Just beyond our garden there is a phone box. It is very handy for giving directions to the house. "Come down the hill, and when you see a phone box on your right, you are by our drive."
But with the advent of mobile phones these boxes are no longer used. The telephone was taken out some while ago and there were fears that the box itself would be dismantled and taken away.
As telephone boxes become redundant communities are being given the choice as to whether they want them removed from the streets, and if not, whether they are prepared to purchase and maintain them.
Novel use is being made of these iconic structures. A nearby village uses theirs as a book exchange.
The telephone box is not the first thing in our hamlet to have become redundant. A number of years ago I painted this watercolour. It depicts, as well as the telephone box, a toad crossing street sign. Each spring hundreds of toads would cross the road on their way to spawn in the lake. Householders would come out at night with torches and buckets to scoop them up and deposit them safely by the lakeside. In spite of this the road would still be splattered with casualties. Over the years the numbers of toads reduced to a trickle and a few years ago the council removed the sign from the lamp post.
I took the painting to the printers and had some blank cards made. The title, printed on the back was, 'Toad crossing'. When I collected the cards from the printers he asked, "where is the toad?" He had been looking on the road in vain, searching for a toad!
There was enough interest shown in our community for the council to purchase the kiosk. (For a pound!) It is a K series, as designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1930's. I think that many of them are now listed buildings. There is a National Kiosk Collection in Bromsgrove, Worcs.
A neighbour gave our kiosk a thorough clean and then Himself got to work scraping down.
Then it was time for the undercoat. How strange the phone box looked, minus its post office red.
A first coat of red paint. Ah, that's more like it!