Recently I've become really interested in our village architecture.
At first glance the buildings are an untidy mixture of Edwardian houses that have transformed into shops and others are examples of contemporary commercial buildings such as Morrisons. 'Not much to write home about', I hear you say, and I would have agreed.
However, it's that very mixture of styles that is worth comment. The village is the equivalent of a three dimensional architectural sketch pad. Drawn up on a series of drawing boards over time the buildings are a living history of styles, materials, uses and imaginative thinking.
Normally we stroll around our village, window shopping, sampling the cafe life, meeting friends and neighbours. Next time raise your gaze, there's another village to be observed at first-floor level.
The Nat West Bank succinctly illustrates my point. The first floor of the building is a classic example. The upper storeys of traditional timber frame buildings were often constructed using a cantilevered protection called a Jetty that brought the upper floors out beyond the lower floor. And half timbering is a term sometimes used for buildings built in the medieval period.
The Nat West Bank Building construction incorporates the older architectural styles and forms to make it a unique treasure in the heart of our village. Pity the Bank authorities don't appear to value it the way it deserves. It needs a good lick of paint and a little more tender care.
I wish our current shop and office building owners were prepared to share more of the history behind their buildings. There's an opportunity to install a small scale very local historical plaque scheme in the village to enhance even more the experience of 'shopping locally'.