was just coming into bloom. I love wisteria.

Notice the 'hearts' on the front. I thought they were something placed there - not so. They are built right into the facade. The house itself is probably a good 200 years old, though obviously modernized. It's not very likely the heart designs were done on the original; probably at some point the brick was either redone or possibly added to a pre-existing plaster or even half-timber exterior. Nonetheless, I thought the hearts were a pretty touch.

The next house was 'The Old Hall.' There was a large, possibly Edwardian (1905-ish) house next to it and though it didn't have a sign stating such, I took a guess it might be 'The New Hall.' After living in the grand, but seriously behind-the-times, family mansion for several generations, there would be one son who would say 'Well, we'll leave that for Grandma and Grandpa, but we'll build a brand-new, state-of-the-art mansion for ourselves.' Inevitably the 'new hall' would be somewhere adjoining, either next door or, if the estate was large enough, some distance from the former home.

I didn't take a picture of the new one. Both these houses were set back from the street, up on slight rises and behind high walls. They were also gated. And with thick bushes and trees in front, just about impossible to see clearly, at least directly. But I took the following to show what 'real' half-timber construction looks like.

You see how it looks more golden or even grayish than dark brown or black. Somewhere along the line it became fashionable to paint the timberwork. There's always a few who refuse to follow trends, and that must've been the case with this family. Fortunately, it gives us a chance to see a now-rare example of unpainted woodwork.

Here's one to contrast. As I reached the end of the section of old houses on this main street, I took this picture across the road.

The gable end and their garden gate:

What stands out about it is the paintwork just under the eaves. There are places here and there where it became a local style. In some areas, there are carvings and embossed work set into the plaster on half-timber exteriors. When we were in southeast England last fall we went thru one village where all of the old medieval / Tudor cottages had decorative work, original to their era.

It is a little unusual to see it on houses in Cheshire. That alone would make me think it's been added because the owners liked it, rather than because Great Budworth is a place where it was popular - certainly none of the other buildings had any paint or plasterwork decoration. But I think it's a charming touch.

The house had a sign, 'Bakery Cottage.' Nearly all houses and cottages, even very humble dwellings, had names. It was more sensible I guess than a number system, though of course now (thanks to the post office) buildings always have numbers but not always names.

Just as you do with pubs, sometimes you see the same cottage names repeatedly. There are the 'pretty' ones, like Rose Cottage and Ivy Cottage. Some of them are named for places - John Lennon's aunt and uncle lived in 'Mendips,' named for the Mendips Hills.

My favorites are the cottages that were named for function, like Bakery Cottage. Most villages have a Laundry Cottage, if it wasn't torn down at some point. There are Tailors Cottages, Weavers Cottages, Chandlery Cottages - you get the idea. The one I want is The Ferryman's Cottage, up in Scotland. Whoever was hired to run the ferry across the loch also had the house as a perk, so it's a very functional name.

As you can see, next up from Bakery Cottage is the post office.

I don't know if it's always been the post office or if it was something else - tavern? cobbler? - previously, but I love the shuttered 'counter' that can be used for business.

The house next to it is The Tailors House. I took a picture of this flowering shrub, because I don't know what it is and for all the world it looked like dandelions growing on a bush.

No scent. If you recognize it, let me know!

A doorway I liked into one of the brick cottages:

The last stop was the place Himself was eying from the moment we set foot in Great Budworth - the 'local.'

This is 'The George and Dragon Hotel' - I think I mentioned it in the first blog, saying we'd come back here. And so we are. There's a wonderful, heavy wrought-iron bracket holding the sign.

St George's Day is 24 April, so this year falls on Easter. St George slaying the dragon is a popular English theme, and in some places there will be as many events for it as there will be for Easter itself.

Himself got a beer (on tap, from a local brewery - he said it was very good) while I opted for 'fizzy water,' plain ol' sparkling spring water. After all the walking around, it suited me just fine. If you look at the picture with the front of The George, you can see where we sat - outside, at the table farthest left. There were maybe a half-dozen other people, mostly just chatting as it was late in the afternoon and too early for 'teatime.'

A couple more photos and we're done with Budworth. This is heading back up the street toward the bowling green and the car.

I took the next because it shows how they enlarged houses - by literally building around the existing edifice, instead of just adding onto the back or raising it a story.

What can I say, it amuses me.

Driving back we passed some ornamental cherry trees that were at their peak.

If you look closely at that first one, you can just about make out the thatched cottage.

It's lunchtime, and as always I'm hungry, so - L8R!

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