Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Not much sport in it this week but near as I can figure it, the most likely answers seem to be:

Q1. Caerphilly

Q2. Ness Edwards

(NB for question 2, some sources say that his name was Onesimus Edwards)

If anybody sang 'Rule Britannia' in the Eastender's car, he would throw them out and make them walk home but I digress, the clues place us in the town of Caerphilly. The roman fort referred to is most likely to be Gelligaer, which is around six miles north of the settlement. A poet born in the town c1809 who wrote a national anthem (The Welsh national anthem) which was set to music by his son and published c1860, was Evan James (son James James). A comedian who was born in Caerphilly c1921 and arguably the greatest British comic, was Tommy Cooper (gawd bless 'im). A trade unionist, who was born in 1897 (in Abertillery) and was the town's MP and served as the postmaster general from 1950 - 51, was Ness Edwards.

Caerphilly castle was built by a full blown goose stepping fascist lunatic called Gilbert de Clare who apparently murdered a lot of people because of their religious affiliations (and because him and his buddies wanted to destroy their loan book database which was stored in a particular quarter of Canterbury). De Clare was the 6th Earl of Hertford (and the 7th Earl of Gloucester according to some sources). Caerphilly castle seems to be famous for its leaning tower, which, depending on source, can be 10 or 11 degrees out of true....

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Quite heavy going this week, near as I can figure it, the answers are:

Q1. The Crystal Palace

Q2. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins

(NB for question 1, this is sometimes referred to as just 'Crystal Palace')

The initial clues place us in the Sydenham area of London, the author is most likely describing the 'Paxton' tunnel, named after the designer of the Crystal Palace, Joseph Paxton. The Paxton tunnel served the now demolished Crystal Palace high level station (closed to the public in 1954), which was west of the 28 lock Croydon canal (completed 1809). The name 'The Crystal Palace', is thought to originate with Punch magazine.

The structure that the author is referring to is most likely to be the Crystal Palace TV transmitter antenna, ground height around 360 feet, height above sea level around 1027 ft. Walking north, north east from the masts takes you past the Crystal Palace caravan site and onto Westwood hill, where the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton once lived (at number 12). The "latitude of 88 degrees 23 minutes south in 1909" clue, refers to his Nimrod expedition. The cricketer with the significant statistics (if anyone on the planet actually understands cricket) was Dr William Gilbert Grace, who also lived in Sydenham for a time.

The artist born in 1807, is most likely to be Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, also a naturalist and sculptor, he created, with the assistance of a Sir Richard Owen, some full size dinosaurs for the great exhibition and the Crystal Palace site, some of them are still there today. It was rumoured that people actually had dinner inside of the Iguanadon there.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Rockabilly Comes From Bluegrass

The Eastender Himself was listening to an old timey country song called "My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin' which was written by a bluegrass singer called Bill Monroe and was struck by how much like a Buddy Holly song it sounds. The chord progression on the last line of each verse is pure Holly and the Crickets and the thumping base and the way the players each break into a mandolin or banjo solo, is very similar to the set up in a rockabilly band. Bluegrass music predates rock and roll, but rockabilly music, is very obviously, in part, derived from it.You can also hear the influence of the Hank Williams Snr song 'Move it on Over' in Bill Hailey's 'Rock Around the Clock'

have a listen to these versions of 'My Sweet Blue Eyed Darlin'

You're my sweet blue-eyed darling

And my love belongs to you

All I ask of you my darling

Is to love me good and be true

Days come and go and I still love you
And I see your smiling face
Tell me love that you need me
And no one's going to take my place

And today I need an answer
And I want to hear you say
You don't belong to another
And in my arms you're gonna stay

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Not as difficult as last week. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers are:

Q1. Aberdeen

Q2. Torry Point Battery

(NB for question 2, this is sometimes referred to as 'Torry Battery'. See links )

The initial clues place us in a part of the world that the Eastender Himself knows well, the city of Aberdeen. A wild rocker and poet called George Gordon Byron (6th baron Byron b1788), went to school at Aberdeen Grammar for four years. His wife was called Anne Isabella Milbanke.

There are three 'cathedrals' in Aberdeen but the one which the puzzle author is most likely referring to, is St Machar's, he uses the quotes advisedly,  perhaps because technically, it is no longer a cathedral but what is known in the trade as a 'high kirk'. There has been a place of worship on the site since around 580 ad but it did not become a cathedral until the 1130s. St Machar's feast day is November the 12th and he was indeed around in the sixth century.

The university-cum museum, is most likely the Marischal museum (founded 1786), which is part of Marischal college. It is housed in a beautiful building, which is reputed to be the second largest granite structure in the world. Union bridge, on Union street, claims to be the largest single span granite arch in the world.

Two miles south east of the Marischal museum puts us at Nigg bay and the ruined church referred to is most likely, St.Fittick's. St Fittick is the patron saint of gardeners and his feast day is on the 30th August/1st September. The lighthouse is most likely Girdleness lighthouse, built circa 1833 and is around 121 feet high. If the bearings are taken from the lighthouse, then approximately half a mile north west from there, lies a battery, which is most likely to be Torry battery (sometimes called Torry point battery), constructed in 1860 and sits near the mouth of the river Dee, which in some texts is reported to be 85 miles long.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Quite hard going this week, and also very tricky as the author has cunningly thrown in some nacht und nebel with the Bottesford/Langar dilemma. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers are

Q1. The Stanton Tunnel

Q2. Margidunum

(NB for question 2, I'm not  totally certain about this one, there were roman settlements all along the A46 . There is some confusion as to whether the author is referring to Bottesford or Langar as the position from which to determine where the roman settlement was located, 207 squadron were in Bottesford in 1941, but in Langar from September 1942, Langar airfield was constructed in 1941 and the writer he refers to (Samuel Butler) was born in Langar. The Eastender Himself is opting for Langar to measure the distance and use the bearings from, which puts the site of the Roman settlement near East Bridgford on the Fosse way, Margidunum)

From the initial clues given, the author is most likely between the settlements of Quorndon (sometimes called quorn) and Queninborough, just north of Leicester. There is a railway test track around there called 'Old Dalby' test track which starts at Melton Mowbray and terminates at Edwalton, which is around three miles from Nottingham city centre. Old Dalby test track is reported to be 13.5 miles long in some references, not 18 miles as stated in the clues, however, it does pass through the Stanton tunnel which is 1332 yards long, was opened in 1879 and is very close to the A46 Roman road which used to form the western frontier of the Roman empire.

The village of Keyworth lies to the west of the Stanton tunnel and this is where part of the British Geological Survey (founded 1835) is located (a rocking organisation). A canal which is around three miles north east of the author's position, is the Grantham canal, which is 33 miles long and was closed to traffic in 1929.

RAF Bottesford was home to 207 squadron in 1941. The writer refered to in the clues, is most likely Samuel Butler, his bio says he was born in Langar, near Bingham but he did write a piece called Erewhon, which is an anagram of nowhere. This is where the puzzle becomes very tricky, is the author referring to Bottesford or  Langar as the location from which to use the bearings and distance information? I opted for Langar as the location to use, because 207 squadron were based in Langar from 1942 but the airstrip itself was constructed in 1941, the location of the writer's birthplace and the nowhere clue also back this up. The airfield in Bottesford is recorded in some sources as being built in 1940, which again excludes Bottesford as the location of the second village.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers this week are:

Q1. The Battle of Stirling Bridge

Q2. The River Teith

(NB, for question 2, the river Allan/Allan water also flows into the Forth but it is nearer than two miles to the Stirling bridge location and the does not match the linguistic clue given, also if it is called Allan water and not the river Allan, then that too could exclude it as a possible answer, though technically, it's still a river. The Eastender is going with the distance information on this one and picking the river Teith).

The initial clues place us in Stirling, which was awarded city status in 2002. There is an earthworks structure just below the castle, on the western side which is known as king Arthur's knot or king's Knot and is believed by some to be the origin of the round table myth. Some sources claim that the town of Stirling was known as 'The key to Scotland', because of its strategic importance. There was a battle at Stirling bridge recorded as taking place around the 11th September 1297, in which a tactically challenged numpty called John de Warenne, 6th earl of Surrey, thought it would be a great idea to send his army over the bridge (two abreast) onto a spit of land which was looped by the river on three sides and hemmed in by the opposition on the other, needless to say his force was routed and they had to flee for their lives.

From his description, the author appears to be passing the Bannockburn battlefield on the train, fought seventeen years after the first battle, by a good ol' Norman rebel called Robert the Bruce, in 1314.King Robert's wife was called Elizabeth. A stream called the Bannockburn flows close to the battlefield but from the map, it looks like it is fed by a reservoir only  around two miles west/south west. 

The author has likely visited the stone bridge at Stirling, which was constructed c1500 and it spans the river Forth. There seem to be varying opinions on just how long this river is but I have found several sources which claim that it is around 65 miles, which matches the description in the text. Stirling bridge was also constructed at the lowest crossing point on the Forth. The river which joins the Forth, two miles or so north west of the author's position is the river Teith and although he is possibly implying that its name in English sounds like teeth, in the original language Teith can mean pleasant

A king who died in Stirling castle c1214 was William the first, the lion of Scotland and a king who committed a murder there (he killed the 8th earl of Douglas at dinner on 22nd February 1452) was James II. James II was married to Mary of Guelders. Several royals have been crowned in Stirling castle but the one who fits the bill here, is most likely James V (crowned c 21 September 1513). James V's second wife was called Mary of Guise. A king who was baptised at Stirling castle on 17th September 1566 was James VI of Scotland/James I of England (father Henry Stuart, lord Darnley). A football, which is reputed to be one of the oldest, was found behind the panelling of the queen's chamber in Stirling castle. Stirling Albion football club was founded c1945 and an alchemist who tried to fly from the walls of Stirling castle, was James IV's alchemist, John Damian (c1507).