Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cley next the Sea

click photo to enlarge
I read the other day that wheat accounts for a mere 13% of the price of a loaf of bread in the UK. Since the average loaf is currently £1.10, and bakers are agitating for super- markets to add a further 10p, perhaps increasing numbers of households will see the wisdom in baking their own "staff of life". The rise in the price of food across the world has already seen packets of vegetable seeds flying off the shelves in volumes not seen for many years as more British families turn to their garden rather than the store as the source of their greens. And, though one has to be concerned about the affordability of basic foodstuffs, the benefits to health, wealth, well-being and the environment that flow from making and growing more of our own food are to be welcomed.

Fifty years ago much more food was produced in the family kitchen and from the family garden or allotment. Back then it happened principally for reasons of economy, but taste, nutrient value, relaxation and exercise were also factors. Many families, including my own, have always baked bread and grown vegetables, but until recently, despite the proselytising of TV chefs and gardeners, it was a slowly dying practice. So, if it makes a comeback - for whatever reason - I say "Hooray!"

The image of this much photographed windmill at Cley next the Sea, Norfolk, prompted these thoughts. Its turning sails and grinding stones produced flour from the time of its construction in 1819 until its closure as a mill in 1921. I imagine most of its produce was sold in the immediate locality, and turned into bread and other delicacies in fireside ovens, ranges and cookers. Since the time the sails were stilled it has been a home and a bed and breakfast. Old photographs show the building reflected in the harbour with boats alongside. However, like the village of Cley (pronounced "Cly") the mill is no longer "next the Sea", due to land drainage and the silting up of the harbour. Today a walk of almost a mile is necessary to find the beach!

I took this shot of the marsh, mill and nearby cottages as the sun illuminated them against a dark and threatening sky.
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 55mm (110mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On