Friday, 30 November 2012

The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo

Charles Wells was a very dubious inventor. 

Wells born sometime around 1860 duped people into investing in far-fetched inventions, among them a musical skipping rope. He was successful enough to buy a yacht equipped with a ballroom and church organ. In 1892, he sailed in it to Monte Carlo, where he had a spectacular win of 16,000 pounds at the casino and was later dubbed ‘the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.’ The attendant notoriety alerted disgruntled former investors to his whereabouts and he was sentenced to 8 years hard labour. On his release, he invented a lifebelt, which was demonstrated by a defrocked clergyman,

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Waggonette

Mr Hamblin was born in Chedzoy, Somerset in 1891, he recalls life growing up: -

Most people had to rely on the carrier’s van to take them to Bridgewater to shop. This was a horse-drawn covered wooden waggonette with facing side seats and was not very comfy with hard benches and the dust from untarred roads. The driver used to pick up passengers at Cross Tree Corner.

Mother and Father went to Bridgewater to shop most Saturday’s. They would tour the shops ordering  goods which were delivered by errand boys to the Admiral Blake Hotel. The carrier’s van left for the return from here to Chedzoy and it was often a pretty tight fit for the passengers and their purchases.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee

Mrs Hillman of Lyng in Somerset remembered celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 when she was nine years old.

She went to tea in the schoolroom at Lyng where the children were presented with celebration mugs and then went on a ride in a horse-drawn farm wagon to Burrowbridge. Everyone climbed to the top of Burrow Pump where a bonfire was lit.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Morning Cloud III

On 28 August 1974, ex-Prime Minister Edward Heath helped to publicize a novel by John Dyson called The Prime Minister's Boat is Missing. Five days later, Heath's yacht, Morning Cloud III, was lost.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Armistice Day - November by Irene Snatt

In Preston Park there is a tank.
Relic of the Battle of Cambrai.
Its rusty treads loom over,

I play with Army buttons,
Unwind some tattered puttees.

On corners of the shopping streets
The blind and maimed
Are selling matches.

Some veterans march.
A brass band plays
Sussex by the sea,
And Mother sighs and says
Before the Marne,
Before the Somme,
She watched the boys in khaki
March away.

By Irene Snatt.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Beware of The Goodies

Alexander Mitchell, 50, a bricklayer from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, died laughing in March 1975, while watching the TV comedy, ‘The Goodies’. He had recently eaten, and after 25 minutes of laughing on a full stomach his heart failed while he was watching a fight between a set of bagpipes and a black pudding.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Francis Waring the Vicar in a Hurry.

In the early 18th century Francis Waring was vicar of Heybridge in Essex. He liked to get through a service as quickly as possible. Having set up a small clock on a ledge, he sped through the lessons, delivered a quick fire sermon consisting of two aphorisms and a proverb, ran down the aisle, jumped onto his horse and galloped off to repeat the performance at two neighboring churches.

He was noted, too, for an idiosyncratic dress sense, appearing in church in hats of his own devising, and on one occasion being loudly rebuked by his bishop for wearing purple at important ecclesiastical functions. The bishop was handed a card – kept in readiness for just such a purpose- on which was written, “How very good of you to notice. Do let me recommend my tailor.”

Monday, 5 November 2012

An Extraordinary Cricket Challenge

On 21st May 1827 at Harefield Common, near Rickmansworth, farmer Francis Trumper and his sheepdog, ‘Cooper’, challenged ‘two gentlemen of Middlesex’ to a game of cricket, and defeated them. Cooper, the sheepdog, was a poor batsman, as was to be expected, but the day was won by his agility in the field.

Trumper and Cooper batted first and made 31, with the dog scoring only 3. The two county cricketers expected to improve on this total without difficulty, but were confounded by Cooper’s speed in the covers and elsewhere. According to the next day’s Times:

The dog always stood near the master when he was going to bowl, and the moment the ball was hit he started off after it, and, on his masters running up to the wicket, the dog would carry the ball in his mouth and get it into the master’s hand with such wonderful quickness that the gentlemen found it very difficult to get a run even from a very long hit.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fishing As A Tree

In the 18th century, Thomas Birch a keeper of books at the British Museum, was a keen fisherman who devised an unusual way of disguising his intentions. Dressed as a tree, he stood by the side of a stream in an outfit designed to make his arms seem like branches and the rod and line a spray of blossom. Any movement, he argued, would be taken by a fish to be the consequence of a mild breeze.

Sir Humphrey Davy. The distinguished chemist, improved on the idea half a century later. His preferred costume consisted of a green coat, green breeches and an old green hat.

“In this attire,” wrote Cordy Jefferson, “Davy flattered himself he resembled vegetable life as closely as it was possible for mortal man to do.”

On shooting expeditions, Davy made himself as conspicuous as possible in order not to be shot by mistake. Usually, he wore a large scarlet hat. One of his friends amusingly pointed out that the hat put him in danger of being shot by an anti-cleric, who mistook him for a cardinal.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...