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Wednesday, 29 June 2005
Major Rammer

Labelliere

We came across this gravestone on the top of Boxhill on Saturday. The inscription reads

Major
Peter Labelliere
aged 75
an eccentric resident
of Dorking was buried
here head downwards
11th July 1800

The first thing that intrigued me was the Major’s name. What is a labelliere? Someone who makes labels? A good guy? I am still no wiser, but according to my Larousse, a bélier (masculine) is a ram or battering ram, while a Bélier is the zodiac sign Aries.

With a bit of googling I managed to find some more information about this character. According to the Boxhill website:

About 100 metres to the west of the Old Fort, a standing stone commemorates the eccentric life of Major Peter Labelliere, an officer of Marines, who for many years was a resident of Dorking. An early 19th-century book called Promenade round Dorking relates that ‘in early life he fell in love with a lady, who, although he was remarkably handsome in person, eventually rejected his addresses - a circumstance which could not fail to inflict a deep wound on his delicate mind’. Having accurately prophesied the date of his death in 1800, Major Labelliere left two express wishes in his will: that the youngest son and daughter of his landlady should dance on his coffin, and that he should be buried upside down on Box Hill. ‘As the world is turned topsy-turvy,’ he reasoned (quite correctly, it might be argued), he would be the right way up in the end!

There are also reports that Boxhill is haunted by several ghosts, including that of the Major.

Boxhill features in the novel Emma by Jane Austen, which was published in 1815.

Posted by bigblue on 29/06/2005 at 09:24 PM
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Tuesday, 28 June 2005
You!



On 19 May this year I ordered this music CD, ironically entitled Almost Here from Amazon UK. The expected date of despatch was listed as 31 May 2005 - 6 Jun 2005 and the expected date of delivery was listed as 2 Jun 2005 - 10 Jun 2005.  As of today the CD has not yet been delivered and this morning I received an email from Amazon advising:

We are sorry to report that this item has been delayed. Our current estimate is that it will take an additional 4-6 weeks to obtain this item for you.

I complained about this, because I think it is unacceptable that they take so long to let me know there was a problem. Meanwhile I could have picked up the CD from a shop over the past 3 weeks, or have ordered it for half the price from one of Amazon’s associates.

As some form of compensation Amazon has given me a 5 pound gift voucher towards my next purchase. So far so good, but then why are they still advising customers that they can dispatch this CD in one to two weeks:
almost here

Yet another unpleasant experience with Amazon. They are starting to accumulate.

Posted by bigblue on 28/06/2005 at 10:53 PM
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Yew

Yew Grove on Boxhill

On Saturday afternoon I went for a walk with Richard and Lyam and we came across this grove of Yew trees on Boxhill. It had a ghostly light, which this photo does not do complete justice to.

Posted by bigblue on 28/06/2005 at 10:49 PM
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Monday, 27 June 2005
Elderflower

image

This is elderflower, which is popping up all over the place at the moment. Unbeknownst to me this is a local Veldkos, ending up in cordials, champagnes, wine, tisanes (infusions), shower gels and can even be used as a pesticide.

Yesterday I had a delicious Elderflower drink made by our cousin Tessa, and this prompted me to track down a BBC guide to various recipes. The key page is here and if you want to jump straight to the champagne recipe click here.  Apparently the flower contains natural yeasts and so no yeast needs to be added.

Posted by bigblue on 27/06/2005 at 09:06 PM
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Sunday, 26 June 2005
Moon rising

image

We had a full orange moon last week - this is taken from the skylight in my bedroom, looking south-east over Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

Due to an optical effect the moon appeared bigger than it has for several years.

Posted by bigblue on 26/06/2005 at 10:34 PM
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Saturday, 25 June 2005
With

with

This is a pamphlet lying on the pavement in Woking, taken with my new polarising filter.  Compare the result with the other photograph posted today.

Posted by bigblue on 25/06/2005 at 09:56 PM
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Without

without

This is a pamphlet lying on the pavement in Woking, taken without my new polarising filter. Compare the result with the other photograph posted today.

Posted by bigblue on 25/06/2005 at 09:48 PM
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Friday, 24 June 2005
Scywo

image

This is Scywo, the Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra. According to the website, and its promotional pamphlets, it

is a full symphonic wind orchestra with over 50 of the most talented young woodwind, brass and percussion players from all parts of Surrey . The orchestra performs a wide variety of music - ranging from original wind orchestra works, including commissions from composers such as Stephen Dodgson and Michael Ball, to lighter film and seasonal music. More recent commissions include New London Pictures by Nigel Hess, premiered in March 2003 at the Farnham Maltings, and Something Really Big, written for massed junior choir and wind orchestra, premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2003.

SCYWO aims to give one or two concerts each term. The orchestra has performed at concert venues throughout Surrey including the Guildford Civic Hall, Epsom Playhouse, Farnham Maltings, and Dorking Halls plus major London venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican.

The biannual overseas tours are an integral part of the orchestra’s activities. It has now undertaken no fewer than nine highly successful overseas concert tours, visiting France , Germany , Switzerland , Luxembourg , Denmark , Sweden , Spain , Italy , Austria and the Czech Republic . In our most recent tour (July 2003) we had a very exciting and enjoyable trip to Leipzig and Prague - the highlight being a performance in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig (J S Bach�s church) where the orchestra played to a capacity audience of over 900 people. Plans are already well advanced for our 2005 tour to Strasbourg and Italy.

Pinkie performs in the orchestra and I took the photo at their concert in Christ Church, Woking, on 18 June 2005.

Before Skywo we had a warm up concert from the Lincoln Way Central High School Music Department, from New Lenox, Illinois, USA. They toured England from 11 to 20 June 2005 and gave performances by their choir, orchestra and band. Unfortunately my photographs of their groups came out a bit dark.

Posted by bigblue on 24/06/2005 at 11:24 PM
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