A colour photo taken over a century ago of one of my relatives

This remarkable photo dates from 1903.

I recently encountered it at BabelColour, which I follow. and where I learned who it was:

It shows Rear Admiral William Acland (1847-1924) & was taken by his sister Sarah 117 years ago using the Sanger Shepherd process.

Follow the first link above for a bit more about the Sanger Shepherd process.

This got my attention in quite a big way because I am distantly related to this Admiral Acland. He wasn’t a direct ancestor, or I don’t believe so. But the maiden name of my grandmother on my mother’s side was Acland, and she was the daughter of someone just like this Admiral. I possess a book entitled “Aclands and the Sea” which I acquired when my mother died and I cherry-picked the books in the family home where I grew up, and in any case I recall that my mum’s family were related to various Aclands, including, for instance, this guy. Although I couldn’t find in this Aclands and the Sea book any references to Aclands and their daughters, it’s the sort of book you only have if there’s a family connection. Not quite, so to speak, a real book. So, that Admiral Acland is like a first or second cousin of mine, about five times removed, or some such thing.

I haven’t linked to where I confirmed that my granny’s maiden name definitely was Acland, because, well, because I didn’t. What I will say is that one of the many things the internet does is tell each of us, as and when we ever get interested in such things, lots of stuff about our forebears and relatives, without anyone having to spend weeks grubbing away in libraries. That’s quite a change. I don’t know what it means exactly, but surely something.

On reflection, it may be more significant that we can, should we wish to, research the relatives of people we bump into and get curious about. That never used to be easy but now is. We now live, that is to say, in a world where uncongenial relatives have become that little bit harder for us to forget about being related to.

Nice logo at Lord’s

I have been spending part of my morning watching Somerset v Essex, courtesy the BBC. I am backing Essex because Essex is nearly London, while Somerset is nothing of the sort. And Essex are doing well. This morning they managed to get a first innings lead, which is a big deal because if it ends as a draw, they win. If you get my drift.

If you don’t, it really doesn’t matter, because what I really want to tell you about is a cunning logo I kept seeing, at the edge of this game, in the background:

Trade Nation. TN. And I really like how they combined the T and the N there. Because of my admiration for this logo, I even investigated the product. Pass. But, investigation is all you ask from an advert. I am old. I do have savings, and spare time. Just the sort they’re looking for, in other words. And although I’m not buying it I am now writing about it. Sometimes advertising really does work this well.

The internet streaming of county cricket is getting slowly but surely better, as is presumably the case with all sports just that bit smaller than big time. For county cricket, there used to be only one camera, and if the ball got hit to the boundary it went off camera and you had to take their word for it, just like on the radio. With this streaming of this game, we cricketophiles are seeing more. Soon, this will as good as regular television. At which point, the advertising spots at the ground will become that little bit more expensive.

I can remember when the internet was going to put an end to regular advertising. Didn’t happen.

Architecture for dogs

I get daily emails about “new london architecture”, and from Dezeen, the design website. From these emails alone, it is clear that the profession of architecture is in a bad way just now. Big new buildings just aren’t being built in anything like the numbers they were a few years ago. Even Zaha Hadid, who have been continuing to build big stuff in China, are being flattered by journos eager to keep in with them, not by plugging their latest Big Thing in China, but by writing about that space ship house that the late Zaha Hadid herself designed, several years ago.

The latest Frank Gehry project to get a write-up in Dezeen is a perfume bottle.

But of all the stories that speaks to this architectural go-slow, the one that I find most divertingly bizarre concerns an exhibition in London, organised by some Japanese goofballs, concerning architecture for dogs. Dezeen has noticed this, what with their being so little else of an architectural sort to be noticing, with a story about an architect who has done a sort of table thing that dogs can occupy, or something.

Dogs will get enthusiastic about anything their human bosses tell them to enthuse about. They’ll do anything to oblige. So they happily go along with this nonsense. But really. Could the world of “design”, all cool and calm and sophisticated and minimalist, be more completely at odds with the world of dogs, all enthusiasm and rushing about, sniffing each other’s arses and generally making a totally undignified spectacle of themselves and not caring a toss? To me, it all smacks of desperation. You can hear the wailing at Dezeen: What the hell else is there to write about? Well, I guess it’s dogitecture again.

A French cat and a Roman dog

An autumn scene, in France, with a cat:

One these autumn photos, picked out by Mick Hartley. Other photos Hartley picked out feature some cows, a pig, a dog, and a horse.

And, an ancient Roman scene, with a dog:

Cave. As in: car vey. Or KV, as we used to say at my posh prep school, where, for all the good it did us, we actually did Latin. By which I mean we had it done to us.

Here. Via David Thompson.

Some more e-scooter photos

If obliged to select just one of the many photos I have photoed during Lockdown and before Lockdown was over and done with (i.e. now and for the foreseeable future until all this nonsense ends and we can get back to whatever the new normal turns out to be), I think I might well choose this one:

The big point about the photo above, photoed earlier this week, is the state of the road that the e-scooter is travelling on. No other traffic. London is still in a state of semi-Lockdown, of a semi-voluntary sort. Roads like the one you see above are often empty, and into this emptiness several dozens of e-scooters have raced joyously, as shown above. But if and when anything resembling normality returns to this road, it will fill up with regular traffic, and it will then change from the total safety you see above to a state more like “you almost certainly won’t die today”. For an e-scooter, it will be like being in Bomber Command during the war. Your chances of surviving the next trip will be quite good. Surviving a tour of two dozen operations, not so much. Commute every day for ever and you’re doomed to severe injury or worse.

A few dozen minutes later, in Parliament Square, I saw something with much more of a future, namely a fully functioning bicycle road, both ways, with a white line in the middle, just like a regular car road. And all this in a spot which has been a shambles for about half of the last decade, on the Parliament approach to Westminster Bridge, with Big Ben up on the right as we look:

And then, on this same cycle road, an e-scooter:

That arrangement has a future, because this is a glimpse of the new normal. E-scooting and bicycles seem to coexist very happily safely. This is especially so if the e-scooters make a point of going at the same speed as the cyclists, whenever overtaking would be any problem. The point being that e-scooters can go much faster than bicycles, but often shouldn’t.

I was going to show a couple more e-scooter photos, but a blogging rule I constantly forget but have remembered now is: if you can separate out your points into separate postings, it’s probably best to do that.

So, I’ll end on this point. Bicycles and heavy motorised traffic don’t go together well. But bicycles and e-scooters, with the heavy traffic removed, that works very well.

Just as bikes flattened the roads to make way, literally, for the first cars, so too now, bikes are now narrowing their roads, to exclude those same cars and to make way for e-scooters. I believe “History” to be in the category list for this posting with good reason.

True – necessary – kind

I get emails from Christian Michel about the virtual meetings he is still organising. Here is a snippet from the latest such email:

A good friend sticks to this rule – any statement you are making should meet at least two of three characteristics: be true, be necessary, be kind.

Christian then says: “I like it.” I think I like it also. Most of us probably follow a rule like that with all our friends, or they’d not be our friends. But I for one haven’t nailed it down as clearly as that, in words.

Another remarkable Trump speech

Here.

I don’t agree that Trump is defeating The Virus, as he claims. I think it is fizzling out of its own accord. I therefore think that he overdoes the criticism of China, on this particular score. But otherwise, amazing.

I was particularly interested in the bit near the end, where he said:

As President I am proudly putting America first, just as you should be putting your countries first. That’s okay, That’s what you should be doing.

This is something people have always got wrong about Trump. He does admire people like Putin. But this is not because he is a Putin agent of influence, as some anti-Trumpists have absurdly claimed. It is because he admires Putin for fighting Russia’s corner. But Trump isn’t be fighting Russia’s corner. He’s fighting America’s corner.

The manner of the speech’s delivery was also interesting. He just read it out, with no gaps during which anyone might try to heckle. He didn’t seek rapport with his audience, like at one of his rallies. There was a distinct undercurrent of “I don’t give a fuck what you evil bastards think about this, and I’m taking no questions, I’m just telling you how it now is” about the whole thing. I’ve been waiting all my life for an American President willing to talk in this manner to the assembly of (mostly) pompous and tyrannical scumbags that is the “United Nations”. It’s a different world, I tell you. As Patrick Crozier and I talked about in this conversation, Trump is conferring respect upon millions of Americans who have been denied it by their self-appointed betters. Crucially, he is also withdrawing respect from the over-respected “global elite”, and never more so than in this speech. And his voters will be loving it.

Roll on the thermonuclear landslide.

Pressure

Yes it’s the Bob Willis Trophy Final, between Essex and Somerset at Lord’s, in front of a crowd consisting of nobody. And on and off, I am watching it at the BBC website, as well as tracking the score on Cricinfo.

Somerset have just resumed after lunch on Day One, the interval having been prolonged by rain, and have gone from a precarious 90-3 to a precarious 94-3, at which point, just as the weather had, the runs dried up. Batsmen like to score runs. When they don’t, they feel the pressure, especially if they are in the habit of playing limited overs cricket (where you just have to get on with it), which they all are these days.

So, reporting this passage of play from right to left, Cricinfo tells me this:

Bartlett caught Cook (Sir Alastair of that clan (still playing for Essex)) bowled Porter 12. Somerset 94-4. There were about another dozen dots that I couldn’t include because Cricinfo doesn’t go back that far to the right.

All the people who hate county cricket hate it because of all the dots. Nothing is happening! And all of us who love county cricket know, just from the dots, that a hell of a lot is happening. Because of all the dots.

It’s now raining again. Somerset 107-4. Never mind. They have five whole days to settle this thing.

Good vapour trail – evil vapour trail – hybrid vapour trail

This posting began several evenings ago as a quota photo post, with this pretty little scene being the beginning and the end of it:

But then I again got thinking about how significant it is that, typically, vapour trails look at they do above, but do not look like this, below:

That evil vapour trail (there’s another dimmer one further away) is made dark and evil by a line of cloud in the distance, in the evening, allowing the sun to continue lighting up the sky, but throwing a huge shadow over the vapour trail itself. This combination of circumstances, with everything all lined up just so, is rather rare.

Finally, here’s a fun photo, where the shadow from the evening cloud doesn’t engulf all of the vapour trail, merely some of it:

I know I keep banging on about how air travel wouldn’t be so popular if vapour trails typically didn’t look so pretty, but I really think this is true.

Equally significant is that the nastiest internal combustion engine pollution is now invisible. Just about all the actual smoke, certainly in London (where all of the above photos were photoed), has been done away with. If you do see smoke in London, chances are something’s on fire, in an undeliberate way.