Friday, 25 November 2016

Seeing more with the lights off

A pair of street lights were switched off at the bottom of my road last night and as I stumbled along the pavement, the headlights of the oncoming cars showed me why I was having such difficulty in keeping a straight line.

 Look at the unevenness of the paving. Such ankle breaking terrain is far less obvious under vertical light.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

What a difference a day makes.


A tree in Broome Park yesterday which was loaded with golden leaves.

We had some wind overnight.

The same tree today.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Filming at the Hilton

Can't get to the hotel entrance? Wait until the film comes out.
What were they filming at the Hotel Hilton in Watford on Friday? Whatever it was it caused a nuisance. First of all nearly half the car park was coned off for their use. This included the approach and entrance so taxis and others had to unload in the car park somewhere and point their customers in the right direction.

All the luvvies in their woollen hats getting in the way.
Then when we came to check out in the morning we were held back from the front desk so that various film extras could be filmed wandering across the car park and into the hotel.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A direct hit from HMS Belfast?

As we fiddled our way through the northern suburbs of London on the A1, or the Great North Road as it used to be called, we stopped at a green space which declared itself to be Scratchwood. Now, I had only ever heard of Scratchwood in the context of the M1 motorway services but Scratchwood was part of the great Middlesex forest dating from the last ice age. 

Scratchwood Open Space
It has been variously managed since that time for rearing game, raising timber oak, supplying coppiced hornbeam and even as hay meadows to provide the fodder for the horse population of London.

To the south of this wood is the motorway service station which is now called London Gateway and if you have ever visited it you might wonder why the access road is so convoluted. The reason is that it was designed as the roundabout for Junction 3 which was intended to link the M1 with the A1 but was never built.  So the M1 motorway has no Junction 3; the numbering jumps from 2 to 4.

And another interesting fact about Scratchwood Services is that the Royal Navy's heavy cruiser HMS Belfast  which has been moored in the Thames near Tower Bridge as a floating museum since 1971 has its forward 6" guns targeted on... Scratchwood Services.

Which made me wonder if this unfortunate car had suffered a direct hit?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Jam making at Tiptree

Should you be in Essex in the vicinity of the village of Tiptree, halt awhile and look around. It appears at first sight to be a linear village of no particular remark yet not so very long ago it was the home of the Anchor Press, one of the largest book printers in the UK.

But why is this terrace of houses called 'Damson Gardens'? Because they were built to house the workers from the jam factory. Wilkin and Sons, manufacturers of the famous Tiptree range of jams, farm about 1.000 acres around the village and have been making jam here since 1885.
The genuine article.
If you are unfamiliar with their vast and excellent range of jams, preserves and sauces, click here

Wilkin and Sons have now expanded into tea rooms. We visited their museum, and then craftily nipped into the tea room for an early lunch snack at about 11.30. By the time we had finished the room was full and customers were queueing, waiting for tables to empty.

A fraudulent copy, but amusing nonetheless.
Now, thanks to successful marketing, the famous Tiptree jam label is recognisable worldwide. In the museum is displayed a collection of fraudulent copies produced by enterprises hoping to 'pass off' their inferior product as the genuine.

The jar on the left I found quite amusing and was disappointed that Wilkins had not made it themselves.

Tiptree claims to be the biggest village in Essex with a population of approximately 9,000. The Anchor Press has gone and I should imagine that Wilkin and Sons are the largest employer in the village. Tesco's have moved in and I was pleased to see on their otherwise blank facade to the high street this tiled mural depicting the village with the light railway in the background, the jam factory and fruit fields and orchards and in the foreground an Edwardian picnic laid out with... Wilkin and Sons jams in obvious evidence.
The Tiptree tiled mural on the wall of Tesco's.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The lost Routemaster.

I cycled to Sandwich today to sow a few thousand hollyhock seeds along the banks of the Stour and I saw this London bus, ostensibly on route 13 to London Bridge.

I don't think route 13 runs via Sandwich normally.

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 23

Continuing the series of passport photographs from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Edward Peter Rice, a British missionary born in Bangalore, India in 1849. It is now 1916 and at the age of 66 years he is sent by his employer, the YMCA, to the war zone in France.

First he has to obtain security clearance  from the War Office in London, he then is examined by the French police in London who issue him with a red identity book which is his permit and is valid only whilst he is employed by the YMCA. 

With this authority he obtains a visa from the French Consulate for 3/9 (three shillings and ninepence) which allows him to travel to Le Havre and thence to Rouen where he will be based. On landing at Le Havre on 11 February 1916 he reports to the British Military Authorities who give him permission to travel on to Rouen. He then has to visit the town hall in Le Havre to obtain the same permission from the French. 
Three months later he came home.