Now. Between you, me and the lichen-covered gatepost, I have been busily putting together a portfolio of pictures that demonstrate John Piper's maxim 'Pleasing Decay'. I keep showing them to my publisher who just stares at me and then out of the window. He won't read this (he thinks blog is the name of a spaniel) so if any other bookmakers fancy a punt I'll slip an example under the door in a plain brown envelope under the pseudonym Maurice Mildew. The idea is to record things (derelict corrugated iron barns, rusty signs, discarded farm machinery) that are simply disappearing, not through any overtly planned destruction, but rather by a gentle and innocent neglect that gives them an uncertain beauty. So no to burnt-out hatchbacks, yes to abandoned horse boxes with trees growing out the roofs. Which brings me to Church Lane. Leicester cares for its cast-iron street signs (I've seen blokes up ladders painting them) and it won't be long before this example gets the once-over. It's on a wall in Knighton next to the eyecatching Queen Anne-style gate lodge to the hall. But on closer inspection I noticed that the rust on the sign is an exact match for the colour of the brickwork. How does this happen? Is it that I saw it at the precise moment in time that the deepening rust matched, and next month it won't? There's got to be an obvious answer that I can't see. And it isn't that the wall and sign have all been painted from the same tin. The brick is brick. Oh, pass me a beaker of WD40.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)