Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Graveyard Tree

Well Happy Halloween... This is a pumpkin free area!

This is a Yew from St James church. Yews are known as the Graveyard Tree as they are so often seen in church grounds - did someone plant them there for a reason?

Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.


Well it's actually the other way around, someone planted the church where the yew was growing. The yew was a sacred tree to our pagan ancestors so when we started to build somewhere to worship it made sense to build where we'd been praying for centuries.

The Oldest Tree?

The Fortingall Yew Tree in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, Scotland is estimated as being between 3,000 and 5,000 years old. According to Alan Meredith, a man who has devoted his life to collecting information about Yews and campaigning on their behalf, the tree may be even older than this, possibly up to 9000 years.
The usual scientific ways of dating a tree, by counting the annual rings in the trunk or by carbon dating, are not accurate when it comes to Yews. The trees have a complex growth pattern and may stop growing (and putting on annual rings) for long periods of time. The Totteridge Yew in Herefordshire was measured in 1677 by Sir John Cullum as having a girth of 26 ft at 3 ft from the ground. When Alan Meredith made the measurement in 1982 and 1991 it was still the same. There had been no growth in width in 314 years, even though the tree is very much alive!
Another Yew, which was carbon dated as being 187 years old, was known to a 1000 years old from historical evidence!
The Yew has an astounding ability to recover and re-grow when it has been damaged, even if humans think the tree 'has had it'.. It can therefore be said, without exaggeration, (certainly from a human point of view) that the Yew can live forever. There is no biological reason why the tree should die.
Tradition also has it that Pontius Pilate was born here to a local woman, whilst his father, a Roman official, was on a mission from Caesar to a Caledonian King. It is said that the man who later had Jesus Christ crucified, played in this tree as a child.
This most venerable of trees grows in the Fortingall church yard, which is open all year long. No admission charge.

Pretty amazing huh!

Anyway to the Tune...

It had to be Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds today - he was made for Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

St Mary Magdelen Church

Whoo hahhhaaaa.....

Nearly Halloween folks!

This is taken in the grounds of the wonderful St Mary Magdalen church, smack bang in the centre of Taunton, our church since 1308.
I will take some serious photos in here when I can but for now you can do a lot worse than look at their own website.

Hope everyone is well advanced in their preparations for Halloween, now where did I put my Trick or Treaters tripwires....

Taunton Spooky Daily Tune today is 'Aisha' by Death in Vegas.

'Aisha, we only just met but I think you ought to know; I'm a murderer'.... Enjoy!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

St. James Close Almshouses

This is St. James Close a row of almshouses attached to St. James church.

They are lovely terraced houses administered by a charity in town for the elderly or infirm. I am not sure when they were built but they were refurbished in 1969 so are probably due for a bit of work right now.

The are actually in the grounds of the church, the tombstones of the graveyard go pretty much up to the front doors! Guess this is the start of a bit of a halloween theme... ;)

Ok, Taunton Daily Tune time...
Today we have Roots Manuva with 'Witness' a great bit of UK hip hop, the highlight for me has always been when he rhymes 'cheese on toast', your typical US rappers use different material!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Brick and Paint

Found this peeling paint on a brick wall a couple of days ago in a hidden corner of a car park.

I love the contrast and the colours but it wasn't until I was walking away that the similarity with a world map struck me. With a bit of cleaning up and some trickery in Gimp this could be made into a great map. I'll put it into the 'to do' pile.

The Taunton Daily Tune is Goldfrapp with Strict Machine - great retro electronica!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Post Office Red

Or, as in this case, a dreadful weathered shade of pink!

This is 'my' Post Box, obviously it isn't mine but it's the one where my post goes.
How long has this box been here? Well it is an old one isn't it - I initially thought it would be 1936-1952 in the reign of George VI but the cypher looks like it belongs to George V 1910-1936. I may be wrong but I thing George VI cypher would read G VI R. Some further research is needed I think, watch this space...

Incidentally, while we are talking monarchy- take a look at the crown. That is the 'Kings Crown' worn between 1901 and 1952 by Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI. It was, however, created for Queen Victoria when she became Empress of India - she didn't like it though as it was too heavy. Instead she, and now Queen Elizabeth II, chose 'Victoria's Crown' which is actually 'St Edwards Crown' made for male monarchs well before Queen Victoria.

Ok, a new feature... Taunton Daily Tune! This is where you get subjected to whatever my iPod threw at me on my trip to work
Today it's...

Aztec Camera - Good Morning Britain

Released in 1990 on the album 'Stray' this is Roddy Frame and the boys back to their best - with Mick Jones featuring on this tune how could it fail?
Well it got to number 19... Not bad I suppose.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This the fence behind my house, I was out there this evening looking for some brick patterns when I spotted this. It's the ubiquitous lap panel fencing but the way it is ageing with the moss growing on it looked very appealing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Cricket Museum

Bit of a snapshot this but as I've been out of town I have run short on pictures.

This is the cricket museum and I am afraid I don't know that much about it, shocking really s it is less than 100 metres from my house - I am on holiday next week I will make an effort to visit and let you know what's what.

It adjoins the cricket ground, sensible really - I will sneak on there next week and get those photos I mentioned in an earlier post. I am friendly with the Chief Executive so I may get inside and take some photos of the places the public doesn't get to see.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Tone into Town!

Not a great shot because of the blurring due to a. me having a rubbish camera. b. it was very dark. c. I am rubbish! However I do like the light and the colours.
This is the River Tone again, this time from Priory Bridge looking into town.
The 'Beer Can Tree' is on the left hand side!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Not the Bin!

I wanted to cook Stroganoff for dinner tonight so this morning I walked to the shops to buy mushrooms.
On the way home, walking along the river Tone I spotted this beer can stashed in the crook of a tree. I've seen it before, several times; each time I shake my head and tut to myself

"Why would someone go to the effort of putting the can into the tree instead of one of the many rubbish bins nearby?"

Then I walk on, bemoaning the state of the human race... I should realy just pick it up and put it in the bin myself!

A prize to the first Tauntonian to find my beer tree and remove it.

The Walnut Tree

This is the Walnut tree I mentioned in an earlier post, it is growing hard against a wall next to quite a busy road. Not an ideal location but it is fruiting really heavily so it can't be doing too badly.
If you look centre right on the picture you can see a nut emerging from its case, ready to fall to the road and be smashed to pulp by a passing car!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


It was carnival night tonight in Taunton.
About 70 floats in total, ranging from huge affairs with well choreographed dancers to little hand pushed displays with one or two children dancing.
The carnival season down here started on the 19th of August in Sturminster Newton and concludes on the 13th of November in Weston-Super-Mare after about 25 events.
This is the 41st consecutive year that the carnival has come to Taunton but the first time I have seen it as I have only been here around 18 months..
The people on the floats must have some serious staying power, I would not want to be dancing around Somerset in October and November in a state of partial undress!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Priory Lodge

This is Priory Lodge, only a few metres from the house in the last post.

The house looks really impressive from the front, it has a lovely walled garden and a row of quirky houses, Priors Row, to one side.

I might show the house from the front at some point but I love this side view, hidden from view to all but the snooper, because of the colour contrast between the ivy on the wall in the foreground and the red climber on the house.

Apparently Taunton had its priory built in 1125 but moved it in 1158 so the fact that this is called Priory Lodge is purely because of its location on the old site.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


This is an end of terrace house in Priory Avenue here. It is a good looking house in its own right, but now with this fantastic vine heavy with grapes it is quite spectacular.
I don't know how normal it is for grapes to be growing on the side of houses but I am sure it's the first time I've seen it!
This house is right next to the County Cricket Ground, as is mine - some photos of the ground will follow I am sure.

Just a few metres from where I shot this house is a great Walnut tree, the nuts are dropping all over the road and path at the moment, I have not tried eating one yet but when I get to one before a car does I will let you know how they taste.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

River Tone and Railway Depot

Well, the first photo. Not exactly glamorous but it is very local to me, a sight I see regularly.

The grid reference is 323500,125500 looking north.

It is the junction of the River Tone & the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, the red-brick building is an old British Railway depot, the railway runs alongside, it's a nice indicator that you have seconds to go before reaching Taunton Station.
The water in the foreground looks quite polluted, lots of debris floating around but I am not sure if that is an indicator as there does seem to be a lot of wildlife about. Swans Ducks and Coots are all over the place.
There are some great paths around here, good for walking or running but it is very close to the scene of a recent murder so it would not be my route of choice right now.

Please leave comments and corrections.


Well, here goes...

Tomorrow, or in fact later today I hope to start the blog.

Why? Inspired by the photo blog of my hometown Hyde http://hydedailyphoto.blogspot.com/

Wish me luck!

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