Photo of the week No.50: Parliament Street, London, 1839 by M de St Croix

I recently posted a Photo Quiz image, which was number 50 in the series. Now, a few days later, I’m posting my 50th Photo of the Week. Coincidences occur naturally.

The 50th photo of the week is the image taken by Monsieur de St Croix of Parliament Street in London in 1839, and is considered to be one of the earliest photos of London. M de St Croix arrived in London in September 1839 to demonstrate Louis Daguerre’s new invention of the daguerreotype photographic process formed on a silver copper plate.

He travelled to Birmingham in October 1839, again to demonstrate the daguerreotype photographic process, which is the Birmingham Post describes in Birmingham’s first experience of photography.

The photo is in the collection of the V&A. It shows, in the foreground, the statue of Charles I. Also observable in the photo are people, and hansom cabs. For interest, I’ve added a photo of Charles 1 statue, looking down Parliament Street from Trafalgar Square, which has been at this location since 1675 – pretty amazing when you think of how roadworks change things.

Coming soon, curry and Punjabi platter nights at Randalls

Chatting with the hosts of Randalls Coffee and Wine Bar, at Lightwater’s Christmas Lights Switch-On, we learned from them about an upcoming exciting Saturday night feature.

In the New Year, Randalls will host a monthly curry and Punjabi platter evening. The food is prepared by mum Rano and her team at her home in Lightwater – real freshly prepared dishes of home-made curry and Punjabi cuisine.

We’ll be customers, and may see you there in the New Year. Click on images to expand.


Spotting inaccuracies in news reporting

It’s fashionable to dump on the BBC, and its reporting. This is not what I want to do. The BBC is a national asset, has good people, and produces good programmes.

Occasionally, all of us spot errors in their reporting. Today I spotted one. Well, to be truthful it’s only a minor error in the online article Leaning Tower of Pisa ‘now leaning less’.

We’ve visited Pisa and seen its famous leaning tower, as you may well have, and been impressed that it’s still standing. I followed the plans and discussions to correct the lean, which was becoming urgent because of the increase in its lean, and the fear of collapse.

The Italian government and all of the committees it had set up over the years had failed to come up with a solution. That is until a Professor John Burland, an expert in soil mechanics, offered the solution, which along with a team of other experts corrected the lean.

The BBC’s article has one error, and one significant omission. It states that Prof. Michele Jamiolkowski, the chairman of the international commission on the leaning tower, is Polish. Odd, because his Wikipedia page says he is Italian.

Having said in the article,

An international committee led by Prof Michele Jamiolkowski, a Polish expert, worked to stabilise it between 1993 and 2001

it failed to mention the British professor regarded as the saviour of the tower. It might have been worth the reporter looking at the official Leaning Tower Pisa website, and it’s article on Who fixed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which says,

Burland directed the works from his office in London. Every day he used to receive a fax with the last readings of inclination of the Tower, along with other measurements. He then used to give precise instruction to the on-site crew.

One small inaccuracy, and one error of omission.

HP Sauce is my favourite brown sauce, but…….

Over the years I’ve tasted many brown sauces, some well known brands, others artisanal. None match the taste of HP Sauce, which is my favourite brown sauce.

Please, let me get one thing out of your thoughts about me. I’m not hooked on the sauce. I don’t smother my food with it. I treat it as a condiment, a little dollop is surely occasionally acceptable.

Now for the but bit in the headline.

HP Sauce is made in the Netherlands, which rankles with me every time I use the sauce. Let me explain why, without appearing to be a little Englander.

Years ago I worked in an engineering firm in Aston Cross in Birmingham, which the was the home of Ansells Brewery, and HP Sauce factory. Nearby, at the time, was a gas works. On hot summer days the combination of the smells from the brewery, HP Sauce factory, gas works, smelly canal, and the emulsion used by the engineering company I worked for, created a unique smell.

I can’t say that the combined smell was good. It was, though, redolent of industry, and that pleased me. Only the canal now remains, all the businesses are now gone.

It saddens me that a product designed and made in the UK for over 100 years, is now made in the Netherlands, and that we now have to import it. I feel sure that the disdain that continentals have for British cuisine, wrongly of course, will mean that there’s little market for the sauce on the continent.

Londonist has an excellent potted history of the sauce in Why is Big Ben on every bottle of HP Sauce.

Here’s a final thought. Should we end up without a Brexit deal, then I wonder if Heinz, the owners of the brand, might think it worth making the sauce in Britain.

Away with the cold wet days, it’s Dolly Day

The Dolly I’m talking about is Dolly Parton, American country and western song composer and singer.

What better way to brighten up the current cold, wet and dark weather with burst of Dolly’s songs. Here are three, Jolene, 9 to 5, and After the Gold Rush with EmmyLou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.

Gives me a happy and sunny disposition listening to Dolly Parton.

The Obelisk in Camberley Park is, thankfully, free of modern graffiti

A comment on this blog from Les Christian says that “I should get out more”, which is what I did yesterday. Visiting friends, Camberley Library, and the Obelisk in Camberley Park. Hope this counts as getting out.

I say that the Obelisk in Camberley Park is free from modern graffiti, though not from the historic kind. The modern kind is almost always crude, and aims to despoil, while historic graffiti is more subtle.

Successful work to clear trees and scrub from the side of the Obelisk has provided a view over Camberley. The modern graffiti has been removed, such that it’s now pleasant to arrive at the Obelisk from the Camberley Park path.

In the 19th century, cadets from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst ventured up to the Obelisk, and left their marks, carving their names, or platoons, into a brick. Their marks were clearly picked out in the late afternoon sun. Dates of 1858, 1888 could be seen. I’m sure someone has researched all the names, because their are many of them. How true it is I don’t know that Winston Churchill’s inscription can be seen on a brick on the inside of the Obelisk.

Here are my photos of the visit. Click on an image to expand.