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Monday, 27 March 2017

"The Lost City of Z"

We had a very good lunch at Carluccio's in York yesterday and then went to Cityscreen to see this, "The Lost City of Z". It is a good story, based on the lives of the two explorers. Their quest was to find the lost city in the jungles of the Amazon on the borders of Brazil and Bolivia.

The film is long and somewhat flat, the tempo is a little too slow. Good acting, terrific locations and camerawork but...I cannot recommend it.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Sledmere House, nr Driffield, Yorkshire

On Sunday, B wanted to see the hunt meet at Sledmere House and I went along for the ride and a walk.

Sledmere is located approximately 20 miles to the South-East of York and on the Yorkshire Wolds. We left home in good weather but as we climbed onto the Wolds we ran into low cloud and rain.

Sledmere House was built and extended in the period 1751 - 90. It is the home of the Sykes family.

Sir Mark Sykes inherited the title and the property in 1912. Two years later he formed the Wagoners, a territorial army unit to provide transport troops in the event of war. They were called up in August 1914. There is a small museum in the grounds.

Just outside the house a monument to the Wagoners was erected to a design by Sir Mark Sykes.

The hunt meet was a drag hunt, that is the riders and hounds chase a human scent, not a fox (which would be illegal). Everything went well despite the rain.

The hunt getting ready

Standing at the front of the house, waiting for the riders and hounds

The hounds are always keen to get going and can be difficult to control during the sending off

Partaking in the stirrup cup, a fortifying drink for the riders

the "blessing" of the hunt by the current Baronet Sykes

It has stopped raining

B is very much part of the horsey world, so she stayed outside to watch. I retreated to shelter from the weather in the Farm Shop. This is where the Estate sells mementos and tourist items and local produce. While looking through the shelves of jams and china cups and the like, I found this book and had a mini-thunderbolt moment "oh... that Sykes".

"At the age of only thirty-six, Sir Mark Sykes was signatory to one of the most reviled and controversial treaties of the twentieth century. The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret pact drawn up in May 1916 between the French and the British, to divide the collapsing Ottoman Empire....Agreed without any Arab involvement, it negated an earlier guarantee of independence to the Arabs......Controversy has raged around this shady treaty ever since and, a century later, much of the political instability and viscous ethnic and sectarian violence in the Middle East is attributed to it." Quoted from the flyleaf of the book.

I bought the book, and a pot of jam, I could not resist either.

I don't know whether the hunt caught the human, we left shortly after the hunt set off after him. In the evening B reported they were out for about three hours so it sounds like they had a good run out. For me, the jam is very nice and I am looking forward to reading the book later in the summer.

Friday, 17 March 2017


A short note to recommend this film. It is the story of the assassination of the SS General Rienhard Heydrich on 27th May 1942. Specially trained Czech born SOE agents were parachuted into occupied Czechoslovakia to lead the successful operation.  I watched the film on Wednesday and found it a very gripping and well told story.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Belvoir Castle, Jordan Valley, Israel

On one of my forays around t'interweb I have tripped over this model castle in 28mm scale.

This is Belvoir Castle in Eastern Israel, 500 metres above the River Jordan. It is a crusader castle, begun in 1168 by the Knights Hospitalier.

It is a very early example of a concentric castle. In 1187, after the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's forces besieged the castle. The garrison resisted for 18 months, only surrendering in January 1189. In later times, it ceased to be a military facility and was occupied by local Arab people as a village until the first Arab - Israeli conflict in 1948.

This is how it looks now.

From my reading of various French websites, I believe the modeller was a chap who goes by the name of Captain Yapudo.

Captain - if you looking at this entry, my congratulations to you, I think this is a magnificent model, fantastic, well done sir. I would love to see this.