Saturday, 27 September 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 Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Q2. Burscough

внимание друзья! for question two, the Leeds and Liverpool canal has more than one branch, there is a branch at Burscough, called the Rufford branch, which goes north to the river Douglas, which then joins with the river Ribble and a Branch which appears to start at Leigh and go northwest to Wigan. The Eastender is taking  a punt on Burscough being the correct solution, as it is listed as a village whereas Leigh, is listed as a town. (Burscough is also marked as 'Burscough Bridge' on some maps).

A little bit tricky this week but the initial clues seem to place us in the city of Liverpool, specifically at the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse building, which was according to some of the sources I checked, built by one Anthony George Lister (born c 1852). The edifice is said to be constructed from around twenty seven million bricks and thirty thousand panes of glass. Stanley dock is connected to the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Travelling two and half miles southeast of the tobacco warehouse, would likely bring us to the site of Williamson's tunnels, at Edge Hill. Williamson, according to some of his bios was a tobacco merchant (born c 1769). No one is too sure why the tunnels were built, they were either an eccentric folly or a philanthropic venture to provide employment in the area. He became known locally as 'The Mole of Edge Hill'.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal navigates past Aintree racecourse, which seems to have had it's foundation stone laid c Feb 7th 1829, by Mr William Lynn. The musical impressario, Brian Epstein (b 1934), is said to be buried in Long Lane Jewish Cemetery near Aintree, Liverpool (Section A, grave H12). Mr Epstein signed the Beatles c 1961, after seeing them play the Cavern club in Matthew  street (The Eastender favours their Hamburg Exis period ).

This is where things required a little more investigation, the Leeds and Liverpool canal has more than one branch, there is a branch at Burscough, the 'Rufford branch', which appears to go north until it joins with the river Douglas and a branch which goes north west from the town of Leigh to Wigan . Burscough (listed as a village) did have a naval air station called HMS Ringtail, situated around one and a half miles to the southwest of the settlement. The air station, according to some of the references I checked, did close c 1957. A beacon which lies around four miles south east of Burscough, which seems to be five hundred and sixty feet or one hundred and seventy metres high, is Ashurst's Beacon, on Ashurst hill. This was constructed c 16th century, by Sir William Ashurst.

Saturday, 20 September 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. Buckingham Palace

Q2. Goldie

The Eastender, who normally does not dip his toes into the murky waters of politics, is still somewhat bemused and disoriented after the surreal and strange events of this week and not totally sure which country he is actually in. Her majesty, god bless her, according to the Scotsman newspaper, said that she "applauded the robust democratic tradition" with which the referendum was conducted. The Eastender concurs with this wonderful example of quiet and considered British diplomatic understatement and has enjoyed hugely watching the 'debaters' robustly exchange views with clubs, fists, bricks and Buckfast bottles, in George square for the last two nights. Mind you, fighting in George square at the weekend is hardly news in this part of the world and how the police can tell the secessionists and unionists, from the happy hour crowd zombies when the pubs and clubs spill out, is anyone's guess.

I digress, the puzzle was difficult this week and required a lot of work to solve (many thanks to the author, for putting in the time and effort to craft this one). The initial clues seem to place us at Monument, in the city of London, a place the Eastender knows well from his days testing derivatives trading software, when he worked in the square mile, back in nineteen canteen. The monument is a column which was raised in memory of the great fire of London and seems to have a gilded urn on top, which represents the aforesaid conflagration.

If you travel three hundred yards or so north west from monument, this brings you to the [B]an[k] of England. The Bank of England museum seems to have a large gold ingot in a perspex case with a hand sized hole in it, which allows the visitors to reach in an pick it up but not remove it (though doubtless a few punters have tried over the years).

Travelling west from the BoE museum brings us to the HQ of the 'Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths' at Golds[m]iths' Hall on the corner of Gresham St and Foster Lane. The WCOG seems to be fifth in precedence on the list of London guilds in some of the references I looked at. West south west from Goldsmiths' Hall brings us to the vicinity of Fleet Street, where lies the church of St D[u]nst[a]n in the West. St Dunstan's feast day appears to be on the nineteenth of May. The church featured in a book called 'The Vi[c][a]r of Wakefield' which was written by Oliver Goldsmit[h] (born c 1728).

A mile or so west south west from St Dunstan's in the West, in the district of SOHO, lies Golde[n] Square and it was here that Dickens claimed in his book 'The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby' (published c 1838) that R[a]l[p]h Ni[c]kleby, the money lender lived. North west from here is the site of Re[g]ent's park zoo and it was at this location, back in 1965, that an eagle called Gold[i]e, is said to have gone over the wall to visit Tottenham Court road and Camden market, with the police, fire brigade and some looney space cadet from the BBC, who tried to lure him back by playing an Eritrean nose flute, in hot pursuit.

North of Regent's park lies number 2 Wi[l]low Road and the house of the architect Erno Goldfing[e]r (born c 1902). Erno's brother got in a bit of trouble with the Americans, when he tried to melt some of their gold with a nuclear weapon (c 1964). Now collating the results gives:

1. [B]an[k] of England Museum     B    K
2. Golds[m]iths' Hall                      M
3. St D[u]nst[a]n in the West         U   A
4. Oliver Goldsmit[h]                     H
5. The Vi[c][a]r of Wakefield         C  A
6.  Golde[n] Square                       N
7.  R[a]l[p]h Ni[c]kleby                 A  C P
8.  Re[g]ent's Park                        G
9.  Gold[i]e                                    I
10. Erno Goldfing[e]r                     E
11. Wi[l]low Road                         L

Rearranging the extracted data, can give a combination which forms BUCKINGHAM PALACE, which does seem to have started out as Buckingham House c 1702 or thereabouts and fits in with the sterling clue, as the queen's picture is on the currency.

Saturday, 13 September 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. Mainland (In the Orkney archipelago)

Q2. The Barrel of Butter Lighthouse (aka Carlin Skerry Lighthouse)

внимание друзья! For question one, St Magnus seems to have been buried in several places, first on Egilsay where he was slain, then in Birsay on Mainland and then interred in St Magnus's Cathedral in Kirkwall. The body seems to have been washed in Birsay. For question two, there appear to be two lighthouses situated just offshore from the writer's position, on the northern shore of Scapa Flow. These are the Calf of Cava lighthouse, which is listed in some references as being thirty six  feet high and The Barrel of Butter lighthouse/navigation beacon, whose height is variously given as six metres or around twenty feet high. The Eastender is taking a punt on 'The Barrel of Butter' being the correct answer, as the height is nearer to that given in the clues. The Barrel of Butter is also known as 'Carlin Skerry'.

The Sunday Times seem to be giving the answers from the puzzle set on the 24rd Aug 14, as the solutions to last week's puzzle but I digress. The treasure hunt is a little bit tricky this week but the initial clues seem to place us on the island of Mainland, in the Orkney archipelago. One hundred and twenty four thousand acres is around fifty thousand one hundred and eighty one hectares and this is roughly the size of mainland, which is listed as being around fifty two thousand hectares. The patron saint of the Orkney islands is St Magnus, who was born circa 1075 and murdered on the 16th April c 1115. Magnus tried to get out of the army by pretending to be mad and singing psalms during the battle of Anglesey sound, which upset the Vikings he was supposed to be raiding with. He returned to Orkney and took control of the islands, which he ruled jointly and peacefully with his cousin Hakon for a time, until their supporters fell out at the Thing parliament. A battle was narrowly averted and the two sides agreed to a further meeting on Egilsay, where they were to bring two ships apiece with an equal number of men. Hakon turned up with eight ships and a larger force and captured Magnus. Hakon's cook Lilolf struck Magnus with a hatchet and killed him. He was denied a christian burial and buried where he fell (on Egilsay). The body was later retrieved and buried in the church at Birsay (on Mainland) and subsequently transferred to Kirkwall.

There appears to be a ruined sixteenth century palace in the Birsay area and this seems to have been built for the first earl of Orkney, Robert Stewart (b c 1533). He is believed to be the illegitimate son of James V and Eupheme Elphinstone. A lighthouse situated around thirty seven miles to the west of the writer's position in Birsay, is most likely Sule Skerry, which the northern lighthouse board claim was constructed between 1892 and 1894 by David and Charles Stevenson.

Travelling south from Birsay, brings us to the village of Skara Brae, which was uncovered during a storm c 1850. Journeying twelve miles or so south east from Skara Brae, takes us to the northern shore of Scapa flow and it is here that two offshore lighthouses can possibly be seen, one on the Calf of Cava, which is said to be around thirty six feet high and one on the Barrel of Butter, which is said to be around six metres or twenty feet in height.

The puzzle compiler then most likely travels to the Covenanter's memorial, a ten metre brick obelisk which was raised c 1888, to commemorate the deaths of the Covenanter prisoners captured at the battle of Bothwell Bridge c 1679. Some two hundred and fifty of them were locked in the hold of 'The Crown of London' in Leith, for transportation to the colonies to work as slaves. During the long trip, the skipper put in to Deer sound on Orkney, to shelter from a  fierce torbellino that blew in but the ship broke anchor and was wrecked. The crew escaped and around forty eight prisoners managed to get out of the hold after a crew member freed them but the rest went down with the ship. Their bodies were turning up on the beaches there for days afterwards and they were buried at Scarva Taing. The scuttlebutt says that the ship was never meant to make it to America and may have been deliberately wrecked, in order to get rid of the political dissidents.

Saturday, 6 September 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. Wrynose Pass

Q2. Dalegarth Station

внимание друзья! For Q1some maps show that the road also goes through Hardknott Pass but the three shire stone has Wrynose Pass marked beside it, so the Eastender is taking a punt on Wrynose Pass being the most likely answer.

The initial clues seem to place us on a Ting mound or Moot, near Fell Foot and the village of Little Langdale, in one of the most beautiful areas of England, the Lake District. Ting mounds or Moots, were in the days when the area was inhabited by nomadic entrepreneurial Scandinavians, parliaments, where the locals would gather to discuss the hot topics (and probably percussively), thrash out the issues of the day. A historian who once lived at Fox How, to the north west of the town of Ambleside (which is at the north end of lake Windermere) was most likely Thomas Arnold (b c 1795). Arnold was famous for several historical works, among them 'The History of Rome', 'Lectures on Modern History' and religious tracts of five sermons. A painter born c 1759 whose works include 'George Biggins' and who lived in Ambleside, is most probably Julius Caesar Ibbetson. He seems to have acquired his middle name due to being delivered by Caesarian section at birth. The OS map shows a waterfall called Stockghyll Force, on the eastern edge of Ambleside and some sources claim that it is seventy feet high and is V shaped.

Driving west from the Ting mound parliament, would bring us through Wrynose pass and thence to the 'Three Shire Stone' and it was here in days of yore, that the three counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland once met. The monolith was destroyed by a car crash a one point but seems to have since been restored to its former glory, by a stonemason called Gordon Greaves.

Continuing the journey west through Wrynose pass, would likely have brought the puzzle author to the roman fort of Mediobogdum (aka Hardknott Castle), which astonishingly still seems to be standing in places, though some Victorian tinkerers have added a few stones to it, probably for the benefit of the tourist trade. The fort lies next to the river Esk and this is where some sources claim that the name Mediobogdum, meaning 'The fort next to the river bend', comes from.

Five miles or so west of the Roman fort lies Dalegarth station, which is the Eastern terminus of the 'Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway' (aka 'The Ratty') and this appears to be a fifteen inch gauge railway built c1876 as a three foot gauge, before being regauged to fifteen inch, c 1915. The railway's western terminus is in the seaside hamlet of Ravenglass,where the map shows there is also a mainline railway.