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Europe

Friday, 25 August 2006
Circle

tactile

Submitted for Photo Friday: Circles.

My previous posts on circles have been:

Posted by bigblue on 25/08/2006 at 08:26 PM
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Thursday, 24 August 2006
The MI6 Cleaners

notice

I spotted another one. The question still remains: Exactly what kind of organisation refers to its employees as operatives?.

Posted by bigblue on 24/08/2006 at 10:27 PM
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Wednesday, 23 August 2006
Bigblue’s celebrity look-alikes

My Celebrity Look-likes

At My Heritage you can upload a photograph of yourself and let their facial recognition software compare you to 4,000 celebrities. I got this from Chicken Yoghurt, who comments:

If the ID card facial recognition software works like this we’re in for some hilarity at the airports in a year or two.

I generally agree, although 4,000 is not a very large database for a subject such as this, plus the percentage matches are quite low (nobody over 66% in my case).  It would be interesting to load a photo of someone like Andre Aggasi and see how well they map it to their own image of him.

Posted by bigblue on 23/08/2006 at 11:35 PM
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Medieval building

Medieval Building Biddenden

This is a detail of two of the doors of the medieval building in Biddenden that I posted on yesterday.  Click on the picture to show further the detail of the carving above the doors. I suspected that the head was a likeness of Edward III of England who reigned (for over 50 years) during the cloth-making heyday of this village.  However, further searching informs that:

Biddenden is a quiet, typical Wealden village with one of the prettiest un spoilt main streets in England and a wealth of genuine examples of mediaeval to 17th century architecture. The first recorded mention is a 10th century charter quoting Biddenden as a ‘‘Den” belonging to Brabourne. During the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, when the cloth trade was flourishing in this part of Kent, Biddenden grew in prosperity and as a result many buildings of significant architectural importance were built. The weavers’ houses on the south side of the High Street are fine examples of Kentish half-timbered buildings The first floors were once continuous workrooms, built like this so the looms could be placed next to the broad windows so the craftsmen had enough light. There is a carved head from a wrecked ship of the Armada over one of the doors.

So perhaps the head is Spanish? Then again I seem to recall that a number of different nationalities sailed in the Armada, not just the Spanish.

Posted by bigblue on 23/08/2006 at 08:32 PM
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Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Biddenden made

Biddenden medieval building

This medieval building was once the Cloth House of Biddenden.  It now contains a row of cottages, shops and restaurants in Biddenden. In times past Biddenden was the centre of the iron industry in these parts (as well as cloth-making).  It was for this reason that Flemish cloth-workers settled here during the reign of Edward III of England. 

These days the largest wave of immigration is of workers from Poland, taking advantage of the Free European Market. There are 3,000 Poles in Crewe and probably more than 20,000 Poles in Southhampton. Last week the local paper even published a special edition in Polish.  Nationally, 228,235 Poles registered for work between May 2004 and tMarch his year. This does not take account of self-employed workers and others who did not register.

Posted by bigblue on 22/08/2006 at 11:49 PM
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Monday, 21 August 2006
Mary and Eliza of Biddenden

Eliza and Mary of Biddenden

This photograph shows the detail of the Biddenden Village sign, which I posted on yesterday.  Click on the photograph to see the reverse view. 

A plaque on the sign states the origin of it:

Following a speech by His Royal Highness the Duke of York at the Royal Acadamy in 1920 on the revival of village signs, the Daily Mail organised a village signs competition and exhibition, offering a total of £2200 in prizes. Ten awards were made, and the design from which this sign was constructed secured special prize £50.

This sum was worth a lot more in 1920 than it is today, but the above indicates that the sign of the Biddenden sisters won a lesser prize because the average award would have been £220. The sign seems to have subsequently suffered from neglect because it was then completely refurbished in 1993. There is more information about the conjoined twins of Biddenden at the moulded cookie site.

Posted by bigblue on 21/08/2006 at 09:59 PM
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Sunday, 20 August 2006
Biddenden Maids

Biddenden

This is the village sign for Biddenden in Kent. The sign (hand-crafted in 1920, and winner of a £50 prize in a competition) depicts two sisters, known as the Biddenden Maids. A notice on the sign states that

Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst the famous twins also known as the Biddenden maids were born in the year 1100 joined together at hips and shoulders. They lived together thus joined for 34 years when one of them was siezed with a fatal illness and died. The other, refusing to be separated, died 6 hours later. By their will they left their property to the poor of Biddenden.

On the reverse side there is another notice, which states:

In commemoration of the Biddenden Maids, an annual distribution of bread and cheese takes place on Easter Monday morning from the old workhouse. Biscuits bearing the impress of the two maids, their names and year of birth, are available at the same time to all who apply: visitor and parishioners.

There’s a stub article about Mary and Eliza at Wikipedia, but it is worth pointing out that much of the story is probably pure local legend.

Posted by bigblue on 20/08/2006 at 09:37 PM
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Saturday, 19 August 2006
Barge

barge

I quite like the idea of living in one of these barges on an English canal: hopefully they are not as small, cold and damp as they sometimes appear. OK, let’s be clear: it might make a nice relaxing hidey hole for the occassional weekend break. For nipping over the channel to France, or for mojitos in Havana, I would need something a bit faster and ocean-going. Yes, I saw the movie Miami Vice last week so I know exactly what I’m talking about. The Wikipedia link of the original TV series makes mention of its role in transforming the location in South Beach, Miami. Adam was telling me about this at work too.

Posted by bigblue on 19/08/2006 at 10:31 PM
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