ODAAT: 
one day at a time…
Tuesday, 30 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Shameless 'Cool Site' Poll Plug
CREDITS: © Erik Gauger/Notes from the Road

Notes from the Road © Erik GaugerOriginally this entry was only intended to stand as a temporary item: if you visited earlier today, you will have seen it already. However, we decided we would be able to turn it into a permanent entry, thus allowing us to pour cold beers while we retired onto the patio to enjoy the Autumn sunshine. At some point the poll we link to later in this entry will no longer be for voting on today's entry, though the link should work to allow you to exercise your democratic rights on something. The only certainty is change. Cheers!

One of the web sites we frequent is Erik Gauger's Notes from the Road (NFR). Erik has been selected as today's Cool Site of the Day (CSD), on the famous web site of the same name, created by Internet veteran Mike Corso. This is a well deserved honor: the site features creative travel writing of the highest caliber, accompanied by excellent photographs. You may visit Erik at the NFR home page, or go direct to the latest update, Atomic Agriculture on the Rio Grande.

If you enjoy this fine site, and would like to contribute to its success before a wider audience, then please go to the CSD submission page to cast your vote: the poll is quick, easy, and anonymous; nothing is requested except your score and vote.



On This Day In 2002: Maddening Crowds - Mon 30 Sep 2002

Towan Beach © Charles WinpennyTowan Beach © Charles WinpennyIt is a while since we featured one of Charles Winpenny's pictures: this one caught our eye because we imagine that house must be a very peaceful place to live.

The scene is Towan Beach, Newquay, in the English county of Cornwall. A number of lines from the 'Seinfeld' series spring to mind, especially Mr. Costanza senior clenching his teeth and yelling for "Serenity Now!". The Seinfeld characters always become nervous when their 'significant other' relationships reach that dangerous 'unannounced drop-in' stage. None of these problems exist here, in what we imagine to be a haven of serenity. If only that bridge was a drawbridge! Madding or maddening, both are equally repellant.

Never read 'Far from the Madding Crowd', Thomas Hardy's 19th century novel of courtships and relationships between the rustics in the fictitious English countryside of 'Wessex'? There is no need to need to trouble yourself by making the effort, just pop along to AWERTY.com for an almost effortless literary summary. The author claims Hardy was censored for his descriptions of sexual relationships: I think that what may have been meant was censured, but if I am wrong that in itself sounds like a very interesting line of enquiry. There are 68,999 other essays to choose from, so with this bluffers guide you may become erudite in only a few days.

One of us was pontificating to she who must be obeyed that like his father he despised instant erudition. Herself did manage to deflate the significant other somewhat by pointing out that he had said exactly that same thing, at exactly the same point on our journey to the nearby town on the previous Saturday. A lesser man might have taken this to be a clear sign of boring decrepitude. However, we take it as a sign that we are at least consistent in our expressed beliefs. That aside, how we wish this resource had been available when we were cramming for English Literature examinations. Needs must when the Devil drives hardest, which was often the case in our misspent youths.

Monday, 29 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Onion Johnnies & Roscoff Pinks
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Portsmouth-Roscoff.
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Old Roscoff © Peter TurnerPeter Turner's Macclesfield based MaccCAM.co.uk crew recently went on vacation to Brittany, in the northwest of France. Travelling on the quieter and more dignified Plymouth to Roscoff route, rather than following the crowds on the ferry routes leaving Dover on the shortest cross channel routes, they arrived in the early morning.

Visit the CAM for a two part gallery starting on the English coast, and continuing on French soil for some pictures of the quiet port town of Roscoff in the low morning light. A shot of a plaque commemorating the 'Onion Johnnies' brought memories flooding back. Back in the 50s, at the end of the last millennium, the Autumn (or 'back end' as it was often called) brought exotic looking men in berets, pushing bicycles heavily laden with delicious pink onions from the fields around Roscoff.

The trade began in 1828 when Henri Ollivier, a 20 year old Roscovite, filled a boat with onions and headed for Great Britain. In a few days he had sold all his crop of pink Breton onions. Other were encouraged to emulate his success, and a regular trade was built. For more than a century, thousands of young Roscovites crossed the Channel to stay in Great Britain. They would leave in September and return the following Spring. It was not an easy life. It began by crossing the channel, often in inclement weather conditions, in schooners. Accommodation on the boats, and on land in Great Britain, was often rudimentary. Payment was usually made at the end of the trip, and unsold stock was deducted from the payment. Disaster was always a possibility, and in 1905 the 'Hilda' foundered at Roscoff, and 70 Johnnies perished.

The story of the Johnnies is told in an article on Brittany-Bretagne.com, which includes a regrettably small picture of horse drawn onion carts on the dockside. Philip Delves Broughton, a correspondent for Telegraph.co.uk, has an article on the Johnnies, and another Telegraph correspondent Yvonne Thomas adds her own spin to the story. William Chisholm at TheScotsman.co.uk follows one of the Johnnies, and mentions a book recording the history of the Johnnies by Ian MacDougall, a secretary and researcher for the Scottish Working People's History Trust. In late 2002 the British TV company Meridian aired a program in the 'Last of…' series entitled The French Onion Sellers, which one may hope they will repeat.



On This Day In 2002: Vlad the Impaler - Sun, 29 Sep 2002

Whitby Harbour © Tony RichardsWeblog favorite Tony Richards has been on vacation all last week in Whitby, said to be the place that inspired Bram Stoker's 'Count Dracula'. Tony's picture of Whitby Harbour just makes us wonder what Stoker had been taking to conjure up such warped nonsense. The historical 15th century figure who was the inspiration behind the Gothic novels main character must have been a far more frightening prospect for those around him at the time.

Author Benjamin H. Leblanc has a concise biography of the life of Vlad Tepes Dracula. He was also known as 'Vlad the Impaler' for reasons that will become apparent if you read his story. Maybe not a good way to make friends, but certainly an effective way to influence people. His rule was so firm that it is said that he placed a golden drinking goblet in the central square of Tirgoviste so that travellers might refresh themselves. It was never stolen. His answer to poverty in his kingdom will probably appeal to you if you have extreme right wing views.

Tony is now back in Lakeland, well away from such dark fantasies. Although come to think of it, Croglin village in the nearby Eden Valley did once have an outbreak of vampirism, and heaven alone knows what stories Col. Lacey and Long Meg and Her Daughters might have to tell.

Sunday 28 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Grey Turning Red Just For You
CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains MAP: Keswick and Dockwray.
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Red Herdwick © Ann BowkerIf you followed the link to a John Peel story from yesterday's Herdwick picture, you may be confused to see today's red sheep. Even a Herdwick ewe likes to look her best, especially in the Herdwick beauty parade at Keswick Show, in northwest England's Lake District.

The effect is achieved using special beauty products, such as those manufactured by Battles, who rejoice in the full name of Battle, Hayward & Bower Limited. The original red color was known as 'rudd' and was made from a paste using the local red sandstone, traditionally also used to redden the steps at house doorways. Beautiful products, made of fine local Herdwick wool, may be obtained from Helvellyn Herdwicks, where you will also find more information. The Ruskin Museum has a Herdwick page.

An article in a local area magazine, Cumbria Life, entitled 'Herdwick - the hardiest of them all', quotes Derick & Jean Wilson, of Penfold Farm, Dockray, near Ullswater, who run a flock of 800 Herdwick ewes, "You wash their faces and legs, so that they are as white as possible," says Derick, "and then put Herdwick show red on their backs; the red is a tradition in these parts when showing Herdwick sheep. Nothing looks nicer than a Herdwick ready for showing; they look absolutely beautiful."

In addition to glamorous Herdwick ewes, Ann Bowker's web page has pictures of the sheep judging (the mountain behind is Skiddaw, the town of Keswick's local signature mountain), rosette winning Herdwick tups (an old word derived from the Norse, which indicates a male sheep), men in brightly patterned skirts squeezing music from pigs' skins and bladders, and boys in white tights with their velvet knickers donned as over garments, embracing each other in a such a way that it would probably be considered illegal in many less liberal jurisdictions.

There are days when I despair of my former countrymen!



On This Day In 2002: More Pictures from Space - Sat 28 Sep 2002

Mt. Everest from Space © Dr. Jay AptThis is the extra picture provided by Dr. Jay Apt, as an addition to yesterday's feature. The picture shows another view of Mt. Everest taken from the international space station, and is also available as a high [1] resolution image, suitable for viewing on larger monitors. Jay has also provided a corrected version of the image, which may be viewed at normal [2] resolution, or at a higher [3] resolution, depending on the size of monitor you are using.

Dr. Jay Apt © Dr. Jay AptWe thought visitors might also like to see a picture of Jay from his days as an astronaut. If you go to the OrbitExperience web site there are many more pictures, including some of Jay on the unscheduled space walk when the malfunctioning Gamma Ray Observatory had to be deployed manually. The web site also has a news section so you can keep up to date with current developments, and a 'This Week in Space' history of the exploration events. A very rich site, well worth a full investigation.

We would like to thank Dr. Apt for his kindness in allowing us to use his pictures and link to his web site, and for his help in preparing this feature.

Saturday, 27 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Lake District Grey Eminences
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Herdwick Sheep © Tony RichardsWe were astounded to discover that this weblog makes only one brief and passing reference to John Peel, about whom the famous hunting song 'D'Ye Ken John Peel' was written. Peel was a denizen of the northwestern corner of the English Lake District in our own homeland. His fame has spread out of all proportion to his real importance as an historical figure, and he has his boozing buddy, John Woodcock Graves who wrote the song, to thank for that fame.

We will try to make amends for our shortcoming with a dedicated article, after we have had time to recover from the shock of our neglect, and have had time to gather some research and provide our readers with interesting web resources.

Meanwhile, to our chagrin, we found the most entertaining piece about Peel on an Australian web site, albeit one published on a South African web server! References to Eric Shackle, and his 'World's First Multi-National eBook', have appeared here before, but here is a great yarn, connecting Clarissa Dickson Wright (she of the 'Two Fat Ladies' television cookery series), and Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania)… OH! and not to forget John Peel himself, of course.

After you have read that piece, you will understand why today we have featured a gray sheep, one of the thousands of the Herdwick breed that roam the fells of Lakeland. Tomorrow we will explore the implications of being 'dyed in the wool'.


Pix of the Day: Mt. Everest from Space - Fri, 27 Sep 2002

Mt. Everest from Space © Dr. Jay AptDr. Jay Apt has walked in space! It happened when Jay flew as a member of the crew of the space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-37 mission, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on April 5 1991. During the mission, the crew deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory to study the universe by observing the most energetic form of radiation. Jay and crewmate Jerry Ross performed an unscheduled space walk during which they manually deployed the observatory's large radio antenna when remotely controlled motors failed to do so. The following day they did another space walk, scheduled this time, to perform research.

This stunning picture comes from Jay's OrbitExperience web site, which has two photo galleries with pictures of the earth taken from space, and much more besides. The picture of Mt. Everest makes it easy to see why the Nepalese call it 'Sagarmatha' (a Sanskrit word meaning "Abode of Snow'), and the Tibetans call it 'Qomolangma' (Chomolangma meaning 'Goddess-Mother'). If you find these images as awe inspiring as I do then you may want to read how Jay and others reviewed all 286,000 NASA photographs taken over a 30 year period, then selected the most spectacular 156 for a book entitled 'Orbit: NASA Astronauts Photograph the Earth'. Pictures in the book are scanned and corrected from the originals, so the quality is superb.

Dr. Apt's biography reads like the fulfillment of a young boy's dreams: four space missions with 35 days in space; a visit to the Russian Mir space station; recipient of NASA's highest medal; former museum director; and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He now divides his time between lecturing and his work as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of iNetworks LLC, a venture capital firm.

For those further interested in Mt. Everest PBS/Nova has an interesting web site, which includes the Mallory find. For a more first hand experience of trekking in the Himalayas, Gordon Cook (as part of 'The Cook Report on the Internet') has an interesting selection of maps and pictures. Today's feature picture is also available at a higher resolution, suitable for viewing on large monitors. Dr. Apt has also kindly contributed another picture for this article, Mt. Everest taken at a later date from the international space station. That picture will be featured tomorrow.

Friday, 26 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Gruesome Gift To Aid Researchers
CREDITS: © Bruce Dale/National Geographic
Thumbnails links to source pages; [T] to feature text page; [P] to full picture.

Powell's Brain © Bruce Dale & national Geographic SocietyOn 26 September 2002 (repeated below in the next item), we published the third, and final part of a trilogy respecting the life and work of John Wesley Powell. In his will Powell left his brain to researchers, and it is now preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. The picture comes from the NGS (National Geographic Society) feature POD (Photo of the Day) for 2 Feb [T] [P] 2002.

One day earlier on 1 Feb [T] [P] 2002, the NGS featured POD was Powell's favorite spot, Dutton Point in the Grand Canyon, a magnificent viewing platform that may be seen in our second picture. As Powell is quoted as saying, "You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted ", and if anyone should know that, then it would be Powell.

Dutton Point © Bruce Dale & national Geographic SocietyAll four ODAAT articles in this series have now been gathered together for convenience in a John Wesley Powell archive. The articles appear in chronological order (ie the reverse of this presentation). We have only skimmed the surface of the available Powell information, and barely scratched the arid surface of the issues raised by his work. Below are some links that readers may like to follow to learn more: the order does not indicate excellence or importance.

Click the appropriate blue bullet point to visit any of these web resources:

The Powell Museum in Page, Arizona
DesertUSA.com web site presentation
Songbird.com web site presentation
University of North Texas - repository of fascinating resources in PDF format
Canyon-Country.com web site presentation
NPR feature 'The Vision of John Wesley Powell'
One of Susannah Abbey's 'Explorer Heroes' on the MyHero.com web site
Margaret S. Bearnson's article on the 'Utah History To Go' web site
PBS feature 'Lost in the Grand Canyon', part of 'American Experience'
Grand Canyon National Park photo gallery on Powell
Epilogue from 'The Romance Of The Colorado River' by Frederick S. Dellenbaugh
Burial details from the Arlington National Cemetery web site
Smithsonian presentation '150 Years of Adventure, Discovery, and Wonder'
Photo portrait of Powell on the 'American Memory' web site
Powell section of 'Grand Canyon Explorer' on Kaibab.org

What if we could only choose one item? Our personal selection is the resource created by Luke Griffin, currently maintained by Valerie Glenn, on the University of Texas web site. Though not instantly accessible as web pages, the downloadable PDF 8.8Mb file 'Images from Exploration of the Colorado' contains a wide selection of contemporary illustrations that we thought gave a connection to those times: although relatively low resolution, in some ways this adds to their effect.


On This day In 2002: JWP's Bitter Harvest - Thu, 26 Sep 2002

JWP with Tau-ruv © Smithsonian InstitutionJWP with Native American © Smithsonian InstitutionThere are a number of pictures of John Wesley Powell to be found on the web. Earlier pictures show him as a young soldier with the extravagant whiskering of the day. Later pictures show him as a late 19th century administrator with a grizzled beard. However, these are my two favorite pictures of Powell. He was a driving force behind the institution that eventually became the 'Bureau of American Ethnography'. Lasting from 1879 to 1965 the Bureau was established under the Smithsonian Institution to sponsor and publish research about Native Americans. Powell must have met many Native Americans, and these two pictures seem to sum that up nicely. Both pictures, 'The Mirror Case' with Powell talking with a Ute woman Tau-ruv in the Uintah Valley, UT in 1873 or 1874 taken by John K. Hillers, and Powell on horseback speaking to a Native American, are courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1893 John Wesley Powell, addressing the International Irrigation Congress, said, "I tell you gentlemen you are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over the water rights for there is no sufficient water to supply the land." The man who had measured the water flows, determined that an acre-foot of water was needed to support a family of four, was saying there was not enough to go round. The audience rose to boo and jeer at the man who was telling them something they did not want to hear. You may read and hear on the NPR website historian and land manager William deBuys talking about Powell's legacy, and how his work is relevant today. The Missoulian has an interview with deBuys about his book 'Seeing Things Whole: The Essential John Wesley Powell', a reassessment of Powell's life and work.

The Arizona Republic has a whole section devoted to drought topics. There are declared emergencies in several states, but still the spirit of free enterprize demands that restrictions are not placed into legislation. Instead the authorities 'turn up the volume' on public service messages. Charles F. Hutchinson is a professor in the Office of Arid Land Studies, College of Agriculture, the University of Arizona, and has a page on the Cosmos Club website (Powell was a founding member) about the legacy of the rush to exploit the arid west. The Biography of America website tells how the 1862 'Homestead Act' spurred on the notion of 'Manifest Destiny' so that Powell's warnings were ignored, leading to his retirement, a defeated man.

In 'A River No More: the Colorado River and the West'
(1981, now out of print) author Philip L. Fradkin had this to say:

"The Canyon Ditch is the first diversion of water from the Green River. It is the highest man-made interference with the natural flow of the Colorado River system and thus of great, although virtually unnoticed, significance to the seven states in the watershed. From the headgate of the ditch, it is almost 1,700 miles to the last diversion of water from the river - the headgate of a similarly unlined ditch the Mexicans have dug through the sands of the delta to divert the last flow of the river north into Laguna Salada. Between these two ditches, dug with the same knowledge available to ancients - that water runs safely downhill if the incline is steady but slight - is gathered the most technically complex assemblage of waterworks in the world, run by such complex gadgetry as computers and laser beams and all girdled by a dense network of treaties, laws, and administrative decisions of such talmudic proportions that they are known only to a few."

Thursday, 25 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Vast Biomes Made Of Bubble Wrap
CREDITS: © Martyn Button/CalvertonCAM
MAPS: Calverton, Nottinghamshire and St. Austell & Fowey, Cornwall.
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Eden Project Biomes © Martyn ButtonAnother misleading headline created from our sense of wonder at the world about us. These are 'biomes', which is not a word coined to mean 'biological domes' as we guessed, but is a word with a proper definition as a scientific discipline: 'the world's major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment'; and they are certainly not made of bubble wrap.

These structures are big enough to contain the Tower of London, and are engineered buildings of advanced design and materials. The source for the picture was Martin Button's CalvertonCAM, from the northern English county of Nottinghamshire. Like so many of the CAM site owners recently, Martin was on vacation for this feature; his destination for the day was the Eden Project, near St. Austell in Cornwall, in the far southwest of England. Visit Martin's web site to see the giant bee that dwarfs the visiting children! There are other shots inside the biomes, and a site panorama.

Also available is a page of images recorded in nearby Fowey, and a pulldown menu that links to Martin's galleries on the Pbase service. We chose a picture of our faraway homeland, the Langdale Pikes taken from Hawk Rig.



On This Day In 2002: Men of Action - Wed, 25 Sep 2002

Powell Re-Enactment © Philip GreenspunThis picture, courtesy of Philip Greenspun, was shot during a 1999 re-enactment of Major John Wesley Powell's epic exploration of the great river that drains the arid Southwest United States. A superb higher resolution version of the picture is also available if you have a big monitor, showing the boat shooting the Lava Rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Philip is a modern day adventurer in the Powell manner: his Travels With Samantha is an Internet classic (winner of a Best of the Web '94 award), the story of an extended journey through America with a laptop computer, seeing places and meeting people. The web site eventually became a lavish book that arouses in me the sin of covetousness. You may check out the progress of Philip's current adventure, which is piloting a small airplane on a route from Boston to Alaska and back again… the long way.

The Grand Canyon expeditions, there were two of them in 1869 and 1871, established Powell's reputation. He was the first man to navigate the vast river system, and the first man to sail through the Grand Canyon: an earlier claimant, if in fact he managed to succeed, did so by floating down the river to escape capture. There are several excellent web resources available if you want to read summaries of Powell's life and achievements. Check out the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum in Page, Arizona at the foot of the reservoir that was created when the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado was built, and named Lake Powell in his honor.

The Smithsonian has a page with other details, a picture of Powell's life preserver worn on the first expedition, and details about Powell's later fight to establish the now world famous USGS (United States Geological Survey). Canyon-Country.com has another biographical summary, with details of Page, Lake Powell, and the surrounding area. GrandHikes has the story of the passage through the Grand Canyon illustrated with some of the sketches from Powell's own account of the journey. The John Wesley Powell River History Museum, in Green River, Utah, has an excellent reputation, so may be worth a visit if you are in the area.

There is such an abundance of information about Powell on the web that I found it difficult to marshall it all into a readable account. One web site stands out as a way to get a sense of how the explorer went into the last uncharted territories of the new country that had become the United States: Bob Robokas' Grand Canyon Explorer details the journey in way that is succinct yet brings the story vividly to life. This is a very rich site, worthy of extended exploration, much as Powell himself would have done. For regular readers of this weblog the photo gallery is of special interest.

Wednesday 24 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Little And Large Steaming Parade
CREDITS: © Ian Davey/SuffolkCAM.co.uk
MAPS: Henham Park (plus detail) and Norwich with Halesworth/Southwold.
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Steam Traction © Ian DaveyWe thought this picture to be one of the most delightful we have featured. It comes from Ian Davey's SuffolkCAM.co.uk as part of a gallery covering the 29th Grand Henham Steam Rally. Though retaining its name the show has now moved from its home on the Henham Estate in the English county of Suffolk, to the showground for the county of Norfolk, which is in the city of Norwich. We cannot help but think that a grander name is now deserved.

Check out Ian's web site for a Wolf Brewery liveried famous 1918 Sentinel steam truck; a 1906 Rover shows its paces ahead of a Jaguar; there is a rack saw, cider, a miniature train and tractors in every imaginable tractor color; there are even vintage bicycles… HEY! what does the 'vintage' label mean? Surely they can't be that old? We clearly remember those red bicycles doing their rounds in the United Kingdom before Lance Armstrong popularized them for USPS postie boys!



On This Day In 2002: One-Armed River Runner - Tue 24 Sep 2002
Thumbnails popup enlarged images. The first picture is available full size.

Green River Lake © William Earl Cook23 September 2002 was the 100th anniversary of the death of Major John Wesley Powell, who was a Civil War hero, an explorer of the American Southwest, and a government official whose work is even more relevant today than in his own lifetime. The featured picture above, by Earl & Gail Cook, is of Green River Lake, near the source of the Green River. The Green begins high in the Wind River Mountains on the west slopes, close to where seven of the largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are located. The picture comes from the Green River Rendezvous 2000 web site by Earl & Gail, which is highly recommended if you have any interest in the Old West, or even just enjoy a good yarn with pictures. Little Dale Lake is the official source, a lake that is half frozen most of the year. Powell was the first man to navigate the 1,500 mile length of the Colorado River basin, and his journey began on the Green, ending where the Colorado leaves the Grand Canyon.

Maj. J.W. Powell © Smithsonian Institute[Smithsonian Institute: BAE Negative #64-2-13] Powell is pictured left, in a photograph by Wells Sawyer taken around 1886, sitting in his Adams Building office. The picture is courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute from their story of the founding of the National Museum. After a distinguished military career, he lost his right arm at the Battle of Shiloh, Powell returned to his academic life as a geologist.

Powell became an explorer, but his contribution to modern life was his work as the man who understood that the future development of the arid Southwest United states was wholly dependent on water supply. He measured water resources (the terms 'run-off' and 'acre-foot' were developed from his work), trained other water specialists, and took his ideas into high office. He became a victim of the political in-fighting of his day, and his fall from power was rapid. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery, as befits a war veteran.

Over the next two days we will retell his life story, and try to relate his work and ideas to a modern context. Powell is now attracting attention in a time when overstretched water resources, and the impact of water management of the environment, are becoming an increasingly urgent topic.

Tuesday 23 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Save Grandma From White Slavery
CREDITS: © Garth Newton/IlkCAM.com MAP: Alton Towers (and detail).
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Alton Towers © Garth NewtonI have a very jaundiced view of the British landowning aristocracy. In former times they devoted considerable energy to keeping trash like me from their hallowed grounds, but in harder times with death duty to be paid and generations of profligacy bringing them to their financial knees, they invite me to tour their former glories… ahem, a small fee is payable at the gate. That said, I visit away with almost no attitude while on the job, and have even chatted amiably with some of these very clubable fellows.

Alton Towers is probably the most successful of all these enterprises that keep the wolf from the drawbridge, and save Grandma from being sold into white slavery. It was the first major theme park in the UK, and has kept its reputation for having the latest rides and amusements. I have always avoided the place as though the plague was rampant across its endless green swards, though I often passed close by on the A50 road while heading for other destinations.

Garth Newton at IlkCAM.com set me right on my usual inexcusable, unjust, and indefensible ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, and prejudice. Alton Towers has a whole other side, the antithesis of white knuckle rides, hot dogs, flashing lights, and booming sound systems. Whatever their other shortcomings, the aristos certainly knew the best sites for houses, and how to beautify them with parklands and gardens. If you visit Garth's current photo gallery (content may change before you visit) you will see a blaze of plant color, and landscape gardening at its most abandoned. Just like Alton Towers, there are lots of other treats in store on the site!


On This Day In 2002: Geomarginalism is Dead - Mon 23 Sep 2002

Ground Hornbill © Margie McClellandALTasting the Waters © Chris McClellandSeveral myths became unsustainable in the post-Internet world: one of these was that some places were central and other places were marginal. Now everywhere is at the center of somewhere, and we may hope that geomarginalism is buried along with all the other bad isms.

Map makers beginning with Mercator, whose projection puts London firmly at the center of the known world by increasingly distorting the margins, only give credence to such absurd notions. We are able to correspond daily with people who are right at the center of both their own world, and the wider world.

Australian journalist Eric Shackle, (WHOOPS! there goes another myth, because at the age of 79 years Eric defied the ageists by launching a new career as an Internet web publisher), drew our attention to the works of Margie and Chris McClelland. The photograph is taken from Margie's gallery, and the drawing is taken from one of Chris's galleries. The couple live and work among the 40,000 sheep on the vast 185,000 acre Tupra Station, near Hay, New South Wales, Australia. Chris has also done a small number of Australian drawings: you may marvel, as we did, at the drawing of the Eastern Bearded Dragon, done only with ink dots. The web site offers prints from Chris's award winning work at very affordable prices.

Those of you who are paying attention will have realized that hornbills and elephants are not creatures that one readily associates with the Australian outback. The McClellands have an abiding passion for Africa and its wildlife, which provide the inspiration for their work. They obviously look beyond their immediate location to a continent that is part of their family history, so they are certainly not in any sense guilty of some form of geomarginalism. The family name taken in conjunction with naming their son Lochiel might be another clue to their history: to this day when Cameron of Lochiel enters the City of Glasgow, Scotland, the bells are rung in thanksgiving for the Lochiel who prevented the sacking of the city in the 1745 uprising.

The McClelland web site does not neglect local interests either, but provides some great links to other local artists, businesses, and organizations. The nearby town of Hay (50 miles is nearby in this big country) has an interesting history, and lots of activities currently in progress. I found a definitely non-geomarginalist map that clearly puts Hay at the midway point of the Sturt Highway between Sydney and Adelaide. The area is part of the Riverina district, which includes names that may be more familiar to you than you might imagine: Wagga Wagga and the Barossa wine growing area fall within its purlieus. A famous location nearby is One Tree Plain, with the eponymous One Tree Hotel. Regrettably the tree blew down in a gale on New Years Eve 1987: a terrible loss when there is only one!

Monday 22 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Admiral Horatio Nelson & Batman
CREDITS: © Terry Smith/Trekking Scenes MAP: Pembrokeshire Coast NP
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Carreg Samson © Terry SmithThree of our regular CAM calls have vacationed in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in recent weeks: first to be featured was Peter Turner from MacclesfieldCAM, who was closely followed by Tony Richards from LakelandCAM, and finally Terry Smith from Trekking Scenes. We had to take them in that order, despite the actual chronology, because Terry covered his trip in a two part article, with a short delay between parts. We think that there may be even more pictures to follow! Both parts [1] [2] are now available.

Remembering a recent feature that included Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen, County Clare, Ireland, for this feature we chose Terry's shot of Carreg Samson (also known as Longhouse Cromlech), a Neolithic burial chamber built 5,000 years ago. Wales has many such ancient sites worth visiting, for both their historical importance and the woowoo energy, if you are receptive to either influence.

For history try David Nash Ford on the derivation of the place name, and for several good background pages try Pembroke Online. For the woowoo energy you must make your own arrangements: one writer in our research claimed to feel those giant rocks moving to and fro when he sat among them.

Visit Terry for some other great shots, and more details about the places he visited, including a cathedral and a hermitage, rock arches and stacks, George Eliot and on the plaque her unmentioned spiritual husband George Henry Lewes, Admiral (later Viscount) Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton with old Sir William in tow, and… Batman. Batman? Holy holiday happenings, whatever next?


On This Day In 2002: Family Picnic Nightmare - Sun 22 Sep 2002

Family Picnic Nightmare © Ian Scott-ParkerIt's a long story… visitors with larger monitors will be able to see the really big picture. We saw this extended limo parked across four bays at our local shopping mall, while the driver tried to figure out how to get it running again. A nightmarish scenario passed before our eyes: a party of whinging kids and disgruntled relatives, demanding to know when the transport would be fixed so they could continue on to their picnic.

A similar misfortune once befell us on a paupers' vacation to Yorkshire, England with a tiny Mini, converted from a van to a sedan, which was bad enough. On this scale we would have freaked… actually, we think we probably did.

Sunday 21 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Moyne And Liffey Architecture
CREDITS: (1+2) © Warrnambool.com and (3+4) © Images of Dublin
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Dublin House © Bruce HendersonCaledonian Hotel © Bruce HendersonO'Connell Bridge © Images of DublinCustoms House  © Images of Dublin
Moyne and Liffey in the headline are the rivers with those names, respectively flowing through a town that was once called Dublin, but had its name changed to Port Fairy by an act of the Australian Parliament, and the other through Dublin in Ireland. The architectural comparison between the two places began when we visited Bruce Henderson's Australian web site at Warrnambool.com (content may have changed by the time you visit) and read in the caption for the picture on the left , 'Dublin House built in 1855 is a good example of the local architecture of the time…'. Visit for an interesting historical explanation of the how and why of the place names.

The second picture has a caption that held our attention: 'Construction of the Caledonian Hotel commenced in 1844 with the upstairs accommodation added in the early 1850's, however the work was interrupted as workmen downed tools to join the rush to the Ballarat goldfields - the upstairs section of the pub remains incomplete to this day. The Caledonian also holds the distinction of being Victoria's oldest continuously licenced hotel.' Everywhere we turn there is somewhere with an interesting history to be told to those who take the time to listen.

Check out Bruce's home page for more details, pictures of other buildings, and pictures of the boat moorings along the river. The Port Fairy web site has its own history page, and Dublin House is represented on the web. Although hundreds of web sites touted rooms at the Caledonian as a Best Western® hotel (THE WORLD'S LARGEST HOTEL CHAIN®), the hotel was curiously absent from the company's own web site. Perhaps the web site, like the upper storey, is unfinished.

Searching for architectural photographs of the original Dublin, we found Images of Dublin. This delightful tour of the city had us swithering over the most representative architecture, but finally we chose the O'Connell Bridge on the left, and the Customs House on the right. In a city with a wealth of Georgian architecture, it was not an easy choice. Visit the web site for many more pictures, all neatly categorized into galleries to give a virtual tour of the Irish capital.

Don't just take our word on the quality of this site: it won a Golden Spider award in 2002 for Best Personal Website in Ireland's longest running internet competition, which is sponsored by Esat BT, the national telecommunications service.



On This Day Day In 2002: Sublime and Subliminal - Sat 21 Sep 2002

St. George Utah LDS Temple © Ian Scott-ParkerSagrada Familia © Angus McIntyreI confess at the start that I am not a lover of the grandiose, not even for temples or cathedrals. The picture on the left is the LDS Temple in St. George, UT. That on the right is the east facade of La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain. I have seen a big enough sampling of famous religious buildings to say that for me the intended effect just does not happen. I always have a niggling suspicion that the architects are celebrating the worldly achievements of their patrons rather than the divinities in whose name the buildings are erected.

I apologize unreservedly if that causes offence to anyone in southern Utah, where people have been openly welcoming to this heathen from a far off shore. The nearby Tabernacle does get full marks! That's not to say that within their own terms of reference many of the buildings do not work at some level. At night the LDS Temple burns like a beacon in the center of the surrounding town. The medieval cathedrals of Rouen, Orvietto, Mont St. Michel, Durham, Salisbury, Lincoln, and Wells are each splendid in their own way. Even the stumpy, much knocked about, truncated cathedral of my home town of Carlisle is not without its own endearing features.

I have never seen Antonin Gaudi's Barcelona Cathedral, but I think that may just work for me because of the playful, capricious nature of its surrealist references. The picture was taken by Angus McIntyre whose site is well worth a visit. Click on the handy site map and there are six galleries for areas all round the world. The specialist sections for Petra, and the Inca Trail are absorbing… but there's much more; poetry, writing, and collecting to name just some. Everything is nicely ordered on the site, which is as neat and well implemented as anything you will find on the net. Dig deep enough and you will even find a recipe for Greek style spinach pies!

Saturday 20 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Modern City Made In 2,000 Years
CREDITS: © Darren Hoyle/CheshireCAM.co.uk MAP: Chester (and detail).
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Chester 1 © Darren HoyleChester 2 © Darren HoyleChester Cadillac © Darren HoyleChester Ford © Darren Hoyle
We found these pictures of Chester city center and the city's Festival of Transport in Darren Hoyle's CheshireCAM.co.uk web site archives: the current gallery on the web site was shot in the Yorkshire Dales, and recently we decided that featuring these CAM sites when they were vacationing elsewhere might cause confusion for our visitors from around the world. We thought that the Ford Motor Company's celebration of its 100 year history made an interesting perspective check in a city with a 2,000 year history that hosts the oldest horse, and rowing, racing in the UK.

On the official CCC (Chester City Council) web site we checked out a page entitled 'Chester's Claim To Fame' and found this information:

Chester has a host of great treasures from its 2000 years of history, including:
The City Walls, the most complete in Britain, offering a fascinating 3 kilometre circular walk around Chester - the best way to see its attractions.
The unique, world-famous Rows - two-tier medieval galleries with superb shops of international renown.
The Eastgate Clock- the most photographed time-piece in the world after Big Ben
The Roman Amphitheatre - the largest arena ever uncovered in Britain.
Chester's Flamboyant Town Crier declares mid day proclamation every Tuesday to Saturday at the Cross from May to August. Chester is the only City in Britain to boast such a regular spectacle. Visit the Chester Town Criers web site for more information.
The annual Regatta on the River Dee - the oldest rowing races in the world.
Chester Races - the oldest in Britain, staged on the Roodee, once the site of the massive Roman harbour - meetings throughout the year.
Chester Zoo - the largest and best in Britain with an international reputation for animal conservation.
Chester Mystery Plays - the oldest and most complete cycle of medieval religious dramas in Britain, next to be held in July 2003. See the CCC mystery plays web page for more details.
Chester Cathedral - the fourth most visited Cathedral in Britain. Visit the official Cathedral web site at chestercathedral.org.uk
Chester's Minerva Shrine is the only known Roman rock shrine in Britain.
Chester's Weir on the River Dee was built by the Normans and is the oldest surviving mill dam in Britain.
The Three Old Arches is the oldest Shop Front in Britain.


For an unofficial web site with plenty of links to all sorts of activities and places of interest in and around Chester, we recommend Steve Howe's Black & White Picture Place, which has a thorough Virtual Stroll around the walls of the city.


On This Day In 2002: IN•2•IT West Coast Cool - Fri 20 Sep 2002

Robin & Donna IN•2•IT © Robin DuCrestThis picture is of Donna & Robin, who jointly are IN•2•IT. You can catch their next gig in Springdale, UT on Sept. 27+28 2002 from 12-3pm and again from 6-9pm at the Sol Foods Restaurant. Springdale is at the entrance to the Zion National Park, set among awesome scenery.

From the terrace where IN•2•IT will be performing you may watch the sun go down on the Zion cliffs. The music is 'tasty, bluesy, and jazzy'. Being uncultured in such matters, at their last appearance I asked a fan what type of music they were playing, to which he responded 'West Coast Cool, Man'. I thought Donna's voice had more than a hint of Bonnie Raitt, and that the way Robin swings his axe at the end of the riffs was early Claptonesque. That sentence probably explains why 'Rolling Stone' has never featured any of my work. There is a fan size of the picture available for larger monitors.

Perfumery In The Early 20th Century

Langdale Geraniums © Tony RichardsThese delightful Geraniums at Hackett Forge, Little Langdale in the English Lake District, are from Tony Richards' update for today on his LakelandCAM.co.uk website. The essential oil of this plant was a late arrival, though a close relation Herb Robert had been used medicinally for centuries. Adolphe Saafeld of Manchester in England was a surviving passenger on the Titanic, on his way to New York carrying a satchel containing sample ampoules of perfume. The satchel was recovered in 2000 and it is said that the perfume in Adolphe's ampoules is as fragrant today as it was when it went down with the ship. RMS Titanic, Inc. in association with Quest International are planning to create a perfume based on Adolphe's samples. David Pybus, who is a Perfume Historian for Quest International, has a web page with the story of perfumery in the first decade of the 20th century.

Friday 19 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Days Of Remembrance
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org MAP: Howtown (and walk map).
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Howtown © Andrew LeaneyIan Scott-Parker writes: Lucky me: I once worked down there, where the trees fringe that small bay. The place is Howtown, and the lake is Ullswater, in the English Lake District, just southwest of Penrith. When I started to write the notes to accompany this picture, I had little idea of the web of memories it would call forth. My buddy Robert and I had parked at Martindale Church, intending to do the same walk as Andrew and Anne Leaney did earlier this month. I found a walking pole leaning in the church porch, and after some detective work in the visitors' book, finally tracked down the owner a few days later. Dismissively, in the sort of voice the aristocracy use to the servants when they are being difficult, she told me I might keep the pole because it was old, worn out, and of little use: with a cheery, "That will make three of us!", I hung up the phone.

We trudged along the same route as the Leaneys, swathed in waterproofs against the rain. By the time we reached the ridge that ascends to Arthur's Pike we were almost as wet from sweat within, as from rain without: this was Sunday 31 August 1997, which was still officially summer.

Robert is like Captain Tennille (it is a joke), in the Simpsons cartoon: he is a man of few words; any questions? The poor fellow always suffered my constant chatter with fortitude, and on that day even ventured a few sociable remarks of his own, in the short pauses while I fought to recover breath. When it ceased raining, we stopped to remove our waterproofs. Robert eyed me suspiciously, and observed, "You didn't listen to the news before we left this morning?", asked more as a statement than a question. It was the day that Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris.

Checking back for the exact date, I found an archived BBC site (here is the link they forgot to provide to the follow-up) site, which included a 'What Were You Doing When…?' page. Another page deals with the controversy surrounding the actions of the paparazzi, in particular one named Romuald Rat.

I remember that at the time I was unable to join in the general sense of loss: I did feel that a tragedy had happened, but a tragedy that was probably one of many that same day, all of them more painful than this one for those directly involved. I had never heard of Monsieur Rat until today, though his name is one of those ironic twists that encapsulates the whole sorry mess.

As I finished writing this piece, I discovered that today's archive piece was also a walk down a similar memory lane. Happenstance seems to happen often lately.



On This Day In 2002: Plugs of the Auvergne - Thu 19 Sep 2002

Plugs of the Auvergne © Tony SainsburyWe have not been lucky enough to meet in person many of the people whose work I have featured here. However, we am fairly sure that one lovely summer's day several years ago we did bump into Tony Sainsbury, the photographer who took today's picture. We were walking on Swirral Edge in the English Lake District about four years ago with our colleague Robert, when we stepped aside, to allow a stream of younger more athletic persons to pass on the track down to Red Tarn.

Another… ahem… mature gent joined us, and we passed the time of day: we think that was Tony, but cannot be sure until he has checked his walking diary. Unfortunately we have only our memories to rely on, a method fraught with problems of unreliability. Tony descended at that point because he had an appointment to keep, but with Robert we continued along the ridge to the deserted summit of Catstycam, to enjoy the wonderful name of the place also known as Catstye Cam and Catchedicam, for some quiet uncrowded reflection.

Meanwhile, Tony has been on vacation in the mountainous areas of France. Today's picture is of two denuded volcanic plugs near to Le Mont Dore in the region to the south of Clermont-Ferrand, part of the Massif central, in the Auvergne region of France. From our own window we can see a volcanic plug named Molly's Nipple, one of six topographical features in the area to bear that name: as local guide 'Ranger' Bart Anderson remarks in his lectures, "She must have been one interesting woman". There is an excellent site about volcanoes at ThinkQuest.org, which is clear and concise for non specialists. Graeme and his son Alasdair walked south through the wonderful countryside of the Auvergne. Their web site records the journey with excellent maps and pictures. You may accompany them (perhaps after adjusting your browser's text size) and be accompanied by the strains of Marie Joseph Canteloube de Calaret's 'Bailèro' from the wonderful 'Songs of the Auvergne'; beautiful music for the female voice.

Thursday 18 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Unexpected Victorian Excitement
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/WarrnamboolCAM.com
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Hopkins River, Victoria © Bruce HendersonWe often visit the state of Victoria, Australia, virtually speaking of course, to enjoy the resolutely ordinary images of life in Warrnambool as portrayed by Bruce Henderson on the WarrnamboolCAM.com web site. The headline and first picture looked promising: Wangoom, Framlingham nature reserve, and the Hopkins River. Winter rains have swollen the river to its highest level in ten years, however, so suddenly today's planned entry became something more dramatic than we expected.


On This Day In 2002: Gold Panning in Georgia - Wed 18 Sep 2002

Gold Panning in Georgia © Earl & Gail CookThis, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Gold Standard panning! If you have ever used the panning technique to swing the camera so that a fast moving subject is captured pin sharp against a blurred background, then you will know that it is not as easy as the instruction manuals make it sound. Click the picture for the original, unsullied by the usual compression I apply for a fast download. This fine example comes from Cyber Motorsports coverage of the 2001 'Petit le Mans' event at the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in Georgia, USA. Earl & Gail Cook, otherwise know as LaserSol, are the husband and wife team behind this and many other interesting sites. The 2002 Petit Le Mans is scheduled for 9-12 October, so look out for more action shots then.

Wednesday 17 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Blackpool To Las Vegas In A Step
CREDITS: © National Geographic/POD MAP: Blackpool (and detail).

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Click here (L to R) for larger versions [1] [2] [3] of the images.
© National Geographic© National Geographic© National Geographic
Yesterday we added another National Geographic POD (Picture Of The Day) to others featured here in previous 2003 issues, on [9 June] [2 July] [6 July]. The images yesterday represented the part of the USA where we now live. Today we thought it was fun to represent where we lived before we came to the USA… well almost: we now live about the same distance from Las Vegas as we previously lived from Blackpool. The contrasts over those miles are much the same too, though both towns have the same vulgar energy, albeit with differently colored collars.

Blackpool grew apace with the cotton towns of northwestern England, providing a cheap vacation destination for the mill workers. We will not try too hard to draw a parallel between Vegas and Blackpool. However, one very obvious difference is that gambling in Blackpool though not illegal, is controlled by the UK's nationwide laws, so is relatively small scale and low key. Visitors who enjoyed a game of keno in Nevada's Sin City may enjoy a game of bingo in Blackpool, though the prizes may be a trifle disappointing. By way of recompense, Blackpool lies beside a temperate ocean, rather than in the middle of a hot and arid desert.

Clicking on the thumbnails will take you to the source page with a background introduction to the pictures; clicking on the numbered keys in the header will open the page with a larger image.


On This Day In 2002: Far Out Farr - Tue 17 Sep 2002

Taos Mountain After Rain © John H. FarrRegular readers of this weblog will be familiar with John H. Farr, whose photographs of Taos, NM have often graced these pages. Indeed, today's featured picture, Taos Mountain, was taken by John as the seasons changed at 7,000 feet of altitude in the high Rocky Mountains around Taos. John is also a writer, one who fell in love with northern New Mexico, and abandoned his comfortable life in lush green Maryland to pursue his dreams in the harsher environment of Taos, with some harsher realities to be learned. Now he has published an account of his experiences, called Buffalo Lights. Interestingly he has chosen the e-book format, which is being released in advance of the paperback edition. Follow that link and you may read three sample chapters with a full synopsis of the contents. Then for a paltry $9.99 you may download the e-book; payment includes free updates as material is revised or added.

Buffalo Lights © John H. FarrTaos has attracted writers since the early part of the last century. The full list contains luminaries like Spud Johnson, Myron Brinig, and perhaps the most revered of them all Frank Waters. English writer DH Lawrence tried to start a community there under the patronage of heiress Mabel Dodge Luhan, whose stellar lifestyle attracted a whole coterie of the literati and glitterati of her day. John's going to have his work cut out to follow in those footsteps! The list of Taos artists is equally impressive: our favorites are Georgia O'Keefe and Lady Dorothy Brett (only the less whimsical paintings), who was the only person, with the exception of Lawrence's wife Frieda, to join him in the Rananim Community.

Tuesday 16 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Great Basin & Colorado Plateaus
CREDITS: © National Geographic/POD: Picture Of The Day
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Click here (L to R) for larger versions [1] [2] [3] [4] of the images.
© National Geographic© National Geographic© National Geographic© National Geographic
The National Geographic POD (Picture Of The Day) is one of our own regular calls, which we have featured here in previous 2003 issues, on [9 June] [2 July] [6 July] issues, with subjects as diverse as camels and aircraft. Clicking on the thumbnails will take you to the source page with a background explanation; clicking on the numbered keys in the header will open the page with a larger image.



On This Day In 2002: Brazos Cliffs - Mon 16 Sep 2002

Brazos Cliffs © Ian Scott-ParkerUS Highway 64 heads eastward from Farmington, New Mexico, towards Taos, NM. The route crosses the Continental Divide and the Brazos Pass, then runs along the Chama valley before crossing the Rio Grande just before Taos. It is one of the most beautiful roads we have ever travelled, winding through a variety of breathtaking vistas, and looping through intimate valleys. Crossing the Continental Divide was not the breathtaking summit we had imagined: the marker sits on a flat pasture with farmers on tractors going about their work in the surrounding fields.

The Brazos Pass is where the Divide should really run if there was any justice. The road seems to climb forever among the golden autumn aspens to a broad summit, just beyond that there is the Brazos Overlook. Those cliffs are 2,000 feet of clear rock face, and the tops are over 11,000 feet of altitude above sea level. There is a larger image for those with studio size monitors, which will take longer to load.

Monday 15 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: LakelandCAM On Vacation In Wales
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Bala, from Dolgellau to Machynlleth, and Aberystwyth
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Lake Bala © Tony RichardsCader Idris © Tony RichardsCaerfai Beach © Tony Richards
Tony Richards is on vacation away from his native English Lake District. He is visiting Wales, and after an early start saw the dawn over Lake Bala (Llyn Tegid in the Welsh language). The hill is a famous Welsh summit, Cader Idris, taken from the Dolgellau to Machynlleth road. The beach is at Caerfai, which has an Iron Age hill fort on the top of that headland. Tony's day ended in Pembrokeshire, which we recently featured in an excellent set from Peter Turner's MaccCAM.co.uk, so we look forward to some interesting comparison pictures each day.

You may catch up with Tony's forthcoming updates at this special vacation link, not the regular link in the sidebar pulldown menu. We sneaked a preview, and can report that this series is shaping up nicely.


On This Day In 2002: Western Justice - Sun 15 Sep 2002

Old Courthouse St. George Utah © Ian Scott-Parker
This is the Old Courthouse in St. George, UT. When the Mormon Pioneers first arrived in Southern Utah they quickly began to build the infrastructure of an ordered society. Preceded by the Tabernacle, the Mormon Temple in St. George was completed even before the main Temple in Salt Lake City. These buildings have survived because they are maintained and cherished, not only as part of the heritage of the town, but for use as meeting places and public institutions.

Sunday 14 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Final WebShots Assessment Result
CREDITS: Click thumbnail to visit the gallery of the WebShots member.
Click (L to R) a number [1] [2] [3] [4] to see an enlarged view of the image.
Canyon Rock 1 © WebShots member 'noreenh'Canyon Rock 2 © WebShots member 'majedanani'Canyon Rock 3 © WebShots member 'roger_beauCanyon Rock 4 © WebShots member 'lindaforr'
Yesterday we said we were going to test the WebShots service. Today we can say that the results were very satisfactory. We chose 'canyon' as a search term, hoping to find pictures of rock that were interesting enough to illustrate an article about the Colorado Plateaus in a personal project. Later we will give some more details about how useful the service might be, but to do that we have to figure how to get responses from the photographers who own the picture copyrights. Meanwhile, if you click on any of the thumbnails you will be able to visit the gallery pages for the photographs we have selected: click on the numbers in the article header to view enlarged images.



On This Day In 2002: Steam Driven Harz - Sat 14 Sep 2002

Steam Driven Harz © Alan NewbleSmall boys aged five to ninety five will love today's picture! Webmaster Alan Newble is a rail enthusiast as well as being a prodigious all round photographer. He has elevengalleries, with landscapes and general photographs, some that were prize winners, in addition to the trains from many countries. Alan took today's featured picture in the Harz Mountains, and here is the story in his own words:

'The Harz Mountain system is a wonderful find for the steam enthusiast. At one time it was in East Germany, with a branch up the Brocken Mountain that went close to West Germany, which was therefore lifted. When I first visited, with Rail Travel and Photography, in 1994 it was very busy all over, incredibly well maintained, unlike the roads, and nearly all steam! Branches ran everywhere, junctions abounded, and presented two or more trains leaving simultaneously. I returned last year with my wife, who is a JS Bach fan, and found the system sadly different. The good news is that the Brocken Line is re-instated, and trains from Wernigerode to Brocken Mountain are frequent, all steam, and pass at the junction at Drei Annen Hohne; marvellous for photos. The bad news is that the rest is very run down - with closed stations, dowdy or peeling paintwork on most, few steam trains and some diesel railcars. In fact the main-line from Nordhausen to Drei Annen Hohne has just 2 steam trains per day when we visited. The branches to Gernrode, Harzgerode, and Hassefelde had about one steam train per day, though some specials plied the branches.'

There is more information at SteamCentral, including region and system maps, plus travel details for getting to the area. There is a good geology guide to the region, where the highest peak is the Brocken of spectre fame (ascended by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe on 10 December 1777, a man who knew a good hike when he saw one), a WebShots gallery and there is even a 'Steinbach Nutcrackers' web site, called 'Magic of Nutcrackers', devoted to the local industry, apparently making collectors items. By comparison rail enthusiasts seem a very normal bunch of people.

Saturday 13 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: WebShots From The Emerald Isle
CREDITS: © Twofold Photos, Inc/WebShots.com
1&2 © SuperStock, Inc. 3&4© ImageState Ltd
When clicked, thumbnails link to the image source page.
Sybil Head © WebShots.com/SuperStock, Inc.White Park Bay © WebShots.com/SuperStock, Inc.Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen © WebShots.com/ImageState LtdCliffs of Moher © WebShots.com/ImageState Ltd
While checking the links and information given in the next item, an 'On This Day in 2002' entry that came from WebShots, we decided to show you a sample of stock images available for download. Free membership gives access though the WebShots software to picture files in proprietary format up to 800x600 pixels. Higher resolutions, bulk downloads, and other more advanced features are available for as little as $1.85 per month. The featured pictures were all taken in Ireland:
• Sybil Head, Dingle Peninsula, Kerry
• White Park Bay, Antrim
• Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen, County Clare
• Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Tomorrow we will be searching some of the photo galleries contributed by the non commercial members of WebShots. We will be testing to see how useful the free service might be to source images for a specific personal project.



On This Day in 2002: Arise in Splendor - Fri 13 Sep 2002

Arise in Splendor - Brisbane City at Dawn © Colin AusterberryQuite by happenstance, the result of a delay while we were awaiting permission to use this image, yesterday's magnificent sunset is followed by a splendorous dawn on the other side of the world. This is Brisbane City in Queensland, Australia. If you are a user with a larger monitor, then there is a larger version available. For this feature the photographer was Colin Austerberry, who is one of the contributors to the WebShots Community (username 'austerco' if you want to find him). Colin has six albums available, in which he shares his life through pictures of his family, vehicles, vacations, and two galleries of the beautiful countryside of the land where he lives.

WebShots is vast Internet resource, with 14 million registered members, 20 million archived photos, and more than 70,000 new photos added every day by enthusiastic photographers like Colin. The keyword 'brisbane' returns 696 results, of which the featured picture was the best in our opinion. There are galleries grouped by themes, most downloaded pictures, and featured contributors. Sprinkled among the images you will also find commercial posters available for purchase, and there is direct access to the work of some professional photographers.

Desktop software for Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP is available [now also in beta for Macintosh, which we tested and found to work satisfactorily - Ed.] to make the most of the pictures, and other computer applications are also available. All the content is 'family friendly', and a check for 'adult content' search terms returned a screen that reinforced this point. WebShots membership is free, though you do not need to be a member to access the web site. Other levels of membership will give you access to advanced features, such as high resolution versions of the images. If you want a picture of somewhere, it is likely to be in the WebShots archives.

[Dedicated to Brisbane resident Melisanda, even when elsewhere not forgotten.]

Friday 12 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Ribbit Ribbit, Ribbit Ribbit
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk MAP: Penzance
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Penzance Toad © Charles WinpennyCharles Winpenny performed an errand of mercy a few days ago, when he rescued this toad from almost certain death as it crossed the road. I have a mental image of Charles lying down in the wet road to get a good angle for the photograph. I have often done something similar, and then been embarrassed when after I finally took a satisfactory shot I became aware that I was being watched with deep suspicion by a local resident or passer-by!



On This Day In 2002: The Sun Will Rise Again - Thu 12 Sep 2002

The Sun Will Rise Again © Rick CapozzaShortly after the attack on the World Trade Center I was invited to my sister in law's wedding. Almost one year later I was unable to find any adequate way to memorialize the events of 11 September 2002.

I struggled to find a way to mark the day because it was just so big. Where to begin? How to avoid crassness, and fake sentimentality? How to represent the events of a year ago as a tragedy for all humanity, without dishonoring people from many nations who suffered real loss? How to avoid turning the events into a media feature to be gawped at, then forgotten? How to opt out from the circus?

One picture, which for me at least, captured the sense of devastation coupled with the will to survive, and grow beyond the painful events, was by Bill Biggart. You may read the story of the personal tragedy behind the picture. However, somehow the act of going out to seek such a symbol negated its value for the intended context. The unsolicited arrival of an email, from my now brother in law George, quoted here in its entirety, was quite different. It also seems appropriate to me that this feature will appear on 12 September, rather than the memorial day itself.

'Attached is a photograph taken at our house by Rick Capozza almost one year ago at the time of our wedding. The beautiful New Mexico sunset framed by the American flag is a beautiful tribute to all those who suffered and died in our national tragedy September 11, 2001. To me it symbolizes not just our strength and unity but our belief that social, economic and political justice is necessary for all of us on this small planet to live in peace and prosperity.' George M. Henke.

I thank the extended Lock family for accepting me into their midst with love and kindness. If you have a larger monitor there is a larger version of the picture. Whoever you are, and wherever you are reading this, please fly your own flag for social, economic and political justice for all of humanity to live in peace and prosperity.

Thursday 11 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Renaissance Of The Old Waterways
CREDITS: © Ian Davey/SuffolkCAM MAP: Norbury Junction (and detail).
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Norbury Narrow Boats © Ian DaveyEarlier this year, Ian Davey took the SuffolkCAM on vacation to the English county of Staffordshire, to visit the hamlet of Norbury Junction. In the former heyday of the canal system, this was the junction of the Shropshire Union Canal with the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal.

Alas, only the Shropshire Union has survived, although Ian says there are ambitious plans afoot to restore the Shrewsbury & Newport. This is a very interesting photo gallery, and although content may have changed when you visit that link, there is a good archive section. How we wish some other sites were as well organized. The past editions are well worth a visit, we particularly enjoyed Tall Ships In Lowestoft, recording the occasion in 2001 when 17 ships, bound from Holland to Ramsgate, visited unexpectedly because of the uncooperative prevailing winds.


On This Day In 2002: Tawharanui Was Framed! - Wed 11 Sep 2002

Tawharanui © Alexander TodorenkoThis picture delighted me! It must have been done before, surely? I did a piece a while back on Claude Glasses, but these New Zealanders have a refreshingly direct approach to the technique. The photographer was Alexander Todorenko, who has a whole gallery of pictures taken at this spot, Goat Island, Ti Point, Tawharanui Regional Park, near Auckland in New Zealand. Alexander has a regular updates page and a growing galleries section including one of Auckland City that will give you a flavour of the webmaster's hometown. The first picture of Alexander's that I featured, 'Gnawed by the Wind', still sticks in my mind's eye as one of the finest available on this site.

Wednesday 10 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Prosaic Sheep & Tragic Aircraft
CREDITS: © Dave Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk
Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org    MAP: Great Carrs (and detail).
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Humble Sheep © Dave NewtonIf yesterday's item on the 'Monarch Of The Glen' was about the poetry of the magnificent wild animals in the Highlands… then today's item is the prose of the humble sheep in the English Lake District. Dave Newton took the picture on a walk from Great Carrs, via Swirl How, and Wetherlam, to Grey Friar. The caption accompanying the picture says, 'The resident animals were very cooperative today! Three times I thought to myself "What this scene needs is something stood just there..." only for a local sheep to wander by and stand in just the right place!'

The walk started at the Three Shire Stones, which Andrew Leaney photographed before heading north. Dave headed south from there, and you can read his report (content may have changed by the time you visit), see some cloud inversions adding a little atmospheric interest along the way, and examine some remains from the Royal Canadian Air Force LL505 Halifax bomber that crashed into Great Carrs at 20:15hrs on the night of 22 October 1944.

The tragic details, and more wreckage pictures are available from Rich Allenby's web site. Two of the aircraft's engines were recovered for museum displays, one of them may now to be seen at the Ruskin Museum. Andrew climbed these same hills on an earlier walk in winter conditions, but approaching from the opposite side of the ridge, which make an interesting contrast. Check out Dave's Image Of The Month feature for September (again content may have changed by the time you visit), which features a panorama taken on the descent from Black Sails to Swirl How.



On This Day In 2002: Pantiled Elegance - Tue 10 Sep 2002
[Sadly we have to report that we are unable to find David Fields' ClevelandCAM.co.uk. The domain registration has been 'detagged', meaning that no web server is recorded as holding the web site. - Ed.]

Runswick Bay © David FieldsDavid Fields is the webmaster of ClevelandCAM, which usual covers its namesake county in the northeast of England. If you follow the link you will arrive at a photo gallery for Nerja, Costa del Sol, Spain! Cleveland is a region of enormous contrasts: along the River Tees there are heavy chemical and engineering industries; in the countryside there are open moors with delightful period villages; on the coast there are seaside towns and fishing villages that have withstood the pace of change that has affected other places.

One such coastal village is Runswick Bay, which has many happy memories for me. The red roofed houses you see in the picture are finished with pantiles, a form of roofing tile developed in the Low Countries on the European mainland. Ships returning from delivering to the Dutch ports, would use pantiles as ballast and a return load. Because of their low cost and good local availability they became a feature of the vernacular architecture along the northeast coast. The essence of a pantile is that it has S-curved edges that overlap the adjoining tile, a very good feature for keeping out the weather. Not that this is necessary hereabouts, because as you can see the sun always shines in Runswick Bay!

Tuesday 9 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Monarch Of The Glen Foreign Hit
CREDITS: © Felix Rosenstiel's Widow & Son Ltd MAP: Badenoch/Strathspey
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Monarch © Felix Rosenstiel's Widow & Son LtdWe are undecided which is the oddest, yesterday's mention of Edward Longshanks, the 13th century English king , or today's equally strange enquiry about the UK television program 'Monarch Of The Glen'.

This Monarch is an upscale tartan soap opera, produced by EcosseFilms the people who made the often praised movie Mrs. Brown, about Queen Victoria and her faithful Highland retainer John Brown, played respectively by Dame Judi Dench and Billy Connolly.

The TV series stars long standing British actors Richard Briers, hamming his socks off, and Susan Hampshire, who turns in a solid professional performance. For something so apparently parochial, it has risen to garner a large international audience, including the American acquaintance who enquired, and his family.

The television series was inspired by Sir Compton Mackenzie (1883-1972), a fine writer whose work is no longer fashionable, who wrote a book of the same name. We remember him once saying, in the far off days when people spoke less forthrightly on television than now happens, that it would be a blessing all round if some writers were issued with prophylactic pens. For some gallows humor follow that link for an account of the bizarre events at Mackenzie's funeral.

There are several web sites for fans of this series: BBC Television Scotland networks the series; MonarchCountry.com covers the locations where the programs are recorded; local sites CairngormsOnline.com, and Newtonmore.com carry special features; and the fictitious Glenbogle castle is actually Ardverikie House, frequented by a vacationing Queen Victoria, on the shores of Loch Laggan between Newtonmore and Spean Bridge. The house owners are three sisters, Annabel, Lucinda, and Phyllida who are descendants of the Pennington-Ramsden family who bought the house and the 38,000 acre estate 140 years ago. Regular readers will remember the Penningtons as the family who have lived at Muncaster, in the English Lake District since they were granted lands in 1208. Scotland Magazine has an article about the international success of the television series.

Those who arrived here in search of the painting of a magnificent stag by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, there are your links. The original painting is owned by United Distillers & Vintners, and is on loan to the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The copyright to most of the images seen on the web is owned by Felix Rosenstiel's Widow & Son Ltd,. who are wholesalers of fine art prints to the trade only.

Life here seems to be taking a bizarre turn as Autumn approaches: following on the heels of these two unusual enquiries, the fruit store sent Pluot®s in place of plums, and bicycle sprinter Alessandro Petacchi powered heroically through the rain in Spain, fortunately while still on the plain, to win a well deserved victory for Stage 3 of the Vuelta A Espagña. We are almost ready to forgive him for wimping out at the bottom of the first hill in the Tour De France.


Pix of the Day: Goathland Station - Mon 9 Sept 2002

Goathland Station © Don BurlurauxOne of our favorite virtual walking pages for a visit is Don Burluraux' NorthYorkMoorsCAM. Currently Don is featuring a walk from the village of Goathland (this will change when the site is updated, but there is an archive), the setting for 'Aidensfield' in the UK televison series 'Heartbeat'. This fine picture of the restored railway station, with the village beyond, is part of the walk gallery. The walk goes from Goathland via Lilla Cross to Eller Beck, before heading back to the starting point. Along the way you will see ancient stone crosses and way markers, old steam trains, giant golf balls, poisonous snakes… and did we mention the fine open countryside of the North York Moors, with airy views and the bonny blooming heather purpling the hillsides?

Monday 8 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: The Little England Beyond Wales
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk
MAP: Fishguard, St. David's and Haverfordwest
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Welsh Cottage © Peter TurnerA few days ago an American acquaintance casually asked us what we knew about Edward Longshanks. In a country where many of the inhabitants are a bit unclear on anything before Queen Victoria, this was something of a surprise. Where I was born, on the English side of where the Anglo-Scottish border now runs, Edward I (1239-1307) is more usually known as the 'Hammer Of The Scots'. Large tranches of English history concern themselves with the problems of the Celtic Fringe, although blaming the Celts is not really fair.

Many of the tides of conquest, particularly the last one in 1066 by second generation Norsemen pretending they were French, came across the waters to the south and east, driving the existing occupants to the mountains of the north and west. The Gaels, who sailed round the north capes to invade from the north and west, are one of the notable exceptions to this generalization. Much of Edward's reign was spent dealing with problems in Wales, and in Scotland. He died on an expedition against the Scots, camped on a bleak marsh we visited many times on bicycles when I was young.

Peter Turner's MaccCAM.co.uk web site is one of our regular haunts: if you check out the site contents page, you too may find something of interest. We chose Peter's expedition from his home town of Macclesfield, southwestward to Pembroke, a region and peninsula of southwest Wales still referred to (somewhat disparagingly by people with a strong Welsh identity), as 'Little England'.

They have long memories in the fringes: the name comes from the influx of Flemish settlers who were given safe passage by Edward I to settle around the town that is now Haverfordwest. They had become refugees after displacement from their own lands by an incursion of the sea. Edward was not being altruistic, but wanted the ethnic diversity created by the incoming Flemish settlers to diminish the strength of local resistance to English rule.

Peter's three part photo tour weekend started Dollgellau in the north, in a different region named Gwynedd, then proceeded south through Fishguard to St. David's. A disused railway station, cottages, mountains, a cathedral, an ancient burial site with the chamber stones remaining as menhirs, an Iron/Bronze Age hill fort, a cannon, boats in harbour, and even a dragon: there can be little that Peter did not photograph on his trip! An excellent site that we heartily recommend.


On This Day In 2002: Brodsworth Hall - Sun 8 Sep 2002

Brodsworth Hall © John BeresBrodsworth Gardens © John BeresPhotographer John Beres has a photo web site that covers the English counties of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, but does range further afield. I chose to feature these two pictures, part of a gallery John made after a visit to Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster in the county of South Yorkshire. The site has a number of galleries themed by location, and two flower galleries. Usefully for such a site, there is also a map to give you an idea of John's usual area of operation.

Sunday 7 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: The Bridges Of The Eternal City
CREDITS: © Paolo Borgognone/Rome-CAM.com
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Ponte Flaminio © Paolo BorgognoneYesterday's 'On This Day In 2002' feature, about Gallipoli by Paolo Borgognone from Rome-Cam.com, reminded us that we recently featured another Rome-CAM gallery about the Pons Aelius, or Ponte S. Angelo as it is known in modern times. Paolo's current gallery (content may have changed when you visit) is another Roman bridge, but this time from another age, and a different political environment. The Ponte Flaminio was begun in 1938, and reflects the Fascist aspirations and attitudes of the time. A comparison of the two bridges makes an interesting exercise. Those who like visual metaphors need look no further than Paolo's view northwards from the bridge, where the skeleton of another bridge, planned but abandoned, stands forlornly.

Rome's bridges, seen as a set of aerial photographs, make an interesting web visit. If your vertigo gives you a preference for a street level experience, then we recommend you accompany C. Anderson on a bicycle ride through the 'Eternal City'. The English language version web site SeekItaly.com has extensive photo galleries of Rome with a table of contents, which lists bridges as a sub section, though sadly Ponte Flaminio is not one of them. The Italian language site PhotoMarco.it has photo galleries for Roman antiquities, the city's bridges, and most enjoyably the statues on the Ponte S. Angelo by Bernini.


On This Day In 2002: The Derby Ram - Sat 7 Sep 2002

Derby Ram © Garth NewtonThe ram is a significant symbol for the townsfolk of Derby, county town of Derbyshire, which is in the heart of England. Garth Newton, who took today's featured picture, is the webmaster of IlkCAM in the nearby town of Ilkeston. Garth has a page devoted to Derby Rams of one sort of another. Garth also ranges up the Erewash Valley and across the neighboring county of Nottingamshire. There are lots of pictures, a good archive section, and collections of special interest. Pay a visit to see this corner of England, and elsewhere when the CAM goes on holiday.

Saturday 6 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Presidential Retreat In Scotland
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAP: Culzean Castle
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Culzean Castle © Tony RichardsEarlier in the year, Tony Richards took the featured picture while on a jaunt away from his Lakeland homeland. The ancient pile is Culzean Castle (pronounced Cull-ane), ancestral home of the Kennedy family. The president of that ilk is not the one referred to in the headline: President Eisehower, fondly known as Ike, is the man to whom we are referring. When the Kennedy family donated the castle to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945 they asked that the top floor be given to General Eisenhower, as he was then.

The present form of the castle is the work of Robert Adam, and many feel it is the finest example of his style. The nearby town of Maybole celebrates the Eisenhower connection on the community web site. They also have an excellent photo tour of the castle. This is an excellent and highly recommended web site: we wish many more towns were so well served by their webmaster. Visitors who enjoy location images, and particularly vintage images, may especially appreciate this site. The denizens of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, may enjoy reading about their own connection with Maybole, or perhaps arranging an assignation with us on McWhirters Corner.


From Our 2002 Archives: All Quiet in Gallipoli - Friday 6 September 2002
Gallipoli © Paolo BorgognoneThe name Gallipoli will bring back memories to many from an older generation. Today however 'The Beautiful City' is a quiet seaside town, photographed by Paolo Borgognone. Paolo's web site is Rome-CAM, which more usually features pictures of 'The Eternal City'. Nothing like a few descriptive labels to clear the air! This was my first visit, so I wished there was an archive, but I guess I'll just have to keep checking back to catch Paolo's updates.

Friday 5 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Technology Imperfections Admired
CREDITS: © Gene Gable/CreativePro.com
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Imperfection 2 © Gene GableImperfection 4 © Gene GableImperfection 1 © Gene GableImperfection 3 © Gene Gable
In the feature for Sunday 31 August 2003, 'Postcard Memories From Childhood' we made reference to postcard printing technologies. Today we received an email list alert for the excellent column 'Heavy Metal Madness' by Gene Gable. Gene's current article in the series is entitled 'In Search Of Imperfection'. Although addressed to media designers, the article is equally suitable for lay readers, and is almost a history of color printing. Here is the CreativePro.com blurb for the feature:

Printed pieces from the past often have an ineffable quality that can't be duplicated by today's digital tools. As Gene Gable explains, the appearance of these vintage pieces has as much to do with how they were printed as how they were designed. In this installment: Gene surveys popular printing methods, or why a 55-year-old issue of 'Popular Mechanics' looks better today than ever.


From Our 2002 Archives: All is Vanity - Thursday 5 September 2002

arreg Cennen Peacock © Alex ThomasAlex Thomas is the webmeister at SwanseaCAM, and took this picture of a Peacock on a recent visit to Carreg Cennen Castle, which is located 4 miles southeast of Llandeilo, near Trapp in the western part of the Brecon Beacons mountains known as the Black Mountain, South Wales, United Kingdom. King Solomon in the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1.2, concludes from his search for a life apart from God, that "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity". That seems to fairly sum up the male Peacock's way of living, though as a friend of mine was fond of remarking about Solomon's homily, "Hardly a life changing observation from a man unwise enough to have seven hundred wives, some princesses, and three hundred concubines". Truly wise men realize that a man with more than one wife has more than one mother in law!

Alex does a thorough photo tour, and notes that although the Welsh Princes of Deheubarth built the first castle at Carreg Cennen, what remains today dates to King Edward I's period of castle-building following his conquest of Wales. Now there was another man with a sense of his own importance. He died on Burgh Marsh (pronounced 'Bruff' in that delightful volte face way of my countrymen) on the Solway coast of Cumbria, looking out towards Scotland.

After Edward's defeat by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn in 1314, Scots balladeers were triumphant. Much later Robert Burns wrote a version 'Scots wha hae' and a modern song 'Flower of Scotland' has the lines "...stood against him, proud Edward's army, and sent him homeward, tae think again". Think indeed Edward did. When he had finished thinking he returned, and as Scottish comedian Billy Connolly's jokes "…he came back and gave us a really good f∗∗∗ing!" Edward became known thereafter as 'Scottorum Malleus' -- 'Hammer of the Scots'.

Edward gave the Welsh considerable attention. Cunning rather than force of arms seems to have characterized his policies there. He promised the Welsh a prince who 'spoke not a word of English'… then invested his tiny baby son as Prince of Wales. The appointment was revived in more recent times for pomp and ceremony. If you follow Alex' photo tour you will get a good sense of how fourteenth century castle building was used to threaten and subdue conquered territory.

Thursday 4 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Ravenglass Trains & Taos Trucks
CREDITS: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains & © John H. Farr/FotoFeed.com
MAPS: Ravenglass, Cumbria and Taos, New Mexico
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La'al Ratty 1 © Ann BowkerLa'al Ratty 2 © Ann BowkerAncient Blue Truck © John H. FarrAncient Green Truck © John H. Farr
The item about Hardknott Pass earlier this week, entitled 'Pass Storming Romans v. BMW Z3s', had our heads buzzing with all sorts of connections to machinery and history. We decided to show this double diptych, for no clear reason except that we like old machinery; well oiled or rusty, it makes no difference.

Anne Bowker's train pictures were taken on the narrow gauge railway that runs from the fishing port of Ravenglass, on the Cumbrian coast of England's Lake District National Park, up the Eskdale valley to the foot of the highest mountains in the country. The nearby castle at Muncaster has been held by the same family since 1208, when lands were granted to the Pennington family. They have thrived, legend says, because of the magical 'Luck of Muncaster', a glass drinking bowl originally owned by King Henry VI. He gave it to the family in 1464, declaring that as long as it remained intact, Penningtons would live and thrive at Muncaster.

The way John H. Farr tells it, old trucks like these are to be found in back yards throughout 'El Norte', the part of northern New Mexico where the town of Taos lies. The towns most famous resident is undoubtedly Kit Carson, the notorious Indian fighter from the days when ethnic cleaning was socially acceptable. In 1868 Carson died; in 1869 the Central Pacific met the Union Pacific at Promontory Point, Utah, marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad; in 1875 the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway commenced operations, and in 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the second transcontinental rail connection to Los Angeles.


From Our 2002 Archive: Jump Jet Recovery - Wednesday 4 September 2002

Harrier Recovery © Ian DaveyOne month ago, on 2 August 2002, a Royal Air Force Hawker Siddley Harrier 'Jump Jet' crashed into the sea near the English east coast town of Lowestoft. Photographer Ian Davey from SuffolkCAM.co.uk was on hand to capture the recovery. Afterwards the aircraft was cut up and placed on a low bed truck for its return journey to base at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire. The BBC reported the crash and the recovery. If you are set up to view RealPlayer format movies the BBC also has video footage of the moment of impact, with the pilot ejecting safely at an altitude of 50 feet.

Two years ago another Harrier crashed on 24 August 2000 to the west of Suffolk in the county of Wiltshire. At £35million a throw ($49million) August is an expensive month for the RAF. Paul Farrer spoke to one Harrier pilot elsewhere, who told him that the plane's onboard computer was "a bit better than a ZX Spectrum but not quite as good as a Commodore 64". Now I know why my buddy, who was a military aircraft maintenance technician, refuses to fly anywhere! The Joint Strike Fighters that will replace some Harriers were estimated in 2001 to cost between $73million and $106million each -- lets hope a PeeCee running Windows XP is not being considered.

SuffolkCAM has regular updates and an archive that I'm sure reflect the usually more orderly pace of life in that county. The pictures of rivers, swans, sunsets and ancient buildings should give you a good idea of peaceful Suffolk life at its best. [The site has recently had a makeover, and is linked from here in the 'UK CAM links' pulldown sidebar menu - Ed.]

Wednesday 3 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Bygone Fire Truck Finds PT Work
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
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Retired Hurricane Fire Truck © Ian Scott Parker
This old fire truck came out of retirement for an appearance at last weekend's 'Peach Days' to help raise funds for the fire fighters. Beats senior PT work as a Wal-Mart greeter! We always put dollars in the old fire fighter's boot they use for the collection… just in case we ever have to call them and they recognize us when they arrive. The middle of a burning building is neither the time nor the place to discuss one's recent record of charitable giving.

From Our 2002 Archive: More Timber & Plaster - Tuesday 3 September 2002
Alresford Fulling Mill © David Packman
Yesterday's featured HampshireCAM picture was by one of the two professional photographers who are behind the development of the web site. Today it is the turn of David Packman, the other partner. David's picture is also of a timber and plaster structure, but in a rural setting: the Fulling Mill at Alresford sits astride the River Alre, and is one of a series of David's pictures taken along the river.
[Sadly the 7 April 2002 page containing the River Alre series is no longer available. However, there are two gallery pages, [1] January-June and [2] July-December, full of excellent archived 2002 pictures. For an Australian friend, who likes quaint place names, we have also included a link to HampshireCAM's Wallops page. - Ed.]

Tuesday 2 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: Pass Storming Romans v. BMW Z3s
CREDITS: 1&2 © Tim Cullis/Z3Roadster.net 3&4 © Peter A. Jones/PassBuster
MAP: Hardknott Pass When clicked, thumbnails popup image source page.
Hardknott Sign 2 © Tim CullisHardknott BMW Z3 © Tim CullisHardknott View © Peter A. JonesHardknott Sign 1 © Peter A. Jones
A few days past, in a feature about the C2C (Coast To Coast Walk), we mentioned travel writer Michael Parfit. We enjoyed the complete PDF download of his article, where we read, 'We might have imagined joining a clanking company of Roman soldiers, except they'd have shamed us. Their rate of march even in the mountains is said to have been about 18 miles in five hours. We, on the other hand, were hard pressed to go half that speed.' Completely accepting the shameful speed of modern walkers, as critical readers we wondered at the claimed speed of the Roman infantry. Abandoning protective body armor, helmets, and shields might allow a higher speed, but without swords and spears they would hardly be soldiers. Carrying weapons, and walking in sandals, is not a comfortable way to travel.

We decided to experiment: setting our cardiac rehabilitation treadmill at the claimed 3.6 miles per hour and a gradient of 10%, we walked for 5 minutes; then 5 minutes at a 5% gradient; then we did a complete repetition. After 20 minutes and 1.2 miles we were gasping for breath and streaming in sweat. Did we mention we were not carrying weapons, and had the advantage of modern footwear? Whew! If the claimed speed and distance was achieved under special circumstances by an elite unit, we are impressed. If it was routinely expected of all soldiers, we stand in awe.

During the Roman occupation of Britain in the 1st century AD, a network of roads and forts allowed the administration to control the country. Halfway up the steepest road hill in England is where one of the forts, Hardknott, was built. Hardknott Pass, in what is now the county of Cumbria, has an official gradient of 30%, though on the inside of the hairpin twists the gradient must exceed even that steepness. We began a search on the web for people who might have stormed over this pass in the years after the Romans withdrew from Britain.

Pass storming was popular with cyclists in the years between the two world wars, and Allan Nelson has an interesting page entitled 'Cycling Before Lycra'. Allan says he has two hobbies, cycling and cycling in Italy! A second great page title, 'Cumbria To Umbria' was the result; actually it was Tuscany & Umbria, but as Allan says, it does not rhyme. As we say, why let accuracy spoil a good title? We enjoyed all Allan's parents cycling memorabilia by following the links from the pass storming page.

Peter A. Jones is the Trackster Man, who has stormed all the Lakeland passes in a single day! Actually Peter did omit three passes, but as we also say, why let accuracy spoil a good headline? The site has photo features from Peter's other trips in Asia, Africa, and the USA. Peter's Lakeland route was 90 miles, so nobody can accuse him of bicycling only on smooth, flat roads.

Mark Harding of Thames Velo ('Maidenhead's Premier Road Racing Club') reports on the 2003 Fred Whitton Challenge, 'After 110 miles, 3,320 metres of ascending, I crossed the line in 8 hours 27 minutes and gained 2nd category.' He has the output graph from his onboard bicycle computer to demonstrate his prowess through the Lakeland mountains when rising to Fred's challenge. Without doubt cyclists can travel at speeds that all Roman infantrymen, and modern hikers, must envy.

Then we found a web site that shows how to storm the high passes in a way that would have brought a tear to any Roman general's eye: Tim Cullis and his fellow marque enthusiasts travel in a convoy of BMW Z3 sports tourers! Environmental purists, The Friends Of The Lake District, plus assorted individuals and organizations dedicated to restricting democratic access to their favorite places, will doubtless be having seizures by now. We were torn between outright desire for these shiny, magnificent beasts, and the understanding of the cumulative effects of motorized traffic in the district. We felt like philosophers struggling to choose between Act and Rule Utilitarianism when tempted to pick daffodils in a public park.


From Our 2002 Archive: Tudor House Museum - Monday 2 September 2002

Tudor House Museum © Frank RiddleHampshireCAM.co.uk, a weekly updated CAM site about the eponymous English county, is jointly David Packman and Frank Riddle. Today's feature picture of the Tudor House Museum in Southampton is by Frank, so in fairness I have already chosen one of David's for tomorrow's feature. The two are both former Royal Air Force photographers, who on leaving the service became civilian news cameramen.

Frank is still working as a news cameraman in the English county of Hampshire. David is retired and webmaster for their site, as well being Studio Manager and webmaster for Winchester Hospital Radio. Frank's pictures of the wonderful Bargate (a Norman gateway arch dating from 1175) reminded me of when I revisited Southampton after many years absence. This time I was driving a 32-tonne truck, and headed for the docks. I thundered down the long straight approach road ('The Avenue' known as Above Bar and Below Bar, if I remember correctly) and wheeled around the Bargate, only to find myself totally confused while making a dramatic screeching halt, because at the other side there was now a pedestrian only area!

Regular visitors to this weblog may notice three sidebar pulldown menus. You will find that the menu items lead to nineteen UK CAM sites (including HampshireCAM), four CAM sites elsewhere in the world, and three photo gallery sites. All are places I have enjoyed visiting, and more will be added through time.

Monday 1 September 2003

Pix Of The Day: LeBaron Family Show Stopping Hit
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com

Picture available at 750x562 pixels for larger monitors, and at 1200x900 pixels for studio monitors: we have detected your monitor as When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

LeBaron Family Choir ©' Ian Scott-ParkerFriday and Saturday in Hurricane, UT, were 'Peach Days'. The city closes off 100 West beside the Fine Arts Center and the Old High School. The street is filled with booths selling food, gifts and novelties. The buildings are used for entertainments and craft competitions, while on the other side of the street the Elementary School playing field is home to a continuous rolling entertainment. The whole thing must be about as close to a medieval fair as modern life allows.

We chose to eat a half portion each of sweet Navajo Fry Bread and Pioneer Scone, both generously coated in butter and honey. We suspect that both items are closely related, being made from a flour, water, sugar and egg batter, which is deep fat fried by the Native Americans, but cooked on a hot griddle by the immigrant descendants. She who must be obeyed had entered a Topsyturvy Peach Decadence Cake in to the bake off, and when we went to collect it we discovered a free for all in progress: nobody had said that traditionally the crowd eats all the entries! We joined in, and on top of the other treats we were in sugar trauma before we left. It seems that on Peach Days the four basic food groups are sugar, fat, salt, and cholesterol.

Bloated by excess, we staggered to the concert in the park to catch the LeBaron Family Choir's gig. The family is eleven strong, boasts a trumpet & cornet duo, mother accompanying solos on piano, and father singing 'Granada' in Spanish! The patriotic and inspirational songs, sung with appropriate gusto or tenderness, pleased the crowd, but the show stopper was the youngest member of the family, Laura, when she belted out her solo. Who says TV has killed amateur entertainment?


From Our 2002 Archive: Cornish Wildlife - Sunday 1 September 2002

Peacock Butterfly © Charles WinpennyCommon Frog © Charles WinpennyToday's feature is pair of detail shots from Charles Winpenny's always excellent CornwallCAM.co.uk with a Peacock Butterfly and a Common Frog. Swing on over to Charles' site today and he has a Small Copper Butterfly, Nine Maidens, and the 5,000 year old Chun Quoit. Charles has exceeded even his usual high standards in the last few days.

  
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)