What it’s like to be British

There have been a number of comedy programmes on television recently about “very British problems”. This has led to some interesting pub conversations about our “Keep Calm and Carry On” character.

£1 British mugs © 2015 Southampton Old Lady
£1 British mugs © 2015 Southampton Old Lady

My daughter sent me the following anecdotes that have been circulating on Facebook:

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A 'SORRY' bus in Southampton England
A ‘SORRY’ bus in Southampton England

Sorry three were repeats as these are jpegs. Saying “sorry” is another British-isms.

Which now leads me to ask:  Have you any other anecdotes about being British to share?

 

 

6-word story challenge: Suspicion

Light in a bathroom © Southampton Old Lady
Light in a bathroom © Southampton Old Lady

Toilet seat up. She’s seeing Him!

In response to this week’s 6-word story challenge “Suspicion”

To view more or take part see: https://nicolaauckland.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/sometimes-stellar-storyteller-six-word-story-challenge-24/

 

Black & White in Colour 2: The Hobbit

The Hobbit, a famous pub in the Bevois Valley area of Southampton.
The Hobbit, a famous pub in the Bevois Valley area of Southampton.

The second in my series of black & white scenes photographed in colour. I also keep meaning to do a series about pubs in Southampton, so I will also call this Pub 1.

The Hobbit pub in Southampton, named after a Tolkien character, has been going for around 24 years and draws an eclectic crowd.

It has become world famous now for the law suit: The Hobbit Pub versus Warner Brothers, The lawyers, acting on the motion picture company’s half, tried to force them to change their name just before the launch of the film of the same name. The independent pub received backing both verbally and financially from British actors Ian McKellin and Stephen Fry in the right to keep the name, which was the first case brought against them. Now there is an ongoing battle over the names of their locally crafted ale and cocktails. The cases have been going on for about four years now. The Hobbit holds annual fund raisers to help support their claim.

Customers need to be over 21 and there is a small charge to see regular bands who play in their basement.

For more info: http://thehobbitpub.co.uk

Haiku Challenge: Star Child

Child with painted face. © Southampton Old Lady 2015
Child with painted face. © Southampton Old Lady 2015

universal child

unique, incandescent star

guide us through our fate

 

In response to Ronavan Writes Haiku Challenge using two words: Child – Star

Have a go or see others here: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-82-starchild/

CHEMO BRAIN QUIPS No 3 – Venice

William Turner's Venice
William Turner’s Venice

chemo brain buttonMy chemo-brain quips have been improving since I have been doing this blog – I haven’t had many for a while. Mainly I get names mixed up now. I was able to correct typos about floods in Columbia instead of writing Cumbria.

I have been obsessed with Venice too for some reason lately. I actually booked a flight to Venice instead of Vienna where I will visit friends – that proved costly; I called a woman Venice instead of Veronica, and on New Year’s Day, I announced that we were having Venice pie instead of venison pie

Victorian Festival of Christmas 2015

Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.
Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.

I took part in The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard this year. If you have ever wandered why so many British actors get the best parts in Hollywood movies, then perhaps take a look at this year’s festival slide show on YouTube (by photographer Steve Spurgin)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mPDpbDtbO8

Most chimney sweeps were children.
Most chimney sweeps were children.
The prostitutes
The prostitutes
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Queen Victoria with John Brown
Queen Victoria with John Brown

With very little rehearsal, over 400 volunteers dressed in Victorian costume to bring this attraction to life, for thousands of tourists from all over the globe.

In the UK, we live and breath theatre from an early age, starting with making costumes to take part in the school’s nativity play. History is now taught by people dressing up and re-enacting the period they are learning about, be it Romans or WWII. To learn Shakespeare for exams we do not just read the play, we act it. More people belong to amateur drama groups in Britain than sports societies.

Portsmouth is the birthplace of Charles Dickens. The Historical Dockyard is where centuries-old ships, such as Nelson’s Flagship The Victory, HMS Warrior and The Mary Rose etc are moored.

charles_dickens_plaque_portsmouth

 

The dry dock is also where parts of Les Miserables was filmed. So all these scenes were brought to life by costumed actors, singers, school groups, historical and Victorian interest societies such as steam-punks or the Victorian Strollers.People from 5 to 80 years-of-age played famous Victorian or Dickensian characters for three full days and with very little breaks. It was in the open air while the tale-end of Hurricane Desmond was blowing a gale and in addition there were a few down-pours.

Suffragettes
Suffragettes

First visitors are greeted by carollers, then those in Victorian Uniforms, dockyard workers, stilt-walking-police, postal clerks, servicemen, sailors. Then by beggars, prostitutes and suffragettes – undertakers, a ruthless judge in a courtroom setting, prisoners, gliding angels, pearly kings & queens singing cockney musical hall ditties, workhouse children being enticed to steal by Fagin and the Artful Dodger, chimney sweeps, a green-gowned Father Christmas. There were snow machines, carousels, a Downton-Abbey type dinner table set with turkey and trimmings, various stage sets. There were three a pubs – one mock, one real with bands singing sea shanties and even an inflatable one. There was a market selling Christmas crafts and fayre from mulled cider to hog roasts.

Victorian Dinner Party
Victorian Dinner Party

I was part of Groundlings Theatre that organised around 200 of us. I played an aristocratic snob preaching Victorian manners. “It is the height of rudeness to have one’s elbows on the table.”  At the end of each sketch, Charles the Butler pushes a custard pie in my face. I endured around 40 of those!

Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up

The finale each year is a parade lead by a full pipe band in kilts and bear-skins and headed by Queen Victoria. We were not allowed to carry phones and cameras, so I could only took a few snap-shots in the Green Room. Most of these photos are from Portsmouth News.

Father Christmas at the helm.
Father Christmas at the helm.

For more info about Portsmouth Historical Dockyard visit: www.historicdockyard.co.uk

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Victory.”

Canon on board HMS Victory, Nelsons 104-gun flagship which won the Battle of Trafalgar
Canon on board HMS Victory, Nelsons 104-gun flagship of a fleet which won the Battle of Trafalgar

HMS Victory was Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Built in 1758, she is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission and is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth, England, where I took these photos.

Sleeping quarter onboard HMS Victory
Able seaman bunks onboard HMS Victory
Officer's Uniform displayed onboard HMS Victory
Officer’s Uniform displayed onboard HMS Victory
Nelson's Column guarded by Lions in Trafalgar Square, London
Nelson’s Column guarded by Lions in Trafalgar Square, London

27 British ships led by Nelson onboard The Victory, defeated 33 French and Spanish ships under French Admiral Villeneuve just west of Cape Trafalgar, Atlantic.

The Franco-Spanish fleet lost 22 ships, without a single British vessel being lost. The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the 18th Century and was mainly achieved because of Nelson’s new style of naval tactics.

HMS Victory is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard www.historicdockyard.co.uk
HMS Victory is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard
Plaque on the part of the Deck where Nelson Fell at Trafalgar despite winning the battle.
Plaque on the exact part of the deck where Nelson Fell despite winning the Battle of Trafalgar.

Nelson was shot by a French musketeer during this battle and died shortly after.

To this day Nelson is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest war heroes and his statue on tall pilar stands in London’s Trafalgar Square.

To visit Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard visit http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk

Further photos I took accompany my poem ‘Portsmouth’:  https://southamptonoldlady.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/portsmouth/

Study reveals most people in Southampton count people living close to them as friends

Reblogged from http://www.dailyecho.co.uk article published Monday 23 February 2015


Alma Road is at the forefront of showing how neighbours can be there for one another.
Alma Road is at the forefront of showing how neighbours can be there for one another (Echo).

It is a city brimming with community spirit where neighbours become friends.

That’s the findings of a survey released today that has Southampton topping the charts when it comes to the most “neighbourly” city in the UK.

The research – carried out to mark the start of Love Your Neighbour Week – revealed how 90 per cent of people who were asked said they would count people who live close to them as friends.

One area in Southampton where there is real community spirit between neighbours is the Outer Avenue in Bevois Valley.

With its mixture of long-term residents and newly-moved in students in Avenue Road, Alma Road, Gordon Avenue and Earls Road, Outer Avenue Residents Association (OARA) has been at the forefront of showing how neighbours can be there for one another.

The group hold regular litter picks, parties to welcome students to the area, a cherry planting programme, table top sales and even have a wheelie bin management system.

They also rallied round to help a student who was assaulted in Portswood and bought him chocolates and a card, another example was when they brought tyres to help a resident whose car was vandalised.

Chairman of OARA, John Hayward, said: “It is good to reach out and get on with your neighbours for the common good.”

“From a personal point of view it makes a big difference, my wife and I have got to know lots of people we would have never met.

“It is nice to walk around and see the students clean and seethe planting going on and to feel like you are supporting each other.”

The survey was carried out by chocolatiers, Lily O’Brien’s and saw 5,000 people polled.

Des Hayward, 66, retired from Avenue Road, said: “We have grouped together because we wanted to have a community rather than being transient. We live here and we love the area and we wanted it to be a nice area to live in.”

Fiona Barnes,57, administrator from Avenue Road, said: “It has always been a friendly area here. We moved away in 1987 and moved back nine months later.

“People look after one another and I like the fact that even if you do not know someone’s name people say hello to each other.”


My photo of of Alma Road, Bevois Town, Southampton.
My photo of of Alma Road, Bevois Town, Southampton
Any season is street party season in Alma Road.
Any season is street party season in Alma Road.

Movember

Christian with moustache in Southampton
Christian with moustache in Southampton

Correct me if I’m wrong readers, but I think that the concept of Movember started in Sydney, Australia in 2004. An amalgamation of Moustache and November, Movember is a concept whereby a moustache is grown for the month of November to highlight men’s health issues. It has caught on throughout Europe now.

Regency-styles for men, including sideburns or beards are especially fashionable where I live in Southern England. I really like them.

Bar tender from The Rockstone Pub
Kiwi, from The Rockstone Pub
These guys are regular contenders at The Rockstone
These guys are regular contenders at The Rockstone

Each year I go to The Rockstone, a pub run by youngsters in Southampton. It holds some ‘jolly’ Beard Off competitions.  By doing so, money is raised for charities dealing with prostate cancer awareness among other issues. They will be celebrating their 4th this month.

The Rockstone Pub holds an annual Beard Off
The Rockstone Pub holds an annual Beard Off
The Lounge Kittens - musicians at The Rockstone
The Lounge Kittens – musicians at The Rockstone

Many pub landlords seem to adorn facial hair these retro-loving days.

Landlord of The Butcher's Hook micro-brewery, Southampton
Landlord of The Butcher’s Hook micro-brewery, Southampton

Stick-on moustaches are usually around in the shops in November for those unable to grow their own – usually children and women.

Stick on moustaches are popular
Stick on moustaches are popular

However in the last few years Movember has even prompted women, prone to excess hair growth for their sex, to grow moustaches and even beards for the month. I think they also look amazing.

Harnaam (above) and Siobhain (below) went on TV to highlight women's hair-growth last year.
Harnaam (above) and Siobhain (below) went on TV to highlight women’s hair-growth last year.

Siobhain-Fletcher

I myself draw on a Duchamp-style line with an eye-brown pencil while looking in the pub mirror, but not until I’ve had a few beers.

Goodwood Gaggers at the Regency Ball
Goodwood Gaggers at the Regency Ball
Tony the actor
Tony the actor, Goodwood Regency Ball
Dave Tart the Poet at East Street Arts Festival, Southampton
Dave Tart the Poet at East Street Arts Festival, Southampton
Seamus the Postie
Seamus the Postie, Southampton
James the boffin
James the boffin, Southampton