So. Happy New Year Everyone! After all the pies, Stilton and moshing over our cake to Metallica's Enter The Sandman, we go through the first gate into the first Unmitigated field of 2016. Above is a delight discovered on our Cheese Run. This entails getting lost (everytime, it's a Christmas Custom) in the quiet pastures of the Nottinghamshire / Leicestershire borders trying to find Colston Bassett. SatNav not allowed, we always seem to find ourselves facing the wrong way as Noddy Holder belts out Merry Christmas Everybody. (Noddy won't be drawn on what he makes every year, just says it's his winter fuel allowance.) But once the best Stilton in the world was stowed away we progressed to the tiny market town of Bingham. A town suffering somewhat from inappropriate out-of-scale development but still retaining good buildings around its market square. Except, as usual, for a Co-Op that pays no respect to anything around it.
But in a little side street were these gems on the frontage of J.Butler's butchers. It was, I think, still operational as a shop, but maybe not one with cows' and sheeps' heads knocking about. What I found amazing was that the two animals are on individual whole tiles, with a decorative border that's worthy of Walter Crane. (You can gauge their size by comparing them with the normal tiles surrounding them, which of course are square.) I think they're fabulous, and a reminder that there was once a time when the link between animals in the fields and the joints in our ovens wasn't so blurred.
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)