Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plate Camera

Plate Camera, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

I went out looking for a cheapo second hand digital camera to replace my present one and came back with this one instead.

A brass and mahogany camera, very slightly less than quarter plate. Fabric and paper square cut bellows which date it to being probably manufactured before 1890*. Of very basic manufacture, it has no makers name on the camera or on the lens. There are no focusing screws or keys which make it very difficult to operate.

It comes in a sturdy canvas case, with a black focussing cloth of probably later date and a set of three diopters in a case marked Wide Angle, portrait and telephoto. It also has a wooden tripod that looks like three crutches leaning against each other.

It probably had originally a set of three or four aperture rings that could be screwed into the lens and maybe even a hand pushed guillotine shutter.

From this description you will realise that in it's day it would have been considered very basic; The kind of camera advertised in the small ads of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday or given as a prize by the original Titbits magazine.

If it's so awful why did I buy it? Simple....because it is very pretty.


Footnote published 11th October 2010

* I have changed my mind about the date of this camera. Please see here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There's still some tourists about then

I am calling for volunteers to participate in an experiment I have thought up.

Every year, in Norwich we have hundreds of visitors to the Broads who moor their hire cruisers at The Norwich Yacht Station beside Riverside Road. I have kept a rough head count and by my reckoning at least half of the visitors think what a jolly jape it would be to buy a Skull and Crossbones flag from one of the many cheapjack shops that infest, in particular, the Northern rivers and fly it from their boat.

Broads cruisers do not normally come with a flag pole and one witnesses great ingenuity in their construction; Broom and mop handles are most usually used though I did once see a Jolly Roger stapled to a wooden crutch which was in turn lashed to the stern of a boat. (I did briefly wonder who on earth brings a spare crutch or even a stapler on holiday with them.)

The Jolly Roger or skull and crossbones flag is a signal older than semaphore, or signal flags or Morse code. It means no quarter given or asked for. It means if you don't kill us we will kill you and steal anything movable. As Wikipedia puts it

"Historically, the flag was flown to frighten pirates' victims into surrendering without a fight, since it conveyed the message that the attackers were outlaws who would not consider themselves bound by the usual rules of engagement—and might, therefore, slaughter those they defeated (since captured pirates were usually hanged, they didn't have much to gain by asking quarter if defeated)"

Flying the Jolly Roger is therefore an out and out threat. If justice still runs its course throughout Britain one should be able to board any boat flying the Jolly Roger, slaughter its crew (they have signalled after all that they want no quarter) and claim their vessel and goods by right of salvage. My contention is that there is not a court in the land that would find the perpetrators of such action guilty of any crime given that the flyers of the flag had clearly signalled that they were first of all outside the law and secondly were prepared to do the same at the blink of an eye. Any action against them is self defence pure and simple

But I need a few volunteers to find out if my theory runs true.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Norwich Scandal

Fly tip, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

The people who dumped this lot are bastards. Norfolk Homemakers would have collected it for free and seen it all went to a good home.
The Salvation Army and Oxfam would have collected it all for free and sold them for funds.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Don't Blink

Don't Blink, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

A "living statue" of Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp.

A graphic demonstration of the difference between reality and art; A real homeless person (as against someone dressed up as the 1910 version of one) holding their hand out for money in this way would, of course, find himself arrested.*

Living Statue

I think he probably hated me for firing a flash in his face but he could not say anything.

*Individuals were begging and causing a nuisance, often being aggressive, and the SNT has liaised with market stall holders on a daily basis to gain feedback regarding the problems in the area, issuing begging warnings or making arrests where applicable. From "Police target city centre anti-social behaviour" Norwich Evening News. 07/08/2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Spot The Ball Competition

Spot The Ball Competition, originally uploaded by Colonel Blink.

The photo line-up for the Sky News Labour Leadership debate, Sunday September 5th. Unfortunately no Diane Abbot.

"No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which." George Orwell, Animal Farm.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Foot Soldiers Of Liberty's Battle

While walking through Norwich Cathedral Close I came across this pair enjoying the sun and having some lunch.

They were, they told me footsore, having spent the morning canvassing on behalf of the Green Party prior to next week's local elections*.

*13 of the 39 seats on Norwich City Council are up for grabs. They should have been contested in May but the elections were postponed because Norwich was about to become a Unitary Authority. Now that those plans have been scrapped by the new government, the elections have to take place as soon as possible.

The council is in no overall control. It's run by a minority Labour administration. Labour have 15 seats, The Greens are the main opposition with 13, the Lib Dems have six and the Conservatives have five

Of the seats being contested six are Labour seats, four belong to the Greens, two to the Lib Dems and one to the Conservatives. Quoted from BBC New Point East Blog

It seems these elections are almost being held in secret. We have had one leaflet each from Labour and the Greens. Nothing at all from the Lib Dems or the Conservatives.

Rumour has it that the Lib Dems cannot find any volunteers to help with the election because of the unpopularity of the coalition among members of the local party.

Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Chips

The Knave Of Hearts
He had some chips,
A moment in his mouth
And a lifetime on his hips

*Transatlantic viewers please note: What you call fries we call chips and what you call chips we call crisps. I think.