This story about a woman, who wants to be a mechanic, shows that sexism is alive and well in some parts of the motor trade.
I always remember a story from myt father, who did some sort of job, that meant he drove all round East Anglia during the Second World War. He was having problems with the old Ford he was driving and pulled into a garage in a small village near Sudbury in Suffolk. Nobody was about, but he did see a pair of legs sticking out from under a car. So he called out and in a few moments, as he would say, a gorgeous tall blonde extracted herself from under the car and stood over him. She asked what the problem was and he told her. She said he’d better sort it out with the boss in the office. He found the boss and the problem was sorted, whilst he had lunch in the cafe next door. On returning he asked the owner, who was the mechanic, as even in wartime, you didn’t come across female ones very often. He was told she was Lady something and she was the best mechanic he’d ever had.
The idea is basically very simple. a fake house front has been created on the ground and a large mirror at 45° has been placed so that if you say sit in the windows of the house, you can see yourself sitting in the reflection.
It was fascinating and many of those exploring it, seemed to feel they were children again.
One of the best things, was seeing the expression on a three-year-old’s face as he walked towards the mirror, seeing himself sticking out of the wall.
I can see that this simple idea being replicated all over the world.
My mother used to work at Reeves just round the corner and she used to tell a tale about how an enormous German bomb in the Second World War, destoryed a lot of the area. I checked at the library and the whole site, where the Dalston House has been built was a bomb site. They have a copy of the LCC Bomb Damage Book, which is a must-read book, for anybody, who lives or is thinking of living in an area of London that suffered bombing.
And to make everything even better, there is no entry charge to see this unusual work of art.
You just turn up and play! But they do limit the time you spend walking up and down the house to five or six minutes!
The memorial to those killed in the Bethnal Green Underground Disaster is now almost complete.
According to the Stairway To Heaven Memorial Trust website, only the staircase needs completing.
This report from the BBC shows that the Japanese do things differently.
A prominent Japanese politician has described as “necessary” the system by which women were forced to become prostitutes for World War II troops.
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said the “comfort women” gave soldiers putting their lives at risk a chance “to rest”.
He also said last year, that Japan needed a dictatorship.
I would hope that any British, American or European politician, who made statements like this, would be promptly booted out of office.
When I got to Nuremberg, it started to rain and I quickly found that the city was booked solid because of a massive exhibition.
I had particularly wanted to go to Nuremberg, as one of my customers years ago, had been an observer at the War Crimes Trials in the city. He was an Austrian Jew, who escaped before the war and had then spent the war years in the Royal Engineers. He had some amazing tales.
But because of the lack of a decent hotel, I decided to move on to Munich. Next time, I’ll book the Victoria Hotel, which is right by the station.
As I fly into a snow-bound Britain, I realise that you might be asking where global warming has gone as you shiver in the coldest March for 50 years and wonder what you will do if gas has to be rationed. I have been involved in the climate debate for more than a decade, but I am still amazed at how wrong we get it. Let us try to restart our thinking on global warming.
Yes, global warming is real and mostly man-made, but our policies have failed predictably and spectacularly.
He then goes on to say that Kyoto has failed.
But he does produce a solution that could be a win-win situation for everyone.
He says that we should spend money on research!
He is right!
Just look what has happened to products like computers because money has been spent on research!
I have heard some wacky ideas to generate energy and cut carbon dioxide emissions over the last few years. Some of them might just be the things we do to save the planet.
But then engineers and scientists have a track record in digging us out of the holes that politicians and others have got us into.
Where for instance would Britain be today without the genius of Henry Royce, Lord Hives, RJ Mitchell, Alan Blumlein, Alan Turing and Sydney Camm. Under a Nazi jackboot perhaps?
But they and others answered Churchill’s plea and gave the country the tools to finish the job.
A similar massive effort today on a world-wide basis would I believe solve the problems of global warming and create a world fit for our descendents.
The same approach could be used on all of the major problems of the world like cancer, providing clean water, housing and food production.
I knew little of the history of Gibraltar in the Sec0nd World War, although I did know little bits about its role in naval activities and as a place, where evading servicemen aimed for, to get back home.
But I knew nothing about, what happened to the people of the colony during the war.
As I walked towards the centre of town after landing, I noticed this statue on a roundabout.
It is called the Evacuation Of The Gibraltarians and there is more about the true story here in Wikipedia.
I feel, the story goes a long way to explain, why Gibraltarians want to determine their own future.
I was at the new CrossRail station at Canary Wharf today and took these pictures.
They show the enormous concrete block of a station and the walkway, that will connect it to the area of Canada Square and its offices.
Note how the main building looks almost like one of the giant caissons used for Mulberry Harbours, that were used in the Second World War to invade Normandy.
These giant Phoenix caissons, were actually built in these docks, after they had been drained and filled with sand. They were then floated out for the invasion. I’ve actually been in several of these amazing concrete structures in The Netherlands, where they were used to fill the last gap in the dykes after the North Sea Flood of 1953. They are now a museum, dedicated to the floods and those who perished.
It’s rather strange how history is repeating itself in a similar manner. I suppose though, that the engineers know that the ground is strong enough to take the weight of the station.
It does look from this web page on the Crossrail web site, that Canary Wharf Crossrail station is going to be worth the wait until 2018, although it will be substantially complete by the end of this summer.
The highlight of spring and summer will be the tunnelling machines passing through on their way to Farringdon station.
There has been a lot of news today about the release under the thirty-year-rule of secret documents concerning Margaret Thatcher and various subjects like the Falklands War, Jimmy Savile and her son, Mark.
Nothing is particularly contentious, except perhaps the fact that someone misjudged what was happening in Argentina and gave Mrs. Thatcher bad information. But then the Secret Intelligence Service, didn’t give Tony Blair the best information either.
On the other hand, when dealing with Mark lost in the desert, she seems to have acted to make sure that the state didn’t pay for her son’s folly.
If we go through the history of the United Kingdom, you’ll find that at various dark hours, women have been to the fore. You could start a list with Boudicca, Elizabeth the First, Victoria and Margaret Thatcher. You could argue that our current Queen has been a safe pair of hands for most of her life. She was also part of that vast army of women, who stepped in to fill the gaps in the factories, in transport and as support staff during the Second World War. Hitler didn’t mobilise the German women and he of course lost. Some historians say the mobilisation of women in the UK, was a major factor.
I would argue that you don’t need to have a woman at the top,but once you have, it changes a lot of the culture, even if it’s just other talented women believe they can get there. And competition is always healthy, as it promotes the best!
Look at Margaret Thatcher’s effect on British politics. Before her stint as Prime Minister, there were few women at the top in British politics and there have been a lot more since she resigned.
Look at the basket cases of the Eurozone! How many of them have had a woman Prime Minister or President. Only Ireland and that is the one country in trouble, that is making progress towards sorting its finances.
The web site called Bomb Sight has just been launched.
Now you can check where German bombs landed near you in the Blitz.
I often wondered if my house sat on a bomb site, but I checked the physical form of the atlas a few weeks ago in the excellent Hackney Records Office. It wasn’t a bomb. If you’re anywhere near the CLR James Library by Dalston Junction station, it’s much quicker to look at the book, rather than try to find the area on the website.