Tuesday, 28 February 2012

ABC Wednesday - Grayson Perry's Bike

A vision of pink an blue, the Grayson Perry designed Kenilworth AM1 Motorcycle, built by the unknown craftsman,  which he took on a journey to Bavaria with his companion 
Alan Measles, his teddy bear who shared many childhood fantasy adventures fighting battles against the Germans and leading  resistance undercover operations.  His name comes from the fact that the teddy bear came at the time of a measles illness. Alan became his personal childhood God so now he is installed in the reliquary attached to the motorbike.  The trip to Bavaria was a mission of reconciliation with their old enemies and  saw them visiting King Ludwig's castle, the1920s Nurburgring racetrack, religious sites and of course the Stieff teddy bear factory.  The journey was shown as a BBC film and as they went on their way Grayson reflected on the nature of pilgrimage and art.
 As well as getting up to speed over the Tyrolean Mountain passes.
 The Harley Davidson Nucklehead engine humming away.
Alan Measles leading the charge of "Ten Days of Alan" which he reports on his very own site here,or a bikers view and a glimpse of Grayson's matching gear from here

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Snowy Mountains

 An entry for Sepia Saturday. "Using old images as prompts for new reflections".

These shoes aren't made for walking...
 Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
The "Start of the Girls Snowshoe Race, Kiandra".  Date unknown but taken by Charles Kerry who was the official photographer to the governor of New South Wales and a keen skier who captured many images of skiing and life around Kiandra from 1885 (when the first races for men and women took place) to 1905. However here we have the girls, the woman to the left looks older perhaps a teacher or an official. The girls look pretty relaxed I think the younger ones might have an advantage with the shorter skirts however the older girl (2nd left) has technology, a pole which was used for braking and turning.  My money is on the girl with no gloves and a bonnet, no encumbrances. Are you thinking those are not snowshoes but skis?  What's in a name, the Australians at this time called them snowshoes. 

Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains of SE Australia was the scene of the 1800s gold rush when the miners strapped planks to their boots forming a sort of Norwegian snow shoe and from this the Kiandra Snowshoe Club was formed in 1861 making it the oldest continuous ski club in the world.  Today it still exists as the Kiandra Pioneers Ski Club and celebrated its 150th anniversary last year.

But I don't want to disappoint with no pictures of the true snowshoe, and a climate more associated with them
 Photograph by Frederick W Waugh, Canadian Museum of Civilization
Canada.  An Inuit women wearing a hunting costume in 1921-22.  The snowshoes are made by the Innu (Naskapi).  The root of the word Naskapi means the "ones who live past the horizon".  Their home is Labrador and Northern Quebec.   The Arctic frontier, the all in one shoe a necessity.

Update: I originally thought this was a Naskapi (Innu) women but from Anthony, a blog commenter, learned that only the snowshoes are of that origin and the woman was in fact Inuit.  Fascinating that different styles of snowshoes are traded. Never having every worn a pair I do not know their advantage (or if it is just like wanting a different pair of shoes), but if I ever make it to the Canadian north I'll certainly give them a try. By coincidence I saw some indigenous equipment from the Inuit of Canada at  the British Museum in January, I'll be back down in London briefly later in the year so I will have to call in to satisfy my curiosity of the difference.        

Nunavik = Northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut = Northern Labrador.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

ABC Wednesday - Fire Station

I was passing this building on the way to somewhere else in London but managed a snap, while thinking wow an 'Arts and Crafts' Fire Station, who would have thought it.  No need to guess when it was built there it is in bold lettering '1902', not only a fire station but also with flats.  At first I thought this building was no longer used as a fire station because the large doors are blocked by cars but I was wrong for behind them are not the fire engines but a reception area.  A historical listed building described as "red brick laid in English bond with Portland stone dressing in the Arts and Crafts domestic style", the architect was Percy Erskine Nobbs (1874-1964) who went on to design many building in Montreal, Canada in the same style.

The Fire Brigade in London was at one time funded by city businesses but following an Act of Parliament in 1866 the local authority was charged with saving lives and protecting buildings resulting in the first publicly funded Brigade for the city. The building boom of the 1890s to the 1900s resulted in giving the Brigade "bespoke designs and characterful buildings". Well this one certainly fits that description.
Here is an old photo of the full building I found on the London Fire Journal blog (written in the USA).  Are you wondering where the fire engines are kept?  I missed them off my photo and this old one does not show them either.  Here comes the Turnout...

An entry to ABC Wednesday Round 10, a journey from A to Z

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Film Stars

The Sepia Saturday meme "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

This Sepia Saturday prompt reminded me that I had two old Picture Show Annuals "The Year's Best in Pictures".  These I  inherited from my mother and they fascinated me as a child.  As I grew older I thought it out of character she owned them for although she liked films she was not a collector of memorabilia.  When she was in her 80s and clearing out some books she said  "I must give these back to Mabel".  What the!!!  Now consider this, she had borrowed them as a teenager from her friend Mabel Gardner, it must have been in her mind to return them, but war had intervened, she joined the Fire Service and was posted elsewhere in the country. She kept in contact with Mabel but I don't think she had seen her in person for at least 55 years.  We decided, well OK she decided,  that we would go and visit Mabel, even identified the area of the town she lived in as we passed it on one journey to visit my uncle, but my mother's memory deteriorated with dementia and she became frail before we could do it and now sadly neither of them is with us any more.  So here am I now sharing some of its pictures from the golden age of cinema from one of the books.        

'Picture Show' was a weekly magazine containing the latest news of film favourites such as
Clark Gable (1901-1960).  The caption says
"He is known as a man's man. Which means that he has a devastating effect on women. He likes to omit the morning shave on shooting and fishing trips with a couple of other congenial companions of similar tastes. "Parnell" gives him his greatest acting opportunity".  
Guess the smooth cheek was only for the women he had the devastating effect on, and why his frequent co-star and friend Joan Crawford said he was the most masculine man she had ever met, as anyone who has seen him playing Rhett Butler in  'Gone With the Wind' could probably guess. 

I wondered if the dog in this picture was his and discovered that he always seemed to have kept dogs, including dachshunds, hunting dogs and this one, Parnell, who shared photo opportunities on numerous occasions
 (Photo from www.acertaincinema.com)
such as this picture taken in 1939 which ties in with the date of this Picture Show Annual of
1938 where Greta Garbo (1905-1990) in her role as Camille graces the cover. She looks remarkably cheerful for such a tragic story. Like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo started her career in silent films and her first talkie (Anna Christie) was famously promoted by the strap line "Garbo talks".

Now our host said if we did not have pictures of film stars them people sitting on chairs might be a possibility so here is Joel McCrea (1905-1990) combining both elements and  looking relaxed on a film set,
The caption which the scan has fuzzed says:
"1937 marked the tenth year of film work, which he began as an "extra". It was not until three years later that we saw him in a leading rôle, but since then he has been consistently popular. He is still "un-actorish" likes a simple life on his ranch and outdoor rôles on the screen".
McCrea used to write his occupation as 'rancher' and his hobby as 'acting', and spent much of his later career in cowboy films of which he said:
 "I liked doing comedies, but as I got older I was better suited to do Westerns. Because I think it becomes unattractive for an older fellow trying to look young, falling in love with attractive girls in those kinds of situations...Anyway, I always felt so much more comfortable in the Western. The minute I got a horse and a hat and a pair of boots on, I felt easier. I didn't feel like I was an actor anymore. I felt like I was the guy out there doing it".

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

ABC Wednesday - Elvis

The Elvis Entrance of The Railway Hotel, Nantwich.  Perhaps wondering why Elvis is over the door?  The owners say they like railways but love music
hence Elvis The King of Rock of Roll over the door and if you extend your neck to the left to look to the right you will see the pub sign features the Fab Four, inside the pub is Beatles themed.  Two large flat screen TVs for sports, a pool room, pub sports teams and live bands, perhaps not the place to go for a quiet night out.  But if you want a rocking good night then here is the choice this week on Thursday its Disco Night, Friday 17th The Cavernites - "Take a ticket to ride back to the 60s" and on Saturday 18th Rogue Soul - "Rocky soul and blues".

As it is Valentines Day here is Elvis in 1960 singing Stuck on You, and throwing some moves.  Oh yes Elvis is in the building....

An entry to ABC Wednesday, Round 10 of a journey through the alphabet.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


 An entry to Sepia Saturday, "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

I have always loved books, perhaps too much
 because I obviously couldn't be without one on this day out on Hoad Hill, Ulverston.  I remember these little books, they were a set that fitted into a box sleeve. I have no idea who the legs with summer skirts belong to, one would have been my mother. I can remember as a child seeing pictures of people reading in different positions and experimented to see if one would replace curling up on a chair, such as lying on my stomach (too uncomfortable for long periods of time),  but never tried sitting on a branch
 which does look rather spiffing to use the word that could have been used in this book full of stories full of adventure such as "Betty's Besetment" "The Detectives" and "Out of the Storm.  Even if I did not know that this book was published in the 1930s I would know it was my mothers rather than mine because no book illustration would be left uncoloured in a book owned by me as a child.  I wonder which section I would have started on first, possibly the tree flowers, although the dress flowers would be tempting, then again the broad sweeps of the branch would be relaxing.  Although I have never sat on a high branch to read I did used to 
use the lilac tree in the background of this photo to gain access to the wall (not when this picture was taken, those 3 year old legs would never have made it).   On the other side of the wall was a builders yard, which had interesting stacks of wood, copper tubes for plumbing and the coming and goings of the builders. On warm summer days it was my favourite place to sit drying my hair after having it washed.   We left this house when I was 12 years old but I think I gained my love of walled gardens from this time, not to mention hats. But here is a much more elaborate hat

 From the North Yorkshire Library Collection
in an idyllic spot for a quiet moment with a book on the River Greta at Ingleton in 1912, (woman and photographer unknown).

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

ABC Wednesday - Paul DAY

 Paul Day's "The Meeting Place" was one of the statues commissioned for the recently refurbished Victorian railway station of St Pancras in London.  Day shows himself and his half-French wife Catherine representing a French woman reunited with her English lover, symbolising the meeting of two cultures and the romance of travel.  This is a station that the French and English do meet because the Eurostar trains departs and finishes here, travelling back and forward from the two countries under the Channel Tunnel.  The statue is huge 20 tonnes and 9 metres high,  it needs to be because the William Barlow's St Pancras shed of 1868 is on a monumental scale.  The statue is one that is both loved and hated.  I'm now going to leave the luscious St Pancras architecture, glimpsed in the background, for later in this round of ABC Wednesday but instead show some of the reliefs around the frieze at the bottom of the statue, all continuing the theme of people meeting in a public spaces  
 The men who built the railways
 I think this is supposed to be a railway driver and two people waiting on a station
 The underground rush hour commute, and lastly
meetings on stairways.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, Round 10, a journey from A to Z...

Saturday, 4 February 2012


I couldn't find any dog orientated postcards for this week's Sepia Saturday theme so I'm migrated to this blog, although if it had been beards, as humorously mentioned,  I'd have been quids in because my Victorian family ancestors sported a fine array.
Unlike my father who was always clean shaven. Here he is on a Sunday in May 1970 taking a break by sitting on a cairn above Easdale Tarn with Shandy the dog.  Sunday walks were often taken with his and my mother's friends Chris and Hilda whose pet was Shandy. Even if they did not know what day it was the dog always did for on Sunday mornings at their home he would pull down his lead and sit by the door, patiently waiting but underneath eager to go on the fells.  How did he know which day it was?

I think this photo shows well how this tarn is right in the middle of the Lake District, the hills spread out all around. The walk up to Easdale Tarn  is a popular one from the village of Grasmere, once the home of William Wordsworth, who no doubt also walked this path. It became so popular in Victorian times that there was a refreshment hut on the tarn for thirsty walkers.

This little group of walkers however had done that walk and were on their way to Codale Tarn which rests in a hollow so typical of Lakeland tarns.
      Photo courtesy of Ann Bowker at Mad About Mountains

and is the perfect place to laze by on a hot summers day.  Not by the looks of it on the June day of this photo, the misty peaks are the Langdale Pikes