Sunday, 15 April 2018

Tropic Shadows Tropic Sunlight

These are the Tropic Shadows, one of my favourite reggae groups of the late `60s/early `70s. 

They made a number of recordings during their existence - Anniversary (aka Our Anniversary),  Bangarang Festival, Do What You Want, You Can Believe and a couple of others.

I believe they are the same band as Tropic Sunlight who recorded Labour Day  for producer D C Anderson (compare Labour Day and You Can Believe and see what you think).

I notice Anderson also recorded two similarly named bands, The Tropicans and the Tropicsons but whether these were also The Tropic Shadows/Sunlight I don`t know. 

Anyway, I tend to have a Lieutenant Columbo mind. Loose ends and unanswered questions bug me and it bugs me that I know almost nothing about this fine band.

If anyone does know anything about them, I`d be very pleased to hear from you. 

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Derby - Friar Gate Station, Wildlife Haven

Friar Gate Station, Derby was closed down during the `Beeching` cuts of the 1960s.

As people and trains moved out, wildlife moved in.

Various proposals have been made for development of the site, but not one has come to anything. While I`m not claiming that the area has existed in a hermetically-sealed bubble since that time - there are periodic complaints of fly-tipping, vandalism etc - you can readily see that nature has been gradually taking over for 50-60 years.

Technically, this is a brownfield site - it`s previous use was industrial. It`s a half-truth at best that brownfield sites automatically have no environmental merit, but in this case, when the last train to run along the tracks did so decades ago, the `brownfield` designation is in any case meaningless.

A number of rare/unusual species have been found there, and 23 species of butterfly have been recorded at the site.  

A Facebook group has been set up "to promote the site, hopefully helping to conserve at least some of it for wildlife, and as a recreational and educational asset to the community, to be a means of recording species" etc.

If you`re on FB, please visit their page `Old Friar Gate Station, Derby, Wildlife Haven`, It is a closed group but anyone can view the photos members have posted of wildlife seen at the station. If you like what you see, please might consider applying to join !

I joined recently and I`ve found the members friendly, down-to-earth and helpful.  Give it a go, it costs nothing and it`s well worthwhile !

****I had intended to post some photos provided by other members of the group here, but have had problems doing so. 

I`ll try again later, but if all else fails I`ll share a few to my FB page over the coming week. ****

Friday, 30 March 2018

Heanor, Derbyshire

Heanor, home of the Gingerbread Duck,  is a small town in Amber Valley, Derbyshire, pretty much on the South Derbys/North Notts border.  

Built in 1876, the Town Hall was during the early part of the twentieth century a cinema called Buxton`s Picture Palace.

Bromley House. This former bank has been converted into flats and is owned by a charity called Aspire.  The date plaque at the top is dated 1895 with the lettering NJSB, which stood for Nottingham Joint Stock Bank.

There are other interesting buildings in the area, but given my limited expertise with a camera, I`ve not been able to achieve a decent picture of them ! 

I`ll try again another time. 

There is a local history group, Heanor and District Local History Society, and a Facebook page, Heanor Bygones. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Ghost Sign, Derby - T Gorman, Shoes Made and Repaired

Situated at the junction of Cheapside and St Werburgh`s Churchyard (near Derby Museum and Art Gallery), this is one of Derby`s best-known ghost signs and a personal favourite of mine. 

It would be interesting to know if any pictures survive showing T Gorman`s business as it was, or indeed that of previous proprietor R Howitt. 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Joan Kahn (ed) - Some Things Fierce and Fatal - Bodley Head -

Joan Kahn (ed) - Some Things Fierce and Fatal - Bodley Head

Short stories by C S Forester, Edward H Smith, Ray Bradbury, H G Wells and others.

This is the first collection compiled by Joan Kahn that I`ve read, and was part of a series ; Some Things Dark and Dangerous, Some Things Strange and Sinister etc.

There are 14 stories by 14 writers. Three of the tales included are said by the editor to be factual, though my feeling is that one of these, A Tale of Terror by Paul Louis Courier, is really a short story, though it is presented as a reminiscence. 

There is only one that I personally would not have included, which is David Hogan`s The Leaping Trout. It is clear to me that he can write, and tell a story in a way that holds your attention, but in this case his writing is mannered and at times pretentious ("the new moon rose above Mullaghcleevaun mountain like the diadem of a fairy queen walking upon its summit")  and in the end the story goes nowhere.

There are a number that stand out in my mind ; Celia Fremlin`s tense psychological piece `Something Evil in the House`, Stanley Ellins` crime-story-with-a-difference
`The 9 to 5 Man`, Julian Symons` suspenseful `Eight Minutes to Kill` and Dwynwen Richards` charmingly whimsical `Traveller`s Joy`.

All of the others are fine pieces anyone would be happy to have in their collection, but those are my personal favourites. 

Overall, a collection I`d recommend. 

Just as a footnote, my copy is not for sale but you should be able to pick one up at a reasonable price if you search around a bit. 

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Ghost Sign - Neville`s Garage - Nottinghamshire - North Notts

This ghost sign appears on the side of a private house on the road between Langley Mill and Eastwood (North Nottinghamshire). 

It`s size and position means it is very apparent to motorist driving along that road, but sadly it`s not so easy to get a decent picture of it.

As you might be able to tell, it advertises a business called Nevilles` Garage, which it describes as being, IIRC, a mile further along the road. 

I`ve only come across one other photo of it, which was posted on Flickr by someone called Claire, who had the good sense to take her shot from the other side of the road at a time when there was little traffic about. 

It is captioned `Neville`s Garage, Eastwood` .

It would be interesting to know whether the eponymous Neville lived there at some point and saw a chance to plug his business, or whether he perhaps paid someone to have his sign on the outside of their home. 

If anyone knows, get in touch.