Monday, 28 May 2012

Tea in the park

The classic, Victorian Sunday - tea and sandwiches in the park, then attracted by the sound of a lascivious slide trombone, we ventured further in to find the bandstand full of men and women belting out Frank Sinatra numbers like 'Fly Me To The Moon'.

I once wrote to the Nino Rota orchestra in Italy, to see if they could sell me some Rota scores which I could hand on to a band like this, just so we could sit around and imagine ourselves in a Fellini film, but they never replied.  I might have another go soon, as it is fairly high on my list of musical 'to-dos', along with punching a play-card for 'Happy Talking' for a fairground steam-organ.  Both very well worth pursuing, but hard work for someone who is entirely unconnected to the world of music.

If you enlarge the above picture, you will see the Mayor of Bath (dressed in white and wearing a large, gold necklace) and his good lady wife sitting in the front row,  enthusiastically clapping along when asked to do so by the band leader.  The Mayor is patron of the band, and I don't know whether or not that comes with the job, or if he has taken it on voluntarily whilst wearing his other hat as a keen Country and Western singer and guitarist.  His other hat is a Stetson.  He drives a Trabant.  Enough said.

As a side-note, the pair of large, marble urns with snake-handles either side of the bandstand were given to Josephine by Napoleon Bonaparte, so what they are doing sitting around in the Royal Victoria Park is anyone's guess.

I have a strong feeling that I will be a little tired of the colours red, white and blue before the year is out.

We wandered up to the Royal Crescent (I am officially allowed to park my old Volvo right in front of it, day and night if I so wish), and then on to a little bar in a side-street where we sat down for more refreshments - beer in my case.

The shop, 'UBER' in the picture is a strange sort of fashion outlet, selling casual clothes sourced in Austria.  A few doors away, there used to be another shop run by the same Austrians, which specialised in selling cuckoo-clocks and lederhosen - I am not joking.  For some inexplicable reason, this other shop went out of business.  I miss the sound of Oompah-bands wafting out of it's doors on a warm summer's evening.

As another side-note, take a look at the zig-zag join in the stonework which runs up the face of the buildings like a cubist bolt of lightening.  There are a couple of interesting stories attached to it.

One night in 1943, a few German bombers flew over Bath and dropped a stick of high explosives which ran in a line from the river, through The Circus (a round, 18th century building), along Brock street and narrowly avoiding the Royal Crescent, but destroying the largest church in Bath, just behind it.  Some good came out of it then, as the building was a monstrosity.

One of the bombs fell on the buildings to the right of UBER, and when they rebuilt them, they built the walls perfectly 'plumb' or vertical.  The original Georgian ones were built leaning slightly backwards, as you can see in the discrepancy of the blockwork.

The timber floor-joists of Georgian buildings were always running from front to back, and the builders used them as supports for the facade by deliberately leaning the great walls against them as they built up - a practice which would not be allowed today!

I am - as I write - waiting for an engineer to check our phone line to see if there is a fault which disconnects us from the internet every few minutes.  Obviously, at the moment I am having no such problems - I wonder if it will go wrong when the man from India gets round to calling back....


  1. I really liked that story of the bombing and then seeing the picture again. Great stuff.

  2. ...and the crowds from Bath clapped and cheered

  3. ....Mmmmm .... John's right.....not much of a turnout !....but, what a lovely way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Music, sun and alcohol, perfect.....and, nice marble urns to look at taboot.
    Lucky that the German bombers hit the ugly church and missed the beautiful buildings. My dad was in the RAF and he believed that there was a pact not to hit certain buildings. Who knows ?
    Good luck with India !

    1. Yes, the turn-out was a little disappointing for the band. There was a pact not to bomb a ball-bearing factory in Germany, I believe - it made parts for both sides. The Bath raids were in the dark, so precision was not guaranteed.

  4. When small, I used to play cornet in a silver band, of which my father was the patron. At practice, one day, I failed to get rid of my bubble gum, which then ended up in the complicated pipe system of the cornet, and ruined it. I was thrown out of the band, and my father was 'not happy'.

    1. Go to your room and play the pink oboe, Cro.

  5. Thank you for the explanation of the tilt. Good it's the facade and not the floors.

  6. Tea in the park sounds lovely, particularly with the band playing.
    I have had internet problems and somebody advised me to unplug it one night, plug it in again the next morning and press the reset button on the back of the hub. It worked for me.

    1. Yes, I have done that a few hundred times in the last three days. I did it just now, but it's a temporary solution in my case. I know what this modem had for breakfast, in fact. I always shut it all down at night anyway. The Indian lady did get round to doing a line-test, so I am 90% sure I need a new one.

      Beware of pressing the reset button without getting into the modem's guts afterwards, and resetting your password. I don't mean the WiFi password, I mean the actual modem's.

      Most modem's password when factory-set is 'password' ( and the administrator is called 'admin'. Every crook in the world knows that most people do not reset factory passwords, and can access any modem which hasn't, right around the world.

      I found someone using my account when I was trying to use it myself once - I don't know where they were...