Archives » 2012 » July


We finally got to see the Wye when we reached Ross – and a sluggish, sludgy thing it looked too. (Probably all that June rain.)

I didn’t find the War Memorial (but I did buy a book!)

Almost the first shop I noticed was this:-

Ross-on-Wye Former Woolworths

It looks very like a former Woolworths to me but is now a Spar.

There was a row of very 30s looking shops leading down from the main road junction. (Unfortunately a random woman was crossing the street when I took the photo.)

Art Deco Style Shops in Ross-on-Wye

The local branch of Edinburgh Woollen Mill was just to the right of these, bang on the junction. Nice railings below the windows.

Art Deco Shop, Ross-on-Wye

The building above was somewhat incongruously over the road from some conspicuous mediævality.


Swiss Army Knife Ship

One of the interesting aspects of living in Kirkcaldy is the ever changing view out to sea. There are usually quite a few ships either at anchor or moving up and down the Forth.

For the last week one in particular has been prominent. Here it was along with another about a week ago.

Ships off Kirkcaldy

As you can see the one on the left has a peculiar shape. The good lady remarked that it was the shipping equivalent of a Swiss Army knife what with all the bits hanging off it.

Here is a crop of the above.

Solitaire A Swiss Army Knife Ship

The ship is still hanging around and I finally looked it up on a shipping movement website. It turns out it’s the Solitaire, the largest pipe laying vessel in the world.

I don’t know if it’s actually been laying any pipes.

This is a picture from the ships and harbours photos site.

Solitaire, pipe layer

Dumbarton 0-1 Queen of the South

SFL Challenge Cup, The Rock, Round 1, 29/7/12.

Why do we bother entering this competition? We’ve only ever won about two games in it in its entire existence. Even newish boys Annan Athletic have a better record in it than us. East Stirlingshire and Elgin City too.

The first half was dominated by QoS. Stephen Grindlay made three good saves in the first fifteen minutes and QoS had another good chance which the boy volleyed wide. Their keeper didn’t have a save to make until just about the last kick of the half when an Agnew special made him work.

The second half was more even but our two best openings fell to James Creaney and the keeper was up to both of them. Otherwise there was a slow motion scramble on their goal line after a corner and that was about it for us. Midway through the half the game lost all cohesion with both sides resorting to balls over the top and it was from one of these that QoS scored, their tricky no 11 cutting out Grindlay with a ball back for an unopposed header. A similar incident earlier had seen their player miss what amounted to an open goal.

We lacked penetration and punch though Jim Lister can hold the ball up and win headers. I liked the look of Phil Johnston when he came on for Mark Gilhaney, willing to take on the defender and run.

The new strip is cracking though.

New Sons strip

QoS have just been relegated from the Division we’re now in and we looked way off them.

It says it all that Stephen Grindlay won man of the match. I wouldn’t disagree.

I can console myself with the thought that we usually start slowly. We night need our usual post-Christmas good run desperately.

Edited to add:- I meant to put in that the new centre back pairing (Alan Lithgow with Andy Graham) was a bomb scare throughout. In particular Andy Graham looked very uncertain and it seemed to infect Lithgow.


Hay is seriously out of the way. It seemed to take ages to get there (passing through Hereford but not stopping) and there was still a deal of driving to do. There wasn’t much of a view along the way as the high hedges resticted the view. They reminded me of the bocage in Normandy.

Hay itself is a strange place. The good lady and I wanted to visit it (well; me, mainly) as it’s supposed to be England’s capital for second-hand bookshops. Well; it is – and it also has some antique shops and craft shops – but it’s a very unbalanced town. Relentless. Seemingly everywhere you turn there is a bookshop. The first one, more or less opposite the car park, was promising and the good lady noted down a couple of possibilities but after several hours doing nothing but look at books and antiques and walking to the next shop we were drained.

We might be the only bibliophile couple to go to Hay and not buy a book.

(There was one I thought about but I decided I could do without it. The author wasn’t one who had really impressed me before. The prices tended to be on the high side and there didn’t seem to be much in the way of hidden gems that you can light upon elsewhere. They’d probably been hoovered up by other book collectors.)

However, it is the first time I’ve been in Wales. Hay is just over the England/Wales border, in Powys.

I was too caught up with the book hunting to take any photos of the town itself and it was only after we’d left I realised that we’d not actually seen the Wye. I did catch Hay’s War Memorial, though. I think it’s Hay Castle in the background.

War Memorial, Hay-on-Wye, Powys

Friday On My Mind 73: Society’s Child

Astonishingly, Ian seems to have written this at the age of thirteen. It’s a precocious effort then. Dealing as it does with racial prejudice it was a bit ahead of its time in the 1960s and there were difficulties with her original record company and radio stations.

Janis Ian: Society’s Child

Great Malvern (ii)

Yesterday I mentioned the mediæval Priory in Great Malvern.

Here it is from its grounds:-

Great Malvern Priory

And this is a view over some rooftops from just about the top of the climb up.

Great Malvern

On the way out I noticed a War Memorial situated in front of Great Malvern Library (which is a nice building itself.) There are no names on the memorial. There is instead an inscription to “those who served” which is refreshing as it could be taken to refer also to the Bevin Boys who were called up to work in the mines and some of whom died down there.

War Memorial, Great Malvern

Great Malvern (i)

The day we visited Great Malvern…..

Well, we didn’t really see the Malvern Hills: only the mist/clouds rolling all over them. We hadn’t realised the town would be about 1/4 of the way up them and the town itself is strange. We came in from the Worcester end where first there’s a lower bit on the level with a few shops we didn’t stop at and then you go higher and eventually reach the main centre.

We followed the signs to a car park and discovered it was a fairly steep climb to the shops.

I saw this after we’d rounded what is, I think, a swimming pool complex:-

Rear of Theatre, Great Malvern

It looked to me as if it might be deco.

This is the first part of the frontage. It’s a theatre (or perhaps two – see the bit to the right of the photo which is an older building.)

Front Aspect of Theatre, Great Malvern

This bit, just round the right hand corner of the near frontage, clinched it. Definitely deco. The railings on the roof line are nice (but may be modern.)

Great Malvern Theatre 2

After some more climbing (past a mediæval Priory) we came on a second hand book shop where the good lady made a couple of purchases, then up once more to the main street.

The building straight ahead has aspects of deco but probably isn’t.

Deco-ish Shop, Great Malvern, Worcestershire

Right along the street which curves to the left in the above was this row of shops.

Art Deco Shop Frontages Great Malvern, Worcestershire

There is some fine detailing round and above a doorway about 3/4 of the way along them.

Detail on Art Deco Shop, Great Malvern

Coming back along we dropped into an Amnesty International charity shop and I bought two books. (The good lady’s haul was considerably larger.) Going down towards the car park I took two photos of the building which now houses Iceland’s outlet in Great Malvern. From the way it looks I think it may once have been a Burton’s.

Iceland, Great Malvern, Worcestershire

I couldn’t really get it in one shot. Here’s the detail.

Art Deco Detailing on Iceland Building, Great Malvern

Journey Beyond Tomorrow by Robert Sheckley

Corgi, 1966, 157p.

Journey beyond Tomorrow cover

This book was first published in 1962, and it shows. Structured as a series of tales noted down long after the events they describe by Pacific islanders who are among the few remnants of human civilisation – perhaps the only civilised remnants – following a devastating nuclear war which occurred in or around the year 2000 it relates the adventures of a man called Joenes in the run-up to, and the unfolding of, the apocalypse. Sheckley does not waste the opportunity to lampoon early 1960s attitudes, particularly slyly in the portrayal of a McCarthyite Senatorial inquisitor. At one point Joenes is sent to a military headquarters whose official map is false in order to confuse spies. Written when it was, it is not a surprise that the book has the USSR and the USA as adversaries and an unintended nuclear war brought on by automated systems as a plot point.

Other segments can turn our usual notions on their heads. Joenes is incarcerated for a time in a prison which people fight to get into.

The book is a series of incidents, though, not really a coherent whole and none of the characters rises above the mundane – nor to Sheckley’s need to have them explain things to his naïf main character. Names such as Arthur Pendragon, Bill Launcelot, Richard Galahad and Austin Mordred are something of a hostage to fortune, as is the plundering of the Theseus and the Minotaur story.

I suppose, though, that most fiction that is fifty years old would not stand much scrutiny.

Reviews, Reviews

Fever cover
2312 cover

My review of Lauren DeStefano’s Fever can now be read in Interzone 241 (Jul-Aug 2012.)

I will publish it here after a decent interval.

I have also submitted my review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312, due to appear in Interzone 242 (Sep-Oct 2012.)


I noticed from my blog stats that I had had a spike in visitors a few days ago. The main search term was Glebe Park, Brechin.

Now why would people be searching for that?

It took me no time at all to realise, of course. And this link explains it further.

I suppose all these bemused punters were searching for information because they’d never been to Brechin before. Welcome to the lower leagues!

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