Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Mackeson – looks good, tastes good and by golly it makes triangles into squares.

For those of my readers who live outside the UK or are too young to remember, the catch phrase used to advertise Mackeson's Milk Stout on television was, 'it looks good, tastes good and by golly it does you good'.

The beer was brewed in Hythe in Kent, which I visited today. The local council are improving a plot at the end of the High Street and converting it into an ornamental garden, which, being close to the site of the original brewery, they are calling Mackeson Square. But if you look at the plan you can plainly see that the blue outlined area of the proposed garden is not a square. If anything, it is a triangle.

Where I parked my car was the site of the brewery itself, as indicated by the sign on the electricity substation and the cobbles of the original brewery yard which are showing through the tarmac of the car park.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Did J K Rowling's grandmother suck eggs?

A recent report in The Times recounts how J.K.Rowling's novel, written under the pen name of Robert Galbraith, was rejected by the publishers Constable & Robinson. I recognised the phraseology of the rejection letter immediately. I received my first rejection in 1968 in an era when real publishers replied with genuine observations. Within ten years I was receiving the, 'at the risk of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs', letter that J.K.Rowling tweeted. Why do publishers always say that? Did THEIR grandmothers suck eggs?

History has proven time and time again that publishers are monumentally inept at recognising revenue earning talent. They can never predict what is going to be the next big seller. What they are sickeningly adept at is jumping on  bandwaggons. Harry Potter? Then every publisher is churning out books about child wizards. Fifty Shades of Grey? And suddenly they are all into erotica in grey covers. How thick can they be that an author with the talent of Ms Rowling has to batter at their doors to get them to accept her book?

A guide to rejection for authors.
You can write. Disregard whatever justification they give for rejecting you.
When the editor reads your typescript she asks herself only two questions: 
Can we make any money out of this sucker? 
Will publishing this book be good for my career?
If the answer to either of these questions is 'no', then you will be rejected.

Perhaps they should give up publishing and concentrate on sucking eggs.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Another extract from my old poetry book

You still have not stopped me. Try this one for size:

There was a young fellow called Trevor,
Who at maths was terribly clever.
He found the √
Of pickled beetroot,
And wrote it all down with a feather.

Trevor Griffiths, if you are still out there, that was for you when you were a lad.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 16

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

February 1918 on the Cote d'Azur and Mr. Marc Antoine Johnston-Lavis, a Medical Captain in the British Red Cross who is working in Pouquerolles, wishes to travel to Nice on family business.

This is his photograph on his military laissez passer issued to him to allow him to undertake the journey in his car.

He has his wife with him but their nine year old son is in boarding school in England and comes out to visit them in holiday time by taking the packet boat from Southampton to Le Havre and then the train to Nice.

Let us hope that this document facilitated a family reunion.

Monday, 14 March 2016

The Queen at Westminster Abbey today.

Whilst I was slaving over a desk today in Westminster Central Hall, gazing at the sunshine outside and wondering why I was not on my bicycle, apparently Her Majesty the Queen was just across the road in the Abbey.

Westminster Abbey seen from the balcony of the Central Hall, Westminster.
I suppose that was why the bells were ringing.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

A Morris Ten-Four needing some attention.

This sad looking car was sitting at the edge of the orchards on our cycle route to Sandwich today.

It is a Morris Ten Four saloon and I feel that it could do with a lick of paint.

Friday, 11 March 2016

A double deck bus can fall over.

This is the prototype Routemaster bus undergoing its 'tilt test' at the Aldenham bus works in 1955.  

The standard test was to fill the top deck with sandbags representing the weight of a full load of passengers and to leave the lower deck empty.
But buses can still fall over if provoked sufficiently.

Accident at the junction of Burnham Road and Slough Road, 
Beaconsfield, Bucks at 14.00 on 4th July 1964.
The bus is an RT of London Transport. 
The accident caused one death and 39 injuries.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Another one from my old poetry book.

You haven't stopped me yet, so it's your fault.  Try this one for size:

There was a great feller called 'Big Lou'
Whose grandfather lived in an igloo,
Though bald as a thrush,
He plucked hairs from a brush,
Which he stuck to his head with wig glue.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Stowmarket Station

Opened in 1846 on the railway line to Liverpool Street station, London, it was constructed in this exaggerated, decorative style so loved by the Victorians. Meeting a building such as this always reinforces my opinion that the Victorians believed in themselves and built for immortality. You must have a certain faith to commit such a vision to the permanence of brickwork.

I know that the building was restored in 1987 but even so, it had already endured for 146 years and is now 170 years old. 

Look around you at the architectural excrescences being erected today and ask yourself where they will be 170 years from now.

Not on my blog, that is for sure.