To Vicarage Road yesterday to see Huddersfield Town play at Watford. It prompted the question - you'll see why: when did I last see Town win a game? The answer, the play-off at Wembley a bit more than two years ago which got them into the Championship. And talk about doing it the hard way ... Huddersfield won a penalty shoot-out against Sheffield United in spite of missing their first three penalties. Barely believable.
But then ... Here we are yesterday afternoon, two goals each, and mid-way through the second half a Watford player gets sent off. Here's our chance! Town pile on the pressure relentlessly in that last twenty minutes. And the final score? 4-2. To Watford!
Here's a selection of photos taken earlier this month at the Armenian Orthodox church of St John the Baptist on Merchant Street in downtown Yangon/Rangoon, the commercial capital of Myanmar/Burma.
The photographs feature Rev John Felix, the minister, the church server, Minhan, and members of the congregation Rachel Minus, Percy Everard and Ramona Tarta. Many thanks to all of them for welcoming me to the church.
I've written about the church, its past and the prospects for its future on the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28867884
And just as a helpful comparison, Lloyd George's introduction to this very pamphlet is rounded off with his printed signature - looking like this:
But association copies aren't just about signatures by politically celebrated authors - sometimes it's the owner's signature that makes the item special.
And if you are wondering where I chanced across these particularly fine additions to a pamphlet hunter's library - well, it's the excellent, appropriately named Left on the Shelf.
Just back from a brief few days in Burma, now almost universally known as Myanmar - my first time there, and about the most interesting place I've ever been. It has stupendous Buddhist architecture (including the renowned Shwedagon Pagoda), about the most remarkable colonial architecture in its downtown area (most dilapidated but still standing) I've seen outside of Calcutta, and a very warm and friendly people.
Rangoon (now Yangon) was one of Asia's big trading centres during the colonial era - and attracted so many immigrants that prior to independence, the Burmese were a minority in the city. Most of the migrants were from India - there's still a large Indian population, though economically they are no longer the moves and shakers. The Chinese community is as numerous, and China's economic power more ubiquitous (and more resented).
Once Armenians and Baghdadi Jews played a crucial part in commerce here - there's still an Armenian church and a synagogue - now Japanese and Korean brand names are starting to intrude. But this remains an old fashioned city - most of the big international brands (Macdonalds, Starbucks) haven't made it here yet - the politics of the country, and the gradual liberalisation and opening up, hasn't advanced so far that observers would say there's no way back.
And Burma's turbulent modern history is everywhere at hand. The country suffered greater privation during World War Two than almost anywhere else in Asia. In the tourist markets, sets of Japanese printed wartime rupees for use in occupied Burma are among the most popular purchases. In July 1947, with the British back in charge, Burma's 32-year-old nationalist leader Aung San - the father of Aung San Suu Kyi - was assassinated along with several of his colleagues. Members of a militia controlled by a rival Burmse politician were responsible - and the gunmen, and their political master, were hanged. But it meant that when the country achieved independence a few months later, it had already been deprived of some of its commanding political figures.
A fascinating country, changing rapidly, and facing much uncertainty. More in coming weeks as I reflect on my handful of 'Burmese Days' (if you are wondering why that phrase has a familiar ring, it's the title of a George Orwell novel).
The painting, by the way, I bought for a very reasonable sum at Yangon's Bogyoke (it means General) Aung San market. I like it, and the city it depicts.
A century on, here's the very telling and wonderful memorial plaque on College Lane in Kentish Town, photographed this evening. It's now only party legible, but bears the names of ten local (very local, largely College Lane residents) men who died in the First World War. There's more details here. It's a rare type of memorial - not municipal, not church, just the local community, and placed on the outside wall of a house.
It is one of the most colloquial and so powerful testaments to the grief and suffering occasioned by what contemporaries came to call the Great War - not great as wonderful, but great as profound and terrible.
Most people ignore most poetry
most poetry ignores most people
It's a brave developer that alights on a web address which might arouse adverse comment in the locality in which they are building. So is it wise of Four Quarters - as you can see, busily developing the former British Rail Staff Social Club site adjoining the marvellous, much treasured College Lane in NW5 - to set up a website: http://fqkentishtown.com/? If you don't see the problem, say the address out aloud ... But at least it's better than '4Qkentishtown'.
If you go to the site at the moment, you get nothing beyond a 'coming soon' message. Yes, we can see that! So, what exactly is coming soon to College Lane? Well, here's what's on the board just by the site:
Family homes are much needed - but the development will certainly change the tone of College Lane, a pleasing straggle of more than twenty houses and cottages, developed piecemeal through the nineteenth century, which front not on to a road but simply a path. And as we mark the centenary of the First World War, College Lane is home to one of the most modest and telling local memorials to the war dead - if you haven't, do go and see it (look out for the pink painted buiding almost in the middle of the run of houses, and look up a little above head height).
The shorter and prettier Georgian Little Green Street, the only vehicle access to the construction site (unless I've missed something), is also clearly anxious about what the future holds - the 'Save Little Green Street' banner is back on display.
How will things develop? Watch this space ...
Shen Liknaitzky has sent me the audio of an interview she conducted with the historian Raphael Samuel more than twenty years ago about the history of May Day. Raph talks about his first May Day march as a youngster in London in 1942, and about the 'almost vanished collective culture' in which popular festivals such as May Day thrived. Do give it a listen:
This is the raw, unedited interview. She conducted it for a long vanished World Service programme called Postmark Africa (the first programme that ever put me on air!), and if you want to hear what the edited version sounded like, here it is:
Raph was one of the commanding figures in twentieth century social history and the main pioneering force behind the History Workshop movement. He championed what has sometimes been described as 'history from below', now an integral part of the pursuit of history. He was also a warm and charismatic figure, who his many friends remember with great warmth.
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