Saturday, 22 October 2016

Jam making at Tiptree

Should you be in Essex in the vicinity of the village of Tiptree, halt awhile and look around. It appears at first sight to be a linear village of no particular remark yet not so very long ago it was the home of the Anchor Press, one of the largest book printers in the UK.

But why is this terrace of houses called 'Damson Gardens'? Because they were built to house the workers from the jam factory. Wilkin and Sons, manufacturers of the famous Tiptree range of jams, farm about 1.000 acres around the village and have been making jam here since 1885.
The genuine article.
If you are unfamiliar with their vast and excellent range of jams, preserves and sauces, click here

Wilkin and Sons have now expanded into tea rooms. We visited their museum, and then craftily nipped into the tea room for an early lunch snack at about 11.30. By the time we had finished the room was full and customers were queueing, waiting for tables to empty.

A fraudulent copy, but amusing nonetheless.
Now, thanks to successful marketing, the famous Tiptree jam label is recognisable worldwide. In the museum is displayed a collection of fraudulent copies produced by enterprises hoping to 'pass off' their inferior product as the genuine.

The jar on the left I found quite amusing and was disappointed that Wilkins had not made it themselves.

Tiptree claims to be the biggest village in Essex with a population of approximately 9,000. The Anchor Press has gone and I should imagine that Wilkin and Sons are the largest employer in the village. Tesco's have moved in and I was pleased to see on their otherwise blank facade to the high street this tiled mural depicting the village with the light railway in the background, the jam factory and fruit fields and orchards and in the foreground an Edwardian picnic laid out with... Wilkin and Sons jams in obvious evidence.
The Tiptree tiled mural on the wall of Tesco's.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The lost Routemaster.

I cycled to Sandwich today to sow a few thousand hollyhock seeds along the banks of the Stour and I saw this London bus, ostensibly on route 13 to London Bridge.

I don't think route 13 runs via Sandwich normally.

Passport Portraits of Yesteryear no. 23

Continuing the series of passport photographs from my collection.
Peruse and wonder.
Edward Peter Rice, a British missionary born in Bangalore, India in 1849. It is now 1916 and at the age of 66 years he is sent by his employer, the YMCA, to the war zone in France.

First he has to obtain security clearance  from the War Office in London, he then is examined by the French police in London who issue him with a red identity book which is his permit and is valid only whilst he is employed by the YMCA. 

With this authority he obtains a visa from the French Consulate for 3/9 (three shillings and ninepence) which allows him to travel to Le Havre and thence to Rouen where he will be based. On landing at Le Havre on 11 February 1916 he reports to the British Military Authorities who give him permission to travel on to Rouen. He then has to visit the town hall in Le Havre to obtain the same permission from the French. 
Three months later he came home.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Discworld bores cats.

Shock horror revelation!
The cats in Wincanton are sent to sleep by Terry Pratchett's Discworld.

Snoozing moggy seen in a shop window in Wincanton.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Cobnuts and caterpillars.

I have stripped my various cobnut trees and am now waiting for an interesting programme to be broadcast on the radio to entertain me whilst I crack the nuts.

Over the years the squirrel has buried tons of nuts in my garden, many of which sprout in awkward places and then have to be pulled up.

Some I leave in the ground if they are not an obstruction to normal life. I noticed that the squirrel-planted cobnut bush near my garage was sporting some skeleton leaves.

Upon closer inspection I could see why.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Bank and Beakers in Bungay

On my previous visit to Bungay in Suffolk, when driving around the town I encountered with astonishment the chicken roundabout. If you have never heard of it, click here. The hens have now all been moved on which is a shame for the town but no doubt a relief to the motorists who had to face a daily slalom around poultry.

But Bungay is not just chickens. 

You can buy beakers.

And see a former branch of the London and Provincial Bank.

Be informed about Bungay's Great Fire

And see a fire hydrant sign which was painted on the wall in the Second World War so that it could be found in the blackout.

But for me, an author and publisher, I will always know Bungay as the home of the Chaucer Press and the book printers, Richard Clay.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Not another boring sunset!

Yup! Seen through a dirty porthole on the mv Cap Finistere.
Why do people take these photographs?

The hotel's bath plug.

I last mentioned the bathing arrangements at the Hotel Puente Colgante here. Since then the hotel has changed hands and in my experience, that sometimes has deleterious effects for the guests. The new owners are usually unwilling to accept the hotel as it is; they must make changes.

In this case it seems that the new owners have decided to economise on bath plugs – neither washbasin nor bath was equipped with the necessary obstruction to retain the water for a useful period of time.

I went to the reception desk and explained in my fluid rather than fluent Spanish that it was muy difficilo to bathe if the agua kept salida-ing down the plughole and was presented with the hotel bath plug.

Rather selfishly I kept it for two days and then ceremoniously handed it over upon departure much to the consternation of the guests who were waiting to check in.