Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Just a piece of stream-of-consciousness that led to some literature I'd quite forgotten... I saw an old Daily Mail article about the very cute cat Venus, who is a chimera - an organism composed of genetically distinct patches. It's not unusual in animals, but unusual to have such a distinct facial division: blue-eyed ginger tabby on the left, green-eyed black cat on the right. She even has a Facebook page.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

False books at Killerton

Saturday's Telegraph review section featured Charles Dickens's well-known "List of imitation book-backs" that he ordered in 1851 from the bookbinder Thomas Robert Eeles to fill some shelves at Tavistock House. This reminded me to transcribe the titles of a similar set of spoof book spines I saw last year, concealing a cupboard in the library at Killerton House. They're not quite as creative as Dickens's, but still fun.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Full English

The Full English Digital Archive is a free searchable online archive of early 20th century English folk arts manuscripts. Largely Heritage Lottery funded, it's part of the larger Full English project of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS),  and went live on 20th June 2014.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Langstone Rock - to the smugglers' caves (perhaps)

Concluding a trio of posts about Langstone Rock at Dawlish Warren: today I had a second look, with the help of the low spring tide, and found a surprising detail not visible from any of the viewpoints looking down - a perfectly straightforward way into the cove between the two sections of the Rock.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Devon rocks - Erme estuary

Yesterday - thanks to a friend who gave us a lift - we walked a short section of the South West Coast Path above the Erme estuary, South Hams, a location with multiple designations: South Devon Heritage Coast, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Monday, 22 September 2014

Langstone Rock - live visit

After yesterday's virtual and historical tour of Langstone Rock (Langstone Cliff - civilised lunch and a missing elephant), today we walked from Dawlish Warren to Dawlish, and had a look at the real thing.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Langstone Cliff - civilised lunch and a missing elephant

I recently went to a Ladies' Probus lunch at the Langstone Cliff Hotel, above Dawlish Warren (it was the President's Lunch, to which spouses are invited). It's a very pleasant location, with a view across to the High Land of Orcombe and Sandy Bay. It also has a verandah perfect for 3D photography, and some interesting coastal history nearby.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Franklin: streamlining a ballad

I got so absorbed in the maritime details that I forgot the important point that the Franklin expedition got into the English folk tradition. After the loss of the expedition, Jane, Lady Franklin, sponsored seven expeditions to find what had happened to Franklin and his crew. This inspired the 1850-ish broadside ballad that evolved into the folk song Lady Franklin's Lament aka Lord Franklin aka The Sailor's Dream.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Terror of Topsham ... perhaps

A major piece of archaeological news: BBC News reports Sir John Franklin: Fabled Arctic ship found. This is the discovery by Parks Canada of one of the two lost ships - the HMS Terror or the HMS Erebus - from Franklin's disastrous 1845 expedition in the search of a Northwest Passage.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Confectionery clones

We shop regularly at Aldi  - an excellent store - where I'm always mildly amused by the thinly-veiled clone products in its Dairyfine confectionery range, which have echoes of similarity in both typography and naming.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

We'd erode and fall in green ...

... or, Kate Bush meets coastal geomorphology. The Express & Echo, Exeter, is one of many publications to report on the coastal erosion threat to the singer's mansion in the South Hams, Devon: Kate Bush faces a battle to save Devon clifftop home from falling into the sea (September 03, 2014).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Thane Yost and the will to win

Not a Thane
Department of weird attributions: many post-2000 me-too inspirational books, and tens of thousands of web pages, have the quotation "The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare" attributed to a "Thane Yost". It sounds like a character out of SF/fantasy, and a quick Google finds no such person. What is going on?

Monday, 1 September 2014

Littlecombe Shoot: down among the plats

View Donkey Sanctuary to Beer in a larger map

I felt energetic on Friday, and repeated - with some side explorations - the Sidmouth to Beer 'lite' walk of almost exactly a year ago. In part I wanted a closer look at the ruins of Weston House as described in the previous post; in part I wanted to explore the unique landscape of the plats at Littlecombe Shoot.