One fine winter's afternoon in 1997 I came across Bould's garage in King's Cliffe in Northamptonshire. It had been closed for some time, and is now, of course, replaced by a bijou selection of stone-faced houses in this 'sought after village'. I'm so glad I recorded its final few months. It became the reference for a Christmas card I did where I stuck enamel signs all over that blank front wall, but I love the freeze-frame of the past it gives, just as it was when it closed. The National sign with the stylised Mercury head, together with the optimistic 'petrol 24 hours', a Smurf poster (oh no), the faded Castrol dispenser in the doorway and an equally non-confidence building M.O.T sign in the window. Commentator Diplomat has given me a sworn affidavit that he turned up for petrol here and bought a road atlas that had been in the window for about ten years. He was somewhat taken aback to be charged full price for an object whose cover details had faded to almost nothing. Next door was a collection of wrecked cars and vans that I also photographed, but you will all have to eat up your greens if I'm to show it off. Anyway, what exactly was the Smurf thing all about?
Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire
1 day ago