purplecat: Faded B&W of a Child with a decorative border (General:Genealogy)
We currently have a great deal of B's father's possessions (consisting mostly of photos and equipment for performing eye tests) on the kitchen table. Amongst it was the below. Jonathan Sellers was B's great great grandfather. He started out as a "Bobbin and Shuttle Maker" but by the time of his death was being described as a "Timber Merchant".


A leather pouch with a broken clasp with the words `Jonathan Sellers' Mariners Lodge 249 stamped on it and a symbol I assume to be masonic
More pictures under the Cut )
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

Two square photos of myself, probably age around 11, standing in our back garden.  I'm wearing brown velvet trousers, a short red velvet jacket with a white ruff and white gloves, a top hat and a fake goatee beard.  I am carrying a cane

If memory serves, this was in honour of some children's book event at which all attending children were to be dressed as a character from a book. Since Roald Dahl was to preside, I went dressed as Willy Wonka (and at one point I had a signed copy of The Wonderful Tale of Henry Sugar that I acquired as a result).

[livejournal.com profile] sophievdennis went as the Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark and won a prize.

My mother claims I spent a lot of my childhood dressed up as things and considers this an early sign of an interest in Larp. However, as an adult, I notice the amount of work that has gone into that costume (certainly not by me). That red jacket, for instance, was cut down and modified from a cast off coat, and the cane was custom made with silver foil decorating the handle. I am not convinced, therefore, that an interest in dressing up and making costume simply mysteriously appeared out of nowhere in our family on the appearance of the two of us on the scene.
purplecat: A Detail from Joseph Wright of Derby's painting an Experiment on a Bird in an Airpump, showing the scientist and the dying bird in the jar. (General:History)
I conversation on Facebook reminded me that I am in possession of my grandmother's cookery book Miss Tuxford's Modern Cookery for the Middle Classes and I thought you might all be edified by her "Hints on Modern Gas Stove Cooking"


Page from a paperback size book.  Transcription below


COOKING BY GAS.

I thought it would be beneficial to the readers of this book to include a few hints on the use and economy of cooking by gas. If properly regulated the cost is considerably less than cooking by coal, as each burner can be turned out directly articles are cooked, and no more expense entailed. Both cooking and heating of washing-up water for a family of six costs on 2d. or 2 1/2 d. per day where gas is 3s. 6d. per 1,000 cubic feet. Care should be taken that the amount of dishes to be cooked should be so arranged that the oven is full, as that will only require one supply of gas. Never use the over until it has been lighted from eight to ten minutes, the former for bread, cakes and meat, the latter for puff pastry. It will be found that the shrinkage in the cooking of meat is much less than when cooked in a fire over, because the heat of a gas oven is equal on all sides, and directly the meat is put in a hot over the outside hardens, and all gravy and moisture is kept in, making the meat not only more palatable and nutritious, but more economical. The gas oven is thoroughly ventilated, therefore meat and pastry can be successfully cooked together. The grilling burner should be made to do double duty, for while the bacon or toast is cooking underneath, the kettle, too, may be boiled at the same time, on the top. The kettle, deflecting the heat, causes the bacon, etc., to be cooked more quickly, as well as using up the waste heat. The simmering burner is one of the most useful, and should be used for soups and stews. The consumption of gas is very small, and this burner can be used for nine hours for the cost of 1d. After gas is turned out in the oven, bowls of water should be put in to get hot for washing up the dishes. The times given for cooking in the foregoing recipes are for gas cooking. Care must be taken to keep the stove, oven and burners clean. The preparation known as "Kleenoff" is excellent for cleaning all parts of the cooker. It is a very simple method, merely requires to be painted on with a brush and allow to remain for 30 minutes. Then wash off with hot water and all the enamel parts as well as the burners will look as good as new.

When cooking small cakes it is advisable to put them near the top of the oven, as that is the hottest part. When partly cooked, either reduce the gas or lower the cakes. Large cakes (which require a long time to cook) should be put in the centre of the oven with a very small light. The irons, too, for ironing clothes are much cleaner when heated on the gas stove than before an ordinary fire.




What amazes me, though it shouldn't, is that so much has changed in the less than 100 years since this was published, that much of the advice is completely irrelevant today. That and the slightly odd choice of how to order the material and where to put a paragraph break.
purplecat: (roleplaying)

Someone Larping a Mage.  His hood has fallen down over his eyes and his arms are raised
My photo album claims this mage is performing a Strike Down. I personally have my doubts, if only because Strike Down is line of sight...
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)

A page from my photo album.  At the top is the handwritten heading `Trying out my new camera inherited from Uncle John'.  Underneath is a picture of me in a highly floral shirt and jeans standing under a tree next to it the caption says `The Timer'.  There are two cut-out photos of a very fluffy cat, one next to a caption `The Flash'.  There is a photo of my sister walking downstairs.  Lastly there is a photo of a vase  of roses, a blow of plums and a blue glass bottle.  This is captioned `The Award Winning Bottle from 15 North Parade + Apologetic Roses from *name blurred out to protect the guilty*


At some point in 1991, I inherited a camera from my Uncle John which was of considerable better quality and more sophisticated than the one I had had since age 8. It required focusing and, if I remember correctly, adjustment for light levels. I continued to use this camera until the late 90s when I briefly gave up taking photos at all for no real reason that I remember. When I started taking photographs again I moved on to a digital camera.

The cat in question is the previously mentioned Blake, the Liberal Cat. I exercised my democratic rights today which included voting for [personal profile] hollymath (in fact I was pleased to nominate [personal profile] hollymath, though I was slightly bemused why two Liberal Democrats had to schlep around to my house to get me to sign the form when surely there were plenty of people who would have been equally capable and closer).

I have no idea why the bottle was award-winning, nor why KL needed to apologise with roses.
purplecat: Statue of King Arthur from Tintagel. (Arthuriana)

A man dressed in a blue shirt and jeans, kneels sideways to the camera, with his arms outstretched on a grassy hilltop under a clear blue skey.  He has a lump of dried grass in his mouth.  Beyond him at least two more people can be seen.  One has his head in his hands and the other is lying in the sun


It being the birthday of Sir Geraint, the other week, Facebook suggested I reposted a rather murky group shot of Arthurians which happened to contain him. Thinking this would amuse, I did so and conversation turned to "what happened to Sir Bors de Ganis?" who was also in the photo. I mentioned I had tried googling him once or twice, as had others, but had been defeated by the fact he had a very common real name, even though we had a pretty good idea which company he was probably working for. I concluded he was secretly a spy and had scrubbed all trace of himself from the Internet. However, it transpires that [personal profile] sir_guinglain's google-fu is better than mine and within hours he had located Sir Bors on LinkedIn. Sir Geraint then tempted him over to Facebook*.

Naturally, I immediately thought of the above photo I have of him. It is taken on top of Old Oswestry and the caption states that he is giving mystic energy back to the land. I think this was prompted by a talk to the society by John and Caitlin Matthews in which they discussed modes of visiting ancient sites. I strongly suspect the above is not, however, what they had in mind - but I could be wrong.

*Actually, evidence would suggest that he had been on Facebook the whole time, just not connected to Arthurian circles.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Last week, while investigating the contents of an old ammunition box at my parents for share certificates, I found the following:


Miscellaneous almost square plastic cases about 5-10mm thick.  Several are in wrappers of various sorts. Two are black and have what would these days be a long LED display in them but it looks like something else here (with dots on it), a black semi-spherical  bulge and a second circular hole next to the bulge - again with grey material behind.  Two are blue and a bit chunkier.  One as an orange circle attached to hang from it on a plastic ribbon - the other obviously did once as well but the orange circle is not detached and two one side.  These blue things have four rectangular moulded indentations in them.  Finally there is a grey square with a single rectangular space.  They all look like they are little cases that could be opened - some kind of strip put inside and then closed (it is possibly the contents that are still in the wrappers.  A few safety pins can be seen for attaching the cases to one's closing.  Behind them is a postcard in mostly illegible writing
The postcard reads (in my father's handwriting) "Personal Radiation Dosemeters either designed by John Dennis or in whose design he was involved".

A black velvet presentation box that is open.  It has a white satin lining and a black velvet pad to which is fixed a gold broach with three pearls on a long gold spike.  The middle pearl is slightly larger than the two either side of it.  Behind this is second smaller pin with a triangular badge with a three spoked design in gold against a black background, the spokes are wavy and go to the centre of each side of the triangle, meeting in the middle.  There is a small card in mostly illegible writing in the lid of the box.
The card reads (again in my father's handwriting) "Centre pearl has been irradiated in a nuclear reactor. Given to John Dennis when visiting Japan 1952."


I don't know why I didn't photograph it, but there was also a medal in the box with a boxer on it. Dad's card with that noted that it had been presented to him for boxing. Underneath he had written "John lost both the fight and his front tooth". Weirdly it had never before occurred to me to wonder why my father was missing a front tooth.
purplecat: The Third Doctor (Who:Three)

Picture of a slighty saggy white toy cat (probably) on a pink table

According to the caption in my photo album the above picture is of "Tea Bag" and was taken at the Falcon 1 Dr Who convention in 198(mumble mumble). I was going to add that I've no idea what the significance of "Tea Bag" was, but I've just recalled that the UNIT regulars (or at least Richard Franklin and John Levene) had a play at (maybe) the Edinburgh Fringe called The Great Tea Bag Mystery. Presumably this involved a stuffed toy cat called "Tea Bag".
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (arthuriana)
It was the end of my first year at university. I went on holiday in a ramshackle minibus with an assorted bunch of Arthurians. The sun shone. We went south.



Lizard Point, Cornwall
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)




Blake, pictured here circa 1979 was an extremely fine cat, and very aware of the fact. His mother belonged to the local liberal candidate (this being in the days before the Liberal Party merged with the Social Democrats). He was named after Blake, from Blake's 7 because the cleaning lady said she wouldn't feed a cat called Avon.

It has been, since Saturday, a very Liberal Democrat dominated week. I feel mildly hunted.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Having just visiting [livejournal.com profile] firin in Pennsylvania I went looking for early photos of her. The earliest ones I seem to have are of the 1990 Arthurian Pilgrimmage weekend to Dorset. This is her being sacrificed by Lady Enide, with a stick.



She doesn't look too worried about this.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
My sister recently discovered that one of her work colleagues went to our school. This seems to have resulted in a certain amount of mutual bonding and an attitude of fear and awe from the rest of the team, not helped when said work colleague described our school as the kind where pupils put on productions of Greek plays - in the original Ancient Greek - for fun. My sister then blamed me for this which is a total calumny, I was roped into one such effort (organised, as it happens by the Greek teacher, not the pupils) as part of a Chorus of Huntsmen.



This is us bringing back the mortally wounded Hippolytus. He had, if memory serves, been gored by a bull and, this being a Greek tragedy, this was all his father's fault at some level. If memory also serves, his dying words to his father were "pray your true-born sons are like me" which, to my judgmental 15 year old mind, meant he was probably not so great a loss to the world as he seemed to think he was.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
[personal profile] nanila recently did a series of throwback thursday post of herself in unlikely metal contraptions from the 1970s. I can't quite compete but here is a picture of me with my grandmother in a 1970s pushchair.





Though I'm sure my parents put me into all sorts of unlikely high chairs and bouncers, just as [personal profile] nanila's parents did to her.
purplecat: Candles (Christmas)




My first camera had quite a stiff button for taking photos which meant for years about 50% of my shots were blurred. My first attempt at photographing a Christmas tree was clearly no exception.

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