Saturday, 31 January 2015

Crochet sends cyclists up the wall.

A high-flying crocheted bicycle seen between the first floor windows of a shop in Folkestone.

UM.... why?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Winter sunset on Canterbury Cathedral

The sun setting behind Canterbury Cathedral.
The advantage of riding a bicycle in winter is that when you see a sight like this you can just stop and take a photograph. 

And now I  am in bed with a streaming cold. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Flanagan & Allen and Friargate Bridge, Derby.

On occasions I have been required to sing on stage that song made popular by Flanagan and Allen, Underneath the Arches. I had always assumed that it referred to one of the many lines of railway arches sheltering multifarious enterprises that one can find in London but having just read my brother's blog, (click here to do likewise) I learn that Flanagan's inspiration for the song came from a railway bridge which has a place in my childhood -- Friargate railway bridge on Ashbourne Road, Derby. Not only that, but the bridge which is a magnificent structure of a grace and elegance so lacking in today's civil engineering is being allowed to deteriorate. And we all know what the powers that be will decide to do with such structures if their maintenance is likely to cost them money.

So I signed the petition to get the bridge repaired.  (click here to do likewise). Hardly had I done so than MyMateMargaret came home with another jig-saw puzzle for us to tear our hair out over. Yes, we know how to occupy our evenings.

And blow me down if it wasn't a painting of the bridge. I recognised the Derby Corporation trolleybus first of all. If you look to the right edge of the painting you can even see the Hippodrome poster advertising Flanagan & Allen's performance.

I wish that restoring the bridge would be as easy as completing the puzzle.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Being brave in Birmingham.

I was booked to deliver a lecture in the city of Birmingham on Wednesday. My previous visit to the city had been for a three month stay in 1984 so I was looking forward to seeing the changes. And then that 'journalist' on the American news channel Fox News warned everybody that Birmingham was totally Muslim and non-Muslims feared to tread the pavements.

I am a non-Muslim. Did I have the courage to enter the Caliphate of Birmingham? Then I decided that he must have confused the second city of England with Birmingham, Alabama, US of A. and so I set off for the Midands.

The New Library of Birmingham.

Well, Birmingham has changed.

For a start, I thought that I had been booked to speak in the brutalist concrete monolith of the Central Library but when I asked  at the hotel reception for the best walking route I was proudly directed to a brand new building, Birmingham New Library.

But Birmingham had not finished with me. When I set off on the following morning on my walking route to the venue I discovered that it was more a sliding route -- overnight snow had fallen and frozen hard.

Reflections on the Symphony Hall windows.

Happily for me, Centenary Square had been salted and the air was clear and bright and the International Conference Centre and Symphony Hall building next door was creating a trompe l'oeil effect with the reflections in its glass.

All in all I was very pleased that I had been so brave as to venture into this dangerous non-Muslim no-go city.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Knit yourself a snowman.

A knitted snowman in Tenterden.

Have a look at my post of the same time last year about snowflakes.  

The haberdashery shop in Tenterden High Street has done it again!

There are some clever people about aren't there?

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Thinking of a sex change? Try the Holiday Inn at Oxford.

We recently stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn, Oxford. We had a most enjoyable stay -- a lovely room, a good-sized swimming pool and a well-cooked dinner. 

There is some intangible quality of the notices in Holiday Inn hotels that tickles my mischievous mind. For those of you who are not familiar with the 'bra menu' of the Holiday Inn, Winchester, you should go to: 

But this option is surely surpassed by the provision by the Holiday Inn at Oxford of a special room in which your child can change sex?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hunting the fox in Tenterden

Boxing Day in Tenterden High Street and the Ashford Valley Hunt has assembled ready to depart. The horses are groomed, the hounds are eager and the photographers in the crowd are trying to decide by which route out of the town the hunt will leave so that they can secure themselves a good vantage point.

Ashford Valley Hunt in Tenterden High
 Street on Boxing Day 2014.

Hunting foxes with dogs has been illegal in England for about the last ten years so these huntsmen and women will be probably chasing a 'drag' where the scent was laid on a pre-arranged route some time earlier in the morning.

Had they wanted a real fox they need only have looked onto the roof of the garden shed of Margaret's neighbour. 

Mr Reynard obviously knew all about the ban on hunting him.