Old Petrol Pumps in the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( October 16th, 2014 )

Old Petrol Pumps Cotswolds

1920 was the year “the first commercial petrol station opened in England.” Prior to that, “petrol was sold in two-gallon cans, often from a chemist or ironmonger [hardware store].” The first petrol pumps were operated by hand, and later became electric.

Old Petrol Pumps Fina Cotswolds

As my husband and I walked around the Cotswolds area in England for 12 days, we randomly saw a few old petrol pumps still part of the scenery. I thought they were very cool, so I took a few photos. They were classic and historical, much like the old red telephone boxes and old red post office boxes that we saw as well.

Old Petrol Pumps Regent Cotswolds

Old Petrol Pumps TT Cotswolds

About half way between our wanderings, we also visited the Cotswold Motoring Museum located in Bourton-on-the-Water. Aside from seeing many cool vintage cars, caravans, motorcycles, and bicycles, and other automobile-related memorabilia, they had a few old petrol pumps as well. The information above in the first paragraph about the old petrol pumps came from the booklet we bought at the museum.

Old Petrol Pumps Cotswold Motoring Museum

Old Petrol Pumps Cotswold Motoring Museum

Sweet Travels!

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The Red Telephone Box and Red Post Office Box in the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( October 7th, 2014 )

Red Telephone Box Wall Window Cotswolds England

Red Post Office Box Wall Window Cotswold Stone

As my husband and I walked throughout the Cotswolds for 12 days, I thought that the contrast between the iconic red telephone box and red post office box, and the equally iconic honey-colored stone of the Cotswolds, made for some artistic photographs. Little did I realize that I was actually photographing a piece of valued history – a piece that is being preserved by the British in unique ways.

Red Post Office Box Cotswold Stone Artistic

Red Post Office Box Flowers Cotswolds

Have you actually ever wondered why the telephone boxes throughout Britain are painted red? – “Currant red,” to be exact, as “defined by a British Standard.” – It is because historically, the telephone boxes were introduced by the General Post Office whose mail boxes were already painted red. And well, red was used for the mail boxes because it is a “highly visible color.” So it was concluded that the telephone boxes should also be highly visible. And they certainly are!

Red Telephone Box Church of St Barnabus Cotswolds

The telephone boxes have been red since 1924, when Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, a “scholar of classical architecture,” known for “designing cathedrals, bridges, and power plants,” designed the iconic shape of the telephone box as we all have come to recognize. With a “low curved dome at the top,” and some with “fluted columns down the sides,” these telephone boxes are said to resemble an “ancient temple.” Sir Scott originally intended for the telephone boxes to be painted silver, but again, the General Post Office decided on the “currant red” color.

Red Telephone Box The Duntisbournes Cotswolds

Also known as Kiosks, the first telephone box was actually created in 1921, and was known as Kiosk No. 1, which had a couple of variations. The 1924 creation is Kiosk No. 2, and six other telephone boxes of various designs, and made of different materials, have evolved through to Kiosk No. 8 in 1968. Then the modernization began in 1985, losing much of the red. Of course, with the advent of the cell phone, the usage of the telephone box as a pay phone has dramatically declined.

Red Telephone Box Cotswolds

Red Telephone Box Cotswolds

Today, many boxes are empty of the telephone that used to be inside.

Red Telephone Box Cotswolds Empty

Red Telephone Box Cotswolds Stone Wall

However, while the numbers of telephone boxes have declined from “92,000 in 2002 down to 48,000 in 2014,” the remaining boxes were actually voted by the British public as one of the top ten “favorite design icons since 1900.” Moreover, a few thousand are actually listed on Britain’s register of historic places, as historic buildings. They are popular, and people still want them around. Including the tourists, who love taking pictures of them (as I did), and with them. The most photographed red telephone box is the one in front of Big Ben.

Red Telephone Box Wall Cotswolds

Back in 2008, British Telecom, who eventually took over the boxes from the General Post Office, introduced an “Adopt a Kiosk” program. Through this way of preserving the telephone boxes, local communities were able to purchase a box for only one British Pound. Then they could then use them in a variety of unique ways. A location for a Public Access Defibrillator has been one of the most common uses. Brilliant!

Red Telephone Box Defibrillator Cotswolds

The use that I loved the most is the one that we saw in the hamlet of Calcot in the Cotswolds, which included a combination of the “Calcot Visitor Information” area, complete with the hamlet’s history and some photographs, as well as a miniature library/book exchange. Brilliant, brilliant! In fact, the 1500th telephone box that was adopted was in the village of Lower Slaughter in the Cotswolds.

Red Telephone Box Calcot Information Library Cotswolds

Some other unique uses for the iconic red telephone box are a place for an ATM, as art galleries, as notice boards, and if you turn one on its side, and add some cushions, I have seen a picture of one as a couch. A red couch.

Red Post Office Box Cotswolds

Red Post Office Box Cotswolds

As we were walking through the Cotswolds, I found red telephone boxes, as well as red post office boxes, next to the Post Office itself, next to park benches, and near the historic churches of the Cotswolds.

Red Telephone Box Park Bench Cotswolds

Indeed, the highly visible currant red of the telephone box and post office box definitely went well with the honey-colored stone of the Cotswolds!

Red Post Office Box Cotswold Stone Wall

Red Post Office Box Costwold Stone Plants

Sweet Travels!

I would like to acknowledge three websites where I obtained most information for this blog:

The Telephone Box.co.uk

Some Brits Not Ready To Say ‘Ta-Ra’ To Iconic Telephone Box by Ari Shapiro, NPR

Red Telephone Box, Wikipedia


The “Other” Gobblers Knob

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( September 24th, 2014 )

Gobbler's Knob Mt Rainier Punxsutawney Phil

“The “other” Gobbler’s Knob? What? What do you mean?” you ask. “I thought there was only one Gobbler’s Knob. The one two miles east of the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. You know, the one where each year on February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, ‘the Seer of Seers, the Sage of Sages, the Prognosticator of Prognosticators, the Weather Prophet Extraordinaire,’ makes his weather prediction from Gobbler’s Knob. The place from where, since 1887, Phil has told us whether there will be six more weeks of winter, or if spring is just around the corner. The one at about 1,620 feet elevation. The one where you climb up the roads of Punxsutawney approximately 394 feet from the town to get there. You mean there is another Gobbler’s Knob?”

Gobbler's Knob Punxsutawney Pennsylvania

Well, actually, yes, there is another one.  Located on the other side of the country. In the state of Washington, at Mt. Rainier National Park, at an elevation of 5,485 feet. A place where on a clear day, you get the perfect views of Mt. Rainier, the Tahoma Glacier, a few alpine lakes, and the forests of trees beyond in all directions. There is even a fire lookout built in 1933 at this Gobblers Knob, one that was historically used by firewatchers to spot and report smoke and lightning strikes in the area. Occasionally still used today, this fire lookout is one of four remaining at Mt. Rainier. On a really clear day, from this Gobblers Knob, you can also see the peaks of Mount St. Helens, Mount Hood, Mount Adams, and the Olympic Mountains.

Gobblers Knob Lookout Mt Rainier 1.6 Miles

Gobblers Knob Lookout Mt Rainier .4 Miles

What is extra special about this “other” Gobblers Knob is that Punxsutawney Phil has actually been there! Well, ok, maybe not the actual Phil, but his picture sure has. He climbed the 1,195 feet of elevation with me in my backpack from Lake George below, up the one and a half miles to reach this spot. Well, actually we climbed 1,585 feet of elevation gain from where we parked our car, and five miles from the car.

Gobblers Knob Fire Lookout Mt Rainier

Gobbler's Knob Fire Lookout Mt Rainier 5485

“And why would you bring a picture of Phil to the “other” Gobblers Knob?” you ask. Well, there is a “Worldwide Adventures of Phil” photography contest that I am entering in, and this is just one of the several places that I have taken Phil with me this year on my travels that I will enter into the contest. “And why would you do such a thing?” you ask. Well, because my birthday is on…Groundhog’s Day. Even this past February, my husband and I went to the Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania to see the grand event. So when my husband and I decided to do a backpacking trip this August, for our one year wedding anniversary, we chose to go to Lake George, the perfect launching place for a trip up to the “other” Gobblers Knob, and to bring Phil along. Phil has been on a backpacking trip!

Gobblers Knob Mt Rainier Punxsutawney Phil

“And where else have you taken Phil this year?” you ask. To our 12-day walking travels in the Cotswolds area of England, followed by a few days in London, and to the restoration project we are involved in at the Burrow’s Island Lighthouse. I will be entering photos of Phil at these places as well. Wish me luck.

Cotswolds Stanway St Peters Church

London Bridge

Westminster Abbey London

Burrow's Island Lighthouse

“Oh, and did you know that ‘marmot’ is another name for a ‘groundhog’?” I ask. My husband and I happened to see a couple of cute juvenile marmots playing at Mt. Rainier as well. And Phil saw them too!

Groundhog Marmot Mt Rainier

And get this…There are a few “other other” Gobblers Knobs in the United States that I discovered as I was preparing this blog. At 10,246 feet there is a mountain near Salt Lake City, Utah in the Wasatch Mountains called Gobblers Knob. In Alaska, there is a 3,018 foot mountain peak near milepost 132 on the Dalton Highway named Gobblers Knob. One in the San Bernardino National Forest in California at 6,955 feet. One in the Crater Lake area in Oregon at 3,459 feet. There are even a couple of Gobblers Knobs in Colorado, and one in Mississippi.* Looks like we will need to take Punxsutawney Phil on a few more adventures!

Sweet Travels!

*Most information about the various Gobblers Knobs from Peakbagger-Gobblers Knob.

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