15 July 2011

A walk around the Neighbourhood

A lovely sunny morning prompted a leisurely walk around my local neighbourhood with my camera at the ready. Starting off at Greenland Dock, with the brightly coloured sails of the dinghys from the sailing centre and the impressive masts of the barge.

Then on past the delightful Ship and Whale pub with its colourful walled beer garden at the back. The walking tour almost stopped there, but it was a bit early, even for me.

Just a short walk from the pub along the Thames Path is the Surrey Docks Farm. A hive of activity with parents clearly choosing a good way to keep the children amused. On the river path is a collection of animal statues, and inside are the real thing. I was particularly taken with the Anglo-Nubian kids which reminded me of the ones we used to keep at home many years ago.

And then a real  treat when I noticed the superb sunflowers, shrub roses and hollyhocks in the farm's garden.

Then on around the river which was at low tide and revealing a sad end to some bikes.

The last river stop was the Hilton hotel and its heron wading in the pool, and a good view across to Canary Wharf.

Turning inland to make my way towards Stave Hill, I passed through a derelict area presumably destined for some more housing, and with an old building that must pre-date virtually everything else in the area.

A peaceful corner of Russia Dock Woodland could have kept me for hours, but I climbed to the top of Stave Hill for some great views across to the City and back to Canary Wharf.

Russia Dock Woodland itself is a haven of tranquility in the mornings (before the picnics and ball games) with some lovely mature trees.

The homeward stretch took me past the sculpture at the entrance to Greenland Dock, and the Wibbly Wobbly floating pub with its pontoon moored to the rear idea for a lazy after-lunch drink.

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31 May 2011

Moy Castle, Isle of Mull

My mother always chose her annual holiday, and for many years we stayed on the Isle of Mull in a charming cottage within walking distance of the Iona Ferry. It just so happens that one of my mother's favourite films  was "I Know Where I'm Going" starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey, and Moy Castle on Mull featured in the film. Therefore, each year we ventured out to gaze at the castle, and on the last occasion I bought this oil painting from a local tea shop. Unfortunately, it isn't signed, and I have no idea who the artist is.

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18 May 2011

A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

I noticed that the description for this blog is 'musings and memories' and that although I have been sharing quite a few memories, I haven't been doing very much musing. So here goes.

This picture, taken in August 2008, sums up my idea of relaxation because it contains all of the essential elements that allow me to switch off from work and unwind. They are independent of time and place, too. These elements are plants and flowers, comfortable outside seating, clement weather, a nice view or outlook, a cup of coffee and a good book. Although I greatly enjoy being with friends and family, people are not one of the essential elements for relaxation, which is why this picture could be recreated in many places around the world. I love a busy house full of delightful people, but this should be interleaved with as much relaxation time as posisble.

A nice view or outlook could be across open countryside, the sea, an historic cityscape, or as in this case a view of water and boats in the docks. The plants and flowers could be anything from the summer tubs and pots as shown here, to mature trees, to tropical shade or desert cacti. The comfortable seating has to be upright as I'm not going to sleep, which would entirely miss the point of having everything else, so it just needs to be soft enough for a prolongued sedentary position. A cup of decent freshly ground coffee is essential, but only at those times early in the day before it metamorphoses into a glass of chilled white wine, preferably a Sauvignon Blanc, but these days I'm not really that picky. Then we have the weather. The only requirement is that I can sit outside without being chilled to the bone or wrapped up in winter clothing. This makes it extremely frustrating to be currently based in England, where the weather is at best unreliable, and at worst unbearable.

Finally, the good book. For non-fiction, a substantial glossy high quality illustrated book for browsing, and for fiction nowadays, a well stocked Kindle which makes reading outside so much more enjoyable with its anti-glare screen performing so well in bright sunlight.

All these elements I have described are simple ones and relatively low cost once located somewhere suitable. There are no yearnings for excitement and adventure, no quest for sporting prowess, and no extravagant social settings. Boring many would say. I take a different view. It is the equilibrium between mind and nature that soothes and satisfies, and leaves no regrets and sets no challenges. Contentment.

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14 May 2011

Rocket Life Saving Apparatus

This picture is of a long service medal awarded to  my Grandfather, William Lucock, who served as a volunteer for the Rocket Life Saving Apparatus. The reverse of the medal is the Head of George VI.

My Grandfather lived at Veronica Cottage, Shingle Street, on the Suffolk coast. I remember my Mother taking me to stay with him when I was very young, and he was very old, and not so tolerant of little children! There is a painting in oils of William Lucock by Emily Green, FRSA.

The link in the title takes you to a useful explanation of how the Rocket Life Saving Apparatus worked.

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08 May 2011

Wartime Diaries from 1942 and 1943

My mother and father both kept diaries during the war, while my father was stationed around the country with Air Sea Rescue. They were tiny books, and it was clearly a struggle to fit into the space a chronicle of life spent apart for so much of the time. The entries are very descriptive, even mundane, but at the same time a wonderful commentary on daily life in wartime.

In these little books, there are matching entries for every day during 1942 and 1943. On 1st January 2012, exactly 70 years since they were written, I will be publishing the diaries, one day at a time for two years, during which their lives will unfold during those difficult times. A time of sadness, of parting and of great hope for a better and peaceful future still so far off. As my mother wrote at the end of her entry on 1st January, "First day of another year of war. I wonder what I shall write in this book for the last day. Please God that Bill, Lyn and me may be together in peace and the war ended, no more partings."

22 February 2011

Fashion Look Book from 1936-37

I had always wanted to 'do' something with this stunning collection of drawings by my father when he worked at a studio in Bond Street in around 1936-37. The originals will eventually be mounted and framed and then displayed on a suitable wall, but now I hope the digital versions can be appreciated by others.

The dresses were draped over a tailor's dummy, and then my father had to draw in the models wearing them. He used a mix of pen and ink, and brush, and the results were used for fashion catalogues of the day.

I would love to find any remaining examples of the catalogues, or indeed any information relating to the designers.

The link above takes you to a slide show, but downloadable versions can be found on my Flickr photostream.

06 February 2011

360 degree panoramas from Summer 1999

We had great fun when a friend and colleague from North Carolina visited in the Summer of 1999 and we took off around London with a tripod and a digital camera to make some 360 degree panorama views. Unfortunately, we never got around to completing them, until now.

The complete collection can be found on the Photosynth website. Views of Trafalgar Square, Greenwich Park and the Tower of London can be found on my website.

10 January 2011

And then it was gone!

This article appeared in the Southend Evening Echo on 13th November, 1975:

"This Dalek's been zapped - by a callous thief with an eye for space monsters. The hi-jacker has stolen the model from its builders Richard Nunes (left) and Sheyne Lucock.

"The two students are pictured here recently with their space-age pal. They were proud of their version of one of the metal-clad evil-doers who plague television's zany timetraveller Doctor Who. It took them six weeks to build.

"But the mystery of its disappearance is a Whodunnit that would baffle even the Doctor. The Dalek was snatched at Imperial College, London, where 20-year old Richard, of Wyatts Drive, Thorpe Bay, is studying physics with Sheyne."

The Dalek's disappearance received wide publicity at the time. It was featured on Shaw Taylor's 'Police Five' crime show, Capital Radio's 'Police Call', and a major item on BBC 1's Blue Peter, with Lesley Judd, Peter Purvis, and John Noaks. Embarrassingly,  they even played a recording of my own 'Dalek-voice' yelling 'Exterminate! All Humans Will Be Destroyed!' live on the programme.

Once the Dalek was recovered, there was a follow-up item on Blue Peter to reassure viewers that the Dalek was safe and sound.

09 January 2011

First Press Outing for Dalek in 1975

I recently discovered an old press clipping from the Southend Evening Echo dating back to 23rd July 1975. The article read:

Watch out - Dr. Who's greatest enemy, the Daleks, are back. Invading the streets of London, no less. But they won't be exterminating anybody. It's just a rag-week stunt by Thorpe Bay student Richard Nunes, left, and his friend Sheyne Lucock. They built a 6ft wooden and fibreglass Dalek with the intention of taking it to the Royal Albert Hall. Richard, 20, of Wyatts Drive, is studying Physics at the Imperial College. He said: "The original idea was to scare a few people in London and have a laugh. But the laugh's on us. The Dalek cost more than we bargained for - £100."

03 January 2011

New publishing venture

For many years I have been planning to get around to transcribing and publishing on the Internet a wonderful little book that has been in my family for many years. It is a handbook used by a practising Physician in the 17th century, and liberally annotated in the margins with comments and additions to the many and varied treatments and remedies. If nothing else, it helps to explain the high mortality rate associated with visits by a doctor! I have chosen to publish this as a blog, as the work is time consuming and will therefore be completed intermittently. When it is finished, I will present it on my own website in a tidier format.