Images and thoughts on my daily travels.
Dangerous Dagenham July 28th 2019
I don’t know whether Dagenham is dangerous, but it looks like it might be. First time I heard of it was seeing and hearing the Dagenham Girl Pipers on the old 405 line black and white TV. Next time was going on a school trip to the Ford factory, which I visited again as a school teacher from Spencer Park Boy’s School in South London- that definitely was dangerous.
So this morning I had to go to Dagenham Dock, quite early. Been before, first time on a rainy windswept night. Today it was just very grey. On my way, I saw a queue of European big double decker coaches near the 406 flyover, parked with curtains and big trailers, loading or unloading people, they looked like weary workers.
Maybe they were holiday makers. They were young enough looking to find a good time somewhere, even here maybe.
But the strangest thing was on a roundabout. I saw it just before I turned into the dock (Choate) road, was the thing pictured below. Maybe it is a local art form. It ceratinly looks expensive and probably sums the place up.
Is this Dagenham’s idea of sculputure? It is on a roundabout at the entrance to Dagenham Dock. Even the ubiquitous cyclist looks puzzled by it. Robert Cook July 28th 2019
Still, some good things have come from Dagenham, apart from the cars and tractors. There was Dudley Moore, Sandie Shaw, Terry Venables and Alf Ramsey to name a few of my favourites. Dagenham is exquisetly ugly in my view.
Cliveden on the Bucks Berks border July 20th 2019
Off the top of my head, I believe Cliveden was in Bucks until vote hingry Tories had the boundaries redrawn to manipulate Britain’s undemocracy. No matter.
Anyway, I happened to have to visit the old stately home this Saturday and what a marvel it is.
Now an upper crust hotel, the publcity material boasts: ‘
‘With a history of unapologetic debauchery, our Grade I listed stately home’s most heinous of scandals shook the British parliament and played out on these very grounds.
The year was 1961. While the Cold War was slowly chilling British politics, Cliveden House was engulfed in a sultry summer of sweltering heat. Cooling off in the now famous outdoor pool, was Christine Keeler, a nineteen year old mistress of a suspected Russian spy.
Attending a hot mid summer’s party hosted by the then owner Lord Astor, the young woman was one of a few exclusive guests enjoying the luxurious celebrations held within Cliveden House’s magnificent gardens. Also in attendance was John Profumo, an up-and-coming Conservative Secretary of State for War and husband of well-known actress, Valerie Hobson.
Profumo and Keeler embarked on an illicit affair following their chance meeting at Cliveden House; an affair which was to force his resignation, irrevocably damage the Prime Minister’s reputation, and impact on the course of British politics forever.’
50 years has passed since that fateful meeting which was to alter Britain’s political landscape. Discover the scurrilous secrets of the time with our Profumo Affair Break and find out all about how the political establishment finally thaw out.’
Christine Keeler was 19 at the time of her affair with John Profumo. Effectively she was pimped by Dr Stephen Ward, who may have been linked to MI5, but we will never know because he apparently took an overdose rather than face trial. Keeler went to jail and Profumo turned to charity work. As the old song goes, ‘It’s the rich what gets the pleasure, it’s the poor what gets the blame.’ Still at least politicians had te decency to resign in those days.
Female Equality in Politics, Nancy Astor first woman MP, contrast with Keeler.
Nancy Astor was the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.
She was viewed by some as Adolf Hitler’s woman in Britain, and after the war became known as the ‘Member for Berlin’.
Some went so far as to claim that she had hypnotic powers.
After marrying Waldorf Astor she moved into the Buckinghamshire pile of Cliveden.
A right-wing, upper class group of intellectuals that came to be known as the ‘Cliveden Set’ formed around her and developed their own form of fascism whilst supporting the appeasement campaign of Neville Chamberlain. Although Nancy herself said she supported German rearmament there is some dispute as to how deep the Nazi affiliations went with her and her Cliveden coterie.
Lady Astor plays golf with Edward VIII, the Nazi Traitor King of England at Walton Heath, Surrey, England
Nancy and Waldorf used Cliveden for entertaining on a lavish scale. The combination of the house, its setting and leisure facilities offered on the estate—boating on the Thames, horse riding, tennis, swimming, croquet and fishing—made Cliveden a destination for film stars, politicians, world-leaders, writers and artists. The heyday of entertaining at Cliveden was between the two World Wars when the Astors held regular weekend house parties. Guests at the time included: Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Joseph Kennedy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Amy Johnson, F.D. Roosevelt, H.H. Asquith, T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), A.J. Balfour and the writers Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, and Edith Wharton. The tradition of high-profile guests visiting the house continues to this day, largely due to the house’s conversion into a hotel.
The Astors ceased to live at Cliveden in 1968, shortly after the Profumo Affair and Bill Astor’s death.
Comment Interestingly to me, Popular Feminist Princess Meghan Matkle stayed at Cliveden the night before her wedding to popular Prince Harry.
Plymouth Tuesday July 16th 2019
As some of my followers- I have some regulars, they know who they are- I get to travel a lot. On Tuesday I visited Exeter, Plymouth and a little place called Coombe in Devon.
Plymouth’s distinguished naval history goes back to Sir Francis Drake, cicumnavigation, raiding Cadiz and the Spanish Armada. For some odd reason there is a large model of Drake’s ‘Golden Hind’ poking out of the Grovesnor Casino in the city centre.
Plymouth like near coastal neighbour Portsmouth was heavily bombed during the last World War. It was a prime strategic target. Rebuilding brought typically hopeful bright shop and office styling in the centre. Such was the damage, a lot of the old has gone. The 1950s, 60s and 70 rebuilds are strikingly different. As for the 21st century, it is something rather different as the above picture shows.
In the 1950s and 60s, concrete was seen as maleable, rather than something from which to make jails. As the city grew, car park space had to go vertical. ( See Tricorn, The Life and Death of a Sixties Icon by Celia Clark and Robert Cook ). These car parks offer a quick exit for sad and hopeless young men like the one pictured above, in Plymouth City Centre.
Life is not so bad for the rich, as these luxury yachts, tied up in Royal William Yard attest. Modern technology and rolling wars make the rich richer, while the rest get poorer and less secure.
An old GWR signal gantry relic is an odd gateway to this new supermarket site in Exeter.
It is easy to romanticise the past, but not doing that is no reason to forgoe criticism of the selfish elite dominated present.
When I was a boy, back in the 1950s, I didn’t realise I was poor. The only travelling I did, with my family, was ten miles on the bus to Aylesbury, or trips in my father’s brick lorry. The closest I got to the South West Peninsula was by reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ stories. I travelled far and wide in my mind and could read before I went to school.
As a former schoolteacher, I know that our multi cultural education system is more interested in politically correct brainwashing than it is in lieracy and numeracy. It is about closing minds. The looney left of the 1980s has been replaced by something far more insidious and far more dangerous.
All Images Copyright www.robertcookofnorthbucks and Appledene Publishing.
London Pride July 14th 2019 by Robert Cook
I was in London again today, travelling over a wide area. It is always interesting, always on the move. My parents and sister were born there, I lived, worked and studied there for a while. I loved and hated the place.
Today I went on loving and hating it. As I went about my business, I noticed many banners across streets declaring a big no to discrimination and prejudice, proclaiming London as a place for everyone. Maybe so, but how much money and status you have will decide your experience. Age and ethnicity will be key related factors.
London is a far more complex place than it was in my parents day and when I lived there. Multi culture includes life in the gutter, being a victim of knife crime and the sex trade. There is also the reality of slave labour. However, spin doctors don’t want to talk about this.
On my travels I saw plenty of police vehicles and a few marked crime scenes like this one in Bermondsey.
London has always been a haven for crime, even during the hyped up nostalgia days of the Blitz. Poverty and ignorance breeds crime, but so does power mania, exploitation and arrogance of the ruling classes. The picture below was taken by me, this morning in Clink Street. The phrase being put ‘in clink’ was a synonym for prison when I was a boy. This tall old edifice in a very grim street was intended to strike fear in the oppressed underclasses, just as modern prisons and court rooms do today.
Yesterday, June 3rd when the Sheeple were protesting about Trump in the London bubble, all my troubles did not seem so far away, but my destination did as I approached gridlock going south from Watford on the M25.
Today, June 4th, I went to an obscure place near Oakham in Rutland. nearly there, I saw this amazing railway viaduct. My thoughts went back to the 19th century engineer who designed it, the political morons who closed the line in the 1960s, and the men who built and died building it.