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Saturday, 16 September 2017
Sunday, 10 September 2017
|The Kings Head pub in Chigwell Village|
One of the most famous buildings in Chigwell is the Kings Head pub, much beloved of Charles Dickens. He actually based The Maypole pub in Barnaby Rudge upon this one. Each floor overhangs the one below and there is a story that King Charles I hid there when he was on the run. While quite possibly being true, that claim is made by many other places as well! The building is now owned by local resident, Lord Sugar. Former patrons include the highwayman Dick Turpin and Sir Winston Churchill.
Chigwell School is famous for many things, one of which is that a former pupil William Penn was the founder of Pennsylvania. Other former pupils include the actors Sir Ian Holm and Ken Campbell and the TV presenter Ben Shepard. Harsnetts House built in the late 1500s was purchased for the school in 1627.
Chigwell School today
The finest building in Chigwell is Grange Court which lately was used as a residence for boarding pupils at the school. However when I saw it recently it looked empty and neglected. It is a Grade II* listed building so would be an expensive undertaking for any purchasers - and there have been many famous ones in the past.
Grange Court, a late 18th century house in Chigwell Village
St Marys church in Chigwell High Road was founded in the 12th century. The view below shows the only Norman parts remaining. The door way is completely original but the bell tower is 15th century and there was extensive 19th century enlargement of the building. The church is also Grade II* listed.
St Mary the Virgin, Chigwell
Two other local features are Rolls Park, a former Stately Home that was once the lifetime residence of Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey who fought alongside Admiral Nelson as one of the key figures in the Battle of Trafalgar. He was the Captain of The Fighting Temeraire in Turner's famous painting.
JMW Turner, The Fighting Temeraire
The other local feature worth seeing is Chigwell Meadows Nature Reserve, a 21 acre park land with hard paths providing a circular route around the tree and flower lined walkways. Among others Poplar, Oak, Walnut and Willow trees provide shade while a plethora of indigenous wild flowers such as bluebells, creeping cinquefoil, red and white clover, cow vetch and yarrow provide colour and texture to the landscape.
The swale that runs through the centre of the meadow is a man-made water feature and is part of a sustainable urban drainage system connected to the tranquil pond. It is of special scientific interest as its ecological development can be studied from construction through to maturity. The reeds within the Swale help to filter the water and they also create valuable habitat for wildlife.
Postscipt: When I led my walking group through Chigwell Village a couple of weeks a go I told them as we entered a field through a Kissing Gate that I would like their opinion on whether or not a recent excavation on the far side of the field was a Roman bath. What I knew was that there was an abandoned modern bath-tube in among the long grass. When we came across it there was hysterical laughs all round. I don't know how long the bath had been there but you can just make it out on Google maps!
I'm listening to the magical Granada from the Suite Española by Isaac Albéniz, possibly my favourite composer. You can hear it here.
Saturday, 2 September 2017
|Three of the many recordings of Roll Over Beethoven|
Chuck Berry was always took care to write intelligible lyrics and to make sure they could be heard properly. He wanted to avoid the fate of Little Richard's records which were covered in sanitised versions and provided bigger hits for Pat Boone.
Roll Over Beethoven lyrics:
Gonna mail it to my local DJ
It's a jumpin’ little record
I want my jockey to play
Roll Over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today
You know, my temperature's risin'
And the jukebox blowin’ a fuse
My heart's beatin' rhythm
And my soul keeps a-singin' the blues
Roll Over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news
I got the rockin' pneumonia,
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I caught the rollin' arthritis
Sittin' down at a rhythm review
Roll Over Beethoven, they’re rockin' in two by two
Well, if you feel it an’ like it
Go get your lover, then reel and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just
A trifle further and reel and rock with one another
Well, early in the mornin' I'm a-givin' you my warnin'
Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
Hey diddle diddle, I am playin' my fiddle,
Ain't got nothin' to lose
Roll Over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news
You know she wiggles like a glow worm,
Dance like a spinnin' top
She got a crazy partner,
You oughta see 'em reel and rock
Long as she got a dime the music won’t never stop
Roll Over Beethoven, Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven, Roll Over Beethoven,
Roll Over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues
Friday, 25 August 2017
Friday, 18 August 2017
Q2. Which 1967 novel that tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family?
Q3. For which scientist and broadcaster did Broca's Brain win a Pulitzer Prize in 1978?
Q4. What do the titles of John Updike's In the Beauty of the Lilies and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath have in common?
Q5. Who, after asking “why is a raven like a writing-desk?”, admitted that he "hadn't the slightest idea" when the person he asked gave up?
Q6. What book is the first in the series A Song of Ice and Fire?
Q7. What was the name of Holden Caulfield's younger sister in Catcher in the Rye?
Answers will be posted in one week - probably.
Sunday, 13 August 2017
The name of Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920 - 1958) should be as well-known to us as those of James Watson and Frances Crick who were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery of the structure of DNA but it is not. She died at the tragically young age of 37 of ovarian cancer. That, however, is not the only tragedy in this story.
|I like this picture of Rosalind as a young woman; actually she was only ever young.|
Click HERE to listen. The whole cast appear to be visibly moved by the event.
Monday, 7 August 2017
|Fitzroy Square, designed by Robert Adam, is one of the finest in London. |
It is often used as a feature film and TV drama location especially as it traffic-free.
The garden in the centre of Fitzroy Square is private; all the residents have a key. However, you can admire a sculpture by Naomi Blake just inside the railings - see my post about her HERE. Two sides of the square are faced with Portland stone, like many of the important buildings in central London. Because of the intervention of the Napoleonic wars the later sides were finished in stucco plaster due to financial restrictions.
|Charlotte Street is famed for it's restaurants, many of them are long-established.|
The King and Queen pub in Foley Street (where Charles Dickens once lived) is where, in 1962, Time Out magazine said one of the most important gigs of all time was played. That was where Bob Dylan played outside of the USA for the first-ever time.
Charlotte Street is famous for restaurants and the Scala cinema and theatre, since demolished, is where the concert and some exterior scenes of The Beatles 'A Hard Days Night' were filmed.
|Colville Place, Fitzrovia. Photo: Silver Tiger|
I'm listening to Amy Winehouse singing
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
We really lost the very best when she died.
Click HERE to listen.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Thursday, 20 July 2017
|We had this 1897 poster in our dining room when first married many years ago.|
Mucha's Jewish roots and Slav nationalism made him a target of the Gestapo after the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and he died of a chest infection in Prague that year.
I am listening to John Williams playing Vals Criollo by Antonio Lauro Click HERE to listen to this beautiful piece of music
Monday, 26 June 2017
|This photo is borrowed, with permission, from Philip Wilkinson's excellent |
ENGLISH BUILDINGS Blog. See http://englishbuildings.blogspot.co.uk/
|Other examples of tiled paths of the same era|
I'm listening to Kirsty MacColl singing
Billy Bragg's A New England
Thursday, 15 June 2017
|Self Portrait, Lucian Freud, 1985|
Although Freud eschewed the avant-garde of his contemporaries, such as David Hockney, he was strikingly unusual in his detailed depiction of genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics in general. His explicit illustrations showed the same level of detail that a botanical painter of flowers might show.
He is regarded as one of the leading self-portraitists of the twentieth century. He did not -exhibit the range of earlier self-portraitists such as Rembrandt or Van Gogh but he revealed psychological insights into all of his subjects in a new way.
|Freud with Kate Moss and his painting of her|
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
London has over 40% of green space - one of the highest percentages in the world. Regents Park with Primrose Hill to the north is shown in orange. The black area is London Zoo, within the the park. The map represents an area about 35 miles across!
|Japanese style bridge over a water feature in Regent's Park|
|Queen Mary's Gardens in the centre of Regent's Park|