Friday, December 30, 2005

For The Last couple of days or so we have had snow

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Wild Wood

Multi-story carparks are the new frontier between civilisation and chaos.

Consider: If one had to write anew the story of Little Red Riding Hood you would no longer have her journeying to her grandmother's house through the forest because a car park at night would suffice far better to represent the jeopardy that innocence has to travel through.

When the new Robin Hood gathers together his merry men they will no longer meet in the Greenwood to steal from the passing rich; for one thing the Sherrif of Nottingham's car travels too fast along the Sherwood Forest Bypass. Robin's band of the socially excluded will live and meet and feast in our Car Parks.

You do not believe me or think I exagerate? Already at night these car parks have become the residences of rough sleepers. Their public toilets flicker under a strange Ultra-Violet light as the authorities vainly attempt to prevent addicts from finding a vein. At any time of the day you will see men in puffa jackets swapping goods from one car boot to another.

This is the new wild wood. It is eleven at night and you have just come out of the cinema. Your footsteps echo as you walk through the car park. You eye uneasily the lads in hoodies on the stairs, and the rough sleeper hunkered down for the night. In another corner a party of drinkers are passing a bottle around while a light flickers above them. Your ears strain to hear if any footsteps are following you. Red Riding Hood you are on your own.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Its boxing day evening and its snowing

Not the nice deep and crisp and even kind of snow but a mean icy sprinkling that cannot decide if it is hail or snow or sleet.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Booty

Christmas Booty, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Rendezvous with an unknown photographer

I noticed him first striding purposefully over Bishop's Bridge with two cameras round his neck and a whole bag of accessories. I photographed him from inside my car and despite smiling and waving got hardly a flicker from him. No flicker then but does he flickr? He strode past me and I last saw him photographing Pulls Ferry.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Big Issue Seller

Christmas Big Issue Seller, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chasing The Pink Pound

Chasing The Pink Pound, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

This sign begs so many questions that I had to photograph it.

But first some explanations: A Friend of Dorothy is defined by Wikipedia thus

In gay slang a Friend of Dorothy is the term for a gay man.
The term dates back to a time in the early 20th century when homosexuality was against the law in both the United Kingdom and in the United States. Saying at a social gathering that another man was a "friend of Dorothy" was a way of discussing sexual orientation without other people knowing what you were discussing. The term has been linked to the film The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland as the main character Dorothy, which is almost certainly the source of the term.

Lush, the company responsible for the A sign in question, is a shop that sells 'handmade', rather ugly looking, rough hewn bars of soap.

Until I saw this sign I had always presumed that washing was an activity that could be indulged in without reference to ones own sexual identity. Are they suggesting that gays are dirty and thus in need of soap or perhaps they mean that heterosexuals do not wash and thus have no use or need of soap?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Reflected Glory: Trowse Hamlet Without The Prince

Reflected Glory: The Earl Of Wessex did not come, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink. Norfolk Ski Club, Trowse. The Earl Of Wessex fails to turn up to open the new bits of the dry ski slope. October 7th. 2005. Prince Edward is thus NOT reflected in this locker room window.

So last week the menace brought home a letter from his Primary School. It read in part

"Dear Parents, On Friday 7th October, the Earl of Wessex will be officially opening the new extension at the Ski Club....As the children use the field nest to the Ski Club regularly in the summer, we have been invited to play an active part in this event.......All parents are welcome to join us".

"Which one is the Earl of Wessex?" asked Mrs Blink over the tea. "Is he the one who flew a helicopter and was married to Fergie or is he the one who bottled out of the army and organised Its A Royal Knockout?"

She is Irish and has only a shaky sense of our great and glorious royal heritage. In hushed tones I explained that HRH The Earl of Wessex KCVO was indeed Prince Edward. As one we decided we would miss out the chance to see him cut the ribbon or whatever he does at these things but we would happily wave our young menace off to view him.

The menace, however, had other ideas.

"If you come I will probably be allowed to leave school early that day" he explained.

He had seven days to persuade one of us to go along to the grand opening using methods that only an eight year old knows and in due course I found myself trooping along Whitlingham Lane to the Norfolk Ski Club in Trowse to watch The Earl Of Wessex open the new improved dry ski slope. Only he did not come because, we were told, he had been taken ill.

Instead we had somebody who was in the British Winter Olympics team who everybody recognised but could not place and Richard Jewson the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and Chairman of THAT building supply company. Someone at the back said he probably was mixing his public duties with giving a quote on cement for the next extension which was a cheap joke but one worth making.

In fact the Lord Lieut. was a jolly cove, who went out of his way to talk to as many of the children as he could which was nice because they had been mostly ignored except by the Classroom Assistants who were acting as sheepdogs keeping them in order. Even the menace said a few words to him (and thank goodness for once without uttering vulgarity, blasphemy or treason). He earned his butt of wine or whatever the salary for being Lord Lieutenant is.

It occurred to me that the children were there really as rent-a-crowd; they were a neatly dressed (in their school uniforms), well behaved (with a little help from the sheepdogs), sober audience; something hard to find in Britain today. It is often said that the Queen must believe everywhere smells of new paint because everywhere she goes has been just been smartened up; well she must also believe that the whole country is populated by happy well turned out children. One wonders whether she realises that they are happy because they are missing double maths and well behaved because of the phalanx of heavily armed classroom assistants. The monarchy must depend on performing before such crowds of children and their parents who will not heckle or jeer them. Thus is the myth of Royalty kept alive.

But more importantly for the menace - he was allowed to leave school early

Saturday, October 01, 2005

If the sky falls we shall catch larks

From my bedroom window: sunset 1/10/05
From my bedroom window: sunset 1/10/05

Today's photo reminds me of an uncomfortable lyric from the days of punk and the parallel modernist (Mod to you and me) revival.

How are things in your little world, I hope they’re going well and you are too. Do you still see the same old crowd, the ones who used to meet every friday. I’m really sorry that I can’t be there but work comes first, I’m sure you’ll understand. Things are really taking off for me business is thriving and I’m showing a profit and. And in any case it wouldn’t be the same, ’cause we’ve all grown up and we’ve got our lives And the values that we had once upon a time, seem stupid now ’cause the rent must be paid And some bonds severed and others made.

Now I don’t want you to get me wrong, ideals are fine when you are young and I must admit We had a laugh, but that’s all it was and ever will be, ’cause the burning sky keeps Burning bright. and as long as it does (and it always will), there’s no time for dreams When commerce calls. and the taxman’s shouting ’cause he wants his dough and the wheels of Finance won’t begin to slow.

And it’s only us realists who are gonna come through ’cause there’s only one power higher Than that of truth and that’s the burning sky.

Oh and by the way I must tell you, before I sign off, that I’ve got a meeting next week, With the head of a big corporate I can’t disclose who but I’m sure you’ll know it and. And the burning sky - keeps burning bright. and it won’t turn off til it’s had enough, It’s the greedy bastard who won’t give up, and you’re just a dreamer if you don’t realize, And the sooner you do will be the better for you, then we’ll all be happy and we’ll all be Wise and all bow down to the burning sky.

Then we’ll all be happy and we’ll all be wise and together we will live beneath the Burning sky."

The Jam. Burning Sky. Lyric Paul Wellar.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Say Hello To Your new beat policeman

This photograph of the Norfolk Police Helicopter was taken on pretty much the exact spot just two hours and twenty minutes BEFORE Mrs Blink was mugged on her way home from work; in broad daylight and on one of the City's busiest streets.

Bet it's a good view you get from up there.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Between lifting my camera and taking the photograph, it became Autumn.

It all started because we have had a spell of warm sunny weather. Despite the presence of mist clinging like Ivy to the trees first thing in the morning, this September has seen the best prolonged spells of good weather this year. Thinking of this I was suddenly struck by the fact that I did not know the derivation of the word Indian Summer. I dived for Brewer's Dictionary Of Phrase & Fable which explained it thus.

Indian Summer. A term of American origin generally applied to a period of fine sunny weather in late autumn. In America it is applied to such a period of mild dry weather usually accompanied by a haze. The name arose from the fact that such weather was more pronounced in the lands formerly occupied by the Indians than in the eastern regions inhabited by the white populace.

Leaving aside the political in-correctness of some of the terms used in a book published as late 1985 I beg to differ with the compiler. In the UK the term Indian Summer has always been applied, in my hearing at least, to any dry sunny period of longer than six days that should occur after the end of the first-class cricket season. Late Autumn has nothing to do with it;The trees just have to start turning brown and someone in the post office or the pub or the supermarket queue will say oh this is a lovely Indian Summer we are having. In point of fact like Christmas, Indian summers are starting earlier and earlier and I confidently expect I will hear someone refer to the few hours of wet wan sun that sometimes appears as a break to the endless August rain as an Indian Summer.

In fact Brewer's adds one more thing to its definition. The words Cp. ST MARTIN'S SUMMER. Turning the pages I come across

St Martin's Summer. A late spell of fine weather. St Martin's day is 11 November.

Presumably St Martin's Day (and his summer) is largely forgotten these days because his day is also what used to be called Armistice Day and now titled Remembrance Day. Which is a pity because he is a fairly useful sort of chap being the patron saint of Innkeepers and reformed drunks.

Looking up things is addictive and I immediately looked up other peoples patron saints. Taxi drivers and cabbies have Saint Fiacre who is also the patron saint of gardeners but he is on a job-share scheme with the last as gardeners also have the Saints Dorothea, Adelard, Tryphon and Phocas to help them dig and delve. Saint Fiacre was a 7th century Irish hermit who settled in France and built a monestry at Breuil. His feast day is August 30th. It is not recorded whether he spent two years riding around London on a moped trying to gain the knowledge and thus become a London cabbie.

Innkeepers don't just have St Martin they also have St Amand who is also the patron saint of Wine Merchants.

Engineers have St Ferdinand III, Dentists have Saint Apollonia (was that a halo he had or a ring of confidence?) while Medical Dieticians have St Martha and Airmen are covered by Our Lady of Loreto with help from Saints Therese of Lisieux and Joseph Cupertino.

I was brought up in the low Anglican tradition and saints did not really get a look in as they were considered a bit Roman and thus a bit infra dig. but as far as I can make out one of their jobs is to intercede on behalf of those who pray to them. St Sebastian is the patron saint of athletes, pin-makers and archers. Making him the patron saint of the last two seems a bit of a cruel joke as he met his death by being bound to a tree and shot at with arrows and finally beaten to death. "As the arrows stuck in his body as pins in a pin cushion, he was also made the patron saint of pin-makers." It seems a lot to ask a chap who has been put to death in such a grisly way to become the patron saint of archer's and intercede on their behalf whenever they pray that they will hit the bulls-eye or gold or whatever the circle in the middle of the target is called. That it is believed that he will intercede shows a lot of Christian forgiveness which is why, I guess, he was made a saint.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Our New World

Our New World, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Once we built monumental cathedrals; now its shopping centres

The first day of the Chapelfield Shopping Centre, Norwich. Hurrah!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Half A Taxi

Half A Taxi, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

There is a pun or a joke here somewhere but blowed if I can see it.

Friday, September 09, 2005


original title: Manga influenced graffiti under Novi-Sad Bridge, Riverside, Norwich

There is a mania among the photographers on flickr to photograph any old graffiti they can find as a substitute for inspiration; an enthusiasm I usually let pass by.

This photograph, I claim, is different because it offered me a chance to indulge myself; It allowed me to enjoy the opportunity to mix several different languages in the one sentence of the title like so- Manga + graffiti + the Serbian place name of Novi-Sad + (of course) the English place name of Norwich.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Black Post Box

Black Post Box

A bizarrely painted Victorian Post Box; Even if it did not have "V. R." stamped on it, it would be possible to date it by the shape of the crown on it. Please accept my guide to British crown insignia

Identifying the Crown.

A rough guide to dating official British insignia.

Since (and including Victoria's) reign official bodies (the armed services, The Patents Office, The Post Office, Parliament etc.) of the British Government have utilized two types of Crown on (many but not all) official documents, seals, Royal Coats of arms, stamps, regimental badges, pillar boxes, etc., depending on whom the reigning monarch is: These are usually designated as Queen's Crown and King's Crown by British militaria collectors because female monarchs (Victoria and Elizabeth II) have used a different crown to their male counterparts.

The official designation is that one is the Tudor Crown (The Kings) and the other is the Crown of St Edward (The Queens) -thanks to Andrew Chaplin for making clear which is which as we can never remember!

When you have seen a few it is easy to tell a Victorian Crown from a Queen Elizabeth II one. There is, unfortunately, no way of distinguishing the different male monarchs by versions of the King's crown on their insignia.

Military exceptions to this rule include The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales' Own Yorkshire Regiment) which use a foreign crown on their badge.

This rough method does not work with non-official items such as the marks on china.

The quick way to remember the difference is to think of the King's Crown as flat chested and the Queen's Crown as a matronly bosom. For those with a more respectable train of thought the Tudor Crown (Kings) is rounded and St Edward's Crown is the one with the double arch.

King's Crowns Examples ("flat chested") The Tudor Crown

Queen's Crowns Examples ("matronly bosom") The Crown of St Edward

Victorian Crown

QE2 Crown

Button, 1st South Durham Militia Showing Victorian Crown.

QE2 Hallmark. Sheffield.

Warning. This page is about British History so it remains true only until Mel Gibson and Hollywood bring out their own revised version where it will be shown everything bad is the fault of the English.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Policeman's Hat Is Not A Happy One.

You Have Been Warned

You Have Been Warned, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink. (Sign on Rouen Road, Norwich.)

"Plain clothes Police are operating in this area" which means presumably extravagantly dressed Police are operating everywhere else.

Which leads me to wonder why a policeman out of uniform is described as wearing plain clothes? I guess that the original Victorian blue uniform with the strange flower pot helmet (described by policemen today, I believe, as a tit* because of its because of it curved shape giving way to a metal 'nipple' at the top) was purposely outrageous so that the officer could be easily seen on a crowded street. We are so used to the hat these days we no longer see its strangeness.

It may be that the police actually call their hat a tit because it is short for Tit for Tat which is Cockney rhyming slang for hat. (This is more usually shortened to titfer.) Maybe that is how the helmet first got its name and the rude connotation was mere happenchance.

As everyone knows fewer and fewer policemen are wearing the helmet; For one thing no car is tall enough. It is more usual to see them in caps or even baseball caps ("What," says John Bull, "Not even cricketing caps but foriegn rounders ones").

I remember a friend in the force telling me that at the first sign of trouble; whether it was to chase someone or calm down a fight the first thing a new policeman learns to do is to get rid of the helmet because it only gets in the way.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Allowing Nation Speak Unto Nation

Marconiphone Model 295(?)

AC. Manufactured by Marconiphone Co. Ltd., Hayes, Middlesex. 1934, 4 Valves plus valve rectifier plus Fluid Light Indicator, Alternating current mains powered superheterodyne receiver table model. MW/LW. Iluminated full vision tuning scales showing metres. Left hand scale LW and right hand scale MW which light up according to which band you are tuned to. Brown bakelite trim and walnut cabinet. 16in. x 18in. x 10.25in. Original price £14. 3s 6d (£14.17.5p)

The tuning indicator shows a rising column of light as the station is tuned in.

Is George Formby on tonight?

The original cost of the radio is given some context when it is remembered that in 1934 an agricultural labourer would expect to earn £1. 10s 8d for a 50 hour week.(The figures are the national minimum wages under the Corn Production Acts 1917 and 1920, the Corn Production (Repeal) Act 1921, and the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Acts 1924 and 1940. From 1972 they are the statutory minimum for "ordinary" hired regular whole-time men. Obtained from this fascinating site here)

Info with help from Radio Radio by Jonathan Hill

Friday, August 26, 2005

The New Plague Warning,

I saw the word ASBESTOS written above the entrance of the derelict Watney's brewery and immediately thought of the stories of Red Crosses being painted on the doors of houses infected with Bubonic Plague.

The list of plagues and risks that the 20th Century has willed to the 21st seems endless. Ten seconds allowed me to think of Asian Bird Flu, resistant TB, global warming, HIV/Aids, Hepititis followed by any number of letters, MRSA .... The list is endless and I stopped the act of remembrance because it is a too painful process. I suspect that soon we will see other doors with other plague warnings. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Watney's brewery by the way was responsible for Watney's Red Barrel a beer that tasted of strawberry jam and which should, if there was any justice, have been seen them in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Anyone remember their other product aimed at students The Party Six?

Watney's bought up every small brewery in Norwich, closed them down and opened one central super-brewery producing two single local beers Norwich Bitter and Norwich Mild. They were dreadful. No wonder new drinkers turned to continental lagers. And so in turn Watney's was closed. Bad cess to them!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Communicating With Aliens. Nanoo. Nanoo.

CAN 05; Boy meets egg, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Right lets get THAT famous quote out of the way first:

Two nations divided by a common language

It was Oscar Wilde who said it btw. (a man whom everyone knows from the immortal poem "Georgey Porgy pudding and pie, Kissed the Boys and made them cry, His mother said you darling child, I think we have an Oscar Wilde")

It all started when I decided OK I am writing/publishing this weblog primarily as part of my communications with my daughter but I am not writing anything rude or personel so lets invite some others in. And so dear reader, I decided to join some webrings or blogrings or whatever they are called

So I went over to Blogs That Flickr read the instructions as well as I could and filled in the online form,(with excitement I may add, because if you have read my online profile you will know how absolutely exciting I find filling in forms)

I then cut and pasted the script for the blogring (or webring) logo and inserted it into the script for this page and felt I had done a job well done.

Blogs That Flickr
• Join •

Five days later I clicked on the next button on the Blogs That Flickr logo and got a message saying
"Sorry you are still on the Blogs_That_Flickr queue or your site doesn't belong to this ring !!!!!"
I realised that it was still not activated because I need my reg. number or something and went back to their homepage to try and discover what I had done wrong.

What happened next is best described in a thread I posted to The Blogs That Flickr forum

Quoth I

I went to the Blogs That flickr site to read again the conditions of joining and to find out if I was a bona fide member of the ring and how long it should be before I get an approval code emailed to me.
I had to resort to pushing links at random because I did not realise the significance of the phrase The 411 which is the link, I subsequently discovered, to 'learn more about blogs that flickr'
Trial and error has told me that The 411 is the page I needed to read but could someone tell me what is a 411?

Within minutes a bloke named Fishlamp wrote to explain
"411 is the number you can dial on telephones (in the USA) for information (i.e. directory listings). Some use "411" as slang for "information"."
Fishlamp btw from his profile seems a damn good chap and one of us. His photography is excellent too though I may have to go and visit him one day and steal his cameras!

I replied as follows
One lives and learns. If ever I am in Little Rock, Arkansas and need a Pizza I will know who to call!
I thought it was going to be one of those extraodinary numbers you hear being used in American Cop Shows. You know the kind of thing; A voice comes on the car radio and says "Sarge, there is a 411 being perpetrated on the corner of 108 and 12 near the 711" And Kojack (for it is he) replies "Ten Four"
But what really tickles me is that on the page for Blogs that Flickr are written in large letters the words

International or non-English blogs ARE ENCOURAGED to join!

To which I ask, in the light of my utter bafflement on their webpage what about English language blogs

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Barker Memorial. Rosary Cemetery. Norwich

Sacred to the memory of JOHN BARKER, Steam Circus Proprietor. Who was accidently killed on Norwich Cattle Market April 12. 1897. Aged 60 years

Barker Memorial. Rosary Cemetery. NorwichBarker Memorial. Rosary Cemetery. Norwich

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The warm hum of a valve wireless

Philips 'Superinductance' Model 274A by Philips Lamps Ltd. First Marketed 1934. Four valves and a valve rectifier. AC. Table Model. MW/LW. Walnut veneered plywood cabinet. 16in x 13.5in x 8.5in Original Price. £9.9s.0d (£9.45). A triumph of British design and technology (Hurrah).

The Lion, carved from a single piece of mahogany, is most likely a souvenier from the British Empire Exhibition held in Wembley in 1924.

It works very well. This radio is one of the prides of our collections.

Have we missed The Archers Omnibus?

*Technical details compiled with help from the best book on vintage British wireless:
Radio! Radio! by Jonathan Hill
Details here

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Trials Of Photography


So if you are one of those people who go week at the knees at the mention of trousers or prefer to cover the legs of your tables and chairs in case they induce lascivious thoughts in the minds of gentlemen callers you had better stop reading now.

Now we have lost those of delicate sensibility I can explain. Todays log (unfortunate word given the circumstances) is about the difficulty of photographing in Gentlemen's Public Toilets. Let me explain.

I had taken my young menace, eight year old Master Blink, for an outing to Norwich Castle Museum. From Ancient Egypt to Norman life, natural history to modern art, Norwich Castle Museum houses a huge range of displays - including the largest collection of ceramic teapots in the world.

During the visit we stopped off in the cafe for a cup of tea and a bun (My bun was fine but the menace's was worthy of a place in one of the archaelogical displays).

As a consequence I afterwards went with the menace to the public toilet. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the museum in conjunction with Messrs Twyford had arranged for different artists to illustrate both the Urinals and the W.C.s. They were stunning. I must photograph these I thought and instantly whipped out my pocket digital camera.

I then discovered the first difficulty of photographing in Gentlemen's Public Toilets; you have to wait for the automatic flush to get rid of the yellow water (if you understand me) in the bottom of the urinal. I had not realised that it took so long between flushes. Finally it flushed and I focused my camera and waited for the flash to charge and at last I was able to take the photograph shown below.

It was then that I came across the second difficulty in photographing in Gentlemen's Public Toilets; I become aware that someone else has entered the room and is standing behind me.

I turned around and find there is a father clutching his five year old son giving me the kind of suspicious look that a Customs Official gives someone getting off the plane from Columbia who claims to be a talcum powder salesman with samples.

He does not say anything but makes a strange growling noise in the back of his throat. I can see he believes me to be some kind of pornographer hanging around the toilets waiting to photograph his son and heir in the act of answering the call of nature.

There is nothing one can say in this circumstance. Believe me. I know. I thought of a hundred things and they all seemed, somehow, inadequate. I briefly wished I had availed myself of a flickr badge identifying me as photographer general of washrooms, toilets and commodes to Her Majesty The Queen or somesuch.

Meanwhile indignant father was turning red.

So I did what any Englishman, in whom flows the blood of Kings and heros, would do. I made my excuses and left. Quickly. All the while the young menace, Master Blink, wailed "Aren't you going to take any more photos Daddy"

So I will have to pay another 5.95 to return another day to photograph the other four. But I am going to go prepared. I have printed out a notice that reads


which should give me time for the automatic flush, allow the flash of my camera to charge, keep out vigilante parents and let me to take my photographs

When I got home I told the memsahib, Mrs Blink, what had transpired. She was, to say the least, unimpressed and when I asked her if she would go the next day to photograph the Ladies' Public Toilets for me she refused. Point blank. Just like that. And that is the third difficulty of photographing in Public Toilets; there are no girls of true spirit left these days.

Decorated Urinal, Norwich Castle Museum

Friday, August 19, 2005

Singer (& Trumpeter) in the Tony Bennett style. With guest appearance by Robbie.

Another in of my series of street buskers in Norwich.

This one sang rat pack songs to a taped soundtrack stopping only to give Eddie Calvert style trumpet solos. In the meantime his smiling, proud wife/girlfriend stood in the background selling his homemade CDs. An impressive performance that got people singing along and dancing.

Robbie is the guy lying on the ground, in the background, shaving. A well-known Norwich street person (a 'character' even) given to bursts of violent rage that can make him dangerous to approach or even look directly at.

The council and other agencies have repeatedly attempted to house him but his chaotic lifestyle means that he often ends up back 'on the street' or at least sleeping on other peoples floors (a.k.a. sofa-surfing). His behaviour has seen him banned from various hostels and for a while he was living in a tent.

Another Norwich flickr person Munkt0n (a better photographer than I will ever be) has also photographed Robbie. His photograph gets over the sheer 'in your faceness' of the man in a way I never could. Unfortunately for copyright reasons I cannot reproduce it here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Norwich Prison Gate

Norwich Prison Gate, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Norwich Prison is a remarkable Victorian building

(Well really it should be Norwich Prisons as it is two prisons in one HMP*Norwich and Norwich YOI*)

As I was saying Norwich Prison is a remarkable Victorian building complete with redundant turrets that serve no purpose other than to look pretty. I always feel it would make a very good home for Ronald Searle's St Trinian's School.

Norwich Prison

It was originally built in 1886 as a military barracks and has a commanding position overlooking the city. In fact it sits on the what would be probably the most expensive piece of real estate in Norwich if the Governor ever woke up one morning, decided his pension needed augmenting and hung a For Sale sign outside the front door.
Norwich Prison in morning light

I must point out that despite the title, the gate of the main photograph in this entry, is not the main entrance to the prison. Thats round the back on Knox Road (a street named after the dour 'thou shalt not' Scottish religeous bloke). All the photographs here are taken from the Brittannia Road Side. Brittannia was the insignia of the Norfolk (later the Royal Norfolk) Regiment whose home this once was. The next is a Photo of the same gates in 1893 being guarded by a soldier from the Norfolk Regiment.Norfolk Regiment, Brittannia Barracks 1893

Back to the main photo: Being English I did not like to inquire too closely what those two chaps were doing with the ladder. I was slightly concerned when they called me over and asked me to hold the bottom.

I have, however, waited 24 hours and as there has been no news of an escape from the gaol I reckon they were doing what they should have been and I am not going to be charged with aiding and abetting anyone to abscond.

*Eggsplanation : HMP stands for Her Majesty's Prison and YOI stands for Youth Offenders Institution. I think

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Some Minature Bottles

Some Minature Bottles, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

Minature Bottles produced for advertising and promotion. All of them are from the late 1950s and 1960s

From left to right. 1.PLJ (Pure Lemon Juice; 2. Adam's Old Monk Port; 3. Stout especially brewed to promote Wiebull's Barley Seed: 4. Guinness; 5. Harp Lager; 6 Pol Roger Champagne; 7 Pimm's No 4 (that's the Rum based one).

All would have contained the drink advertised on the label except the Pol Roger which has a label on the back which (rather queasily I think) proclaims that it contains sugar syrup. (Did anyone ever say 1953 was a vintage year for sugar syrup. I think not)

The pound coin should allow you to gain some idea of the size of the bottles.

If you live outside the United Kingdom you should know that the pound coin is our largest coin with a diameter of One Metre (aprox 3 feet). This last statement is a lie.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Just Before Sunset

I turned this photograph of the man made dunes at Waxham into the one below by messing about with PaintShopPro and the Virtual Painter plug-in.

Playing about with art programs into the small hours of the morning is, to say the least, addictive behaviour and (in my case at least) often produces unnecessary flummery.

My own feeling is that I may have lost the mystery and loneliness of the sand-dunes at evening and replaced it with a twee sub-Watership Down mock 'countryness'.

Norfolk's ghostly dog Black Shuck could inhabit the first photograph; Only the Tellytubbies could live in the second. The darkened countryside the view looks out on is not only inhabited by the demon dog but is also the site of one of the many spectral mad hunts that haunt England.

The savagery of the local legends (seeing the dog or seeing the hunt is a premonition of your own soon to be violent death) is reflected in the ephemeral nature of human habitation locally. The land is farmed only because of a series of pumps and dykes keep it drained and within living memory the sea has broken through the man made dunes and killed hundreds along the length of the coast.

Global warming (yes. It is happening NOW not in the future) has led to the decision this year to raise the water table by two metres. Eventually the one mile deep strip of farmland along the coast will become saltmarsh again and then finally sea. Remember the story of King Canute. The sea always wins. And that is why I prefer the original dark photograph of the flood protection barrier; it is simply more true.

Just Before Sunset

Monday, August 15, 2005

Small Wave at Waxham

Small Wave

Another photograph from the beach at Waxham, North Norfolk, UK. This picture has been 'messed' around with PaintShopPro and Virtual Painter. I lay down on the sand to take this photo and had to roll backwards very quickly to avoid getting wet.

It is the 'banding' effect I was after. I may even have succeeded. Beach/seaside photography is fascinating in the attempt but probably less interesting to view the results.

Titles below: 'North Sea' 'Boy On The Beach' 'The Great British Holiday' 'Flotsam' 'Jetsam' 'Flotsam: Exploded Bucket'

North SeaBoy on the beachThe Great British HolidayFlotsamjetsommore flotsam: exploded bucket.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Holiday Weather

The beach at Waxham one wet morning.

It is a gamble. Usually the Gods smile on one. We are able to laugh at those who go abroad for their holidays. This year it did not work out. Mostly we were Singing In The Rain ......... or the gale or saying to one another "Was it really that cold last night?"

Who would be a camper in Britain?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Wind Generators / Stormy Sky

A photograph untouched by any 'photo art' program. A view of Poplar Farm, Waxham from my tent showing the double line of wind generators in the distance.

Sometimes called "Norwich-On-Sea" Poplar Farm, Waxham provides a low cost anarchic camp site. (a kind of rock festival unencumbered by bands)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Soda with that sir?

Soda with that sir?
Rechargeable soda syphons: (left) 1896 patent Sparklets bottle, (centre) Gasogene circa 1890, (right) Sparklets rechargeable syphon circa 1960.

Sparklets and Gasogenes


From "The Sketch" May 11th, 1898. Page 97. (with photo. not reproduced)

"Every Man His Own Lawyer" is the title of a book which a solicitor once told me has been the means of producing litigants. "Every man his own soda-water maker" is the observation that suggests itself by an invention called the "Aerator"; but, in truth, this useful article is not likely not intended, to supersede one's favourite Schweppe. Its value is in circumstances where the ordinary aerated water is not easily obtainable; it has a vast field of usefulness in its applicability to campaigning alone -under conditions where it is only safe to drink your water after it has been boiled. Boiled water is always flat, but with this simple contrivance, simple in its application, you can charge it with carbonic-acid gas, and, by adding a small lozenge, give it a soda, seltzer or potass character. All you have to carry is one bottle, as shown in the accompanying picture, with the carbonic-acid in small steel pellets. Each of these contains sufficient for the one bottle, and the charging is a simple process, easily understood. The bottle is covered with fine wicker, so there should be no danger if it burst in the charging, although this is not expected to be a likely contingency. A company has been formed to work this invention, and the price of your aerated water thus obtained will, it is said, be very moderate."

The British company that is spoken of' in the article was the 'The Continental Sparklets Co. Ltd' of 60 Broad Street Avenue, London, EC.

GASOGENE BOTTLES (American spelling may be Gazogene)

For those who do not know (and why should you) a gasogene is another type of soda syphon. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr Watson recorded that Sherlock Holmes kept one at his rooms at 221b Baker Street. They were popular from the middle years of the 19th Century.

Photographic examples will be found at
and at

an example will be found at along with a sparklets syphon at