Friday, 29 March 2013

Goolie's Daisywheel Frozen in Time

This is Goolie. Goolie is a Heritage Cat. He is, in fact, a professional in the field - a trained interpretative guide. As My Reader will be aware, poor old Goolie doesn't always get it right. In fact, sometimes things go very wrong indeed! However, at such times searching for medieval graffiti can be a great comfort, as it is for all Heritage Cats. 

This morning Goolie travelled with his Uncle Alice and Aunty Vernon to visit Shimpling church, located in the south of the island of Norfolk. 

"Ooh, I do love shrimps!" exclaimed Uncle Alice excitedly, as his cats eyes espied the round tower of the church looming into view.
"For the twenty third time Uncle, it's SHIMPling not SHRIMPling!" hissed Goolie through clenched teeth. He was a bit brassed off.

However, as all lovers of cobwebby old places will testify, the atmosphere of a lovely well worn place often has a soothing effect - and so the cats were soon tickerty boo...

The antiquarian cats began to explore the exterior of the church. There can be no rational explanation as to how they did it, but somehow they managed to remove a roundel of ice from the old, cold water butt near the church's west tower. Arranging it carefully on the soft cushion of a freshly mined molehill, the cats began to inspect the ice.

Please click on this image in order to enlarge it.
If you look carefully you will see the outline of a
'daisywheel' drawn into the ice

Imagine, if you will, their excitement upon discovering a daisywheel etched into the ice
"Lorks! This is exciting" blurted Aunty Vernon with impeccable diction. 
"How are we to date it though?" followed Uncle Alice, tentatively...
"Oh don't you worry about a thing. I have all the solutions right here" replied Goolie, tapping his finely formed brass feline temple. 

In no time at all, following a flurry of test tubes, portable electro-microscopes and what-not, the job was done. 

"1367!"declared Goolie.
"But how can you know that?" asked Aunty Vernon.
"Because I have pioneered a new dating technique utilising iceotopes, and it offers definitive proof that this here daisywheel was etched into this ice in the summer of 1367..."
"Summer!" exclaimed his Aunty and Uncle in a cat's chorus of concordent synchronicity.
But doubt you not, Goolie has the answers...

Apparently, this section of the south of the island of Norfolk has a microclimate that has resulted in a permafrost dating from the early fourteenth century. It is one of the reasons that things go slower in these parts. Goolie began to expostulate (or "blab on using big words")

"This is a medieval compass drawn 'daisywheel' cats, no doubt about it. It is a prayer made solid - a prayer in ice. I believe the 'petals' to be 'mandorlae' (Latin for 'almond'), formed by the intersection of the circles. In medieval theology, the mandorla signified the unity of the heavenly and terrestrial elements in one place. But it also signified 'boundedness' - the containment of a special spiritual presence. Medieval folk loved multiple meanings you know. Thus it could be read as a visual metaphor for Jesus' presence on earth *" declared Goolie defiantly. 

"It's pretty" said Uncle Alice in a monotone voice.
"Just purrfect..." agreed Aunty Vernon.

Although, inexplicably (!), there are no references to this particular find, if you want to learn more about medieval graffiti please click on the following link which will take you to the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey website:

* Please note: the views expressed by Goolie the Heritage Cat are his own and do not represent those of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey

Goolie thanks you for taking the time to read this


  1. I used to have a little amulet like Goolie, but it looked more like Nelson than a cat. It was useless at translation, but quite good for stuffing tobacco into my clay pipe.

  2. Goolie appreciates someone going to their knees to take his photo, making him appear as large as a medieval hitching post.