Friday 19 May 2023

Good News From Home!

William Stewart, C19th oil, The Dominie

Sometimes, Dear Reader, I just cannot resist a bit of trawling on Trove, for the pleasure is two-fold. I get to correct the garbled auto-transcriptions of old newspapers and gazettes (so satisfying), and delight in the masterful language that went hand-in-glove with the lost Art-formerly-known-as-Journalism. Similarly, for a reader some two hundred years ago, another two-fer. Casting a glance over said newspapers of the day, anxious to keep abreast of the doings of the nascent Colony in Australia, one would always find plenty o' news from "home", too. Imagine the rejoicing upon reading this bit of good news:
Last year's report of the Society for Education of the Poor in the Highlands, read at the general meeting held in Inverness, in October last, and just published, states that the number of schools amounted to 511, and they were attended by 37,000 scholars. These schools are rapidly dispelling the dark clouds of ignorance that have so long hung over those romantic but benighted regions, and effecting a salutary change in the moral habits of the Highlanders.

The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Saturday 22 October, 1831

Image credit: Paisley Museum and Art Galleries

Monday 1 May 2023

Glimpses Of Life Aquatic

Spot the sea life at the train station 

I'm toting about this top-hatted lobster a lot these days. He takes charge of the dancing paraphernalia within. Fair weather or foul, several times a week I'm off to the studios where much exertion ensues. For brain and body! The tap dancing teacher, particularly, reassures us that dementia will be prevented but it's the sense of satisfaction afterwards and the, well, feeling virtuous which drives me forward. And the glimpses of life aquatic are a bonus around this neck of the woods. So refreshing.

Wharf apartments on view through the studio windows.
'Ow the other 'arf live!

I've puzzled over this whilst pliéing at the barre.
Doll house, hen house or dog house?

This vessel gets about a lot

I'm guessing it's a mini oil tanker to refuel the cruise ships

Like this whopper seen from the Opera House recently

A stark conrast to this curiosity which was
motoring powerfully along the other morning!

Such things are of no interest to the fishermen

Also rain, hail, shine stalwarts

And speaking of gulls, one makes a cameo in a book recently read, a fictional account of the true life of Mary Anning, the working-class lady fossil hunter of Lyme Regis in the 19th century. She's befriended by the eccentric theologian and palaeontologist, William Buckland. This is your bonus serving of literary Table Talk, Dear Reader:

    As we started along the beach towards Lyme, I noted all those hammers and bags hanging off his poor, patient horse. There was also, tied to the bridle and flopping against the horse's side, a dead seagull. "Sir," I said, "what you doing with that gull?"
    "Ah, I'm going to have the kitchen at the Three Cups roast it for my dinner! I am eating my way through the animal kingdom, you see, and have had such things as hedgehogs and field mice and snakes, yet in all this time I haven't had a common gull." 
    "You've eaten mice!"
    "Oh, yes. They are rather good on toast."
    I wrinkled my nose at the thought, and at the smell of the bird. "But—the gull stinks, sir!"
    Mr Buckland sniffed. "Does it?" For such a keen observer of the world, he often overlooked the obvious. "Never mind, I'll have them boil it up, and use the skeleton for my lectures. Now what have you found today?"
Tracy Chevalier, Remarkable Creatures, 2009

Image credits: Flying With Hands

Bats In The Belfry