Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Day Out

Had a day out, with the DOB (dear old beloved) and my sister and her husband, to visit Pashley Manor gardens, last Saturday. The excursion turned out to be a proper "Curate's Egg".  The outward journey was uneventful apart from the driver having problem getting the right gear and rustling through papers to find the proper route.  I could not understand why he didn't have a SatNav.

Pashley Manor, is a quite splendid building but unfortunately we only had access to the gardens.  A bit of a let down because we all like a nose at other peoples' possessions, don't we.

There was some compensation for this in the form of  an Arts and Crafts Fair run by a Contemporary Design Association.

After being processed through the entry point, and receiving the statutory lecture on do's and don't's, and the positioning of the facilities, we set-off for the, almost mandatory, visit to the convenience.

On the way we met this figure, and I'm not sure whether this was done by designed, but the siting of this sculpture struck me as being very carefully and cunningly thought out. It is a very clever piece of positioning, as it stands in place just outside the WCs., with a look of spiritual, cerebral and physical strain and contemplation and carries the titled, I think of "Reflection".  The sitting pose, with knees drawn up, hints at a discomfort that to  needs to be (to use an old one) worked out with logarithms or a pencil.

The borders were nicely maintained, weeded - which is not always the case with Gardens open to the public - and beautifully planted with plants that are, for the most part, freely available.  The main feature, however, was the statues - I don't propose to show them here, your can look them up on-line - that are strategically placed throughout the gardens.  A number of woodcarvings were featured in a wooded part of the garden, and I suspect for a limited period only because they were offered for sale.  Again the placing was carefully, cleverly, thought out because without exception they had that nymphy, greenman, middle-earth feel that appeals to our innerly suppressed tree-hugger souls.

I cannot leave without a mention of the craft fair, after-all I am a wood turner.  There was some very cleverly done stuff. but also a lot of pretension.  There were three Wood turners, one of which was displaying a little goblet on a 5 foot 6 inch stem - not my thing (did one with a 7 inch stem, didn't see the point of doing any more) but very skillful, nonetheless. Amongst the knitters, embroiderers, sewers, jewellery-makers, there were a couple of lead-light makers - this I found was quite interesting because at one time I worked for a firm of glaziers and we made lead-lights.  It was the turners that really were of interest to me, certainly two of them, and maybe, all three considered themselves as Artists rather than craftsmen, and charged their prices accordingly.  The DOB summed it up when she picked up  a 10 or 11 inch bowl, looked at the price and said - in that voice that penetrates lead - , "...how much; £70, yours are much better and you give them away...".  The guy on the stall looked a little put out, perhaps because he had one or two interested punters.  I don't think he was absolutely pacified when I told him that I was a turners and she was a critic.

The homeward journey was something that no-one anticipated, not even the DOB, the arch-pessimist, expected what we got. We were supposed to have gone for afternoon tea, but the coach expired. it was struck down into immobility with a loss of revs that could not be recovered.  A two hour wait ensued and the tedium was only partially relieved by frustration of other motorists trying to squeeze past us. A new, but very much older, coach eventually arrived and we were quickly on our way, but with the Afternoon Tea stop no longer a possibility most peoples' thoughts were being concentrated on the need to empty out  rather then fill up.  The driver offered a stop in Tunbridge Wells or the Services on the M25 - we opted for the latter.  Not the right choice.  Everyone was off the coach in record time with slightly squeezed faces and smartly back on with relieved smiles anticipating a relatively short journey home.  How wrong could we be?  The driver just could not get the coach into reverse - every gear went forward - that would have been OK except for a "Bloody Great Cast Iron Pole" that was in the way.  After listening to a one-sided conversation, that had it's own entertainment value, we decided to get off the coach and push it backwards so that it could drive forwards.

We eventually got home, and the letters of complaint will (are), no doubt, duly be(ing) written and the organisers will come to some arrangement, but I wonder was the experience of more value as a story to be told the grand kids, or anybody else that will listen, than any compensation we receive?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

How Do They Do That?

What keeps them up? This is a serious enquiry. I feel that there is a yawning gap in my understanding and my appreciation of sartorial styles and the cultures of minorities and age groups. As everyone knows and understands, I have a thirst for learning and I’ve always been one to reach out to the generations and to try and understand them and their culture and for the most part I get on pretty well with not only my children's age group, but also grandchildren’s. Indeed, my teenage grand kids themselves do not feel embarrassed by Granddad with his contrasting styles of dress. But now that I’m reaching that stage in life where I want trousers, Betjeman like, with a higher waistband and more bum room, I find I'm looking at some youngsters' cacks with amazement. The low slung crutch and the tight legs give every appearance that they were designed to fit a chimpanzee, but that is one thing that maybe dismissed as being purely stylistic. The positioning of the waistband is, however, something quite different. It is worn in a place that does not seem to fit with the natural shape of the human body. It is like wearing a wristwatch on the biceps or the ankle, it does the job but not very well. Are they simply kept in position by being belted and tighten below the buttocks and across the manhood, or does something else happen that escapes me? Are they comfortable being worn like that? Can you run, dance, leap, jump, climb with your breeks in that position? How do you get things out of you pockets, indeed can you carry anything of substance in your pockets? Everybody, I've noticed wearing their trews in this way, all appear to be very slim; can fat boys wear them like that? And finally, how do they pee, or do they sit like girls?

Thursday, 25 August 2011


I'm grateful for the comments I've had about some of my Sepia postings.  I like to try to put alternative thoughts into the subjects' minds and try to read the other them below the surface. Even if you strip away the clothes, the hairstyles, the backdrops and props, there remains a difference that is not entirely accounted for by pose and social attitude.  I think it is down to technology, the modern camera is simply too good at copying the image and that is it's downfall.  It has depth of vision, perspective and clarity that old cameras lacked

Enough, enough of that, back to the theme.

The two photos below are of my Great, Great Aunt Barbara taken, I'd guess, about 1880s and 1920s.

In this picture she is a young girl 18 or 20 or so, and she is quite clearly enjoying having her photo taken.  The nonchalant stance, a hint of a suppressed smile, the just off the camera look, her dress and her bonnet seemed to be a construction that says, ".... look, look,...this is me..."

Even as a North Yorkshire country girl from a small village, she seems to have had a style about her and to be up with fashion, and I would suggest well aware of her femininity.

In this picture, unfortunately not a very good image as I had to
scan it from a photocopy  and not the actual photo.
If I'm correct about the dates, Barbara appears still appears to be quite fashionable, which is perhaps more than can be said for her son Billy and his Dexters(?)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Third of a Tithe???

In the wider Bloggery, words blurring into obsolescence have recently been brought back into focus for another brief outing.  Not that old words have much to do with this piece other than I'm a turner of sorts, that is to say a maker of Treen or, perhaps, even a Treensmith.   Now treen, according to my 1932 New English Dictionary is "..an obsolete territorial division in the Isle of Man, the third of of a Tithe..", but we all know that it means wooden, or rather non-furniture domestic items made of  wood.  It is usually used about antique Victorian or Edwardian pieces such as little boxes, pots, bowls, stirrers, games such as billy buckets, not always turned and often country made.
As a turner of small pieces, they must all be treen no matter how much artistic intent I attached to them and no matter how much I decorate them.  Rather humbling for those of us that have moved from craft to art and have studios instead of workshops.

What I try to do is to take something like this log that I picked up from a wood pile on a Farm where the contractors had dumped it, and turn it in to a something like this.

That's the theory, and for the most part it works out just fine.  In this case I really should learn my woods.  I'm not sure what the log was from, but it held water like a sponge and the end grain was like turning feathers, it was stringy in the extreme.  What it is I'm still not sure, perhaps, willow or maybe, poplar.  What ever it was I'll try to avoid it in future.

The process is straightforward.  Take a log, about as long as it is wide, split down the middle and through the heart wood and mount it on the lathe with the bark side facing out.  Rough out a bowl shape with a spigot.  Turn it over and mount spigot in the chuck and rough out the bowl.  Leave the blank about an inch thick, wrap in newspaper and leave to dry for about a month or so.  That was done but in this case, perhaps because of the high water content, the blanks were covered in a black and white furry mildew.  What we have to do for our art or craft.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Seriously Sitting

Whilst it is generally accepted that the arrival of the Itinerant Photographer was  met with people flocking to his mobile studio to have their pictures taken, the pictures themselves would indicate that some met their fate with fear and trepidation.  Indeed, the expressions on some faces suggest that they were forced into it and made to sit for fear of something far worse.
Not only does this image give an indication of severe strain it also seems to show signs that her mind is being controlled, by other forces, through the receiver on her head. All sense of self has been removed and they've have made her dress up with a tasseled table cloth cross her lap. Not even the rather nice turning on the table's single leg and the comfortable looking chair can offer her any release from her torment.

I wonder what actually goes through their minds when the photographer tells them to hold that pose,  Perhaps, it might be more important to consider what went through his, when it said, "...hold ..".   Was he trying to artistic in creating the pose or was he simply interested in business and in getting a sharp image, and instructed his victims to keep absolutely still for fear of blur. The younger girl, standing, seems to be saying I must not smile, I must not be seen to be happy, the neighbours will think I'm are frivolous and flighty.  I must remain stiffly unnatural.  The other seems to be resigned to her fate and has taken on the look of resigned acceptance.

Clearly unhappy for being put through such an embarrassment, whoever made her have her picture taken will be be made to suffer.  This is a face that shows no sign of forgiveness.  She is unlikely to ever be seen singing, "....Always look on the bright side of life..."  Indeed it looks as if life is to be suffered, and that she has a divine mission to make sure we do.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hats are Hardly Worn These Days

Hats, are hardly worn these days except perhaps at Christenings, Weddings and funerals and then generally only by women, and Ascot where the imaginations runs rampant in it's attempt to cover the female head.  For the man the Topper remains exclusively supreme.  As recently as the fifties, hats were commonly worn.  Workingmen in flat caps or maybe trilbies, and the city gent in his bowler.  Today a few old men may be seen in either cap or trilby, but generally if a hat is worn it is just as likely to be that ugliest of American imports, the baseball cap.  It is not so much a hat as a peak with a crown attached - a variant, and a not very good one, on the croupier's visor.

Our ancestor wore hats of infinite variety, they wore them pride and without any feeling of self-consciousness.  Just look at a few examples;

Quite what this is is not clear, her outfit has an almost Eastern European appearance, it is uniform like.  The Hat is different, almost representing a dish with a sleeping duck or crumpled rag on top. 
Looking at this you begin to understand what prompted the penning of "Where did you get that Hat?"

The picture does not make it clear but this looks like a a straw hat with a low crown it appears to be just perching on top of her head rather than being worn. Not a hat for a windy day.  She has a rather wistful look, has she just been to Chapel to be confirmed or dedicated.

 What can she be? a cyclist or a Sunday School Teacher. She seems to have a deliberate stand-offish look in her slightly masculine garb
A Creation fit, almost, for Ascot

The Bowler was introduced for Game-Keepers before becoming more widely accepted as a workingman's hat.  Later it became the almost exclusive reserve of the city gent, the bank manger and the Brigade of Guards.

A workingman1920s or 30s. Could be a Factory worker, farmhand, building worker, gardener in their Sunday best or a grocer or shopkeeper in the working clothes without an apron.

A soldier with his wife, or Sister, perhaps before a departure for active service.

 A more regal looking lady, is it her from the Big House?
 A young girl with a sun, or is it rain, Hat
Two lower middle class housewives out shopping.

Hacking Cover-ups

Am I just too, too cynical; or are these latest comments, about the recent revelations in the Screws of the Week hacking and cover-up story, actually sincere.  They seem to be greeted with surprise that a newspaper could hack into someone phone, but isn't that what they do and have done since forever.  How does it differ from acquiring information from other dodgy source - isn't the trade concerned with dishing the dirt on all and sundry- and covering it up until they're forced to pay for it.  This latest exposure only seems to differ in it depth and extent.

Of course, along side, we have the injunction and super injunction to protect the rich and famous who lie and cheat and betray those closest to them, from the muck-rakers.  I'm afraid it is just the two sides of the same festering malaise, the rot in Society, it is part of the moral decline that our politicians have suddenly discovered.

On the one side we have the indolent idle that bewail their lack of opportunity whilst decaying prostrate in their pits.  Unfortunately the only sign of ambition or get-up and go is when they riot.  On the other hand is greedy, grasping, self-seeking mass of personality that bleed the country, think they're above the law and entitled to special treatment to hide their true natures.  If the don't want exposure they should keep their flies done-up and their mouths and their legs shut, their hands out of others' pockets and their fist out of somebody Else's face.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the so-called silent majority.  We earn the wealth for the Government to tax and to pay benefits to the indolent and for the rich and famous to bleed.  We pay to see their shenanigans, we pay to see over-priced footballers, entertainers and all manner charlatan, we buy the papers that expose their indiscretions, so perhaps we are to blame.  We allow the television companies to fill our screens with pulp and pap.  We allow them to dull our senses with cheap fly on the wall shows, shows about antiques, house purchases. moving home, cooking, soaps and far worse than that we even put up with endless repeats of the same.  I often wonder how long it will be before they start repeating the news.

Monday, 15 August 2011

A Trip Across the Channel

As is our wont, we took our August trip to France for lunch, vino, cassolet, coffee and garlic; and for the wife's birthday and to give the grand-daughter an outing. We (I) have been doing the French thing for the past 20 years or so, and the August junket for the past 8, but this was the first time we had chosen the third Monday in the month.  I had never seen so many French people on the move before.  The Hypermarket, the shops, bars, restaurants, roads, beaches were seething with holidaying French. 

The road from Boulogne to Calais was awash with parked cars, the Bars and Restaurants in the little towns were full and everywhere the people were out and about with their dogs and their children.  All was calm, all was enjoyment, no rush, no panic, just I do my thing you do yours.

What a contrast with back home.  Really we didn't have to wait to get home, some fellow countryman, with a blatant display of selfish dickheadedness decided to jump queues to get on the boat instead of just waiting his turn.  There was no reason; the Tub was half empty.  No that was too easy for Mr GB Pratt.  All he did was hold things up for the rest of us whilst it was sorted out.  After holding us up for ten minutes he was allowed on the boat, and we just followed.  With this attitude it s little wonder that we have riots.

After all is put away, the tea made, the box switched on to watch the news, and what do we have? Suddenly it as been recognised that there has been a moral decline.  It has been blatantly obvious to the mass of us actually living in the real world.  Where have our politicians lived for the past 50 years?  They have reigned whilst our industries have been destroyed and our people rendered to living on benefits and becoming workshy spongers, they have ruled whilst the wealthy and the privileged have been allowed, no encouraged, to bleed the country and sell its resources and industries abroad.  They have watched has the managers of industry have become inept at managing anything other than their own greed. 

We can no longer manage our own refuse collection or public utilities, they are run be foreigners.  The same goes most other things.  Employers seem to bypass the British and simply employ a Pole or an Albanian, or an illegal immigrant, because we can't, won't, work.  Don't ever knock the Illegal Immigrant that comes here to work, without him things would be far worse, we'd be knee-deep in our own mire.  What annoys the Government is not his presence but the fact that he is here and they can't find him to tax him.Things are that bad that we might do worse than to let Johnny Foreigner be the Government - can't be any worse.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Pretty Faces, Pets and Places

The golden age of the postcard was when? The back end of the 19th. and the first few decades of the 20th.Century? 

It was probably spurred on by the increasing ease of travel with the development of the Railways, by improved living standards and wages (for some), greater urbanisation, the rise of the theatre (and later film) star and, more particularly, advances in photography and printing. 

I addition to the path's trod by many, into Victorian erotica which was a great field of study for the rich, but not for the more honest (or should that be Horny), the entrepreneurial photographer had, by the turn of the century, 30 or 40 years of peddling his trade from village to village and town to town, where the locals from Apple sellers to Zoo keepers, from youngest child to those in their dotage, the housewife and the harlot, and farmers and farmhands, schoolmasters, pupils, constables, scallywags, and vicars and drunkards queued to spend a few pennies and have their picture taken. Changes were offering new opportunities, cards with pretty faces, pets and places, humourously immoral or upliftingly moral could be sold to anyone.  All that was needed was constantly changing variety that with mass production to keep prices low could attract an ever increasing mobile population to but and to send postcards. Look at the messages on the back of a postcard, it is a precursor to the e-mail or an entry on facebook.  How many say "...Arrived safely..", "..be arriving...", "...sorry to hear you're unwell.."  They were the means to keep in touch with family in a pre-phone society and at a time when the Post Office was a service and delivered 3 times a day at least.

Card one is not used so their is no date of postage, I'd place a guess as the 1900-1910, and whilst it has nothing to say what it is, the print on the reverse suggest it is French.  The subject is perhaps just an little too cute and suggestive for today's society of ignorant suspicion and overwhelming willingness to blame and accuse.

This is a picture of Isabel Jay (October 17, 1879 – February 26, 1927) was an English opera singer and actress, best known for her performances in soprano roles of the Savoy Operas with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and in musical comedies. During Jay's career, picture postcards were immensely popular, and Jay was photographed for over 400 different postcards. (Thanks to Wikipedia)                                      It was sent in December 1910 to Mrs John Platt, by her sister, to let her that she was coming on Friday

I haven't been able to find much about the subject in this card.  She is Olive Miller (better-known under the stage name of Olive Morrell) in London in January 1908.       longShe was an opera and popular song singer and actress and married an Australian MP, but that didn't last long                                             
This a birthday Card Given but not sent a Eunice.                       It appears to have been printed in Italy for the British market.  Around the turn ??
There are more pretty faces, as well as the Pets and Places, and other things that didn't help the title, to come as and when it happens.  Feels free to comment, criticize or add any  information on the cards or the subjects, it will all be appreciated

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

And now for the Post Mortem

Already the politicians are out laying the blame on all and sundry; anybody but themselves. The Tories blame Labour for 13 years in power, Labour blame the Tories for forcing cuts and changes to benefits, education, to Social Services, Community Groups, Local Authorities and the Police. The Gibbering Classes and the self appointed Voices of the Youth rant on about generations of greed and corruption.

Of course, there is an element of "truth" in all their arguments.  We have the Nanny State and Human Rights, created by Labour in an effort to protect the vulnerable, that has led to a loss of discipline and self control and an ability to help oneself. To a loss self respect and self esteem and an over whelming expectation of reward and respect for doing nothing. This in itself is not new, it has just solidified it.  Previously, it was the attitude of the indolent rich.

The Tories of Maggy's era deliberately undermined the working classes by destroying the Unions and creating the conditions for the rise of the upper-class spiv to bleed the economy and screw the people.  It denied that Society existed, insisted on the rights of the individual and set the measurement of worth as income and possessions. And, it mattered very little how or whence it came.  With it came the age of the arrogant and vulgar.  Where ego was inflated beyond ability,  Where the effects of inflation and growth were cited as reasons for 6 and 7 figure bonuses without any evidence that the Individual had made any real contribution.  Where these same arrogant spivs can blackmail government by threatening to take their services elsewhere.  Just where would they go, who wants them, certainly not us.

And of course, the gibbering classes just gibber.

Now I'm not going to deny that some truth may be found in the arguments of our political masters, that is not the problem.  Spout enough and the truth may occasionally be hit, but what to do that is a horse of a different colour.  The Nanny State failed, contributed to the malaise and when congealed with what the Tories had set in train, a situation was created where we had on the one hand, a class of Ill-educated, lazy, indolent no-hopers that expected respect and reward just for being born.  The crime that was reaped against them was that it destroyed self-respect, pride and self advancement. On the other hand it created a  class of self opinionated, greedy, self-seeking egos that got rewarded just for being.  The crime in this case was against the rest of us.  We pick up the tab for the benefits heaped on the poor and resources filched by spivery.

At their heart they show the same  regard for the rest of us or the country;  they care nothing for us only what we can be bled for.  Perhaps we need a similar concept as our American cousins ... " Unenglish Activities"

Monday, 8 August 2011

Somebody's Past

It doesn't take long or cost very much to put together a little collection of photos depicting our forebears over the past 150 years or so. It matters not if it is a young maid or young buck in a pose, or a man of substance puffed up by his own self importance, an old couple looking afraid that their souls may be captured, or an old maid looking as if she has been sucking lemons, they all have one thing in common; they are all in some body's past and maybe directly responsible for us being here.  We hear that family research is on the rise, more and more of us want to know where we come from - perhaps has an antidote to not know what we are or where we're going - but theses pictures of our past are discarded by the thousand.

I intend to occasionally post little batches, with any information that may be on the original, in the hope that somebody may recognise them.

I just love the look on this old fellows face, he looks if he could be good crack in the pub.  He seems to be smiling at a little joke, something is amusing him.  Perhaps he's thinking of her and wondering if she was put into her dress and pumped up to fill every little space and make the stitches sing.

What about this old fellow, well I don't think he is that old, just grumpy looking.  Maybe he was all buoyed up to go have his photo taken and his wife told him to take the kid. He's got his back to him(?) and has a look like thunder.  I bet he was going to strike a Heroic pose so he could show it to his mates or his lady friend, but instead he's stuck with the nipper.  Live wasn't fair even back then.

A scene from a modern version of Romeo and Juliet?

Monday 8th. August

Event in London quite frankly leave me with mixed feelings.  Riot has long been the means by which the politically dispossessed in England vented their spleen and got their message over. This ain't the same.  The whole issue seems to have been kicked-off by a shooting by a trigger happy copper who panic stricken started shooting, and some even more ham fisted liaison work with the family.  Quite quickly the rioting seems to have forgotten it original cause and to have taken a nihilistic turn, where it was taken over by all and sundry out to pursue their own interests. This has been defended and it is argued that they (the rioters) feel aggrieved because their want and needs are ignored and they have no opportunities and they are not shown any respect.  It seems to to seek to defend the actions of local youth but it is quite apparent that many are out for criminal activities and others are well educated middle-class so-called anarchists.  All this comes has no surprise, since the 70s we have destroyed society by first denying it, and making the only measurement of success how much the individual can screw out of the rest of us. Secondly by creating the Nanny State where the people are cared for from cradle to grave and Government seeks to regulate the individual with behavioural direction instead of enforcing common sense. Where the Nanny State as had the most involvement every little non-entity has come to expect instant fulfilment without working for it.

It seems that the more Government we have the less Society there is. There is less interaction, less helping each other, less neighbourliness.  People are less happy, have little trust in their fellow man and are wracked with fear of the young in general, of paedophiles, rapists, muggers, druggies and foreigners.  Anyone over middle-age, according to the popular press, is frightened to go out when it gets dark, because they "Will be molested by the young Hoodie"  The streets have been abandoned and left for others to take them over.  If we want them back we should go and reclaim them.  Perhaps not, there is something ever so, ever so mind-numbing on the Telly.

Government should get it's claws out the backs of the people and it's hands out of their pockets.  We don't need regulation for every eventuality, in fact I sometimes think that we need just one law "Do what you know is right, and whoa betides you if you don't".  Punishment can be tailored to suit the circumstances.  Perhaps the stocks for public nuisance.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Coxwold Revisited

You know what it is like; you just finish, push the button and away it's gone - And you remember, somewhere in a box, frantically found in the back of a draw at the bottom of the dresser, some old pictures (photos and postcards) that could have - should have - been used.  Now what? Nothing for it but a new Blog.

Title written, new thought - doesn't that sound like a book by a distant cousin, George Bolton.  Well almost, George wrote Yorkshire Revealed, a Travelogue for the car owner first published in 1955.  He seems to start at the mouth end of the various Yorkshire rivers and follows them up the valleys, describing the towns, villages  and other places of interest he passed through.  His style is a little rigid, but in keeping with his time and station and very informative.  He was I believe, a Solicitor and Freemason.  A man of substance, and a legend in his own Bath-Tub.  He was the grandson of one of my grandfather's paternal  Aunts.  In his books he says that he stayed with the Burnett's at Wass House, but in doesn't mention them as cousins or kin.

We must leave George for a moment, he is, after all,  just a side step.  As I said previously, my great Great grandfather, William, come to the village in the 1840s.  He came from Thornton and was, according to the 1841 census, living with his Maternal Grandparents, William and Jane Stephenson.        Locating a particulars property from the census is none too easy especially in country villages were there are not many street names or house-numbers. William Stephenson was a Blacksmith and Horse-Doctor, and lived in Cross Street close to Maltongate. I've not found Cross Street but Maltongate is still there.  The Cross is I believe where the "main square" or "High Street" is situated on the main Thirsk to Scarborough road.  If so then this is one of Stephenson's Blacksmith Shops. Now it is a Chocolate factory.  I think I prefer what is shown in the picture.

Back to Coxwold and St Michael's; in the Box was a Postcard of an indeterminate age,  perhaps the twenties, of the inside of the Church. It looks pretty much the same as today.The Church does however have some unusual features, and thanks to George I'm able to describe them, or at least copy what George says "...d distinctive fifteenth century building in Perpendicular style with a rare Octagonal Tower."  It has parapet of trefoils, it also has gargoyles and crocheted pinnacles that  George found "...Quite intriguing...".  It has a number of memorials to the Fauconberg and Baylasyse families.  A Breeches Bible was in the church in addition to a Mousey Thompson Lectern, and, of course, Great Great Granddads chair.

George says the Village is largely unchanged since he was a child, these Pictures were taken far early, and apart from the big Elm between the Church and the Fauconberg Arms having long gone and the Pub being thatched - the village looks much the same.
At the other end of the village beyond the church is Shandy Hall where Laurence Stern lived when he was incumbent at St Michael's.  He he wrote Tristram Shandy and fiddled far into the night with favourite cat.

At the bottom end, the Burnett's had their forge at Ivy Lea.  They had cows and delivered milk, orchards and took in paying guests.  Another view shows the House in the village

The Burnett's at work fitting an iron rim to a wagon wheel or hooping the wheel.

The Village looks pretty much the same except it has little life.  Now it is made up of retirement homes for the comfortably-off, second homes for the even better-off or holiday lets.

Friday, 5 August 2011

I've always been fascinated by Victorian and Edwardian photographs, Art and clothing style.  Also, and in spite of being an Atheist, Church Architecture.  I'm therefore going to start by combining these with another interest - family history.       

My great great grandfather came to the village in the 1840s and set up as a Blacksmith.  The business was to continue until the 1960s when his grandson Jack Burnett died.
In the Church grave yard numerous ancestors and relations lie buried

St. Michael's Church, Coxwold, Yorkshire

They were not only four wheeler church goers they took and active role. The picture shows my Great grandfather (b.r 2nd.left) Robert.  He was a Church Warden as well as a member of the choir.  Amongst the girls there are several of my father's Aunts.
In the church there is an Oak chair made Robert's father William that was, according to family legend, made with his blacksmiths Tools.  It was one of three made by William, the other two being with family members were made of Bog Oak. 
Looking at the style they appear to have been influenced by the Jacobean or Gothic  Revivals.

Inside the Church is a Plaque, commemorating Villagers that served in the First World War.  It includes my Grandfather, a Farrier in the Royal Field Artillery, his Sister Barbara who was a Nurse and was shipwrecked by a mine, and his younger Brother who was in the Dragoon Guards.

Today's Headlines.

I've just watched the news. Once again the economy is dominant, more doom and more gloom. But really what do you expect when we have a system (is that really the right word?) that is essentially run by a collection of individuals all in pursuit of the own best interests.  I know that someone, was it Adam Smith?, made the comment about man in pursuing his own interest improves those around him by the opportunities he provides.  That may have had some truth when we had small handicraft and agriculture, but now when the economy is dominated by great multinationals.  I think not.  It is not the actions of those multinationals that are the problem - it is the banking and finance sectors that appear to be the root and branch of the problem.  They are entities truly driven by individuals in pursuit of their own interest.  It is very often not even in the interest of their companies or firms, or even the shareholder, it is just their own very narrow, very greedy interests. Their products have become more and more complicated. This is supposedly in order to provide more opportunities, but what those are is not specified too clearly - I suppose the more cynical amongst us may well suggest it was the opportunity to make more commissions and to earn more bonuses.

For the most of us does it really matter if stock exchange prices go up or go down?  In spite of what happens we just have to carry on.  We have the same wants and needs and for most part we continue to fulfil them.  The footsie may drop but the physical economy and industry remains the same.  Fair enough its price may fall but what is price - it is what you hope to get if you sell something.  For my part, and in spite of my training, I still have problem of viewing wealth as something other than the physical - the price is just a notion, a suggestion of where sellers and buyers would meet and agree to make exchange.  That the Stock Exchange price is now falling only suggests that individuals, in the pursuit of their own interest, have pushed up prices too far (for that commission?) and now they have lost some of their interest somebody else must bear the cost.

That's enough rumbling for the moment, I've a small collection of Victorian Photos I'm think of posting them when I've put some structure to them.

Rambling Rumbles - The Conception

A new departure, a going public as I open up mind and my innards for exposure. So for post number one I present a potted and much edited history of me to today

I am a 68 part-time civil servant working in the vain effort that I will be able  to make, one of those fantastic pensions that are so much in the minds of our masters, the press and private sector worker, enough to live on.  That's enough about work (a four letter word) and that particular gripe; too much and it will cause premature rumbling.

I left school in 1958, aged 15 fresh faced and bewildered, and whilst I've retained the bewilderment the freshness seems to have evaporated in the sunlight. I started work in a small engineering factory, that lacked everything, especially a future.  After a year the Merchant Navy beckoned, a year or so later it was back to dry land.  Another stint in a bucket shop, glazing, painting, labouring, Postman (where I learnt to drive) Milkman (where I earned enough for a mortgage) followed one by one as I sought to find what I wanted. Being a Milkman in winter was fine, you got used to the cold.  Frozen fingers didn't stay frozen, the warmed up.  The summer was something else.  No matter how often the Float was washed, it stank and so too your hands, your overalls and trousers - even footwear took on the charnal house stench of sour milk.

By this time I was developing an interest in politics and at the behest of other activists took employment with one of the larger employers, and became a Dental Instrument Maker.  I found it just to my liking, it was largely handwork and appealed to a sense of craft instead of manufacture.  Here the interest in politics, trade unionism, working class history, English folk music and in education flourished and by the time the company announced it was going to close and move to the West Country I was ready to go back into full time education and study economics.

Four year as a mature student, a wonderful life, education as a consumption good great. As a mature student I qualified for maximum allowances, my grant covered the wife and kids, the mortgage in addition to the normal grant.  After that I was, for 10 years, a full time employee of my own Union and worked in Research before becoming a personal assistant to one of the EC members.  It was with utter disbelief that on the first day I found just how Dickensian their concept of industrial relation were compared to what they insisted upon and enjoyed in the world outside.  At five O' Clock a bell rang to finish work.  I was half way through a speech for some Official or other, the concept was nearly fully formed, the rhythms of delivery were taking shape and suddenly I had to stop for the day.  The following morning was a different day, the concept was now a misconception and the rhythms flat,  he got an overview and some bullet points.

The only time I was on strike was whilst I was working for the Union.  After 10 year I was ready for something new.  I responded to an advert with a cutter on the high seas for Custom and Excise. I was selected and completed the CS Entrance Exam and was eventually offered a Job by C & E to work in VAT.  I never did find out how the Cutter related to the job.  However, after 25 years I'm still there albeit only part time.  It has one advantage for someone like me - I'm nosey and I get paid to be nosy.  It was still a home for the different, unlike today when there is drive to create the clone.

Tomorrow, my likes and dislikes and my hopes and expectations - or something like that.  It is difficult when the future is all (but) behind you.