11. Knobs………and nobs


Multi-coloured and vibrant, but what are they? Just  decorative baubles at an Eco Fair?Perhaps we all need some colour in our lives these days. The title of this blog freefromlockdown.com now seems dated. No sooner do we think the corner has been turned than we’re told it hasn’t been. We’re not free yet and no date has been pencilled in as to when we might be. Governments everywhere are damned if they do and damned if they don’t and us piggies in the middle just hope for a vaccine and then all will be well.

Some people say that their senses are more acute since the lockdown; they can see and hear more distinctly, for instance. If you’ve been in virtual imprisonment for weeks that’s not as unusual as it might seem. Even here, in the country, the air is purer. Bird song seems more persistent and the changing colours on the hills more vivid. The new moon a few nights ago seemed more dramatic and it’s not all in the mind. Today there was one contrail in the brilliant blue sky; there have been none over the house for weeks. Usually there are several aircraft a day Atlantic bound. It left a ragged cloud pattern behind in an otherwise flawless sky.


Back to the subject. Once, if you were upwardly mobile socially, you installed the avocado bathroom suite and a bidet, soon to be overtaken by the en-suite. If you could afford them crystal glass doorknobs were de rigueur  but reproductions are now so good any house owner can afford them. We did need some porcelain door handles last year; the original ones were not robust after years of use  and a couple cracked. You can just see the faint fracture on this one.

Door handle

So, down to the local brocante to see what they had in the warehouse. This is an Aladdin’s cave and it’s pure euphoria spending a hour or so perusing without being hassled by the owner, who discreetly watches the front entrance from his glass cubicle.

Junk shop

What we did see, at a price, were antique glass door knobs. If push came to shove we could have substituted those but they’d have looked out of place among a house full of straight porcelain handles.

Antique door knobs

Have you heard of The Antique Doorknob Collectors of America? Nor had I, but this is a thriving society holding annual conventions (last year’s took place at North Little Rock) and which publishes a regular magazine entitled, predictably, The Doorknob  Collector. Look at their website for nearly 3,000 colour photographs of knobs.

It’s a change from philately or model railways. It’s always problematic what to put on a CV under ‘hobbies and pastimes’ and do prospective employers really need to know? Claiming to like ‘hill walking’ or ‘spending time with my family’ might sound like a safe bet but it also risks making you seem on the dull side.  Boris Johnson claims to paint model buses made from wooden crates, although it’s open to conjecture as to how he finds the time with his other extra mural activities.

A frisson of excitement ran through the ranks of Britain’s ‘gridders’ when Jeremy Corbyn disclosed that his hobby was photographing manhole covers. With such a high profile devotee  they could come out of the shadows. There are clubs dedicated to the hobby but drain-spotting is not a recent phenomenon. More than half a century ago an American newspaper declared that Britain  was ‘full of operculists’. Yes, I needed the dictionary too.  This is not the place to become involved in the niceties of the hobby e.g. covers versus drains.

Roman manhole

It’s improbable that the Romans were in to drain-spotting. A cover slab like this would have been used by them to cover the drains, which were unsanitary and probably smelled bad, or to stop anyone falling in.

Today’s worthless fact. Pre-1600, or thereabouts,  the face of a pocket watch was glassless. As timekeepers they were futile and were not carried to tell the time but to show the world how eminent and wealthy the owner was. It had  raised knobs on the hour markers so the time could be read without looking.

The germ of this post about knobs started during Mass. A local village church has a small staircase leading up to the altar. At each end of the balustrade is a crystal knob. It’s a sad reflection on society that churches are locked, but items like these have value.

orsanco knob

You’ll find these in many of the older, substantial houses. Not ours, which has a wooden knob which has been nibbled at by the destructive Capricorn beetle. For unalloyed colour and beauty the balustrade below is in a class of its own.



Even the patisserie is not to be outdone


If you live in the south of England you may have encountered this gourmet food. These small, crumbly, door knob–sized morsels are unique to West Dorset. Rock hard from three separate bakings, they can explode into a thousand crumbs but are the perfect accompaniment for cheese (preferably Dorset Blue Vinney). I say ‘may’ have encountered  because these crispy balls do not travel well.

Dorset knob2

Dorset’s knob-throwing competition will not take place this year, (yes, it does exist) not because of Covid-19 but because the organisers are searching for a new venue; 8,000 people attended last year! The competition to hurl the county’s traditional biscuits as far as possible has been running since 2008 as part of a food festival.

Other attractions include knob-based games such as a knob and spoon race, guess the weight of the knob and pin the knob on the Cerne Abbas giant. 


No prizes for guessing the bull’s eye.

Knobs (2)


One final knob, if you want to get away from it all


Yorkeys Knob  in Cairns Region, Far North Queensland, Australia.

Let’s move on………

Nob: A person of wealth or high social position

The jack of the same suit as the card turned up by the dealer in cribbage (scoring one point for the holder)

Nobs Crook; an area close to Winchester near where our family used to live


In 1880 there were 14 Nobs families living in Missouri.

This was about 45% of all the recorded Nobs’s in the USA.

Another worthless fact.



NOBS help get you involved with beating and picking up……….

Politicians often complain that they are quoted out of context. The above is open to misinterpretation so, to put the record straight, NOBS is an honourable organisation (if you’re keen on blood sports and Barbours). Let them explain; ‘Beating is an essential part of any successful shoot. If you are unfamiliar with what beating actually is, basically a beater is a person who has the job of flushing birds such as pheasants or grouse from cover in the direction of the guns.

Picking up is vital on any shoot where a large number of birds will be shot. Pickers up are people who stand behind the line of guns on a shoot and use their dogs to retrieve all the shot game.’

Now you know.


NOB1 (2)

That’s it folks (if you’ve reached this far)





Next post 12. The fastest game in the world

Published by Down Under diary

Down Under diary

One thought on “11. Knobs………and nobs

  1. Waiting impatiently for your next blog

    On Wed 12 Aug 2020 at 12:55, Will the French way of life ever recover? wrote:

    > > > > > > > johngraham2020 posted: ” > Multi-coloured and vibrant, but what are they? Just decorative baubles at > an Eco Fair?Perhaps we all need some colour in our lives these days. The > title of this blog freefromlockdown.com now seems dated. No sooner do we > think the corner has been turned ” > > > >


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: