Archive for March, 2017

As with a lot of others around the world I followed the terrible news of the attack in Westminster. I was shocked to learn that the attacker stayed in Brighton the night before and even more shocked as to the location of the hotel. I lived on Havelock Road and went to Balfour Road School in the 1950’s not far from there.

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Flux Capacitor

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I came across something really interesting and cool today. Having been invited to join fellow steampunk enthusiasts in a Facebook group, Southern society of steampunk steamologists I got a post of an event they were holding. It included something called teapot racing? Teapot racing? Wot the heck is that? Well, it is exactly that, teapot racing. Like I need another project.

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Wishful Thinking

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The Chess Problem

At first I thought it was a hoax at first but some after some cursory investigation it may not be. The email address that one is supposed to write to with a solution was only registered last year and at first I couldn’t find any Penrose Institute but I did find it eventually and it may all be legit because that site was only started last year too.

Where I saw the original story, then another more in depth story I found here…So, to the problem itself but I must admit I’m still a little suspicious.

Initial observations are thus. Black has no moves it can make other than the bishops and all three are on black squares so the white king is relatively safe on white squares. There seems to be some clues provided, the hand drawn chess board has an x diagonally beside the furthest white pawn. Significant? Perhaps. It also says below it that it’s easy for humans and that it is a ‘legal’ position. Amusing to say the least, here is some chatter on the forums at chess.com

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I belong to a group on Facebook called Westward Ho! History Group and post there today reminded me of an event back in the late sixties that would be amusing to relate.

Back then I used to augment my teenage earnings with doing a 2-3 hour paper route on Sundays. I used to do a paper route six days a week already for the Northam Newspaper Agent before school and Saturdays too. Somehow I ended up doing the Sunday one too for this guy on a scooter and sidecar. Anyway, the post in the group was of a guy at a garage on Nelson Road and I thought I recognized him.

Somebody else posted that they too did a paper route on Sundays with this guy and somebody else said he still picks up golf balls on the burrows, plays snooker and table tennis apparently despite being 80 years old now. It was the table tennis that jogged my memory because that must be how I too ended up playing, it was the same guy that ran the club in Bideford. Ended up playing on a team that played in a league, we used to go around to different places and towns and play our games. We were young and I don’t recall ever winning any games against the older more experienced opponents though.

Where is this going you ask? Well, I was on the Bideford quay late one evening waiting for the doubledecker bus to take me home to Westward Ho! after table tennis at the club. Because of it’s location you could see the bus coming along the other side of the river and over the bridge etc. I watched it almost get over the bridge then it stopped with the other cars and traffic on the bridge, and then they all started backing up! I waited wondering what to do next then a bus inspector came along the quay to the bus stop where I was waiting and he said they had to get another bus out of the depot to take me home because the bridge has fallen down! Eventually a bus came and I went home. My Father was waiting up for me in his dressing gown and met me at the door. Rather irately he asked why I was so late. I said the bridge had fallen down and had to wait for them to get another bus. He didn’t believe me and said I could have come up with a better excuse than that. Next day of course it was all over the news and my excuse became a perfect example of truth is stranger than fiction.

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Well, not quite back to the beginning but to a point when we arrived here on the last stop of our world tour. This is where I planned this particular post and to hopefully carry on from there, and catch up. Anyway, we arrived pretty much just before the 100 year celebration of the areas two towns or villages, depending how you look at it, Rycroft, where we now live, and Spirit River just 8kms west. I found it rather fortuitous to arrive at this particular time because I’m a firm believer in learning and trying to be a part of the community where one lives. I remember remarking to someone it was wonderful that the pioneers, through all their hard work, prepared this place for our arrival. Okay, a bit tongue in cheek perhaps but it leads into those pioneers that indeed do the hard slog of carving out a life in this area.

The first stop was the local hall in Rycroft to see the celebratory displays that were set up. Extraordinary it was too, all the old photographs and family history of those that homesteaded the area were in evidence.

I spotted the Dika family exhibit and was pleased to learn about their contribution to the local because the house we bought was from that family. In the end I thought we have it easy and there are some pretty big shoes to fill.

Along with all the many events that were going on in both communities we also visited the Spirit River Museum and what a wonderful experience that was. They have done a grand job of preserving their heritage and many other communities could do well to learn from them.

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Another Reminder

When I go on the internet there are certain places I gravitate to, I call it ‘making the rounds’. I’m sure many others do the the same thing visiting their favourite places to see what’s happening or what’s new and interesting. One of those places I go almost daily is The Presurfer and was very saddened to learn about his passing on February 25th. Apparently Gerard Vlemmings, who made and ran ‘The Presurfer’ blogged for over 16 years was 67 when he passed away. There now will be always be something missing from my daily rounds as I reminded again of my own mortality. Belated cheers to you Gerald, I and many other thoroughly enjoyed your blog, but like others maybe, I regret never saying or doing anything to let you know that your blog was our daily treat. Condolences to the family.

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The Weather

While thinking about what to write about next I thought I would write about that old standby the weather. Talking about the weather is a very English thing apparently and usually the topic of conversation when people meet up as a breaking the ice type of thing. It’s also the fall back topic when one runs out of things to say. I haven’t run out of things to say, far from it, I was having trouble deciding that’s all.

The forecast for my neck of the woods shows another possible chinook which naturally would be most welcome. It looks a little longer than the previous ones and hopefully it’s the precursor to spring.

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One of the interesting tales concerning our family is the story handed down of the apparent favourite book of my Grandfathers, ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell’. It unfortunately wasn’t among the possessions left behind in Canada went he returned to England and when he passed away whatever he had for possessions over there went to the family of his third wife we assume. A few inquiries were made but nothing came of it. So when I spotted the 100 year celebration reprint and special edition for sale on Hastings Online I decided to get two copies, one for my Uncle who is my Grandfathers son and one for myself.

The question has always been why would it be his favourite book? Having read it now it seems to be quite clear and provides some insight that we’ve never had about his life and thinking around those early years of the 20th century. The book is clearly a socialist treatise on the plight of the common lowly worker and was written at an interesting time in British history too. I was first published in 1914 I believe and my Grandfather would have come into possession of it in the 1920’s perhaps. One of the interesting historical events that happened in the 1920’s was the general strike of 1926 and I remember my Grandmother telling me that it was a very scary time, people filled the streets and they stayed inside for the most part. My Grandfather would have been around 23 years old at that time and just starting his working life. The turbulent times for workers and how they were treated would have been on a lot of peoples mind back then and quite likely the catalyst for my Grandfather having this type of book. Because of that we can perhaps infer he was a bit of a socialist perhaps?

The last little twist of this tale is when I came to Rycroft and joined the library. I discovered in they had an old copy of this very same book, what are the chances of that*smile*.


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