Saturday, 25 October 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. The Trans Pennine Trail

Q2. Roy Castle

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of Hadfield, which is where the railway which once navigated from Manchester, through Ashton-Under-Lyne and thence across the Peak District national park to Sheffield, terminates. The line was known as the Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Line and Manchester Railway (SA&MR) and closed c 1981.

The recreational trail which tracks along the route of the disused SA&MR, passing the Bottoms, Valehouse, Rhodeswood, Torside and Woodhead resevoirs and which starts at Southport on the west coast and ends at Hornsea on the east coast, some two hundred and fifteen miles later according to their web site, is most likely the 'Trans Pennine Trail'. 

Six miles or so north east from Hadfield, lie three tunnels that the SA&MR trains once passed through. These are Woodhead one, Woodhead two and Woodhead three (three miles and sixty six yards or 5346 yards long according to some of the sources I checked). Woodhead one appears to have been mostly built by an engineer called Charles Blacker Vignoles (born c 1793). According to some of his bios, he built the Николаевский цепной мост (Nicholas Chain Bridge) over the Dnieper in Kiev, between 1846 and 1853. This elegant span built by a remarkable engineer, was blown up by the Poles c 1920. Woodhead two appears to have been built by Joseph Locke (born c 1805). Locke was made a chevalier of the legion d'honneur for his work in constructing the railway between Rouen and Le havre (c 1843) and also constructed railways in Spain and Holland. Woodhead one and two were closed c 1954 because they were too small to support electrification and it was for this reason, that Woodhead three was constructed.

Travelling five miles north north east from the Woodhead tunnels, would bring us to the birthplace (c 1932) of a talented all round entertainer, TV and film star called Roy Castle. Castle was according to some of his biographies, born in Holmfirth, West Riding of Yorkshire. He starred in the big screen productions of 'Dr Who and the Daleks', 'Carry on up the Khyber' and 'Dr Terror's House of Horrors', had a TV comedy show and c 1972 presented a children's TV show called 'Record Breakers' with Ross and Norris McWhirter. Castle broke several records on his own show, including one for tap dancing (c 1985), in which he completed one million taps in twenty three hours and forty four minutes. Holmfirth is also where some of the scenes from the TV series 'Last of the Summer Wine' were shot, with the Welly boot wearing Compo, The 'trained killer' Foggy Dewhurst and their long suffering pal Cleggy.

Saturday, 18 October 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. Whitesand Bay

Q2. The Minack Theatre

внимание друзья! For question two, the theatre is also called 'The Minack Open Air Theatre' on some maps.

Quite tricky this week, I found several artists who have crafted paintings called 'A Cornish Valley' but the one who seems to fit the bill is called David Farquharson, born c 1839 at Lochside, Blairgowrie in Perthshire. According to some of his biographies, he lived for a time next to two bays, Balcary Bay in Kircudbright and Sennen Cove in Cornwall, which lies adjacent to Whitesand Bay. I couldn't find any references to a rogue and pretender to the throne or doctors' heads relating to Balcary Bay but did find rocks named Dr Syntax's Head and Doctor Johnson's head, in the vicinity of the village of Sennen Cove. Dr Syntax seems to have been a popular school teacher character, from a series of books written between 1812 and 1821 by William Coombe and Thomas Rowlandson (a caricaturist), if some of the references on this are to be believed. There is a sketch (c 1811) of the first doctor's head viewed from the second, by Joseph William Mallord Turner, in the Tate Gallery. A possible candidate for 'a rogue and claimant to the throne', who landed at Whitesand bay c seventh of September 1497, is Perkin Warbeck. Seems to have gotten himself into a bit of bother with a ruler called Henry VII, when keeping it real on a regime changing operation went a bit too far.

A lighthouse which stands a mile and a half or so offshore from Dr Johnson's head, is likely The Longship's lighthouse, which stands on the rock of Carn Bras. The first version of this appears to have been built c 1795 and was subsequently upgraded, c 1875 by one Sir James Douglass. The height of this lighthouse is given by some sources as thirty five metres or one hundred and fifteen feet, in old money. A lighthouse nine miles southwest of the Longship's light could be the Wolf Rock Lighthouse, upgraded c 1861 by James Walker, who was at one time inspector general of the lights.

A theatre in the vicinity, which was created by Rowena Cade (born c 1893) and her gardener who constructed an open air terrace facing a spectacular stage with the sea and cliffs for a backdrop c 1932 ( a very beautiful location indeed), is The Minack Theatre (aka The Minack Open Air Theatre). The venue opened that year for a performance of one of the Eastender's favourite plays by the bard, though he cannot decide whether he likes the 1956 version with Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen better than the c 2010 version with Helen Mirren, Russel Brand and the fiery rottweilers. The words "Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not" are from Shakespeare's play 'The Tempest', which seems to be about the struggle between the ego 'Prospero', the superego 'Ariel' and the monster from the id/Jungian shadow (Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano) played out on the mysterious island of the unconscious. The Eastender floats the theory that Prospero is possibly based upon Tycho Brahe, a celebrity mage who lived on the island of Hven, in the Oresund Strait  and was contemporaneous with Shakespeare.

Saturday, 11 October 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. Percy Edgar Lambert 

Q2. Painshill park

Very tricky this week, a master stroke of misdirection, nacht and nebel, with many false leads to follow . Concorde Bravo Bravo Delta Golf has associations with Filton airfield in Bristol, Farnborough, in Hampshire and Brooklands, in Surrey, couldn't find a circa twelfth century Augustinian priory beside a river in Bristol or Farnborough, but did find one, ie 'Newark Priory', nestled on an island on the river Wey Navigation, which lies south west of Brooklands museum and disused airfield. The river Wey, according to some sources, was the second waterway in England to undergo transformation from un-navigable to navigable by barges, c 1635. The 'Tin Firework' G-BBDG, as these types of aircraft were known in the trade, was the second production Concorde, which appears to have been constructed at Brooklands c 1974, while another was manufactured in Toulouse. 

A motor racing pioneer who died at Brooklands trying to regain his speed record from a Peugot driver, who was clocked at 106.22 mph, was Percy Edgar Lambert, (aka 'Pearley', born c 5th Oct 1880 in Pimlico, according to some of his bios).

Travelling north east of the ruined priory, would bring us to the one hundred and fifty eight acre Painshill park, a grade 1 listed landscape garden, which seems to have been built c 1738, by the youngest of the fourteen children of the sixth Earl of Abercorn, one Charles Hamilton (baptised c 1704). The park appears to be managed by the Painshill Park Trust, which took it over (c 1981) and has a crystal grotto and many follys.

Saturday, 4 October 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. Brading

Q2. Robin Day (aka Sir Robin Day)

The initial clues seem to place us in the town of  Ryde, on the Isle of Wight (the Eastender recalls being astonished to see London tube trains on the pier, when he visited the place around twenty years ago). Said pier, according to some of the references I checked, does seem to have been around seventeen hundred and forty feet in length, when it opened c 1814. There was another pier at Ryde 'Victoria Pier 1.0' which opened c 1854 and appears to have been destroyed five years later. 'Victoria Pier 2.0' seems to have been constructed c 1864 and was at that time said to be nine hundred and seventy feet in length. The last traces of 'Victoria Pier 2.0', were washed away c 1924.

Two stations south of Ryde, the line intersects with the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, which is according to their web site, a heritage railway. Travelling around four and a half miles south of Ryde on the more modern railway, would bring us to the town of Brading. There was once a branch line which navigated north east two and three quarter miles or so, to Bembridge but this closed c 1953. The broadcaster Sir Robin Day (born c 1923) was educated at Bembridge school. Sir Robin is reputed to have upset a guest he was interviewing on his show, one 'John Nott', by claiming that he was a 'here today and gone tomorrow politician'. A painter called Joseph Mallord William Turner (born c 1775) appears to have partially crafted a painting of the island's only remaining windmill, which was constructed c 18th century and taken over by the National Trust c 1961.

King Charles the First (mother Anne of Denmark) stayed at Nunwell house to the west of Brading, on the 18th of November 1647, which was one of his last nights of freedom, before he got lifted by the goon squad and thrown into the chokey, at Carisbrooke castle. There seems to have been some kind of settlement at Nunwell since at least the 11th century but have found no definitive source stating that Nunwell was built c 1610, seems to have been used as a family home since c 1522, though may have burned down at some point and been rebuilt c 1609/10.