Friday, January 30, 2015

Thaxted, Essex


Weather forecats

Plain vanes or pennants often, fish now and then, foxes and hounds, ships, and human figures occasionally, and the ubiquitous cockerel more frequently than not; sometimes a stag, a horse, or a beast from the field of heraldry; a dragon or grasshopper or two. That list sums up the iconography of weather wanes (or wind vanes, or weathercocks, as in ‘That weathercock’s a fish!’), though no doubt my readers can think of some more examples.

There are also a few weather vanes that are famously unique landmarks: Old Father Time at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Sir Cloudesley Shovel’s ship The Rodney at Rochester, Erasmus seated the wrong way round on a horse in Whitechapel.

My picture shows one that’s more humble than these examples, and far from unique. But I’ve not often come across feline weathervanes, so wanted to share this cat in Thaxted, set on his pleasantly scrolly mount. His tail is scrolly too, and his markings admirable, although I wondered when I saw him if they had faded from a deeper ginger. Whether or not that’s so, he still stands guard effectively, catching the eye, and the wind.

2 comments:

Sabina said...

In the early '70's, I walked the City of London with the aid of a 1946 tourists' guide in which I recall reading the charming story of the Gresham grasshopper weathervane atop the Royal Exchange; sadly, I could find no vantage point from which to view it.
(I visited every church in the City, and all the old pubs, including one with an extant snug and another which still had its adjoining music hall intact. I agree with Johnson, that one who is tired of London, is tired of Life!)

Philip Wilkinson said...

Sabina: Indeed. London is full of endless fascination.

I'm also a fan of old guidebooks, which are often sources of out of the way information and fascinating insights. One of these days I'll start a Dead Guidebooks Society...