Tell it like it is, excrescenses and all…

An extract of the sale particulars for the former PWD store

An extract of the sale particulars for the former PWD store

Even its own mother, if it had one, would be hard pushed to describe the old PWD store in Jamestown as a thing of beauty.

But there’s no need to be rude about a building that has the sort of rugged, solid reliability that one might value in an old friend.

Hugh P Crallan, who wrote an oft-cited report on the historic buildings of St Helena, felt no need to be charitable, however.

“The building has an excrescence at its north-east corner,” he wrote, describing a kind of porch that rather crudely detracts from its classical simplicity.

The line is quoted with a refreshing lack of guile in the sale particulars for the building, which is on the market with offers sought in excess of £250,000.

Online dictionaries offer various definitions for an excrescence. Here are some of the best:

A distinct outgrowth on a body or plant, resulting from disease or abnormality [as in] “the males often have a strange excrescence on the tip of the snout”; an unattractive or superfluous object or feature (Oxford Dictionaries)

Something that bulges out. Synonyms include bulge, bump, gibbosity, gibbousness, hump (

An outgrowth or enlargement, especially an abnormal one, such as a wart (

There’s concern that St Helena currently does not have an open and transparent property market. On the plus side, though, this means it doesn’t have smarmy estate agents with their finely-honed inability to paint a truthful picture, warts and all.

Can we look forward to more of the same? How about: “Historic Castle, undermined by bougainvillea tree and prone to collapse”, or, “Handsome property in Jamestown; occupants liable to be crushed by rockfall at any moment”?

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