Thursday, 25 February 2016

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 15

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

Mrs Emelia Scheffermeyer gazes directly into the camera whilst her husband, Alexandre, steadfastly looks elsewhere. It is January 1915. Their country, Belgium, has been invaded by Germany but they have escaped northwards to Rotterdam. Here they acquired this laissez passer from the Belgian Consul General. They have visited the British Consul General in Rotterdam and obtained a visa 'good for one voyage to England en route to France.' 

They arrive in Folkestone on 31 January and are registered by the Folkestone War Refugee Committee. They do the rounds of the consulates, obtaining a Belgian visa in Folkestone and a French visa in Dover, valid for 'France via Dieppe'.  
On 5 February 1915, they register at the Belgian Legation in Paris.
They have made it!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

My Dotty Old Aunty from Putney.

Whilst rearranging my house I discovered an old notebook of my jottings. 

Unless you stop me, over the next few weeks I shall share some of the doggerel with you; starting with one of a number of limericks that I composed for a reason which now escapes me.

My dotty old aunty from Putney,
Was known far and wide for her chutney,
When eaten with cheese,
It just made one sneeze,
But t'was heaven when spread on a cut knee.

Friday, 12 February 2016

What you can find at Cobham Services on the M 25.

What would this employee's job title be, I wonder?

(Seen at the Cobham Motorway Services on the M25.)

Sleeping in Magdalene College

This week I gave two lectures in the Grove Auditorium at Magdalene (pronounced, 'maudlin') College in Oxford.

And Oxford was where I slept.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 14

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

Frank Jacob INY, a 49 year old businessman from Iraq. In July 1944 he set off on a three month business trip around the wartime Middle East. He visited Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

His visas for Syria and Lebanon, countries nominally still under French Mandate, were issued in Jerusalem by the 'Legation of Fighting France'– as distinguished from the 'Vichy France' which had signed an armistice with Germany in 1940.

In 1946 he arrived in Brussels, Belgium with his wife and child and continued his business of cloth export/import.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

BBC Defies the Data Protection Acts

These are the conditions that you sign up for when you contribute to a BBC programme. You are not actually informed of these until you have contributed and the 'contract' states that you have deemed to have accepted these conditions if you keep the fee after 28 days.

For reasons unknown to me, the BBC wants me to use any personal data that I might have been handling on behalf of the BBC, 'for any other purposes including marketing purposes.'

Do they really mean that? 
Surely that is in contravention of the Data Protection Acts?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Art Deco, Smoking and Health.

Kent & Canterbury Hospital Main Entrance.
I popped into the Kent & Canterbury Hospital this morning for an MRI scan, like you do.

The Art Deco design of the buildings is most amusing, I find it a very playful architectural style.  What a pity that the physical realisation of the designs never seems to do them justice. 

The cement rendering which is often a major component of the construction just does not weather well.  Perhaps it is supposed to be maintained more regularly.

But the main entrance of the hospital is bright and clean at the moment.

I was pleased to find this notice on the approach road, explaining clearly the hospital management's attitude to smoking.

Indeed, they repeated it a little further on where there was evidently not only a risk to the public health from the fumes but also a safety risk.

The little flecks of white that you can see on the ground are cigarette ends.

There are over 500 of them.