But this is what I was after, really: I heard there was a new True Crime Museum in Hastings. Some may recall I am an aficionado of the genre. Me likum murder.
Anyway, this was fun. It’s on the seafront, next to pubs and shops, but this building is actually 3,000 feet of rough space hacked out of limestone. It’s a big, damp cave. Perfect.
They didn’t have an awful lot of genuine artifacts, though. Mostly information boards and simulacra. A glass case full of real bullets of various calibers. Pretty low threshold. Needs more lurid. It would have been a let-down if I’d paid full price, but I had a voucher, so I was happy enough.
Anyway, that’s the centerpiece up there. Six carboys that once held the acid John George Haigh used to dissolve his last victim. He mistakenly believed he couldn’t be convicted of the crime if there wasn’t anything left of the bodies.
These are the actual SIX CARBOYS which contained the acid Haigh used to dissolve the body of Mrs. Olive Durand-Deacon (pictured) on 18th February 1949.
Not true, of course. People have been convicted of murder without a speck of the corpse remaining, although it’s a tough sell. But in this case, poor Mrs Durand-Deacon left behind an undissolved upper denture and a small pile of gallstones. Haigh was hanged.
Got to chatting with the owner afterwards. Turns out, Haigh only used three carboys of acid to dissolve m’lady, but there were six in his workshop and they didn’t know which three. So, there. Now you know something.
May 14, 2015 — 10:42 pm
I’m a total museum hag. I swear, I’d stare at moose poop if you put it in a glass case with a laminated tag. I particularly like funky little private museums, personal and desperately short of funding.
The Shipwreck Museum was especially fun. Rusty cannons, pieces of eight, old china, instruments and models. In one display, there were bundles and bundles of what looked like stacked firewood. Turns out they were muskets, probably someone gun-running to the Confederacy.
And then there was this thing — the thing in the picture — which doesn’t have anything to do with shipwrecks at all. Don’t strain your eyes, the inscription reads:
THE FIRST LONDON BRIDGE
Part of a timber pier considered to be of the first London Bridge built, according to tree-ring dating, most likely in AD 85-90.
As oak trees grow one ring per year (in wet years the ring is thick and in dry years thin) it has been possible for scientists to trace the tree-ring pattern to the south-east of England and back almost 3,000 years.
If you count the rings at the end of this timber, the outermost being AD 78, this confirms that the tree was growing during the lifetime of Christ.
And that is how you know this is a privately funded museum, free of government monies: that sweet old-fashioned reference to Christ. I wonder how many Muslims have been triggered by that thing?
We put a few pounds in the collection box on our way out.
May 13, 2015 — 10:09 pm
So on my birthday we went to Hastings. That’s like saying on your birthday you went to…I dunno…name a shit-hole. Ferguson? Tikrit? It’s not a nice place, mostly.
But down on the waterfront, there’s a little sliver of the charming fishing village Hastings used to be: Hastings Old Town. There are shops and restaurants and museums and the largest fishing fleet in England that is launched from a beachfront.
I like it. Uncle B, not so much. Eh, whose birthday?
It was a warm but a hella windy day, so it was fun to watch the waves come crashing in against the pier. Some damn fool was out surfing in it; we kept waiting for him to be smashed against something.
And I didn’t much fancy taking a ride on this thing. In the picture. The East Hill Cliff Railway. It’s the steepest funicular railway in England.
Funicular. Heh. Love that word. It means the two cars are tethered to each other so they balance and it takes less energy to move them up and down.
When it opened in 1903, this one was hydraulic — there were two big water tanks in the towers at the top and gravity did the thing. Now it’s electric, I think.
Anyway, that’s not important. The important thing is, I took this picture with my new birthday camera. After I busted my old camera, and then busted his old camera, I didn’t really fancy one of them fancy pants new SLR’s to bust.
This one is a Nikon D-60, the next generation after my beloved D-40. Last product in that line, and ever so slightly better at everything. And, yes, first thing I did before it left this house was buy a padded case. Here that pic is in color and unfuzzed.
Back in business, ladies and germs.
May 12, 2015 — 9:54 pm
Hello! I’m back! Did you miss me?
Okay, I didn’t really go anywhere, but the principle stands.
As you might imagine, first day back, it’s been a howling bumhole of a day, but I couldn’t forget you, my imaginary internet friends. My bestest imaginary internet friends.
I passed this guy afternoon. No lie. He was walking up the sidewalk on a fairly rural road. I was, like, “holy shit — did you see that?” And everyone else was like, “What?” And I’m like, “you’re kidding me — there was a guy walking up the road with a giant cross on wheels!”
I assume it was this guy. There can’t be too many of them. I didn’t remember his face being old, but I only got a glimpse. Since that article is over two years old, he has now hauled that thing across upwards of 19 countries for almost thirty years. Huh.
Anyway, my thoughts on the election later. For now, rested and happy to be back.
May 11, 2015 — 10:43 pm
Well, there we go. I hope I had a good time. Normal service will resume Monday.
See you then!
May 8, 2015 — 12:00 pm
If you haven’t seen in before, enjoy Girl Drink Drunk. Don’t cut yourself on those pixels!
May 7, 2015 — 12:00 pm
Probably not. While April was unusually warm and pleasant, we’re predicted cold and windy for the beginning of May.
If we get a nice day, I’d like to hit a few gardens. There are still some stately homes inside our day-trip range that we haven’t visited. It’s peak time for bluebells in the woods and the rhododendrons are just coming into play.
Or, you know, pizza and shoot-’em-ups. It’s all good.
May 6, 2015 — 12:00 pm
Ask not how Weasel holds those maracas. Ask how she holds all that Dos Equis.
May 5, 2015 — 12:00 pm
Today is a public holiday in Britain. It isn’t actually my birthday, but that blessed day is early in May, so I reckon it’s a good time to TAKE THE WEEK OFF!
Oh, nothing special. I’ve got a stack of books, some really unhealthy food and lots of booze. Also, Far Cry 4 and Shadow of Morder and a bunch of other games I’ve never cracked open (stupid Steam sales!).
I’ll be around, though. If something interesting comes up, I’ll be ready wit de Photoshop. Meanwhile, enjoy five dumb pictures of weasels I’ve queued up just for you.
May 4, 2015 — 12:00 pm
You gotta feel for British Telecom: in this day of cellphones, there’s almost no need for public pay phones. The old boxes are expensive to maintain and operate at a grueling loss. They tried to replace the old red boxes with modern glass ones (emblazoned with a logo unaffectionately known as ‘the poof with the pipe‘) and there were riots.
And by riots, I don’t of course mean Baltimore-style toiletpaper-looting, CVS-burning riots. This is England. I mean dozens and dozens of people wrote very rude letters to the government written in green ink.
The upshot was that the phone boxes were slapped with protection orders. These days, they are quietly being decommissioned, when they can be prized away from the neighbors. Or recommissioned as something else — there’s one near here with a defibrillator in it. Fully renovated, they sell for thousands. There’s an interesting article about it here.
The article links out to — well, it would do, wouldn’t it? — the Trainspotters Gazette of kiosk sites. There’s a Kiosk of the Month, Profiles in Kiosks, the A-Z of Kiosks and kiosk articles rated by popularity.
The two favorites are K6 and K2, both designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960) who also designed the Liverpool Cathedral, the Battersea power station (an iconic London landmark, now decommissioned and remade into fru-fru apartments) and Bankside power station (now the Tate Modern).
You’ll recognize the K6. It is THE red phone box. The domed roof is thought to have been modeled on the tomb of Sir John Soane in St Pancras Old Church.
Would I shit you? I would not.
Do have a browse. The site covers all of them — the tardis police box, AA sentry boxes (that’s Automobile Association, not Alcoholics Anonymous) and phone boxes from K1 (beige and cast cement) to the Poof with the Pipe (KX100).
That’ll give you something to think about for a while. Good weekend, y’all!
May 1, 2015 — 3:16 pm