Category Archives: History

A to Z of Statues – T is for Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine was a radical revolutionary, a sort of proto-Marxist, a latter day Leveller, a real trouble maker, an all round (excuse the pun) pain in the ass to the establishment of late eighteenth century England and he didn’t come from London or Bristol, not even Ipswich or Norwich but from sleepy little Thetford.

In his writings he explored the origins of property, openly challenged the concept of monarchy, introduced the idea of a guaranteed minimum income, supported the abolition of slavery, questioned the very concept of Christianity and inspired The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen of 1791.

An interesting feature of the statue is that the book he holds is upside down maybe because his ideas turned regular thinking on its head.

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Odd One Out – Markets

Did you spot the odd one out?

According to my stats page a lot of you flirted with this one.

Well done Sheree, Sue and Margaret and Derrick who got it right but for the wrong reason.

European markets.  This is the odd one out because it was taken in Leicester in the UK and the UK is in Europe but sadly not in the EU.  All of the others are.

I was born in Leicester in 1954 and my parents lived quite close to the city centre.  I don’t remember much about it because we left when I was six but I do rather curiously remember the Leicester Market where Mum would go shopping maybe twice a week.  I never liked the place.

On my return journey to the city a couple of weeks ago I went looking for Lineker’s fruit and vegetable pitch,  Gary Lineker is/was a famous England footballer whose family worked the Leicester market.  I asked this man where it was and he burst out laughing.  “Been gone for twenty years he said” so, hiding my embarrassment  I asked him if I could take his picture instead and he happily obliged.

Markets of Europe

Recently I posted an odd one out challenge (Chains, Ropes and Anchors) and loads of readers begged me to do another one.

Well, actually only two to be truthful.  Thanks to both of you.

Anyway, here are some pictures of markets all taken in Europe and all you have to do is identify the odd one out and the clues are in the pictures…

People Pictures – Rainbow in Morocco

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken at the Roman City of Volubilis in Morocco.  While I was busy taking pictures of the ancient Roman city Kim spotted this party of local tourist women with a tour guide…

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A to Z of Statues – S is for Stan Laurel

There is a pub in Bishop Auckland in Durham called the Stanley Jefferson to commemorate the fact that Stanley Jefferson once lived in the town and attended the Grammar School there.

Stanley Who I hear you ask?  Well, Stanley Jefferson is better known to everyone as Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame.  There is a statue of him nearby on the site of a theatre that was once owned by his parents, long since gone of course.

I remember Laurel and Hardy from Saturday Morning Pictures at the Granada Cinema in Rugby where I lived as a boy.  They were my favourites then and they remain my favourites now.  Surely there has never been a finer comedy double act in entertainment history.

I have always taken some sort of patriotic pride from the fact that Stan was from England and was the comedy genious of the pairing.

True story… a few years ago I took my Mum to the cinema to see the Film ‘Stan and Ollie’ and as we left I asked if she had enjoyed it, ‘oh yes’ she said ‘I didn’t know that they were still making films’.  She was 85 years old and I was quite unable to offer an explanation that would have made sense to her.

There is a city in New Zealand called Auckland and a county in New South Wales in Australia.  They were both named in honour of George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland (1784-1849) who held the title but never visited the town (or New Zealand or Australia).

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People Pictures – Village Square in Folegandros

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken on the Greek Island of Folegandros…

What a fabulous island Folegandros is and completely relaxing and charming and in my top five list of personal favourites.

We first visited in 2007 and the village squares were colourful, vibrant and bursting with an eclectic energy that spilled into the streets from the balconies and terraces of the bars and restaurants.

It was an enchanting place with picturesque settings plucked straight from the pages of a travel book, pretty squares with restaurants under trees where visitors were struggling to make menu selections next to local people just sitting and talking and passing the evening away.

The streets were alive with friendly people and there was an unspoilt ambience that drew us down twisting side streets and through narrow alleys that led always to even more clusters of inviting tavernas that made choosing a dining venue very difficult indeed.  Eventually we selected a table at the side of the main square and we enjoyed excellent food and amused ourselves people watching as there was a constant stream of local people and holiday makers moving continuously through the pretty square.

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The Odd One Out

Just in case anyone was interested it was this one…

People Pictures – Taking a Break

When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.

This one was taken on the Greek Island of Amorgos…

I imagine this woman was taking a well earned break after a morning of hard graft housework.

We took a ride out to the  Chora which cannot be seen from the sea or from the harbour but as we got closer we could see it above us like a fresh snow fall on top of a mountain.  From the outside it doesn’t look especially promising but once inside the walls of the town it is a different matter altogether.  The town turns in on itself in an introspective sort of way and inside there were narrow shady streets and lots of traditional cafés and tavernas where getting disorientated and lost is a certainty.

It was a lazy place where time goes by slowly and no one is in a particular hurry about anything.  If this was Naxos or Ios the Chora would have been teeming with shops and fast food places but this was a local town for local people and completely unspoilt by the retinue of tourist shops that can be found on more popular islands.

We explored the streets and in a very stiff breeze climbed to the very top to the redundant windmills that overlook the town and the Venetian castle that is built on top of a rocky outcrop that soars above it and its mass of dazzling white buildings.

On the way back we were ready for a second stroll through the Chora where we ambled through the corkscrew of twisting streets returning several times to exactly the same place passing by several churches, the castle, blue doors, blue sky, shady vines and friendly cafés and I knew that this was my kind of town.

The Chora is rather like a hippie time-warp, slow, lazy, faded and bleached, pot plants struggling in the midday sun and appropriately slow mood music in the tavernas and bars – it reminded me of a favourite pair of old denim jeans and my battered blue t-shirt that I am reluctant to throw away.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

The ambience is compounded by  cultural traditions. Village life retains a centuries old pace thanks in large part to the absence of motorised vehicles. Old men while away the afternoons sitting in the summer shade chatting.  The labyrinthine, narrow lanes are the province of donkeys and wooden carts. Displays of ripe fruit – tomatoes, figs, golden apples – stand outside the little stores, the local catch is brought into the harbour daily, the wine and the raki is plentiful, good and cheap.

As we wandered around an old lady dressed all in black asked for help negotiating some difficult steps and we naturally obliged and in return for our assistance she treated us to her life story and tales of Amorgian life.  Her name was Limonique and she told us that after sixty-five years of marriage she was now a widow so I guessed her age to be somewhere around eighty-five or so.

 

 

A Door in Skipsea Three Ways

A to Z of Statues – Q is for Don Quixote

“Don Quixote is the national glory of Spain.  No one who does not know that has the right to call himself a Spaniard.  There is a monument to him in Madrid…he was our first revolutionary.” – Gerald Brenan,  ‘South from Granada’

 

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