ASHBY DE LA LAUNDE, LINCOLNSHIRE. FAMOUS MANURE
I spotted this sign this summer (2015) on my way to play cricket at RAF Digby. I can’t quite remember how the game went because my mind was only set on remembering to take the photo on my way home. And glad I did stop, because I got into conversation with the proud maker of this sign. She informed me that the fame of her horses’ manure had spread far and wide. People from Manchester even made the long journey to her small holding to pick up this fantastic product. This is probably why she is able to demand premium prices. This supply, for instance, is only a few miles from the 30p a bag offer in Scopwick.
Now I come to think about it, we did win the game!
DALE ABBEY, DERBYSHIRE. FREE SPEECH
Although appearing first on this page, this is in fact the second ‘Manuare’ sign to be photographed (see below). And again it has been found not by me but by one of my correspondents. So thanks Robert for this one, spotted near Dale Abbey. Given that our examples now come from Derbyshire and Cornwall I wonder whether it is not time to start to draw a new isophone on the map. As for its aesthetic, I think I can fathom its underlying principles–a strong influence of fluorescent marker pen in play. But really…there is so much space here that lies silent. Surely we could have learned more about this free muck. But we should not complain. True generosity of spirit is being shown here. Shame on those of you who require payment.
CHARNWOOD FOREST, LEICESTERSHIRE. ARTISAN MANURE
Now this is superior stuff! None of your rubbish here. A fine balanced blend crafted with care. And as appropriate for such a fine product, we find a fine sign. Nothing knocked together with what was found lying around. Rather we see an eye for design. A simple A-frame blackboard and chalk. And a cultured hand has carefully scripted the text. Let down only by its inconsistent use of capitalization and its unfortunately asymmetry.
LEWES, EAST SUSSEX. SIMPLE BUT RETICENT
I lived in Lewes for five years. It is a quite unique place. Architecturally stunning, but it is the people that make it. I have never yet found the like. Simon de Montfort, Tom Paine, bonfire…the epitome of the idea that ‘We won’t be druv’. As for its local supplier of goodness, well little here to go on. Shy about announcing the cost. Offers logs as a sideline. But really all we should be happy about is that a great community has a great resource on its doorstep. Care taken over the sign suggests a quality product. Pity about the slip of the brush when it came to the S. But S is always a tricky customer, whether one’s medium is emulsion or gloss.
MERRIVALE, DARTMOOR, DEVON: PRETTY
This has got to be one of the most picturesque spots to pick up some manure. The now redundant stone quarry just to the right of the picture. Behind the clitter fields with evidence of medieval and post-medieval tin streaming and the prehistoric stone alignments.
Pleased to offer a 2014 update on this sign. Sadly faded and broken now, the victim one presumes of winter storms on Dartmoor.
LYDFORD, DEVON: MATT AND LULU
Thanks to Matt and Lulu, who I am presuming are the prime producers of the contents of the bags rather than their owners, the good folk living on the western fringes of Dartmoor have an economical source of manure on their doorsteps.
Update here is that we now know more about the production of this gunk. The new sign (sadly not snapped because I was rushing for a train) tells us that the manure was dug by Matt and Lulu. Now, unless there are some very clever horses in Lydford, we finally know that Matt and Lulu are probably bipeds not quadrupeds.
MAGIODUNUM, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: INVITATION TO STOP
Kind of old school feel to this–the blackboard effect. But nice letter spacing even if the initial care taken over the top of the sign does not appear to be followed through at the bottom where we find a strange mixture of majuscule and miniscule.
Watch this space on this one…the sign has recently been changed and updated. I will snap it shortly so you can judge whether this is an improvement.
FOSTON: LEICESTERSHIRE: PROPER JOB
Nothing amateur about this sign. Built for permanence and providing a job for a sign writer. The white on dark green background made for legibility, but probably erected before such considerations were commonplace. I have admired this sign for years, so was delighted to finally have the chance to stop and snap this one.
FARNDON, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: FREE MANURE
A very simple hand-written sign, although the black-and-white contrast is effective here. Love the generosity shown: the manure is free! And the encouragement to return the bags, making this one of the most sustainable manure sources around.
This little beauty was photographed by my pal Louise Farley when holidaying in Cornwall. Worn and hard to read it may be, but take a closer look and suddenly the Cornish inflexion can be seen. ‘Manuare’ indeed!
OTLEY, YORKSHIRE: HELP FOR HEROES
Again I am indebted to others for this. A photograph taken by the mum of one of my current students, Jane Rowling. How the word spreads! This is a very special sign, ‘Horse Manure’ picked on in bas-relief on wood, and festooned with the Union Jack. Why? Because the money generated (£2 per bag) is all going to Help for Heroes. Ingenious and worthy all at the same time.
SHADWELL, YORKSHIRE: MANURE AND EARTHWORMS
Thanks once again to my Yorkshire scout for these two. Plenty on offer here for those who stop to take a look: horse manure yes, but firewood and pots of earthworms. Now that is wonderful. Some really interesting things going on here with pricing.
NEAR COLLUMPTON, DEVON: EGGGGGS
A heady combination this: manure and eggs–or more correctly eggs manure eggs. The calligraphy catches the eye, particularly the bottom eggs. Looks like a different hand, making this sign a palimpsest or developing canvas? Intrigued too by the paint runs coming off the letter A.
2014 update. Eggs are off the menu! No snap, unfortunately…I had a full minibus of students and several sites to visit in little time. But did notice en passant, that the eggs had been summarily struck out with the use of an ample splodge of black paint.
BECKWITHSHAW, YORKSHIRE: MUCK INDEED
Who could pass the offer by? All you can eat, manure style. Bring a trailer I say. Chirpy font used here. On the lighter side of serious. And this lays to rest the notion of the miserly Yorkshireman once and for all.
SCOPWICK, LINCOLNSHIRE: CHEAP
Another example of white on black. But for 30p who is going to argue? Unlike Collumpton, some effort being made here to separate out the eggs from the manure. And very clear that the two items are being produced by two very different animals. My cricketing chums were somewhat bemused when I asked to stop to take this photograph on the way back from the match.
OXTON, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: PUTTING THE NEIGHBOURS TO SHAME
Just across the road from this sign is a delapidated hand-written sign, which for some unknown reason I failed to snap. Price the same, but the effort made here on the signage will be sure to draw in the punters. That said, no trust being shown here: ‘Please do not take manure without paying many thanks’.
NEAR BLAKENEY, NORFOLK: PERFUNCTORY
This sign as all the brevity of a Japanese haiku: Manure//One pound//Bag