Bullseye Glass

Although we were not beset by the snow that has blanketed most of the UK, this was the coldest day here since our central heating system has not been functioning, so we set off in steady, icy, rain for a forest drive.

I was not in the mood for being inspired to photograph gloomy raindrops on the windscreen, through which to capture spray thrown up by vehicles, headlights reflected in waterlogged tarmac, or even dripping donkeys; even less to stir tingling fingers and toes from the Modus.

Prepared to return home without a picture we settled on brunch at

The Brockenhurst Buttery.

While awaiting for Jackie’s home cooked macaroni cheese and my

ham, eggs, and chips, I had plenty of time to study the

windows facing me.

Crown glass was an early type of window glass. In this process, glass was blown into a “crown” or hollow globe. This was then transferred from the blowpipe to a punty and then flattened by reheating and spinning out the bowl-shaped piece of glass (bullion) into a flat disk by centrifugal force, up to 5 or 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 metres) in diameter. The glass was then cut to the size required.[1]

The thinnest glass was in a band at the edge of the disk, with the glass becoming thicker and more opaque toward the center. Known as a bullseye, the thicker center area around the pontil mark was used for less expensive windows. To fill large window spaces with the best glass, many small diamond shapes were cut from the edge of the disk, and then some might be halved into triangles. These were mounted in a lead lattice work and fitted into the window frame. 

Crown glass was one of the two most common processes for making window glass until the 19th century. The other was blown plate. Crown glass window panes with ceramic frames have been found at Soba East, the medieval capital of Alodia. They are only 110–115 millimetres (4.3–4.5 in) in diameter and were probably used to provide light in storerooms.[2] The process of making crown glass window panes was perfected by French glassmakers in the 1320s, notably around Rouen, and was a trade secret. Hence crown glass was not made in London until 1678.

Crown glass is one of many types of hand-blown glass. Other methods include: broad sheetblown platepolished plate and cylinder blown sheet. These methods of manufacture lasted at least until the end of the 19th century. The early 20th century marks the move away from hand-blown to machine-manufactured glass such as rolled platemachine drawn cylinder sheetflat drawn sheetsingle and twin ground polished plate and float glass.[3]” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_glass_(window)

Prompted by the beautifully photographed and timely post, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” from equinoxio21.wordpress.com·

I returned to my earlier post

in order to emphasise the section about the widowed casualties of the First World War. I have retained the original post title but changed the header picture drawing attention to the last, but not least, story on the post.

This had 27 pictures missing. Fortunately I traced them in my iMac Photos by the date of the post. They all bear their titles in that archive, so I was able to reinsert them into the post hoping I had interpreted my text correctly. I changed the original header picture.

With this one I managed to have two copies of the header in the body of the post, and can’t take one out. Never mind, they are pretty flowers.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s trademark cottage pie; firm cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Malbec.

Child Labour


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’.


Recent 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.

The End Of An Era.

Grow-ArcsFlatpack Greenhouse recycledOur fierce winds of late have ripped open the rather flimsy cover of Jackie’s self assembly greenhouse. This morning we went on a search for something more robust, and eventually found Grow-Arcs at Stewarts in Christchurch. Apart from the display model, there was only one in stock, but because they were slightly smaller than the original, we needed two. The staff dismantled the display one. We brought them home, and The Head Gardener assembled them. The now obsolete frame has, of course, been recycled against the front fence.

This afternoon I began reading Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Sweet Tooth’.

This evening we dined on egg, bacon, mushrooms, and baked beans, followed by Jackie’s apple crumble and evap. We both drank sparkling water.

Two nights ago we watched the penultimate episode of Downton Abbey. Having chronicled the saga of an English country house from the outbreak of the First World War to the years before the Second, this really had to come to an end, for the era of such grand households was in its death throes. The producers received much angry criticism for leaving a number of loose ends, in what was advertised as the final episode; clearly to encourage viewings for the Christmas special which we are now told is to come.

The era of my title is, however, not this one. It describes the tenure of the admirable Kevin Whateley first as Sergeant “Robbie” Lewis, in the Inspector Morse series, then as Detective Inspector in the spin off bearing his character’s name.

Inspector_Morse_Kevin_Whately_John_ThawThawKavanaghQCWikipedia tells us that ‘Inspector Endeavour Morse is a fictional character in the eponymous series of detective novels by British author Colin Dexter. On television, he appears in the 33-episode 1987–2000 drama series Inspector Morse, in which John Thaw played the character; as well as the 2012 series Endeavour, portrayed by Shaun Evans. Morse originally is described as a senior CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officer with the Thames Valley Police force in Oxford, England. With a Jaguar car (a Lancia in the early novels), a thirst for English real ale and a penchant for music (especially opera and Wagner), poetry, art, classics, classic cars, and cryptic crossword puzzles, Morse presents a likeable persona, despite his sullen temperament.

(John Thaw’s photograph, left, is wrongly captioned as Kavanagh QC, another role he played. It is undoubtedly of Morse, although he didn’t get to smile much.)

‘The same source offers this further information:  ‘Lewis is a British television detective drama produced for ITV. A spin-off from Inspector Morse, like that series Kevin_Whately_as_Inspector_Lewis,_Oxford,_August_2015it is set in Oxford.Kevin Whately reprises his character Robert “Robbie” Lewis, who was Morse’s sergeant in the original series. Lewis has now been promoted to detective inspector urland is assisted by DS James Hathaway, portrayed by Laurence Fox, who became promoted to Inspector in the eighth series airing in 2014. The series also stars Clare Holman as forensic pathologist Dr Laura Hobson, and Angela Griffin as DS Lizzie Maddox.’ 4This précis, corrected further on the Wikipedia page omits  ‘Rebecca Front as Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent (2006–2014) — She is the senior officer supervising Lewis and Hathaway. When Lewis returned from his overseas secondment Innocent was not convinced that Lewis would be of value, but he proved himself to her on his first case. Innocent is frequently at odds with Lewis over his investigation style. In Series 9, it is revealed that she has gone to work for Suffolk Constabulary.’

An interesting dynamic was created by dragging Lewis out of retirement to assist his former junior.

On 2 November 2015, ITV announced that the show would end after its ninth series, following the decision made by Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox to retire from “their roles” in the series. In a statement made by Whately, he announced that the show had gone on long enough, with his character having done many stories between Morse and Lewis after he took on the role 30 years ago.’

We watched the final episode this evening. I have been an avid follower from the beginning, and have probably seen every story. Apart from the deceased John Thaw, all the excellent actors named above, none having become typecast, should soon be gracing other roles.

Emulating The Master

Window box primulas

Primulas ready for plantingOn another dull morning my matinal amble around the garden was again brightened by Jackie’s fresh planting. She has filled the first window box on the front wall with primulas, more of which, in pots, she has placed ready for insertion into the new bed, further built up by Aaron, that was once the compost heap.

Clematis Cirrhosa

Our winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa has developed well over the last five months.Camellia in jungle

A pale pink camellia has forced its way through the jungle of the abandoned garden next door.

Later, delving into my archives, I travelled back to July 1967 and scanned a batch of colour slides of that date. At that time I was very keen on the work of Bill Brandt, who according to Wikipedia, ‘(born Hermann Wilhelm Brandt, 2 May 1904 – 20 December 1983[1]:14), was a British photographer and photojournalist. Although born in Germany, Brandt moved to England, where he became known for his images of British society for such magazines as Lilliput and Picture Post, later his distorted nudes, portraits of famous artists and landscapes. He is widely considered to be one of the most important British photographers of the 20th century.[1]bill_brandt_20Nude-East-Sussex-Coast-1959

What intrigued me most was the photographer’s focussing on sections of his models set in the landscape, giving the impression that they were part of it.

With Jackie as my muse, and Brandt as my inspiration, I made a series of photographs including knees and elbows.

Jackie 7.67 002Jackie 7.67 002 - Version 2Jackie 7.67 004Jackie 7.67 004 - Version 2Jackie 7.67 004 - Version 3Jackie 7.67 006Jackie 7.67 006 - Version 2Jackie 7.67 006 - Version 3Back in 1967 I left these images as they were. Brandt worked in black and white. Today, by reducing saturation, increasing contrast, and selecting crops, I had a stab at emulating the master, adding my own touch by using hands and face.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfected chicken jafrezi (recipe) and really special fried rice, with minty vegetable samosas. The recipe for the rice is essentially that for the savoury one, with finely chopped omelette mixed in.

My wine was a wonderfully smooth claret, Chateau Gabaron 2012, which came in a hamper from the House of Bruar that Luci and Wolf had sent us for Christmas. Jackie drank her customary Hoegaarden.