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Thursday, 05 April 2007
Handel House Museum

Handel House Museum

Last week on Wednesday I was in London and went to see the Handel House Museum with Gogo and Popple. In one of the front rooms this student sat at the harpsichord playing Baroque music, which added to the general atmosphere of the place.  The (volunteer) staff in the museum are all very friendly and knowledgeable.  There is a sign in the museum which advises:

Handel contracted few intimacies, and when his early friends died he was not solicitous of acquiring new ones. He was never married, but his celibacy must not be attributed to any deficiency of personal attractions ... On the contrary, it was owing to the independence of his disposition, which feared degredation, and dreaded confinement. For when he was young, two of his scholars, ladies of considerable fortune were so enamoured of him, that each was desirous of a matrimonial alliance.

This is just a section of a longer extract from William Coxe’s Anecdotes of G.F. Handel and J.C. Smith which concludes that the obstacles to the marriages were Handel’s pride and that the women concerned were above his station in life. Anyway, as the only reference to the subject, it’s an oblique way of addressing the issue of Handel’s sexuality.  Fortunately the museum staff are fully prepared to discuss what is not even mentioned between the lines of the (otherwise informative) displays. 

The museum at 25 Brook Street is easily accessible from Bond Street tube station, although the pedestrian direction signs only take you half way.  Hint: When you get to Brook Street, turn left.

Posted by bigblue on 05/04/2007 at 05:28 PM
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Wednesday, 04 April 2007
Stacked mushroom


I found these newly-pushed mushrooms clustered together on the lawn at my client’s site like a kindle of new-born kittens.  They reminded me of some of Andy Goldsworthy’s landscape art, particularly Stacked Oak (click “next” through to the 9th image).

Tomorrow I am leaving for a long weekend in Scotland at Samye Ling. I may not post much over the weekend.

Posted by bigblue on 04/04/2007 at 10:30 PM
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Tuesday, 03 April 2007
Victoria Road

Victoria Road, Earlswood

A few weeks ago while I was out scouting for 33 St John’s Road in Earlswood I took this photograph looking up Victoria Road towards the gas thingies. What struck me at the time is how narrow the streets looked with all the cars parked in them - the roads clearly not having been designed (during the Victorian era) for a situation in which every household would have their own motor car (or two). I thought of this street again yesterday when writing the short blog post about cycling. It was on Victoria Road on 7 December 2005 that a local 15 year old cyclist was knocked down by a car, and suffered serious head injuries in a hit and run incident.

Earlswood is a small village in Surrey, South of Redhill.  Redhill was originally known as Warwick Town (from 1818 “when a road was built” to 1856).  Earlswood was home to the Royal Earlswood (psychiatric) Hospital until its closure in 1997.  In earlier times this hospital was known as the Royal Earlswood Asylum for Idiots:

A notable inmate was James Henry Pullen [“an autistic savant”] who carved wonderful works of art and built detailed models, including one of Brunel’s Great Eastern.

For several decades two of the Queen Mother’s nieces, Katherine Bowes-Lyon and Nerissa Bowes-Lyon, were kept there without visits from the Royal Family and were declared dead by Buckingham Palace in an intentional fabrication.

Earlswood is one of our local TreeCycling centres (for recycling Christmas trees).

Posted by bigblue on 03/04/2007 at 10:50 PM
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Monday, 02 April 2007
Cycling reigns

Cycling in London

I took the above photograph in Westminster. From another area in London comes the enjoyable Crap Cycle Lanes of Croydon.  (Hat tip: Philobiblion).

Posted by bigblue on 02/04/2007 at 10:49 PM
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Sunday, 01 April 2007
Another armed robbery

Total Station Oxted

There was an armed robbery (last Monday) at this service station in Oxted. I wrote about a similar incident in May last year here.

The local free rag is reporting that the service station is offering a reward of £5000 in conjunction with CrimeStoppers for any information leading to the arrest and charge of the perpetrators of the robbery.

Three men walked into the Total station in Church Lane at 9:15 pm and grabbed an employee who was tidying shelves at the time. They marched him through the shop to the staff office at the rear where a female employee was working.

One of the gang put his hand around her throat and covered her mouth with his other hand. He demanded to know where the money was and she told him where the safe was. After the robbers had searched two safes they bound the woman’s wrists using gaffer tape and put her in the rear store room where her colleague was already bound.

The men then locked them in the store room and left the premises. A significant amount of cash was stolen along with a mobile phone.

The staff managed to wriggle free from the bonds and raised the alarm by escaping via the fire exit.

The article goes on to praise the bravery of the two staff members and calls on people who were in the vicinity and who may have witnessed anything to contact the police.

Posted by bigblue on 01/04/2007 at 07:05 PM
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