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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Brunel and Bristol

This is an interesting audio-slide show from the BBC on the subject of Robert Howlett - remembered as the photographer of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his achievements, many of which are evident around Bristol to this day.

Well worth a look!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Richard III

This little lead, hand-painted figure is one given to my late father on the set, while father was making the film Richard III with Lawrence Olivier back in 1955. Filming was done in Spain and so some scenes show typical Spanish skies and olive trees, rather than the green countryside of England around Bosworth Field. Nevertheless the film, recently digitally remastered on DVD is an epic of its genre and has wonderful performances from the cast. My father took the part of the Duke of Norfolk and this little model is of him in his court costume. Presumably the artist presented models to other actors in the cast, but I have no further information. I will try to add photos from the film but at this moment have not copied any to my computer.
Now obtained! My father on left - Lawrence Olivier on the right.

Monday, November 24, 2008

England Expects...

One of the most interesting books in my library is a copy of the International Code of Signals published for the use of ships at sea by the British Board of Trade in 1899. I don’t know when or if later editions were published but there was, presumably not much further use of flag messaging after the invention of radio and signalling by morse code.
“Every schoolboy knows” that before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 Admiral Nelson sent a message to his fleet using flag hoists which read “
England expects that every man will do his duty”. My book has various sections, dealing with phrases, individual words, national flags, places around the world. The end papers contain fascinating advertisements of use to shipmasters such as “McInnes’s Anti-corrosive and Anti-fouling Compositions for Ships’ Bottoms. As used by Principal Companies at Home and Abroad. Contracts to the Admiralty. Sole Manufacturers: John McInnes & Son, 13 North Street, Liverpool. Another example: John Phillips & Co, 17 Anderston Quay, Glasgow, advertising cooking apparatus for use in steam ships.
Next time the Antiques Roadshow comes to Bristol I will try to take it for a valuation, hoping that it has increased from the fifteen shillings (£0.75) I originally paid for it, about 40 years ago!

From the three-letter codebook:-
KCQ – Crew have mutinied.
INP – I have been chased by disguised war vessel.
ETN – Do not approach the coast as it is mined!

Greetings from AEQC (Bristol)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The New President

I stayed up late last night watching the BBC's coverage of the US Presidential Election. Gripping stuff! Once it was a forgone conclusion that Barrack Obama was winning the race, I eventually went to bed. I now find that he has secured a landslide victory and general congratulation from most quarters. What a task confronts him though! Moving to see the joyful tears of Jesse Jackson, the excitement of young America of all colours, even the support and graciousness of those he defeated. Interesting times! Good luck America!
One more thought! - I will greatly miss the memorable gaffes and faux-pas of George W who was so worryingly ignorant about so much of the world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Allt y Rhiw


Update on the old homestead.
Mr & Mrs Whitthread, who bought my parent's property at auction three years ago have decided to sell it again. I gather that despite all the impr improvements to the home, that they are, sadly, planning to divorce and sell the house. The above link has all the details. It originally went on the market at £750,000 but I see that the price is now reduced to £695k. I am sure someone will snap it up before long.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Wheelbarrow Graveyard

In September I booked myself onto a couse at a school of painting run by a cousin of mine who has been gaining a name for himself as a Welsh painter, sculptor and printmaker. He runs the courses from his old watermill on the banks of the River Banwy in Mid-Wales, in the old county of Montgomeryshire. Accommodation was in the cottage next to the mill, and three other students and I assembled for lessons and practical sessions which were enjoyed immednsly. David is very knowledgeable and was encouraging even going so far as to praise some of my efforts.

Down the gap between the old mill and one of the studios there is a patch of rough ground which fascinated me. In it, there are various bits of timber, roof slates pots, a mannequin's leg and other random discarded items, but most intriguing was the number of deceased wheelbarrows. Not just one or two but four or five in various stages of decay or overgrowth. There are three in the above photo but behind me there were more. I thought of the Time Team archaeologists in centuries to come, digging down to find so many of these strange objects in one place, and thought of sketching the yard myself but in the event only took photos. A few metres away from the graveyard was a pond and here many waterboatmen, curious litte insects that skim accross the surface of the water among the duckweed! Another photo opportunity!

I have returned!!

Though I have been regularly checking for my e-mails by using the public access PCs at the local library in Filton, at long last and with the diligent help of Ibi during her recent visit, I am now back "Up and running" with a new Dell Inspiron laptop and good internet connection. I have been away from the blog too long and my typing, never good anyway, needs more practice. Please forgive any typos! I will publish more later and I would like to thank all my recent visitors who have looked for me here over the last three months but have found nothing new to look at. I'll do my best and try to have a few words and interesting pictures added on a regular basis. More later....