Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Carr Wood, Ripley

Here are some pictures I took at Carr Wood nature reserve, which is just outside Ripley, Derbyshire.

They are not great photography but I like them !

This small-but-perfectly-formed wood was once part of Butterley Hall Estate and it`s said workers used to use it as a short cut to Butterley Ironworks.

The wall along one side of the wood is in fact made from spoil from the foundry.

That`s all for now !

Friday, 27 January 2012

Big Book Sale in NG5, 25 February 2012

This blog is always happy to hear from Rockin` Rob Chandler.

 In years gone by, the redoubtable Robert had the dubious privilege of counting yours truly amongst his workmates. The experience does not seem to have traumatised him unduly, and in his spare time he is a splendid strummer of serendipitously-chosen chords.

Leaving aside his musical interests, he is also a book lover and a participant in doings and goings-on at the Methodist Church, Devon Drive, Sherwood, Nottingham.

Combining both the latter interests, he is amongst those organising a book sale in aid of his church, which is due to take place at said address on Sat 25 February 2012 between the hours of 10.30 - 1.00. Admission will be free, you will be able to buy yourself a coffee and there may even be cakes on sale, though that is as yet uconconfirmed, possibly due to a fear of spreading mass hysteria throughout the NG5 postal district.

Rob tells me there will be ;

"Hundreds and hundreds of books, all kinds, some Christian, most general interest, fiction and non-fiction, adult and children`s."

You may feel it is foolish of me to promote an event from which I will not myself profit, given that it is in my interests if you buy your books from me and not him. You`re probably right !

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Voices for Libraries

These attractive and witty posters were designed by Phil Bradley and are available for anyone to use to publicise National Libraries Day on 4 February 2012.

Phil can be contacted at http://philbradley.typepad.com . For further details of National Library Day, and for details of a forthcoming lobby of Parliament by a variety of groups with an interest in protecting library services, (or just to see more of Phil`s excellent images ! ) see More Voices for Libraries, posted earlier today at http://angpav.blogspot.com .

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Dr Tony Shaw

Nottingham man Dr Tony Shaw was kind enough to allow me to use some images from his blog recently ( see A New Year, A New Approach, 22 January 2012 at http://webdub.blogspot.com ).

That being the case, as a gesture of appreciation, I`d like to give a quick plug to his blog, which you can find at http://tonyshaw3.blogspot.com .

Dr Shaw has posted a number of pieces on the history of Nottingham, the most recent being Woman Writers of Nottingham (10 January 2012) and The Old General in Nottingham General Cemetery ( 14 January 2012).

He is the author of Windmills of Nottinghamshire, Windmill Wood and Hidden Nottinghamshire.

Interestingly, he has noticed the blue plaque at Weaver`s Wine Merchants, which I myself had consistently overlooked, despite often meeting my wife outside that very shop in years gone by. To find out more about said plaque, you`ll just have to visit his blog !

Beating the January Blues

Traditionally, many people find January a cold and somewhat depressing month.

That being the case, perhaps I could offer this little gem, which I discovered the other day, as a source of entertainment and upliftment ;

Sam Chatmon - Let`s Get Drunk Again, posted on www.youtube.com by TheBWJohnson on 17 October 2011.

Chatmon is a new name to me, but some of his other  creations and interpretations  have been posted on the same site by the Alan Lomax Archive, which is all to the good.

Happy listening !

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Erewash Museum

Here are a couple of pictures taken on one of my frequent visits to the Erewash Museum Ilkeston.

I like this museum. I like the exhibits on industrial life. I like the displays of works by local artists (Fred Riley, John Lally and others). I like the Victorian walled garden. I like the old agricultural machinery in the courtyard and I like the volunteers who sell home-made cakes in the Hayloft on event days. I like the fact that it confirms a long-cherished theory of mine that small museums are often the best ones. In case you`re in any doubt, I like this museum. 

If you think you might like it too, more details can be found at www.erewashmuseum.co.uk .   

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Friends of Walter the Writer

Earlier this month I was happy to hear from Keith Chapman, a past editor of The Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine, who now writes Black Horse Westerns under the name Chap O`Keefe.

Mr Chapman had previously contacted me after reading a review of mine on The Sexton Blake Blog and got in touch to fill in a few gaps in my knowledge of writer Walter Tyrer (see The Cowboy and the Detective, this blog, 14 January 2011).

He has contacted me again  to draw my attention to a review of Rex Hardinge`s The Case of the Frightened Girl which had been posted by Steve Lewis at http://mysteryfile.com/blog on 4 January 2012, and to his subsequent online chat withe estimable Mr Lewis in the comments section. Mr C had some interesting comments on Rex Hardinge`s career and on short story writing generally.

Mystery File is often worth a visit, and you can find more about Keith`s current activities at www.blackhorsewesterns.com and www.fantasticfiction.com/o/chap-okeefe .  

Someone else who has  contacted me in the past concerning my interest in Sexton Blake generally and Walter Tyrer in particular is Ray Elmitt, who currently lives in a house previously occupied by Walter and his family. 

I  was interested to learn that Ray is the author of  a number of books with another in the pipeline. His works to date are ; The High Street Traders of Hampton Wick 1826 - 2011, A Hampton Wick Timeline ; From Domesday to the Present Day and The Grove ; A Story of a House and Home.

Ray is a member of the local history group of The Hampton Wick Association ( www.hamptonwick.org.uk) and details of his books can be found at  www.blurb.com .


Sunday, 8 January 2012

More About Books #2

It`s quite a while since the first More About Books, but somewhat belatedly, here are my thoughts on a few books I`ve read in the interim ;

Joan Aiken - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

I have to admit this didn`t really work for me.  The book is set in a fictional period in British history during which the country has been inundated by wolves that have migrated here via the Channel Tunnel. The wolves appear quite early in the book but play little part in the main story, the  real predators being a couple of unscrupulous criminals. The two young heroines are loyal and resourceful, which may chime well with modern tastes, but the book`s obvious debt to the more pious sort of Victorian fiction seems incongruous today.  

Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess - Instructions

Neither a poem or a short story, but influenced by both genres, this is pretty unique. I think it will be a bit `marmite` - you`ll either love it or consider it entirely pointless, and I suspect that no amount of persuasion or re-reading of it is likely to change that. Speaking personally, I`m a marmite type of guy and I could return to this book repeatedly and still get something out of it. 

Edward Marston - Railway to the Grave

One of Mr Marston`s Railway Detective novels. Trots along at a nice pace and is well worth looking out for. As I recall, the central character is a bit too in tune with modern sensibilities to be 100% authentic, but there`s really no need to be a purist about these things.  I anticipated that I would enjoy this book but not necessarily feel the need to read any of the others in the series.  In fact, I probably will  try one or two of the others in the fullness of time.

Kate Summerscale - The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

A moderately wonderful true crime book. The author sets out to examine the light cast on Victorian society by this case, to paint a full and rounded picture of the lives of Victorian Police Officers in general, and of Mr Whicher in particular, and to explore the influence on detective fiction of this real-life crime. Reminds me a little of David Levering Lewis` Du Bois biographies in it`s use of almost excessive detail to paint a picture of a bygone age. A rewarding book, but quite challenging. Like Levering Lewis, the author may sometimes have erred on the side of providing  too much detail but nonetheless this is a remarkable achievement.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Should anyone be interested, at present I`m reading a book on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle`s involvement with two true crime cases, those of George Edalji and Oscar Slater. The title etc elude me at present but hopefully I`ll post a review at some point.