Archive for Non Fiction

Seems Like Old Times

A gentleman friend Photos from the summer of 1928, from my Great Aunt Lily’s album. She was born on the 20th August 1902 and so is nearly 26 in the four pictures in which she appears. Which are the one with the gentleman friend, the one on the beach with the young lady friend, the one in a quartet aseat on a wall and the one with a gentleman friend on what looks to be a rather dreary day in July,

Yore Gala

19280804tynemouthpoolgala

Here’s a picture – and we know the date it was taken because it helpfully says so in the album whence it was scanned – of a swimming gala held at Tynemouth Pool on the 4th of August 1928. It was probably taken by one of my great aunts or uncles. Maybe Ethel, maybe Lily. or maybe even by their brother Henry my grandfather. We just don’t know.

We’re all goin’ …

1956-i-sampsonjanem-saltwellparkbankholiday

On the back of this photo is noted Saltwell Park, Bank Holiday 1956 – when the subject was four months old. From this scrap of information (assuming it’s correct) we discover – with a little help from google (date of aug bank holiday 1956) and a handy website, that it was August 6, 1956. If anything untoward happened on that day at least this kid has an alibi for part of it.

Here’s what the day was like (and I quote):

Notably cold, with severe thunderstorms for some.

The weather pattern was very disturbed. Bank Holiday Monday was a notably poor day – regarded at the time as ‘one of the worst on record’! The day was dominated by a cool northerly airflow (though it’s strength had eased from the previous days). There were some spectacular (& slow-moving) thunderstorms, with large hail and some 4ft (over 1m) of water causing flooding in Tunbridge Wells (Kent). The storm started mid-morning, with heavy rain and the hail started just before midday. At one point, the centre of the town was buried under a foot (~30cm) of hail-ice, with drifts of hailstones up to 4ft (~1m) deep. In other areas, 62mm of rain fell in one hour at Swanage (Dorset) & Arundel (Sussex); 80mm of rain at Faversham (Kent). The midday temperature in central London was just 13degC (c.f. the average day maximum of 22degC). On this measure, it was regarded as the coldest Bank Holiday Monday in the capital since 1880. [ This August was one of the coldest and wettest of the 20th century. ]

But meanwhile, up in the north, maybe the weather wasn’t quite so bad?

It’s also (moderately) interesting that the August Bank Holidays back then were at the beginning of the month rather than, as now, at the end.

Nay Survey

So this woman is standing with a clipboard inside the shop, which is Maplin’s, and I’m on my way out and I haven’t bought anything (but she wouldn’t necessarily know that) and she asks (yes she does), like, “Would you mind taking part in a survey?” and I say “It’s ninety pounds an hour” and she laughs and says “No thanks” and lets me go without further ado.

Yes Problem

Are you annoyed when somebody says “no problem” to you after you’ve responded with the lack of interest due to that unsolicited offer they’ve just made you? Do your eyes moisten with despair when your ordinary request – at premises specifically there to service that request – is greeted with “no problem”? Is your gast flabbered that anybody who says “no problem” to you under such circumstances does not know how rib-tighteningly inappropriate such a remark is?

Do you want to ask such people “Why would it be a problem for you to solicit my attention for something you provide in which I’ve …” either (a) no interest, or (b) an interest. Or – more briefly – “What the hell’s wrong with you?”.

If so, then you may want to calm down a bit. The phenomenon doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, and may even be growing.

Arm yourselves

anticapitalist:

with knowledge.

People can be shot down. Cities can be burned or gassed. Entire ethnic groups can be destroyed. But an idea, when spread far and wide, can set fire and spread without caring who or what is in its way.

Ideas, when supported by enough people, and spoken loud enough, can change the world.

Speak out, violently if need be.

Never stop the spread of ideas.

It may be the only thing we’ll have left.

Which may take us to the close of Brecht’s ‘To Those Born Later’:

“… Oh, we
Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendliness
Could not ourselves be friendly.

But you, when the time comes at last
And man is a helper to man,
Think of us
With forbearance”