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Wednesday, 24 November 2010


Hi there, we’re back again, and I don’t suppose you’ve really missed me but we got caught up in a series of events not necessarily of my own doing! However, not to worry I have been looking through the collection again, and since we appear to be on the edge of a small Ice Age, according to all the weather predictions, I thought this cartoon by George S Sherwood quite appropriate. The country will no doubt grind to a halt once more as the dreaded snow paralyses all means of transport, while meantime we will just slip the ram as usual and hope the cold doesn’t cool his ardour.

Transcript below:

WIFE: "And while you are in the village get me a copy of 'Home Firesides' and a funny joke paper for Eric, but not the one with Tiny Tiddlers and the Tinker Tots in. And put your hat on straight; you look like a jockey."

Thursday, 11 November 2010


At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918, Germany agreed to a cease fire, and that day, later to become known as Armistice Day, finally saw an end to one of the largest wars in history. A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for another seven months, until signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on 28 June 1919, but it is generally recognised that the 11th of November 1918 was the official end to the hostilities. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized and more than 9 million combatants were killed, in what was then known as the Great War.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary in June 1914, was the single act which brought the whole of Europe into conflict. The great powers of Europe, consisting of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, France and Italy were at war within weeks, and as all had colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.

The military forces finally all came home to civilian life after four years of warfare and Frederick H Townsend (1868-1920) cartoon highlights the larger than life tales of the conflict on the Western Front.

Transcript below:

TOMMY: (homeward bound and determined not to disappoint). "Why, Missy, three days before the Armistice the air was that thick with aeroplanes the birds had to get down and walk."

Monday, 1 November 2010


Today the 1st of November is the anniversary of the 1938 Horse Race in America dubbed the ‘Match of the Century’ between ‘Seabiscuit’ and the then favourite ‘War Admiral’ at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The race was held over a track just under a mile and a quarter long, and ‘War Admiral’ started out as favourite with odds of 4-1 on, with an estimated 40,000 people trackside, and a further 40 million listening in on the radio. Legendary trainer Tom Smith with his unorthodox methods had devised tactics for the race which ultimately paid off, and after a memorable head to head race ‘Seabiscuit’ won by four clear lengths. ‘Seabiscuit’ was subsequently named “Horse of the Year” for 1938.

‘Seabiscuit’ was an odd name, but the rules governing the naming of horses are strict, for example, horses names cannot be longer than 18 characters and spaces, and names currently on the Register of Horse Names or names of horses who have won a major flat or jump race cannot be used (so there can only be one ‘Best Mate’ or ‘Shergar’). And most famously, names whose meaning, pronunciation or spelling is obscene or insulting are prohibited. Over the years some have slipped through the net with ‘WearTheFoxHat’ and ‘Noble Locks’ being the most notable.

Silly names are often quoted in the racing press and on television as folk have struggled to find an exclusive name. ‘No D Feet’, ‘No Da Deh’, ‘Sexliesandalibis’, ‘Snoozin Susan’, and ‘Wontonsoupforyou’ are just a fraction of the thousands of ‘unique’ names already listed. Bert Thomas (1883-1966) cartoon below highlights the problems involved in naming a horse.

Transcript below:

OWNER: "You let the whole bloomin' field walk over you."
JOCKEY: "Well, whatcher expec' with a horse called 'Turkey Carpet' ?"

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