Just the other day I was going through stuff, looking for old photo albums belonging to my Dad. I was reintroduced to these silks.

Basically I had forgotten all about them. Unfortunately they haven’t been looked after hence the fading, staining and creases.

From what I can gather they were produced in the early 1900’s and are sometimes called “cigarette silks” or “tobacco silks,” although the material is more likely to be satin. They were inserted in packs of cigarettes or could be obtained by sending in coupons stuffed in the packs.

The silks feature famous people, works of art, military coats of arms and sporting colours.

I have scanned some of those that I have and posted the images here just for curiosity. Most appear to have been produced by BDV. They don’t appear to have any great value but are collectable.


A Brace Of Class Acts

Wednesday was a very full day. We were taking my daughter to a show, booked months ago, as a Christmas present.

So, late on Wednesday morning, off we set. Up the A3 and around the M25 on a two-hour road trip, up to the O2 London. The journey was incident free and we duly arrived and parked up.

On entering the O2 complex there was the usual light-hearted discussion about where we were going to eat. There are so many eateries to choose from but finally, decision made, we entered Ask Italian and were quickly seated.

There followed a leisurely lunch, with my daughter choosing the Penne al Pollo Della Casa, my wife the Sea Bass al Forno and for me Pork Belly Porchetta was the order of the day. The ladies washed their meal down with a couple of Italian Twinkles (Prosecco with elderflower cordial, vodka and a twist of lemon) apiece.

After lunch we decided to while away the next couple of hours with a trip on the river, courtesy of Thames Clippers .

The trip up to Westminster and back can be completed in around two hours, if you don’t disembark. London has so much to offer the tourist that the temptation to get off and explore is very strong. But we were up against the clock to a straight round trip it was for us.


County Hall augmented by The London Eye

There is much to see as you sail up the Thames.

Thames River Scene

Thames River Scene

Tower Bridge alongside the Tower of London, the Gherkin, St Pauls, The Monument, The Globe Theatre etc. etc.. The Shard appears, disappears, then magically reappears, towering over London as the Clipper follows the rivers and its meanderings through the city.


Shard – London

At water level it is easy to forget just how the river winds until you realise that city landmark which was on your left has now transferred to your right.

By the time we reached Westminster the sun was truly beginning to set. Great news, for as we started our return journey, the city illuminations were being turned on.


Golden Jubilee Bridge alongside Hungerford Bridge with Festival Hall on the far bank.

The London city skyline is constantly changing. No two visits are ever the same.


Tower Bridge with The Shard

I didn’t have my camera with me on this trip so the preceding photographs are from an earlier London trip.

And so our voyage of discovery was over and we returned to the O2. The timing was spot on and there was a constant stream of people heading into the arena. We joined the flow and were soon in our seats.

Anticipation - Elbow O2 2018

Anticipation – Elbow O2 2018

The arena continued to fill but by the time that John Grant and his band hit the stage there were still many empty seats. I know that some folks deliberately don’t bother with the support acts. I have never understood this attitude. You have paid for the whole show, why not get full value for money. Money aside, this is the opportunity to see and hear new acts, the rising talent as it were. In this case John Grant isn’t that new. However, he’s not that well-known either.


John Grant @ The O2 London Elbow Tour 2018

For those of you who missed his performance on Wednesday. Shame on you. He was superb. I for one will be looking out his albums to have another listen to his music and will definitely keep an eye out for future performances.

But, of course, we were all really only there for one thing. And that was to see and hear Elbow. They did not disappoint.


Mirror Ball Elbow @ O2 London 2018

Performing really early  songs, mixed with newer material. The classics were there and the audience was more than willing to sing along and support them.


John Grant on stage with Elbow O2 London 2018

Towards the end of the show John Grant returned to join Elbow on stage. He was greeted to a huge applause from the audience.


Elbow @ O2 London 2018

I believe it was in America that the lighting of matches, candles and lighters became “fashionable” at concerts. This being 2018 we moved on a bit with the technology and now we use battery power.


Mobile Phone Torches – Replacing naked flames, as in candles / matches and lighters

The picture doesn’t do justice to hundreds, if not thousands, of phones being waved around the arena.

Regardless, the band played on and eventually came to the end of their set.


Elbow @ O2 London 2018

They left the stage for a few minutes while we sat in the semi darkness waiting. I found it quite strange as there was little or no clapping or calling for the encore. It always used to be de rigueur to work for the encore. Eventually the audience woke up and we all were clapping, stomping and cheering. The band duly returned and the show was truly brought to a close with a storming performance of “One Day Like This”. Guy Garvey worked the audience, milking us for all he was worth.

We had waited some time to be able to get tickets to see this band. It was well worth the wait. And the bonus is that we have been introduced to John Grant. Fabulous nights entertainment.

And then we were done. Arena lights up and heading for the exits, out into the cold night air and our transport home.


Crowds Leaving The O2 London

For us it meant a, reasonably short, queue to exit the car park. The O2 parking pages, on the web, do say it can take an hour or more to escape.

We then had the reverse of our earlier road trip, arriving home just before 02:00 Thursday morning, gagging for a quick cup of tea, before tumbling into bed.


Still Bloody Cold

Despite the dire warnings of the forecasters, we still don’t have any snow. Well, not strictly true, I guess, as my car does look like it has a bit of a dandruff problem.

My Car Has Dandruff

My Car Has Dandruff

The wind blew a hooley most of last night, so I was expecting snow drifts this morning. Boy was I disappointed and I know my great-granddaughter, Summer, is too. She was hoping for a “snow-day” or two off from school. To be fair the school is closing at lunchtime.

How do I know this ?

The school, much to my surprise, sent me a text message early this morning. Unbeknownst to me, my granddaughter had provided my number as one of the emergency contact numbers. They, exercising due diligence, had informed the parents and emergency contacts.

Anyway, the forecasters are still warning of imminent snowmageddon so, Summer may still get her wish.

So, until “The Beast From The East” puts in an appearance this is what I’ll have to put up with, looking out of my lounge window …..

Snow - No Show

The Beast from the East still hasn’t put in an appearance

Although we haven’t been inundated with snow it is still cold, bloody cold. It is -4 outside and there is still that biting wind to contend with. Not sure what the windchill factor is but all I know is, I am staying inside to keep nice and cosy.

My thoughts are with all those in the UK who are having to contend with conditions much worse than we are experiencing down here in southern Hampshire.


It’s Cold

Sitting in the car waiting for the girls to come out of the bingo hall.

The heater is struggling to keep the interior warm as Britain falls under the grip of “The Beast From The East”, media’s name for the weather front scheduled to dump snow on us over the next 48 hours.

My phone tells me it’s -4, the car thinks it’s -3.

Whatever, it’s cold. Too bloody cold.

No snow…… yet !!!

Nut Jobs

Given the current cold spell I don’t begrudge these little fellows a few peanuts. Midday and -1 outside even though the sun is shining. A few snow sprinkles falling too, although too few to bother anyone.


Grey Squirrel

Although I put the peanuts out for the birds, the squirrels (and Wood Pigeons) eat the bulk of them. They are always cute and entertaining, so small price to pay for their company.

Since filling the feeders this weekend we are being visited by tits of the Blue, Great and Long-tailed varieties.


Long-tailed Tits

This morning, there was also a Nuthatch getting his fill of sunflower hearts.

As always, the Robins are policing the garden. In the summer they typically, aggressively, chase off any other visitors to the feeders. Perhaps, due to the cold, they are being a little more magnanimous and just observing from a distance.

The Wood Pigeons sit like vultures in the trees. Observing the comings and goings of all the other birds. Since they can no longer land on the feeders, they are relegated to hoovering up the scatterings of their smaller brethren.