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Early One Morning
by michael - 12:02 on 25 July 2006
Yes, early one morning, July 21st to be precise I decided to take my camera for a walk round the village. Well, I say early, it was about 6am when I set off but I suspect the farmers were probably about to stop work by then for their mid-morning break. I headed in a northerly direction along The Street.......... (By the way, left click on any picture for an enlarged view.)
Coming first upon the village hall. It does look a little dated now externally but it was built originally in 1929 by Horace Webster a local carpenter. Inside it has recently been fitted with a new kitchen area and has had considerable money spent on it over the past few years. It also has a raised stage, ideal for plays or any form of speaking to an audience. Sadly it does get hit by the occasional vandalism but it is always rapidly put right.
A much more modern building houses the school. It was a beautiful morning and the front of the building was totally bathed in sunlight - schools always strike me as a little strange when there are no children about but now around 6:15am is probably just a tad too early for them. (The school does have its own web site so click here for the latest information on school activities.)
I moved on along The Street and must admit some surprise as I looked along a track on my left hand side to find this little fellow enjoying an early breakfast although I suspect he'd been munching since dawn broke. In my ignorance I didn't expect to find livestock in
Caston as the whole village has been turned over to arable farming. Milk production ceased sometime in the 1960's and beef production went with the BSE crisis of the 1990's. Still perhaps this little chap is a family pet.
I turned off along Northacre with the sun hidden behind a tree, the early morning mist looked visible but it was really nothing more than a trick of the camera. The morning air was really beginning to warm up by now. I moved along under the trees and was suddenly startled by the flapping of wood pigeon wings. Thinking about it I don't know who was startled most - the wood pigeon or me.
Well, this was my only real companion so far and he followed me some way along the road but by the fearsome look in his eyes and the way he was stalking me, I wasn't sure if he thought I was trying to muscle in on his territory - he clearly doesn't see too many people walking at this hour. I moved swiftly on.
Not a pub now of course the various landlords of the Black Horse served beer here for over 125 years before finally closing its doors in June 1962. As I stood looking I pondered how the site might have looked in the late 1800's before the car, television, radio, cinema, out of town shopping areas and other places where people gather today. Here would have been the meeting place where local villagers walked or rode in their hay carts. Here was where the news of the village was spread from one to another and pubs were popular enough that Caston with a population of no more than 450 or so was able to support around five or six at the time.
Moving on along Northacre I spied my second vehicle of the morning. The first had been the milk float that had zoomed past with a cheery wave from the driver - he probably thought I was one of his customers. The tractor however was definitely going nowhere - at least not
Now at the end of Northacre I turned right along Carbrook Road and you know, this is what Caston is all about. Just look at the sheer beauty of the open field on a fine summer morning, bathed in glorious sun, with the church in the distance just peeping over the trees. That's a sight I would never want to lose. With its large skies this is the delight of the Norfolk countryside and the very reason I love living here.
Turning away from Carbrook Road along the Attleborough Road and....what's this? Come on England! Oh no, he doesn't know, nobody's told him! Ah well, perhaps I'll leave him in
ignorance - I don't think he'd appreciate a caller at this hour.
Up to the village green and here is Church Farm with its northern gable believed unique in England. The brickwork here resembles that of the 15th century found in buildings in the Baltic and North Sea coast of Europe. Uniquely, You can clearly see the 11 bricked panels that never were windows and you can see that the gable was twice raised in height. The roof timbers date from 1500.
As I swing round I'm surprised it's taken me something like an hour and a quarter to cover just two miles. Still the sun shines, this time from behind the church tower. The clock I'm reminded was first installed in 1854 at a cost of £49 10s 0d. The face was repainted in 1930 but by 1950 it needed replacing. The new face at that time then cost £125 and it is that 1950 face that you see today. The clock itself no longer chimes the hours but I'm not sure when it stopped doing so or whether it's due to wear and tear or popular demand.
And so I've now gone full circle but as much as we so enjoy these sunny days it's clear how the crops must be suffering - this stream which burbles along so happily for most of the year is now down to the slightest trickle and if we don't get some rain soon it will dry up completely. Let's hope the crops aren't suffering too badly.
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