Bunking Off Gardening

We had made plans for yesterday but decided that because the weather was so nice and it was the last weekend day before the new half term began, we would ditch the gardening and wallpapering and head over to Coggeshall for an antique and collector’s fair.  It is reputedly the most haunted village in Essex and you can imagine some 17th century ghast roaming the beautiful old properties.

I only took a few pics as we headed back to the car but they give you a flavour of the place.

I would love to live here…

This is the little entrance to the courtyard of the cafe where we had tea and cake – it is a mini nursery!  You can buy cake and plants…genius!

Apparently though, Coggeshall hasn’t always been associated with such good ideas, Wikipedia tells us,

The saying “A Coggeshall job” was used in Essex from the 17th to the 19th century to mean any poor or pointless piece of work, after the reputed stupidity of its villagers. There were numerous stories of the inhabitants’ ridiculous endeavours, such as chaining up a wheelbarrowin a shed after it had been bitten by a rabid dog, for fear it would go mad. John Ray‘s 1670 Collection of English Proverbs gives the following rhyme:

Braintree for the pure,
Bocking for the poor;
Coggeshall for the jeering town,
And Kelvedon for the whore.

The phrase is said to have originated one day when Coggeshall’s town clock chimed 11 times at noon. When the villagers heard that the town clock at Lexden had struck 12 times at 11 o’clock, they rode to the town to collect the missing stroke.[37] Other jobs included winching up a cow onto the church roof to eat the grass growing there, knocking down one of two windmills as there would not be enough wind for both of them, attempting to divert the course of the river with hurdles, hanging sheets over roads to prevent the wind from blowing disease into the town, chopping the head off a lamb to free it from a gate, removing stairs from a house to stop flood water entering and some appropriated from other ‘fool centres’, for example the classic ‘fishing for the moon’.

Finn managed to find a few interesting coins at the collector’s fair and I found a Kokeshi doll which I have been collecting for a little while.  Jane @northernteacher asked me how many I have so I thought I’d show you my little collection of Creative Kokeshi,

Finn got me this one for Christmas,

and this one was a recent purchase from ebay,

whilst this little beauty is the doll I found yesterday.

Kokeshi dolls originate from northern Japan and are thought to have been sold as souvenirs to people who visited the hot springs in the north of the country.  Often they are gifted to children and babies as each doll signifies qualities the giver endows on the child such as innocence, long life, happiness etc.  The decoration on the bodies of the doll often depict traditional Japanese symbols such as cranes, chrysanthemum’s, cherry blossom etc, all which have meaning.  For instance cherry blossom denotes accomplishment and beauty of heart, also gentleness and kindness whilst the crane represents good fortune and longevity.  It is also known as the bird of happiness.  The peony is a symbol of good fortune, bravery and honour.

So yesterday was a fun day…we managed to combine Japanese culture, roman coins, American gaming tokens, a George VI commerative coronation coin and a massive pot of good old English tea in an Essex village whose inhabitants used to be considered thick as two short planks.  Of its present day inhabitants, I could not possibly comment…

6 Responses

  1. What a really interesting read, Jenn and thanks for showing off your Kokeshi dolls – I can see why you like them so much! I suppose they’re always dolls for girls… And just look at those houses!! Your part of the world obviously doesn’t deserve the bad press/stereotypical comments it’s often known by ;-)

  2. VegVamp says:

    What a great Blog Jenn, thank you. I love your little Kokeshi dolls, I didn’t know anything about them either. The history of Coggeshall gave me a great laugh, but such a pretty place, with some beautiful buildings. Thanks again, you really brightened up my afternoon. :rose:

  3. cilla says:

    That was fascinating Jenn and it sounds like a lovely day out with rewards for everyone. They are beautiful buildings…..shame about the inhabitants ;-) . I had never heard of those dolls, either, and they are very attractive. Essex is on our list of places to visit so we would certainly visit Coggleshall as well as Audley End and Beth Chatto.

  4. gertie says:

    Now I have to revisit Jenn :lol: … what fun you had and some finds too. That was very interesting… thank you :good: :rose:

  5. Looks like a fascinating place to visit, think I could fit in there on some of my odd days :giggle: Glad you had a good day.
    Your little dolls are so cute a lovely collection :good: . :rose:

  6. shedsue says:

    Lovely to read and see Jen :good: ..Those little dolls are great :good: …Meaningful too, I looked them up : …and its great Finn is collecting too, when we were young, it was usually stamps, but then it became cards from comics that were more luck than choice and swapping …So its really good he is collecting and taking an interest. (good job its not anything huge..LOL)..

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