Saturday, 26 July 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. Strontian

Q2. Eilean Shona (aka Eilean Seona)

The initial clues seem to place us in the area of Ballachullish, specifically at a cairn which was raised in memory of an infamous upstart Hanoverian sympathising carpet bagger scoundrel called 'Colin Campbell of Glenure' (aka 'the Red Fox'), who specialised in extracting taxes from evicted Jacobite families who had been declared 'attainted' and had their land stolen, after the 1745 rebellion. On the 14th May, 1752, someone of that ilk, decided to alter his parameters of absolute reality, by shooting him in the back with a musket, in the Lettermore woods (seems to have been a double tap, the arquebus was loaded with two balls but the guy was a piece of work, he allegedly shot a Mrs McColl in the chest while she was trying to protect her son and had many enemies in the area and this assassination subsequently became known as 'The Appin Murder'). The local  Stewart clan were blamed, the chief suspect being Alan Breck Stewart and when they failed to apprehend him, they grabbed another Stewart, Seumas a' Ghlinne (James of the Glen) who liked a guid bucket and was prone to bad mouthing the Red Fox, when smashed. They swiftly convicted him, without any real evidence, through a kangaroo court which had a jury consisting mostly of Campbells. They hanged him at the south end of the Ballachullish bridge. Alan Breck Stewart, went on to feature in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel 'Kidnapped', c1886.

The puzzle author then most likely drives north across Ballachullish bridge, which spans Loch Leven and then drives west, then north to the ferry at the Corran Narrows,  which lie at the top end of Loch Linnhe. There does seem to be a lighthouse there , which according to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, was built by D&T Stevenson, c 1860.

A chemical element with atomic number 38, is Strontium, this seems to have been discovered by Adair Crawford c 1790, near the village of Strontian, which lies at the eastern end of Loch Sunart. Crawford discovered the mineral Strontianite and suspected that it contained a new element, this was subsequently isolated by Sir Humphrey Davy. Strontian lies to the west of the Corran Narrows.

An island which lies around twelve miles north west of Strontian, is likely to be Eilean Shona. Some sources claim this is between thirteen hundred, thirteen hundred and forty two and up to two thousand acres in area and was rented by J.M Barrie (born c 1860), while he wrote 'Peter Pan'. Barrie also wrote a play called 'Richard Savage'. The seven wooden characters are possibly 'The Seven Men of Moidart', which were seven beech trees planted in memory of the four Scots, two Irishmen and one Englishman, who accompanied the rightful king on his voyage to reclaim the throne of Scotland. Only three of the original trees remain on the site. The three old maids, according to the OS map, seem to be three rocks, which lie on the hill above Kinlochmoidart house.

Saturday, 19 July 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. George Edmund Street

Q2. Wareham

внимание друзья! There seem to be two churches in Kingston, one commissioned by the first Earl of Eldon, which was built in 1833 and one by his grandson, the third Earl, which was designed by George Edmund Street. It does not seem likely that the first Earl (appointed Lord Chancellor c 1801), who died c 1838, would commission an architect who was born in 1824, to design a church for him ( the architect would have been 14 years old), so the Eastender is taking a punt on George Edmund Street being the designer of the later church, which the third Earl built in memory of his grandfather. The church built by the first Earl, may have been designed by his son in law, George S Repton (born 1786 , died 1858).

The initial clues seem to place us in the vicinity of Wytch Farm, in Dorest, which is said to be one of the largest onshore oilfields in Europe. The donkey reference may refer to the type of pumps which are used to extract the precious hydrocarbons, which are known in the trade as 'Nodding Donkeys'. The puzzle author is likely looking east towards Brownsea island, in Poole harbour, which is listed in some sources, as being 500 acres in area.

According to some of his biographies, the painter Augustus John (born c 1878), once lived a mile or so north of  Brownsea island, in a bungalow called 'Alderney Manor', in the Parkstone district of Poole. Augustus John seems to have been a pretty conventional artist, until he hit his head on a rock and subsequently became an eccentric genius. His painting 'Fraternity' shows one soldier lighting the cigarette of another, during WWI.

A lord chancellor appointed c 1801, may be John Scott, First Earl of Eldon, who in some references is said to be buried in the hamlet of Kingston, in Dorset. It is said that his grandson, the third earl, commissioned an architect called George Edmund Street (born c 1824), to design the church (St Jame's) there. Street is also thought to have designed the Royal Courts of Justice in London (which have a hall that is two hundred and thirty feet long). The first Earl also built a church in Kingston, which seems to have been completed c 1833 but how likely is he to have used an architect born c 1824, to design it? (which seems to be what the clues are implying).

Wareham does not look to be anything like eight crow miles from Kingston but nevertheless parts of it sit between the rivers Frome and Piddle/Trent and the OS map does show Saxon walls there. It also seems to be the location of the burial site of king Beorhtric of Wessex (died ad 802) who was married to king Offa's daughter, Eadburh. There are various stories surrounding the death of Beorhtric, some say he was whacked by Vikings, after mistaking their longships for trading vessels and inviting them round for drinks, others say he was poisoned by his wife or died in battle. The Anglo-Saxon chronicles claim that Beorhtric was buried in Wareham. There does seem to have been a fire in Wareham, which destroyed large parts of the town, c 1762

Saturday, 12 July 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. Rhuddlan

Q2. The Point of Ayr Lighthouse

внимание друзья! There also seems to be a 'Point of Ayre' lighthouse on the Isle of Man and a Point of Ayre in Orkney, but the clues point to it being the one at Talacre beach, in Wales.

The poem given as a clue in the first paragraph of the puzzle, seems to be called 'Casabianca' and was written by a circa 18th/19th century polymath, called 'Felicia Dorothea Hemans'. The ode is believed to concern the son of the captain of a stricken French warship, 'L'orient', which was hit during the battle of the Nile, c1798. It is thought by some, that it was not the British guns which caused the blaze to break out but burning wadding from their ships which landed on some paint pots, that had not been stored properly, prior to the battle. The story goes that the British, observing the fire on 'L'orient' directed their guns into it and this caused the magazine to explode, with the huge detonation resulting in the destruction of several other French naval vessels in the vicinity. The boy on the burning deck of the Orient, was captain Luc-Julien Joseph Casabianca's son, Giocante. The poor lad would not leave his post, as he was awaiting orders from his father the skipper, unaware that he lay dying below decks.

According to some of her biographies, Felicia Dorothea Hemans, lived in Liverpool, Gwyrch near Abergele, north Wales, London, Bronwylfa, St Asaph, Flintshire, Daventry and Dublin. The city which seems to be the most likely fit with the information given, is St Asaph as it was here that the journalist 'Henry Morton Stanley' of "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" fame (aka John Rowlands, born 28th January 1841), was imprisoned in the local workhouse. He appears to have been held there from c 1847 to 1856, before making good his escape to America.

The city of St Asaph lies between the afon Clwyd (river Clwyd) and the afon y Meirchion (river Meirchion) (correction, the other river is called the Elwy, the Meirchion is a tributary of the Elwy, well spotted and thanks for pointing that out David) and the cathedral there appears to have been founded by St Kentigern (feast day 13th Jan) c AD560. Around two and a half miles north of St Asaphs, lies the town of Rhuddlan and it was here in AD796, that a battle was fought between the English and the Welsh, with the English side victorious in this particular encounter. The statute of Rhuddlan is believed to have been issued by the nasty old monarch, 'Edward the 1st', at Rhuddlan, c 1284. At this point the following incantation should be sung, to cleanse the mind of any negative energy generated by thinking about the barmy fascist twit Longshanks:

Wir sind des Geyers Schwarze Haufen, heia oho! 
Wir wollen mit Tyrannen raufen, heia oho! 
Spieß voran! Drauf und dran! 
Setzt aufs Klosterdach den Roten Hahn!

but I digress, some references claim that the river Clywd was diverted to connect Rhuddlan castle (built c 1277) to the sea, that it could be resupplied by boat, in the event of a land based siege. Travelling seven and a half miles or so north east from Rhuddlan, brings us to the vicinity of 'Point of Ayr' and the gas terminal there, which has a pipeline with lengths given as 15 - 21 miles, depending on which source you check. The address of the gas terminal is given as: Station Road, Talacre, Llanasa, Flintshire, CH8 9RD. Point of Ayr also has an abandoned lighthouse, 'The Point of Ayr lighthouse', on Talacre beach. There seems to have been more than one lighthouse built on the site, the initial one being constructed c 1776 and subsequently washed out to sea, with a replacement, which according to a text called  "Lighthouses of Wales: Their Architecture and Archaeology By Douglas Bland Hague", was fifty two feet high. The light is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a lonely keeper and there appear to be some spooky aeolian sculptures of him, on the beach and on the tower itself.

Saturday, 5 July 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. Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway

Q2. Sidney Lewis Bernstein (aka Baron Bernstein)

внимание друзья! The Eastender has been unable to confirm which of the stations does not have an electrolier in it but is taking a punt on the most likely two being Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway, as the rest of the clues seem to point to Tooting, as the location of the suburb.

The initial clues seem to place us squarely on the home turf of a very famous London urban guerilla fighter called 'Foxy Smith', ie in the suburb of Tooting, in the London borough of Wandsworth. Foxy's group were known as 'The Tooting Popular Front' and he was often photographed giving a power salute in front of Tooting Broadway station, which was one of the tube stations which formed part of the extensions to the C&SLR (City and South London Railway) c 1926.

The Eastender thought initially that the suburb which gained two stations, in the extension of the C&SLR could be Clapham but according to some of the references checked, only one station was built in Clapham as part of the C&SLR extensions c 1926, with two being built in Tooting, namely Tooting Bec and Tooting Broadway tube stations. The line seems to have been extended from Clapham to Morden and the stations were designed by an architect called Charles Henry Holden (born c 1875, in Bolton). He is also said to have designed the headquarters of the Underground Electric Railway Company of London's headquarters, at 55 Broadway and to have used electroliers (a type of chandelier which used electric light bulbs), in the underground stations for the C&SLR extension.

The puzzle author is probably at Tooting Broadway station, as St George's hospital (founded 1733 and relocated to Tooting c 1980) is close by. On the site where St George's now sits, was once located the Fountains Fever Hospital, Tooting and it was here that a young nurse called Edith Cavell (born c 1865. nb some references claim her name is spelled Cavall) did some of her training. The poor woman was shot during WWI by firing squad, for helping prisoner escape from the hospital where she worked in Belgium. Some accounts say that she got two hundred of them out, before being rumbled.

The cholera scandal of 1849, seems to have occurred at Mr Drouet's Establishment For Pauper Children, a very overcrowded childrens' home, located in Tooting, which seems to have had around fourteen hundred residents, of which at least one hundred and eighty seem to have perished in the outbreak. Charles Dickens is alleged to have written some scathing commentary on the affair, in a series of four articles published in the Examiner. Possibly he was a bit hard on Mr Drouet, as not much was known about bacteria or transmission of diseases back in those days, let alone how to prevent or treat them.

A film theatre which opened c 1931, is most likely the Granada, which some references say is located at 50-60 Mitcham Road, Tooting. This again lends support to the theory that the puzzle compiler, is at Tooting Broadway station, as it is located at the junction of Mitcham Road and Tooting High Street. The Granada was one of several cinemas owned by Sidney Lewis Bernstein (born c 1899). One of his bios says he founded the film society c 1925 and hung out with people like H.G.Wells, John Maynard Keynes, Julian Huxley and T.S. Eliot.

A pool which lies north east of the cinema, is most likely Tooting Bec Lido, which some references claim was opened c 1906.It's dimensions are given as 100 x 33 yards in some texts.