LATEST UPDATE: Anmer has now recovered sufficiently to be allowed back home, but has been ordered to rest and advised not to revisit the site. After our original visit, Anmer retired to his garret at The Teat as usual but did not appear in the bar at all the following day. Madge attended him all day and reported that he was in bed and feeling very tired, but otherwise quite alright. It had been assumed that he had probably overdone it and probably just needed a rest. The following day he resumed his duties in the cellar and the bar and he seemed back to normal, if just a little quieter. At about half past eight in the evening, Anmer began to shake. At first it was barely noticeable but by nine o’clock he was trembling so much that it was impossible for him to serve a glass of beer without spilling a quarter of it. Madge ordered him back to his garret but he could not make the stairs. Bernie took him to Dereham Hospital where he was admitted for tests. The shaking was relieved through medication although still evident for two further days when it suddenly stopped. Oddly, this also occurred at around 9pm. The condition is known as essential tremor but it has not been fully ascertained exactly what triggered it. All research on The Establishment has temporarily been halted and the site has been secured to prevent further misadventure. Our thoughts are with Anmer and we wish him a speedy recovery.
The research already done by Anmer and the SHSCC is still in its infancy, but we will share our findings thus far.
It is advisable that new visitors to this website should read the first two parts before continuing. This building, known locally as ‘The Establishment’ has been on the periphery of the village for over 80 years. Silently operating behind a stand of trees and accessed by a circuitous route via a cinder track beyond Setchell’s Copse, no-one was seen entering or leaving, and there was no contact in the village by those who worked there.
On December 17th a crack team of ‘urban’ explorers went back to see what was there… there was some strangeness about our visit, much of which has been recorded in the last post, so we will continued with our observations.
Inside were three rooms. The first one we have taken to calling ‘The Office’ because of its appearance and contained three areas of interest:
Firstly, the diagram on the wall (A):
We have yet to work out its meaning. It was first thought to have been a map, but without any landmarks or references, this is impossible to ascertain. It certainly bears no relationship to the locality. Next were the six pages pinned neatly on the wall to the right of the ‘map’ (B):
These are (top row, l-r) a page of unknown formulæ, a notated diagram labelled “Melosira Collection”, a familiar and ancient symbol found all around Soddenham, a diagram of something possibly cellular or amoebic with a code, (bottom row, l-r) a plant-like diagram labelled ‘H. rexanus’ and possibly dated 3.6.64, and finally a double page of very complex equations. All of these were very odd and quietly unsettling. We now know that Melirosa is a species of freshwater algae and Rexanus appears to relate to a particular beetle species, but other notes on that particular card are very much descriptions of plant life.
The symbol is familiar to many of us in Soddenham as it is indelibly imprinted upon our lives, and can be seen everywhere, including the church and other buildings as architectural ornament, carvings on wooden posts and trees, official village documents and in the case of Mrs. Smokepipe, a large strawberry birthmark on her neck. Its significance here in this place is unknown but accepted as part of our heritage.
On the floor at the left of the room (C) were a small pack of cards, some of which are photographic, some are ink drawings and others a pencil notes and diagrams, none of which are any more than 6cm on the longest side.
Some of these are clearly labelled and relate to algae, whilst others are less specific but are cross-sections, cellular diagrams and symbolic descriptors. There are a lot of codes and classifications, but nothing readily recognised, but Barry seems to think that one or two bear some similarity to the ‘map’ on the wall. Many of these little cards bore the marks of being pinned up, some for quite a while, and others several times. Some had not been pinned at all.
Anmer has been trying to work out if there is anything here that is linked with the village. So far, there is nothing concrete, but he is currently investigating the possibility of a connection with the Squamulose Community, a group of like-minded people who believed that lichen held the secrets to a long and healthy life. Many considered them Utopia seeking hippies, others found them just a little odd and they were never really accepted into society. The community officially disbanded but there are rumours that members are flourishing in the US, particularly Washington State and Seattle.
Oddly enough, these cards were wrapped a page of an old booklet, which at first looked to be older than these cards and unrelated, clearly of an official nature and relating to lichen, not algae. Anmer has since successfully identified the booklet – “A Defence Strategy & Protection of Vital Lichen Crops” issued by The Department of Public Enquiries at The Office of War Information in 1943! A copy of this booklet is already amongst the Soddenham archives thanks to the generosity of Mr. Unwin S. Schreiber, but why it had been used as wrapping paper is yet to be ascertained.
Barry has formally withdrawn his support for any further exploration of the site but would continue to contribute maps and other non-exploratory tasks. The SHSCC are looking for volunteers to help them make progress with this investigation. Please contact me, Les Taret at Taret’s Offal Butchers on Main Street or via email here.
More on this when it happens.