Archive for May 18th, 2006

Alice’s adventures started here…

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

White Rabbit, originally uploaded by haadams_rpi.

Ripon, where I lived for ten years, has a few claims to fame (not including the fact I lived there for ten years, of course!)
One of them is the residence of Charles Dodgson, who as Lewis Carroll wrote” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. His links with the cathedral (his father was a canon there) are thought to have led to some direct inspirations.

This seat (or misericord), made for the clergy to rest on during services, includes a carving of a griffin and a rabbit who is trying to escape down a hole. You can see the bottom of a more successful rabbit already disappearing down the hole on the right.
The architect Sir George Gilbert Scott included figures of the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat during building works on the cathedral in celebration of the cathedral’s links with Carroll

When Tenniel was doing the drawings for Alice, he modelled the heroine on the daughter of Canon Badcock, Mary, after being given a photograph of her by Carroll. Here the links between Ripon and Alice get even stronger: Mary lived near Ripon’s notorious gypsum faults, which periodically cause huge holes to appear in the ground – leading in turn to quite a few arguments between houseowners and insurers. In 1834 one of these holes appeared a short distance from the Badcock’s house, 60 feet deep and 35 feet wide, and it’s thought that Carroll visited it and later included it in the tale of Alice’s adventures.

Death, the jealous angler

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

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Another Flikr discovery. I used to walk past this gravestone every day on the way to work. It’s in the cemetery outside Ripon Cathedral and reads:
“Here lies poor but honest Bryan Tunstall,
he was a most expert angler until
Death, envious of his Merit, threw out his line,
hooked him, and landed him here
the 21st day of April 1790″

Fountains Abbey

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Fountains Abbey Reflection, originally uploaded by JuanJ.

When I lived in Ripon I used to do the ‘seven bridges’ walk which takes you from the city centre to Fountains Abbey. It’s a beautiful walk to a beautiful place, any time of year.

The house I owned (I could afford a house up north!) was not far from where war poet Wilfred Owen lived before he returned to France where he was killed in November 1918 and I read in a biography that he did the same walk often, and wrote some of his best poetry at the time. It’s not hard to understand why.

Anyway, I found this shot of Fountains Abbey on Flikr which reminded me of some happy times – and not so happy: I often made the trek when things were pretty shitty.

It’s a truly calming place. Worth a visit if you’re ever in the Ripon/North Yorkshire area.

How do these people get elected?

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Northwest Suburban High School District 214 school board member Leslie Pinney is leading a push to get seven books bumped from required reading lists next year, saying they are littered with lewd language and graphic sexual references inappropriate for teens.

Among those she says should go: the Vietnam war piece ‘The Things They Carried,’ Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ Kate Chopin’s 1899 ‘The Awakening,’ about a woman exploring her sexuality, and ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ described as a modern-day ‘Catcher in the Rye.’

Pinney also is targeting Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved,’ the best-seller ‘Freakonomics’ and ‘The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World,’ a non-fiction work that examines the relationship between humans and plants – using marijuana as one example.

Pinney has not read any of the books, and ‘I don’t know if I would want to,’ she says.

Stupid cow.

(Via Daily Herald.)