I haven't posted for ages, and I apologise for not responding to many of your posts, but a few things came up that prevented me doing so.
Firstly, Pat was in hospital for a while, but she's home now and almost fully fit once more. Secondly, as some of you may know, I'm heavily involved with my granddaughter, Giselle. I had to teach her at home for a few years when she had health issues, at 14. It got beyond teaching and we jointly wrote plays (and did high-fives when we saw them performed on stage). This year she completed her university degree - BA(Honours) Creative Writing. Her first novel - still a manuscript - is raising a great deal of interest ... watch out for her in the near future. She wants a second degree, English,and wanted me to do it with her for fun (!!!!), we are well into it but some of the assignments are taking a lot of time.
It was also her 21st birthday, so we went to London and saw the stage show, "Shrek" at the Theatre Royal (the oldest playhouse in the world - Nell Gwyn et. al. ). We also saw "Phantom of the Opera".
Hollyrood Palace is situated in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Scotland.
Click on Image to Enlarge
|The Fountain at Hollyrood Palace, Edinburgh,|
by John Simlett 2011
Pen & Ink
(Part of a much larger picture)
It was once an Abbey and as such still offered sanctuary in the 19th Century. It was here that James Tytler took refuge from his creditors (think of him as if he were a Charles Dickens like character.) I'm slowly doing a self-illustrated biography of him as he was the first British person to fly.
Tytler could snatch failure out of jaws of success. He built his hot air balloon from a big purpose-made basket covered in tarred-canvas, below which was suspended a platform for him and the boiler. The crowds and the press gathered for the launch, but, as the day wore on they drifted away bored, for, try as he might, the boiler failed to generate enough heat to raise the balloon. Finally, in anger, he kicked the cast iron boiler and it fell off the platform, whereupon he and the balloon shot a hundred feet into the air and drifted away. The success was reported by the one reporter who had remained behind. Alas, success was reported as failure as he landed in the sewage pools outside Edinburgh - he became the laughing stock!
I could fill a book about him - and am. Finally he fled to America where he became the editor of a newspaper in Salem, Massachusetts. One night returning home after work, drunk - as usual, he fell into a pond and drowned. After his death all his projects that had failed, bore fruit and made fortunes for other people.
So why do I mention Tytler here? Well, he wrote a long ode to Vincento Lunardi a Neapolitan who flew from London weeks before Tytler (he is the antithesis of Tytler and is the other half of my biography). In his, "Ode to Lunardi," Tytler begins: All my Projects Flutter in the Air. Which, my friends, just about sums up where I am at the moment ... hopefully I won't land in the Mire ... and hope to continue with another York scene next week.
Philatelic First Day Cover of Lunardi's First Flight by John Simlett (1984)