I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


(click on any image to enlarge)

Well it took a while and some cash outlay, but the finished article is well worth it. My 60 year old (owned by me for 50) Raleigh Record Ace has now been fully restored, as you see here. It originally looked like this and then this as I began the work.
I painted it myself, but the transfers for the frame had to be specially made (and cost me £50!).
The bag is a replica of a 1950's item.

The chain-set is a 1950's Williams which I picked up in the "jumble-box" at a cycle museum in Cornwall, whilst on holiday (a bargain - £5)

The rear wheel contains an original pattern Sturmey Archer 4 speed gear, reconditioned and then built into a wheel by a retired cycle shop owner (another £120 I'm afraid!)

I took it for its first ride across Romney Marsh today and it behaved like the perfect gentleman it is. It was interesting to get used to the hub gear after so many years of riding with a multi-gear derailleur, but all worked smoothly and I only walked one hill. (I even saw a pair of swans with their 8 cygnets).

It will get its first airing at a Veteran-Cycle Club meet at the end of September, when the "experts" will survey it with critical eyes to ensure that all is "in period" (no worries there).

Who's a happy bunny, then?


Friends of Nea - she is up and running again. (at least in blog form). New site is called "The Front Porch"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Saw in a newpaper article recently that they had taken the old 1944 film of Shakespeare's "Henry V" and painstakingly restored and recoloured it to its original quality. It is now going the rounds of British Cinemas, either "art house" or special "classic evenings". The latter occasion arrived at our local cinema yesterday so we (wife and I) went along.
Vast queues outside and in the multiplex had us confused - surely Shakespeare was not THAT popular in our provincial town? This was resolved once inside - the "Bourne Conspiracy" was also showing!
As it was, our "screen" only contained about 30 people - we sat at the back and looked over the grey and bald heads (we felt at home). However a group of 6 girls, about 17, came in and sat in front of us. They were in rapt attention, gazing adoringly at Larry Olivier and laughing in all the right places at the Shakespearian "jokes". It was lovely to see and I imagine it must be their subject in this year's sixth form. So it will not die with our generation and that's encouraging!
Although I have heard and read it so often, I still sat with a catch in my throat, with tears streaming down my cheeks as Olivier proclaimed the "St. Crispin's Day" speech.
A great evening. The re-mastering has produced a vibrancy of colour that has been missing for 50-odd years. Worth seeing again if it comes your way. A pity that Olivier's dedication is now missing - it was so appropriate to the time of the film (1944) - but times move on, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For the Texans amongst you.

A man in Topeka, Kansas, decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco, and started working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall, and was intrigued with a sign that read, "$10,000 per minute."

Seeking out the pastor, he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that the golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to Heaven, and if he pays the price, he can talk directly to God.

The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, and around the United States, he found more such phones, with the same sign, and the same explanation from each pastor.

Finally, the man arrived in the great state of Texas. Upon entering a church, behold: he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read: "Calls: 25 cents"!? Fascinated, the man asked to speak with the pastor.

"Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone, and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven, and that I could use it to talk to God.... But in 20 other churches, the cost was $10,000 per minute. Your sign says 25 cents per call.....Why is that?

The pastor, smiling benignly, replied: "Son, you're in Texas now! and it's a local call."

NEA (The Southern View)

Nea - if you see this - your blog site has been taken over by hordes of "spam"!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


A couple of weeks ago a chance mention in Lucy's blog about a flower called a "Nenuphar" opened up memories of only once before reading this word, in a poem that had a deep effect on me some 50 years ago. "Black Marigolds" - a free interpretation of the Chaurapanchasika, by E. Powys Mathers. It can be read in full here.

I first read the poem in a school library book when I was 17. I copied it out at that time and then, a couple of years later, whilst feeling bored in the army during office duties, I typed it all (and still have that ancient copy clunked out on an old Imperial typewriter on foolscap paper).

As a result of Lucy's blog I looked it up on the internet and found it was currently in print - so at last I have a copy of this most exquisite love lament in a "proper" book.

To end, I quote from Tony Harrison's introduction to the book:
"And the Black Marigolds of Edward Powys Mathers is a masterpiece that still affects me in the same way, even now, after almost 50 years. Perhaps even more with the "gala day" ever nearer. Even now!" (the italics will become evident on reading the work).

So thank you, Lucy, for re-awakening a long forgotten memory with such a satisfactory result.