And the Winner is…Punxsutawney Phil in the Cotswolds

by Debby Jagerman-Dungan
( October 20th, 2014 )

I. Won. First. Place!

In the International Category of the “Worldwide Adventures of Punxsutawney Phil” photography contest!

Saint Michaels Church Buckland Cotswolds Punxsutawney Phil

The premise of the contest is that the Groundhog Club provided me with a picture of Punxsutawney Phil that my husband and I took with us on our travels this past summer, both nationally and internationally. The background as to why I wanted to take Phil with us on various adventures is because, well, my birthday is on Groundhog’s Day. And it sounded like fun to compose pictures with Phil in them.

This winning picture was taken during our 12-day walk through the Cotswolds area of England. I actually took pictures of Phil at many churches, and ironically this was the second church of our trip, and one of the first of many, many pictures of Phil taken throughout our summer. This church is the Saint Michael’s Church in Buckland, a medieval church with some parts still existing from the years 1200, 1325, and 1480.

We also took Phil to London, and to a restoration project we are involved in at Burrow’s Island Lighthouse near Anacortes, WA. The most fun place we took Punxsutawney Phil, I think, was backpacking to “the other Gobblers Knob” on Mt. Rainier.

Sweet Travels!

If you want to see all this year’s winners, here is a link on the Groundhog Club’s Pinterest page.

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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

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

Red Telephone Box, Wikipedia

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