Wednesday, 7 November 2018


This blog is now closed for new business. Its successor is to be found at reference 1. The result of a belief that it is better for such things not to get too big.

For completeness, I include a list of the other blogs in the series.

Reference 1: Active.

Reference 2: Closed.

Reference 3: Closed.

Reference 4: Closed.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Barrow boy

Time for more cheese last week, so off to London Bridge, for a change.

Clock in the ticket hall was five minutes fast, resulting in what turned out to be an unnecessary run up the stairs onto the platform. However, there was some consolation in that the train, when it did arrive, was a smart new train from Siemens, a first for me. Smart new indicator boards inside, probably capable of displaying advertisements, and used on this day for displaying rather more information than the old indicator boards could manage. No rolling lights, more like a regular computer screen. But thin, hard seats which might not be very comfortable for a long run.

Something going on at Ewell West involving lots of builders' huts. Something to be checked out in due course.

Passed the time to Waterloo pondering on French aspects of playing the alphabet game with towns. Did, for example, the letter 'K' count?  Checking later, I find K present in both Littré and Larousse, but thin and mainly foreign. The only common word being the various sorts of kilo. Perhaps a thorough check is needed as I seem to recall that K is not the only anomaly. That sort of thing apart, I thought I managed quite well, managing at least 20 out of the 26 letters.

Bullingdon'd from Waterloo Station 3 to the Hop Exchange in 10 minutes 48 seconds.

Into the cheese shop to find that the inner shop was still shut and one was still buying one's cheese in what used to be the entrance or yard. But Lincolnshire Poacher all present and correct. As was a city boy in his mid thirties, who struck me as having a very well developed sense of his own importance.

Out to head off to the Barrowboy and Banker, and nearly there I was accosted by a smartly dressed Japanese lady coming the other way. She wanted to know where London Bridge was, maybe fifty yards behind her. I point and she gets very excited, explaining to me that she wanted the river, not the railway station. Eventually we get onto the same wavelength and she heads off, looking a bit sheepish rather nicely.

Into the BB&B, which was busy, and we had to wait a little while before we could sit down. I managed to slow things down by wanting to pay cash, which no longer seems to be the thing. Entertained by the rather pretentiously got-up Christmas menu which I removed from an unattended drawer, snapped above and featuring delicacies like Mrs Owton's bacon with roasted figs (a main course, seemingly) and Black Cab Christmas Pudding (perhaps moulded into the appropriate shape). But their wine is OK, and they only charge a premium of about a pound a glass for buying wine by the glass, rather than by the bottle.

Back to Waterloo, managing the run back in 9 minutes 40 seconds, which was odd as there was a fierce cold wind in Southwark Street. Foolishly, I pulled all the way up the ramp, which turned out to be full right up, so I had to roll back down again.

Not impressed on the train by the advertisement for something called Body Worlds, which I believe to be an exhibition of garishly dissected human corpses, all yellow and pink, the work of a German doctor now deceased. All rather unpleasant as far as I am concerned (and no doubt plenty of others), but I seem to remember that he claimed that he had dying people queuing up at his door, as it were. And the Internet was not working on my telephone for some reason.

Half moon just rising east at Ewell West at 2115. Round left, flat - that is horns to be - right. Some years now since I was trying to work out - and remember - whether horns right meant waxing or waning.

Reference 1: Two and a half years to be precise.

Trolley 174

Trolley 174 captured on private land, in the front yard of the University of Creation student residence on East Street.

Returned to Kiln Lane, to what was, on this occasion, a well-filled stack.

Gaskell redux

A couple of weeks ago, at reference 1, I noticed Wentworth Woodhouse, noticing in passing that the place was used for the BBC costume drama called 'Wives and Daughters'.

The costume drama was subsequently bought from Amazon for a fiver plus P&P, for which we get four episodes totalling around 300 minutes of viewing. Not bad value at all.

Along the way we got to know that this was the last book that Gaskell wrote, barely finishing it before she died at the age of 55 from a heart attack. Just about a generation after Jane Austen.

Much of what one would expect from a costume drama of this sort. Much inflation of house size - an irritating feature of most Jane Austen adaptations, although we did get plenty of splendid views of Wentworth Woodhouse, inside and out. We associated to all of Clandon House (deceased) , Holkham Hall (seaside) and Houghton House (Walpole), all of which sport similarly grand halls. Much coarse behaviour from all classes of people. Much aping of their betters by people of a middling sort. Lots of big hats and big hairdo's. But really a story about the love of gentlemen for those beneath their station - servants even - and the trials and tribulations of step parents and step children - of which there must have been a great many in those days - rather as there are now, albeit for rather different reasons. How the good girl gets her man in the end. Providing suitable occupation for girls too posh to go out to work. Plus a Sean Bean body double. Mostly matters of perennial interest. Surprisingly gripping; a salutary reminder that television does not need to be content free and affectively dead. Perhaps we really do watch too much early evening ITV3.

So interest stimulated. But any Gaskell which we once owned has long been recycled, so off to Epsom to see what could be done there. And I am pleased to say that our not very big Waterstone's had a copy, along with several of her other books. While I think it a fair bet that Epsom Library would not have had any of them on shelf, although I dare say they could have got them in from the provinces fast enough.

Much fatter book than I was expecting, proper Victorian three decker. So we shall see how we get on.

Reference 1:

Monday, 5 November 2018

Fake 48

Quite an old fake this one, rather tired Surrey clapboard behind, brick with trimmings and sash windows in front. Quite possibly built like this in the first place, by someone who wanted a prestige house on a prestige spot on the High Street, but who could not afford brick all the way through.

This end of the building, rather appropriately, occupied by the estate agents that fancy themselves, that is to say Hamptons.

Viewed here from just outside the Assembly Rooms Wetherspoon's, in the passage which leads to the Ashley Centre. High Street and Market Place off snap to the left.

I must have passed it hundreds of times over the years and never noticed before.

PS: Tuesday morning: on this morning's Ewell Village Counter-clockwise, I noticed a number of other, older buildings around Epsom and Ewell doing much the same thing, with cheap out-back and posh up-front. From where I associate to the much grander churches in Florence, most of which are at the same stunt. Large and rather tatty brick shed, rather like a cinema or something like that, out-back, all fancy marble work up-front. Polychrome even.

Trolley 173

The first trolley of the new month, captured outside Crystal Nails and returned to Waitrose this afternoon.

I had thought that we would be celebrating the 200th trolley over the Christmas holiday, but that now looks like it is going to be a bit of a push. It would take going to look for them, rather than sticking to passing trade.

Clear and present danger

Not impressed that a council contractor saw fit to leave a hole in the eastbound lane of West Hill in this state: a job half done, which did not move between 1100 this morning and 1500 this afternoon - which means that it is a fair bet it will be there overnight, at the very least. A cycle catching it with his front wheel in the wrong way could have a very bad time.

At the very least, they should have patched over the hole with a temporary filling of blacktop, over a bit of plywood or some such to protect the drain cover. Or put up some cones and warning signs.

If the council can't manage to actually inspect work in progress, why don't they operate some system whereby a contractor does not walk away from a job without taking and uploading some pictures for the record?

PS: Tuesday morning: first concerned citizen found a traffic cone from somewhere and placed it over hole. Inebriated young man thought it would be clever to take the cone out of the hole. Second concerned citizen (me) replaced cone. Hopefully no-one will fall into it during the day to come.