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Was in a medieval mood today, so we went to Cotehele house for an outing.  Here is my mum, demonstrating doorways designed for seriously short people only.  This would probably be more helpful if I could remember how tall my mother is. 5'1-ish ? Less?  Considerably Shorter Than Me, anyway.

This morning as I was returning with the hounds from a morning walk (thankfully, much cooler today than it has been: Oh! the humidity!)  I was accosted by a woman waving the implement whose name causes controversy.  Some call it a fish-slice, others, a spatula, and I think last time we debated this matter there were other suggestions too.  The thing you use to turn stuff in a frying-pan so it browns on both sides.  Anyway...

A tall, grey-haired lady, slim and jeans-clad,  with intelligent aquiline features,  approached me, waving this utensil.
"Is this yours?" she said.
Somewhat baffled and for some reason, feeling rather guilty, I examined the item, and was relieved to see that it was unfamiliar.  At least, whatever the dogs, cats, etc may do, the kitchen equipment is not out annoying the neighbours.
"No!" I said
"I found it in the garden.  We often find things in the garden.  Something brings them.  I think perhaps it was from a barbecue," and she looked at me hopefully.
I admitted that it did indeed look like the kind of thing that someone might use if barbecueing.

"The thing is... I've lost a shoe," she went on.  "You haven't seen a shoe..?  A trainer kind of shoe?"
I shook my head in bafflement.
"Sometimes it brings things, and sometimes it takes them away.  I'm hoping that if I can find where this came from, I might find my shoe."
I assured her that I would look out for her shoe, and if I found it, I would return it to her house pronto.
And she went off up the lane, fish slice in hand, looking for her shoe.

Honestly, this really happened.  I assume, possibly, a fox at work?  All the other explanations seem even less likely.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
27th Jul, 2014 22:40 (UTC)
That spatula story. Amazing.

"Something": Lady, I'll trade you a spatula for a shoe.
"Something": ...
"Something": That is not a request, by the way.
28th Jul, 2014 08:03 (UTC)
I was confused. Somehow it seemed thematically akin to the Builder Who Brought a Dragonfly that I encountered a few weeks back. Oh, and the name of her house to which the errant shoe should be returned is 'Wood Nymph' which I think adds to the overall feel of oddity.

Even if it's a fox - she stores her shoes in the garden??? :-D
29th Jul, 2014 04:15 (UTC)
Actually, rereading the tale, I'm wondering if she was trying to imply that she thought it was someone's domestic animal, but too embarrassed to say so point blank lest it seem like an accusation. It might explain why she seemed to think the spatula's owner may have been brought her shoe.

But I rather prefer Something; it sounds like a whimsical yet vaguely menacing being.
28th Jul, 2014 00:24 (UTC)
I love the tag 'loons'.

I wonder if she'll find my sunglasses...
28th Jul, 2014 08:03 (UTC)
Presumably, only if Something should choose to bring them...
28th Jul, 2014 07:43 (UTC)
That is... odd. I wonder what sort of a being she thinks "it" is.

The Low Doors of Yore confuse me. "Oh, people were tiny in the past!" I keep hearing guides and other visitors declare, but I also keep reading books that study skeletal remains and demonstrate that this just wasn't true - or, if they were shorter on average than nowadays, it was only by an inch or two. So did the people of yore go around with permanently bruised foreheads? Was the Art of Constant Ducking something they were taught from early childhood - one of those old medieval arts now lost to us?
28th Jul, 2014 08:07 (UTC)
I'd have thought it was less odd if she'd suggested the fox - foxes do weird stuff like that it is known. But she referred to the Bringer of Spatulas entirely as Something : I was the one who, desperately groping for rationality, suggested a fox...

I have had exactly those thoughts about the Doors of Yore! (what a great title! Maybe for a children's book where you have to open flaps to see what's behind them). It's very odd: if you are going to the trouble of making an arch out of granite, then adding an extra couple of feet in height to the thing so you don't keep bashing your head seems like it would be easy...

Maybe all the stone arches were built by dwarves...?
28th Jul, 2014 08:21 (UTC)
I read a suggestion that it could be to keep heat in, on the grounds that a room with a small door and a sunken floor would be warmer than a room with a mighty door fit for giants. I think I've also read that it was a cost saving measure, although I'd have thought that More Wall would be more expensive to build than More Hole?

I prefer your dwarf idea. Vengeful dwarves, who had been beaten down by the high and lofty nobility and turned into a servant race of builders, and were wreaking their revenge by building doors that were too low for their oppressors, in the hope that they would eventually be wiped out through repeated tragic head-bumping accidents.
28th Jul, 2014 22:19 (UTC)
Great story. Mind you i have seen foxes do strange things around our village.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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