Thursday, 27 February 2014

In the Hall of the Mountain King - Sepia Saturday

When I saw our prompt for this week I knew where I was going.

But just to show willing I found some men on a mountain top.

Major Charles S Cotter of 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment at Point Lookout, Tennessee (Library of Congress)
Major Cotter has the telescope; the other seven officers and men are unidentified.

I doubt that they would have been able to see our three composers across there in Norway even if the time period had been the same. They definitely wouldn't have known where the Norwegian Mount Løvstakken was located.

Bergen and Mount Løvstakken
Bergen would not have looked like that through the telescope wielded by our composers and the 1500 seater concert hall would not have existed. I wonder what Grieg the man on the right in our prompt would have made of it.

Grieg Hall
(By Nina Aldin Thune - CC BY-SA 2,5)
I spent quite a time in Bergen when I worked in Norway at the end of the 1970s and the 1980s so recognised Løvstakken  immediately; it is one of the seven mountains which surround the city. I've even a photo or two.

I just wonder where our composers sat.

And Bergen would not be complete without a shot of Grieg himself.

Statue of Edvard Grieg, Bergen
You may recognise his hair style if you compare the statue with the man on the right of our prompt.

I don't think you would split hairs or pick a bone with me over that,

Sam might, now that he is exploring that great bone yard in the sky.

Just make sure you are looking through the right end of your telescope when you visit Sepia-Saturday-217.

In The Hall of The Mountain King
Composed by Edvard Grieg of Ibsen's play Peer Gynt

Returning to the scene of the crime - Take 2 - Thematic Photography

I hope you studied the crime scene well. Just to remind you this is what it looked like.

Of clues there are plenty

  • The pole is leaning towards the fence
  • The yellow tape identifies it as electrical. a street light perhaps
If we move in closer:

  • No impact marks on the pole
  • Tyre marks in the mud
  • But traffic goes by left to right, the pole slopes in the opposite direction
  • Broken tree branches in front and behind the pole.
  • What is the time frame involved?
  • An eyewitness saw a council wagon early on Monday morning on the opposite side of the road attending to this.

Has the culprit got its comeuppance?

It's dangerous to jump to conclusions. There may even be an element(ary) explanation.

It was a dark and stormy night (I've always wanted to start a story with those words) on Sunday
The wind becomes the prime suspect.

You mind not be so sure if you knew this winter had been the wettest in England and Wales since 1766. The roots of the tree could have been badly loosened.

Broken Roots
However there is yet another suspect which enters the frame. Have the roots been fatally attacked. The centre of the tree trunk was rotting.

Rotting trunk (center of cut end)
It might even be the green ivy that started the chain of events.

No matter what we decide, the streetlight can be replace and a tree replanted. A comparatively short time to replace the light but it will take at least 150 years for a tree to reach the size of the one that was lost.

As usual you can find the answers to other photographic puzzles at Carmi's place

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Returning to the scene of the crime - Thematic Photograpy

The challenge Carmi has set us this week to return to the scene of the crime reminded me of the phrase supposedly uttered by the police when they arrived at the scene.

Hello, hello, hello! What's been going on here then?
The victim has been all taped up at the side of the road, the prison fence stands intact behind. For the sleuths among you clues abound.

You will just have to return later in the week to see just what happened. In the meantime see if you can work out the guilty party.

To see posers set by other 'criminal' minds check out the (handcuff) links at Thematic-photographic-283.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Flowers for Valentines - Sunday Stamps

As we are too late for Valentine's Day and I don't have a heart(-shaped stamp), I took the cheapskate's option and went for flowers from my market trader instead.

British Wild Flowers (24 April 1967)
Top row, left to right::
  • Ox-eye Daisy, Coltsfoot and Buttercup
  • Bluebell, Red Campion and Wood Anemone
  • Larger Bindweed and Viper's Bugloss
Btm row
  • Hawthorn and Bramble
  • Dog Violet
  • Primroses
These would be hard to find at this time of year; I can only plead that we do have primroses out in our garden (well, just one or two.)

To see what hearts and flowers have appeared elsewhere, please check out other posts at Sunday-stamps-159.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Men in Suits - Sepia Saturday

This days wearing a suit makes me itch. Perhaps that's why I found myself at the local flea market earlier today and found some men in suits. Just don't ask who these four are/were.

However these two were named.

According to the back of the photo they were called Ben & Ern who had sent the photo to someone unknown in 1939, "With Best Wishes."

Our prompt for this week shows three men in suits. Well if you average the number of men in my two flea market photos you also come up with three.

However I can do better that that with this 'formal' shot.

Lord Nelson hands over the winner's cheque
Lincolnshire Iron & Steel Institute Dinner  1962
The man in the middle was C G Davies, President of The Lincolnshire Iron & Steel Institute and MD of Richard Thomas and Baldwins, Redbourn Works, Scunthorpe. My winning young members' paper that I had presented at a meeting earlier in the year was entitled "Experience with the Rotor Process at Redbourn Works, with special reference to lance control."

The plant at Redbourn was the only oxygen steelmaking Rotor process ever installed in the UK although there had been other plants in Germany, where the process was developed, and in South Africa.

Rotor Steelmaking Vessel
The vessel is in the blowing position with lance, which you can just see, on the right. The rotating vessel can be rotated through 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. It can also be be tilted; and tilted vertically when empty for the vessel to be removed for relining while another takes its place.

Rotor cross-section showing oxygen blowing in progress
Oxygen is blown through a lance (3) into the metal (1). The lance at Redbourn was different to this with the tip turned down. Impurities removed from the metal form a slag (2) with added lime.. Gases formed are extracted (5) to a gas cleaning plant..At the end of the process the metal can be decanted via a tap hole into a ladle (not shown) by tilting the vessel. The vessel produced about 100 tons of steel at a time.

Before I left Scunthorpe at the end of 1969 the steel industry had been nationalised. In 1971 I became Works Manager of a foundry and engineering shop in Billingham on Teesside and there were more men in suits.

Sir Monty Finniston visits APV Paramount
From right to left they are J F B Jackson, MD: Sir Monty Finniston - Chairman of British Steel, behind him Bill Cockburn, General Manager: Leslie Halling, Sales Director; A n other; and me complete with orange ear muffs..

The tubes that they were examining where intended for the British Steel Direct Reduction plant at Hunterston, Scotland. That plant never operated and was it was eventually moved to the USA.

So you can see that my early career was heavily involved with steel which brings me to men in suits in a drawing on my study wall.

Demonstration of an early steel rolling process
I must say one man is trying a hard sell; others look more sceptical.

For more suited gentry roll over to Sepia-Saturday-216.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Go Way Back - Thematic Photography

Go way back was the instruction Carmi gave us this week. I've made it back to the 1940s with this photo of three friends.

1947 Friendship
I did not know any of them then but one was later to become my wife.

The 1950s was the decade when I went to university in Scotland. St Andrews has some fantastic views from high vantage points.

St Rules, St Andrews Scotland
Where I got in on the act.

On a St Rules window ledge, 1956 or 1957
Mind you I felt much safer on a large rock attached to the shore.

St Andrews - 1956/57
Having married that girl in 1958, it was 1961 before our first son arrived. I guess that the next shot was taken in early 1962.

An improvised paddling pool 50+ years ago
I think I have been back far enough; to see what others have done, hobble across to Thematic-photographic-282.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Hong Kong and China - Sunday Stamps

Hong  Kong became a British Colony after the First Opium War (1839-1842). It remained under British Control until 1997 before being handed over to China. I am able to show stamps when the island was British.

Hong Kong (British)
And from when it became part of China.

Hong Kong, China
This is an Asian bird I hadn't heard of before, I found one on You Tube which I thought I would include.

For other Chinese stamps you need to fly over to Viridian's Sunday-stamps-158.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

"Farewell to the leeries" - Sepia Saturday

When I saw this week's prompt of a Glasgow street, I thought 'Oh. No!'

'I've done omnibuses and buses before.'

But when I looked closer this is what I saw.

The Glasgow Herald of 2nd September 1971 carried the headline, "Glasgow says farewell to the leeries."

Reading further it reported that the Lord Provost had lit the only remaining gas lamp in Glasgow for the last time. In 1780 street lighting was provided by 9 oil lamps and the first gas lamps dated from 1818.

We know that London had gas lamps earlier that that,Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) recorded the reactions to gas lights in Pall Mall.

Caricature - engraved by Thomas Rowlandson, 1809 from a drawing by Woodward
The dialogue reads:

Well-informed gentleman
"The Coals being steam'd produces tar or paint for the outside of Houses -- the Smoke passing thro' water is deprived of substance and burns as you see."
"Arragh honey, if this man bring fire thro water we shall soon have the Thames and the Liffey burnt down -- and all the pretty little herrings and whales burnt to cinders."
Rustic bumpkin
"Wauns, what a main pretty light it be: we have nothing like it in our Country."
"Aye, Friend, but it is all Vanity: what is this to the Inward Light?"
Shady Female
"If this light is not put a stop to -- we must give up our business. We may as well shut up shop."
Shady Male
"True, my dear: not a dark corner to be got for love or money."

All this reminded me of the 1940 novel by Michael Sadlier, later made into a film and even later a BBC TV series, called  'Fanny by Gaslight' - an exploration of prostitution in the Victorian London of the 1880s. But that's a different theme.

My researching for gas lights and men up ladders led me even further afield.

Stockholm Gas Light - Gustav Adolf Hallqvist tends his last light at Norrbro, 18 December 1953
(By Gunnar Lang)
Installation of lights in Berlin required more than one man and a much bigger ladder.

August Fuhrmann - Installation of Gas Lights in Berlin 1890
I have a vague recollection of houses in the village where I was born that were lit by gas, but can't think of where I have seen any gas street lights.

However anyone would remember seeing the greatest gas lights of all, wherever you are..

Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights
(Bear Lake, Alaska - US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Joshua Strang)
In the Southern hemisphere you would see the Aurora Australis. Aurora are caused by solar particles colliding with gases (oxygen and nitrogen) in the Earth's atmosphere. It's the excited gas molecules that give the lights their colour.

To see what others have got excited about this week cross over to Sepia-Saturday-215.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Thematic Photography - Emptiness

Emptiness may be in the eye of the beholder; it depends on what you see or don't see in the shot.

Empty dock at Oxford Lakes, Michigan
The shot of the dock was taken for a court case relating to an accident at the site.

On a different occasion a harbour may look empty too.

Whitby Harbour, North Yorkshire - 2008
But for atmospheric emptiness it would be hard to beat this shot of Skye taken in 1957.

Skye, from Raasay
Despite the emptiness theme I'm sure you will find plenty more to admire at Carmi's Thematic-photographic-281.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Flowers - Sunday Stamps

Here are some that I  received recently. I hope you can recognise the flowers - I'm still trying to confirm what they are.

And one from the Channel Islands.

Jersey - Ragged Robin
I'm pleased that they called this flower by its common name; it would have taken me a while to sort it out from the Latin.

For more flower arrangements visit Viridian at Sunday-stamps-157.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Pia-Pia-Piano - Sepia Saturday

You could not describe me as musical in any way; I can't play an instrument or hold a tune, at school I was told to mime in the House Group during the annual music competition. Mind you there was a time when at children's parties I have had to join in 'The Music Man'.

I don't know what the couple at the piano in our prompt were playing/singing but I doubt it included 'pia-pia-piano'. However it did inspire me to find a 19th century piano player.

Piano Player - 19th Century Replica
(By David Maiolo, 13 Oct 2007 - CC BY-SA 3.0)
The young man is concentrating hard and is playing without music, unlike our prompt, but he does have some photos on the top of his piano.

There are music and flowers in my second photo of an American singer and piano player who died in 1939.

Lois Weber at the piano
(Press photo from the George Bain Collection purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948)
Apparently Lois perfected her singing and piano playing in her church choir.

This week's prompt is made for our own music man, Sepian Mike Brubaker at temposenzatempo. You will find him and others at Sepia-Saturday-214,

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Made of Steel - Thematic Photography

I could have just gone to my archives for pictures 'made of steel', however I chose to shoot some more - again on my morning walk.

Lane End Gate
The wooden fence has weathered to pale green (not as yellow as it appears in the photo); the bottom of the steel gate is turning green as well.

At the local garage there is a steel array,

Venting system for the subterranean petrol (gas) tanks 
To give you some idea of scale, they are not as high as the house and the protective steel hoops at the front are about knee high.

When I get back from my walk I am always ready for a coffee, but not the tea from this:

Green Tea Anyone?
You just wonder what the litter lout was thinking when he or she threw this stainless steel teapot away.

For more things made of steel, steal across to Carmi's Thematic-photographic-280.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Folk Art - Sunday Stamps

Some of the themes set by Viridian force me to find out more about the stamps in my collection. This week's theme of folk art is no exception as I knew nothing about the ones I have to show other than where they came from.

Ireland - Winged Ox
Ireland - Eagle
Apparently both these image appear in the Lichfield Bible. Ireland issued a prehistoric art series in 1969. I haven't traced the issue  of these two denominations to that date but the art series definitely contains a lower denomination winged ox. I'm still investigating the two above.

For more art shows visit the links to be found at Sunday-stamps-156.