Friday 13 March 2020

What Is It?

Here's another arresting sight from yesterday's walk. I came across this peculiarly ugly bench on a section of the North Downs Way, and stared at it for some while, trying to work out what, if anything, it is supposed to represent – some kind of science-fiction creature perhaps? In the end I concluded, tentatively, that it's meant to be an orchid – the North Downs are justly famed for their wild orchids – but it looks like no English orchid I know of. If that is indeed what it's meant to be, it graphically demonstrates two things: that orchids don't scale up at all well (nor do butterflies: elsewhere on the North Downs Way there's a dreadful giant Adonis Blue), and that there's something about long-distance footpaths that brings out the worst in woodcarvers.


  1. I'm just finishing the wonderful 'Orchid Trilogy' ('The Military Orchid, 'A Mine of Serpents' and 'The Goose Cathedral') by an author you are sure to know, Nige, Jocelyn Brooke. He really does come close to claiming the mantle of the English Proust. Much of it takes place on the Kent coast.

  2. I've only read the first of those, Guy, but I liked it very much. Brooke once nearly blew up C.E.M. Joad –

  3. Sigh. When I type a comment and hit preview, my typing in the comment box is erased with a whoosh. It's happened twice, so I'm not trying again for a while. This is just to say.

    Now I'll hit publish without preview and see what what is.

  4. Well that was surprisingly satisfactory. Here goes again with the comment I originally meant to make:

    The bench carving appears to intended to depict a bearded iris -- only nightmarishly distorted.

    No preview . . . fingers crossed . . .publish . . .

  5. Yes, that one made it, Baceseras! And it does look rather like a bearded iris, much distorted. I wish someone would come forward, admit to having carved the beastly thing, and tell us what they meant it to represent...