Tag Archives: accuracy

Still Sniffing and Sneezing

The day started with me taking pictures of the wrecked polytunnel to support Julia’s bid for funding to recover it. Then I drove to the shop.

Arriving early I sat and listened to Tony  Robinson reading a Terry Pratchett novel.  Pratchett could, at times, be a bit irritating, and, in my opinion, lost his edge over the years, but he’s still moderately amusing.  Tony Robinson is also quite irritating. The audio books are heavily discounted, but if I could find Wodehouse for the same price there would be no contest.

I managed to be a bit more active today, but by the end was beginning to flag. When I actually stepped outside the wind felt absolutely freezing and I needed the car heater on all the way home.

After a couple of hours of light TV watching I’m giving serious consideration to going to bed. I’m just waiting to see the report about the Nigerian bobsleigh team and then I’ll make a decision.

I just watched the report, and read an article on the team. Although it’s interesting it’s also very noticeable that the first Nigerians, and also the first Africans, to qualify, are actually American by birth and upbringing, which is a bit disappointing. However, I’m probably being churlish by insisting on accuracy over hype.

I’m now waiting for the Cool Runnings remake. And yes, I am aware that Cool Runnings is massively inaccurate, but then again, it’s a film, not a news report. At one time we used to have different standards of accuracy for news and fiction.

Watching TV and Reflecting on the Unfairness of Life

I’ve just been watching Countryfile Autumn Diaries on TV whilst writing up the second post about our visit to Stoke. I’m fuming. I often fume, as you have no doubt noticed, but this time I’m having to hold myself back from throwing something at the TV.

It seems that many of our common garden plants are poisonous. Knew that.

Garden soil contains bacteria which helps cure depression. I’ve written about that more than once in this blog.

They also showed us a group of men who get health benefits from working together in a garden group (a sort of Men in Garden Sheds). Knew that.

Darwin was an expert on earthworms. I’ve blogged on that too. I can also tell you that he was related to the Wedgwoods of Stoke, which I visited yesterday, and that he noticed the activity of earthworms when discussing how all the pottery waste was pulled down into the soil.   They didn’t tell you that on TV.

Then they visited the worm farm where I bought our wormery.

So there you are. I’m sitting at home unemployed, and possibly unemployable, and those idiots are getting paid lots on TV for talking about stuff I already know. There’s something wrong with the world.

If I’d been able to find something to throw there would be something wrong with my TV too.

It’s not even my specialist subject.

Talking of which, Tim Wonnacott managed to make three errors in thirty seconds yesterday when talking about Princess Mary tins.

I’m not saying I’d be any good at presenting TV shows, or that I’m always accurate, but it does seem like money for old rope when all you’re doing is talking about stuff I already know.

The most famous medal in the world

There are probably several contenders for this title. For the purposes of this post I will suggest that the most famous medal in the world is Siegfried Sassoon’s Military Cross. There’s a lot written about Sassoon’s decorations – some people claiming he won a bar to his MC, and others that he was recommended for a DSO and even a VC. Be that as it may, he was given an MC, and, according to the legend, he threw it in the Mersey when he decided to make his protest against the continuation of the war.

I haven’t seen the film Regeneration but I’m told that Sassoon tears the medal from his tunic and throws it in the water.

It’s a good story, though it isn’t true. That’s the trouble with legends, and as they say in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

The novel Regeneration is quite clear that it’s only the tunic ribbon that gets thrown away and in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer Sassoon says:

I ripped the M. C. ribbon off my tunic and threw it into the mouth of the Mersey. Weighted with significance though this action was, it would have felt more conclusive had the ribbon been heavier. As it was, the poor little thing fell weakly on to the water and floated away as though aware of its own futility.

So, what did happen to the medal?

It finally came to light in 2007 when a member of the family went through a trunk in the attic and found the MC in its case, along with an ID disc, a revolver and “some poetry medals”. It was put up for auction “on behalf of the family” with an estimate of £25,000 (about 100 times more than an MC without the Sassoon connection at the time).

However, it seems that not all the family agreed and it was withdrawn from the sale, later turning up with his Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in the Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

In case you find it off-putting to discuss fame and bravery in terms of cash, don’t. As an ex-antiques dealer I can tell you nobody else does. In fact, many of the recipients sell their own medals. As the links show, Sassoon wasn’t much bothered about his medals, and apparently told the family to sell them.

He never bothered to claim his campaign medals, which were eventually claimed by his son. They were duly put up for auction with his CBE and made £4,375 despite the fact he was dead before the campaign medals were issued so they had no personal link to him. Again, this would be about 100 times more than you’d normally expect.

If you think that’s a lot, how about his hockey medal? It was sold with the final contents of Heytesbury House (after the building itself had been sold) and then sold again in 2012 for £880.

I could go on. In fact I’ve probably gone on too long anyway.

There are plenty of catalogues of around relating to sales of Sassoon’s property (he seems to have had a lot of stuff) if you search for them, including his Point to Point Cups and hunting coats – Wooley and Wallis 27th October 2010 if you’re interested. (I just had a look through their last militaria sale and see they recently sold Lord Kitchener’s tea cosy for £600).

Just one final note – when Cambridge University bought his papers, seven boxes of them, they paid £1.25 million. That really is a lot of money for the sort of stuff Julia makes me throw away.

 

The importance of being accurate

I used to work for an auctioneer, and some years after that I ran my own postal auction.Yes, I have had an indirect route to where I am now. However, the point in telling you this is not to discuss my lamentable career planning but to talk about accuracy.

When you prepare auction catalogues you have to be extremely accurate. Today I fell short of this standard when I found myself telling people I’d cut my thumb with a Sudoku. In fact I had cut my thumb with a santoku. The two things are quite different, as you will know.

Put it down to old age and getting up at 5 am.

As a result there are a number of people who now think that I have a paper cut of legendary proportions.

It wasn’t the only thing I did in the day but it was the one I will remember longest. The hedge will grow again, the weeds will reappear and the herbs in my new Mediterranean planter will fade and die. But people will remember my error.

Apart from the ones who will remember my massive paper cut.