Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Freda Searle, 87, has been landlady of The lamb and Fountain pub in Frome, Somerset, for 43 years and has owned the pub for 34 years. She has been widowed since 1975 and has four children, 15 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and a great great grandchild. She says:
Before we had the pub, I worked in a hospital and my husband Harry was an engineer. My friend and I did bar work in the evenings too, getting paid £1 a night. The Lamb And Fountain was one of the pubs I worked in. When the landlord died, the brewery said to me: “You’re taking over!” I told them there was no way Harry and I could do that but they arranged for us to have an interview and appointed us in 1966.
At the time you never saw a woman in a pub unless she was a prostitute there to pick up men. You never saw a child either. Pubs were for drinking not for eating. Who wants to go into a pub and see someone eating fish and chips at the bar? Not me.
When Harry died I thought they’d throw me out because he was the landlord. So it was a surprise when the brewery said they wanted me to stay. But then they trebled my rent and I just couldn’t afford it. I went to see my solicitor who looked through all my accounts and told me: “Freda, you can do this. You can buy that pub and make a living from it!” Within two years I’d bought it. I’ve kept the Lamb And Fountain as a drinking pub. We’ve got stone floors, a shove ha’penny board, bar skittles and traditional separate bars. A lot of pubs have had their bars knocked into one now but I think that spoils them. You need the other bar as an escape if someone is boring you or if one person doesn’t get on with another. The bars caused us a problem once years ago when we had a funeral party in one and then a wedding party arrived without warning in the other and they all started singing. But pubs just aren’t the same any more and the atmosphere has gone from most of them because so many are managed, not privately owned. Once upon a time you had to put your name down to get a game of darts or shove ha’penny in a pub but all that’s gone now. There won’t be any pubs left in this country in 10 years’ time. A lot of managers don’t even talk to their customers. They just want their money. The smoking ban had a bad impact on us too. I lost seven regulars because they could no longer smoke here but I didn’t gain any new customers. I think the Government should have given publicans a choice whether they operated a smoking or non-smoking pub. As for 24-hour drinking, we only open from 11 in the morning till 11 at night, I can’t be having late nights these days. I refuse to serve alcopops or to have a jukebox, that’s not what pubs are about. When I started out they were the hub of the community and that’s how I’ve tried to keep mine. Everyone around here knows me as “mother”, the local taxi drivers, the customers, even the regulars in their 80s. They all call me mother. I have no intention of retiring, I love the pub and my son John and my staff help me to look after it. So I raise a toast tonight to Freda, from all in the KMSA...for presiding over a little slice of heaven, deep in the English countryside, Long may she be surrounded by friends and wellwishers.... and fresh glasses of fine English Ale. Sir Dayvd ( the rover ) of Oxfordshire.
When Harry died I thought they’d throw me out because he was the landlord. So it was a surprise when the brewery said they wanted me to stay. But then they trebled my rent and I just couldn’t afford it. I went to see my solicitor who looked through all my accounts and told me: “Freda, you can do this. You can buy that pub and make a living from it!” Within two years I’d bought it.
I’ve kept the Lamb And Fountain as a drinking pub. We’ve got stone floors, a shove ha’penny board, bar skittles and traditional separate bars. A lot of pubs have had their bars knocked into one now but I think that spoils them. You need the other bar as an escape if someone is boring you or if one person doesn’t get on with another. The bars caused us a problem once years ago when we had a funeral party in one and then a wedding party arrived without warning in the other and they all started singing.
But pubs just aren’t the same any more and the atmosphere has gone from most of them because so many are managed, not privately owned.
Once upon a time you had to put your name down to get a game of darts or shove ha’penny in a pub but all that’s gone now. There won’t be any pubs left in this country in 10 years’ time. A lot of managers don’t even talk to their customers. They just want their money.
The smoking ban had a bad impact on us too. I lost seven regulars because they could no longer smoke here but I didn’t gain any new customers. I think the Government should have given publicans a choice whether they operated a smoking or non-smoking pub.
As for 24-hour drinking, we only open from 11 in the morning till 11 at night, I can’t be having late nights these days. I refuse to serve alcopops or to have a jukebox, that’s not what pubs are about.
When I started out they were the hub of the community and that’s how I’ve tried to keep mine. Everyone around here knows me as “mother”, the local taxi drivers, the customers, even the regulars in their 80s. They all call me mother. I have no intention of retiring, I love the pub and my son John and my staff help me to look after it.
So I raise a toast tonight to Freda, from all in the KMSA...for presiding over a little slice of heaven, deep in the English countryside, Long may she be surrounded by friends and wellwishers.... and fresh glasses of fine English Ale.
Sir Dayvd ( the rover ) of Oxfordshire.
Monday, December 28, 2009
From Sir Cock of the Walk, I received a six-pack of Weihenstephan Original.
According to their web site and other sources, The Weihenstephan Brewery can trace its roots at the abbey to the year 768 as a document from that year refers to a hop garden in the area paying a tithe to the monastery. A brewery was actually licensed in 1040 (the founding date claimed by today's modern brewery). The brewery thus has a creditable claim to being the oldest working brewery in the world -- though I don't believe that they are alone in that claim.
I do love their motto / philosophy: Class, not mass.
You can check them out at: http://www.brauerei-weihenstephan.de/index2.html?lang=eng
Now, if only I had a delicious snack to wash down.
Lady Amy and Sir Mark of Riley (daughter and son-in-law) to the rescue.
Christmas morning I opened a package that included three boxes of...
CRICKETS! Yes, real deep fried crickets (three different flavors).
Sir Bowie "It was a merry, crunchy Christmas" of Greenbriar
Sunday, December 27, 2009
So, to help relax my anxiety and fertilize my creative garden, I endeavored to create Christmas gifts this year. Here are a few items that miraculously got finished and Santa helped deliver under trees.
First up is a simple plate stand. This is zebra wood (I also made one of black walnut)
The plate is one that Lady Suzanne made for our girls.
Those of you familiar with the movie A Christmas Story might recognize this packaging.
I built the crate -- complete with a Western Union Cable tag. Sir Hook then helped me by calling Christmas morning and playing the role of a Western Union Delivery dispatcher who told Lady Suzanne that a package had been delivered earlier that morning in the dark and left near the front door (which I had placed earlier).
Inside is a perpetual calendar roughly based on one we had seen in a German beer hall here in town (designed to be decorated for the season).
And finally, Sir Hook and Sir Dayvd both received Nine Men's Morris game boards with inlay. Nine Men's Morris is a game that we kept seeing referenced in our travels across southern England. So, I decided to give the game boards a whirl. Having never before done any inlay work, it was a challenge (one I may never do again). Anyway, here is Sir D's comments yesterday:
- - -
I hope you all enjoy playing with your new toys.
Happy New Year,
Sir Bowie "now, what to do with all that scrap wood I cut too short, or too narrow" of Greenbriar
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Who is he? Well, for those who don't know, he is the answer to a trivia question.
In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, an assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed.
Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to the New York Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."
While he may have been passing the buck, he unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it.
That editor, a war correspondent during the American Civil War, a time which saw great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in much of society, wrote one of the most famous editorials in history. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.
So, the trivia question? Who wrote the famous "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!" editorial?
Our very own Sir Francis of Church ( Francis Pharcellus Church). The work of veteran newsman has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
I love this so much that I'm presenting again this year. All I ask is that you read it carefully, becauase the words can still ring true in our hearts today:
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Francis Pharcellus Church
Sir Bowie "Thanking God that Santa lives forever" of Greenbriar
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
While doing a little research for a project for my daugher Lady Amy, I ran across an interesting web site that lists, among other things, Bizarre and Unique Holidays. For example, did you know that today is "Festivus"?
According to the web site:
Are you feeling a little left out!? You don't celebrate Christmas or Chanukah. Kwanzaa just isn't your thing. And, you don't even know what Ramadan is.
Then, come and experience the joy and the Miracle of Festivus. One might say that the Festivus holiday is a miracle in itself.
Still not sure if Festivus is for you? It's non-denominational. So, everyone can partake. The Festivus slogan is "A Festivus for the rest of us!" And, that means you, too. So...........
Happy Festivus to you!
The Origin of Festivus Holiday? First, let me say that our family can't get together for an extended period of time without someone saying, "That reminds me of a Seinfeld episode."
As it turns out, we can thank Seinfeld for this wonderful holiday. The Festivus holiday was created by Seinfeld show scriptwriter Daniel O'Keefe. His dad, also named Daniel, had found reference to an obscure holiday called Festivus, which was first celebrated in 1966.
Frank Costanza, the character played by Jerry Stiller, says that the December 23 observance calls for "little more than the erection of an aluminum pole, the airing of grievances and the demonstration of feats of strength -- which preferably culminate in wrestling down to the ground and pinning the head of the household."
"People want something that's nothing," said Salkin, author of "Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us," a book that chronicles the birth and flourishing of this oddly sacred day. "All the traditional holidays exclude somebody," but with this one, "everyone's in on the joke."
It seems that there is now a Festivus following that gathers across the globe and comes together in places as various as seedy bars, campus squares and corporate boardrooms. CNN reports that citizens, with varied degrees of success, have petitioned to raise Festivus poles beside public nativity scenes. Social networking sites and holiday-specific venues -- like festivusbook.com and festivusweb.com -- are go-to places for those who want to share the cheer, or jeers.
No, there isn't a Festivus Tree. Rather, an unadorned aluminum pole is the symbol of Festivus.
The Festivus holiday is celebrated with a dinner. Meatloaf is the suggested main course (I would think Mac and Cheese would be a great side).
Dinner is followed by a "Feats of Strength".
So, Happy Festivus to you today.
Sir Bowie "off to look for an aluminum poll to raise" of Greenbriar
The Rocking Song
Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir; We will lend a coat of fur, We
will rock you, rock you, rock you, We will rock you, rock you, rock you:
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.
Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road Got to keep on plodding
onwards with your precious load
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
Away in a Manger
No Crib for a bed - Social services???????
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
As much a comment (as a new blog ) , on yesterdays interesting piece by the Bowster, as signs are my stock in trade, especially the history of signage, I was wowed by the porcelain piece in the blog.... and can well understand the value put on it...by the sheer fact it didn't get broken in the last 100 years.
Colourful mass produced, long lasting , cheap, signs almost had to wait for Industry to invent itself to be able to happen. as signs if they are to carry an effective message from a building, with all the loss of size in perspective that that entails, have to be larger than you think.
The ability to create Tin sheets that could be coated with enamel and painted with enamel lettering were a giant step forward in advertising in this country, tho Brewers didn't take these up as much as did the Tobacco, Chocolate and Newspaper industry, ( usually placed en-mass around the doorways of Newsagents, ) and the most common relics from the past that you come across on visits to architectural reclamation sites are examples of these and for household goods.. They fetch very high prices ( $200 upwards ) for even the simplest and bad condition ones, and I always snap them up and restore them.
The one at the top of the page is an old advert for The Sunday People which still exists today.
Enamelled Tobacco Ads
War time Chocolate ads. ( Modern Note: Cadbury our most famous chocolate maker is in talks with Hershey in PA regarding being taken over...so one up to the USA there. )
More signs from my Collection waiting to be restored or sold.
As I have said beer ones are extremely rare and hard to find as they tended to stick with Wooden, painted signs till plastic came in.
But modern Drinking signs are making a comeback in metal and the example below may amuse and entertain you over the festive season as we relax and forget all about Advertising Selling things for a while .
Sir Dayvd ( who can just be downright impossible when he is drunk ) of
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Among the 58,906 items, I found some prety interesting stuff.
So, for all you Knights looking for last minute Christmas Gift items, check out these:
The five most expensive items were:
1. Thriving "C" license Beer/Soda Wholesales/Retailer in rockland county New York for a mere $250,000.
2. A collection of Neon Porcelain & Tin sign including beer signs for $125,000.
3. A sports bar starting at $42,500.
4. VERY RARE Important Historic Beer Hall Putsch Letter! (in German) starting at $9,875
5. Marklin VERY RARE Handpainted Early Beer Wagon (car7b) starting at $9,000
You'll also find signs, mugs, advertsing, poster... you name it, eBay might have it.
Oh, and from the "Small World but I Wouldn't Want to Bid on It" department:
How about a 1890's curved porcelain sign from my home town of Evansville, Indiana for just $6,500.
Sir Bowie "I Bid You Merry Christmas Shopping" of Greenbriar
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2″in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous - yes.