Photographs from the Museum

There are actually four cottages in the block you see – one at each end and L-shaped back to backs in the middle. Victorians knew how to cram them in. Water came via the pump you can see in the middle of the photo. The toilets are behind me and the wash house is in the end of the left hand building. No indoor facilities then, unless you count guzundas.

These are the toilets – there were approximately 100 people on site so the provision is hardly generous. They also appear to be unisex. Not sure if women worked there, but if they did it’s hardly the Victorian approach I’d have expected.

The effluent falls down the privy and emerges through the arches in the side of the pit. With 100 people using it, you’d think they’d need something a bit deeper.

The cottages are very well fitted out, though I’m not sure they have the smell right. I’m sure that with candles, crowds, open cesspits and and a lack of washing facilities the smell must have been well to the forefront of your life in those days. They have smell sprays at Jorvik to give you more of an idea. I didn’t think they were terribly convincing twenty years ago, but they may have improved.

Sorry about the low tone of this post, but like any man, there’s a small boy lurking just under the surface, and small boys are fascinated by toilets.

 

The Scone Chronicles – the 6th visit (the one with No Scones)

We went to the Framework Knitters Museum yesterday and are now Friends of the Framework Knitters Museum. It didn’t actually cost any more than paying to visit the museum and we can now visit for the rest of the year without further payment, get a discount on refreshments and go to special events. I’m going to be quite an expert by the end of the year.

Regarding refreshments, this might not be as good as it sounds.

After going round the museum and being well and truly demonstrated too by keen and knowledgeable volunteers, we went to the tea room. We had a nice cup of tea served by the lady who had signed us up as Friends (clearly a paragon amongst multi-tasking volunteers). The tea room was traditional, and the china was fine. The tea came with a packet of biscuits.

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Chintzy china with reflected light fitting

So, you ask, what about the scones? Even if you don’t ask I’m going to tell you. They were absent. There was no evidence of scones. In fact, the only comestibles in evidence were muffins in bags.

I’m hoping this might be temporary.

But deep in my heart I fear it may not be a simple short supply situation, but a full-blown serious scone shortage.

That’s a sad summer scenario.

Random Subject – Swimming

I thought I’d try a random subject today, and the subject of swimming came up.

Unfortunately I know nothing about swimming, but if I ignore the prompt there’s no point in generating it.

I haven’t been swimming for around forty years, and unless I find myself on a sinking ship I have no intention of swimming again. It’s like skydiving – unless the aeroplane is on fire I’m not going to jump out of it.

I’ve probably forgotten how to swim by now anyway.

Even if I haven’t forgotten how to swim, and assuming I wanted some gentle exercise, I’m not going to expose myself to ridicule and the possibility of an attempted rescue by Greenpeace.

It’s also time to remove most of the swimming from the Olympics. In 2020 there will be 35 swimming events in the pool. If you are good at swimming you can easily end up with half a dozen medals. If you are good at riding a bike it will take a couple of Olympics to get that many. And if you are a rower it will take 16 years to get five medals.

Somehow it doesn’t seem fair.

Sir Steve Redgrave has five golds for rowing in five consecutive Olympics, and is only our fourth most successful Olympian – beaten by Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Sir Bradley Wiggins. He had to win one every four years, and couldn’t have a bad day. The last three are all cyclists, in case you didn’t know. They won multiple medals for pedalling quickly round a track on something my mother used to use for going shopping on.

I’d be more impressed if they did their events with a basket on the and a load of shopping piled up in it. Rowers could also take a fishing rod.

So, to summarise. Swimming. Too many Olympic events. Cut them all back so athletes are operating on a level playing field. Redesign the cycling and rowing events, and introduce a pursuit category to the swimming.

It would be like a normal swimming event but just after the swimmers dive in…

…you release the shark.

 

Day 102!

After failing in my challenge to write 100 posts in 100 days I decided to keep quiet about my new challenge, which was to write 100 posts in 100 days.

I’m consistent, if nothing else.

I’m also better at writing than I am at counting. When I checked to see if it was 100 days yet, I found it was actually 102 days since the first post of the run.

It doesn’t really matter – I’ve managed 100 consecutive days. Now I can relax.

To celebrate I’m going to have a nice cup of tea and chuck in a gratuitous robin picture.

We had the talk on framework knitters last night, the one I nearly went to last week. I’m going to visit within the coming month, and check out the tea room, so watch this space!

 

Spring is Coming

You don’t have to take my word for it – look at the birds.

The Black-headed Gulls are regaining their black heads.

The idiots are also out in force. This prime example spotted the perfect spot to stand and ruin my shot. Then he moved a few feet away before coming back for another go.

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Idiotus Domesticus

Robins were singing in the dogwood hedges (Cynical note to self – Robins are always good for attracting likes).

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Robin and dogwood

And the ducks are looking in fine fettle for breeding.

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Finely fettled ducks

And finally – it’s clear what is on this pigeon’s mind, even if the object of his desire isn’t interested.

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number 5

The last scone report was a bit of a cheat because it featured oatcakes rather than scones.  However, it seemed a bit of a waste not to mention oatcakes as we were in Stoke. This one, also from Wednesday, does feature scones.

After the various trials of the day we ended up at Westport Lake. It’s not very impressive at first sight – muddy surroundings, idiots with bread and lots of domestic geese.

It was actually quite pleasant once you started looking at the birds. I don’t need rarities, I can amuse myself with common birds, and the sight of tame geese chasing toddlers for food never loses its appeal.

The cafe is in the visitor centre, which is a wooden building that looks a bit like an ark and is mainly balanced on legs over an artificial pond. I’m not quite sure why they built it on legs, but it’s quite interesting. We ordered scones and tea and sat on the balcony. The seats are a bit tight for a man of ample posterior.

The scones were too dry and crumbly for my taste, but once buttered and jammed looked OK, though one pat of butter isn’t really enough for a large scone.

The first half of my scone had a slight, though not unpleasant, tang of baking soda.  Julia confirmed that hers did too, though she thought it was a bit off-putting. By the end of my second half I was beginning to agree with her. Early in my scone baking days I made a batch where I failed to mix the baking soda in properly so I do sympathise, though it should be easy enough for a professional baker to avoid the problem.

I think we’ll be back – it’s a pleasant place to spend time and they have oatcakes in the cafe too.

 

More Medallions, Many More Medallions…

We lost a medallion today. We have boxes of them, so it wasn’t a surprise, as you always feel like you’re on the edge of disaster.

I looked for it twice, handling every plastic-cased medal we had in the shop.

Nothing.

Rather than writing to the customer to confess I’d lost it, I decided that I’d have another look through, and double check every medallion. I found it after twenty minutes. It was in a plastic case with a blue insert. I was looking for a red insert, which is what the computer told me I was looking for.

 

 

In the end the only discrepency I found between the eBay shop and reality, was one medallion. I solved that when I moved a notebook and found the missing medallion had slipped underneath.

It also gave me chance to sort out some new ones. We keep finding more…