Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Friday, 30 November 2012
On Boxing Day at 11.00am, practise starts for the Northampton Motor Cyclists’ Club Ltd, Wild & Woolly Charity Scramble.
This year the event was held at Airfield Farm, Market Harborough. The conditions were perfect and the only things missing were the World Of Sport cameras and John Banks. Fortunately, I was there, camera in paw, to capture the event. Time to sit back, relax and enjoy the mayhem, mud sweat and gears.
Tuesday, 27 November 2012
First of all, Ian's father suffered a stroke in April and he has been kept busy with looking after him for most of this time. All is well now and he is making steady, solid progress. This must have something to do with the stubbon streak that runs in his family.
I too also suffered a major life threatening problem. On our travels this year, which I will write about after I finish the current series, I was nearly decapitated and had to spend a while at the Teddy Bear Hospital here in Nottingham. I was well looked after and I'm fit to travel again after my rehabilitation.
Right now, I'm in the final stages of editing a film that I took last Boxing Day and assuming we don't get too much more rain here in the Midlands, could be something for you to get out and enjoy this year. So, for now, it's goodbye to The Big Apple and hello blogland.
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Throughout the summer months, on Sunday at midday, by the side of the Hochzeitshaus, in the centre of Hameln, the people of the town perform their adaptation of the events.
The play is approximately half an hour in length and I recommend that you get there in good time to secure a good viewing point. Strange how the Piper plays the oboe and near the finale manages to play Wooden Heart.
I’m sure there must be grain some truth in the story. Could the children have been a generation taken away by an army? Could there have been a plague? Or a nearby crop failure? Throughout history there have been many events to start the exodus of people. A few years ago, Nottingham’s Robin Hood, went to Hameln to help celebrate the 750th anniversary of the event.
And here concludes our trip to Hamelm. Guzzisue and myself leave Ian alone for a few minutes for quiet contemplation before we depart tomorrow.
Friday, 9 March 2012
Hameln has a story to tell and does so at every opportunity. In amongst the statues around the centre is this little girl
And a piper.
Along the ground, there is a trail of white rats to get people onto the tourist trail.
For the tourist with impaired vision, there is a model of the town’s layout, thus giving an idea of the local topography.
The story about the Pied Piper of Hameln is known the world over and Hameln certainly goes for the overkill.
I shall start at the Rattenfängerhaus, pictured in my previous post.
Although this was built in 1602-3, it was not until around the turn of the 20th century that it became known as the Pied Piper’s House. What connects the two is that there is a plate on the building. This states that on 26th June 1284, 130 children were led away from Hameln by a piper, wearing multi coloured clothes.
HToday, the building is a restaurant, its speciality being ‘Rats’ Tails’. Many homes and business have rats, real or toy, in their doorway. The Rattenfängerhaus is no exception.
The other building previously mentioned is the Hochzeitshaus, or Wedding House. Throughout its life the Hochzeitshaus has been many things, ranging from a courtroom to a tavern, an armoury and also a pharmacy. The Board of Pharmacy were located here in the 1800’s and Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner, the discoverer of morphine worked here until his death in 1841.
Above the third floor of the Hochzeitshaus there is a glockenspiel with 37 bells. This chimes twice daily, during which the bronze door centre of the second floor opens. This brings to life an automation of the Pied Piper story. The automation was severely damaged during WWII, but repaired in 1964.
To get a good view of the show it is recommended to arrive a few minutes early to avoid the tourist guides armed with umbrellas. Our vantage point was from a shop doorway, balancing on a small step.
Finally for this piece, I will leave you with a short film of the automation and glockenspiel.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
During the 16th century, several buildings were constructed in the Wesser Renaissance style by the merchants and landed gentry. Features of this style of architecture include subdivided façades with scrolls, pyramids, obelisks, decorations of globes, fine chiselled stones, ornamented wooden friezes with coats of arms, masks and envy heads.
The Leisthaus was built on behalf of a wealthy corn trader, Gerd Leist. Today, it houses the Hameln Museum. Although there were no English explanation cards for the exhibits, an informative guidebook was purchased at the end of our visit.
The Leisthaus is the building on the right in the photo below, with the Stiftsherrenhaus, or Canon’s house to the left.
Frederick Poppendiek, the mayor and a businessman of Hameln, built Stiftsherrenhaus in 1558. There are several biblical figures depicted between the floors and under the eaves. These include God the Father, Christ, the apostles, David and Samson.
Another two prominent buildings in the Wesser style are the Hochzeitshaus
and the Rattenfängerhaus.
I will return to these later, as they are integral to my next post.
In the 17th century, Hameln started to be developed as a fortress and with the River Wesser as a natural defence; the town became the strongest fortress within the Hanoverian principality.
The two drawings of Hameln, the first from 1622 and the second dating from 1741 show the transformation.
Hameln’s next stage of development started in 1808 when Napoleon ordered the fortress to be destroyed. In doing this, the town was able to expand into the surrounding area. Later in the 19th century, Hameln came under Prussian jurisdiction. Rail links and a carpet weaving factory soon followed.
During the Second World War, Hameln became a target for the Allies bombing raids, destroying much of the town. In 1968, a total restoration of the old town was started and subsequently completed in 1992. Hidden away, it is still possible to find unrestored buildings of the old Hameln,
While the modern day centre looks like this.
Throughout the town, statues have been placed on main streets to add further interest.
Many alleyways need to be investigated, as you never know what you may miss.
Even the local park directs us back to England!
Unfortunately, we are still reminded of the past.
For now, let’s sit back and relax.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Disaster was averted on Friday, when loading up the Guzzi. Ian managed to break a strap on the Baglux harness. Panic was setting in when he went to a local cobbler who could send the harness off for repairs. It would be returned within six days! A customer in the shop recommended Timpson’s in Arnold, approximately three miles away. With nothing to lose, Ian headed Timpsonwards.
‘Leave it with me for twenty minutes’, said the very nice man behind the counter, so he did.
Twenty minutes later and one harness had been repaired. The cost? Just some change into the charity tin.
Guzzi packed, Guzzisue managing to leave work early, we were heading for Dover by18:30, arriving at the hotel by 22:00. Our indoor picnic of biscuits, chocolate and service station sandwiches helped us to sleep.
Next morning we were woken by the sounds of other residents departing for the early ferry. We decided to follow their lead and made our way down to the port terminal, only to find a long queue. Ferry times had been altered due to a damaged ship; therefore two into one will go! The saving grace was that it was September and not the height of summer. We joined a group of bikes waiting to board, on their way down to the Alps.
A good advantage for crossing the Channel on a motorcycle is that we are first onto the ferry and first into the restaurant, where a ‘Full English’ was on the menu. Breakfasted, it was time to stretch our legs and have a walk around the ferry. This year saw a new innovation – 7 Minute Massage.
Arriving in Calais we picked up the signs for Dunkerque and headed off through the Low Lands. Belgium came and went without us noticing, Holland would have been the same, except that Ian took a wrong turn, confusing the Dutch word for exit as the next place we were aiming for. A quick about turn and we were back on the correct road and heading for our destination in Germany.
Upon reaching the town we were staying for a couple of nights, signs like this were very helpful.
Hotel found, Guzzi unpacked, into town for a meal and drink. Our first impressions of the town were that for Saturday night, things were very quiet. Perhaps we were in the wrong part of town. The weather forecast for Sunday is promising, but a chance of rain on Monday. We are on a new adventure, so who cares?
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
The first one is Stevens Mill in the village of Burwell, Cambridgeshire. At one time, Burwell had four operational windmills, the Stevens’ Windmill being the last on standing. It was operational until the 1950’s but is now in need of repair. As the windmill is a listed building it was saved from demolition and the long task of refurbishing it is in hand. The windmill can be operated with only two sails, these were built in the 1980’s at a cost in the region of £15,000. To put another pair of sails in position today, the price would be doubled!
Situated on the Lincolnshire Fenland, eight miles, as the proverbial crow flies, from the coast, Sibsey is ideally situated for the location of a windmill. Originally built in 1877, Sibsey Trader Windmill is one of a few six sailed windmills remaining in England. Due to a shortage of time, we were unable to have a look around or sample the fayre in their tearoom. This has been added to our ever-expanding ‘To Do’ list.
Many s are only too pleased to have RBRers visiting their location. One landmark was on private property this year, clearly visible from the road. They requested for photographs to be taken from the roadside. This request was observed by all that visited to my knowledge. This leads me on to our third windmill.
In the north of my home county, Nottinghamshire is the village of Tuxford. The windmill, situated near the village was the landmark for this year. The proprietor did not take too kindly to his windmill being used as a landmark and tried to charge entrants for taking a photograph! Needless to say very little money exchanged hands! Many photographs were submitted from the roadside with the windmill in the background. I’m sure his tearoom could have served a few thirsty and/or hungry RBRers, thus helping with the upkeep of the windmill. I can only assume that in this time of wealth and prosperity extra finance was not required. Upon this reasoning, dear reader, you will notice the lack of a link to this enterprise.
There has to be a first for everything. The first man on the moon, first flight, first locomotive, first car and even the first motorcycle. This brings us to a tranquil suburb in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, to locate the first ROUNDABOUT in the UK!
Built circa 1909, we can only imagine the confusion this may have caused. In Portree on the Isle of Skye a few years ago, a mini traffic island was built in the centre of the town. The islanders had not seen anything like it before, thus resulting in a few accidents before it was replaced with a one-way system. I’m not suggesting that this would have been the case in Letchworth, but to come across something so alien…and what sort of traffic flow would there have been in this area in the early part of the last century. Could it have been an experiment to try out before being unleashed in the capital? Whatever the reason it works well as a traffic flow solution, unless you want to get through part of Swindon.
To end, by turning full circle, another roundabout was a featured landmark. This particular example at Thornaby on Tees, Teeside has a Spitfire in the centre. This replica was built in 2007. It seems a little ironic, as the roundabout is located at the junctions of Thornaby Road, Bader Avenue and Trenchard Avenue. Ironic in the sense that Douglas Bader flew in a Hurricane.
The reason for mentioning this unvisited landmark? In all honesty it’s just so that I can finish with this film clip. No matter how many times I watch it I still have a smile on my face.
Friday, 25 November 2011
As has become the custom, the RBR season kicks off with the ARSE, the Annual Rally Starting Event. This year’s gathering took place at the Ellesmere Port Canal Museum where over 50 entrants met for the obligatory group photo. The object to photograph was the anchor sculpture, situated near the café. Yes, one or two people did snap the wrong anchor.
Doctor Beeching’s axe saw the closure of many rail lines in the UK during the 1960’s, however one line that closed before his hand gripped the shaft was the Southwold to Halesworth line. On this local line, at Whenhaston, Suffolk, a plaque depicting the site of the local station has been erected.
To some extent this phoenix looks set to return, as there is a project to reinstate a small section railway, complete with a heritage centre.
There was one type of railway that Beeching could not get onto his report, the cliff railway. This year’s event saw the inclusion of several of these, two of which we visited on the weekend of our motorcycle club’s rally weekend.
On the way down to the rally site we stopped off at the Lynton and Lynmouth Railway. Lynmouth is on the A39, a road to Devon and Cornwall that is often by passed for the dual carriageway of the A30 and M5 motorway. Built in 1890, this water balanced funicular railway works in contrast to other water operated railways. Often water is released from the lower carriage until it is lighter than the top one, whereas on this railway, water is added to the top carriage from the West River Lyn.
Having stopped for some ‘Traditional’ fish & chips, we got into conversation with a local biker, resulting in a rather longer stay than anticipated. We vowed to return here for a longer stay in the future. Little did we realise that it would be sooner rather than later.
‘This one will be easy to find’, said Ian about the Babbacombe Cliff Railway. ‘We just head for the coast and follow it round’. Reaching the coast and following it round took us all the way around the headland and into a housing estate! When in doubt, ask the local postie, who put us on the right track. The plans for the Babbacombe Railway were put forward by Sir John Newnes MP, the man who built the Lynton and Lynmouth Railway. Sadly they were not approved until after his death. The line was completed in 1926.
The railway took us down to a secluded, almost deserted beach. Well it was mid May so that could have been the reason. The beach bar was deserted and the snack bar did a roaring trade in tea and coffee, with ample choice on where to sit.
Grove, Oxfordshire, was the destination for the ‘plane’ part of this post. And that is where we found this De Havilland Venom. Although Grove was reputedly the busiest airfield in 1944, there remain only a few derelict buildings around the area. This particular aircraft once belonged to the Swiss Air force and then Aces High. Not surprising is the fact that part of the airfield has now been turned into a business park.