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 The Tumbleweed Suite

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 28 Oct 2017, 09:28

One thing I learned fairly recently, that because of the conversations here has become usefully committed to memory, is that in French a trébuchet is also a swing-balance (for weighing things), and that trébucher (pronounced the same) means to trip or stumble. And now the etymology for the medieval rock-thrower becomes clear, n'est-ce pas?
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 28 Oct 2017, 10:30

Oh, I love that explanation Mel. As you say, it's clear when someone points out the link.

We have been, over the years, to lots of chateaux where various displays have been taking place. The popular ones are the medieval warfare and weaponry, so I've seen trebuchets in the flesh, as it were. 

The latest one was at Chinon this summer; we were too early for the actual event, but saw the items being gathered together in the castle grounds. I think the exhibition was due to open later that week.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 28 Oct 2017, 11:26

@Meles meles wrote:
One thing I learned fairly recently, that because of the conversations here has become usefully committed to memory, is that in French a trébuchet is also a swing-balance (for weighing things), and that trébucher (pronounced the same) means to trip or stumble. And now the etymology for the medieval rock-thrower becomes clear, n'est-ce pas?

It doesn't quite explain the gannets, though. Except maybe the ones with a limp (those who have been here in the bar longest, I assume).

Nor does it explain Miss Church and her ping-pong balls who, I believe we have established previously, had a range equally as impressive as any French "tripping over" machine.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 28 Oct 2017, 11:53

Mind you in French a gannet is, un fou .... which incidentally - or perhaps not - means a fool, both in the sense of a madman, and as a jester. Un fou is also the term for the bishop on a chessboard - make of that whatever you will.

Was Miss Church filipino by any chance?



And talking of la reine du désert, has anyone heard anything from P recently? She doesn't seem to have been around for weeks ... and neither has Gil.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Tue 31 Oct 2017, 11:47

This is a story from the Web, it is on one or two sites, but I cannot vouch for it's accuracy.

It is, however, such a great story that it is worth repeating:

"As royalty sometimes does, King Umberto I of Italy, back in 1900, travelled to Monza and, as he was away from his palace, decided to have an evening meal in a smallish restaurant. The date was July 28th.

He was accompanied by his aide-de-camp and there was much excitement in the restaurant. The owner came out to take the King's order personally. This shocked the King, not because the owner was taking his order but because the two of them were like peas in a pod - identical! Same facial looks, build and so on and the King found out there was more - lots more.

The King and the restaurant owner both had the same name, Umberto, and they were both born on March 14, 1844 and in the same town. But it didn't end there.

Their wives were called Margherita and both couples were married on the same day and had a son called Vittorio.

The coincidences kept on coming: King Umberto was crowned on the same day the restaurant was opened by Umberto the owner. They served in the Italian military and were both promoted on the same day to different ranks.

As we can imagine, the King was knocked out by this doppelganger, so much so that he decided that the following day the owner should visit the royal palace.

The next day arrived, as they often do, and it was the 29th of June 1900. Umberto, the restaurant owner, couldn't however take up his invitation. He had been killed in a shooting accident.

The King was deeply shocked. The very same day an assassin aimed his gun and shot the King through the heart. The final coincidence was, therefore, that they were both killed on the same day.

A lot of coincidences, but things like this really do happen - despite what the cynics may say."

Original on here:

67 not out
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Tue 31 Oct 2017, 20:46

Triceratops,

interesting stories. Yes coincidences, one can't believe that they can happen. It happened many times during my life and some see then the "hand" of the "supernatural", but really as I logical thought about it could be. For instance in Ghent last time after my kidney operation there were a lot of nurses at my bed (not altogether!). And one I guessed by her dialect: You have to be from my city. Yes she said...and chatting about the town past events...and did you know this one or this one...her doctor happened to be my classmate and we both sat on the first bank because we had both the same eye problem...and he was dead now the nurse said...
That same doctor happened to be on the same moment at the Acropolis in Athens Greece when my sister was there on that moment with her husband... of course there visit many Belgians the Acropolis...
When I recently told my sister that the doctor was dead, she said that he came always when in Ostend to her "patisserie" with "loving" intentions...but of course we met the doctor's family regularly (his father was also doctor) while they had a "beach cabin" (spelling?) at the sea in Ostend...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 04 Nov 2017, 22:17

My fellow res-historicans will probably think this is funny but I have a horrible feeling the "free from" toad in the hole I ate the other day may have had pork sausage in it rather than quorn sausage. It's too late to check because I've already chucked the packing.

About coincidences, I mentioned the old-time children's series "The Flashing Blade" on another thread not so very long ago. For some reason I was thinking of the 1970s adaptation of Maurice Druon's "The Accursed Kings" and it turned out that the actress who played Isabelle, the queen of Edward II of England was one and the same as she who played the Flashing Blade's love interest interest (another Isabelle). Her name is Geneviève Casile. I looked her up on Wikipedia and it seems she is still works regularly - and a trivial fact (if it's wrong don't blame me blame Wikipedia) her daughter is also an actress who often dubs Jodie Foster's work into French (though apparently Ms Foster likes to dub her own work if she has the time).
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 13:24

Just had to post this.

Animation of drone chaos in Air Traffic Control

btw, I have logged out, though the site says I'm logged in.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 18:09

Popping in for a port. Some serious stuff under discussion to which I have an odd experience to relate that still amuses and perplexes. In all my many years here and abroad I have never experienced any form of sexual harassment/exploitation but for one sort of  odd moment. Escorting a group of excited teens to a forest in the subcontinent I and another helper left them to it with someone else and sat by a lake,recovering. A bearded man came by, a guard of sorts, I think. He  looked us over,left, then returned with a white rose which he presented me with a bow and  left again. When we stood to leave I took of my peaked hat to release a tumble of hair. The man reappeared, stared in horror and snatched the rose back. My companion said softly that he thought I was a bloke; was I harassing or was I harassed? Another port please then I will go.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 20:23

@Priscilla wrote:
Popping in for a port. Some serious stuff under discussion to which I have an odd experience to relate that still amuses and perplexes. In all my many years here and abroad I have never experienced any form of sexual harassment/exploitation but for one sort of  odd moment. Escorting a group of excited teens to a forest in the subcontinent I and another helper left them to it with someone else and sat by a lake,recovering. A bearded man came by, a guard of sorts, I think. He  looked us over,left, then returned with a white rose which he presented me with a bow and  left again. When we stood to leave I took of my peaked hat to release a tumble of hair. The man reappeared, stared in horror and snatched the rose back. My companion said softly that he thought I was a bloke; was I harassing or was I harassed? Another port please then I will go.

No Priscilla, don't go.

Wanted to add something to Caro's thread about Gutenberg and my French film about him. Of course it was the Bible that Gutenberg started with as that was "the" book of the middle ages. And thus printing was a benefit from Christianity. But I guess nordmann will say, if it wasn't Christianity, which was present, it would be another philosophy with another highlight, people were interested in and found worthwhile to be printed...

Kind regards from Paul.

PS. I miss your bringing life in the brewery...
PPS. Away for some days to la douce France...
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 09 Nov 2017, 21:23

He was on to a good earner from the bible, so no surprise there that it should be the first printed book to sell well. However it wasn't the first use to which the printing press was put. That was the printing of pamphlets, especially ones with bawdy ballads and semi-pornographic woodcut illustrations, which paid the rent for long enough to pave the way for the lads to go all pious later and mass produce the religious tracts which in turn led to the more up-market bound-leaf book editions like the bible.

So no, I wouldn't have said it would have been "another philosophy" which might have caught the public imagination instead at all. It could just as easily have been the late medieval version of "milkmaid of the month" or a crude and lewd verse accompanying an even cruder graphic of "King Otto revealing his crown jewels".

People were still people then. Nothing changes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 11 Nov 2017, 13:27

Was Durer semi-pornographic?  Even if so he was a skilled craftsman.  Although there must have been other woodcut illustrators, just he's the one I know of (or will some clever-clogs pop up and tell me he used etching?).

nordmann, you are under no obligation to like the Bible but I think the printing of the Bible in languages other than Latin did provide an opportunity for people to study the Bible and takes on board Christ's teaching (or not take them on board if they were not of a religious persuasion) if they weren't Latin scholars.  Of course not everybody could read even in English in those days but that's another kettle of fish.  (I know Alfie the first had had an Anglo-Saxon translation made of the Bible but of course that preceded Herr Gutenberg's invention - and I am aware the Chinese had discovered printing before that).  When I studied for A level History at evening classes (don't ask me about the first time I took the subject at school) the teacher mentioned that the non-conformists or covenanters or whatever anybody likes to call them brought in the possibility of members of the congregation having a say in what went on albeit through the elders.  I must admit I've always thought of the Calvinists as being rather a miserable lot (though attending Catholic schools from 6 to 18 might have something to do with that).  I've heard a theory (can't remember where) that the availability of the Bible in English might have been one (not the sole reason - a king wanting to get rid of a no longer fecund wife had something to do with it, in England at least) contributory factor to the Reformation in England.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sun 12 Nov 2017, 18:46

It's blooming cold outside so this new collaboration between English Heritage and Google Arts and Culture is one way of passing a wee while, inside and in the warm.

English Heritage

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sun 12 Nov 2017, 20:51

This is where I have been today  http://www.stowmaries.org.uk/

It's the only WW1 aerodrome left in the UK. All the others were converted in WW2 to airfields. 

Stow Maries wasn't suitable because it is often boggy and marshy (apparently Maries means 'marsh' in some dialect or other).

The site has recently gained some lottery money and is slowly doing up the buildings around the area. There are two small museums dedicated to the zeppelin raids on London and also the 37 HD squadron (home defence) detailed to protect the east anglian coastal areas.

It doesn't have a big budget and isn't able to advertise much, which is a pity. They really need the entrance ticket money because there is so much work to be done there. They are usually closed in the colder months, but had a special event today for Remembrance Day.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 13 Nov 2017, 22:10

@ferval wrote:
It's blooming cold outside so this new collaboration between English Heritage and Google Arts and Culture is one way of passing a wee while, inside and in the warm.

English Heritage


Ferval, thank you vry much for this link. When I have a bit of time I will explore it. And there seems a lot to explore.

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 13 Nov 2017, 22:22

@nordmann wrote:
He was on to a good earner from the bible, so no surprise there that it should be the first printed book to sell well. However it wasn't the first use to which the printing press was put. That was the printing of pamphlets, especially ones with bawdy ballads and semi-pornographic woodcut illustrations, which paid the rent for long enough to pave the way for the lads to go all pious later and mass produce the religious tracts which in turn led to the more up-market bound-leaf book editions like the bible.

So no, I wouldn't have said it would have been "another philosophy" which might have caught the public imagination instead at all. It could just as easily have been the late medieval version of "milkmaid of the month" or a crude and lewd verse accompanying an even cruder graphic of "King Otto revealing his crown jewels".

People were still people then. Nothing changes.


Dear nordmann,

I guessed already during the holidays that I could expect an erudite reply on my return...

Pamphlets and woodcut illustrations...I had them expected at the end of the 16th century...and did research for the 17th century pamphlets, which were essential political and yes religious too as in the Dutch Republic between two factions of the Calvinists...
Again something to search the net...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Tue 14 Nov 2017, 22:50

nordmann,

"He was on to a good earner from the bible, so no surprise there that it should be the first printed book to sell well. However it wasn't the first use to which the printing press was put. That was the printing of pamphlets, especially ones with bawdy ballads and semi-pornographic woodcut illustrations, which paid the rent for long enough to pave the way for the lads to go all pious later and mass produce the religious tracts which in turn led to the more up-market bound-leaf book editions like the bible."

As I have done a lot of research this evening on the net about printing and pamphlets, I wanted to use it in the Gutenberg thread from Caro on "the individuals".
But first I want to know if I didn't misunderstand your text...

"However it wasn't the first use to which the printing press was put. That was the printing of pamphlets, especially ones with bawdy ballads and semi-pornographic woodcut illustrations,"...
Did you mean that the pamphlets came before the printing of the bible?
Or did you mean that the printing of the bible was not the primordial use of the printing press? That besides the printing of the bibles there were as well cheap folio, quarto pamphlets printed en grande masse?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 08:18

Moveable type - the innovation credited to Gutenberg - had been around for a while and was initially developed in Europe as a logical component of printing presses which could be hastily assembled and disassembled and be set to many very diverse tasks. Itinerant printers were a feature of fairs and markets so this flexibility was a necessary aspect to their trade. However such versatility and the very nature of their trade, not to mention that of the bulk of their customers, also lent itself to applications which - one might say - were not exactly up there in terms of prestige and high-mindedness with what the monastery-based scribes were dishing out.

Gutenberg's real innovation was in the selection of his business partners and investors who, he managed to convince, could utilise this technology to produce bound volumes of high-end literature. However first he had to raise quite a bit of capital as one feature of the press he wished to build was that it could not go on the road and earn a buck for him. A tried and trusted method of guaranteeing income had been established by earlier printers and Gutenberg spent a few years duly obliging this market, using this period to refine his materials and technique.

A lot of seditious material, bawdy ballad sheets and pornographic woodcuts went into the development of the first printed bible. It may not have been typical of either Gutenberg or the bible business to fully acknowledge their debt to human prurience and rebellion, but in a fair world they could have at least dedicated the first bible to Priapus, who had worked so strenuously and tirelessly (when did he never?) in paving the way for the god-botherers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 11:57

Sophia the Robot is granted Saudi citizenship:



a blogger has since published a satirical piece about Sofia being beheaded for not wearing a hijab and going out alone.

Sophia Beheaded

the blog went viral with many people not realising it was a joke.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 15 Nov 2017, 21:44

nordmann,

"Moveable type - the innovation credited to Gutenberg - had been around for a while and was initially developed in Europe as a logical component of printing presses which could be hastily assembled and disassembled and be set to many very diverse tasks. Itinerant printers were a feature of fairs and markets so this flexibility was a necessary aspect to their trade. However such versatility and the very nature of their trade, not to mention that of the bulk of their customers, also lent itself to applications which - one might say - were not exactly up there in terms of prestige and high-mindedness with what the monastery-based scribes were dishing out."

Did you mean wood block letters?
http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab78
"Saints and playing cards: c.1400
In about 1400, more than six centuries after its invention in the east, the technique of printing from wood blocks is introduced in Europe. As in the east, the images are printed by the simple method of laying a piece of paper on a carved and inked block and then rubbing its back to transfer the ink. And as in the east, the main market is holy images for sale to pilgrims. Playing cards are another early part of the western trade. 
Later in the 15th century, technical advances are made in Germany which rapidly transform printing from a cottage industry to a cornerstone of western civilization." 
Also woodcut letters used in series to print I have found...

From before Gutenberg I have not found anything about metallic letters used in a frame...do you?

Kind regards, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 16 Nov 2017, 10:25

I see we have a new member.

Welcome to the boards, Linda.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 17 Nov 2017, 14:56

You wait ages to see the Flying Scotsman and:

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 17 Nov 2017, 19:02

I feel sorry for those chaps looking out for the Flying Scotsman.

Should I put this on the same thread as the erudite posts from earlier this week about printing?  It's a lot more mundane - on Sunday I closed down my desktop computer and went out for a while.  When I returned and switched it on again I couldn't get it to boot up - pressing F12 and F8 didn't help though the diagnostics said all was A okay.  The startup restore and system restore both failed and I got a message that there was a corrupt file.  A lady I know has a daughter who is au fait with computers and she has said to copy my files over to an external hard drive (I'll have to get into the directory and the basic operating system to do that) and re-install Windows 7.  My CD (or was it CDs) appertaining to that are in the safe place that's so safe I can't find 'em.  Still, such is life I guess.  I'll be honest I'm not an awfully good housekeeper; chores tend to get done when they absolutely have to get done though the sensible part of my brain tells me that 'a place for everything and everything in it's place' actually makes life a lot easier.  I think I would be hopeless at keeping an guest house and admire Meles Meles for being able to cope with that.  I have bought a secondhand Macbook to tide me over though I've had to order a USB hub as there are only 2 USB ports on the machine (currently occupied by the mouse USB and the foot pedal USB [for when I play back the sound files when I do audio typing]).  At present I am listening through the Macbook speakers rather than through a headset.  Still there is only the cat and me and she has promised not to tell anyone the content of what I type.


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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 17 Nov 2017, 19:03

Also, welcome to Linda.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 17 Nov 2017, 19:41

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I feel sorry for those chaps looking out for the Flying Scotsman.

Should I put this on the same thread as the erudite posts from earlier this week about printing?  It's a lot more mundane - on Sunday I closed down my desktop computer and went out for a while.  When I returned and switched it on again I couldn't get it to boot up - pressing F12 and F8 didn't help though the diagnostics said all was A okay.  The startup restore and system restore both failed and I got a message that there was a corrupt file.  A lady I know has a daughter who is au fait with computers and she has said to copy my files over to an external hard drive (I'll have to get into the directory and the basic operating system to do that) and re-install Windows 7.  My CD (or was it CDs) appertaining to that are in the safe place that's so safe I can't find 'em.  Still, such is life I guess.  I'll be honest I'm not an awfully good housekeeper; chores tend to get done when they absolutely have to get done though the sensible part of my brain tells me that 'a place for everything and everything in it's place' actually makes life a lot easier.  I think I would be hopeless at keeping an guest house and admire Meles Meles for being able to cope with that.  I have bought a secondhand Macbook to tide me over though I've had to order a USB hub as there are only 2 USB ports on the machine (currently occupied by the mouse USB and the foot pedal USB [for when I play back the sound files when I do audio typing]).  At present I am listening through the Macbook speakers rather than through a headset.  Still there is only the cat and me and she has promised not to tell anyone the content of what I type.

Lady you are even better than me I guess...I mean in computers...for the rest not that much better I presume... Wink ...

Kind regards from an equal...
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 20 Nov 2017, 15:13

A tasty snack:

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 23 Nov 2017, 21:17

I spent much of last weekend trying to get a .dss sound (dictation) file to play on the Macbook.  I bought the paid for rather than free version of Express Scribe for the Mac (and its sister program, Switch with a file converter) and neither of them work with .dss on the Mac (the Express Scribe Pro does play the .ds2 files on the Mac though).  Then I found I couldn't access this site (Res Historica) but nordmann suggested changing the DNS setting which has worked - well the site has loaded this time.  I have lost the sim card for the dongle (the one I had a monthly contract with) so I rang the company I had the contract with to cancel the contract (without the sim it is just "dead" money).  I have a "pay as you go" sim card for now.  Of course the company are trying to get me to accept another "good" allegedly deal.  I have BT broadband but I have the dongle as a back-up because sometimes I get outages in broadband in bad weather and I need the internet to be able to receive sound files for transcription (and to be able to send back the transcribed dictations when I have done them).

I am trying to find my form regarding gluten free food to get signed by the GP tomorrow (there is something else I want to speak to the doctor about but as I can get a portion of the food on prescription I might as well do so).  I can't find the form at the moment but will continue looking through my files.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 27 Nov 2017, 13:17

Another new member logged in at the moment.

Welcome to the boards, Bertymax
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 15:18

Landing site for Julius Caesar's 54BC invasion uncovered in Kent:

Pegwell Bay
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 15:34

Pegwell Bay - wasn't that the site for the Hovercraft service to France? Think they moved to Dover early 80s  - 82 or 83?
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 21:46

1981 Gil. That year Hoverlloyd (which operated out of Ramsgate/Pegwell Bay) merged with Seaspeed (which operated out of Dover) to form Hoverspeed with both operations henceforth working out of Dover.

That service came to an end about 10 years ago. Coincidently that was only a couple of years after the last fight of Concorde. Hovercraft and Concorde both seemed to live parallel lives with each other (1960s - 2000s) and belong to an earlier age of optimism.

Let's raise a glass to 'em!
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 22:08

Didn't the last remnant of the company - operating SeaCat catamarans - fold about then, too? They were running to Boulogne, but the "booking services" for the cross-channel ferries refused to sell their tickets. Shame, they had a much more pleasant fare structure - it didn't cost twice as much to come back the day after you travelled.

BTW - I saw the Warwick Castle trebuchet in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAdC2K8-E4U when escorting a school trip. The one that did this :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J72gfva6HM0








i
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Wed 29 Nov 2017, 23:05

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Didn't the last remnant of the company - operating SeaCat catamarans - fold about then, too? They were running to Boulogne, but the "booking services" for the cross-channel ferries refused to sell their tickets. Shame, they had a much more pleasant fare structure - it didn't cost twice as much to come back the day after you travelled.

BTW - I saw the Warwick Castle trebuchet in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAdC2K8-E4U when escorting a school trip. The one that did this :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J72gfva6HM0

Gilgamesh,

I wanted to say to you and Vizzer that I once travelled with a Seacat from Ostend to London. And I see now that the Seacat sailed indeed from Ostend to Dover, but lucky I checked, and it was the Jetfoil from Boeing...first full speed to Dover (60km/hour?)...I was on ti and indeed it was an unbelievable speed at sea) and then on normal speed as a boat on the Theems to London...But we had to return by RMT mailboat due to stormy weather..that was one of the difficulties of the Jetfoil...
https://www.oostende.be/product.aspx?id=8305
And indeed cruise speed 41 knots





Kind regards to both from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 10:05

In case you've ever wondered about the correct way to hang a toilet roll. From the US Patent Office, 1891:

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 11:19

Triceratops,

I knew it, I knew it...in some cafés it is done otherwise...and then halt or obstruct the metal flap the easy unrolling of the paper...but in most cafés now it is or a blower or some container that gives paper by a touch or moving of the hand before the electronic eye...
In any case I do it the right way at house in the "cabinet"...

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 11:24

I may have posted something about this before. Anyway, it being St Andrews Day today:

The Great Polish Map of Scotland

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 11:44

@PaulRyckier wrote:


I wanted to say to you and Vizzer that I once travelled with a Seacat from Ostend to London. And I see now that the Seacat sailed indeed from Ostend to Dover, .....

In the late 1980s the Oostende-Dover Seacat was specifically scheduled to fit in with international train services from London, including the London-Moscow train and the London-Paris train, and to connect with other international services such as Paris-Ostend-Amsterdam and others. For example the London-Moscow express departed once-a-day, in mid afternoon, from platform 1 or 2 at London's Victoria station (where there was passport control), ran down to Dover, thence by the connecting Seatcat to Oostende, and then on via Frankfurt, Berlin and Warsaw to Moscow.

When the Berlin Wall came down (December 1989) I bought a ticket at Victoria, to go from London to Warsaw (as far as I could go as I couldn't get a Russian visa in time). The train that left Victoria was just regular suburban rolling stock but was excusively "passport-cleared" and so didn't stop en-route to Dover, where one passed directly onto the Seacat, and then at Ostend straight onto the waiting Moscow train. (Very romantically I remember it stank of coal smoke ... but sadly that was from the coal-fired heating system for the old Russian carriages, rather than any steam locomotives). I got off at Berlin Zoo, went through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin for the day, then back to the West, and so again on the train through to Warsaw, where I spent Christmas ... and then continued on down the Balkans to Istanbul.

I've also used the Seacat service for weekend trips to both Brussels and Amsterdam in the days before Eurostar. For a foot passenger it was very quick and convenient (from memory the sea crossing itself was only about 20 minutes): so I could be in central Amsterdam just three hours after leaving my home in South London. It was cheap and generally there were no luggage size/weight restrictions. All this of course compares very, very well with all the modern low-frills airlines who take longer, point-to-point, to deposit you at a minor regional airport far away from where you actually want to be, and who charge you to bring anything more than just minimal hand-luggage.

And one always felt one was a better sort of traveller when boarding a train where the indicater board announced "Moscow, via Ostend, Frankfurt, Berlin, Warsaw - change at Ostend for Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam - change at Moscow for all points further East", ... or something like that. Especially when the adjoining indicator board was something like "Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Redhill, Gatwick ..., (service is delayed) ...", or some other banal commuter route.

PS : The Seacats were/are not just "very fast boats", but are true hydrofoils: they do essentially "fly" over the sea, while still connected to the water for steering and to create the air-cushion that supports them. I can distinctly remember the sensation on the Seacat, once we'd cleared harbour, of accelerating and then "lifting", literally several metres out of the water (just like an aircraft taking-off), and only then achieving maximum cruising speed.


Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 30 Nov 2017, 14:16; edited 11 times in total (Reason for editing : several PS's to the PS - done now)
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 12:18

@Triceratops wrote:
In case you've ever wondered about the correct way to hang a toilet roll. From the US Patent Office, 1891 ...


That's also the "correct" way to hang it according to Debrett's 'Guide to Modern Manners', who incidentally also say that the toilet roll should always be of plain white paper, of good quality and at very barest a minimum 2-ply, and never "artfully" arranged to a point or otherwise "fancifully folded".

... so I guess torn-up pages of the 'Daily Mail' are not acceptable, nor even my origami attempts to emphasise the 'IZAL' logo! What with this and Trip-Advisor online-ratings, running a B&B is bloody nightmare!
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 14:09

The English impose their class system even on what is U and non-U in the toilet loo. Apparently coloured "toilet tissue" is terriby lower-middle class: the paper must indeed be white and not messed about with - certainly not "enriched" or "softened" with anything like aloe vera or shea butter. Oddly enough, Izal paper - as mentioned above - is perfectly acceptable in posh homes, especially in families with a strong military tradition - something about the rigour and discipline of using that shiny stuff which they enjoy. I'm not certain if you can still get the original shiny Izal. I remember it from childhood as being like tracing paper impregnated with disinfectant.

The latest abomination in the loo is the trend for "slightly moistened" toilet wipes. There are many on the market, but I particularly like the coyly named "Washlets" - sort of baby wipes for adults. Bit like the Romans using a wet sponge on a stick, I suppose. I wonder if the Romans had special, extra-nice sponges for the patrician bottom? Did the plebs use a bit of sponge too, or did they not bother with anything? Was there a Roman equivalent of News of the World squares on a bit of string?










PS Marks and Spencer actually do a very pretty rose and bay loo roll... Embarassed


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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 14:31

@Temperance wrote:

The latest abomination in the loo is the trend for "slightly moistened" toilet wipes. There are many on the market, but I particularly like the coyly named "Washlets" - sort of baby wipes for adults. Bit like the Romans using a wet sponge on a stick, I suppose.

 

Only I thought the Romans - generally and just for practical reasons an' all that - had to use the same, well-used  affraid , sponge ..... one used it, rinsed it, shook it, then put it back in the same bucket of, well-used, vinegar ... all ready for the next (equally fastidious Rolling Eyes ) punter.


From now on I'm going with the bears ... shitting in the woods is best!


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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 14:44

I bet Caesar had his own sponge - a nice, soft, clean one for use after every imperial motion.

Henry VIII's Groom of the Stool was the lucky chap who had the privilege of wiping the royal bottom - a much sought-after position.

I thought the job died out with Henry, but no. Wiki tells us:


The office fell into disuse with the accession of Queen Victoria, though her husband, Prince Albert, and their son, Edward, Prince of Wales employed similar courtiers, now renamed "Groom of the Stole", from the Latin stola, a long outer garment or robe worn by Roman ladies. The Tudor historian David Starkey classes this change as classic Victorianism: "When the Victorians came to look at this office, they spelt it s-t-o-l-e, and imagined all kinds of fictions about elaborate robes draped around the neck of the monarch at the coronation." When Edward acceded to the throne as Edward VII in 1901, he discontinued the office.




EDIT: The loo roll doily is an absolute no-no, of course - unless you have one with a roll of Izal (original sratchy Izal - not the new-fangled "tissue" for softies sort) under it. That would surely be the ultimate kitsch statement. But I suppose you can't do kitsch anymore - in case you offend someone.


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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Thu 30 Nov 2017, 18:30

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 01 Dec 2017, 13:21

Ha ha, "no such f****in thing as a flight for f****in 50p"

you've maybe seen this already, Gil. One of the posters on Historum played it a while back.

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Fri 01 Dec 2017, 15:43

Sorry, Neilsen...................Tesco's invade Denmark:

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 02 Dec 2017, 09:21

Realising that this film was made for, err, 'home consumption' I can smile politely and think what I like at it, which I do while perhaps a couple of our coppers would trot along, saying, "Well, well, well, now wot 'ave we got 'ere, lads, don't yer fink yer better come in nice and quietly, eh?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 02 Dec 2017, 17:56

Yesterday I got the very last of my tulip bulbs planted ... and only just in time as we had snow overnight and all today. The mild Autumn had rather lured me into complacency: I was still picking tomatoes up until mid November which was when I planted the last rows of broad beans, by which time the first rows I'd planted a fortnight earlier were already coming up. Anyway all that has changed over night with the temperature dropping below zero, and with the gales of over 100kph it feels very much colder.

Although Doglet doesn't seem to mind. Snow is a bit of a novelty for him so he's been contentedly rolling around and snuffling about in it all day:



To warm up I've cracked open a bottle of my home-made Vin de Noix, made when there were a lot of green walnuts falling during the summer of 2014. It's an interesting flavour, not entirely unpleasant, but it does rather remind me of the cough mixture we used to regularly get spooned down us when we were children: "Owbridge's Lung Tonic". So sadly my Vin de Noix liqueur tastes rather more medicinal than I intended, but it's still got a good alcoholic kick if anyone fancies a shot ... although I warn you, it leaves a such a tenacious brown stain on the inside of the glass, that I do wonder what it might be doing to my insides.

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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sat 02 Dec 2017, 22:39

Thanks again for your intimate story, Meles meles.

Have to say that much on this forum, but absorbed on the "Historum" by my thread "No Renaissance without Islam?", which seems to resurrect again and again after some time. Have a look.

Kind regards from your friend Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sun 03 Dec 2017, 22:17

Sorry Meles meles and Gilgamesh,

my whole evening again on my thread on Historum: "No Renaissance without Islam?". Have a look.
And I have so much still on this board to reply to...sigh...

Kind regards to both of you from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Sun 03 Dec 2017, 22:34

Spent today at the National Poultry Show - about 7000 exhibits, and wandering round grabbing "free" samples from the feed companies, including one whose flour mill I saw burned down when I lived in Chelmsford. Depressingly, neither of the young ladies on the stand had even heard of the fire. I've actually seen two mills burn down, and they do burn extremely fiercely (explosively, even), as the finely divided flour mxes with the air.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 04 Dec 2017, 13:12

I went to the first two Christmas (though it's really pre-Christmas with the timing) lunches I had scheduled this year on Sat and Sun.  I was quite tired and rested up for a while before going out again on Sunday eve and the cat brought me an unwanted early Xmas present.  She dropped a live (baby) mouse on to my bed.  Gee, thanks pussycat, thanks a whole bunch.  Still I managed to wrap it up in a cloth (I couldn't bring myself to kill it) and put it in the garden of the empty house next-door.  Though I can't swear to it I think she probably caught it in the garden.  For some reason I can't switch off italics in this paragraph.

Gilgamesh, I can't speak for flour mills - a little over 3 years ago a fireworks warehouse went up in flames not too far from me as the crow flies.  There were a couple of fatalities, sadly.  It was really noisy - the bangers going off I suppose so I suppose that would not be unalike in intensity to a flour mill burning down.
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PostSubject: Re: The Tumbleweed Suite   Mon 04 Dec 2017, 19:34

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Spent today at the National Poultry Show - about 7000 exhibits, and wandering round grabbing "free" samples from the feed companies, including one whose flour mill I saw burned down when I lived in Chelmsford. Depressingly, neither of the young ladies on the stand had even heard of the fire. I've actually seen two mills burn down, and they do burn extremely fiercely (explosively, even), as the finely divided flour mxes with the air.

I knew, I knew it, Gil.

Still the poultry...still active in the branch?...if it is not impertinent to ask...

Kind regards from Paul.
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