Saturday, 4 February 2017

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Evening crescent Moon


Shot with Canon SX530HS 1/250 sec at f/6.5


Friday, 16 December 2016

London skyline on a Winter Morning

Shot with a Canon SX 530 at 50x optical zoom, 320th sec at f/5.6.






Sunday, 4 December 2016

It's the Guardian Wot Won It

Link: Furious readers help get justice for the man Waitrose labelled ‘shoplifter’

To paraphrase a rather less reputable publication, this outcome would not have been possible without Miles Brignall, the Guardian and well over a thousand readers who supported me.

Thank you everybody.

Monday, 28 November 2016

IMPORTANT STATEMENT re: WAITROSE

A mutually-agreeable settlement has been has been reached between WAITROSE and myself.

WAITROSE do NOT admit liability and stress that this is a good will settlement. Details remain confidential between both parties, and I will therefore be making no further comment other than that I am entirely satisfied with the outcome.

Subject to the implimentation of this agreement I confirm that I have no plans to take legal action against any of the parties involved in this incident.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have supported me in this matter.

Christopher Seddon

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Arrested at WAITROSE - Guardian article


I am leaving the link to the Guardian article in place but having reached agreement with WAITROSE there is no now need to lobby their customer support team.

Thank you to all who read the article at the weekend.

Christopher Seddon

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Perigee full moon

The reasonably common phenomenon of full Moon coinciding perigee was completely ignored until the media discovered the term 'supermoon' a few years ago, Perigee (minimum distance from Earth) varies between 356400 and 370400 km (average 362600 km) and apogee (maximum distance from Earth) varies between 404000 and 406700 km(average 405400 km), so on average a perigee full Moon will appear 12 percent larger and 25 percent brighter than one occurring at apogee.


However, perigee on 14 November will be the closest one since 1948, and the Moon will appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter compared with the smallest apogee full Moon. This still isn't an enormous difference, and prior to the current frenzy over 'supermoons' was only of interest to astronomers. Here in Britain, of course, we are in any case set to see absolutely nothing.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Eternal Scaffolding

It is a constant frustration for a tourist to see a landmark they have traveled far to see covered in scaffolding. This is a photograph of the Spanish Steps in Rome in May 2004:


And this was the same scene a decade later, in October 2014.


A short distance away is the iconic Trevi Fountain. It's more eternal scaffolding than eternal city.


It was the same situation in Venice with the Bridge of Sighs between 2009 and 2011 (though restoration was complete when I visited in 2013).


The problem is certainly not confined to Italy. This is the PadrĂ£o dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries) in Lisbon, a modernist tribute to Prince Henry the Navigator:


Monday, 24 October 2016

Mitchell's Fold stone circle

Mitchell's Fold is a stone circle in South-West Shropshire, located near the small village of White Grit on dry heathland between Stapeley Hill to the north and Corndon Hill to the south.It dates to the Early Bronze Age, around 2000 BC. The monument comprises 15 stones arranged in an ellipse measuring 30 m (100 ft.) by 27 m (88 ft.). Originally, there might have been up to thirty stones.

The dolerite stones are thought to have been brought from Stapeley Hill to the northwest and are of a uniform geology. The majority protrude above the turf to an average height of 0.4 m (1 ft. 4 in.); there are two recumbent stones; and three stones are appreciably taller than the rest with heights of 0.9 m (3 ft.), 1.4 m (4 ft. 6 in.) and 1.7 m (5 ft. 6 in.). Aerial photography shows that there is a central stone now hidden below ground. An outlying stone 0.7 m (2 ft 3 in.) in height stands on a small prominence to the southeast.







Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Shrewsbury Jail

HM Prison Shrewsbury was built in 1877, although there has been a jail on the site since 1793. It held convicts of both sexes until 1922, but thereafter was a men's prison until its closure in March 2013. In its later days, it was one of the most overcrowded prisons in the UK. The prison is located on Howard Street, adjacent to Shrewsbury railway station. It is often referred to as the Dana, after a road that runs past the main entrance. Howard Street is named for the penal reformer John Howard, the bust of whom is mounted above the main entrance. After the last prisoners left, the jail was opened to the public as a visitor attraction. It will remain so until the site is redeveloped next year.


Main entrance to the jail, featuring the bust of John Howard.


View of the barred cells from the exercise yard.


Inside one of the cells.


A Wing seen from the first floor.


The prison workshop


The sports centre


The prison chapel.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Shropshire Hills

Located between Shrewsbury and the Welsh border, the Shropshire Hills have been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is unspoiled by light pollution: on a clear night the Milky Way can be seen just a few minutes walk from the high street of Church Stretton.





Thursday, 6 October 2016

Survival: the story of the Trevessa

Largely forgotten tale of survival against the odds

How 34 out of the 44-strong crew of the SS Trevessa reached safety after the 5,004 ton freighter sank in the Indian Ocean is one of the great stories of human survival in the face of seemingly impossible odds. The story has been likened to the 2010 Chilean mine rescue, but it has faded from public awareness to the extent that it even lacks an entry in Wikipedia.

The Trevessa was launched as the Imkenturm at Flensburg, Germany, in 1909. Throughout World War I, she was interned at Surabaya in the Dutch East Indies, and in 1919 she was seized by the Ministry of Shipping. Her hull was by now in poor condition, but after scratch repairs in Singapore she sailed to Scotland, where she was dry-docked at Leith. In 1920, she was purchased by the Hain Steamship Company of St Ives, Cornwall, and was substantially refurbished at a cost of £36,000 by Messrs. John Redhead & Sons of South Shields. Hain was an operator of worldwide tramp services that had been acquired by P&O in 1917, although it continued to be run by its former directors.

Work on the Imkenturm, now renamed Trevessa, was completed in January 1921, and after being duly certified by Lloyds, the ship entered service with her new owners and put under the command of Captain Cecil Foster. Born in 1890, Foster had served with Hain since the age of twelve. The company had a policy of bringing youngsters through the ranks right up to command level. During World War I, he was serving as a First Officer in a supply ship. The ship was torpedoed by a U-boat and the survivors were soon rescued by a patrolling Royal Navy warship – only for this in turn to be sunk by the same U-boat. The 36 survivors were adrift for ten days before washing up on the Spanish Atlantic coast, by which time only 16 remained alive.

Foster realised that there was a problem with the survival rations placed in lifeboats. These were similar to the usual shipboard diet, and consisted mainly of tinned and/or salted meat. This was very difficult to digest for men dehydrated by lack of sufficient drinking water. After the war, at Foster’s insistence, the emergency lifeboat rations in Hain ships were changed to condensed milk and hard biscuits, which have a high calorific content and are easy to digest.

On 2 January 1923, the Trevessa left Liverpool in ballast on a voyage that took her to ports in Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia. On board were Foster and 43 British and Indian crewmen. At Port Pirie she took on a cargo of zinc concentrates destined for Antwerp. She then coaled at Freemantle before sailing for Belgium on 25 May. 

Ten days out of Freemantle, on 3 June, she ran into a storm and began taking on water. The bilge pumps were started, but no water came through. The zinc concentrates in the hold had the consistency of half-set cement, and had been stowed on caulked pallets. This meant that the water entering the hold was not reaching the bilges, rendering the pumps ineffective. Innumerable freighters loading zinc concentrates at Port Pirie had previously used the same method of stowage without experiencing problems But the Trevessa was going down by the head in heavy seas, and soon the water was up to the top of No.1 hold. 

By the early morning of 4 June, it was clear that there was no option but to abandon ship. All 44 hands successfully boarded the two starboard lifeboats: 20 men including Foster and in one and 24 men including First Officer Stewart Smith in the other. There had been time to load extra rations into the boats and put out a distress call, which was picked up by two of Trevessa’s Hain fleetmates, the Tregenna and the Trevean. Unfortunately, these ships were hundreds of miles away and by the time they reached the scene, all that could be found was an empty lifeboat. It was accordingly concluded that the Trevessa had gone down with all hands.

In the meantime, Captain Foster and his crew were very much alive, but their plight was serious. The two boats had managed to keep together throughout the storm, but by the evening of 4 June they had drifted so far from the point where the Trevessa had sunk that the rescuers would be unlikely to find them. They were 1,600 miles from Australia and 1,700 miles from Mauritius. Although Australia was slightly nearer, they ran the risk of being blown off course by prevailing winds. Accordingly, Foster and Smith decided to try for the island of Rodriguez, which was slightly nearer than Mauritius. They calculated that the voyage would take three weeks and that with strict rationing, they could just make it.

Each boat had 130 tins of condensed milk, 550 biscuits, and about fifteen gallons of water. There was slightly more water in Smith’s boat, but he also had more men aboard. The rations issued daily were one biscuit per man, four teaspoonfuls of condensed milk, and less than a quarter of a pint of water.

The two boats kept together at first, but Foster’s boat, with fewer men and a larger sail, was significantly faster and on 9 June it was decided to separate. They parted at 08:00 and were lost from each other’s sight within six hours. On 22 June, with no land in sight, both Foster and Smith independently reduced rations in the hope of prolonging survival by another week.

On the afternoon of 25 June, by which time two men had died, Foster’s boat came within sight of Rodriguez, reaching the island soon after nightfall. A fisherman came aboard and piloted them into harbour, where they were promptly brought ashore to receive urgent medical attention. All eighteen who had survived the voyage recovered. Four days later, Smith’s boat, having missed Rodriguez, made landfall in Mauritius. Smith’s men had not fared so well: seven men died, an eighth was lost overboard and a ninth died shortly after landing.  

A Royal Navy ship collected Foster and his men from Rodriguez, and a few days later they were reunited with the rest of the Trevessa survivors at Port Louis, Mauritius. The British crewmembers sailed for the UK on 16 July, and returned to a heroes’ welcome at Tilbury. The Daily Telegraph wrote, “We may think with pride that our British sailors can match in daring, resolution, and loyalty those who won for their flag the realm of the circling sea”. Foster and Smith were awarded the Lloyds Silver Medal for saving life at sea and had an audience with King George V at Buckingham Palace. Foster’s lifeboat was brought back to the UK and went on show at the British Empire Exhibition.

Little is known of Captain Cecil Foster’s subsequent life. He died in Barry, Wales, in 1930, aged just 40. His grave in Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery remained untended following the death of his wife Minnie in 1982. The couple had no children. In 2011, Keith Greenway, a researcher for the Merchant Navy Association in Wales, raised around £1,000 to restore the grave.

Just when this remarkable story began to fade from the public eye is not clear: it is mentioned under the topic of ‘Shipwrecks’ in the 1960 edition of the Children’s Britannica, and this is where I first encountered it. That the Trevessa is mentioned at all suggests that the story was still widely known at the time. The Children’s Britannica coverage of maritime matters was patchy to say the least – I recall being very frustrated to find that there were no entries for such topics as Ferdinand Magellan’s round-the-world expedition or the mystery of the Mary Celeste. A detailed account of the Trevessa story was provided in another book I read in my childhood, which featured long voyages in small boats. Other chapters detailed Joshua Slocum’s single-handed voyage around the world, and the survival of William Bligh and his men after they were cast adrift from the Bounty by their mutinous shipmates. Such stories were devoured by boys of my age in the 1960s and it is unfortunate that this is apparently no longer the case.

References:x
x
1.  Prior, N., Restored grave for Barry sailor who survived shipwreck, Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-14070955 (2011).
2.  Disney, H., Report of Court, 1923.
3.  Greenway, K., Her name was Trevessa, Available at http://www.ss-tregenna.co.uk/Pdf/Her%20Name%20Was%20Trevessa.pdf (2010).
4.  Perkins, M., The Trevessa lifeboat at Wembley, Available at http://www.studygroup.org.uk/Archives/41/THE%20TREVESSA%20LIFEBOAT%20AT%20WEMBLEY.htm (2014).x

Monday, 26 September 2016

Iconic mock Tudor facade at Fratton Park, Portsmouth

It's not the Nou Camp or the Bernabeau, but the mock Tudor facade at Portsmouth FC's Fratton Park is one of the most iconic features of any football ground in Britain.


The facade is all that remains of a pavilion constructed in 1905 at the Frogmore Road entrance to the stadium, adjoining the south stand. At that time, Pompey were competing in the Southern League and most of Fratton Park was open to the elements.The club has explored many options to relocate from this small, hopelessly-outdated but much-loved stadium, but none have been realised.

Following Pompey's calamitous decline from FA Cup winners in 2008 to League 2 strugglers just five years later, relocation is unlikely to be a priority in the near future.

Monday, 19 September 2016

St Andrew's Church, Surbiton

St Andrew’s Church, Surbiton, is a fine Grade II listed building located situated at the junction of St Andrew's Road and Maple Road, It was constructed between 1871 and 1872 at a cost of £6,602 with money gifted by Angela Burdett-Coutts, granddaughter of the banker Thomas Coutts whose not inconsiderable wealth she inherited. The architect was Arthur Blomfield, who was later knighted and became Vice-President of RIBA.