A sign

We’re back from Blighty and only have 8,000 photos to sort. Galleries get consistently high scores on this blog, so I’ll do a few more soon but here’s an amusing tale to tide you over.

Originally planning to visit Tewkesbury, we were put off by the B&B owner the night before. So on  a late change of plan, we were visiting Cirencester instead and had decided to do a circuit of the town before parking and going to the museum. On the way through, we passed this street and I nearly made a flippant comment about the name being some sort of omen.

Black Jack St, Cirencester

We located the museum, pub, public loos and market and found our way back to the parking, at the intersection of Ermine Street and the Foss Way. We got out of the car and walked straight in to an antique market. On the second table was this:

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Jack pictured having a picnic lunch at the amphitheatre while the bestiaritrix exercised their dogs.

The bloke wanted £25 and sort of tried to imply that it was an original. I’m 95% certain I’m now the proud owner of a Beabey jack that has only been used a dozen times. There was a slow leak due to a bubble in the pitch lining where the handle and base meet, but I fixed that earlier today. I’m sure there’s a moral in the story about signs and wonders somewhere but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

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Another Shoe Horn

I’m in Blighty at the moment, so this will be brief. We were in Stratford upon Avon, doing the Shakespeare thing today and found this shoehorn in the New Place Museum attached to Nash’s House. It dates to the period before Elizabeth’s death in 1603 and like everything else in the place, may (or may not) have belonged to someone who might have bumped shoulders with the Bard once in the street, or stepped over him when he was passed out, drunk beside the river.

The decoration is a little coarse, and  quite crude when compared with Mindum’s shoehorns of the same period. The central feature is the crowned Tudor rose, with the supporters a lion and a gryphon. The legend within the parallel lines is O LORDE SAVE QUEENE ELYZABETH. It has seen some use because the end has worn thin and there is a groove in the tip worn by the cord used to hold it.

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Front view

The work has obviously been done with the horn in its natural state, not flattened and reshaped as some texts suggest.

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Slightly to the right to show the natural curves of the horn