study of the stonework on the Dairy threw up two interesting finds.
Firstly on the inner wall of the livestock shelter we found a
remarkable piece of graffiti: a horse or donkey, its body shaded
in with vertical stripes giving it something of the look of a zebra!
The block was clearly reused as the poor beast was nose down, I've
turned the photo through 90 degrees to give a better view of it all.
There are plenty of other marks on the stone, is it all part of a
countryside scene with fields and fences?
We have also been puzzling over some reused stone blocks on the outer
wall.The faces have been carefully finished in a style known as tooled
work using a special form of chisel called a claw boaster. Most of the
faces of the stones are dressed with vertical furrows but the vertical
edges are marked with horizontal dressing to a width of around 50 mm. I
searched in vain for other local examples then found three exact
parallels at Chiswick House
! What does it all mean?
The continuing run of fine mild weather really made October and November particularly productive, here are few more snippets:Illicit Pig Roasting at Farnborough?
of the advantages of going over the ground repeatedly is you get the
opportunity to see things that were previously overgrown. Several weeks
earlier Peter Braybrook, a volunteer, and myself had been making
our way round to the north side of the Canal when in the small patch of
woodland next to the road we stumbled upon a scatter of bones. These
were clearly pig bones from an extremely robust individual. What on
earth were they doing here? Late night pig roasting? We certainly were
not aware of any pig farming going on in the immediate vicinity. then
local inquiries unearthed the tale that several years ago a wild boar
had escaped from a farm further north into Warwickshire but more
than that a local resident reported running in to such a beast
(literally) in a car. Could these be the bones of the boar who, having
been struck by a vehicle, dragged himself off into the undergrowth to
die? Only the major bones remain presumably the lesser ones
were scattered or dragged off by scavengers. In addition some of the
bones show clear indications of gnawing. the marks look rather large
for rats, would something like a badger chew on pig bones?
of the wild boar?
Close up of gnawed boneGraffiti Revealed
had long been aware to the graffiti carved into the parapet of the
bridge on the lane to Banbury but late in November, on a particularly
fine sunny morning, Chris Mitchell was able to take some remarkable
close ups of the engraved letters, numbers and other marks. It is a
valuable record to have and we hope at some time in the future to use
various bits of image enhancing software to aid in their reading.And now a word from our sponsor...
really, actually that's not such a bad idea.... Anyway my old VW
Polo was approaching the end of its useful life and we made the
decision to change it for something more productive. Several years ago
I had owned one of the Suzuki 'mini-jeeps' : the Samurai and had used
it in effect as a small pick-up truck. Designed for the jungles of
South-east Asia these light weight, narrow beamed vehicles had a
reputation for going places other 4 x 4s couldn't reach. So a call to
the local Suzuki garage at Long Hanborough revealed that they had a
number of the updated version - the Jimny- for sale, second hand. We
came away with a remarkable vehicle which had had the rear seats
removed and a boot liner and dog guard installed which struck us as
ideal for toting around the equipment we need to work in increasingly
remote sectors of the park. With a four wheel drive vehicle we could
treat it as a kind of tool box on wheels and take it wherever we were
working. To complement the existing fittings I also bought a set of
roof bars and bolted onto that the kind of pipe carrier you see on
plumbers' vans to store the ranging poles and a couple of ladder clamps
as well. The only downside with this Jimny is that the previous owner
had it pimped to within an inch of its life so that every conceivable
part that could be chromed has been chromed plus it has front bars,
side bars and a rear spoiler! Watch out for it on the road, there's
nothing else quite like it around.