070513.Bridgport, Tito: Yugo Where I Go, Montenegro.

May 13, 2007 at 5:49 AM | Posted in Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Preservation, somerset | 13 Comments

I ran out of words that rhymed, please continue if you can. Of course, this isn’t actually a Yugo but a Reliant something or other (Rialto?) for sale at a Yugo dealership, the type of car Mr Bean keeps sabotaging (Reliant Regal Supervan III). Apparently an appeal of three wheels to drivers was that it only required a motorcycle license to drive. There are enthusiasts out there who may or may not travel in three-wheeler packs, look out world.

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Here, the mighty Reliant majestically hovers. Such, such a futuristic car…and it — it’s for sale?!
UK Promotional Poster.
Saw this Yugo dealership near the bus stop in the Eastover section of Bridgport, Somerset. As far as I can remember, my only familiarity with the Yugo was seeing it from a news broadcast after American bombs had destroyed the factory and several of these gremlin-like machines were hanging loosely off shredded assembly lines. However, here I have photos of the Reliant Robin, Reliant Regal and Reliant Rialto. Even though they are somewhat infamous, I figured these characteristically British cars and needed to be posted. The fact that they were at a Yugo dealership was all the better, since I know nothing about either Reliant or Yugo and now had a chance to look them up.

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–Interesting Yugo Trivia–

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Yugos were built by Zastava, an arms manufacturer founded in 1853, which only went into the automobile industry in the 1930s to supply Fords to the Yugoslav army.
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“When it was first brought to America, the Zastava Yugo only cost $3,990 USD (Approximately $7,330 2006 USD).”
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“Zastava employees report that Yugo cars destined for American export underwent much more-stringent quality-control procedures than domestic models.”
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Still, it was voted “Worst Car of the Millenia” by the influential NPR radio program Car Talk.
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“24-year-old Leslie Pluhar’s Zastava Yugo was blown completely off the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan during a strong wind. High speed was to blame.”
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(Above photo: It really does settle into the pavement, like it belongs. )
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–Yugo Testimonials–

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Negative – “I once test drove a Yugo, during which the radio fell out, the gear shift knob came off in my hand, and I saw daylight through the strip around the windshield.
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Positive – “At least it had heated rear windows–so your hands would stay warm while you pushed.”
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Negative – “The Yugo’s first stop after the showroom was the service department: ‘Fill ‘er up and replace the engine!'”
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Positive – “Did You Remember to Bring in the Car?” (read full text.)
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Negative – “Any time we made a right hand turn, we all had to lean to the right to prevent the driver’s side rear tire from scraping against the wheel well.

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Wow, imagine the power trip you’d get sitting in your own Reliant.

–Yugo In Popular Culture (OK, only The Simpsons)–

In the episdore titled “Mr. Plow,” (and stop with this pretentious entitled business; I see it everywhere, a name is not entitled to anything) Homer goes to “Crazy Vaclav’s Place of Automobiles” to test drive an unnamed vehicle from a country that “no longer exists.” Homer is instructed to “put [the car] in ‘H,’” which is apparently a reference to ‘Neutralan,’ the Serbian word for neutral, spelled in the Cyrillic alphabet “Неутралан.” The gears displayed are Б, И, Ш and Н.

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070511.Walcot, Lime Window (St Stephen’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat)

May 11, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Ladders, people, Pevsner, Preservation, Restoration, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

Right where this metal scaffold pole cuts across those two streets (top: St. Stephen’s Rd, bot: Richmond Rd–and left of the pole is called Lansdown Rd) was the site of an 18th C turnpike.
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These ladders stretch three scaffolding levels. This was the lowest of three. The scaffolding went up the height of the tower, 30 meters, or so. It was also raining hard.
I took the sunny photo back in early November 2006. St Stephen’s put it up early to survey the repairs needed. These repairs are being carried out by Minerva Stone Conservators, who waited until spring for the “lime window.” As responsible conservators, all masonry repairs are being carried out with lime mortar, which takes a long time to set and cannot set during potential periods of frost. Below two conservators apply a dry lime mortar in the masonry joints and apply a cotton-like substance over sections.
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Designed to serve the spiritual needs of NE Bath by James Wilson and built between 1840-1845, St Stephen’s Church on Lansdown Road in Walcot cost 6,000 pounds (*today it cost 60,000 just for the scaffolding!) “It is broad and somewhat Georgian in proportion, and still in the mix-and-match style of the 1830s,, with lancets, but also Perp-style octagonal buttresses. The tower, similar to the W towers of Ely Cathedral (c.1400) or Antwerp Cathedral (1519), is a very imporant visual focus on Bath’s N slopes. Starting square and E.E., then at once turning octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagon by traceried flying buttresses; a smaller octagon on top with pinnacles is arranged in the same way. The nave and transept are very be-pinnacled, with pierced parapets. Two-light lancet windows and cusped Y-tracery. The church remained unconsecrated for some forty years until 1881, after which W.J. Willcox built the very wide apsidal chancel in 1882-1883, together with the vestry and organ chamber (at a cost of 3,000 pounds). The handsome painted ceiling, 1886, is by W.J. Willcox, executed by H.&F. Davis. The NE aisle was added in 1866 for the use of the Royal School, presumably by Wilson & Willcox, in a harsh Gothic typical of the alter work of the firm and contrasting with the style of 1840. –Stained glass. E Window, Lady Chapel by Mark Angus, 1983, the ‘Centenary,’ depicting St Stephen’s transformation, on the bridge between life and death t the moement of martyrdom. With distorted ambiguity between pain and repose, the body rises amid red flames on a blue ground. –Font and font cover. Marble, florid Gothic, dated 1843. –Transept ceiling and reredos. By Sir T. G. Jackson [of Oxford University’s building program fame], c. 1900, then working on the Abbey. Slade, Smith and Winrow converted the crypt to a parish room in 1993-1994.”–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 265-266.

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Here’s the cornerstone to the apsidal chancel. Yes, a Masters of the Arts symbolically laid this stone, possibly touched it but probably didn’t carve or do anything artistic with it. (Perhaps it was his brilliant idea to repeat Grace. *Also, just noted that the degree makes his name off-center, as if it was added as an afterthought, either because he earned it later and had it carved into the stone, or feared it might be taken away so he could have it filled in with his name remaining centered.) I have no idea why everyone in the UK insists on putting their educational degrees on everything. Here it is on a cornerstone. I’ve seen it in books, presentations, and even tombstones. Almost without fail, they also include (Hons), if applicable, or even organizations they belong to (that they had to simply pay to join).
Another thing to note with this CORNERstone is one side’s red tint. There is a local red algae that’s around here and the red shade indicates the colder north facade of this church where the sun doesn’t warm the stone and evaporate the dampness.

070510.Walcot, Congested with Calcium Sulphate? Aisle Five.

May 10, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Peephole Views, Sculpture, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

BDP to the Moon!

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This windswept face faces the wet and windy southwest side but it is in better condition than most. Eyes, nostrils and mouth all clogged with calcium sulphate, while the rest of this Victorian grotesque has been jos cleaned. It’s high, high up (30 meters or so up on the scaffold’s eleventh floor) of the James Wilson-designed Grade II* St Stephen’s Church overlooking all of Bath from Lansdown Hill.

070506.Windsor, The Bits and Pieces of Spring Cleaning

May 6, 2007 at 3:53 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Castles, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Preservation, Restoration, Sculpture | 3 Comments

BDP to the moon!

Funny as it sounds, as the Queen’s home complex at Windsor is undergoing some TLC at the same moment the President’s home at the White House has to be spiffied up for her royal visit.070504.163.BE.Windsor.StGeo.W.8L
The repair of the West Front of St George’s Chapel at Windsor is being carried out by Martin Ashley Associates. Mr. Ashley very graciously showed us around the place. Here’s a few directions for a small part on that facade.
*Repair shoulders
*Shelter coat orange stonework
*[Deal with] Numerous cracks
*Replace head coade stone
*Replace toe
*Poultice clean
*Paint Analysis
*Remove from niche (carry out all work off site, often the best option)
It’s a Victorian statue, probably from Sir George Gilbert Scott’s restoration of the place. There are no original medieval statues remaining. The head does look a bit odd, but the toe! I should add that this statue is very very far up.
One more tidbit: according to archival photos, the head originally faced Mary but somehow turned around. (Miracle or need for an exorcism?)

St George Chapel West Front
I just realized that this Madonna with Child is really a mother with daughter! I had to negotiate the angle of the photo to include the head, toe and shoulder but this is a view that no one else would be able to see, which perhaps influenced the sculptor’s modesty. Context is everything since other than the conservationists’ up close visits every hundred years the statue is only seen from over a hundred feet down below. Again, context, why place a realistic mother and child so far up? Mary’s dangling the infant like the King of Pop.

070418.Bath, Shaniqua Don’t Live Here No Mo’

April 18, 2007 at 2:17 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Conservation, Crescents, Mansion, Museums, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, somerset | 5 Comments

Uh, title? Yeah. I didn’t write down the title of who the portrait featured and the only title I could come up with was Royal Landing. This is the first floor landing of No. 1 Royal Crescent, restored and currently run by Bath Preservation Trust. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, no Shaniqua ever lived here, though I stress this statement should not be necessarily considered fact.

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Back to school today, and first thing will be a trip to Ty-Mawr for a class on Lime. Let’s see what happens.
Dated 27 Oct 1967 and retained in a small envelope by the Bath City Archives, the stair diagrams were produced during the terrace house’s restoration and conversion into a museum of its former Georgian self.

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070323.Widcombe, Fell Off a Dock in the Fog

March 23, 2007 at 12:23 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Chisel Marks, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Foggy & Misty, Gardens & Parks, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, Sculpture, somerset, Widcombe | 4 Comments

This is the Bath Abbey Cemetery Mortuary Chapel (Grade II Listed) and the Grade II Listed Jane Weeks Williams (of 6 Claremont Place, Walcot, c.1848) Memorial,
Mini Temple in the Greek Revival style- (signed by White, monumental mason)
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“The Williams Memorial is a magnificent white marble miniature open Greek temple raised up on a penant stone pedestal. Four pained sets of fluted columns with lotus and acanthus leaf capitals support a canopy over a draped urn flashed by an angel and a female mowner. The equally elaborate inscription is to Jane Wiliams who died at her residence, 17 Kensington Place, Bath, in 1848 aged 88. One side of the base comemorates 17-year-old Henry Williams, ‘who by accidentally falling off the West India docks in a dense London fog was unfortunately drowned’ in 1853.” –Bath Abbey Cemetery Tombstone Tour, 1999

070321.Swainswick, “Cave Canum”

March 21, 2007 at 3:44 AM | Posted in Architecture, Conservation, countryside, Dogs, doorways, Overcast, somerset, Swainswick, towns | 4 Comments

Behold Prince and Beauty, who are not the seven bay buttressed 1629 Manor House barn with its tie beams and collar-beam roof that lies at the end of this inconveniently private drive. Yaaargh. 070205.43.Somset.Swainswick
A good conservationist, or downright tourist for that matter, should always carry some bacon in his/her pocket while (excuse me, “whilst”) traveling ’round the countryside — just in case one encounters a “fleabag.” (Dad’s term, not mine.)

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