Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I love small town fairs - NEMO Old Thrashers weekend.

 Well Saturday we got up to farm town and attended once again the Old Thrashers event.

Chance to watch and see how the old equipment was used.

This truck seperated the corn from the cob. I am sure there is a name for that process but I didn't catch it.
 Ah Shucks!
 Another view of the truck.
It doesn't look like it could still run but it does.

 Another old steam tractor.
 This machine seperated the cobs from the stalk.

And still worked.

This machine attached to a very large steam tractor thrashed oats.

And unlike festivals in larger towns where it is okay to sell Vietnamese Kabob's (among other non-related things) at Scottish themed Festivals, evey thing seemed to have a purpose with what was being celebrated; old farm life.

 Making new friends.
 Very young.
 "This town ain't big enough for the three of us philgrim."
 How to make apple cider
 Lots of old tools.
 And some ideas I had never seen before (which is not unusual.)
 My favorite parts are the kids rides that are home-made and tractor driven.
 All tractor powered.

 And made with stuff from around the town.

Pulled by tractor, made out of barrels and on the go all day.

It is also fun to see the same people year after year doing these rides again.

 And of course there are lots of other things going on.

 Rope making.
What a great day!

New post on the Log Blog

Log Blog

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

It's time. . . to let go.

Just ask my wife, it's hard for me to let go of things.
Especially family things.
But some times you just have to.

This time it was family films, from the 1960's.
I have wanted to preserve them in another format for years. But it is very expensive, or was.

But you still have to let them go, put them in someone else's hands.
Will I ever see them again?
Will they treat them well and take care of them?

At some point you just have to trust.

They would only disappear to time if I held on to them longer. It may already be a little late.

But here goes. . . .

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Maine connection yet again. . . .

I love this image of the artists working on sketches of live deer for the film Bambi.

One of the Maine artists I discuss on this blog often, Maurice 'Jake' Day, is the one who convinced Disney to make the deer white tail deer instead of California mule deer.

Here are some other images.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our slim connection to 'The Great Escape'

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, both of you, you are well aware of my love for our family history, especially how WW2 effected it.
My dad served in the RAF during the war, spending part of his time with the 350 Squadron of mostly Belgian pilots.
He worked on Spitfires while serving with them.

This first image is of dad.

I don't know if love is the right word but he really made the most of his time in service and his time with the RAF.

While doing some more research today (reading wikipedia) I came across a pilot who served in his squadron at the same time as he did, and the same airfield.

We will never know if they knew each other or even met. Most ground crew were assigned to a specific plane and pilot.
But I still find it interesting.

Henri Picard was born 1916 in Etterbeek, Belguim. When Germany invade Belguim the pilot school he was attending was closed.
He left Belguim in June finally in a round-about way making England in July. He soon became a pilot officer and in Nov. of 1941 tranferred to the 350 squadron, the same month as my dad.
In April of 1942 the 350 transferred airfields and my dad went to bomber command.
In August of 42 Picard was shot down and after recovery from injuries was sent to Stalag Luft III.
In March of 1944 on the night of the 24-25 Picard was one of 76 who escaped Stalag Luft III.
On the 26th he and three others were recaptured and on the 29th they were executed by the Gestapo.

Pilot-officer Henri Picard 1916-1944

It seems Henri had some talent as an artist also. You can find a link to a story about his art here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I hope this is true, although I really loved the original.

HBO 'to remake All Creatures Great and Small'

HBO is said to be planning a 'sexier and glossier' remake of All Creatures Great and Small, the BBC series about a vet in the Yorkshire Dales

It is an unlikely idea: the US network behind gritty dramas The Wire and The Sopranos buying the rights to All Creatures Great and Small.
But if rumours are true, the gentle British story of a vets' practice in the Yorkshire Dales is to be given a “big-budget remake” by HBO.
The US version will reportedly be “sexier and glossier” than the original, which would not be difficult – with their tweed jackets, flat caps and scenes elbow-deep in recalcitrant cows, the on-screen trio of Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy and Peter Davison did not radiate the kind of glamour associated with Sex and the City, another HBO hit.
Attempts to remake British favourites for US audiences have met with varying degrees of success. Dad’s Army, The Vicar of Dibley and Absolutely Fabulous never made it past the pilot stage.
The original was based on the memoirs of James Alfred Wight, who wrote under the Herriot pseudonym about his life as a vet in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Timothy played the newly qualified Herriot, with Hardy as his curmudgeonly boss Siegfried Farnon and Davison as Siegfried’s boyish brother, Tristan.
It ran from 1978 to 1990 and was hugely popular, attracting 20 million viewers at its height. Set in the fictional market town of Darrowby, it also featured Lynda Bellingham in later series as Herriot’s wife.
The BBC, which holds the rights to All Creatures Great and Small, attempted to revive the story in 2011 with a prequel called Young James Herriot. It was shown as a Christmas special, but ratings were unspectacular and plans for a series were abandoned.
Wight died in 1995, aged 78, having sold more than 50 million copies of his Herriot books, including If Only They Could Talk and It Shouldn’t Happen To A Vet. Despite finding fame and wealth, he continued to practice, saying: “If a farmer calls me with a sick animal, he couldn’t care less if I were George Bernard Shaw.”
An HBO spokesman said: "HBO does not comment on shows in production until they are green lit."


And more

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fake Homes - this is interesting.

I did not know, but it does make sense, that fake homes where built on top of Boeing Airplane factory plants.

Story here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The price of love in the UK

The average English pint cost about $5.20 American.

About the same as here.
Our average wage tends to be a little higher, so .  . . . . .

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Just keep a few open till my next visit!

The perfect pub: is there one left in Britain?

Villages with pubs at their heart enjoy greater community spirit, a new study finds. We report on our obsession with finding the perfect local

Twenty years ago, John Major was ridiculed when he promised that, 50 years hence, Britain would “survive unamendable in all essentials”, with “old maids cycling to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning”. He was, of course, quoting George Orwell, having cut out the section of the essay England Your England in which Orwell talked about the clatter of clogs in a Lancashire mill town and the rattle of pin tables in Soho pubs.
Major was wrong – even 30 years before his self-imposed deadline. Most features listed by the great essayist are extinct or in severe decline. Lancashire manufacturing and attendance at Church of England services are de minimis to national life. And the pub, be it a Soho den or a country inn, is struggling.
But Orwell was spot on. There is something special about a pub. It is here that you will find the true England – a communal establishment in which an individual is at liberty to drink and say what he likes.
Indeed, in another essay he wrote about his “favourite public house, the Moon Under Water”, he listed all the attributes that make it so special, before finally admitting it didn’t actually exist.
The decline in pub numbers does not make for pretty reading. In 1980 there were 69,000. Now there are 48,000 – fewer than the number of supermarkets in the country. In 1979 UK pubs sold 29.2 million pints of beer a day. In 2013 this had fallen to 10.9 million. The mythical “perfect pub” possibly matters more now than it ever did in 1946, when Orwell wrote his article for the Evening Standard (see below).
New research from Newcastle Business School (part of Northumbria University), has tried to prove what many of us have long suspected: pubs are good for social cohesion. A study of 2,800 rural parishes across the country over a 10-year period found that those areas which had a pub enjoyed a greater sense of community. There was more likely to be local football or cricket teams, charity fundraising events and branches of the Scouts and Brownies.
Dr Ignazio Cabras, who led the research, said: “The presence of the pub was statistically far more relevant than a village hall or a sports centre.” A variety of causes have conspired to kill off pubs. They include: supermarkets selling cheap alcohol; the ban on smoking, which was the main reason why some regulars went; the increase in rents, rates and costs imposed by pub companies and local councils; and the rise in duty and VAT set by the Treasury.
Above all, however, a subtle but distinct change in consumer habits has taken place. Britain just does not drink as much as it did. Pete Brown, a leading beer writer and the author of Shakespeare’s Local, says: “Alcohol will always be part of British life, but drinking in big volumes is falling. People woke up and realised they wanted to be fitter and healthier.”
Ten years ago (which was the peak), the average Briton drank the equivalent of about 418 pints of beer – both at home and at a pub or restaurant. This has fallen to 343 pints, with young people, in particular, drinking far less than their parents did. But of those pubs that survive, many are flourishing, because they provide buckets of one of Orwell’s key stipulations: atmosphere.
Paul Moody, who co-wrote The Search for the Perfect Pub: Looking For the Moon Under Water, says: “Some of Orwell’s stipulations are obviously a bit dated. Nobody wants to drink beer out of a china mug, and his idea of a great lunch – boiled jam roll – sounds a bit unappetising. But there is a sense that this is a place where the community comes together; even back then he was concerned that the different classes were not mixing, but in a pub they can come together.”
One pub that is very much thriving is the Rose & Crown in Snettisham, Norfolk, which was named as this year’s Good Pub Guide pub of the year. Jeanette Goodrich, who runs the pub with her husband, says: “We value our locals. While it is very nice that we have done up our rooms, the heart of the place is the drinking side of the pub. The great majority here are regular drinkers.
“The staff know the regulars, and the regulars know they can walk in and that there will be one of their mates there to talk to.”
Another successful pub landlord agrees with Goodrich that great pub staff know their customers (even if they shouldn’t call them “ducky”, as Orwell stipulates). Richard Binks, tenant of the White Horse pub in Tilbrook, Cambridgeshire, says: “We remember what they drink. Ideally, we’d see their car pull into the car park and we will have their drink ready and waiting for them on the bar.” To encourage regulars, the pub offers a loyalty card as many coffee shops now do.
Though pub numbers have declined, the number of small brewers has grown substantially over the last decade. And the quality of beer at most pubs has shot up, most experts agree. But knowing locals’ names and serving good beer is just one of the secrets to a “perfect pub”.
“So many British pubs are corporates, run by managers,” says Brown. “Orwell understood that a great British pub is where the personality of the institution is dictated by the personality of the landlord. 'My gaff, my rules,’ as Al Murray [the comedian who has made a career out of playing a pub landlord] says.”
But good pubs can and should step beyond the threshold of the saloon bar and into the local community, as the Newcastle Business School study suggests. The Rose & Crown in Snettisham, for instance, sponsors the local football and cricket teams – and not just for altruistic reasons. It guarantees that a group of young men come in after training for a pint. “They are good drinkers,” says Goodrich.
And persuading an 18-year-old to buy a pint of Adnams, costing £3.30 in the pub, rather than a can, costing £1.40 from Tesco, is a battle landlords need to win.
Many good pubs conspicuously court families with children – not something that every beer drinker agrees with. Binks says: “We think that if we can get the kids to convince the adults to come to the pub, then it’s a job well done.” His pub even has an animal-petting area at the end of one of its large gardens, where the children can gawp and prod a few goats, sheep and chicken.
This, curiously, would have won Orwell’s stamp of approval. He did not agree with the (then) ban on children entering pubs. “It is a law that deserves to be broken, for it is the puritanical nonsense of excluding children — and therefore, to some extent, women — from pubs that has turned these places into mere boozing shops instead of the family gathering places that they ought to be.”
Orwell, socialist but libertarian, understood that a great pub was a symbol of English liberty. This, despite the smoking ban, still holds true. “This is why Nigel Farage likes to be pictured outside a pub with a pint in his hand; it is a crucial part of his appeal,” says Moody, who argues that nobody can be that objectionable with a pint in their hand.
As in Orwell’s day, it will be impossible to find the absolutely perfect pub. The one with a roaring log fire in winter, a welcoming landlord, smiling staff, with good food and better conversation. But the search is one worth making. As Moody says: “Sometimes the perfect pub is just one that’s open.”
George Orwell’s ideal pub
In 1946, George Orwell, the novelist and essayist, wrote an article for the Evening Standard about his ideal pub – the fictional Moon Under Water.
For him the pub would have the following 10 attributes:
1 On a side street, to keep out the drunks or “rowdies”.
2 Most of the customers are regulars and “go there for conversation as much as for the beer”.
3 Its look is uncompromisingly Victorian – “everything has the solid, comfortable ugliness of the 19th century” – and there is a log fire in winter.
4 A dining room upstairs, where you can get a good solid lunch. Only snacks are served in the evening.
5 Downstairs there is a public bar, a saloon bar and a ladies’ bar.
6 No radio, no piano. It is always quiet enough to talk.
7 The barmaids know the customers’ names and call them “dear”, but never “ducky”.
8 It sells tobacco, stamps and even aspirin.
9 The beer (including a “soft, creamy stout”) is always served in a glass with a handle. Ideally, a pewter or china pot.
10 There is a garden, with a slide and swings for children. It is “puritanical nonsense” to ban children.
He wrote, at the end of the piece, that he had only ever found a pub with eight of the 10 features.