New home for the Army Ordnance Corps South African campaign memorial

I was delighted to spot a photo in a display cabinet at the Royal Logistic Corps Museum at Worthy Down near Winchester during our recent visit.

The photo was in cabinet of things about South African campaigns. The photo was of the 1905 South African Memorial to the Army Ordnance Corps.

This memorial has moved around Army barracks. I saw it when it was at the side of the parade ground at Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, prior to the closure of the barracks. In fact I was pleased to respond to a question from the Camberley Historian about it – see my blog post HERE.

The memorial’s newest home is at Worthy Down Barracks of the RLC HQ. Here are the photos of it’s three homes, firstly Woolwich Barracks – photo courtesy of Camberley Historian, then my photo of it at Deepcut, and finally my photo of a photo of the memorial in Worthy Down. Details about the memorial can be found at War Memorials Online, which has better quality photos.

A new military museum rewards a visit

For 25 years we here in Surrey Heath were pleased to be the home of the museum of the Royal Logistic Corps in Deepcut. The closure of the RLC’s Princess Royal Barracks at Deepcut meant building a new Corps headquarters at Worthy Down Barrack, Kings Worthy near Winchester.

A new museum for the RLC is located at Worthy Down, adjacent to the Barracks, but outside the barracks security fence. The Ministry of Defence supplied the new £2.5million purpose built museum for the RLC as part of the overall cost of building Worthy Down Barracks for the RLC HQ.

Opened in late May 2021 by the Princess Royal, the museum is a radical transformation from the one at Deepcut. There’s an immersive cinema playing specially commissioned film of 200 years of Army logistics. Throughout the museum there are touch screen visual displays, and interactive displays of truck driving and bomb disposal. New to the museum is the display of the medal collection, previously hidden away in the Corps’ officer mess.

Additionally, there’s a light and airy café area, and for those undertaking research, there’s a fully kitted out library and resource facility. Old favourites, such as Field Marshall Montgomery’s Rolls Royce staff car, and military vehicles, are enhanced with over 1,000 objects on display, many of which had been in store. A new military museum is surely worth a visit. Here are some photos of our visit. [Click on images to expand]

Not be be missed: Frimley Green Gardens Open Day Sunday 27th June 2021

It’s good news that the Frimley Green Gardens Open Day is happening for 2021, as it was cancelled last year. From 2.0pm to 6.0pm There’ll be six gardens, a flower display in the Church on the Green, and the Wharf Road Allotments to visit.

The only loss this year is that there’ll be no refreshments on the green this year. A shame, as we begin our garden visits fortified by cake a tea, and more cake and tea at the end of our visits. I’m hoping one of the gardens will offer tea.

The Frimley Green Gardens Open Day (fg-gardens.org.uk) has details of the open gardens and a map of their location. Click on image to enlarge.

Terrific, Tim Tam’s offer more chocolatey biscuit choice

The Australia and UK trade deal means that Arnott’s, the manufacturer Tim Tam chocolate biscuits, confirm that they will be coming to the UK.

Here’s what I found in our kitchen cupboard. None hidden from me, just out of eyesight on the top shelf in one of the cupboards. Looking forward to Tim Tam’s being added to our stock of chocolatey biscuits.

Sitting on a kneeling pad to take photos

The limitations of a phone camera were cruelly exposed in my photo shoot of wild orchids in our local heathland. Hours spent taking the photos were wasted when all were out of focus. I shouldn’t blame the phone camera too much as a goodly part of the failure was likely to be with the photo taker, i.e. me.

I’ve been out again taking photos covering the same ground. This time there were two key differences, I used my Sony digital camera instead of the phone camera, and I took a gardening kneeling pad to sit on.

Also helpful was the kneeling pad saved hurting my knees, and from getting a wet bottom.

I hope I’m not boring you my dear readers. Having now spent many days photographing wild orchids and the time to study the photos back home to help identify them, I feel I must show you my results. Here are just three photos, one each of Heath spotted orchid, Common spotted orchid, and Early Marsh Orchid. Click on the photos to expand.

Hopefully I’ll find a different topic to write about next.

Wild orchid hunting uncovers the limitations of camera phones

Yesterday was a perfect day for wild orchid spotting – plenty of bright sunlight to see plants in heathland track edges, and the plants do love the sun.

I chatted with a ranger from Surrey Wildlife Trust who was improving fencing prior to the imminent arrival of Belted Galloway Cattle into the heathland. I said I was on my hunt for wild orchids, he replied that from his experience at Horsley Common that their arrival was late this year.

I really should keep notes of of when I see the emergence of the wild orchids, that I don’t is because I rely on the photos I take of them. In yesterday’s peering into trackside verges and down into Folly Bog I took lots of photos on the orchids on my camera phone. I use photos to help me identify the difference between Common Spotted Orchids, Heath Spotted Orchids, and Early Marsh Orchids.

No matter how I placed myself close to the orchid flowers I couldn’t get them in focus. Back home I looked at photos taken in earlier years and noted that that they were all taken with my Sony digital camera, and not my camera phone.

The good news is that there are plenty of wild orchids, perhaps not quite so abundant as in previous years. There are Early Marsh Orchids in Folly Bog, which is also good news. Again they’re not as abundant as in previous years.

Here’s the only photo that isn’t out of focus. I’ll have to return to orchid spotting, only this time with my digital camera and tripod.

Increasing number of new cars costing over £1million

No, I’m not in the market for any one of the three new cars pictured below. We’ve all accustomed to the prices of luxury cars costing many hundreds of thousands of pounds. I imagine we’re less so when the price is in the millions of pounds.

Much speculation has surrounded the name of the owners of the £20 million Rolls Royce, thought to be Jay-Z. Then there’s the latest Bugatti, the Chiron Super Sport 300, priced at over £3 million. And next, in comparison, the more affordable McLaren Elva, at £1.4 million.

Here are photos of the cars.

Rolls Royce Boat Tail Credit: Mark Fagelson Photography
Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300
McLaren Elva with windscreen

Wanborough’s church medieval markings

On a recent motoring perambulation I stopped by Wanborough Great Barn to stretch my legs and have a brief wander round. The Great Barn and the adjacent St Bartholomew Church were both were closed.

Some years ago we visited the Great Barn on a Heritage Open Day event. It’s a fascinating place, especially so when you can also enjoy tea and cake. Also open on the Heritage Open Day was St Bartholomew Church, where we learned about scratch dials also known as mass dials, and medieval arrowhead sharpening.

There’s a scratch dial on the stonework around one of the windows of the church, see photo below. The website of the National Churches Trust has this description of them,

Scratch or Mass Dials, were a very early and primitive form of sun dial. They were used by priests to advertise the time of the next service.

Usually in the form of a semi circle about ten inches across, they were scratched into the south wall of the church. A hole was bored at the centre and a number of lines scratched from the hole to the arc.

The priest would place a short stick in the hole and when the sun shone the shadow of the stick on to one of the lines, the next service would start.

To learn more about mass dials you need look no further than this detailed study of them HERE in Medieval Mass Dials Decoded in the buildingconservation.com website

There are grooves on the sill of one of the church windows showing it’s use for arrowhead sharpening, as you can see in the photos below. Again the Heritage Open Day at the Great Barn provided the information about the grooves which you can read below the photos [Click on images to expand].

During the reign of Henry III, the Assize of Arms of 1252 decreed that all “citizens, burgesses, free tenants, vileins and others from 15 to 60 years of age” should be armed. Men were expected to have a halberd and a knife, and a bow if they owned land worth more than £2. King Edward III took this further and decreed the Archery Law in 1363 commanding the obligatory practice of archery on Sundays and holidays. The Archery Law “forbade, on pain of death, all sport that took up time better spent on war training especially archery practice”. Henry I later proclaimed that an archer would be absolved of murder, if he killed a man during archery practice. The victories over the French at Crecy, Agincourt and Poitiers were directly due to the expertise of English archers and the longbow.

The window sill to the right of the entrance door to the church shows the indents where arrowhead were sharpened.

Finally, HERE is splendid video about the church.

It’s the first page of a novel that counts

I’ve been reminded of the importance of the first page of a novel in grabbing the reader’s attention and in creating the desire to turn the page.

I’ve had a period of not reading novels. No real reason for it really. Daily newspapers, weekly magazines and the puzzles in them have fulfilled my reading desires. Recently I decided it was time to go back to reading novels. From Camberley Library I acquired four novels.

I began with a Dick Francis crime novel entitled For Kicks. It had a strong opening page creating tension in describing a couple of characters. In the opening paragraphs I was captured and happily devoured the story. By the way it’s an excellent crime story set in the world of horse racing. I’ll not say more, as the temptation is to reveal the plot.

From my small pile of books to read I next picked up the spy novel, Call for the Dead by John le Carré. In this case I know the author’s work, and the first page didn’t disappoint. It’s elegantly written, and was a pleasure to read for that alone. The main character, George Smiley, was introduced with clarity and subtlety, without too much detail. A John le Carré book I’d not read previously. A cracking story.

Next from the small pile to read was The Medusa Frequency by Russell Hoban. I’d not read any of his works before, and am unlikely to read any in the future. The first page was confusing, I couldn’t understand what the novel was about. For me, a definite case of a failed first page. I read no further.

The last of the four books is On the Beach by Neville Shute. This is a piece of classic story telling, which was made into a film some years ago. I’ve read many Neville Shute novels, but not this one. It’s my current read. Again a perfect first page, with tension in the scene setting.