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‘Member these?

Last of the nice days today, so we snuck in another field trip (Sissinghurst, old favorite). We stopped at a convenience store on the way to buy some sammiches, and Uncle B bought me a packet of these (see picture). And I’m, like, “whoa, dude…do you recognize these? They’re candy cigarettes!” Rebranded “candy sticks” for a different age.

Uncle B could do that one better. In his day, they sold Junior Smoking Kits — chocolate cigars, chocolate pipes, chocolate matches, chocolate ashtray and candy cigarettes. I managed to find a picture on this guy’s blog, from his visit to the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh.

Mind, blown.

By the way, all you gotta do is have your picture taken with Spiderman at the circus one time…

p.s. Yes! It came with a Spiderman tattoo! I shall be the envy of the office tomorrow…

August 5, 2014 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 21

Messing about in boats

Yesterday, the RNLI Dungeness had an Open Day (that’s the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to you). Per Wikipedia, the RNLI has 444 lifeboats at 236 stations. Since 1824, they’ve saved 140,000 lives at the cost of 600.

They’re entirely funded by private money (legacies, donations and merchandise), which I think is unutterably awesome, so we try to turn out when they have a fundraiser and spend some money. I bought a hat and Uncle B bought a burger and we put some money in the thing.

It was a lovely sunny, breezy day, and I didn’t go watch the maneuvers. I plunked myself down on the warm shingle with the complete works of Kipling (I’m up to 2% now!) and listened to them sing sea shanties in the boathouse. That there’s some powerful local atmosphere.

Uncle B did go watch the maneuvers and, even though he only brought a little handheld camera, he got some great action shots of the boats. Black and white doesn’t do ‘em justice. He’s a better photographer than I am, and that pisses me off no end.

If you squint at the background, those are the white cliffs of…Folkestone, actually. But the white cliffs of Dover look just the same and they’re the next headland along the coast to the Northeast.

Fun fact: the RNLI was originally called the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck. Or NIPLS.

August 4, 2014 — 9:23 pm
Comments: 20

Dead Pool Round 67: Fish Jumping, Cotton High

Platypuss wins dick with James Garner (born James Scott Bumgarner). Give his Wikipedia entry a read. Among the highlights: he beat the hell out of his stepmother after she made him wear a dress to school, and he was married to the same woman for almost 58 years. Money quote: “Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.”

Okay, ready?

0. Rule Zero (AKA Steve’s Rule): your pick has to be living when picked. Also, nobody whose execution date is circled on the calendar. Also, please don’t kill anybody.

1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of (I don’t generally follow the Dead Pool threads carefully, so if you’re unsure of your pick, call it to my attention).

2. We start from scratch every time. No matter who you had last time, or who you may have called between rounds, you have to turn up on this very thread and stake your claim.

3. Poaching and other dirty tricks positively encouraged.

4. Your first choice sticks. Don’t just blurt something out, m’kay? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.

5. It’s up to you to search the thread and make sure your choice is unique. I’m waayyyy too lazy to catch the dupes. Popular picks go fast.

6. The pool stays open until somebody on the list dies. Feel free to jump in any time. Noobs, strangers, drive-bys and one-comment-wonders — all are welcome.

7. If you want your fabulous prize, you have to entrust me with a mailing address. If you’ve won before, send me your address again. I don’t keep good records.

8. The new DeadPool will begin 6pm WBT (Weasel’s Blog Time) the Friday after the last round is concluded.

The winner, if the winner chooses to entrust me with a mailing address, will receive an Official Certificate of Dick Winning and a small original drawing on paper suffused with elephant shit particles. Because I didn’t have any dinosaur shit particles.

August 1, 2014 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 89

I don’t know, I’ve never kippled

We’re determined to make the most of Summer this year. We didn’t get many days out last Summer, and this year we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather. So it was off to Bateman’s yesterday — Kipling’s last home.

There’s something sad about the house. And positively non-Euclidean — it’s somehow much smaller on the inside than the outside. But still, a good day out, and Uncle B found a much quicker route to get there, so we’ll probably go more often. Have to squeeze every entertainment penny out of the effing expensive National Trust membership.

They cleverly left copies of his books about, with “available to purchase in the gift shop” written inside the covers. So I tucked into Puck of Pook’s Hill while Uncle B wandered about on his own. I think that’s my favorite Kipling, but the man was hella prolific, and I got to wondering how many of his I haven’t read.

That’s when I discovered Delphi Classics. They’re an eBook publisher that specializes in “Complete Works of…” editions of out-of-copyright classic authors. Nicely formatted for a couple of bucks. Buy them through Amazon or right from the publisher.

I don’t know about you, but I’m crazy about owning an author’s complete works. Even in the days when that meant that nice mister Dickens took up five feet of shelf space. There’s something deeply satisfactory about having them all together in one clean set, not a hodge-podge of mongrel editions with half a dozen books left out. I have a feeling I’ll be visiting Delphi again.

They all come as one big Kindle file, but they have a table of contents, so that’s okay. I’m going chronologically by publication date, starting with the novels. I read The Light that Failed all afternoon, and I’m still at 1% of the collected works. See you in the Fall.

Oh, yeah — Dead Pool tomorrow! 6pm WBT! I’m going to set it up right now, so I *can’t* forget this time.

July 31, 2014 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 17

There goes another one…

And there goes Eastbourne Pier (photo nicked from the Mail).

It was one of three East Sussex Victorian pleasure piers designed by Eugenius Birch (1818-1884). The first was Brighton’s West Pier, completed in 1866. Burned down in two separate arson attacks in March and May, 2003.

The third was Hastings Pier, finished in 1872. Burned in 2010. Two were arrested for arson, but they never brought them up on charges.

Eastbourne Pier was finished the same year as West Pier. Bits of it have burned before, but this looks really, really devastating. There’s a big airshow in Eastbourne every August, and the pier is a favorite place to stand and watch the aereoplanes.

Nobody’s mentioned arson this time, but you can’t help but wonder. At any rate, it’s been awful seeing these three grand Victorian dames go up in flames.

July 30, 2014 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 11

Polly want a…hey, watch your mouth

The Summer fête season is in full swing now. I met this beautiful girl (probably. I was told it takes a DNA test to know gender for sure and they haven’t bothered) advertising a little father/son parrot rescue. He’s got a hand gesture to make her stand up and extend her wings, so I was able to take lots of good pictures. (Here this one is big and in color).

They said the main reason they have to rescue birds is that they outlive their owners. One of their parrots died last month at the age of eighty. Not sure how I’d feel about a pet that was likely to outlive me. I suppose it would be a good thing, provided they didn’t have to power to have me put down when I got feeble.

Took this before I dropped and broke my good old Nikon D40, obviously. Still pondering what to do about that.

July 29, 2014 — 9:28 pm
Comments: 23

Moar weather

This one missed us, somehow. It was a beautiful sunny day here. Uncle B called to tell me cars were floating sideways along Brighton Marine Parade.

I called up the Met Office Satellite page and here was a big, fat band of severe storms from the Brighton seafront all the way to the outskirts of London. That isn’t at all far West of us.

Funny thing — the time lapse satellite animation showed that thing just sitting there for hours, moving neither to the East nor West. It ultimately just melted away (though we’re having a bit of gentle rain now).

I think they said three weeks rain in a few hours. At one point, the water in the Underground was chest deep. Places in Brighton, hail fell like snow.

Pictures: the BBC, the Brighton Argus. I particularly liked the hen and chicks floating around someone’s laundryroom on a dinner plate.

Also, not entirely unrelated, I thought this was an interesting article from the BBC: what happens when lightning hits the sea.

July 28, 2014 — 8:51 pm
Comments: 9

Ride’s here!

I am so sorry to have blown the Dead Pool this week. We played hooky and snuck off to the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch, which is a little line of 1/3 scale steam and diesel trains that runs along the coast.

It is a fine thing to do on a hot day, sitting in the open carriage watching the pretty English landscape roll by. We saw ducks and swans and several fine, fat pheasants. Some of the crops — the rapeseed — have been harvested already. Some — the hay — just coming in now. And the wheat and corn are yet to come. They were looking good.

We had an amusing conversation about National Trust properties with a drunken gay couple in the carriage behind us. A station master came by at St Mary’s Bay and quickly searched the carriages to “see if we had any owls.” Nope, no idea.

The English are prone to embarrassment and carefully avoid it in most social situations, but in certain narrow contexts, they give themselves a sort of permission to be foolish. I think this is why they like pantomime and dressing in costume so much.

They also give themselves leave to wave to, and from, trains. Especially heritage trains. The RH&DR runs past scores of back yards and in many of them, children stood and solemnly waved to us like visiting dignitaries. Cars at the RR crossings, too. You wave back. You haveta.

Afterwards, we stopped and bought some of the best fish and chips in the neighborhood. And long about then it dawned on me, Holy shit — I’m in England!

July 25, 2014 — 11:47 pm
Comments: 14

Oh, shit, you guys — RushBabe is right, this totally should have been a Dead Pool Friday. We snuck out and rode on the puffer trains all afternoon and I totally forgot. To be honest, I’d totally forgotten days ago.

Since I didn’t tease it yesterday or anything, probably the best thing to do is push it off until next Friday. I’ll queue it up over the weekend so I can’t forget again.

To make it up to you, I’ll post pictures of the choo-choo later,
if any of them came out okay.

— 7:51 pm
Comments: 12

That it should not be in vain

So I got asked to do a flyer for the church fête in a real hurry today, and I thought, “I know — singing ewes!”

The hell was I thinking, right? Because I guess we’re going to sing songs or something. Still, I got this far before realizing that…just. No.

I went with a picture of the church. But please enjoy these two ‘tardalated ewes so my time won’t have been completely in vain.

July 24, 2014 — 10:23 pm
Comments: 17