Time for another whirl around the world of windmills and three-dimensional building thingies. Yes, again. I don’t know how many more of these I’m going to bash out, really. I didn’t intend it to become a tour of the entire Norfolk Broads!
Anyway if you’ll look to your right you’ll see Berney Arms High Mill, probably one of the most famous emblems of the region, and quite rightly too given its powerful and resplendent appearance; in its almost complete solitude, it enjoys full command. The largest of all the mills on the Broads – hence the ‘High’ – it stands over seventy feet tall. Built in 1865 originally to grind cement clinker, it was two decades later converted into a drainage pump and worked through to 1948. I believe it’s one of a very select bunch that can still turn its sails today. That’s a sight seen not nearly often enough.
For something of a windmill enthusiast, I’ve been inside shamefully few – in my defence, most are derelicts and so hardly inviting – but I have ventured inside Berney Arms. We went there one school holiday when I was no older than around four or five. You can reach the mill by boat, by train – stopping at the Berney Arms Station, perhaps the most isolated train station in the world – or by taking a long walk around Breydon Water. There’s also a pub nearby – the most isolated pub in the world.)
We went by water. This was terrifying, not least because the boat looked three hundred years old, but because everyone got a life jacket except from us. “It’s okay, you won’t need one,” we were assured. ‘Twas the 90s! As it happens, these particular boat trips stopped running shortly after our excursion.
From the patches I remember, it was a lot of fun, even if I was bitterly disappointed that the big red ‘turn sails’ button that I’d imagined was nowhere to be found. I like big red buttons. I don’t think we were able to go right up and out onto the cap stage, but we did go to the top floors and the view out of the big windows was something else. Norfolk’s flatness is such that, with the slightest increase in altitude, you can watch over (and indeed be seen by) virtually the entire county. It was amazing!
Oh, and one more thing: Berney Arms was one of the starting positions in that episode of Interceptor they shot around here. Fantastic. I think we can deduce that this is what has sealed the deal insofar as the mill’s perennial appeal goes.
Onto discussing the build, then. Well, there’s not actually that much to discuss – I’m not sure this was terribly valuable, and for an unknown but worrying reason this did appear to take my computer to near death. Trees are very problematic, so I’m attributing it to them provisionally. Pesky things, who needs ’em? And I’m still far from satisfied with regards the Physical Sky lighting.
One thing I did take from this, though, is the displacement of texture for reeds/grass, rather than putting in ten million objects and again nearly murdering my machine. This uses a grid of noise to generate peaks and troughs, which can then be applied to any object – with the noise set to a very fine scale, it produces thin and sharp points which I think for now will do for suggesting greenery; from a distance at least, I think it actually looks better than my work with Boardman’s Mill. On larger scales, this technique could be fun for generating vast, mountainous landscapes, or other more abstract geometry.
I know… I should have put a wherry in. Perhaps I’ll try and make one soon. The boats were an afterthought, really – they’re not my own models, so I can’t take any credit for them. The rowing boat came from here and the yacht here.
And just for a touch of Norfolk eeriness – and because it was intended to be another sunset, but went horribly wrong – here’s a shot in creepy monochrome. Though, truthfully, that could just as easily be a colour photato – Norfolk’s always that colour. Don’t let that put you off visiting, though…