Birthday, Part 2

posted 18 September 2005

The birthday celebration was a great success. The house looks like a hurricane hit it. More of a hurricane Ophelia than Katrina (no mud, fewer bloated bodies), but still, the sign of a good time had by all.

I will mainly be attempting to clean up for the rest of the day.

Update 8.28pm:
Right, well, the house is still a bit of a disaster, but I've thrown away about 6 cubic feet of beer bottles and 8 of miscellaneous rubbish and done all the washing up. Floor mopping will have to wait.

Thanks to all who came; I had a great time, thank you, and I hope you did as well. Those of you who disobeyed instructions and brought presents selected very well; geeky and literate and frequently both. The highlight is definitely London with plans & index to streets, by Ward Lock & Co. Tourist Handbooks. This is a beautiful illustrated guide to London, circa 1930 or so (I would love a more precise date, but it doesn't have a copyright date on it anywhere!). Many of the pictures are of important civic buildings, which are frustratingly the same, but there are still lots of absolutely gorgeous photos of London as it was until relatively recently, some of which I've scanned (click for big, big, big)

London: Oxford street
Oxford Street! That department store is still there, but the street looks so different.

London: the marble arch
Marble arch. Look at those beautiful old double-decker buses. It seems they were all open-topped originally, which is news to me.

London: the pool
This is my favourite. London was still in active use as a port at this time. The boats look tiny, but look in the mid-foreground to see the people rowing to get a scale of how big these cargo boats are.

This makes my history geek, London geek, and book geek all happy at the same time! In addition to the great photos, the text is a mine of wonderful quotes, like this one:

Visitors unused to the traffic of great towns are prone to be either careless or needlessly apprehensive in crossing busy streets. The best advice is: Keep a sharp look-out in all directions, especially where there are converging thoroughfares or turnings at right-angles. Usea mid-street refuge wherever available, and be especially careful if those roads are greasy. Above all, do not get flurried. At some of the most crowded crossings, as at the Bank, Mansion House station, Trafalgar Sqaure, the foot of Whitehall, the northern end of Blackfriars Bridge and the Elephant and Castle, there are subways for pedestrians; and at all important centres policemen are stationed to regulate the traffic. The general rule is for vehicles to keep to the left, pedestrians to the right; but this rule is suspended in the case of vehicles using "one-way thoroughfares" (open to vehicular traffic in one direction only) and at the busy crossings where the gyratory or "roundabout" system of traffic control is in force.

Emphasis and quotes are from the original.

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