Archive for October, 2013

An ode to the cows

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O, cows

O, cows, o, cows,
Of Petersham Meadow,
Every day I walk by
And see you as I go.

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O, cows, o, cows,
What a wonder you are,
You make me feel
Like I live on a farm.

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O, cows, o, cows,
Your home has been here,
But now you are off,
For another career.

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O, cows, o, cows,
Now the fields are empty,
And our hearts are empty,
Our lives are empty.

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O, cows, o, cows,
We shall always remember,
The months you were here,
Before you left in November.*

*They actually left in October but October doesn’t rhyme with remember. Deal with it.

Erdigg House (Part 2)

It’s time for my regular guest blogger, Rambler5319, to take over so sit back and enjoy.

 

This is the second part of our visit to Erdigg House which I began last week (23.10.13).

The original owner Joshua Edisbury had the place built in the 1680s. However it seems, even in his rather exalted position of High Sherriff of the county of Denbighshire, that he overreached himself eventually going bankrupt. Interesting connection here is that Elihu Yale (founder of Yale University) was a neighbour of Edisbury; and it was Yale who called in the mortgages that caused Edisbury to go bankrupt. Nice neighbour? In 1718 the house was bought by John Mellor (Master of the Chancery) who extended it and after he died his nephew Simon Yorke inherited it (1733) after which it remained in the Yorke family until 1973 when the NT took it over.

We finished off with stuff about the lengths these big houses had to go to in filtering their water to make it safe to drink. Also how we take it for granted that if we turn our taps on we can immediately fill a glass and just drink it.

We pick things up this week with a couple of notices which remind us that though this house was very grand, situated in its massive 2,000-acre estate and far from any neighbours, danger still lurked.

Look at this & the crime outlined:

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Yes that’s right, at the end of Aug 1824 someone broke into the garden on a Saturday night or early on a Sunday morning at Erdigg House: (old spelling Erthig). The thief (or thieves) stole some fruit. Now remember this was food for the house; gardeners were employed to tend, cultivate & harvest the fruit often grown in glasshouses. One in particular, for grapevines, was off limits for all but a special few in case the grapes were taken. The notice is dated 31 Aug 1824 which was a Tuesday so he’d had the printing done pretty quick and got them put up around the area. The reward is Ten Guineas. (A guinea is £1.05p so total value then £10.50p: just over £750 in today’s money.) He was definitely keen to catch the robbers.

Next up is this one:

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It says that: “Persons have of late made a practice of passing and re-passing before the front of Erthig House after dark and at all hours of the night without having any business at the house etc…..”

The servants have been ordered to detain whoever they find trespassing on the property so that they can be prosecuted. It is dated 1826 just a few years after the previous notice. Clearly the house seems to have been a target. However you would have thought that whoever was doing the “passing & repassing” might have just had a recce then left and not keep coming back; and especially not get seen. Perhaps they were just trying to intimidate the owner.

Can you guess what this is?

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No? How about if I tell you it’s called a Witch Dust Extractor are you any the wiser?

We came into one of the rooms and there it was just on the floor. Basically you attach the flexible tube to the machine, add a suitable nozzle for whatever you are cleaning and then you stand on the pedals pushing down alternately with your left foot & right foot. Simple eh? Well except it means you need at least two people to do the work. The instruction sheet tells you how to hook it up, get the right nozzle, suck up the dust and when full empty it. Underneath is a section called “NOTE”. I think it’s worth checking this out so have a read of how the manufacturers tried to allay Edwardians’ fears concerning this new technology:

“Do not be dismayed if after a little pedalling you feel tired – everyone experiences that at first. The fact is you are employing a new set of muscles but after a little perseverance they get so accustomed to it that lengthy spells will cause no inconvenient fatigue. In the meantime it affords ease if two persons engage in the work and change places as often as tired.

The moment the machine becomes less easy to operate it is a sign the bag material is clogged. The spare bag should then be used and the other one washed and kept ready.

Neither should you be dismayed if at FIRST you find it takes a considerable time to get a room cleaned but remember that when accumulated dust is once removed a speedy application of the Dust Extractor is sufficient to keep it clean.

It is not suggested that this machine be used DAILY – probably WEEKLY is sufficient……”

It cost 6 guineas (£6.30p) – £564 in today’s money.

So there you have it – not only can you hoover your carpets, curtains or whatever but your partner/colleague can also keep fit! We’ve got wind up radios, wind up torches, so why not a sort of wind up vacuum? Why ever did these things go out of business?? (I must get hold of James Dyson – I’m sure he’ll be able to invent a modern version.) What a great machine. And don’t forget once you’ve persevered there is “no inconvenient fatigue”. Yeah, right!

Now I wonder if you’ve ever thought about all those step/running machines you use in the gym. I’ll bet they’re connected to something – maybe not a vacuum but what if they’re connected to a generator so as you exercise you’re generating electricity for the gym. Now there’s a thought!

Fire was an ever-present hazard in days gone by because of the amount of wood in the buildings and the number of open fires. I was intrigued to see coloured glass bottles hanging up around the house and in the kitchen area in particular. These dark blue glass containers were called Harden Star Grenades.

Here are some in the hall area

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Here’s the notice & instructions on how to use them:

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The idea was that where a fire had started you threw the bottle (container) at the base of the fire and the contents vapourised starving the fire of the oxygen it needed to burn. Many were filled with carbon tetrachloride as it vapourises straight away. However we now know even just inhaling it can have seriously damaging effects on the liver, kidneys & brain. And wait for this – some folks today actually collect these things! Note at the bottom the address, in italics, of the manufacturers – they’re in Peckham. Those of you in the UK will know Del Boy & Rodney lived in Peckham. The whole “Grenade” idea has a feel that a Victorian version of them must have been behind something like this.

If you have just 1 minute watch this vid which shows you what they look like close up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwPsHq1SSA0

We went into the servants’ hall; there was a long 4-plank refectory table with swords mounted up on the ceiling. Apparently the Yorke family raised a troop of Denbighshire Militia and the swords are from them. If you imagine them as a clock face, look at the 5 o’clock position just up and slightly left from the axe on the right hand side underneath. Can you see there is an empty space – no sword?

Here’s a clearer pic on Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/spectrefloat/6305628345/

Here’s one of those boards with loads of bells on for the servants to know which room they required to go to.

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And a dining table set a meal. Note the two high columns at the far end.

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This metal bowl is dated – you should be able to see 1663. Wow, 350 years old!

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This next item is a kind of early record player.

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The discs have a series of raised dots and little troughs spaced out so that when the arm travels over them it produces notes that will make a tune. You can probably see the one on the machine is something by Mozart; the one on the table is The Fairy Wedding Waltz by J.W. Turner (not the painter – he was J.M.W. Turner).

If, like me, you don’t know that one have a listen/watch here. Maybe open a new window and let it play while you read.

http://gaslanternrecords.com/our-music

and then click on no.6 for a brief sample of the music. The last few bars of the clip remind me slightly of part of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz (famously used in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey). Both were creations of the 1860s but Fairy Wedding came first in 1863 followed by Blue Danube in 1867.

There was some sheet music rolled up and put in the trumpet’s horn in this carrying case.

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Can you see the title of the music composed by Fred W. Leigh. No comment! I wonder if you knew that Fred Leigh also wrote that famous cockney tune: Don’t Dilly Dally (My Old Man Said Follow The Van…).

Have a watch of this one and tell me you’re not singing along by the end of it. Go on I dare you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfW3TxQhy20

I’ll have to finish there otherwise it’ll just go on for too long. Maybe there’ll be a part three if you’re not fed up with Erdigg House. It’s a great place – there was just so much to see and we didn’t get to explore everywhere as there just wasn’t time.  

What a mess

The children are visiting at the moment.

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Yesterday Molly and I had matching pigtails.

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It was fun.

We also went swimming. When we went in the small kiddies pool, Molly said, “Oo, it feels warm and hot and nice. Like chocolate mousse.” Which is fair enough, I guess.

While everyone else was having fun and splashing about, I decided to go for a swim in the big pool. I didn’t have my goggles but I thought I’d just deal with it. It’s fine. No problem. Off I went, to the grown up pool and got in the lap lane and got my Olympic brain on and set off.

It was a disaster, people! It was a disaster. I started with breast stroke. My face went under so I closed my eyes and breathed out and when I came up, I opened my eyes but there was still lots of water on my face which went in my eyes so that hurt. And confused me. So the next time I went under, I closed my eyes too late. Which confused me further so I forgot to breathe out properly. The next time I came up, my eyes were stinging and I had loads of water in my nose and mouth.

I was a mess. I started to get all breathless cause I was breathing in and out all at the wrong time. My face was a mess cause my eyes were red and I was coughing and spluttering like an idiot. I was panting like an old person trying to climb stairs.

It was just all wrong. All wrong.

I’ll never get to the Brazil Olympics like this. I feel like I’ve really let myself down.

Recent photos from my walk home

The weather is changing recently and the sky is different colours and everything looks a little different every day. Here are some photos I have taken over the past ten days or so.

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Breaking the rules

This morning, I am joining in with Emily and Kelly’s Remember The Time blog prompt.

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For some reason, the first thing that sprung to mind is the following story. It’s a bit feeble but I’m just going to run with it.

When I was about ten years old, I had an operation on my hip and spent about six weeks with plaster down both of my legs. A lady used to bring me work from school so I didn’t fall behind. I think, actually, because I didn’t have anyone around me to distract me, I got quite far ahead with things. When I then went back to school, I was ahead of everyone else and bored so I got a bit restless and naughty.

Because my operation meant I had to use crutches for a little while and had a huge healing scar, I couldn’t go swimming. I used to still go along to the swimming pool but would just sit on the side.

This particular day, I had an idea that I wasn’t going with them, I’m not sure why. Then someone came and found me and said I was supposed to be on the bus. So off I toddled towards the school gates to the bus. My teacher, Miss Moore, saw me as I approached the bus and came over and really bollocked me.

She was going, “We were looking everywhere for you. We’re really late now. You’ve held everyone up.”

And this, my friends, is the moment at which I totally broke the rules. I broke the rules of the teacher-pupil relationship. I broke my own rules of good behaviour. I broke the rules of respecting authority. This was the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw that I had to write about breaking the rules.

When my teacher shouted at me for being naughty, I said…..

“So.”

Wowzers! What on earth was that about?! That is crazy talk.

I remember being quite shocked that that had come out of my mouth and being like, “Omygoodness, she’s gonna go mad!”

And even though I’m 28 years old and have done lots of other things in my life, had numerous jobs and lived in many different places, for some reason, this singular incident when I was 10 years old is my first thought when I am asked to write about breaking the rules. 

Things I have learned about myself in the kitchen

1. Sometimes, I can spend all day doing things but somehow, when I get to the end of the day, I feel like I haven’t done anything.

2. Every so often, I spend a whole day burning things.

3. When I feel something might not turn out well, I need to trust that feeling, rather than going “I’m sure it’s going to be fine.” Often, it is not going to be fine and I curse myself for not listening to my instincts.

4. I can be grumpy in the kitchen. Boy, can I be grumpy! I’m sure you were all under the impression that I am quite lovely and bright as a daisy and Mother Earth-y. Weren’t you?… Weren’t you? Well, it appears, I’m not. I’m as shocked as you are, readers. I’m as shocked as you are.

5. I can spend hours washing leaves and drying them. Sorrel is probably my least favourite thing to wash because it doesn’t respond well to being spun. If you separate each leaf out and lay them on some paper towel to air dry, they are happier but it takes f o r e v e r.

6. I didn’t know that eggs are classed as ‘raw meat’ in the kitchen. That’s not really something I’ve learned about myself but it’s still an interesting kitchen-related fact.

7. I do not drink enough when I work in a kitchen. I think it’s because I’m spending less time by the coffee machine. Usually, making drinks for other people will prompt me to think of making myself a cup of tea or getting some water. But in the kitchen, I’ve got out of that habit. Sometimes I’ll get to the end of my working and realise I’ve drunk nothing all day.

8. I don’t like a cake to go out untasted. Because that would just be careless. What kind of cake baker would give the public something they hadn’t tasted? And so I eat a lot of cake. Some people might say it’s just greed because, really, if the same batch of cake mix made 6 carrot cakes, does each individual cake need to be tasted? A lot of people would say no. I would say that you can never be sure so it’s best to taste them anyway.

9. If it is quiet, my Fast Mode doesn’t quite kick in. I can hear a voice in the back of my head telling me to start cleaning and get a head start on it all so I don’t have as much to do at closing time. So I look around and see bits of lemon icing splatted on the surfaces and scone mix all over the Hobart mixer and scraps of stuff on the floor and I’ll be like, “Hmm, what needs doing? Nope, nothing. It looks fine in here.” Then I get to the end of the day and I’m like “Omygoodness there’s sooooo much to do.”

10. The little paper hats you have to wear in the kitchen always make me feel a little sailorish. Or Thunderbirdsish. Let’s go with Thunderbirds. And it is a known fact of life that everything is more exciting if you pretend you are in Thunderbirds.

Search terms 11

It’s a while since I had a look into my search terms. There’s always something interesting in there and when I checked, sure enough, there was some crazy nonsense that I felt it necessary to share. I’m hoping that the person looking for ‘unusual quirky different sister jewellery’ found what she was looking for here and if someone could tell why there isn’t a cow in Peppa Pig, I would much appreciate it. Thanks.

rubbish advert
tissue paper jumpers
womananddogsex
lemon a musica muntchausen
kate moss highgate
backstreet boys wrapping paper
oh freddled gruntbuggly meaning
george coleridge highgate
rabbit confit michell roux
bird droppings on shoulder
“lesley duncan sing children sing” blog
captions rubber boobs
passing driving test
looking through an old photo album
touch lucky key
sandy denny isle of mull
does the lucky key in chat magazine work
a jibe won t raise a blister
woolton old name domesday book
transvestite boobs
i hate kingston university
waltham place
how to spring load a lazy 18 yr old
complaints about the application process at kingston uni
story of the wooden spoon
george michael highgate mansion
sweaty back
“nose pierced” dreadlocks
suicide bridge archway road
no self raising flour can iuse bicarbiccat to do
can one died from closing window after panting house
who lives on the grove highgate
why is there no cow in peppa pig?
archway bridge london suicide
gradbach youth hostel to three shires head – walking route
prettythings&more
ramblers groups northwich
tir na nog van morrison
what would a scullery maids day be like?
swim gods
look inside the farmhouse mill gradbach
chop vegetables fast
suicide bridge archway news
tesco price promise vouchers
yaaya: majic trics
unusual quirky different sister jewellery
graham lockey