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Tony Grist

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Toddington [Aug. 25th, 2015|10:13 am]
Tony Grist
"Where do you want to stop for lunch?" asked Ailz. We were driving up the M1 at the time.

"How about here." I said.

Here was Toddington in South Bedfordshire- not the services- but the village nearby. I mean, why stop at the services when there are proper villages with proper shops and pubs and interesting things to see?

Toddington has a large village green with pubs all the way round. According to wikipedia it used to have more pubs per head of the population than any other village in England. Then some of them closed. Then a new one opened this year because what Toddington really needs is more pubs.

We went into the new pub because it was nearest to where we'd parked the car. It's called The Cuckoo and it has real ale and cider and a Victorian cuckoo in a glass case. If we're ever in Toddington again I'll go back there. I had a half of St Albans ale because I always like to drink as local as I can.

I'm on a mission to photograph the whole of Britain (not doing too badly actually) so of course I took pictures of Toddington. Pity the light wasn't better. The church doesn't make it into Simon Jenkins' book of the 1000 best but it has a medieval priest's house attached which is the only one of its kind in the country.






This is the priest's house. Cosy, eh?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2015-08-25 09:36 am (UTC)
Great pics despite the weather!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 09:41 am (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2015-08-25 09:56 am (UTC)
If you can stil find a pub in a village in England, then you're better off then here. Most of the taverns in the villages in this country didn't survive the years after the Reunification. The small shops did so too. Except for if it's a larger village where one of the bigger supermarket chains felt their pity aroused to place one of their stores...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 10:50 am (UTC)
Pubs are closing all over- especially in urban areas. These days people prefer to drink at home. All the same, most villages still manage to support at least one. Our village in Kent- which isn't that large- has three- one of them a so-called "gastro-pub" which serves very expensive meals.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2015-08-25 12:04 pm (UTC)
Okay, when it's caused by drinking at home, then it makes sense that this happens noticeably in urban areas and not nessecarily in villages (as one might think first).
Well, here it happened totally the opposite. Everything in the villages died out - nessecary to say, on the East German side. I can't speak for what once was on the other side of the border on the West German side. (I would only guess it happened similar, only in much earlier times, and depending on how much of rural rebuilding they did at all after the war.)
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2015-08-25 12:19 pm (UTC)
I do like the priest's house...is it possible to look inside?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 04:46 pm (UTC)
I don't know. It was a Sunday and they were doing something esoteric in the church so I only got to see the outside.
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From: artkouros
2015-08-25 12:56 pm (UTC)
Lovely old stone. But, the M1? I thought that was a size of screw. This metric thing is incredibly confusing.

We have a thing that claims to be an English pub called the Cock and Bull. But seeing as it's in a modern strip shopping mall I don't think it counts. And it's more restaurant than pub. We do have a nice wine bar though.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 04:49 pm (UTC)
M stands for motorway- which is the equivalent (I think) or your interstate. The M1 was (unsurprisingly) Britain's very first motorway.

If there's a bar and they sell beer over it then it passes muster as a pub. Pubs are often ancient and picturesque but they don't have to be.
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[User Picture]From: puddleshark
2015-08-25 01:59 pm (UTC)
The priest's house is wonderful!

Can't see a chimney though - it can't have been that cosy!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 04:58 pm (UTC)
You've got me stumped there. About the chimney, I mean. wikipedia says chimneys didn't start appearing on domestic buildings until the 16th century- and this is surely earlier. I wonder how they heated a house like this. With braziers? Did it originally have a thatched roof through which smoke would have percolated?
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[User Picture]From: lora_diary
2015-08-25 02:15 pm (UTC)

Great photos. It reminded me the photo, which I took last august in Chigwell where I've lived. I was happy there.



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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2015-08-25 02:31 pm (UTC)
Lovely photos. I wish more of our small towns had a village green. Some of them have parks, but they're not quite the same. There's one in Princeton (smallish) and there are quite a few in New England.

Philadelphia is now awash in gastropubs. There's one a little over a block away from us, owned by our former next-door neighbor.

The priest's house is small, but how big would a priest's house have to be? Kitchens under, bed-sitter over, an entire church to use as your lounge if you need it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 05:02 pm (UTC)
Village greens are nice. Our village- Matfield- has the largest in the county.

Pubs are good too.

The priest's house has three floors. Not bad for a single man. I guess he'd have had a servant or housekeeper.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 04:59 pm (UTC)
Nice. That's a typically English church.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2015-08-25 02:32 pm (UTC)
Also: what does the obelisk on the green commemorate?
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From: cmcmck
2015-08-25 04:30 pm (UTC)
That'll be the war memorial- they are often that shape and style in the UK.

Usually WW1 with WW2 names added later.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2015-08-25 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's the war memorial. Every community in Britain has one.
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