Marshman

broads-marshman1

Bor, I never cood arn much money,
  No matter how ‘ard I try’d;
But never wor short o’ dumplins
  Or a good owd eel well fry’d.

Another Song of Another Norfolker, John Knowlittle

I’m not sure I’ve included a single figure in my old-time Norfolk landscapes so far. While that is perfectly permissible in a setting very possibly devoid of people, it seemed about time to glance at those who might be patrolling the scene.

The marshmen were a hardy bunch, fighting an unending battle day and night with the sea in order to keep land fit for farmers and cattle – fit for trade. Trudging around out there in the dark depths of winter makes me shudder just in prospect, never mind actually doing it! But this was just what needed to be done – and, in doing just that, these men shaped the Broads into what it is today. Today, of course, many of their duties are usurped by machinery, though there are still groups who train and work as marshmen on the Broads, particularly the art of reed-cutting, in a bid to keep the traditional practice alive.

This fine chap was drawn from Home from the Marshes, a shot by naturalist photographer Peter Henry Emerson, whose 1887 body of images, Life and Landscape of the Norfolk Broadshas proven a particular inspiration since discovering them. Long charmed by the unassuming beauty of the area – to the extent that he’d subsequently revisit East Anglia a number of times – Emerson’s works form an intimate and extremely valuable insight into the people going about duty and leisure and creating an almost effortless intrigue, a pondering of what book-ended this snapshot. I wonder if this particular bor got his Norfolk dumplings come home time? One hopes.

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16 comments
  1. Wonderful rich portrait Jacob, the figure truly looks like somebody from another, distant time – what a life these people must have had back in the day, they must have been made of strong stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Much appreciated as ever, Phil, thanks! Yes, it certainly puts things into perspective doesn’t it; stout-hearted chaps indeed!

      Like

  2. Bill Fufkin said:

    I see a resemblance to your own portrait, Jacob…might that be the beard, or something more! B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Ha ha. Well, thank you Bill… I think. I’m not a hundred and fifty years old, if that’s what you’re suggesting! 😉

      Like

  3. dawnmarie said:

    Love the colors of this…or lack of? Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Dawn! Yes, I originally tried to colour the landscape fully but it looked dreadful, so I retreated to that trusty sepia vibe with just some selective tints on the figure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawnmarie said:

        Nothing wrong with sepia. Lookin’ great.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loving how the sepia tones add to the historical vibe. ( My first thought is that it looked like an image from Aus colonial times…but then i realised that’s kinda stupidly obvious seeing as they came from Britain and would probs be attired similarly- if not identically…haha)
    Anyway, i’m super envious of your creative output right now (and also wanting dumplings). You’ve been productive as all hell! Glad somebody has been! Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks again – yes, Mr. Sepia is becoming quite a friend of mine! (Mr. Sepia – another Weirdly Warped Triangle hit, there?)

      Thanks – it has been a slog at times! It has felt quiet here on WordPress lately; several longtime bloggers in my subscriptions seem to have gone quiet, so on that it’s especially wonderful to see you back!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes- ‘Mr. Sepia’. I like it 🙂
        Yeah, i was surprised at the relatively small amount of stuff i had to catch up on in comparison to usual ( apart from yours! You’ve done loads!). Most have been quiet. Even one has deleted her blog, sadly. Must be something in the air?
        Aww, fanx. It is good to be back. I was missing blogland, but just feeling too sad to communicate without depressing everyone. Hopefully things are on the up again now! Seeing other people’s efforts can be inspiring 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Yeah, it seems so. I wonder if people are dropping WordPress for Instagram as I’ve known a few do that over the years (I have an IG account and don’t get the hype, I must say – much prefer it here). It is a bit of a shame when the people you follow for so long just vanish, but I guess that’s the nature of online. As we’ve said it’s all about the mojo really, and everyone has stuff going on, after all.

        I do hope so! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, Instagram is HUGE now. I too don’t really understand the hype. For starters, i personally, i HATE using my phone for the internet. Maybe that’s just because i don’t have a state-of-the-art phone…but still. I like a big computer screen. I like also being able to turn that computer off when i’m done, and there’s then no temptation to keep checking what’s going on in internet land every 5 minutes. Also- and i probably sound paranoid- but it worries me how much personal info we need to hand over in order to use these, and increasingly common it’s becoming to not even have the option of using something on a pc. It’s phone or nothing. I dunno. I read a kinda worrying article in New Scientist mag about the ways in which phone apps can gain and share all sorts of personal info with advertisers/ companies without our knowledge. I’ll have to find the article so i can add a bit more detail and sound like i know what i’m talking about (!), but it really does worry me how little privacy we have now, and how little that seems to bother a lot of consumers. I’m not ok with it!
        Anyhoo- pardon the tangent. Yeah, it is a shame when yr faves disappear. True though; it’s the nature of the medium. All is transient!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        I’m with you on screen size. I remember when I first got my iPod Touch in 2008 and was so excited about the idea of using the internet on the move – then I saw the horrible, microscopic truth! I actually have an app that allows me to use and upload to Instagram on my PC, but there’s something about its nature that just feels a bit… transitory… to me. There are some incredible and awesome artists on there, obviously, and I’ll continue to use it (for now at least), but I seem to make stronger connections on here. It feels warmer.

        Yes, this personal data stuff goes on all over the shop, sadly. We have so little privacy. I vividly recall an advert for Outlook Mail on TV a few years back, which came with the line, ‘we won’t scan your private e-mails to target you with advertising’. It says much of the situation when that’s a selling point. Incidentally around that time I was writing to a friend in Somerset quite a bit, and, what do you know, adverts popped up everywhere telling me to visit Somerset. That sort of thing, I find, happens often. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ugh, it’s so frustrating innit! And- I know you can zoom in etc, but i really bloody hate not being able to see the whole thing all at once! It’s really unsatisfying. And, i’m guessing it’s just my oldish phone and/or my provider, but internet is so s-l-o-w on my phone, too. I could buy a fancier phone, but i just can’t justify the prices for those things. (let alone AFFORD them O.o)
        Ah, that’d be handy. I know there are a lot of artists on Instagram, and was wondering about that. I was like, “if you don’t have a decent phone camera you’re screwed”. Aha. ( oh man, i sound and feel so old right now)
        Ohhh yes, that kinda thing happens too often. It’s shit, innit. Scary thing is, i notice ads that are also related to things i haven’t even TYPED about or searched for, but was simply TALKING about to someone. The NS article i mentioned explained that there are ways that apps can access your info even when you’re not even using them.( I really will have to go dig up the article so i can quote it, and thus avoid sounding super conspiratorial. But when i read it, i was like “I KNEW IT!” Like, remember when ‘siri’ came out? My friend spoke into her phone to siri: ” Tell Morris [her partner] he smells”. Then Morris automatically got a text from her saying “you smell”. I was creeped out then and am still creeped out now. I’m guessing they have the technology for a whoooole bunch of shady shit by now . *shudder*). I’m not sure what’s more unsettling- the increasing lack of privacy, or the widespread apathy regarding it :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        It definitely isn’t the most convenient way of using the net. I only ever used it for instant messaging or to check weather updates.

        The program I use is called Gramblr, if you’re interested.

        Blimey! Yep, I know even Windows does all it can now to get its paws on your information – logging keystrokes and whatnot, apparently for Cortana, which is basically their version of Siri. And when there’s an update, they sneakily turn on options you’ve previously rejected. Those things do creep me out; I make sure to turn the sharing off wherever I can. They can keep their mitts off!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh cool, cheers. I’ll remember Gramblr for if i begin making art again someday. It’d be fun to ay least try it. (By then, there’ll probably be a bunch of new sites people are using!)

        Ugh, it’s that sort of sneakiness that angers me. And people who aren’t very tech savvy are probably more vulnerable in that they won’t know how ( or even that it’s an option) to go back and restore settings. I for one wasn’t aware that this happpens ( although i’m not remotely surprised), so i’ll be doing some checking up now!) We need MUCH more transparency in regards to this sorta stuff. I’m sure there will always be people who don’t care either way, but many more who would be rightfully pissed off, and if we were all given more info on this sort of thing, then at least we could make more informed decisions as consumers.
        Something that worries me also is the kinda ‘mandatory’ nature of tech. Like, sure, a lot of it makes life more convenient, but people should still have choices. If X task is necessary, but now suddenly requires a super expensive piece of equipment to carry it out ( when it was previously possible WITHOUT said piece of equipment), then that’s anything BUT convenient to someone who doesn’t have the financial means to purchase the equipment. Again, those in the lower part of the socio economic bracket are deprived of choices/ freedom, while those with plenty of $$$ enjoy an increasingly easier ride at their expense. I get pretty wary about tech because of this. As interesting as it can be, if it’s only accessible to the *haves*, while excluding the *have nots* ( and making simple things harder for them to do in the process) there’s a limit to how useful and revolutionary it really is.

        Liked by 1 person

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