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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.

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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors Old King Cole

Old King Cole is a nursery rhyme, perhaps more common in the UK than in the USA. “He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl, and he called for his fiddlers three” etc. Well, some folks think Old King Cole was a Welsh King of Northern England, after the departure of the Romans. But the people of Bucks Mills in North Devon, think the rhyme is based on Richard Cole, the Lord of Woolfardisworthy (“Woolsery”), who built a harbour by blasting away rock on the beach and making a quay. This allowed ships to bring limestone and coal from South Wales to be processed in kilns built into the cliffs. Richard Cole died in 1614 and there is a monument to him in All Hallows Church, Woolfardisworthy.

Bucks Mills waterfall – not potable
The remains of the Old Quay at Bucks Mills in the foreground. In the middle ground is the Groin, built as a harbour, but the story is it was built by the devil as a road across the sea to Lundy Island. He gave up when the spade he was using (Devon) broke.
I think this is a raven on the rocks of the old harbour

There are some lovely doors in Bucks Mills (see previous posts) but here are some new (old) ones.

A door made from rough hewn timber. The metal handle is known as a “sneck”.
Leat Cottage is built over the stream running through the village and is the site of the original mill of Bucks Mills. Corn from the surrounding area and even as far as Lundy Island would be brought here to be ground into flour.

Rather than the traditional cock as a weathervane, here is a whale.

This is the weathervane of one of the houses in Bucks Mills. I know of no association of whaling with the village.
Oystercatchers flying through the misty gloom off Bucks Mills
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Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A beautiful September afternoon at the Sculpture Park. Not many doors there, but across the lake, in the forest there is a well.

Lady Eglinton’s Well

After Sir Thomas Wentworth’s death in 1675, his wife, Grace, had the life tenancy of Bretton Hall. She remarried four years later and became Countess of Eglinton. This doorway was built into the rock face beside a quarry on the estate. Springwater flowed under the door into a pool and a trough, from which the local people could collect potable water.

Above the entablature there is a tablet which explains this. Unfortunately, the limestone owl above it has disappeared.

If you would like to see some of the sculptures, let me know and I will post a collection (but not under the heading of Thursday Doors!).

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Life Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors in Leicester

Snapped with my cheap smartphone in the Cultural Quarter of the city, Orton’s Brasserie is a posh restaurant, a homage to the (in)famous playwright, Joe Orton. He was born in Leicester in 1933. He wrote “Entertaining Mr Sloane” and “Loot”. A film about his life, “Prick Up Your Ears” was released in 1987, twenty years after he was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell.

He borrowed books from a public library, altered the book covers with cheeky illustrations, then replaced them on the library shelves. For this, he was arrested by the police (well, it was 1962). There are plans to erect a statue of Orton in Orton Square, outside the Curve Theatre.

In the foreground there is a rocket, part of the “Rocket Round Leicester” trail of 40 colourful spaceships in the city as part of a fundraising scheme for the local hospice (Loros).

The Curve Theatre with reflections. And a naked policeman (wearing his helmet).
There is a door somewhere along this glass wall of the Curve Theatre.
The Curve from Southampton Street. Apart from the hanging baskets on the lamp posts, check out the shrubs growing high up on the walls of Alexandra House, the yellow stone building.

Alexandra House was built at the end of the 19th Century as a warehouse to store bootlaces (you needed four storeys to store laces?). The architectural historian, Pevsner, described Alexander House as one of the finest warehouses in the country. Faire Brothers & Co supplied shoelaces worldwide, with brands like “Old England” and “Jumbo”. During World War Two, despite being damaged by German bombers, the factory produced millions of parachute cords.

During the war, rubber was a scarce commodity, so Faire Bros. invented and produced the rubber-free “Natty Grip” fitting for suspender belts and “Gripknit” flexible corsetry for servicewomen (“Women in Action”). The building was converted to 175 apartments a few years ago.

Beautiful craftsmanship on the upper floors.
You don’t get wonderful street name signs like this anymore