Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Visit to Nuffield Place

19 June 2017

We went yesterday to see the home of William Morris, Lord Nuffield, and his wife Elizabeth (nee Anstey). It’s a National Trust property, passed to them by Nuffield College.

The house was built in 1914 and enlarged by the Morrises in 1933. The Independent has an article about the house and contents. My sister was reminded of our step-grandmother’s house, built in the 1920s, and thought it even smelt the same.

Definitely worth seeing if you’re interested in domestic life of this period – say the 1920s to 1950s (though Nuffield didn’t die until 1963). Our visit would have been more pleasurable had the docents not been so eager to tell us things when we’d rather have looked on our own at least initially. And I’d have liked a bit more about Elizabeth Morris, their joint enthusiasm for cycling, and her life before and after marriage. There’s a bit about her on pp7-8 of this biography from Nuffield International (which seems to be one of his philanthropical endeavours, focussed on farming).

I’m not sure that Nuffield sounds a very pleasant chap, rather authoritarian as you might expect. I feel I have to note that in 2015 an elderly woman went to the police and reported being abused by him over a long period of time as a child and young woman. The only account of this online apart from some blogs is on the DM newspaper so I’m not going to link to that.

In the house I was especially interested in the books, which are apparently the original ones belonging to the Morrises. There are bookcases in four or five rooms with a big range of books. Engineering, social science, biography, religion, novels, exploration. Lots of forgotten writers. Several books relating to millionaires, as you can see on my list. Lord Nuffield’s own bathroom has a lot of books on medicine and another, smaller, bookcase which looked as if it was full of brightly-jacketed possibly cheesy novels.

Here are some of the books I noted:

(Dates are to first publication of the book, taken from the BL, Bodleian or Wikipedia. Images are from online sources and not necessarily the same editions as at Nuffield Place. Author links are mostly to Wikipedia.)

Fifty Years in the Motor Trade. I didn’t write down the author of this one and can’t find it in the BL or Bodleian catalogues, or through Google. Maybe self-published?
Son by Adoption: A Story of Seventy Years Ago, Mrs Edward Whalley-Tooker (1955). Nothing online about her, apart from a mention of one other book, a school story. Maybe the wife of the cricketer Edward Whalley-Tooker?

Cover of Son by Adoption

Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Moylan (1929).
The Commander Shall …, Humfrey Jordan (1933). “The absorbing, authentic story of a Captain’s first voyage to Australia as commander of a fast ocean liner,” according to eBay.

Cover of The Commander Shall

Voices from the Past, B Paul (can’t find this).
Mr. Wycherley’s Wards, L[izzie] Allen Harker (1912). This book is online at Gutenberg. There’s a review at Goodreads.
Matron of Guy’s, Emily MacManus (1956). Interesting article on her here – I like the detail about her hair after her death.
The Adventures of Imshi: a two-seater in search of the sun, John Prioleau (1922). Motoring correspondent for the Spectator – he also wrote Motoring for Women (1925).
A Life Worth Living: some phases of an Englishman, CB Fry (1939).
Recollections of a Savage, Edwin A Ward (1923). Online at Archive.org. Travel and artistic life.

Cover of  Recollections of a Savage

Leaves from My Life: Reminiscences by the famous Manipulative Surgeon, Sir Herbert A Baker (1927).
Lasseter’s Last Ride: An epic of Central Australian gold discovery, Ion Llewellyn Idriess (1931). Review here.

Cover of Lasseter's Last Ride

A Millionaire of Yesterday, E. Phillips Oppenheim (1900). Online at Gutenberg.
T. Tembaron, Frances Hodgson-Burnett (and one of my own favourites) (1913).
Joseph Fels: his life-work, Mary Fels (1916). Fels was “an American soap manufacturer, millionaire, and philanthropist”.

On Lady Nuffield’s bedside table were The Tall Stranger by DE Stevenson (1957 – see my review) and a book on etiquette – I hope she didn’t actually feel the need to have the latter by her bed.

One room is staged as a study-bedroom from the 1960s, when students from Nuffield College used it, complete with a copy of Family and Kinship in East London (1957).

Jubilate Matteo, by Gavin Ewart

30 January 2017

From another Ewart poem.

For I rejoice in my cat Matty.
For his coat is variegated in black and brown, with white undersides.
For in every way his whiskers are marvellous.
For he resists the Devil and is completely neuter.
For he sleeps and washes himself and walks warily in the ways of Putney.
For he is at home in the whole district of SW15.
. . .
For my cat wanders in the ways of the angels of Yorkshire.
For in his soul God has shown him a remarkable vision of Putney.
For he has also trodden in the paths of the newly fashionable.
. . .
For in Clarendon Drive the British Broadcasting Corporation is rampant.
For the glory of God has deserted the simple.
For the old who gossiped in Bangalore Road are unknown to the dayspring.
For there is a shortage of the old people who adorned the novels of William Trevor.
For in the knowledge of this I cling to the old folkways of Gwalior Road and Olivette Street.
For I rejoice in my cat, who has the true spirit of Putney.

– Gavin Ewart.

The Meeting, by Gavin Ewart

28 January 2017

Second verse of this 6-verse poem.

Everything was twice repeated,
sometimes more than twice repeated,
as they worked through the agenda
(it seemed elastic, that agenda,
becoming longer, never shorter),
their utterances grew long, not shorter,
it was just like spreading butter,
words went further, like spread butter,
covering each subject thinly,
covering almost nothing thinly.

-Gavin Ewart

The Scribbler: a Retrospective Literary Review

9 January 2017

magpage1016

Recently came across this great quarterly magazine reviewing old books (specifically, “much loved and more obscure fiction for women and girls”). The Autumn 2016 issue has a long article on nurses in books, including a review of a Josephine Elder book by Rosemary Auchmuchty. There’s another lengthy article on women factory workers, including a review of Working for Victory (Kathleen Church-Bliss and Elsie Whiteman) about which I have long been meaning to write here. Another article on what women writers did in the First World War. A literary trail around Gatehouse (not just Five Red Herrings) and a terribly difficult Christmas quiz. I recommend subscribing.

And here is as good a place as any to put a link to a lovely short fanfic about Wimsey and Antonia Forest’s Marlow books: That Still Centre, by AJHall. If you are so inclined, there’s a rabbit hole to go down, including another with the Marlows at the Chalet School: The Marlows at St Mildred’s by mrsredboots. And the Marlows in lolcat: Patrick: I HATEZ SKOOL. I HATEZ VATICAN 2.

“Every woman tells a story … “

21 August 2016

Deeply in to old newspapers from 1920s, and enjoyed “All need regular meals, less worry and more sympathy”:

Ad

(North Devon Journal, 15/04/1920)

Poem – Douglas Dunn – Tay Bridge

19 August 2016

(I know the Tay and its bridge well.)

A sky that tastes of rain that’s still to fall
And then of rain that falls and tastes of sky…
The colour of the country’s moist and subtle
In dusk’s expected rumour. Amplify
All you can see this evening and the broad
Water enlarges, Dundee slips by an age
Into its land before the lights come on.
Pale, mystic lamps lean on the river-road
Bleaching the city’s lunar after-image,
And there’s the moon, and there’s the setting sun.

The rail bridge melts in a dramatic haze.
Slow visibility – a long train floats
Through a stopped shower’s narrow waterways
Above rose-coloured river, dappled motes
In the eye and the narrow piers half-real
Until a cloud somewhere far in the west
Mixes its inks and draws iron and stone
In epic outlines, black and literal.
Now it is simple, weathered, plain, immodest
In waterlight and late hill-hidden sun.

High water adds freshwater-filtered salt
To the aquatic mirrors, a thin spice
That sharpens light on Middle Bank, a lilt
In the reflected moon’s analysis.
Mud’s sieved and rained from pewter into gold
Conjectural infinity’s outdone
By engineering, light and hydrous fact,
A waterfront that rises fold by fold
Into the stars beyond the last of stone,
A city’s elements, local, exact.

– Douglas Dunn

Poem – Douglas Dunn – Modern Love

18 August 2016

(As ever, I cannot resist a poem with a cat.)

It is summer, and we are in a house
That is not ours, sitting at a table
Enjoying minutes of a rented silence,
The upstairs people gone. The pigeons lull
To sleep the under-tens and invalids,
The tree shakes out its shadows to the grass,
The roses rove through the wilds of my neglect.
Our lives flap, and we have no hope of better
Happiness than this, not much to show for love
But how we are, and how this evening is,
Unpeopled, silent, and where we are alive
In a domestic love, seemingly alone,
All other lives worn down to trees and sunlight,
Looking forward to a visit from the cat.

– Douglas Dunn

Exhibition at St Barbe Gallery

3 August 2015

Quick note about the exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers at the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington. It’s on until 12th Sept.

I especially liked the prints by Mychael Barrett. Lost Magic Kingdoms – an alphabetical map of fictional places is a kind of puzzle map of places from children’s stories and other fantasy works. The link isn’t a great reproduction but each image in the print refers to a different fantastical story. The key at the bottom gives further clues to identifying them. Pictures + (mostly) children’s books + puzzle element = good stuff.

I also liked his Street piano in Keystone Crescent and A memory of elephants in King’s Cross.

There was also a good cat print by Richard Bawden of a tabby cat stealthing through the undergrowth. I can’t find it online but an images search for Richard Bawden+cat+print may be enjoyable. I liked this one, My Darling, cross-looking cat, complaisant-looking owner.

And two prints by Delores de Sade, “Hence arises a digression” and “Not without undue prolixity”. I can’t find a good image of the first but the second is shown in this interview with de Sade, in which she also talks about the source of the titles.

Was good to do something other than data analysis and writing about detective fiction, both of which have taken over my life in the last few weeks. Both are good things to do but for various reasons (deadlines and knackeredness among them) have been hard work.

Some pictures of Gosport

18 August 2013

Creek. There was a community archaeology project here.

Gosport - beach

Derelict Naval building.

Gosport - naval buildings 2

Fort Brockhurst.

Fort Brockenhurst

FB 3

Fort Brockenhurst - door

FB through door

FB through letterbox

Conversations with dementia

7 May 2012

Two conversations with my (step-)grandmother (E), who has vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.

E: When did I stop being related to you?
H (my mother): I don’t think you have.
E: (angrily) Well, this is something that’s happened and I need to know how long it will last.
Me: I don’t think you can stop being connected to people you are linked to by marriage or blood.
E: So I am responsible for L [my cousin]’s children?
Me: I think one is only legally responsible for one’s own children.
H: It’s academic as L has no children.
E: (still moodily) So if you say it’s academic it’s something that doesn’t matter?
Me: I think academic means it doesn’t apply in the specific case.
E: So if I went walking in D [nearest town] with no clothes on, the university would arrest me?

E: These developments in new technology are amazing.
H: Life-changing.
E: For instance, whom would you ring up to find out if I were dead.
H: It would depend on the circumstances of your death.
E: In hospital, I expect.
H: I expect the hospital would ring me up.
E: The funeral would be difficult.
H: Well, you said yesterday you didn’t want a funeral – that you’d rather be cremated, because of the worms.
E: Yes.
H: And you weren’t keen to donate your body to medical science.
E: No, I’ve had enough to do with medical students.
H: I might donate my brain for medical research. Though you think of all the metaphysics [sic] who believed you had to stay in one piece.
Me: Like Stanley Spencer’s pictures of the Resurrection.
E: So you’ll ring up Stanley Spencer to find out if I’m dead?