Tuesday 24 January 2017

The Fisherman's Cot, Bickleigh, Devon

This is where Partner-who-loves-tea and I stayed a couple of weeks ago.  It hardly needs any words.

Our room - the one with the light on and the open door.

Our patio

The view at breakfast

The dining room and bar from outside by the River Exe.

The view from the outside tables.

Some of the bird life - a Dipper

and a Grey Heron.

The room was spacious, comfortable, and warm enough to make toast in, the food was good and the service very pleasant.  What more could one ask for?

Thursday 19 January 2017

Books I read in 2016

Diana Gabaldon – Outlander aka Cross Stitch (Reading Outlander series for second time)
Diana Gabaldon – Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander)
Chris Lavers – The Natural History of Unicorns (NF)
Diana Gabaldon – Voyager (Outlander)

Diana Gabaldon – The Drums of Autumn (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – The Fiery Cross (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander)

Diana Gabaldon – An Echo in the Bone (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – Written in my own Heart’s Blood (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – The Custom of the Army (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Plague of Zombies (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon –  The Space Between (novella) (Outlander)
Diana Gabaldon – A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows (novella) (Outlander)
Gail Pool (Ed.) - Other People’s Mail (Only dipped into –
A A Milne ‘The Rise and Fall of Mortimer Scriven’ good the rest poor)
Diana Gabaldon – The Private Matter (Lord John)
Diana Gabaldon – The Brotherhood of the Blade (Lord John)
Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Diana Gabaldon – The Scottish Prisoner (Lord John)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Hellfire Club (Lord John) (novella)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Succubus  (Lord John)  (novella)
Diana Gabaldon – Lord John and the Haunted Soldier (Lord John) (novella)
David Gerrard - The hidden places of Wales (NF)
Catherine Le Nevez - The rough guide to Wales (NF)
Robert Harris – Lustrum

Ruth Goodman – How to be a Victorian (NF)
Andrew Taylor -  An Air That Kills  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  The Mortal Sickness (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  The Lover of the Grave (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -   The Suffocating Night (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -   Where Roses Fade (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  Death's Own Door  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor -  Call the Dying (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor - Naked to the Hangman  (Lydmouth series)
Andrew Taylor – The American Boy

William Hartson – Mr Hartson’s Most Excellent Encyclopaedia of Useless Information (NF)
P G Wodehouse – The Luck of the Bodkins (again)
P g Wodehouse – Love among the Chickens (again)
Rosemarie Jarski - Wrinklies' Wit and Wisdom (NF)
Yaffa Claire Draznin – The Victorian London's Middle Class Housewife: What She Did All Day (NF)
Jacqueline Simpson – Green Men and White Swans (NF)
M M Kaye – Death in Kashmir (recommended by Danielle)
M M Kaye – Death in Berlin
M M Kaye – Death in Cyprus
M M Kaye – Death in Kenya
M M Kaye – Death in Zanzibar
M M Kaye – Death in The Andamans
Rebecca Tope – Malice in the Cotswolds

M M Kaye – The Far Pavilions  (Excellent)

Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) - The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike -2)
Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) - Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike – 3)
Paul Hurley & Len Morgan – Chester Pubs (NF)
M M Kaye – Shadow of the Moon
M M Kaye – The Ordinary Princess
Elizabeth George – A Bouquet of Consequences (Insp. Lynley 19)

Laura Wilson – The Lovers (recommended by Danielle)
Laura Wilson – A Little Death
Laura Wilson – My Best Friend
Laura Wilson – The Wrong Girl
M M Kaye – Trade Wind
Laura Wilson – Dying Voices
Peter James – Dead Simple (Roy Grace 1)
Peter James – Looking Good Dead (Roy Grace 2)
Hulton Getty (Ed). – Best friends (NF)
Peter James - Not Dead Enough (Roy Grace 3)
Peter James - Dead Man's Footsteps (Roy Grace 4 ) (re-read)
Peter James - Dead Tomorrow(Roy Grace 5)

Natasha Pulley – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Paula Hawkins – The Girl on the Train
Anne Darling – The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts
Greg Iles – 24 hours
Wirral Journal Vol 1 (NF)
Nicci French – Blue Monday (Frieda Klein 1)
Nicci French – Tuesday’s Gone (Frieda Klein 2)
Nicci French – Waiting for Wednesday (Frieda Klein 3)
Nicci French – Thursday’s Child (Frieda Klein 4)
Nicci French – Friday on my Mind (Frieda Klein 5)
Nicci French – Saturday Requiem (Frieda Klein 6)
A E (Edward) Marston – Wolves of Savernake
A E (Edward) Marston – Ravens of Blackwater
Albert Camus – The Outsider (previously read in French – L’etranger)
Peter Brack – Wirral (NF)

Greg Dawson – ARWE, The Story of Arrowe, Pensby and the Liverpool Slave Trade (NF)
Greg Dawson - Tingvelle : a history of Thingwall and other north Wirral farming villages (NF)
A E (Edward) Marston – Hawks of Delamere
A E (Edward) Marston – Wildcats of Exeter
Peter James - Dead Like You (Roy Grace  6)
Peter James - Dead Man's Grip (Roy Grace 7)
500 Self-portraits (Read / admired for probably the fifth time)
Peter James - Not Dead Yet (Roy Grace 8)
Peter James - Dead Man's Time (Roy Grace  9)
Michael Jecks – Fields of Glory
 Kate Atkinson – Started Early, took my Dog
Tessa Barclay – To Die For
Peter James – Perfect People

Peter James – House on Cold Hill
Nicci French – The Red Room (for second time)
M R D Meek – If you Go Down to the Woods (Lennox Kemp 13)
Diana Evans – 26a (My book of the year)
Bryony Gordon – The Wrong Knickers  (second time)
Steve Earle – I’ll never get out of this world alive

Brian Sewell – The White Umbrella
Peter James - Want You Dead (Roy Grace  10)
Peter James - You Are Dead (Roy Grace  11)
Peter James - Love You Dead (Roy Grace  12)
D H Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover (for second or third time)
Jenny Colgan – The Little Shop of Happy-ever-after
Ariana Franklin and Sarah Norman – The Winter Siege (second time)

Michael Russell – City of Shadows
Michael Russell – City of Strangers
Luca Veste -  Dead Gone  (Insp. Murphy 1)
Luca Veste -   The Dying Place (Insp. Murphy  2)
Luca Veste -   Bloodstream (Insp. Murphy  3)
Luca Veste -   It Never Leaves You (S S - Insp. Murphy  3.5)
Luca Veste -   Then She was Gone (Insp. Murphy  4)
Cecilia Ekback – Wolf Winter
Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Prince of Mist (again)
Lorena McCourtney – Invisible (Ivy Malone 1)

Monday 16 January 2017

A visit to Devon

Last week Partner-who-loves-tea and I paid a visit to younger daughter, son-in-law-and-friend-who-loves-otters and baby Katie.

Katie had smiles for her Grandma.

And for her Mum.

But she wasn't quite so sure about the strange bearded creature....

Talk to the hand!

On Thursday Katie fitted snugly in her car seat and her Dad drove us to Stover Country Park.  Mum, Dad, Katie and Grandpa had a walk around the lake.  It was wet, or rather, extremely wet.  All Katie saw was raindrops on the hood of the push-chair.

Katie may be the centre of attention for the visitors but Roland was more interested in a parcel with paw prints on it!

And Misty had to cope with the indignity of being picked up.

All too soon our visits were over.  I hope it's not too long before we see you again, Katharine Rose.

P.S. A special thanks to Partner-who-loves-tea.  Since I am no longer able to drive she has to do all the driving and when we travel long distances it can be hard work and tiring.   Some of this week's driving was in the dark and wet but fortunately the snow that was forecast kept away.

P.P.S. Younger daughter - please don't forget to let me have the recipe for the lovely dinner!

Sunday 15 January 2017


I am working my way through the book "111 places in Liverpool that you shouldn't miss".  Many of them are places I know and have photographed over the years but some were new to me.  At the end of December Partner-who-loves-tea took me to Delifonseca Dockside.

It was founded by Candice Fonseca, a self-confessed 'mad foodie' who became frustrated by the lack of delicatessens and specialist food outlets in Liverpool.

The shop is large with foodstuffs from all over the world.

"Whether you are looking for high-quality store-cupboard basics, the latest ingredient recommended by your favourite celebrity chef, an unusual gift, or something to nibble right now, you will find it here."

The shop also has a restaurant where local chef Martin Cooper offers an unfussy modern take on traditional dishes.

P.S.  Yes, GB, we'll go there next time you are staying with us!

Saturday 14 January 2017

Liverpool One Bridewell

"Bridewell" is a mid 16th century term for a petty offender’s prison and it was named after St. Bride’s Well, in the City of London, which was near such a building.

When Henry VIII's Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire, Cardinal Wolsey offered him the use of St. Bride’s Well Palace, his bishop’s palace built near modern-day Fleet Street. The king accepted. All was well until the Cardinal decreed that only the Vatican could rule on the issue of annulling Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon (his first wife whom he was trying to dump in favour of Ann Boleyn). Henry, and his court, left the bishop’s palace in a fit of anger and it fell into disrepair and disrepute.   Over time the Saint part of the name was dropped and the buildings became a prison.   Subsequently any police station with cells could be called a bridewell but the term has largely fallen out of use.

At one time Liverpool had ten bridewells and the Liverpool One Bridewell features in the recently published book "111 places in Liverpool that should not be missed".  Sadly, if you haven't been there yet you have missed it because the restaurant which occupied it has closed down.

The Bridewell in the 1960s.  

At one time the bridewell had a career as a recording studio and groups like Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the La's played there.

More recently the building became a restaurant and you entered the courtyard behind the blank brick wall to find it occupied by outside tables.

Inside you were guided from the bar down a narrow dark corridor off which the cells had been made into little dining spaces with barred windows.

Upstairs were the officers' quarters as the policemen lived on site and the rooms had larger windows.  This space was made into a large function room.

On one of his visits to Liverpool, Charles Dickens enrolled as a special constable for a night and toured the docklands and Liverpool's less salubrious areas with the Superintendent of Police.  He is alleged to have been accommodated in the Bridewell overnight.

Despite the notice suggesting it was now open 8 days a week (well almost). the Liverpool One Bridewell closed down in 2016 and the building resumed the look it had in the 1960s shot above.  It awaits a new owner and a new enterprise.

Monday 9 January 2017

Marine creatures in the museum

 Liverpool has a number of museums and the old Liverpool Museum (at one time the Derby Museum)  is now called the World Museum.  On the first floor there is an aquarium which is one of my favourite places to visit in the city centre.  Tiny children using my feet as a means of gaining a bit of height only adds to the fun of the experience and they were as excited as me to see the sea horses.  There’s something fascinating about a fish that swims upright, has no scales and uses its tail to grab onto things because it is not a strong swimmer.

These are Tiger Tail Seahorses (Hippocampus comes) a vulnerable species from the Western Pacific.

This is a Blue Sea Star (Linckia laevigata).

These are Greater Pipefish (Syngnathus acus).

These are Dragonets (Callionymus sp.).

A Spiny Satarfish (Marthasterias glacialis).

A Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) swimming over a ray.


Sunday 8 January 2017

William Brown Street, Liverpool

Sir William Brown, 1st Baronet DL (30 May 1784 – 3 March 1864) was a British merchant and banker, founder of the banking-house of Brown, Shipley & Co. and a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1846 to 1859.

In 1809 established a branch of the firm in Liverpool, and they shortly afterwards abandoned their exclusive linen business and became general merchants. The transactions of the firm soon extended so as to require further branches.  Brown persuaded the Bank of England to advance him £2,000,000 to tide matters over the 1837 international financial crisis. Brown only needed half the amount, which he repaid within six months. His business, both mercantile and banking, continued to increase, and in 1844 he held one sixth of the trade between Great Britain and the United States and acquired immense wealth.. "There is hardly," declared Richard Cobden at this period, "a wind that blows, or a tide that flows in the Mersey, that does not bring a ship freighted with cotton or some other costly commodity for Mr Brown's house."

In 1825, William took an active part in the agitation for the reform in the management of the Liverpool docks. He was elected an alderman of Liverpool in 1831, and held that office until 1838.  In 1846, Brown was elected Liberal M.P. for South Lancashire, and held the seat until 23 April 1869.
His name is probably best known by the munificent gift which he bestowed on his adopted town. He erected the Free Public Library and Derby Museum at Liverpool, which was opened on 8 October 1860, at a cost to himself of £40,000, the corporation providing the site and foundation and furnishing the building.

Nowadays his name is best known for the Street named after him.  It runs alongside St George's Hall and has some of Liverpool's best buildings on it.  These include the library and museum.

Above the Technical college, museum and library on William Brown Street.

The frontage of the Liverpool Museum (now called the World Museum).

The next building up William Brown Street is the circular Picton Library.

Higher up are the Walker Art Gallery and the County Sessions.

The statue of the Spirit of Liverpool was located on top of the Walker Art Gallery on William Brown Street for more than a century from 1877. It had to be removed in 1993 as the marble had deteriorated so badly that the sculpture was no longer structurally safe. It was a possibility that large chunks might fall off and through the glass dome into the entrance foyer of the Walker Art Gallery.

This is the original - I photographed it in the 1960s.

A replica Spirit of Liverpool was carved from a 41 ton piece of Chinese marble in 1993-1994. The replica was put back in place of the original on the roof of the Walker Art Gallery and is still sitting proudly above the streets of her city today.

The original sculpture was conserved and is now safely kept under cover in a secure store. The statue had to be installed in the building before the construction work was finished, as once the doors were fitted there was no way the huge sculpture would be able to get in.

Below - the County Sessions House.

William Brown was created a baronet 'of Richmond Hill in the County Palatine of Lancaster' on 24 January 1863.  He did not, however, live long to enjoy his honours, as he died at Richmond Hill, Liverpool, on 3 March 1864. 

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