Thursday, October 22, 2015
Hook Norton, Oxfordshire
Back and forth
I’ve been to the delightful village of Hook Norton in Oxfordshire quite a few times, although the fact that I drive there means that I don’t usually take immediate advantage of the place’s best product: the beer proceed by the excellent Hook Norton Brewery. I’ve visited the brewery though and taken beer away with me to enjoy. And I’ve been to the church, the Baptist chapel, and one of the pubs, as well as just just stopping and staring or passing though. It was on one such passing, in a friend’s car on a cloudy day and en route to refreshment elsewhere, that I first saw this sight: an interesting piece of motoring history to add to my virtual collection of old petrol pumps. I had to go back when the sun was shining, and have done so twice since, on neither occasion getting quite the photograph I wanted, although the one above comes close.
On the day I took the photograph, the workshop door was open, so I peered inside and was greeted by the owner, who told me that the globe once belonged to a garage tucked not far behind this building. After it closed, the man I was talking to swapped the globe for a decent bottle of whisky and mounted it on his wall, where it remains near the old pump as an ornament to the street and a reminder of a bit of village history. The red colour on the shell-shaped Dieso-Shell globe has almost gone now, but its very fading quickly alerted me to the fact it was an original and not one of the many reproductions that are about, good as these are. How heartening that there are people around to save these scarce traces of the past.