Saturday, August 07, 2010

Almost gone

click photo to enlarge
The house that hides beneath this almost all-enveloping covering of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) - also known as Boston Ivy - is of an age and kind found throughout Britain. It is a three-storeyed, three bayed structure with a symmetrical facade that dates from about 1830. The six-panel door (with rectangular overlight) is placed centrally between two ground floor, single-canted bay windows. The first and second floor have three windows, those at the top being smaller. To left and right are gable chimney stacks. In the winter of 2001, when it was photographed for archive purposes, the front of the house looks like it has a delicate fretwork of branches across all of its Flemish bond brickwork. A year or two ago when the Google Street View cameras captured it the Virginia Creeper appears to have been cut back, but then has re-grown and spread to the point where it is covering more than half of the facade and has reached the gutter. When I took my photograph a week ago there was little left to see of the front of the house apart from the door, the ground floor bays and the windows peeping through the luxuriant leaves. Will it completely disappear from view - one window has almost gone? Will the leaves be cut back from the windows to prevent them from disappearing? Will it simply be heavily pruned back to ground level? Or will the owner decide to remove the plant completely and try something a little less vigorous? Whatever course of action is chosen it won't be easy. I'll make a point of looking to see what happens next time I'm in Spilsby.

What did make me smile was the net curtains that covered the lower half of the first storey windows. Their job of giving a little more privacy to the occupants has been largely superseded by the spreading leaves.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 73mm (146mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3 Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On