Saturday, 23 February 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Picton Castle

Q2. Robert Recorde

[C]arew castle
Pi[c]to{n} castle
Ll<a>whade{n} castle

The initial clues place us in the Pembrokeshire coast national park area, where lies the only restored tidal mill in Wales, 'Carew Tidal Mill'. It stands close to Carew castle, which according to Pembrokshire is of 13th century origin, though other references claim there was a timber and earth fortification there around the turn of the 11th/12th century.

Travelling six miles or so north north west from Carew castle brings us to Picton castle which some of the references say was owned by Sir John Wogan, who was a justiciar of Ireland c1295 to 1308, before he got a job on the radio. From looking at the photographs of it, Picton castle does seem to have six towers and the blurb on some of the sites about it claim that it is part castle, part fortified manor house.

Llawhaden castle lies around five miles north east of Picton castle and this was a fortified palace of the bishops of St David's, there seems to have been a fortified structure of one type or another in that location since at least the 12th century.

A village which lies to the south east of Llawhaden castle is Narberth and the castle here is though to be mentioned in a collection of stories called the Malbinogion, which was broken into two parts, the White book of Rhydderch and the Red book of Hergest. The castle was at one time, the court of Pwyll, price of Dyfed. A dramatised version of some of the Malbinogion was performed at the reopening of Narberth castle c2005.

A town to the south of Narberth, where a mathematician called Robert Recorde was born (c1510-1512), is Tenby. Some sources claim that Recorde introduced the equals and plus signs into the language of mathematics. Henry VII, is thought to have fled to France via Tenby. The national piers society web site says that Tenby pier was demolished between 1946 and 1953 and that a modern lifeboat station now sits on the site.

Link to the competition

Where Was I?

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Enid Blyton

Q2. Swanage

(NB for question one, according to some sources,the author was sometimes also known as 'Mary Pollock')

From the initial clues given, it looks like the author is probably getting the ferry across the mouth of Poole harbour, in Dorset, probably from North Haven Point to South Haven Point. Northwest of that position lies Brownsea island, which according to some of the references I checked is in the region of 500 acres (202 hectares) in area and has a castle which was constructed circa 16th century. Brownsea island was possibly used as the model for 'Whispering Island', in the astonishingly prolific author Enid Blyton's 'famous five' books, which were first published c1942. Blyton was alleged to have referred to it as 'Keep Away Island' because of the potty eccentric owner who didn't want any visitors there, a Mrs Bonham-Christie, who probably glugged gin and shouted "Good God Wilkins, who are those people orn the lawrn? be orft or I'll set the doorgs on you!"......

Travelling south from the South Haven Point ferry terminal brings us to the village of Studland and it is here the references say, that Enid Blyton met the character who was to inspire PC Plod, in the Noddy series of books which were first published c1949, possibly a local copper by the name of  PC Christopher Rhone. Many of her works have had a hatchet taken to them by the thought police (Imagine if they were to do the same things to Pliny the Elder, Benvenuto Cellini's or any other historical writers' books), though it's also likely that in these very litigious times, the publishers are covering themselves against being sued for defamation. Some people say that she was way out where the trolley buses don't run, when it came to her views on people that didn't fit in with the backward and primitive 1940's/1950's British 'elites' ' ideal view of the world (ie just about everyone).

A few miles south of Studland lies the town of Swanage and there were two piers there, the one that is still standing is said to be 642ft in length and was allegedly constructed circa 1896. Blyton and her second husband are reputed to have enjoyed swimming around both of the piers. The character of Bill Smugs is said to have been inspired by the childhood nickname of someone Blyton met in the Grosvenor  hotel in Swanage in the 1940s, who told her that he would like to have been in the secret service and would also like to be in a book. Blyton put him in the first of her 'adventure' books series, 'The Island of Adventure' as a secret agent called Bill Cunningham who used the alias of Bill Smugs.

Corfe castle, to the north west of Swanage, was said to be the model for 'Kirrin' castle in one of her books. According to some sources, a king called Edward the Martyr (father Edgar) was murdered at Corfe castle c978 .

Link to the competition

Where Was I? competition

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

They're making you work for the holiday again this week. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers seem to me to be:

Q1. Barton Upon Humber

Q2. Robert Thompson

(N.B. for question 2, the craftsman is sometimes referred to as 'Mousy Thompson of Kilburn')

The initial clues most likely place us at Thornton Abbey in north Lincolnshire. According to English Heritage, it was founded by an Augustinian order c1139. They also claim that the 14th century gatehouse, is one of the largest in the country. Take care not to choose Kingswood abbey as the location (It has the same founding date, also has a gatehouse and is likely to be a red herring).

Travelling around six miles to the north west of Thornton abbey brngs us to the town of Barton Upon Humber and here lies the church of St Peter's. EH claim that it was constructed c970 , that more than 2800 people are buried there and that it became redundant c1972. Around five miles west of Barton Upon Humber takes us to the village of Winteringham and just to the south of Read's island in the Humber, is the roman settlement of Ad Abum (East field).

The town 12 miles distant from Winteringham, from the clues given is likely to be Howden, in the East Riding of Yorkshire (one of the Eastender's favourite parts of the world). In order to get there from the roman settlement, the puzzle author would have to drive south until he reached the A18 and the bridge which carries it across the river Trent, near Scunthorpe. On the west side of the Trent, the A18 passes close to the Stainforth and Keadby canal, which according to some of the references I checked is around 15 miles long and was opened c1802.

Howden minster (St Peter's church) was built in the 13th century and EH claim that the great vaulted roof of the choir collapsed c1696. The photographs show that it is partially ruined but the tower is still intact. The Howden town council web site claims that 'Mousy Thompson' aka Robert Thompson (born c1876) of Kilburn in north Yorkshire, constructed the wooden choir stalls there and that he left over 30 carved mice as a signature on some of the pieces of furniture.

Link to the competition

Sunday Times Where Was I?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

They're certainly making you work for the holiday this week. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers seem to me to be:

Q1. Cliffs End

Q2. Rutupiae

(NB for question one, this village is sometimes referred to as Cliffsend)

The initial clues place us in the dorp of Cliffs End. I found the following quote in a book called 'On a Cushion of Air' by Robin Paine and Roger Syms, which is about the arrival of the Pegwell bay hoverport underneath this settlement: "Residents at Cliffsend, near Ramsgate, Kent, where hovercraft started operating in January, say that their village, is the nosiest in England.". If you look at the satellite picture, the remains of the hoverport can be seen at Cliffsend. According to some references I checked, the hovercraft arrived there on the 15th January 1969 and closed down operations circa 1982 - 1984.

Cliffs End is less than a mile south east of Manston airfield and some sources say it was run by the RNAS in 1915, with the RAF leaving c1999. FIDO stands for Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation and this was used at Manston. It was basically two petrol filled pipes with jets along their length, covering both sides of the runway. The jets were ignited when it got foggy, the theory being that the heat would expand the air and decondense the fog. The power station is most likely Richborough power station, some references claim it became operational c1962 and that its towers were demolished c2012. The power station's remains are also visible on the satellite picture.

Around a mile or so north east of Cliffs End, lies a pub called the Derby Arms, in Ramsgate and it was here that a comedian, broadcaster and writer called Frank Muir was born c1920. You can watch his fruit and nutcase advert on youtube. On the western edge of Cliffsend, lies a cross, which is a monument to saint Augustine. He is alleged to have converted a king Ethelbert to christianity on whit sun c597 at what is now known as St Augustine's well (also in the vicinity of Cliffs End).

A roman fort called Rutupiae and an amphitheatre lie close to the power station at Richborough. The fort was reputed to have had what is known in the trade as a 'quadrifrons' or 'triumphal arch'. Some of the references I checked claim it was around ten metres high which is about 32 feet in old money while others say it was over 80 feet in height.

link to competition:

Where Was I? competition