Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be :

Q1. Eric Coates (aka Frank Harrison Coates)

Q2. The Major Oak

внимание друзья! Eric Coates also used the name Frank Harrison Coates, according to some of his biographies.

The initial clues seem to place us in a suburb of the city of Nottingham, called Sneinton and it was here that a horticulturalist called Harry Whe[a]tcroft was born c 24th of August 1898, at 23 Handel street. Some of the biographies claim that he was responsible for contacting Francois Meilland of Lyons, for permission to introduce his rose 'Peace', to the UK c 1948. He is also credited with introducing a variety called 'Fragrant Cloud', at the autumn show of the National Rose Society, c 1963 to the public. Wheatcroft was a bit eccentric and was court martialled and subsequently thrown out of the army, for telling them that he didn't want to fight.

The second clue takes us to Huc[k]nall airfield, where the first free (untethered) flight of the flying bedstead or TMA (Thrust Measuring Rig) as it was known in the trade, took place c 3rd August 1954. A composer called Eric Co[a]tes (aka Frank Harrison Coates) was born in the nearby town of Hucknall, c 1886 at Watnall Road. Among his many works, was a march called 'Knightsbridge' from his London suite, which was apparently used as the theme for a radio show called, 'In Town Tonight' c 1933. 

Travelling east south east from Hucknall would bring us to the village of Asl[o]ckton, where c 1489, a child who was later to become the archbishop of Canterbury, one Thomas Cran[m]er, was born. Some of Cranmer's biographies state that he was famous for writing between thirty nine and forty two religious articles of belief, depending on which one you read.

Six miles or so north of Aslockton, lies the village of East Stoke and it was here, c 16th June 1487 that the battle of St[o]ke Field, was fought. This seems to have been one of the final battles in the wars of the Roses, between the Lancastrians and Yorkists. Henry VII's army seem to have won this encounter for the house of Lancaster.

A one thousand and forty seven acre or four hundred and twenty three hectare national nature reserve, in the vicinity of Nottingham, is She[r]wood Forest . Listing out the letters acquired so far and adding the letter J, gives:

[A]  (fourth letter of 'Wheatcroft)
[K]  (fourth letter of 'Hucknall)
[A]  (third letter of Coates)
[O] (fourth letter of Aslockton)
[M] (fifth letter of Cranmer)
[O] (third letter of Stoke Field)
[R] (fourth letter of Sherwood Forest)

MAJOR OAK, which appears to be an eight hundred to one thousand year old oak tree in Sherwood forest, where Robin Hood himself used to hide out. There is a railway line marked on the OS map, just to the south of the ancient arboreal landmark.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

 Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be :

Q1. Thomas Hardy

Q2. Bossiney

The initial clues seem to place us in Cornwall, specifically at the church of St Juliot, just to the north of the river Valency, about one click south of the B3263 and about one point three clicks, south west of Tresparret. The church featured as 'St Agnes', in a story by Thomas Hardy (born circa 1840), called 'A pair of Blue Eyes', which appears to have been published c 1873. As well as being a novelist and poet, Hardy's day job was that of architect and he was sent to recce the church, with a view to reconstructing it. Some of his bios claim that he married the rector's sister in law, Emma Lavinia Gifford, circa 1874.

Driving west from the church would bring us to the village of Boscastle and this featured in a novel by H.G.Wells called "When The Sleeper Wakes", "One afternoon, at low water, Mr Isbister, a young artist lodging at Boscastle, walked from that place, to the picturesque cove of Pentargen".

Travelling three and a half miles or so from Boscastle, would likely take us to Tintagel and through a hamlet called Bossiney, on its eastern edge. Bossiney returned an mp called Francis Bacon (b 1561) c 1581 (Bacon became attorney general c 1613) and an mp called Sir Francis Drake c 1584.

Tintagel's most famous building, according to the National Trust website, is the post office, which they acquired c 1903. The building is a c 14th century yeoman's farmhouse and was the letter receiving station for the district, when it was given a licence during the Victorian period.

The island castle at Tintagel, was declared by Geoffrey of Monmouth, to be the site where king Arthur was conceived and because of the association with the Arthurian legend, Richard Earl of Cornwall (b 1209) and brother of Henry III, is believed to have built his fortress there, c 1230s

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Settle

Q2. Wallace and Gromit

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Settle, in a very beautiful part of the world, the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The celebration of twenty five years of 'something not happening', is most probably the government's decision, on the 11th April 1989, to save the Carlisle to Settle railway, (which the puzzle author claims to be driving alongside, likely on the B6479) and from which around one point two million passengers annually, enjoy the scenery in the dales.

According to some of his biographies, a polymath called George Birkbeck (born in Settle c 1776), founded the London Mechanics Institution (c 1823), which was later renamed 'Birkbeck College' (c 1907). A social reformer also born in Settle (c 1839), was Benjamin Waugh. His biographies state that he founded a society for prevention of cruelty to children, which was incorporated by royal charter (c 1895) as the NSPCC.

Travelling north (though it doesn't look as much as eight miles on some of the maps), the puzzle writer most probably crosses the Pennine Way (opened c 1965),  at Horton in Ribblesdale ( a very nice place indeed to have pie and chips, followed by several pints of Theakston's Old Peculiar, after completing the grueling Yorkshire three peaks challenge). The two thousand and seventy seven or six hundred and ninety four metre eminence, that is described in the clues, is most likely Pen-y-Gent (one of the three peaks), which lies around two miles east north east of Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The second peak seems to be Ingleborough, at around two thousand three hundred and seventy five feet or seven hundred and twenty four metres.

Following the B6479 north west past Ingleborough, would lead you to a junction with the B6255, where lies the Ribblehead viaduct. Some of the references for this structure, claim that it is around four hundred and forty yards long or four hundred metres and one hundred and four feet or thirty two metres high.

Turning right at the junction and heading north east on the B6255, would lead you eventually to Wensleydale, which is famous for among other things, its cheeses. A fictional inventor who is known to love this type of cheese, is Wallace, his canine side kick, is known as Gromit. They starred in an animated film called 'The Wrong Trousers' (c 1993).

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Ilkley

Q2. The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Ilkley, in west Yorkshire. Badger, pancake and swastika, most likely refer to the strange carved stones on Ilkley moor. The Swastika stone, from the pictures I've seen of it, does seem to have a flyflot cross carved on it, though the Badger stone looks more like a mini version of Uluru, than a badger.  Some of the carvings are believed to have been the work of Roman legionaires, who were stationed at the fort in Ilkley but the designs, to my eye at least, look more shamanic in origin and may be the work of a cattle and psilocybin mushroom cult.....

According  to some of his biographies, an architect called Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe, was born in the Sunny Bank district of Ilkley, c 1882. Maufe appears to have designed Guildford cathedral, which was dedicated c 1961. The Roman fort which the stone carving squaddies may have been stationed at, was thought at one time to have been called Olicana but it may actually have been called after the goddess of the river Wharfe, who went by the name of Verbeia.

There does seem to be a plunge pool at White Wells, on Ilkley moor and Ilkley is described as being a spa town in some references. One source I looked at, suggests that Ilkley Pool and Lido was opened c 1936. The second town referred to in the clues, is most probably Keighly. From looking at the OS map, there does not seem to be a road which goes all the way across Ilkley moor (highest point four hundred and two metres, or one thousand three hundred and eighteen feet), south west to Keighly , so the author may have had to take the road through Silsden, which would have taken him across the Leeds and Liverpool canal (one hundred and twenty seven miles long and completed c 1816).

The national trust website, indicates that there is a circa seventeenth century manor house on the north eastern edge of Keighley, called East Riddlesden Hall and a five mile railway, which was one of many that featured in the nineteen seventies film, 'The Railway Children' (directed by a wonderful old British actor, called Lionel Jeffries), is likely to be the 'Keighley and Worth Valley Railway' . This appears to have opened for business c 13th April 1867, closed in 1962 and re-opened again as a heritage railway, c 1968.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Folkestone

Q2. Walter Tull

внимание друзья! Confusingly, there appear to be two William Cubitts, one born c 1785 who allegedly built the Foord viaduct, in Folkestone and one born c 1791, who had Cubitt town in the Isle of Dogs named after him. The c 1791 Cubitt, does not seem to have built the Foord viaduct.

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Folkestone, in the county of Kent. The town does appear to have a one hundred foot high viaduct (The Foord viaduct) which was built by a Sir William Cubitt. There seem to be two William Cubitts, one (born 1785 - died 1861) who was an engineer and according to some of his biographies, was in charge of constructing the South Eastern Railway and built the Foord viaduct at Folkestone c 1843 and one who was a politician (born 1791 - died 1863, mp for Andover and lord mayor of London). According to some of his biographies, it was the Cubitt born c 1791 who had Cubitt town, in the Isle of Dogs named after him but he does not seem to have built the Foord viaduct and did not work for the SER (South Eastern Railway).

Folkestone has an arch called 'The Step Short' arch, which is being opened by prince Harry on the 4th of August 2014, to commemorate the millions of troops who departed from the port to take part in the madness of the first world war. They seem to have planted rosemary near the structure.

A wicket keeper who scored one hundred first class centuries and who was schooled in the town, at Harvey Grammar, was most likely Leslie Ethelbert George Ames (b c 1905). The writer Charles Dickens, is believed to have worked on his novel 'Little Dorrit', while staying in the town. This contains a description of the 'Circumlocution Office', a satire on the British treasury. A footballer who was born in the town c 1888, who also played for Tottenham c1909 and was killed in the trenches c 1918, is most likely Walter (Daniel John) Tull. The OS map shows three Martello towers (constructed c 1805) and a Roman villa, at the eastern end of the town, on the cliffs.