Visiting London to see the cars

In London recently buying a small collection of books near Palace Gate I spotted three Bentley Bentaygas parked casually along the neighborhood streets. The one pictured can reach 190 mph and will leave little change from £150K. The ultimate SUV, 4 by 4,  ‘Chelsea tractor.’ On showing this photo to a colleague, something of a ‘petrol head’,IMG_4096he informed me that there were certain areas of London that (young) tourists visit just to see rare and expensive supercars in the flesh – Mayfair, Chelsea, Belgravia mainly. He said that the visitors sometimes encourage the owners, often young Middle Eastern guys, to rev them up. In one instance the driver forgot he was in gear and shot forward into another supercar wrecking both. I blame Jeremy Clarkson..

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English translation howlers

From Funny or Die site (thanks)

From the Peter Haining Archive. These are taken from a collection compiled by Thomas Cook employees in Nottingham during the period 1987 – 95:

‘You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid ‘
Notice in Japanese hotel

‘Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar’
Announcement in Norwegian cocktail lounge.

‘The lift is being fixed. During that time we regret you will be unbearable’
Notice in a Bucharest hotel lobby.

‘The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid’
Notice in a Yugoslav hotel.

‘Our wines leave you with nothing to hope for ‘.
Swiss restaurant menu.

‘Ladies may have fit upstairs’
Outside a Hong Kong tailors

‘Special today—no ice cream’
Swiss mountain inn

‘Order your summer suit. Because of big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation’
In a Rhodes tailors.

‘We take your bag and send it in all directions’
Copenhagen airline ticket

‘Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists’
Hong Kong dentist 

[R.R.]

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Point It Out: The Picture Speech For All Nations

Found - a handy little book Point It Out: The Picture Speech For All Nations by one Walter Sefton. It was published 'by authority of the War Office Welfare Department' (Leicester, 1944.) The title page notes that the book was '…designed to make help all men and women of the Allied Services in making their needs easily understood in foreign countries - a guide and comfort and friend when in any difficulty.' This type of book is still published (The Wordless Travel Book and the Point it Traveller's Language Kit),and there may even be an app - although now people probably just find an image on their phones and show it to a helpful foreigner..

The page shown is for use on board a steamship, possibly to answer requests such as 'Where is my car?' and 'Can I smoke in the bar?' 'I need a rug for sitting on the deck chair' and 'Where is the ship's library?'

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A voyage to Russia in 1908 & 1965 (2)

Nevsky Prospect Leningrad 1960s
(thanks Transpress N.Z.)
This is the second part of an anonymous diary found in our archives (see part one.) It was written first by a young woman of about 20 in 1908. Here she returns in her mid 70s (by plane.) Leningrad has since become St. Petersburg and the Astoria has become very expensive...

Sunday 12th September, 1965

 Perfect flight from London taking less than seven hours including half-an-hour at Copenhagen. Wonderful cloud effects. We spent ages waiting at the Leningrad customs. On reaching the hotel Astoria unpacked and changed. We had an excellent luncheon at 1 o'clock; sprats, not unlike sardines, Chicken Kiev. Separate course of peas, (not very good) grapes. A white wine and a red wine. The latter good, the white not interesting.

 In the afternoon we went to St.lsaac's Cathedral, a monster of vulgarity - everything gilt or malachite, except two elegant columns of lapis and a wooden model of the cathedral; these were the only things that pleased me.
We had a good dinner, but oh, the slowness of the service! We went to bed early.

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A voyage to Russia in 1908 & 1965 (1)

Found- an anonymous account of a a trip to Russia on The Salsette in 1908 written by a young woman of an artistic bent. There is a certain amount about the ship, mostly at Shona's Wrecks (many thanks) which mention this voyage to Northern European cities, the Salsette's first major outing. In 1915 the ship was hit by a torpedo and lies 600 feet down off Portland Bill, now a favourite wreck for divers to explore.In 1965, probably by then in her mid 70's, our diarist flew back to Russia and remarks on the changes (to follow).

ON BOARD “THE SALSETTE”

20th August, 1908

  It has been rather rough and cold all day but for all that I have greatly enjoyed it. I was so tired after last night that I slept on till past 9 o'clock this morning, and then had breakfast in bed. All the competitions have started again, and out of the two I have played to-day I have again won one. It has been very nice and restful having another whole day at sea - one gets so frightfully tired sightseeing. Every town we have been to see so far has been paved with cobble stones, roads and pavements alike, and this, especially when one has thin soles to one's shoes, very quickly makes one's feet ache.

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Pemmican pemmicanised

Found in this comprehensive work aimed at serious travellers, explorers and survivalists - a letter about pemmican. The book is a two volume work, seemingly not transcribed at Google books, although it went through many editions: Hints to travellers: Organisation and equipment, scientific observations, health, sickness and injury. Edward Ayearst Reeves. (Royal Geographical Society, London, 1938.)

The typed letter headed What is pemmican? was a response to 'Questions & Answers' at the magazine Geographical of September 1998. It was sent in by one Alan Gurney from the  Isle of Islay.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820), the first European to cross the full width of North America, described pemmican as the food used by North American Indians on their travels. It was made from dried and pounded caribou meat mixed with an equal proportion of melted caribou fat. The resulting mixture was then packed into bags, eaten, uncooked, on the march. This high calorie convenience food was adopted by the North American fur traders on their long cross country travels. Pemmican -- made from beef rather than caribou -- heated in a Nansen cooked former the famous "hoosh" of Arctic and Antarctic explorers. The Bovril company made a man-pemmican (about half protein and half fat) and a dog pemmican (two thirds protein and a third fat). JD Beauvais of Copenhagen made two mixtures. The "Knud Rasmussen" containing meat, rice, vegetable and fat, packed into tins. The Amundsen containing dried meat powder, vegetables and fat, all pressed into cakes and wrapped in foil. As to taste, Mackenzie said that "time reconciles it to the palate," and Gino Watkins said that "it kept the body twitching but not the soul".

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Baedeker advises on tipping at the Blue Grotto

Found in an 1889 edition of Badeker's Southern Italy this description of the Blue Grotto at Capri:

Blue Grotto. — A visit to the Blue Grotto from the Marina at Capri, where suitable light boats will be found, occupies 1 3/4 to 2hrs. The best light is between 10 and 12 o'clock. The authorised fare for the trip (there and back) is 1 1/4 fr. for each person, but almost no boatman will undertake it without an additional fee of 1-2 fr. The skiffs are not allowed to take more than three passengers. If the wind blows strongly from the E. or N. access to the grotto is impossible.The Blue Grotto is situated on the N. side of the island, about l 1/4 m. from the landing-place of Capri.

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Baja, the ancient Baiæ – worth a detour?

Found in Baedeker's Guide to Southern Italy and Sicily ((9th Ed., Leipzig 1887) a loose flyer/2 sided handout, entitled To Tourists. Baedeker's are often a repository of travel ephemera and this one yielded an opera ticket for the Metropolitana in Siena and a map of Naples supplied by the grand looking Parker's Hotel, also a dinner menu that notes the hotel had formerly been known as the Tramontano*. The leaflet, in perfect English and by one GPB, attempts to lure visitors to the ancient town of Baiae (now known as Baja.) Baedeker is rather dismissive of it (see below) so it may have needed some publicising. The leaflet reads thus:

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How to be Happy on the Riviera 4


The concluding part of a posting of a complete book How to be Happy on the Riviera by Robert Elson W. (Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol, 1927).The appendix has a wealth of information, much of it aimed at the long stay vacationer and the expat or 'remittance man' (similar to the trustafrian of our time). The address and name of the British Consul in Monte Carlo (G W Hogg) the address of the British Library and the Anglo-American Library (in the Grand Hotel building.) There was even a weekly paper for the British abroad,The Cote D'Azur,that came out on a Friday. There is good advice for those who 'winter abroad' -- Hyeres is suggested for those who like it quiet, Monte Carlo for those who want it lively (but the bathing is poor). Also invaluable advice for the journey there, that might still hold true:-
"Don’t trust the time-tables as to there being a restaurant-car on any train southward from Paris (except the Calais–Méditerranée); bring a tea-basket with you and be prepared to grab things from the buffets at the Gare de Lyon and at Marseilles, or you may go foodless."

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How to be Happy on the Riviera 3

The penultimate part of Robert Elson's 1927 book dealing with indoor and outdoor amusements and of course gaming. There is a good description of a Gala dinner which has the authentic 1920s tone:

 "A gala dinner may be ...a more elaborate entertainment indistinguishable from a fête, the room being decorated for the occasion–sometimes in a really artistic manner–and a good programme of show-turns provided. There are sure to be surprises–toys to make noises with, balloons, etc. The peculiarity of surprises is that they are always the same. Occasionally really attractive gifts are distributed, or prizes given in connection with dancing or a tombola (raffle). If you are in an appropriately happy-go-lucky mood, a gala is usually quite enjoyable. It is good to play the fool sometimes, pelting and being pelted by the occupants of neighboring tables with little coloured balls, and trying to hit people at a distance with harmless projectiles. Also, you never know what may come of it. A happily-married lady of my acquaintance first made her existence known to her husband by hitting him on the ear with a flying sausage; he asked her to dance, and the thing was as good as done."

Such goings on would have been vieux jeu by the 1940s. Interestingly many fetes described have gone - The Venetian Fete at Cannes has been replaced by a film festival, car shows and uphill car racing at Monte Carlo has become the Rally, but the Burning of the Boat still goes on and the Battle of Flowers - so all is not lost.

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How to be Happy on the Riviera 2

The second part of a posting of a complete book How to be Happy on the Riviera by Robert Elson W. (Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol, 1927). There is plenty on food and restaurants (including menus and tips on coffee, ice cream and liqueurs) and some good descriptions of gamblers in Monte Carlo - 

"Little old women in Victorian black silk dresses and bonnets; others attired in the fashions of twenty or thirty years ago; exotic-looking young women, wearing extravagant parodies of the fashions of to-day – some exactly like cinema vamps; women like men, and girls like boys. A duke who is a frequent visitor summed it up neatly: 'There are always a lot of queer wild-fowl about'...you may see incredibly ancient men; wild-looking men with immense manes of hair; gaunt men with sunken cheeks and bony hands who might have come out of a novel by Mrs. Radclyffe, unnatural-looking young men who might have been created by Mr. Michael Arlen; people who impress you as half crazy, others who look as if they had been dead a long time, only they don't know it.'

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How to be Happy on the Riviera 1927

We are putting up an entire book on Jot101, a fairly early book on the Riviera. Very much of its time with local prices, information about the weather and sports facilities and recommendations for hotels and cafes and cabarets. Here are the first 4 chapters...


HOW TO BE HAPPY
ON THE RIVIERA

BY ROBERT ELSON


First published in August, 1927

Printed in Great Britain by J. W. Arrowsmith Ltd., 11 Quay Street, Bristol

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