Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Weathervanes

Weather vanes are ornamental instruments used to show the direction of the wind and can be found on the highest point of a building.  Early versions had either cockerels, ships or horses as the main feature of the weather vane, with the letters N (North), E (East), S (South), W (West) represented the compass points of the wind direction.  Weather vanes work by having the main feature with a larger surface area at the opposite end of the directional arrow.  So that when the wind catches the larger surface area this is blown away from the wind direction, so that the smaller end with the pointer faces into the wind.

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Sheringham on the Norfolk Coast of England, is well known for its coast and history of fishing, especially for crabs, so it was no surprise to find this lovely weather vane featuring a ship.  This type of ship was known as a 'Steam Drifter' steam being the propulsion used to power the ship.  The small sail at the back, know as a 'mizzen sail' was used only to steady the ship when the fishing nets were out.  The mast at the front was used as a crane for lifting the catch ashore.  The nautical theme is completed with the fish shaped compass points at the bottom.  I can also assure you that the weather vane was accurate, as the day I took this photo, there was a very cold, strong, easterly wind blowing!


The next weather vane can be found on top of the Maltings, on the waterfront of the historic city of Ely, England.  The weather vane features a malt shovel, representing the Maltings origins as a Victorian Brewery, built in 1868 for the production of Ale.  In this design of weather vane the handle of the shovel also doubles as the arrow indicating the direction of the wind and again I can confirm that it was another cold easterly wind blowing.  As you can see from the poop underneath the weather vane, this appears to be a good vantage point for local birds.


My fascination with weathervanes has meant I have started to notice more of them because I am looking for them.  Unfortunately a lot that I say are while we are driving past in the car and don't have the chance to stop, however I am starting to add more to my collection.  Here are another two recent finds.

Appropriately I found this one at Womack Staithe, Ludham, Norfolk, it depicts a Norfolk Wherry. The Norfolk Wherry is a sail and ore craft dating back to 1604.  They were small boats carrying passengers and small perishable cargo.  After 1800 the Norfolk Keel or Keel Wherry disappeared.


This weather vane was on the top of an old stable at Mundesley in Norfolk and shows a jockey on what looks like a racing horse.


This one was on a house in Sheringham on the Norfolk Coast, unsurprising it has a nautical theme although a submarine is quite unusual and you can see three fish swimming underneath.


Again on our travels today, I came across some more weathervanes.

An old fashioned tractor on our friends farm in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.


A Windmill on a shop in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.


Pigeon shooting has always been a popular pastime in this area, so this scene of a gunman and his gun dog is very fitting.  This one was on a barn in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.


Today I came across another variation of the gunman and his gun dog in a different pose, also in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.


A galloping horse over the top of a house in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.


Now this one is very unusual, I wonder if the owner of this one in Fordham, Cambridgeshire is a plumber?


I almost missed this one in Fordham, as it does not show up very well especially at an angle and is very unusual, it looks a bit like reeds either side of a river bed.


No this one was not on top of a piggery, but a house in Fordham, Cambridgeshire.


An animal (of some description?) weathervane in Sheringham, Norfolk.


A simple single sailed sailing boat on top of a house in Sheringham, Norfolk.


We often drive past this one in Fordham, but it was only fairly recently that walked past it for me to get a photo.  It is funny how I had admired the Cockerel, but it wasn't until I took the photo that I noticed the small micro light.

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