17 June 2012

Good morning to you all on what I hope is a pleasantly pleasant day wherever you might find yourself. We had a very pleasant day this week: on Wednesday the sun shone, it was warm and the skies were clear. I only mention this because it was in such marked contrast to our weather the rest of the week – unremitting rain, wind and gloom. We received the following from Erik Benson which just about sums it all up.Installing British Summer

I suppose it could be worse. The BBC web site has a short video clip of baseball sized hailstones in Texas which fortunately we’ve been spared so far. I suppose, were such an incident to occur here, they would be described as cricket ball sized hailstones which, I think, would be marginally larger.

We ran into an old friend the other day, John Blundell, at his sister Liz Teal’s (Liz Blundell of pottery fame that was) birthday celebrations. I can’t think of the last time we saw John but it was certainly many years ago. During the party we reminisced about, among other things, John’s visit to the States and the baseball game we (Miles Rosedale and I) took him to see in Anaheim.

A few days after the party I received a small parcel in the post from him – a selection of slides from that trip in 1979. During the trip he visited us in Arcadia and, I remember, he travelled all over southern California by public transport, something which we’d never heard of anyone doing! I thought the following was particularly interesting, mainly because I have no recollection of ever having been of any use or assistance to anyone. I suppose it must have been another of our mother’s attempts to keep our idle hands engaged.

Greg Painting

In my e-mail correspondence with John he let us know that he is the Competition Secretary for the Lea-Francis Car Owner’s Club and that they would be holding an event at Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington which is, of course, just down the road from us. So Pen and I popped along briefly last Saturday to meet up with him, to return his slides to him and to have a quick look at some of the cars. I have to confess, I had never heard of Lea-Francis automobiles which is not too surprising considering they folded some time before I settled in the UK. Still, there were a handful of lovely (and lovingly) restored cars which looked glamorous. Pity the weather was so dismal, overcast and windy.

(The car being driven – JEL 466 – is from the Lea Francis Owner’s Club web site and is John driving his car in one of their competitions).

A few little snippets this week: Following on from last week’s news about the association established between the village of Dull in Perthshire and the town of Boring, Oregon, the BBC site ran a collection of reader’s photos of similarly unusual place names. I think I’d quite like to live in a village named Happy Bottom.

And, moving seamlessly on from “Happy Bottom” I saw an article in the Huffington Post which caught my eye – the largest toilet in the world has just been opened in Japan. Naturally, I immediately thought this would refer to a facility which had hundreds or thousands of stalls but that is not the case. Rather, it is a single cubicle with glass walls set inside a 200 square meter garden planted with cherry, plum and peach trees surrounded by a two meter high fence outside the railway station in Chiba, Japan. It was designed by architect Sou Fujimoto who said:

The area around the station has an incredible natural beauty. We wanted for those who used the toilet to enjoy this scenery and that feeling of release.

I couldn’t have put it better myself! Unfortunately, however, it is for ladies only.

Finally, I was very sorry to have missed this year’s Naked Bike Ride, some photos of which you can find here.

Dad - 1943And finally, finally – a Happy Father’s Day to my father and all the other fathers amongst our readership. Have a great day!

Love to you all,