Henry Croft

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A day’s unending dreary drizzle dripping from damp, dingy, clouds over Downton provided ample material for Pearly Kings and Queens to refresh their outfits.

Wikipedia tells us:

henry_croft_pearly_king“The practice of wearing clothes decorated with so-called pearl, actually mother-of-pearl buttons, originated in the 19th century.[1] It is first associated with Henry Croft, an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. At the time, London costermongers (street traders) were in the habit of wearing trousers decorated at the seams with pearl buttons that had been found by market traders. Croft adapted this to create a pearly suit to draw attention to himself and aid his fund-raising activities.[2][3] In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London.[1]

Croft died in January 1930, and his funeral was attended by 400 followers from all over London,[1] receiving national media coverage.[4] In 1934 a memorial to him was unveiled in St Pancras Cemetery, and in a speech to mark the occasion he was said to have raised £5,000 for those suffering in London’s hospitals.[5] The statue was later moved to the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. The inscription reads:

In memory of Henry Croft who died January 1st 1930 aged 68 years. The original Pearly King

The pearlies are now divided into several active groups. Croft’s founding organisation is called the Original London Pearly Kings and Queens Association. It was reformed in 1975[1][2] and holds the majority of the original pearly titles which are City of LondonWestminster, Victoria, Hackney, Tower HamletsShoreditchIslington, Dalston and Hoxton. Other groups have also been established over the years. The oldest is the Pearly Guild, which began in 1902.[1][6] Modern additions include the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society, which started in 2001 following a disagreement,[1][3] and the Pearly Kings and Queens Guild.[7] Despite the rivalries, each group is associated with a church in central London and is committed to raising money for London-based charities.[1] A parade of real-life Pearly Kings and Queens was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.

This evening we dined on succulent slow-roasted duck breasts in plum sauce on Jackie’s splendid savoury rice. I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Fitzrovia To Farringdon Via Holborn

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Although I am almost recovered from our family illness, and Becky is still unscathed, Jackie and Ian remain under par. I therefore took another virtual reality trip to London through the medium of scanning another dozen colour slides from the Streets of London series made during July 2004.

I forget which of these two shots featuring Welbeck Way W1 depicts buildings in the Wimpole Street. This area of Fitzrovia is rather grand. The cordoned off pavement is, as has been demonstrated before, a common sight in central London. If the young man has just left his bike against the railings, he will be lucky if it is still there when he returns. I also wonder how much longer our streets will be graced with Royal Mail delivery vans. Wikipedia tells that: “The notorious 18th-century highwayman James MacLaine was once a grocer on Welbeck Street.”

Harley Street W1 7.04

Like the above-mentioned Wimpole Street, Harley Street is noted for the large number of expensive private medical specialists who practice there. This photograph was taken from the junction with Wigmore Street.

Dean's Mews W1

https://wcclibraries.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/a-controversial-sculptor-jacob-epstein-in-westminster/ gives the story of this rather wonderful Jacob Epstein sculpture in Dean’s Mews W1. The slight straightening required by this image meant that the street name has been lost. It is fascinating to me that the photograph contained in the wcclibraries post was clearly taken at a different time of day to mine.

Newman Street W1 7.04

This post box in Newman Street W1 is clearly no stranger to advertising material.

Bury Place WC1 7.04

Bury Place WC1 is around the corner from the British Museum; and is consequently a suitable street in which to find a dealer in antiquities.

I wonder who became the new occupiers of 166 Clerkenwell Road, and therefore next door neighbours of the New Seoul Korean restaurant.

contentThe Duke of York in Vine Hill, EC1 was a favourite haunt of “Mad” Frankie Fraser (13.12.23 – 26.11.14) He was a S. London gangster and criminal who spent 42 years in prison for numerous violent offences.

His story is told in  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Fraser, and, more colourfully in the autobiography written with James Morton, available from Amazon.

Vine Hill EC1 7.04

The Duke of York is mentioned on page 147,

Back Hill EC1 7.04

while the Coach and Horses in Back Hill features on the next page.

White Bear Yard EC1 7.04

The Potemkin Russian restaurant on the bendy corner of Back Hill and White Bear Yard could be named after either Catherine the Great’s favourite or the battleship immortalised by Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent film. Given that the ship must have been named after the statesman the exact answer is probably academic.

Saffron Hill EC1 7.04

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle features Saffron Hill EC1 in his Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Adventure of The Six Napoleons’, being the Italian Quarter where can be found the Venucci family. Repairs to gas mains are not particularly unusual.

Becky and Ian returned home to Emsworth later this afternoon. Jackie and I dined on the final helpings of her lovely sausage casserole, both mashed and boiled potatoes, and Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Neither of us imbibed.

Child Labour

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Moon over back drive

The moon stayed up late this morning. I am indebted to Laurie Graves at Notes from the Hinterland for the information that such a moon is called ‘Wolf’.

220px-bub_und_meisterRecent work on opening up our fireplace in order to burn logs in a swan’s nest basket, has prompted me to research the history of chimney sweeps. There is much information on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimney_sweep.

This illustration shows a 19th century Italian master sweep and his apprenticed boy

With particular reference to the small children sent up chimneys in UK, Wikipedia tells us that: “Boys as young as four climbed hot flues that could be as narrow as 81 square inches (9×9 inches or 23×23 cm). Work was dangerous and they could get jammed in the flue, suffocate or burn to death. As the soot is a carcinogen, and as the boys slept under the soot sacks and were rarely washed, they were prone to Chimney Sweeps Cancer. From 1775 onwards there was increasing concern for the welfare of the boys, and Acts of Parliament were passed to restrict, and in 1875 to stop this usage.[6] Lord Shaftesbury, the philanthropist, led the later campaign. Chimneys started to appear in Britain around 1200, when they replaced the open fire burning in the middle of the one room house. At first there would be one heated room in the building and chimneys would be large. Over the next four hundred years, rooms became specialized and smaller and many were heated. Sea coal started to replace wood, and it deposited a layer of flammable creosote in the inside surface of the flue, and caked it with soot. Whereas before, the chimney was a vent for the smoke, now the plume of hot gas was used to suck air into the fire, and this required narrower flues[7] Even so, boys rarely climbed chimneys before the Great Fire of London, when building regulations were put in place and the design of chimneys was altered, The new chimneys were often angular and narrow, and the usual dimension of the flue in domestic properties was 9 inches (23 cm) by 14 inches (36 cm). The master sweep was unable to climb into such small spaces himself and employed climbing boys to go up the chimneys to dislodge the soot. The boys often ‘buffed it’, that is, climbed in the nude,[8] propelling themselves by their knees and elbows which were scraped raw. They were often put up hot chimneys, and sometimes up chimneys that were alight in order to extinguish the fire. Chimneys with sharp angles posed a particular hazard.[9] These boys were apprenticed to the sweep, and from 1778 until 1875 a series of laws attempted to regulate their working conditions, and many first hand accounts were documented and published in parliamentary reports. From about 1803, there was an alternative method of brushing chimneys, but sweeps and their clients resisted the change preferring climbing boys to the new Humane Sweeping Machines.[10] Compulsory education was established in 1870 by the Education Act 1870 but it was a further five years before legislation was put in place to license Chimney Sweeps and finally prevent boys being sent up chimneys.[11]” 

Now, we have never sent a child up a chimney, but we have sent one under the floorboards.  In 1985 we had some reason for needing to access the nether regions of our house in Gracedale Road. I cannot now remember what.

Sam was in fact rather chuffed to be given the responsibility and the opportunity to explore. Carrying a torch he slid down the hole.

 

Sam under floorboards 1 – Version 2

Here he is on the descent,

Sam under floorboards 2 – Version 2

and as he emerges with whatever he went down for, and the bonus of a packet of Wild Woodbines.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sausages in red wine, and Becky’s creamy mashed potato, tasty bubble and squeak, and peas. Jackie drank sparkling water; Becky and Ian, Leffe; and I finished the shiraz.

I Was Set Up

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Somewhat encouraged by the lack of adverse effects on my knackered knees after the long, flat, walk round Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve, I decided to take the somewhat shorter, yet undulating, route through Honeylake Wood. At about halfway I ventured into the undergrowth, after which I turned back.

A pedestrian gate breaking a hedge serves as an entrance to the field leading to the wood.

Reflection of hedge

The hedge was reflected in the muddy verge beside Christchurch Road.

Oak tree

A bent and aged oak on one edge of the field bowed beneath the prevailing wind,

which even around mid-day bit into me as I crossed to the wood.

Honeylake Wood entrance

On my way in the leafy path offered welcoming shelter,

Honeylake Wood exit

while a sight of Downton’s cottages as I left it gave notice that home was near, if not in sight.

Forest floor

Often springy underfoot, the forest floor,

Squirrel

over which squirrels scampered,

Stream

was, especially near the stream, occasionally waterlogged.

The wind roared overhead. There was much evidence of broken trees,

Autumn leaf

and, although some autumn leaves had not yet reached the ground,

others glowed in the sunlight

which played among the trees.

The bridge had been so severely damaged as to deter anyone from leaning on the rickety rail; a sapling had been converted to an entrance arch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Basson Shiraz 2014. The others didn’t drink their Kronenbourg 1664 until afterwards so that didn’t count.

A minute particle of my casserole splashed up from my plate and onto my grandfather shirt. Jackie and Ian swooped on me to supplement the stains and Becky grabbed the camera. I was set up, I swear it.

Party Time

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Grey javelins were hurled from a slate sky all day today, so I went to a party.

This was for Louisa’s fourth birthday, at Gracedale Road in 1986. For the purposes of this post I will only identify

the birthday girl herself;

Becky and Sam

Becky who took charge of games like pinning the tail on the donkey drawn by me;

Wolf

Wolf;

James A

James and Sam

and Sam and his friend James. Despite James’s efforts Sam still got in a peek  at the camera.

Sam with Mat's photo

Matthew’s portrait hangs on the wall behind his younger brother. Above and to the right of that picture, obscured by the balloons in the donkey game photograph, is the print snaffled by Alice.

Glee, bewilderment, tiredness, scuffed knees, excitement, and participation in happy games were all exhibited during an entrancing afternoon.

Louisa and Danni 1986

On the end of the roll were a few pictures of Louisa, tolerating her cousin, Danni, exploring her face with prodding fingers, as babies are wont to do.

This evening we dined on mushroom and onion omelette, chips, onion rings, bacon, and tomatoes. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Brief Encounter

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On a gloriously sunny morning that would have graced any day in Spring, Jackie drove me, via a network of of narrow, populated roads like

Platoff Road

Platoff Road

Normandy Lane

and Normandy Lane, to a footpath leading to Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve.

Canada geese

As I used my long lens to bring the masts of Lymington Marina into this shot of Canada geese congregating in a field, beside which Jackie parked the car, little did I realise I would make closer acquaintance with the boatyard before my trek was over.

As I walked along the path I noticed first a woman walking along what I soon realised was a brick path around the bird sanctuary;

Cyclist silhouette

then a cyclist approaching from the opposite direction.

Walker and cyclist silhouette

Did they, I wondered, pass the time of day as they passed each other on their brief encounter.

A five-barred gate gave onto a sloping track that led to a large rectangular route around the water lands, around which others rambled.

Walker and gorse

This perambulator had obviously dressed to blend in with the gorse.

Waterfowl basked in their sanctuary.

Heron and mallards 1

I rely on my ornithologist friends to correct me if necessary, but I think this is a stationary heron being passed by paddling mallards;

whereas this is an egret admiring its reflection.

Ducks and pigeon

A slender pigeon-like like bird didn’t manage to merge into varieties of duck that I would need some help to identify.

Gulls undertook daredevil low-flying manoeuvres, running barbed wire gauntlets.

Brent geese preferred the high skies,

Approaching Lymington Marina

especially on the approach to Lymington Marina.

Woman on bench

The woman in the foreground of this picture, after I enjoyed a chat with her, had taken a rest on one of the suitably placed observation benches, but it didn’t take her long to overtake me again.

Bird watchers

Bird watchers availed themselves of another seat.

Lymington Marina from Nature reserve 1

About halfway round the rectangle, I realised that I had a choice between walking on to the marina to find my way back to the car from there, and retracing my steps. I’m not one for taking the latter option, but this has, on occasion, presented problems. I stopped  group of people and asked if I could return to Normandy Lane from there. I was told I could, and how to do it, with the observation that I couldn’t get lost. “Don’t you believe it,” I replied. “I can get lost anywhere”.

Ferry boat

The Wight Link ferry boat soon sailed past the marina.

Ducks in flight

Ducks took to the wing;

Dog walker and runner

a jogger and a dog walker took no advantage of their brief encounter;

Boats

and I found myself in the marina,

where boat maintenance was being undertaken.

Kettle

A kettle was on hand;

Hull for repair

parts of hulls had been marked out for attention;

Devil on hull

and a devilish Chad peeped out.

As I left the marina and approached a path that would lead me to Normandy Lane, I met the group who had directed me earlier. “You are still on track” was the cheery greeting. I hadn’t the heart to let them know that I had been somewhat delayed by taking an incorrect, muddy, track.

Jackie was waiting for me, some two hours after my departure. A little more than intended.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s curries, with which I consumed Chapel Vineyard cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Little And Large

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After lunch Jackie drove me on a short forest trip, after which we shopped at Lidl for basics such as toilet rolls.

Ferry

An Isle of Wight ferry boat passed the mudbank at Tanners Lane, where

the tide was so far out that the little boat that usually bobs on the water was beached.

I watched a lithe, pure white, egret stretch, then curl, its elegant neck; stab the shallow water; stretch again, shake its undulating throttle, spraying liquid; stride along the bank; and do it all again. Thus it enjoyed a late lunch.

Seaweed on breakwater

Seaweed on the wooden breakwaters indicated sea levels at high tide,

whilst two friendly women walked their Rescue lurcher who ‘has bits in him’. They were not sure of his full provenance.

Ponies 1

Keeping the grass verges at Sowley well cropped were the usual group of ponies

including Little and Large performing their routine double act.

This evening we dined on a takeaway curry from The Raj in Old Milton. We shared onion bahji starters. My main meal was prawn naga and special fried rice. Becky and I finished the Cabalié. The other didn’t drink, and I haven’t registered what they ate.