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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Gilmorton

Gilmorton is an ancient village in South Leicestershire with a population of about a thousand souls. When William the Conqueror commissioned the Domesday Book in 1086, the village had just 140 inhabitants. The name means “Golden Town on the Moor”. Now, the nearest moor is at Bradgate, 20 miles to the north. The fields around the village are as flat as a pancake.

We went for a walk with some friends from the village and I noticed the plethora of little people, gnomes.

This is the strange gateway to the churchyard. Look for the gnomes at the very top of the pyramid
Magnified magnificent gnomes
Here is a gnome on top of a Royal Mail pillar box. He is even wearing a Royal Mail hat.
This green door has a fancy portico, upon which there are some gnomes on display. And another on the window sill.
A closer view
Spot the gnome

Apparently there is an activity called “gnoming”, where gnomes are stolen/ taken from their gardens and photographs of their adventures are sent back to their owners. Occasionally, this makes the national news, especially when the prodigal gnome returns home (“Gnome at Last”).

In France, there is an organisation called the Front de Liberation des Naines de Jardin (Garden Gnome Liberation Front). Activists kidnap gnomes and release them into the wild or even more bizarrely, hang them from a bridge in a mass suicide pact.*

In the 2001 film “Amelie” (starring Audrey Tatou), her father is bereaved and to cheer him up, she gives one of his garden gnomes to a friend who is an air stewardess. She sends him photographs of his gnome in exotic locations which he has never been able to visit.

Wikipedia says the practice began in the 1970s when Henry Sunderland took two of his own garden gnomes, Harry and Charlie, to Antarctica where he photographed them in the snow.

Enough of gnomes, more doors:

White House Farm (1801) used to be one of the half dozen active farms in the village. Only two remain.
This is Gilmorton Farmhouse, rather splendid with white pillars and iron arrow fencing
Naturally, farms have farmyards, accessed by wide white gates.
The Old Homestead

Finally, I thought that the brick lettering above this shop was more interesting that the door beneath it.

Clayton Willey Grocer – who needs a sign writer when you have brick art like this?

Merry Christmas to you all!

*Talking of mass suicide pacts, those of you with a Netflix subscription can check out the True Crimes series of the Burari Hangings – gruesome, but just a few miles from where I worked at the Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic in North Delhi four years ago. Well worth a watch.

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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors – Angel Finale

To end this series of doors in Islington, I present the spectacular folding doors of the Fire Brigade.

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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Angel 3

Quirky doors from Islington.

Soccer star
Stainless steel door, mosaic step, vintage sign – for up to date prices, switch £ for D.
Just popped out for 10 minutes
Futuristic door
Second hand shop – Fashion Saves Lives
Zebra Crossing, with Belisha Beacon and a pair of rented cycles. Old Parr’s Head
Grrrr!
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Angel 2

More lovely doors from this trendy quartier of London.

The ridges on the door are mirrored by the bars on the window. A pleasant park is just around the corner.
Blue doors under a plaster canopy.
Shades of Rene Magritte – “This is not number 22A” (ceci n’est pas … The Treachery of Images)
Faded glory. Tender loving care and restoration needed here.
There we go, look how good the previous door could look
This is a bank. If cell phones fail, there are always carrier pigeons on hand.
Mexican restaurant
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Double

I am still showing photographs of doors in the Angel, Islington. These are all double.

Dusky pink and navy blue
Pretty fanlight above 21
Dove grey and sage green
Where are the handles?
Double gates, rather than doors.
Unity and Tango Lessons
Rather handsome double doors with a rounded bay window between them
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Angel

On the corner of Pentonville Road and Islington High Street there has been a building called the Angel for over four centuries. The present building has been restored and stands above the Angel Underground Station. I went walkabout in the area last Sunday and took pictures of some interesting doors.

This rather blurry photo of a door was taken from a distance with a smart phone. I particularly like the fanlight.

The main street, running north – south, was the route taken by herdsmen driving their livestock from farms north of London to the huge meat market at Smithfield. In the 17th century, 30,000 beasts a week made their last journey past these doors.

This fine portico protects a door with etched glass designs. I think that the holes at the base of the pillars contained a metal bar which you used to scrape the mud off your boots.
Upper House (House of Wolf) has some interesting woodwork on the fanlight above the door on the extreme right hand side of the picture, by the lady with the yellow skirt
Islington Town Hall, in all its glory
On Cross Street, this is Perkins & Co Ltd. Although the actual door is nothing to write home about, the glazed brown and orange tiles are splendid. Look above the door to see the frieze between the windows.
This house is on five floors. I like the creeper which covers the walls. The blue door is plain, but the pink door of the neighbouring house is interesting, with the black portico.
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Life Thursday Doors Zambia

Thursday Doors Appeal

If you have been following my contributions to Thursday Doors over the years, you will know that I do voluntary work as a doctor overseas. Last year I was working at Kakumbi Rural Health Centre in Eastern Province, Zambia. It was distressing to see the lack of medical care for people with severe mental illness, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Their families would look after them as best they could; but if the patients became violent or started destroying property, this support could end. Patients would roam around the village, clearly very disturbed, behaving inappropriately (throwing stones at vehicles, wandering about naked).

Thursday’s door – torn off its hinges during a violent outburst by the man wearing white trousers. He has a long history of bipolar disorder. Neighbours managed to subdue him and chained him to the door to prevent him from doing more damage to people and property. They felt there was nothing else they could do. However, with mood stabilising medication, he is now able to lead a normal life.

Unfortunately, the Zambian Health Service has been unable to provide medication to treat this group of patients. I started treating them using very basic psychiatric medication which I bought from a local pharmacy (with some financial help). These patients need long term medication and if the supply were to stop, they are likely to relapse and become very unwell. So last year I asked my friends on Facebook if they would like to contribute and I raised over £1000. All this money has now been used up, purchasing medication locally for over 20 patients.

Drs Keith and Ginny Birrell (from North East England) are currently volunteering in Kakumbi. They have expanded the pool of patients to include people suffering from epilepsy and children with learning disabilities. Some of their anecdotes follow:

They have treated a 14 year old boy suffering from epilepsy which was so disabling that it prevented him from attending school. With medication, he is now almost seizure-free and is keen to start school (although he will be twice the age of his classmates in Year 1).

With anti-psychotic medication, a 49 year old woman, who suffers from chronic schizophrenia, is no longer having hallucinations or having violent outbursts.

Walking and bicycling are the main ways people get about in rural Zambia. Cycling can be very dangerous for people living with epilepsy, but with regular medication seizures can be well controlled (if the patient feels an epileptic attack coming on, they have been trained how to stop, dismount and lie in a safe place). Being able to ride a bike because their epilepsy is well controlled might seem trivial, but to this group of patients it is a major improvement in their quality of life.

When patients are stable, Dr Keith is trying to reduce the dose of anti-psychotic medication – to reduce side effects, not to save money!

I am hoping to raise £2,500 to buy medication for this group of vulnerable and disadvantaged patients. (I have donated £100 instead of sending Christmas cards this year.)

Every donation will make a difference: you can donate via PayPal

Kakumbi Rural Health Centre, Eastern Province, Zambia

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Norfolk

Loddon is a picturesque village on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. It has expanded to the north across the River Chet to merge with another village, Chedgrave. Last weekend, I took some photographs of All Saints Church. A Christian community has been meeting in this medieval church for over a thousand years.

The porch has been added recently. Note the flint stones.
Inside the porch, there is a door to the church. The decorative surround original, but the door has been replaced.
Detail of the door: MD = 1500, CCC = 300, XIX = 29 giving a grand total of 1829
Inside the church – colourful kneelers and stained glass behind the altar
The weathered inscription on the gravestone is illegible, behind the teazels.

Walking back to the village, I noticed a tanning salon.

Leveche is a warm south-westerly wind which affects SE Spain in the summer. I wonder if clients leave the shop looking the same colour as the orange panels.

Norfolk is noted for the quirkiness of its inhabitants. “Normal for Norfolk” is a phrase sometimes used. I am not sure what to make of this picture of a man on a motorcycle wearing a rooster outfit.

But there is a bit of a door in the background…
Grasshopper in a red rose
Jaws?
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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Pun

Those of you who read the text accompanying my photographs of doors will know that I enjoy making puns. This is a brilliant name for a restaurant, unfortunately closed by covid restrictions, in Leicester Cultural Quarter.

Nineteen – gale, geddit?
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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors with Doc Martin

Not Doc Martin’s famous boots, but the TV character who practises in Port Wen (actually Port Isaac) in Cornwall. The actor, Martin Clunes, plays a surgeon who suffers from panic attacks when he sees blood. He leaves London to work as a family doctor in rural Cornwall, where there is less blood being shed. The village is swamped by tourists coming to the location which they will have seen on television.

Doc Martin’s front door

The village is very photogenic, with white houses clustered on the hillside around a small sheltered harbour. It would have been more sheltered if they had built the harbour wall in the right place.

Port Isaac, a fishing village established early in the 14th century

Nathan Outlaw is a two-star Michelin chef who has a restaurant in one of the oldest houses on the seafront, dating back to the 15th century. Only £80 for a superb tasting menu, with another £65 for the recommended bottle of wine to accompany the meal. And £3 donation for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Sample menu

Breaded Lemon Sole, Crispy Anchovies, Tandoori Mayonnaise

Cured Monkfish, Broad Beans, Ginger & Spring Onion Dressing

Red Gurnard, Sea Buckthorn, Chilli, Apple & Mint

Grey Mullet, Courgette & Cashew Nut Salad, Coriander Yoghurt

Bass, Smoked Hollandaise Sauce

Honey Ice Cream, Peanut, Rhubarb & Raspberries

Door to the fish market, known as the Pilchard Palace

Two hundred years ago, Port Isaac was famous for pilchards – oily fish like large sardines. The fish fed on plankton in the summer and autumn and could be netted in vast shoals.

In the fish cellars, men would pack layers of fish, separated by layers of salt, into barrels. Over the next month, the fish would be compressed to extract oil which was sent to be burned in London street lights. The pilchards would then be washed and packed in new barrels for export to Europe.

A barrel, or “hogshead”, could hold 3,000 fish. In a bumper year, the fishermen could fill 40,000 hogsheads. But stocks of pilchards dried up, so the fishermen switched to herrings. These were smoked on the quayside and sold as kippers or “fairmaids” (a corruption of “fumades”, Spanish for smoked fish).

Other doors in Port Isaac include:

The parish council building, 1911
Shelter from the rain outside this door
The Gallery or The Studio
Stable door, half open, half closed
Stable door, both halves closed
I love the slab of slate at the entrance to the Anchorage

The south west coastal path winds along the cliffs – Lobber, Pinehaven, Varley Head, Scarnor, Greengarden Cove and Kellan Head, westward to Port Quin. There are a few interesting doors in this tiny hamlet.

Acknowledgement – most of the information in this blog was taken from information boards in Port Isaac.