Faringdon – delightfully bonkers

Faringdon is a small town in Oxfordshire visited recently by my wife and I. We went there for much the reason George Mallory is reputed to have given as the reason he wanted to climb Mount Everest – ‘because it’s there’.  We had driven round the by-pass on the busy Swindon to Oxford road quite often but had not been there and had not had a chance to catch up on a quirky aristocrat who once displayed his eccentric side in the town.

What we noticed first was a statue of a deep sea diver – clearly modern – and strangely out of place. OK, Faringdon, like much of the South of England has an ‘under the sea’ ancient past but these days it is 100kilometres from any real sea.

A young couple were having a sandwich in front of it but they kindly moved and told us about eccentric Lord Berners. One of his pals was surrealist artist Salvador Dali and he had decided to give a surrealist lecture wearing a diving suit. Seemingly he was persuaded (if any were actually needed) to parade this outfit in the Market Square and this event is commemorated here.

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The message – you can just see a couple of letters – reads ‘Mistrust a man who never has an occasional flash of silliness’.

Our sandwich eating friends told us to look out for the pink pigeons. These are models, of course, but apparently the noble lord dyed real pigeons.

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With our eyes skinned on upper windows we noticed this absurd sign.

image008There are lots more silly signs and 24 anagrams of Faringdon for us to discover on a future visit.

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