Admiration: 101-year-old Abseiler

Amazing People N˚ 5: Doris Long

'Daring Doris' Long, 101-year-old abseils down Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower on her birthday.
‘Daring Doris’ Long, 101-year-old abseils down Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower.

This weeks WordPress photo challenge: Admiration. 

Brief: Show us someone or something you admire (and tell us about them, too)!

The world’s oldest abseiler, Doris Long, increased her record after descending almost 100m (328ft) at the grand age of 101 years, last Summer on her birthday and hopes to beat her own record this month when she will be 102.

The senior citizen, who received an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from The Queen for her services to her community, started abseiling when she was aged 85 and for her birthday in May each year, climbs down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, England.

Spinnaker Tower viewed from Gosport, Hampshire © Southampton Old Lady
Spinnaker Tower viewed from Gosport, Hampshire © Southampton Old Lady

This Solent landmark in Hampshire, is half as high as Nelson’s Column, making it one of the tallest accessible structures in the United Kingdom outside London.

The admirable stunts from “Daring Doris” as she is affectionately named locally, raises much need money for the nearby Rowans Hospice. This local charity is dedicated to improving the lives of people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

To see others or take part in this WordPress challenge click on: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/admiration/

 

 

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Southampton – a paradise for students

One of many new blocks of student apartments in Southampton's Centre, with gym, Co-op supermarket. Near all amenities. 4 mins walk to Central train station.
One of many new blocks of student apartments in Southampton’s Centre, with gym, Co-op supermarket. Near all amenities. 4 mins walk to Central train station.

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Shopping Centre will pulled down to make a large student accommodation complex of flats and maisonettes.
Shopping Centre will pulled down to make a large student accommodation complex of flats and maisonettes.

For any student thinking of taking a course at any of the universities or colleges here in Southampton, let me assure you, that this city is your oyster. It’s not just the friendliness or great night-life either.

At one time ‘digs’ were a choice of a few halls of residence or slum landlords. In an effort to improve the situation for students, council policy was implemented to register all student accommodation. Once a building block or house in multiple occupation (HMO) has been designated for students use, no-one else can live there unless declared otherwise. Tax-free building incentives were implemented and student houses are free of having to pay council tax. So now there is such a glut of apartments and shared housing for students that those from neighbouring colleges in towns such as Winchester, Bournemouth and Portsmouth, have come to live here and commute.

And yet more and more blocks of students apartments, even maisonettes, are being built on every available empty space in the centre and in desirable areas of my city.

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Listed building in town with plaque to birthplace of  John Everett Millais, is to become student flats
Listed building in town with plaque to birthplace of John Everett Millais, is to become student flats

The initial thinking was that the slum landlords, some of whom own over 100 houses with rooms for rent, will be forced to sell their empty properties and families will be able to buy them. Though, sadly, this is not proving to be the case. The high taxes second home owners would have to pay if they sold-up, has meant that they are now filling them up with young immigrant workers, who are earning as much as they can to send back home, whilst living in cheap, substandard conditions.

In Southampton this has increased, rather than eased off a shortage of rented accommodation for couples or families, and a shortage of housing generally for any working people who want to get on the housing ladder. Homelessness has increased steadily over the last 10 years and by 30 percent over the previous year, according to local reports. This is not party political – it is a sweet dose of reality.student sign 2

P1150544_2We ourselves live in a part-rented house which the owner wants to sell and we need to move, again. It is a problem. HMOs are not an option for us oldies, that value our privacy, and no-one wants to lend us a mortgage at our ages.

It is assumed that most retired people have settled into their comfortably off houses and expect to downsize eventually to a retirement home. Unfortunately we fall outside this net, due in part to having lived abroad (at one time in a 6-bed villa with a pool and yacht in the harbour, before we moved back to England). We have gone through a series of unfortunate events. Briefly: Cancer, stolen identity theft and an announcement from the DWP that £12,000 in overpaid pensions to my husband (needs to be repaid as they had made a mistake in 2007). It looked as though we might have to leave our beloved Southampton and head elsewhere.P1150981

Then, we realised that there were lots of cheap old boats, rotting in marinas along the Solent coastline. The Southampton Boat Show last year proved that people are after large new luxury yachts and the bottom has fallen out of the second-hand boat market. Marina fees are a hell of a lot cheaper than rent. We could live on a boat and even go on holiday by taking our ‘home’ with us.

Make yourselves at home
Make yourselves at home

So that optimistic thought is now our aim. We are dejunking, giving away or selling all our accumulated belongings (proving slow) and going to live on a boat!

We will be very busy for a while – my husband will be 80 years of age this year and we are both slower than we used to be, so please excuse me if I don’t read and comment on as many of my regular bloggers’ posts, as I normally do for a few months. I will let every one how I get on and keep up some photo challenges. I will be back

Sol

Photo Challenge: Mass Transit

Southampton was once "Home of the Ford Transit"
Southampton was once “Home of the Ford Transit”

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Southampton Docks is packed with Mass Transit scenes. Every type of vehicle from Rolls Royces and Land Rovers to JCBs and camper-vans, are exported around the world. Southampton was once “Home of the Ford Transit”. This was a Ford factory that produced white (though sometimes other colours) commercial vans, which employed thousands of people in my home town.

One of my first posts was about trying to keep the factory alive, but eventually it was demolished: https://wordpress.com/post/southamptonoldlady.wordpress.com/738

 

This has been in response to Cee Photo Challenge: Mass Transit:

https://ceenphotography.com/2016/04/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-mass-transit/

Shakespeare 400 & Southampton

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Minature of Henry Wriothesley 3rd Earl of Southampton
Miniature of Henry Wriothesley 3rd Earl of Southampton

 

I love Shakespeare. Throughout the year Britain is celebrating Shakespeare 400.

Shakespeare died on his birthday, 23rd April 400 years ago. This is also St George’s Day (patron Saint of England). So this weekend there are special celebrations throughout the regions. I am going to many and thought I would highlight Shakespeare and his Southampton connections:

The Earl of Southampton

Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton was Shakespeare’s patron, especially during the era of The Globe theatre. Shakespeare made such a devoted dedication in his sonnet The Rape of Lucrece to Wriothesley, that many thought that there may have been a sexual relationship between the two, though I like others feel that is was just the language of the day.

Tudor Merchants Hall, which was once The Bull's Head. Although Shakespeare's patron The Earl of Southampton, had his seat outside the town, in Titchfield, he attended state functions in the town and is said to have drank here with some of the touring actors.
Tudor Merchants Hall, which was once The Bull’s Head. Although Shakespeare’s patron The Earl of Southampton, had his seat outside the town, in Titchfield, he attended state functions in the town and is said to have frequented this lodging house with touring actors.

Red Lion 1The Earl’s country seat was outside of the town of Southampton, but still in Hampshire, in Titchfield. Although his wife lived there, Henry Wriothesley spent much of his time in London, as did Shakespeare.

The Earl is also believed to have frequented or owned a pub in Southampton’s City Centre where travelling actors lodged. Some say this was The Bull’s Head (now referred to as The Tudor Merchant’s House); others say it was The Red Lion Inn. It was a council chamber where the trial of traitors from The Southampton Plot took place before it became an inn. In Henry V Act II, scene II, Shakespeare has the king sentence the plotters in the Southampton council chamber, then immediately set sail from the port of Southampton for Agincourt. Shakespeare must have listened to the Earl mention the Red Lion or some believe that Shakespeare may have had a drink there himself.

Southampton’s Bargate

Southampton Bargate front view.
Southampton Bargate
Bargate touring strollers area
Bargate touring strollers area

Shakespearean actors have performed at the Bargate and in theatres around the town since Elizabethan times, including Shakespeare’s own touring actors. Every British monarch has passed through this Bargate on their way to Southampton’s Port. Hangings once took place at the Bargate and according to legend The Southampton Plot traitors, that were written about in Henry V Act II, scene II, were hanged here.

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Westgate, where Henry V troops left for Southampton's Port to the Battle of Agincourt
Westgate, where Henry V troops left for Southampton’s Port to the Battle of Agincourt

 

Southampton’s West Gate and Port

The soldiers who boarded ships at Southampton for the D-Day invasion, took inspiration from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Some of Henry V troops passed through Southampton’s West Gate to set sail from Southampton to the Battle of Agincourt.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; 

Or close the wall up with our English dead.

Daring Theatre in Southampton

Ira Aldridge, the first black world famous Shakespearean actor performed in Southampton
Ira Aldridge, the first black world famous Shakespearean actor performed in Southampton

Southampton has a long reputation for modern or innovative theatre, Ira Aldridge is recorded as the first black Shakespearean actor. He had a limited experience of acting when he arrived from New York by ship, on which he worked as crew, in 1824. But following drama lessons and a stint at a University in Scotland, he became one of the highest paid stage actors in the world.

Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth
Sarah Siddons as Lady Macbeth

Ira was especially loved here in the South. He performed on stage in Southampton in the title role of Shakespeare’s Othello in 1828.

Many actresses, such as Sarah Siddons (she frequently visited Southampton and there is a theatre group named after her here: http://www.sarahsiddonsfanclub.org ) and sisters Charlotte and Susan Cushman have said to have performed Shakespearean roles in Southampton in the late 1800s. Women were considered too titillating to be allowed to perform Shakespeare at London theatres at that time and certainly would not have been allowed male roles.

The Cushman sisters, Charlotte and Susan, as Romeo and Juliet in 1846
The Cushman sisters, Charlotte and Susan, as Romeo and Juliet in 1846

Quotes used are from Henry V Act III Scene 1 (Before Harfleur)

Further links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/2NKzPstNLT9cvcYMj9qdtT3/shakespeare-and-hampshire-where-his-footprints-are-lost-in-time

 

CYW: Unmellow Yellow

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I took these snaps in a surround cinema inside the Stiegl Brewery in Salzberg, Austria.

A drink poured, then I realised that we were sat inside an epic-sized glass of unmellow beer.

In response to Color Your World Photo Challenge; where each day on the calendar marks a different Crayola colour photo prompt.

To see more or take part visit: https://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/04/17/color-your-world-unmellow-yellow

 

Camden Lock: When is Dinnertime?

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P1110321P1110313P1110314Camden Lock’s ‘Global Kitchen’ in London is a great place to go for dinner* or lunch. The market stalls have a plethora or fresh dishes cooked by various nationalities that go to make up London (observed by strict food health regulations). Choose your fare and eat at communal tables under the canopy or by the river. Open 7 days from 10am to 6pm. www.camdenlockmarket.com

 

*When is dinnertime in Britain?  This it depends on which Class you are from.

The upper-classes, including those at private boarding schools have dinner around 8pm and dress up (you’ve seen Downton Abbey?) The day’s feasting order is:  breakfast – morning coffee – lunch – afternoon tea (or tiffin for those returned from the Continent) – dinner.

But for the working classes: including state school children, dinnertime falls somewhere between 12 noon and 2pm. These hours were settled during the Industrial Revolution in the Victorian era. Factory workers would go home for an hour’s dinnertime when the bell rang and be re-fuelled on a big meal for manual labour, served up by a mother or daughter who remained at home slaving over a hot stove. Order: Breakfast – tea break (at work) – dinner – tea (high tea which includes food) – (+ supper for those in heavy manual trades). There were usually stalls selling beer at the end of a shift at the factory gates.

Theatre performers and crew traditionally have their dinnertime in the middle of the day also, so that they fully charged for rushing about the stage in the evening.

For the last few decades however, industries and schools have tried to standardise the hour’s break as ‘lunchtime’. However this is still confusing when for many children of working parents, this may still be their main meal of the day.

This post is part of the WordPress Photo Challenge: Dinnertime. To see others or take part yourself visit: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/dinnertime

CYW: Tickle Me Pink

 

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Photos of Tickle Me Pink shoes © Southampton Old Lady
Photos of Tickle Me Pink shoes © Southampton Old Lady

These are for the Colour Your World Photo Challenge: Tickle Me Pink

To see others or take part in the CYW Photo Challenge, whereby a new Crayola color is linked to a 120 day calendar, click here: https://jennifernicholewells.com/2015/09/30/color-your-world-120-days-of-crayola/

Future: Museum Photos

I imagined that I was a person from the future, taking photos in a museum about the history of this decade (2010-2020 The Shrinking Age). Here are 12 photos I might have taken of relics in cabinets.

2010-2020 The World Shrinking Age.
2010-2020 The Shrinking Age. Attempts to leave earth to live on other planets.
Vacuum packed travel food known as 'Space Food'
Vacuum-packed travel food known as ‘Space Food’ with ‘bar codes’
Glass bottles of wine with corks and labels from around the World
Glass bottles of wine with corks and labels from countries around Earth
chef's utensils
A chef’s utensils circa 2015
This decade saw dawning of 3D printing
This decade saw the dawning of 3D printing
British police uniform - 'rapid response'
British police uniform – ‘rapid response’
homeless deterrent spikes as the numbers living on the streets increase
Homeless deterrent spikes as the numbers living on streets in cities increased
Robotic arm
Robotic arm for warehouse workers employed by ‘online shopping’ sites on Earth. Companies later set up off-world finance accounts to avoid paying taxes and minimum wages.
ATMs
ATMs for collecting bank notes that were exchanged for goods. These were used from the 1980s until near the end of this decade
Same sex marriages - bridal fashion
Same sex marriages – bridal fashion mixed traditional with new
handbags
Handbags were only carried by women, as a fashion statement. It was their most expensive status symbol.
garden sheds/pods originally offered a private place to potter but became living spaces due to home shortages.
Garden sheds/pods originally offered a private place to “potter about in the garden”, but became living spaces when homes were in short supply.  The ‘Green-space Uprising” brought about vast changes in architecture following this.

This project is in response the WordPress Photo ChallengeFuture

All taken in 2015 © Southampton Old Lady. They were snapped at various exhibitions in England as well on streets and in auction houses.

To see others or submit your own click here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/future/

Let me know what relics you think you might find at in a future museum…

Photo Challenge: Old Photographs

Getting Miss World's autograph at Sydney Man's Shop, St Mary's Street, Southampton. PHOTO: Echo
Getting Miss World’s autograph at Sydney Man’s Shop, St Mary’s Street, Southampton. PHOTO: Echo

Third Time Lucky brought this challenge to my attention and I just happened upon an old photo from the sixties.

I was an avid autograph hunter then. Here is me bunking off lessons (The Deanery School called it “dooching”) to get Miss World’s autograph at Sydney Man’s Shop in St Mary’s Street, Southampton.

It was a trendy street at the time this was taken. Beatniks and Mods listened to the latest hits in booths at Henry’s Records, bought aftershave and hair-nets from the House of Fraser  or shopped for factory rejects of fashionable shoes from Kingsland Market. Sydney’s biggest rival was The Shirt King at the top of the same street, who gained popularity with his collarless Beatle, then later Ben Sherman shirts.

Sydney sold “Rael-Brook Toplin – the shirt you don’t iron” type-of-styles (for its quirky self-made ad click: https://youtu.be/7HUGeDrJB3U ).  I expect he tried to out-do The Shirt King somehow with this publicity stunt. It got me a detention after my teacher saw it in the local newspaper.

To see other old photos or take part visit: http://www.52photosproject.com/2016/03/gallery-48-old-photographs.html

Toutpouri has just given me an idea. Tell me what ‘skipping lessons’ was called at your school?