Friday, 18 November 2016


A bit of a filler, today. A couple of weeks ago on my day off I went to Odiham, undeterred by the rain. Odiham is a large village with what Pevsner would call 'a main street of a distinctly urban character' a few miles to the west of Farnham. It has a castle which I went to see, albeit what seems like a surprisingly small one for Henry III's sister, resident there in the mid-1200s. It is very, very ruined indeed, with only the bare indications of windows and features, but the authorities keep it tidy and have installed a sort of steel and glass canopy in the entrance which looks rather handsome (though is hard to photograph convincingly, so I haven't).

And then there's the Basingstoke Canal, which skirts Odiham and provides a pleasant walk to the north of the village, and parallel with it. Notoriously the Basingstoke is often low in water and boats are restricted in how far and fast they're allowed to move along it, and although this stretch of the canal is navigable, several parts are very narrow and it doesn't look as though much traffic has been along it in months. 

In the churchyard at Odiham is a Pest House, a tiny one-room cottage where you were put if you were suspected of suffering from some appalling lurgy to see whether you died or not: I'd heard of these before but not seen one in the brick, as it were. And, on my walk, amid the tedious Union Jacks and St George's Crosses flying in the gardens of various tidy houses, I saw a bold-striped flag of blue, black and white, which turned out to be the national ensign of Estonia. One lives and learns. 

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