Cretins, Morons, Imbeciles


A nurse, who works at Queen Alexandra Hospital, has suffered a panic attack, following an attack against the hospital bus on which she was riding.

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/people/queen-alexandra-hospital-nurse-suffers-panic-attack-after-hospital-bus-attacked-youths-portsmouth-3106179

The bus was attacked by youths throwing stones. One of the windows alongside the nurse shattered, bringing about the panic attack.

One can only imagine the thought processes going on inside the heads of these morons. They certainly have no concerns about the potential consequences of their actions.

This is yet another example of the same moronic behaviour that sees youths attacking all of our emergency service workers.

Who on earth thinks its a good idea to attack our firemen while they are trying to save lives at risk in fires and road accidents. And who thinks its a good idea to attack our ambulance crews and paramedics while they are attending those same incidents.

And then we have the police having to stoically endure interference on a daily basis, whilst putting their own lives at risk, going about their business, to protect us from these same idiotic morons.

Presumably, these are the same thought processes that make firing fireworks at peoples houses. As was happening, in Portsmouth, only a few weeks ago.

This imbecilic behaviour isn’t restricted to the Portsmouth area, rather it is endemic to the whole country.

I don’t understand the whys and wherefores and I don’t pretend to have a solution. What I do know is that the ASBO scheme isn’t good enough. Some youths see being awarded an ASBO as a badge of honour.

When I was a youth, the older folks used to say “they should bring back National Service”. I find that I am now of the opinion that is a good idea.

Going further back in time, to the 16th and 17th centuries, there were the stocks and pillory. Now the idea of these really appeal to me.

Throwing rotten fruit and veg at these miscreants would give some instant feelings of retribution to their victims. And, just maybe, these morons would be too embarrassed to offend again. They would certainly be a very visible reminder to other would be offenders.

I think today’s society could learn something from our ancestors.

Scam !!! Scam!!! Scam!!!


No, I’m not misquoting a Monty Python song. I am aiming this post squarely at

The Lockdown Kitchen

I should have known better, the company name, “The Lockdown Kitchen” , should have rung many alarm bells, indicating that they hadn’t been going for very long. I know, I should have checked the reviews before placing the order. But I didn’t.

On the 26th August I responded to an advert for a kitchen utensil set.

Liked what I saw and placed my order, paying via PayPal. I received the expected confirmation email from the seller. Their email contained the following words

On the face of it, very friendly but it was a lie.

Also on the 26th, I received an email from PayPal indicating that my payment had been made.

So I waited a couple of weeks allowing for their email request and also allowing for the worldwide effects of the pandemic.

I have now chased these folks multiple times for updates on my order. All I have receive are what I call “template” responses …..

As of November 12th, clicking on the tracking link in that email shows this …….

i.e. Nothing has happened for 3 months !!!

As a result of the latest “template” response, on October 10th, I requested a full refund. As of this time, I have not had a response.

In parallel I have raised a claim via PayPal. They have acknowledged but, so far, I have not heard anything else.

Checking out the reviews for this company on-line, I am definitely not the only one that has fallen prey to these scammers. Many folks seem to have trodden the same path along which I am trudging.

Facebook is still allowing these folks to advertise and I have reported them.

The galling thing is that this business is still operational, and also, they seem to be offering the same kitchen utensils for sale. Where are mine ?

The reason for this post is not really about the money, though I would like either the goods or my money back …. soon. No, the real purpose is to alert people to the fact that they may well be throwing their money away.

I also believe that Facebook and other social media sites should be doing more to protect consumers from the scammers that infest their apps.

My advice to anyone considering ordering from these scammers is ….. DON’T !!!

Majestic Dinner Service


An unexpected purchase has taken me on something of a hidden history lesson.

Empire Porcelain Company Dinner Service – “Majestic” Pattern

The pictured “Majestic” dinner service was acquired as part of a larger lot at a local auction. Consequently I didn’t know anything about it. However, whilst preparing to try and sell it on eBay, I did a little research and managed to find a few references to the manufacturer, The Empire Porcelain Company. It’s amazing what you can discover on the interweb.

It transpires that the Empire Porcelain Company had been around since 1895 with works in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England. There were actually three factories operating side by side.

The Empire Porcelain Co Ltd was an important producer of domestic and ornamental earthenware and china for the middle of the market. In the late-1920s and 1930s the company produced interesting art deco-style tablewares and notable art deco ornamental wares decorated using the drip glaze technique. Chinz-decorated wares were produced in the 1940 and 1950s.

From Pottery Histories

The pieces that I have are all dated in the 1950’s, as evidenced by the makers marks on the underside, so they are all around seventy years old.

Empire Porcelain Company marks with date stamp indicating April 1952

The letter B apparently indicates that the dishes were produced under the Wartime Concentration Scheme

The Second World War proved a particularly difficult period for the British pottery industry because severe restrictions were placed on the production of decorated pottery. Production was concentrated in a reduced number of factories in order to save materials, energy and labour as these were needed elsewhere for the war.

Pottery Histories

So there is no sentimental value to the dinner service, well not for me. But the history “behind the glaze” is interesting. Even down to the company being bought by a lawn mower manufacturer. Who would have thought they would have an interest in a pottery company.

Sadly, because the works were difficult to modernise, the Empire Porcelain Company was closed in 1967.

Stop This Nonsense Now


https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rule-britannia-faces-axe-in-bbcs-black-lives-matter-proms-0fvhwmwlm

This BLM shit is just getting out of hand.

You can’t eradicate racism by alienating large portions of a nation.

You can’t erase history by ripping the traditional heart out of a nation.

And that is just what The Last Night of the Proms is. A British tradition that millions tune into every year.

And to excise a tradition such as the musical content of the Proms is an affront to to me as a Britain, as an Englishman and as a rational human being. And for why ?

Because the music reflects our colonial past.

So what ?

Britannia Rules The Waves, we haven’t done that in many many years. Successive governmental defence cuts have seen to that. But, as a tune, it’s a bloody great song to sing along to and arouses a sense of patriotism. Something that is sadly lacking in this country. The “National Anthem”, God Save The Queen, is a dirge and harks back to another time. The anti-monarchists must cringe everytime it is played. Should we ditch it for something more modern, hell no. However, Land of Hope And Glory, another proms favourite, is probably more appropriate these days and would make a brilliant replacement. And what of Jerusalem ? Should we dump this in deference to our non Christian communities. Of course not. Need I go on ? Probably not.

However, the eagerness, shown by businesses and the media, to clamber onto the BLM bandwagon is sickening.

It is right to work against racism but it has to be done in a much more subtle way.

The constant thrusting of BLM down our throats is devisive, the erosion and attempted erasure of our historical roots, is certainly having a negative effect on me, and I suspect, on many others.

For example, the enforced taking of the knee at F1 – whatever happened to freedom of choice, the BLM breaks on TV – my wife and I just mute them as we do to the normal ad breaks.

We need to push back. The likes of the BLM movement are slowly turning this once great country into a bland, neutral, grey shadow of its former glory.

Big Ship !!!


HMS Queen Elizabeth – Seen exiting Portsmouth Harbour

Earlier this month I became aware that HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to sail from Portsmouth Harbour after a short provisioning visit.

The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers in the  Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned on 7 December 2017. The second, HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned on 10 December 2019.

My wife and I took a wander along Southsea sea front to take a look. As we had been in Australia for the previous seven months and had only just recently returned, this was our first opportunity to view this huge vessel.

We found a seat right by Southsea Castle, providing us with the ideal viewpoint to watch HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escorts head out into the Solent.

Here are just a few of the photos that I took on a lovely, sunny afternoon.

Hinton Ampner House


Earlier this year we took a day trip, out into the countryside, with our heavily pregnant granddaughter. We ended in the grounds of the National Trust house, Hinton Ampner.

From the National Trust website ….

This elegant country manor and tranquil garden sit so harmoniously within the landscape that one cannot exist without the other.

The house was lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, after a catastrophic fire in 1960. Enjoy the beautifully proportioned rooms which house his exquisite collection of ceramics and art, each window offering undisturbed views to the tranquil countryside beyond.

Beautifully manicured lawns lead the eye down avenues of sculptured topiary, past borders full of the heady scent of roses, to breathtaking views across the South Downs.

National Trust

We enjoyed walking the grounds and hopefully the following images will give you a flavour of this beautiful property.

Sadly due to my granddaughter not feeling very well we had to cut short our visit. We, therefore, were not able to see the inside of the house.

The good news is that this place is only a short drive away, so we will be back.

Giants


Earlier this year I took a bit of a trip down memory lane and somehow ended up in the Sussex village of Brede. Now Brede is just a couple of miles up the road from my home in Westfield, another Sussex village. My mates and I used to take off on our bikes, with our fishing rods, and spend the day along the banks of the Brede River. What we never knew was, that less than half a mile away, as the crow flies, there were giants !!!

Of course, these aren’t the mythological giants of legend. These giants are of the steam variety. As pre-teenage kids we were totally unaware of the wonders that were working so hard just a short distance away.

The “giants” were two Tangye engines with their associated pumps which were installed in 1904, and a third manufactured by Worthington Simpson , added in 1940. All three units operated until the end of steam in 1964. 

The water, pumped by these giants, was drawn from large wells penetrating the rock (Ashdown Sandstone aquifer) beneath the River Brede. It was purified and then pumped into service reservoirs on The Ridge above Hastings for distribution by gravity via the pipe networks serving Hastings.

Of course, there is more here than just the “giant” steam engines. There are many other steam pumps and engines. Some were originally from this site. Others have been donated from further afield. The folks that work here are all volunteers and they work very hard to maintain a working display of this old technology.

Also on this site there are artifacts from more recent years, from the time of the cold war. There is nuclear bunker, one of three built by Southern Water as an emergency control centre to become operational in the event of nuclear war. It was never completed and work on the bunker appears to have stopped in 1992.

Following our visit to Brede Water Works we headed up to Brede village for a bite to eat and not before long we were sat in the beer garden at the rear of the Red Lion pub.

The Red Lion is a family run 15th Century pub serving an interesting range of freshly cooked dishes. The menu features locally caught fish from Hastings & Rye, meat from Hastings, locally sourced & homegrown fruit & vegetables and wild mushrooms foraged in Brede High Woods.

Here I had one of the best seafood platters, ever. With some of the home made “Brede Bread” on the side.

Just round the corner from the Red Lion is St. Georges church.

St. Georges has quite a history. Here is just a short piece that I have quoted from their own website.

In about 1017, soon after his marriage to Emma of Normandy, King Canute granted a land called ‘Rammesleah’ to the Abbey at Fecamp in Normandy. Construction of the present church in around 1180 was probably funded by the Abbott of Fecamp. Until 1413 Brede remained under the domination of the Abbey and the parish was served by its Benedictine monks until ‘alien’ (foreign) priories were dissolved buring the reign of King Henry VIII.

The name of the village is first found in a charter of c1030 and comes from Olde English ‘bredu’ meaning breadth’ referring to the wide river to the south.

The River Brede later took it’s name from the village.

The Church is dedicated to St. George, probably a soldier martyred in Palestine in the early 4th century. Besides also being Patron Saint of England he is remembered above all for the legend of ‘St. George and the Dragon’. There is a window dedicated to him at the west end of the north aisle and a statue near the altar in the church. Very little of the earlier Norman building remains and the structure of the Church developed over a period of some 400 years from the 12th century onwards.

From the exterior, much of what one sees is 15th century Perpendicular architecture.  The walls were built of local sandstone and ironstone.  High on a buttress near the porch is a brass sundial dated 1826.

Sculpture Park Pleasure


Last Saturday we spent a fabulous few hours, with friends, exploring this sculpture park at Churt in Surrey.

The park comprises some 650 modern and contemporary sculptures displayed throughout ten acres of arboretum and water gardens. To do it justice you really need to have 360 degree vision as you explore the various trails. Not only that, but you also have to remember to look up into the trees as the owners of the park have done a marvelous job, secreting many of the exhibits above ones head or within the shrubs and bushes.

The following photos reflect just a subset of the exhibits on view. Where possible, I have added the name of the piece and that of its creator.

 

As you can see there is a huge variety of styles. Many of the sculptures are totally surreal and many are just beautiful. All provoke thought and some, even with the aid of the guide book, are just plain confusing. Sometimes you need to look behind an exhibit to understand what is going on. They are not always what they seem ….

The following is my own particular favourite …… beautiful.

Paraiso (Paradise) by Rafael Miranda San Juan
Paraiso (Paradise)

Throughout the park there was a recurring humorous theme …… these guys kept popping up, putting a smile on our faces even when theirs were looking a little manic.

And finally, whatever else is said about this park, it’s certainly larger than life.

Oh, and remember, many of these pieces are available to buy…… get your wallets out.

Retirement Lunch


Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.