Tuesday, 16 July 2019

From Tiller Girl to Baroness

Born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, in 1929, Betty Boothroyd is best known for her term of office as Parliamentary Speaker. A shop girl on leaving school, she soon became a professional dancer joining the famed Tiller Girls dance troop where she stayed from 1946 until 1954. She then entered politics becoming secretary to Barbara Castle followed by a number of other roles. She entered Parliament herself in 1973 winning the by-election at West Bromwich after failing to be elected on a number of previous occasions. Betty Boothroyd was elected Speaker in 1992, the only woman to have held the position. On resigning in 2000, she also left Parliament having taken the Chiltern Hundreds. Awarded a life peerage in 2001 she has continued her career in the House of Lords where she remains a highly respected if a forthright member.

On the capaign trail in West Bromwich in 1973

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Once Upon A Time In New Jersey

Once Upon A Time In New Jersey, An elderly Italian man lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult to work since the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison.


The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament: Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa 


A a few days later he received a letter from his son. Dear Pop, Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried. Love, Vinnie 


At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son. Dear Pop, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances. 

Love you, Vinnie

Thursday, 4 April 2019


Gregory White skulked in a doorway marking time before one day he would meet with the hangman's noose. He had thought of going to do a spot of housebreaking but had decided to set a haystack on fire instead.
Some still have gallows in the yard to hang the family pig. In the next village, people do not sleep. There are deep pits into which children try to push each other. Women have forgotten to change their crumpled clothing. The wind blows ashes down from the hilltops and they get caught up in your hair. Secrets whispered between friends are carried by ravens and echoed between the stalls of market traders in the town.

The wooden balcony at the side of the bakehouse grows green slime up its length and makes trays of custards fly through the air when the baker is too full of red wine to care.

Mrs Hodges sits in an armchair just inside the kitchen door. She dribbles and rolls her head about. Suddenly she grabs at her watch, winks and swallows it whole.

Wistful young men adjust their collars and walk to chapel, while from her densely netted parlour window, a spinster peers down the length of her path at a red faced boy who drags a stick over her newly painted railings.

Next to the outhouse doors, wet washing hangs out dripping onto black flagstones, steaming and smelling of soda. The cat from the White Hart dances between the waving sheets and wives look doubtfully at the sky for signs of cloud.

Stood at the door in her floral pinafore, Mrs Oats lights her clay pipe and strokes the bristles on her chin as smoke curls up toward a heaven soon to be met. Willis Noels the undertaker mentally measures her up for the casket that will carry her to everlasting peace.

Roses lose their scent and drop petals on the graves in the nearby cemetery. The chapel organ drones, the choir begins to sing as the ministers wife retrieves a lace handkerchief from her sleeve to dab the end of her shiny pointed nose. Worshippers fidget and cough and the town is silent and still. Only the wind in the chimney stacks dare make a sound.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Cat Fight

Jim Nolan, just released from prison is indifferent to the catfight between his wife and the woman who she caught him with, from a fictional story from Picture Post Magazine about the difficulties faced by prisoners on their release.

River Thames Postman

River postman Herbert Evans rows his skiff "Alice Maud"towards the Town of Ramsgate pub and Wapping Old Stairs in East London. The job of the River Postman was abolished when Mr Evans retired in 1952. He had been performing this role since 1914, delivering the mail to ships and boats moored between London Bridge and Limehouse Reach, and to those who lived on the water. The first River postman was appointed in 1800 and by 1810 the first of six generations of the Evans family took over the position. The postman was required to provide his own boat although the Post Office did pay for maintenance.  He had an official uniform; a red tunic with black collar and cuffs and 12 brass buttons. This was worn in the days of sail as protection from the press gangs which operated on the river.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

BijouxQuebec (No fuss, just pretty stuff!)

I have long been an admirer of Lise Teasdale not only for her wit and charming good looks but also for her wonderful ability to look suitably chic whenever I happen to see her. There is a hidden secret to her style that is entirely her own and that is in her unique jewellery which she wears in that understated way that only the French Canadians seem to carry off. I discover that Lise actually makes her own baubles at her studio in Quebec, here are some of the stunning designs that are becoming Canada's most talked about accessories and will soon be centre stage in Europe's top fashion shows.  

Adorable Dark Green Agate & Plated Silver Bracelet  

Beautiful Red Pink Purple & White Striated Agate Plated Silver Pendant

Stunning Blue Larvikite Plated Silver Whale Tail Stretchy Bracelet

 Check out the stunningly affordable prices by clicking the link to Lise Teasdale's Shop,



 You can also find Lise here:





Monday, 7 January 2019

“Electronic Street” China's Silicon Valley 中关村

Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, also known as Zhongguancun National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone, referred to as Zhongguancun, is a high-tech industrial gathering area of the People's Republic of China. It started in Haidian District of Beijing and developed into an “Electronic Street” in the 1980s and 1990s. Zhongguancun is China's first national high-tech industrial development zone, the first national independent innovation demonstration zone, and the first “national” talent zone. People around Zhongguancun, especially the students from the surrounding universities, are used to jokingly referred to as “villages”. Zhongguancun has now become a high-end industrial functional area covering 16 districts and counties in Beijing and Tianjin Zhongguan Park in Tianjin, and is also known as “China's Silicon Valley”. In November 2016, Zhongguancun Science Park and Tianjin Binhai New Area jointly established Tianjin Quanhai-Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park, the first comprehensive reform pilot zone of China's inter-provincial administrative region.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Chapel En Le Frith Stocks 1940

The 18th Century stocks still stand in Chapel-en-le-Frith's Market Place alongside the Market Cross. Behind is the Roebuck Hotel. A house was built here in the 13th century for the Duely family. Rebuilt in 1700, it became a beerhouse in 1720 known as the New Hall. Between 1750 and 1850 the building served as a courthouse until becoming the Roebuck Hotel

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Josie Lee On Feeling Good About Art

"It's a Wonderful Life! My favourite film - It's corny, it's not very exciting, but the best feel good you could ask for! Sometimes I look at my art and think that therein lies my inspiration. The best of my work is when I manage to put a little bubble of joy inside your heart! You don't see a masterpiece, it doesn't make you catch your breath, but it does crease the corners of your eyes. It does make you feel good about y our world - or even long to make your world feel like that, if only for a little while!"
 Josie Lee   https://www.facebook.com/josieleeartist/

 Image may contain: one or more people
 "Hot Lips"

"Just found a photo of my very first "Mistress" painting! About 4 years ago. Was still learning to use acrylics and couldn't blend the features very well - so I just left them out! Eventually I started hiding them under hair and the mystery of this character began to evolve!" @JoseLee

No automatic alt text available. "And this is still my very favourite mistress. Ridiculously thin, burtonesque and a little gothic, no real curves, yet still sexy, provocative but vulnerable, sultry and lonely. A tale in the making!
I remembered a Vetriano painting where she straddled a chair - hence the title."

Image may contain: one or more people and shoes

"Never have time for anything these days! But it is time I remembered to thank you all, for enjoying my art, for promoting my art, even buying it from time to time! As artists we all know just how invaluable the comments and support we get is. Just one like, one share, one comment of appreciation, and you trigger a masterpiece in the making.... mine are still making... taking a very long time in the making!
Thank you, thank you and thank you from my heart. To all of you Josie" 



Friday, 9 November 2018

A Guards Officer Is Fitted For A Bearskin 1957

A Guards officer is fitted for a bearskin at Herbert Johnson's hatters shop at 38 New Bond Street in London.  This business had been established in 1889 when the young Herbert was encouraged by the Prince of Wales whose top hat he had repaired. A reputation for high quality craftsmanship soon brought the patronage of the well dressed gentlemen including royalty. Johnsons specialise in classic hat designs and also supply dress caps and berets to most military regiments. There have been several changes of ownership was well as address since the founder retired in 1928 and the business is now owned by Swaine Adeney and Brigg. The shop is now located at Piccadilly Arcade.

The bearskin hat dates back to the mid 19th century when French Grenadiers wore them to give added height and impress their enemies. The British Grenadier Guards adopted this headgear following the Battle of Waterloo and this was followed by two other foot regiments in 1831.  The bearskin is part ofa  ceremonial uniform and is made from the skin of the Canadian black bear. Thousands of bears are culled each year by Inuit hunters to control populations and approximately 100 skins annually meet the Army's needs. They are purchased at auction by the manufacturers at a cost of about £650 each. Each hat requires an entire pelt and with care will last for decades.