Saturday, 19 November 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 Wiltshire and Berks Canal

Q2. Calne

Quite tricky this week, the initial clues possibly place us in or near Melksham, in Wiltshire, which looks to be around two miles or so from the southern end of what's left of the Wiltshire and Berks Canal. Some of the reference sources I checked, claim that the Stanley aqueduct, which carried the navigation over the river Marden, collapsed c 1901 and that the waterway had been further damaged by the army practicing with demolition charges.

The thirteenth century 'Lacock Abbey', founded by Ela, Countess of Salisbury, as a nunnery of the Augustinian order, looks to be around four miles north of Melksham and it was here that the great British genius, William Henry Fox Talbot, conducted his ground breaking experiments with photography, producing a negative c 1834 which showed one of the lattice windows in the abbey.

The canal forms a three way junction near to the village of Stanley and the short south eastern branch, used to terminate at a wharf, in the town of Calne. Bowood house lies around two miles south south east of the junction and at one time, this was the home of the Marquess of Landsdowne, whose family motto was 'Virtue Non Verbis', which can be translated as 'By Courage Not Words'. The polymath Joseph Priestley conducted his experiments with gases in a laboratory in Bowood House, discovering Oxygen there c 1774. Priestley was chased out of the UK by a bunch of torch and pitchfork wielding cretins who burned his house down and destroyed his laboratory and he eventually had to flee to America, although he was relatively lucky compared to what happened to one of his scientific contemporaries in oxygen experimentation, one Antoine Lavoisier, who had his head chopped off by the ignoratti. Another great scientist and medical practitioner who carried out experiments at Bowood house, was Jan Ingenhousz and he appears to have discovered photosynthesis in the very laboratory that Priestly used.

The causeway mentioned in the clues, is likely 'Maud Heath's Causeway' and some of the references sources I read on this, claim that it has sixty four brick arches and was the result of a legacy by a lady who made her fortune selling eggs at a nearby market. A stretch of the Wiltshire and Berks canal which still has water in it, lies north of RAF Lyneham, which closed for business c 2012.

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 that if you have a comment or quip relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's me but the ST techies don't appear to be awake again today. This week's entry form (27/11) still shows last week's puzzle details - sigh!

    As I am sure you will concur, the most likely answers to this week's competition appear to be Herne Bay and Regulbium (Reculver).

    The puzzle appears reasonably straightforward too, especially with the connection to Barnes Wallis. Even a simple search string of "3787 foot pier" prompts the answer to Q1.

    Whilst looking through the bios and detailed information provided on t'internet about the other key points and features is both fascinating and educational, I prefer a much more severe and stimulating challenge in solving the clues each week.

    Best wishes, especially as we approach, for some, a special time of the year. (As a child, my parents forbad utterance of the "C" word until the 20th of December).