Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I

Mulligan, the directionally challenged artillery man is up to his old tricks again but near as I can figure it, the answers this week are:

1. Manchester

2. Harold Brighouse

The first novelist is Frances Hodgson Burnett (b1849), who published 'The Secret Garden' in 1911 and lived on the Cheetham hill road (among other places) and the second novelist is William Harrison Ainsworth, who published some of his works under the name Thomas Hall, he lived in Smedley lane in the Cheetham hill district but was born in King Street in 1805. The longest railway platform was the one between  Manchester's Victoria and Exchange stations (until exchange station closed in 1969). I'm not totally sure but I think the 1838 novel he is referring to is 'Nicholas Nickelby' by Charles Dickens, who visited Manchester several times and allegedly based his 'Cheerbyle brothers' in that work, on the Ramsbottom industrialists 'The Grant Brothers'.

The first playwright is William Shakespeare and the Shakespearian Gardens are in the Platt Fields Park which is west of Manchester Grammer school (motto "Dare to be Wise"). The second playwright alumnus was Harold Brighouse (b1882) works included 'Hobson's Choice' (the Will and Maggie reference).

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I?

Very tricky this week, the author has thrown in some cunning misdirection. Near as I can figure it, the answers are

1) William Bickford.

2) Tin

The two engineers are William Murdoch (b1754) and Richard Trevithick (b1771), which puts the location squarely in the Redruth and Camborne towns in Cornwall. The Guy who invented the safety fuse while living in the Camborne area was William Bickford. Now comes the tricky part, the author says he traveled in a Northwest direction though the back lanes to avoid a busy place but does he mean Newquay or St Ives? The riddle is solved when we consider which lighthouses he could have visited. The Trevose lighthouse, north of Newquay was not built in 1900, however, the Pendeen lighthouse was built in 1900 and is around 56 feet in height. This means that the writer was travelling in a southwesterly direction when he left Redruth/Camborne and visited the Pendeen lighthouse. The Levant mine and beam engine are located a few miles from there and the beam engine was installed c1840. The Levant mine is of course a tin mine, and the atomic number of tin is 50. Cornwall has stannery towns which were responsible for regulating the content of tin in coins, so this is the  where the 'coinage' clue comes in.....

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I?

Near as I can figure it this week and it's again a tricky one to call, because the Romans had forts and encampments all over Aberdeenshire, the answers are:

1) Raedykes

2) Inverbervie

The author in question was Norman Douglas (who was a very dodgy geezer by all accounts), one of his suspected birthplaces was Tilquhillie Castle near Banchory. Eight miles along a southeast bearing from there takes you to Raedykes near Stonehaven (there are several Roman encampments in the vicinity but this one is a prime candidate for the site of the battle of Mons Grapius). Stonehaven is where Baron Reith was born in 1889 and Dunnottar castle was the location for some of the scenes in the 1990 film 'Hamlet'. If you travel south west from there, you come to the town of Inverbervie, where David II of Scotland (mother Elizabeth de Burgh ) landed on the 2nd June 1341. Inverbervie is also where the designer of the ship 'Cutty Sark' , Hercules Linton was born in 1836. Cutty Sark is a type of shirt which the witch 'Nannie' in the poem 'Tam O' Shanter' wore.

If the guy that writes this puzzle was in the army, he'd be up on a charge for a friendly fire incident because he is not good at measuring distances (Mulligan, you're dropping your damn barrage on our position!). According to google maps, Inverbervie is not ten miles as the crow flies from Dunnottar Castle. He must be using the odometer on the car to take his readings......(It could be of course that he is using a different map)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Black Sun

I downloaded my first Kindle book yesterday, it's called 'The Black Sun, Montauk's Nazi-Tibetan Connection' by Peter Moon. Is it the most well written book I've ever read? I'd have to say no, there are some glaring factual inaccuracies and spelling errors in it and he does tend to ramble and jump off at tangents somewhat but what redeems it for me anyway, is that it is hugely entertaining and in parts, very funny (the story about Bobby Kennedy taking LSD made me laugh out loud,the scientist who manifested a 'monster from the Id' which went on to destroy his lab story, had me in stitches and the whopper about the guy who traveled around America in a UFO with eight beautiful women, while partying made me start choking 'cause I laughed so hard) .If an author's job is to entertain their readers, then Mr Moon has surely succeeded with this work. For sheer diversity of exotic, esoteric, stimulating, outrageous and outlandish subject matter, it takes a lot of beating. If you enjoyed L Ron's Dekalog, Robert Anton Wilson's 'The Illuminatus Trilogy', Ravenscroft's 'The Spear of Destiny', then you'll love this one.........

Monday, 6 February 2012

Back Court Cat Chaos

One of my older relatives, USA (Used tae Stay in Anderston), tells the story, that when he was a lad in Glasgow during WWII, he was sat at the kitchen table having breakfast one morning, when all of a sudden, there was a loud 'Crack!' followed by a short interval and another 'Crack! Crack!' sound. They opened the kitchen window in their tenement and looked around to see where the noise was coming from. To their great surprise and amusement, the upstairs neighbour, Big Hammy, was hanging out of the window, with a Lee Enfield .303 rifle, shooting at cats in the back court, the neighbours were diving for cover from the ricochets bouncing off the walls and cowering behind the middens, while  the cats high tailed it out of there. It turns out that Hammy was considered to be a bit slow on the uptake and was disqualified from joining the regular army, so in their great wisdom, the draft board decided to place him with the local home guard unit, who promptly gave him a gun complete with a pocket full of buckshee bullets to take home with him......and Hammy being Hammy, had seen no harm in testing it out in the middle of the city. It has often been said that the home guard were more dangerous and terrifying than the guys who were dropping the bombs on us at that time and after hearing the story, I'm inclined to agree.......

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I?

Very tricky this week, Charles Holden designed many tube stations in London, sometimes in partnership with Stanley Heaps. Near as I can figure it the answers are

1) Thomas Wallis

2) Osterly Park

The architects who designed a lot of the Art Deco buildings in the thirties were Wallis, Gilbert and Partners. Thomas Wallis was born in 1873. They built the Hoover building in Perivale which is now a Tesco. Osterly station was built in the style of Charles Holden (b1875) by Stanley Heaps, with a large brick tower and lies south of Osterly park,  which had a mansion owned by a Mercer named Sir Thomas Gresham (b 1518). If you go north through the park, you come to Hanwell Locks, which raise the Grand Union Canal 53ft.