Saturday, 29 July 2017

London Military Band in Folkestone

The London Military Band playing in the church of St Mary and St Eanswythe. Folkestone
We have just returned from a superb and intimate concert at Folkestone. The London Military Band who are composed of serving but off duty military musicians and others who have studied at the Military School of Music played a selection of favourites with style, panache and skill – the Light Cavalry Overture, the Radetsky March and even selections from the Sound of Music.

If you get a chance to hear them, take it.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Church of St. Nicholas, Ash, Kent.

Alabaster carving in Ash Church, 1612.

The Church of St. Nicholas in the village of Ash is said by knowledgable authorities to possess the finest collection of mediaeval monumental effigies of any parish church in Kent, possibly surpassed only by those of Canterbury Cathedral. 
The above carving in alabaster represents Sir Thomas and Lady Septvans, both in a position of praying. Below them, the line of seven figures represent their daughters, five of whom are carrying a skull to signify that they died as children. (see enlarged inset) The sons' effigies which originally appeared on the left of the predella have been lost at some time during the last four hundred years.
Christopher Toldervey and wife, Jane.

Interestingly, Jane, one of the two daughters who survived, figures with her husband, Christopher Toldervey on a carving nearby.

When King Henry VIII appointed himself head of the new Church of England one of the first things that he did was to have any of the Pope's insignia removed from 'his' churches and replaced with his coat of arms.
Arms of King Charles II, dated 1660, painted on wood.

Recently discovered in the church is this royal arms of King Charles II dating from his accession to the throne in 1660 with the restoration of the monarchy. Note that the shield is quartered with the Bourbon family arms, the fleur de lys, because the kings of England still claimed sovereignty over France.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Low tide at Folkestone.

I had to go to Folkestone today.

It was low tide and through one of the arches of the railway viaduct I could see a bait digger at work.

Ecologically powered street lamp in Folkestone.
Up in the town I came across the bizarre construction below. It appeared to be an enormous boulder moulded in glass fibre or some such material. I have it on unreliable authority that it is an artistic installation in which the lichen growing in the container will produce flammable gas which will be led off via the pipe to fuel the adjacent street lamp. 

Most illuminating. 

I wonder if it will work.

My 'unreliable authority' now informs me that the lichen is somehow producing electricity, not gas and it is this which is being used to light the lamp.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Hollyhocks at Stelling Minnis – Gone!

See my post of 2 July. Click here

Obviously the Highways Agency considers that hollyhocks constitute a danger at the side of the highway and need to be removed. Which is what they have done. So those flowers will never seed and never brighten the lives of those using Stone Street.

We must infer from this action that chopping down flowers is a more effective safety manoeuvre than filling in the awful potholes in the actual road surface.

And it is probably cheaper.

And so satisfying.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The US Navy comes to Sandwich.

Well, not quite.

We sat eating our fish and chips on the quayside in Sandwich and ogling this very military looking launch as it rocked on its moorings on the rapidly rising tide.

Not a vessel to argue with on the River Stour. I think I would give it right of way.

It was built in Germany in 1952 and as P22, patrolled the River Rhine for the US Navy.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

A much better use for a cycle lane.

What would the concert goers do without a cycle lane in which to put their notices?

At least it is not cluttered up with bicycles.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Cycling at sunset

I spent too long indoors today, writing on computers and sorting out my tax return. 

I just had time for a ride before bedtime.

You can just distinguish my bicycle resting in the gateway. I was watching an owl which was trying to maintain its balance on a telephone line. I deduced that its talons were too large to grip the cable firmly because it kept teetering back and forth as if drunk.

And then the sun really set.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Hollyhocks at Stelling Minnis

Occasionally, in order to enjoy some exercise I decide to cycle to work. As I work at home this means that I cycle from my front door to my back door via the village of Stelling Minnis which is about eight miles away. Today the sun was shining in a blue sky and the wind was north westerly which guaranteed that it would assist me up the hill so off I went. 

I was astonished by the smells: clingy hot tarmac in Canterbury, a waft of stale beer from the open door of The Granville pub, the light odour of freshly mown grass on the verges, perfume of roses in a front garden. At Bossingham I smelled roasted Sunday lunch at one end of the street and barbecue at the other. Coming down from the Minnis somebody nearby had been burning plastic – a harsh, nostril hostile tang. Further down it was the overpowering, heavy, sweet smell of roly-poly bales of silage stacked alongside the road; then warm, cosy, farm animal smell and then a hot, oily stink from a broken-down BMW at the side of the lane.

When in Stelling Minnis I cycled out to the Stone Street junction and to my great pleasure I discovered that my efforts over the last three years had at last come to fruition. 

The hundreds of hollyhock seeds from my garden which I had scattered in a roadside concrete trough had finally germinated. I am hoping that they will continue to flourish and with the wind from the passing vehicles, start to march down the road as they self seed.

This autumn I shall repeat the process with some additional colours and we will see what happens.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Passport or identity card?

That old chestnut of the identity card was raised again recently by journalist Philip Collins in The Times of 30 June. In it he identifies three concerns which, in his view, could be alleviated by the provision of an identity card: illegal immigration, terrorism and use of public services by the unentitled. He mentions that identity cards are compulsory in over one hundred countries, citing Belgium, Germany and Israel among his examples. I am ambivalent about identity cards. His suggestion that it would be simple to make it illegal to employ a person who did not possess a valid id card sounds sensible; that NHS benefits should be unavailable to non-holders, likewise. I am not certain that his suggestion that requiring anybody hiring a white van to show an id card would assist counter-terrorist officers is grounded on rational thinking.

UK wartime identity card 1943

The tenor of his article possibly betrays the technique which will eventually be used to reintroduce the id card in Britain: that of 'parasitic vitality'. It was used to enforce the National Registration Card under the 1939 National Registration Act. It quite simply means that you make the card desirable to the public by denying them access to goods or services without it. In 1943 the cards were re-issued and tied to the ration card. You want to eat? – You need an id card. After the war they were linked to the holder's NHS number.

In trying to look at the arguments for and against the introduction of an id card in a dispassionate manner I cannot but help the reflection that, for example, for the three countries mentioned above, Belgium, Germany and Israel, have they solved their illegal immigration and terrorists problems by the use of an identity card? 

Whenever a card is used it will have to be checked. Who will do the checking?
How will they be trained? Do we need yet another document? The journalist, Philip Collins, in assessing the system for checking the movement of people into and out of the UK observes that, 'An identity card that, where relevant, contained a holder's visa status would make this process a lot easier,'

We already have such a document. 

It is called a passport.