Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Folly Bird

I wonder sometimes if anyone has ever wondered about my blog name, The Folly Bird. I love architecture and one of my favourite examples is the folly. Although they can be found outside of the United Kingdom, to me, there is something so quintessentially British about them. I am lucky, as from where I sit right now, writing this, there are at least four follies within easy distance which I can call to mind. I have been to two of them multiple times, one just the once and the other, not at all … until that is, the other day. But I digress, when it came to naming my blog, the word folly came to mind instantly and as Andy is forever poking fun at my bird like tendencies*, it was an obvious choice to combine the two things.

Follies began as decorative additions to the grounds of the great estates of the late 16th century and early 17th century but they flourished, especially in the two centuries which followed. Many estates had ruins of monastic houses and (in Italy) Roman villas; others, lacking such buildings, constructed their own sham versions of these romantic ruins.

The term in English came to define a structure or building which was both costly and considered to be a pure show of silliness, or folly.  The implications of ridiculousness or lunacy in this description is at one with the general definition of the French word folie but an older meaning of this word is delight or favourite abode. This included conventional, practical, buildings that were thought excessively large or expensive, such as Beckford’s Folly, an enormously expensive early gothic revival country house which actually collapsed under the weight of its tower in 1825, 12 years after completion. Generally, the word folly is applied to a small building that appears to have no practical purpose, or the purpose of which seems less important than its conspicuous and unusual design.

Thinking about possible blog posts I realised follies are something I have yet to cover here, so …

Folly Road Trip!

One beautiful August afternoon, we set off in Meirionwen on an adventure! My, it was so ridiculously hot inside, I thought I would melt, it was enough that I felt stuck to the vinyl seats! It brought back many memories of returning to a car with vinyl seats and dreading getting inside if you hadn't been lucky enough to park in the shade!

We headed for the nearest, the one I have never actually visited and one which typically I can find absolutely nothing about online. It is a mini Stone Henge of sorts and one which I have only glimpsed in passing as we have been driving by.

We found parking just a minutes’ walk from the actually folly and to our delight, someone had actually cleared the area, allowing a perfect view from the road and ease of access by foot.

I say ease of access by foot, but my first step down a small path saw me sinking almost to my ankles into some sort of silt, which was rather unpleasant seeing as I was wearing ballet flats. And then I got stung by a stinging nettle. So, I had to go along a different path, which took me a touch longer as there was something in the undergrowth which I was trying not to spook into the road. Meanwhile, Andy was oohing and ahhing, having got there first.

We believe this once sat in the grounds of a local estate, likely the brainchild of a local landowner. It is also sat on a small rise, whether the rise was man made or it has some actual significance, I do not know. It put me in mind of the litter of Neolithic barrow mounds near where we live.

I have taken to carrying my inhaler and the accompanying spacer in this bag, which Andy volunteered to carry.

It was then back to the car and on to the next!

Except Andy couldn't recall how to get there so we drove and drove and drove and drove. Finally, as light was falling, we located it, but neither of us wanted to leave Meirionwen alone at the side of the road, so we headed home, leaving the other three for another day. Stay tuned!


What I Wore:

Vintage Hair Scarf - charity shop
Prescription sunglasses
Welsh silver daffodil pendant - anniversary gift
Vintage camisole top - charity shop
Belt - Hell Bunny
Skirt - Lindy Bop
Petticoat - eBay
Ballet Flats - retail
Flamingo handbag - birthday gift
Plastic weave basket - New Look, years and years ago


* Take me anywhere and I will dither and ponder the best place in which to sit, which usually involves me moving from each possibility to suss it out before moving on to the next, to which Andy gives a running commentary, complete with sound effects of birds fluttering about … it has been known that I will even get up in the middle of  having a cuppa to move seats.


  1. I think that getting stuck to vinyl car seats was a rite of passage for us when younger - it always felt like the top layer of skin had been ripped off!

    1. I think you're right! It was like finding the Holy Grail if you could find a spot to park under a tree! And now here I am doing it myself xx

  2. I didn't know about follies before, interesting to learn something new about Britain. This outfit is very stylish btw, just love that skirt. You look so pretty and chic.

  3. That is such a fabulously cool backstory for your blog's name. I did indeed wonder about its origins and really enjoyed learning about such.

    What a charmingly pretty outfit. That skirt is a dream!

    Big hugs from Edmonton,
    ♥ Jessica

  4. Oh yeah! We still stick to the seats in ours - and we've got two 1960s vinyl armchairs in the lounge, so it's pretty much a daily occurrence in our life!
    That's a lovely little spot for a picnic. That rock formation reminds me of a crab.
    Your little cami looks lovely with the skirt - very Summery and pretty. xxx

  5. It definitely does look reminiscent of a barrow - the part where several stones are piled together reminds me of the entrance to one.

    Thank you for explaining your blog name; I had wondered about it.

  6. OOOh, I love these stones! So cool!!!! x

  7. I actually did wonder about the name, Melanie, and I'm glad I now know. I do love a folly, and yes, I think they are quintessentially British, although we did encounter one on our little break in Belgium's west country last week. I'm already looking forward to your next post! xxx


Thank you for commenting!