Saturday, 23 January 2016

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 River Idle

Q2. Gainsborough

The initial clues appear to place us in the town of Retford, in the county of Nottinghamshire. Some of the sources I checked claim that two railways arrived in the town c 1849, The Sheffield and Lincolnshire Junction Railway and The Great Northern Railway and that these crossed on the level at Retford, forming a traffic bottleneck and potentially dangerous intersection, which was subsequently replaced c 1965, by what is known in the trade, as a 'Dive Under' where the track from one line is lowered to pass beneath the other.

Retford sits on the river Idle (a good fit for the 'lazy sounding river' clue), which is oriented South to North through the town. An aqueduct appears to carry 'The Chesterfield Canal' ( opened c 1777), across the Idle in a West to East orientation. Following the river North out of town, would bring us to Mattersey Priory, which the English Heritage web site indicates, was founded c 1185 and was destroyed by fire c 1279. From the maps I looked at, it does seem to lie West of the Idle.

Travelling North East out of Retford, would bring us to the town of Gainsborough and it was here that some references claim that Sweyn Forkbeard, a king of England for five weeks, died after being thrown from a horse c 1014. The actress born in Gainsborough c 1882, is probably Sybil Thorndyke, some of her biographies claim that she was born there on the twenty fourth of October 1882 and appeared in a play called 'St. Joan', c 1924. Some sources claim that Mary Anne Evans ( aka George Eliot), used Gainsborough as a model to base the town of 'St. Ogg's' on, in her novel 'The Mill on the Floss', which may have been published c 1860.

Following the canal's course on the map, leads to the point where it connects to the River Trent, at what does seem like a linear village (linear as in the houses follow the line of the road and do not spread out) of West Stockwith. East Stockwith lies on the eastern bank of the Trent and does not appear to have a span connecting it with West Stockwith.

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.


  1. No wit and wisdom from Glasgow EE this week. I do hope you are OK.

    Yours aye


  2. Hopefully be able to write the blogg next weekend James....

  3. 1.River Waveney
    2. Fritton Decoy

    H. Rider Haggard
    St Olaves
    Coot club