Thursday, 31 December 2015

Pancakes in Portugalete

At least, that is what I think they were making. I had just visited, for the second time in a week, the Museo Rialia, which is a very interesting museum of industry situated on the riverside in Portugalete, Bilbao, Spain. Its attraction for me was the collection of paintings depicting the iron and steel industry of Bilbao.

Having gorged myself on Bessemer Converters and the Martin Siemens process, furnace tapping, block casting and other such occupations I egressed the museum to discover at the bottom of the steps outside, this knot of children being taught what I deduce was the skill of pancake making. 

As I watched the demonstrators pounding and moulding it occurred to me that their actions were not dissimilar to those depicted in the paintings of steel workers in the museum.

I wonder what the pancakes tasted like?

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

My Bono is not Bueno

Over the last four years I have visited Bilbao on several occasions and always stayed at the Hotel Puente Colgante which is situated in Portugalete on the riverside next to the eponymous bridge. On my second visit I noticed that one of the locals was having his fidelity card stamped at breakfast so I asked for, and obtained such a card for myself, much to the amusement of the locals. 

Over the next three years I assiduously collected the necessary stamps to entitle me to free breakfast and successfully filled the card last year.
So, this year, with a great flourish I presented my bono at breakfast and claimed my two free breakfasts.

'Sorry, that promotion finished eight months ago.'

My bono was not bueno.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Selfie in Bilbao

How can this be a self portrait? 

It's just a modern building in the street behind the Abando railway station in Bilbao.

Ah, but if you look closer...

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Posters in Bilbao

Visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao yesterday morning we came across this marvellous exhibition of 200 posters, 1886-1975, displayed from the large collection of the museum.

A significant number of posters were from the Basque region, quite appropriately, given the position of Bilbao.

As well as the fine and varied display of the skill of the lithographic printer, as represented by the posters themselves, also present was a hand-operated litho-printing machine, and a very instructive and well composed film showing a printer making a print from the first stage of cleaning the stone to the final lifting of the print from the bed on that very machine.

If you are in Bilbao, pop along to the Museo de Bellas Artes any time until 18th January 2016 and feast your eyes. And if you are lucky like us, you will visit on a Wednesday and discover that the entry is free on that day.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Ill informed in Illminster

Just popped in to Illminster for lunch and for curiosity's sake. Desiring to purchase a postcard I followed the sign to the Tourist Information until I met another sign pointing back at the first. In between the two...? No tourist information.

The building adjacent to the brasserie at which we had chosen to dine proudly displayed a plaque on its wall.

But Queen Victoria did not become queen until 1837, surely? In fact, she was only just born in 1819 – she was a princess of seven months of age.

Never mind, let's go and have lunch.

So, what have we got on today's menu? Ah, pan-fried bream, that sounds delicious. Two pan-fried breams please miss.
Sorry, we are out of bream.
Oh, well we will have the steak then.
We don't have that either.
So, at 12 o'clock on the menu for today which advertises a choice of four main courses, you have already sold out of two of them and this, in an empty restaurant?

I have a feeling that language must work differently in Illminster.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Salisbury: ice sculpture & Australian signwriting.

On my way to Tiverton to present a lecture I stopped in Salisbury. 

There I saw a man in the street carving ice into statues.

And a shop fascia board presumably installed by Aussie signwriters.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear No. 11

Continuing the series of passport photographs from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.

This is Miss Janet Baker. She is a 36 year old British maid from London.

She obtained her British passport in 1923 and used it for several short trips to Calais and Boulogne.

Then in 1926 it was renewed and made valid for: 'Holland, Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Tangier, Tunis, Morocco, Greece, Crete and Turkey.' and she obtained Greek, Turkish and  Moroccan visas.

What an adventure in 1926 for a British maid.  Was she having to accompany her employer?

I wonder what she thought of it all.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Spruce up your woman.

Is your woman looking dowdy?

Does she need freshening up?

Could she benefit from a rub down?

Is her undercoat showing through?


(Advertisement in classified ads. section of Canterbury Index Magazine)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Almost worth getting married for.

Rolls Royce Landaulette at Wingham church.

It's almost worth getting married for... a ride in a Rolls Royce (Phantom I?) landaulette.

Awaiting the bride and groom outside the church in Wingham, Kent.

Immigration Service Cyclists do not wear corduroys.

Sign seen at the door of the Griffin's Head, Chillenden, Kent, it being the pub from which the Immigration Service Cyclists set bravely forth every month.

Luckily none of us wears corduroy whether from Matalan or Primark.