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Can Alice come out and play?

Peasmarsh Place is a dreary-looking old folks’ home in the village of Peasmarsh. Natch. At least, it looks dreary from the outside; it ain’t cheap, so it’s probably pretty nice inside. It does have ten acres of very impressive gardens — trees, mostly — that are open to the public two days a year, Spring and Fall.

We went yesterday. I’ve wanted to go since forever. Gardens, schmardens — the occupant in the 1860s was Charles Liddell, Alice‘s uncle. In these grounds, Alice was told some interesting stories by the Rev’d Dodgson.

At least, that’s what their marketing blah says.

Most of the trees were blown over in a hellacious storm that flattened Southern England in 1987, but there are plenty of gigantic specimens left. And interesting young trees. And spooky abandoned greenhouses with invasive whatnots pressing their leaves against dirty cracked glass. And a gorgeous Norman church next door.

And wild pigs. Apparently. After dark, they come out of the forest and roam the grounds and make themselves dangerous, so the signs said.

And, yes, I turned my ankle in a rabbit hole.

Amusing exercise: know who else lives in little Peasmarsh? Paul McCartney. Not sure where. All we know is, his house is up a drab lane of carefully deceptive boringness. Peasmarsh Place is here. Have a Google around, if you’ve a mind to.

One more thing: a link to Ace’s latest Be The Wave post. Expectations for this election have gotten so crazy out of hand, if the Republican wave isn’t HUGE a week from tomorrow, the Dems will call it a win for their side. And a mandate. With all that entails.

Please please pleeeeeeeeeease</whiny kid voice> do what you can to turn out your fambly, friends and cubiclemates on November 2.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:06 pm

Very cool mini cannon.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:11 pm

Zombies. At Sears.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:32 pm

I think I think this is cool.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:35 pm

Big Badger Boat’s Cannon

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:42 pm

Yes. Yes, them are big guns.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:48 pm

USS IOWA, WISCONSIN’s sister, once fired a salvo 22 miles at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and dropped them into a 100X50 yd box. An area less than half the length of the ship. (887 feet)

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 25, 2010, 10:49 pm

Are the pigs any relation to a Dutchess? Or are they green Mome Raths?

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 25, 2010, 11:01 pm

Cool. The Google Maps scene credits Infoterra, Ltd., which means there’s a bare possibility I’ve had my hands on the camera that took the picture! (But probably not. They likely have a newer one.)

The picture from Google Earth is springtime, with trees flowering. Did you get to go look at the polytunnel greenhouses?

Just west of Peasmarsh, at the end of Starvecrow Lane (50 57 49.16N 0 40 12.69E) is a complex that looks a bit McCartneyish to me, big house, tennis court, lawns mowed criss-cross, mucho dinero expendido in general. Can’t say I saw any smoking cannon, though.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 11:17 pm

Well spotted, Ric. I thought that was probably the right house, too. Leave it to the perfeshunal, I guess.

Yes, there’s an ancient walled garden and the polytunnels are inside. The grounds are, I guess, an important national repository for trees, so I think they grow saplings in there. Also, flowers for the house.

I stole an apple.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 25, 2010, 11:37 pm

Hm. Just south is something called “Castle Mouldings”, but it really doesn’t look like much of a proper castle. Impressive set of farm buildings, though. I scanned through several places, mostly farmyards, and relieved my mind a bit. Apparently I’m not the only one in the world with ramshackle sheds and equipment strewn about. Is the quasi-urban complex to the north the modern village of Peasmarsh? It looks remarkably un-stereotypically-English, interchangeable with modern developments anywhere bar the lack of old cars in the back yards (gardens?)

Pity McCartney isn’t a C&W artist. The place would be easy to spot, by the guitar mowed into the lawn turf 🙂


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 25, 2010, 11:50 pm

Heh. Castle Mouldings makes glass reinforced plastic moulding. Fiberglas, at a guess.

Farm outbuildings aren’t subject to much in the way of zoning, so farm buildings around here can be pretty byzantine. You’ll have a drop-dead gorgeous Tudor farm house surrounded by crappy corrugated tin sheds and Quonset huts. Working farms are often u-gly.

Peasmarsh isn’t the quaintest village, for sure, but it looks pretty English at ground level, even if the layout is modernish. There are some ugly Soviet/American looking urban areas here, but not so much out our way. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house that had an asphalt tile roof — they’re all terra cotta tiles. Most of the new houses are pretty much stylistically in keeping with the older ones; even cheap houses.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:08 am

Ah? Well, I’m from the generation of photo interpreters taught to look for big skylights, stacks, and electrical distribution as clues to industry. I reckon my successors will have a harder time of it if everybody goes Green — or maybe not, as they can just call up Google and tick the box for “Manufacturing, Weapons (Nuclear & Chemical)”. Targeting coordinates helpfully provided in the lower left corner…

But I’ll eat my hat if that’s not a working farm as well. Too many tractor traces down to the farm fields for either joyriders or clandestine disposal.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:13 am

It sounds like your work is really interesting, Ric. And something you wouldn’t talk much about.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:16 am

Many moons ago it were, stoaty, but my career was spent working with civilians. Haven’t been on the military end of it since Viet Nam; it’s all been planning maps for developers and the like. Much of it was spent fixing the stuff when it broke, which it did with regularity.

Ooops! Must be off. My wife’s in the nursing home, and it’s visiting time.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:19 am

I love, love, LOVE maps and aerial photos, Ric. When you have a moment, I’d love to hear more. What you can reveal.

Our best to your wife.

Comment from mojo
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:19 am

When Queen Victoria read “Alice”, she was so impressed she sent Dodgson a note asking him to send her a copy of his next book. The Right Rev happily obliged, forwarding Her Majesty a treatise on Set Theory.

He was that kinda guy.

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 26, 2010, 1:32 am

Well, tell you what: I’ve never been to England, bar the Habitrails® at Gatwick. If I sell up I could just about afford a ticket; how if I come live in your hedge and tell stories ’til the Force locks me up for overstaying my visa? I’m neither Arabic, African, nor Romany, so that wouldn’t be long.

If winter weren’t coming on it’d be damn tempting at the moment.


Comment from scubafreak
Time: October 26, 2010, 2:29 am

Back when I was a much younger Bubble-Blower, I was stationed on the USS Wadsworth (FFG-9) in Long Beach Harbor. We were part of the regular escort force for the USS Missouri and the USS New Jersey, up until they were mothballed again for the final time. I have some rather nice pictures around here somewhere featuring the two underway, including one off Kamchatka being dogged by a Rooskie frigate, and one of the Missouri mooring in Pusan Harbor during Pac-Ex ’89. I was even across the harbor in Long Beach watching Cher make that gawd-awful music video…

Trust me, the pics and videos DON’T do justice to just how imposing those ships really were. When I was aboard Missouri, I went below decks through hatches that were litterally 18 inches thick solid hardened steel. They had to have massive hydraulic rams on the hatches just to be able to open them…..

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 26, 2010, 2:37 am

When WISCONSIN was shelling the Hitachi Steel works in jan 1945, she had to stop, as the overpressure fom the guns was snapping the bolts on the radar antennae on the 5″ directors.

For all us Sailors, exbradtc reminds us that this is Samar Day, the USNs finest hour. BRAVO ZULU TAFFY 3!


Comment from EZnSF
Time: October 26, 2010, 2:38 am

I so want to take photos like that. Tell me, Tell me, Tell me!
Is it some fancy expensive camera or photo-program? Or are you just an artistic genius?

I’m suspecting the latter. err

Comment from Ric Locke
Time: October 26, 2010, 3:21 am

EZnSF — the genius is in the composition, picking subject and camera angle and lighting and just the right moment…

(also: take lots and pick the right one)

What you’re asking about is technique. Open the f/stop for minimum depth of field; set shutter speed higher to compensate, so as to get correct exposure; play with the focus ring until you get the right combination of fuzzy and sharp. Practice ’til you can do it quickly — digital cameras are great in that respect, instant feedback and no developing charges.


Comment from scubafreak
Time: October 26, 2010, 4:00 am

Hmm, I’d almost forgotten about Samar day.

Just a bit of trivia, the flagship of Surface Squadron 1 (which the Wadsworth was a part of) was the USS Samuel B Roberts, same as one of the destroyers in Taffy 3….

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: October 26, 2010, 8:12 am

scuba, I was homeported in Long Beach too, probably earlier than you though. USS Peleliu (LHA-5), the second ship there after the base reopened… first ship was Wadsworth.

Comment from steve
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:37 pm

When my son was quite a bit younger, his cub scout troop spent the night aboard the USS Massachusetts (I went along as one of the extra dads who were responsible for keeping the cubs in line).

Massachusetts was a slightly smaller, older sister to the Iowa and New Jersey (launched in September of 1941).

Still, you are absolutely correct about the scale of these monsters. 18″ thick steel here, there and everwhere.

We prowled all over that darned ship, by the hour. What incredible things of beauty those ships are.

Her first action was in support of the the landings in North Africa….She sunk the French battleship, Jean Bart, and two of the shells that had sunk that French ship had actually been recovered and were on display on board the Massachusetts.

Big bullets!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 26, 2010, 12:39 pm

What, you mean my picture? Up top there? I plead guilty to applying Photoshop liberally. It was easy with this, because the hedge at front is all straight lines. Tied off the very background with a lasso and applied a moderately heavy gaussian blur, then went ’round the edges with a blur tool. Then sharpened the result.

I use blur a lot, you may notice, and it isn’t entirely an artistic conceit. Because this is such a picture-heavy blog, my goal is to keep the headline images under 40K in size. It creeps to fifty sometimes. Blur takes up significantly less space than lots of fiddly details in a jpg.

And I kind of like how it looks.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: October 26, 2010, 6:26 pm

I used to use a technique I called ‘poor man’s anti-alias’ for sprucing up graphs and such with Photoshop. Resize image to 4×, radius 2-3 Gaussian blur, squash back down to original size. Worked a treat.

The south of England is liberally infested with rock star mansions. For the benefit of US weasel fans: there’s a ring of expensive property round London called the ‘stockbroker belt’ where all the rich City workers live. So naturally the concentration of pop stars in Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire etc. became known as the ‘rockbroker belt’. Lots of them lived near where I went to school.

A friend of mine got yelled at by Phil Collins for riding her horse on his newly-tarmaced drive.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: October 26, 2010, 9:03 pm

Alice doesn’t live there anymore – she’s working as a waitress in Tuscon until she raises enough money to move to California and become a singer.

Comment from Monotone The Elderish
Time: October 26, 2010, 9:42 pm

Damn rabbits….. and their holes…..

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: October 26, 2010, 10:11 pm

Steve: Several years back, I ran into a Vet who had been on the USS North Carolina during the Bismark chase. He claims that the NC recieved classified orders (so, of course, everyone knew about it within a day) that, if the opportunity arose, the NC was to charge the Bismark and dupe them into firing on them, so that they could attempt to sink her in ‘Self-Defense’. Apparently Roosevelt didn’t want the Bismark or the Tripitz romping around of the Eastern Seaboard.

I have no idea if he was telling the truth, but there you are….

Comment from Mark
Time: October 26, 2010, 10:58 pm

For David Gillies:

Did her horse proceed to leave an appropriate present for the illustrious Mr. Collins? Horses DO tend to do that when they are yelled at, ya know…

Comment from jwpaine
Time: October 27, 2010, 4:26 am

I voted three times, then registered all six of my horses and helped them fill out their absentee ballots. So, STOP BITCHING AT ME!!!!!

Comment from steve
Time: October 27, 2010, 2:25 pm

That is very interesting timing….

North Carolina was commissioned 3/9/41….She was still fitting out for some weeks, afterwards…

Bismark’s initial sortie began on 5/19/41.

She only stayed afloat until 5/27.

If things were to have gone as that vet suggested….North Carolina’s shakedown cruise would have been to engage the Bismark….which would have made it possibly the most eventful shakedown cruise that any naval vessel ever experienced….

And I would not doubt that, with the threat to North Atlantic shipping that Bismark presented….Churchill would not have hesitated to ask, and Roosevelt would likely have assented…..

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: October 27, 2010, 3:59 pm

Good grief, old home week amongst us NAVSTA Long Beach internees. Thought some of you looked familiar…fitting to meet up under a “Alice Through The Lookingglass” thread….

Comment from David Gillies
Time: October 27, 2010, 5:29 pm

Mark, I think my friend was the more likely one to have left a present – she was very startled indeed. She had no idea she was on private property and being an impeccably well-bred gel was mortified.

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