Past Pics

Once upon a time (and I am talking last century here), cameras could not produce colour images, or should I say that photography was a monochrome activity. Like so many others of my generation I have a whole stack of images of family members who are no longer with us, and all of these images are in black and white. I have to admit I have a soft spot for mono images, they can be extremely atmospheric and their quality seemingly does not deteriorate as quickly as a colour print. Ship photographs in black and white are not as rare as you would think, and even in the time when colour photography was normal a lot of professional and press photography was in black and white. Over the years I have picked up some odds and sods and I want to put them up here for posterity. At some point Google will spider this page and they will become a part of the internet and hopefully survive long after I have popped my clogs.

Royal Navy.

I somehow acquired some images of the Royal Navy in Malta, and particularly prominent were 2 images of HMS Courageous.  She was sunk by U29 on 17 February 1939 with the loss of 519 of her crew. Originally built as a the lead ship of  Courageous-class cruisers she participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and after the war was converted into an aircraft carrier between June 1924 and February 1928. How do I know it is Courageous? It was written on the back of the pic. 

HMS Courageous
HMS Rodney and HMS Courageous

The fleet is in. This image shows elements of the Royal Navy supposedly in Grand Harbour, Malta. It may also be back to front. Unfortunately I cannot ID any of the vessels. 

The image below is part of a Christmas card that was amongst the collection. The Spithead Review of 1953 was a large one, and our RFA was in “Line H”. A number of the ships names are familiar to me, but notables are: Amerigo Vespucci, Pretoria Castle, HMS Eagle, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Vanguard, Andes, THV Patricia, HMS Sheffield, HMS Maidstone, RMS Mauretania, etc. There is a nice pdf at that shows the ships names and layout of the fleet. 

Quite by accident I have an old Illustrated London News from 1953 that has a section on the Coronation Review of 1953, and there is an image of part of the fleet with the RMS Mauretania steaming between the columns en route for Southampton.  (Image is 1500 x 675 px)  

Not all of the images that I got were from the Navy, a number featured passenger ships too. It is either the Armadale or Kenilworth Castle. 

This is either Winchester or Carnarvon Castle as built, or possibly Warwick Castle. Unfortunately the image did not have a name written on the back.

Two more unidentified Union-Castle ships in Southampton.

The same collection had the following two images:

3 funnel ship in floating dock. Possibly RMS Majestic in Southampton? Unfortunately the image is damaged and  I will see whether I can restore parts of it.

RMS Aquitania in New York.  Unfortunately I am unable to find a larger version of this image in my files.

Many years ago I was given this image of the Queen Elizabeth in Cape Town during the 2nd World War. I was never able to scan it one piece because it was wider than the scanner was which is why it has a definite “join” in the image. 

I was also given this image that they said was of HMS Vanguard, however Vanguard had a transom stern and she clearly does not, It is actually HMS Howe (you can read the name on the ship if you look close enough).

And another that I was given: MV Diplomat. 

I also managed to scrounge some ship images that were taken in Cape Town, the physical images themselves are roughly 50 x 50 mm and they scanned quite well but within the limits of the originals.  They were also scratched and battered, but are better than nothing. I will try clean them up as best I can. (images open are 800×600)

Pendennis Castle
Windsor Castle
City of Exeter
Maasdam or Ryndam
Angelina Lauro
SA Trader,  Transporter or  Pioneer
SA Shipper, ex Clan Robertson.
Unidentified (Harrisons Line?)
Unidentified Lykes Lines
Patris Ex Bloemfontein Castle
Arundel or Windsor Castle
Unknown Mitsui OSK ship

DRW © 2020. Recreated 30/05/2020. Unfortunately I am unable to credit the images to anybody as I do not know the names of the original photographers, however I would like to thank them for recording this slice of shipping history. Special thanks to Ken Malcom for his ID’s of some of the ships.

Day 7356474

Yep, it is day 7356474 of our sojourn with covid-19, at least it feels like it has been 7356474 days. There have been a number of interesting developments since I last rambled about this so let us get it done with. From what I read at the Beeb many shops and businesses will be re-opening after the 15th of June and some schools may be re-opening on the 1st. However, it all depends on whether or not the criteria for re-opening is met or not. Unfortunately this is all uncharted territory and businesses will have to comply with a whole lot of rules before they can get back to work. The school issue is more complex though, but I cannot understand why they don’t keep them closed and then reopen them once the long summer holidays happen. It doesn’t affect me though so I am not overly concerned.

The numbers game:
Today Worldometer numbers are as follows: There are 5 601 521 cases worldwide, with 348 132 deaths.  The USA leads the log, with 1 706 226 cases and 99 805 deaths. The UK is still in top 5 with 261 184 cases and 36 914 deaths. South Africa currently sits at number 31 with 23 615 cases and 481 deaths. 

South Africa has moved to level 3 now although the Western Cape numbers may lead to it being reset to level 4. The big alcohol/cigarette ban is very contentious, and people are seemingly more worried about their smokes than they are about the people who do not have food on their tables. I read yesterday that the unemployment rate could rise to as much as 50% as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately there are many strange rumblings afoot in the country, and the conspiracists are  having a  field day looking for ulterior motives. 

Talk about conspiracies; the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown break in the UK has been causing waves, with people questioning whether there was a set of rules for them and another for politicians. It is a valid point, and that is true not only in the UK but in the rest of the world  Personally I feel he should fall on his sword, you cannot tell people to do something and then do the exact opposite and expect them to listen to you ever again.   

On a personal note I was called up for a regular blood test by my local surgery, and frankly I was not in the mood to go there at this point in time and managed to get it postponed for 3 months. The fact is that it is really an unnecessary procedure given the situation we are in. Apart from that it is almost impossible to get an appointment that does not take me away from work. I would have take a days leave to have it done and frankly that is a bit of a waste too. Our department has been very busy for quite some time and getting time off is difficult. 

I did have a few other things to mutter about but naturally I have forgotten what they are so will end here and continue a bit later. However, be rest assured that I have all my ducks in a row.

On a side note.. today is my birthday so happy birthday to me!

DRW © 2020. Created 27/05/2020

Why I trashed my Kobo

In 2013 I purchased a Kobo e-reader so that I had something to read on the train when I went to work. I had originally considered a Kindle but the Kobo was not tied into Amazon and seemed like a nice device at a good price (£30). It was. Until today. 

Usually when I connect it to my computer it goes and updates itself and synchs and whatever.  After I had made my purchase (4 books) I then went to upload them to the device only to be faced with a new screen that demanded I log into their desktop. I usually keep the wifi disabled on the device but could not even access any screen inside the device to enable the wifi or do anything else with. It wanted that damn user name and password!

I then tried to connect via the computer and it asked me to log into their desktop that I was still logged into and connected to. Eventually I gave up and added in my user name and password only to be shown a captcha that had 9 blocks with a vague and out of focus picture on it where I had to select all pictures with a car. I swear those pics were 640×480 versions of what may have been cars or smears or trees. I reloaded to try a new picture and now had to choose fire hydrants and crosswalks. for crying out loud I could barely make out what the picture was and even if I did nothing happened when I hit the verify button, I could not get past that really bad captcha screen (please note: I am not a robot!!!)

I was not going to get anywhere like this so went back to the wifi setup on the device. Once again it displayed the that login screen but this time would not let me type in the details or do anything. That was the last straw and I sent the kobo to digital hell. What in the fcuk are they trying to do? it is because every company wants to use and sell your details to its dodgy “partners” who spam you with crap? I have had this device for many years, why is it suddenly wanting all this info? Or just maybe they want you to login with social media so that they can get you to tag your fricking friends or press “like”. The owner of the Kobo brand is in it for the money and they have effectively lost a  customer. I do not need this crap in my life. All I want to do is read my books in peace and nothing else but they have effectively removed me from that pleasure.  That captcha thing is illogical, it does not work. Why inflict that crap on us I do not know. Actually I do know, but if you are going to create/use a captcha make one that is legible, logical and that actually works!

So I am now koboless, angry, and ready to fire off letters to everybody and their ilk. Kindle, here I come!

Kobo with the back removed.

Update: I have placed an order for a Kindle, I am unable to get any response out of the Kobo and will take it apart when I am bored. The one nagging feeling I have always had about the Kobo was that there was not a huge selection of books for me to read at their store. If I was only reading  women’s fiction then I would have had lots to read but it appears as if they are not really interested in catering for male readers. I liked my Kobo, it was easy to use, did the job and had a great battery life although I have been noticing that the battery was needing to be charged more often lately. In my quest for a replacement there was only one that seemed to be popular (besides the Kindle) and that unfortunately is the Kobo and I am not going to touch them ever again. Where did all of the e-reader devices go to? or were they killed off by the tablet and smartphone? 


Kindle vs Kobo.

I bought the 10th generation Kindle and have now been using it for awhile. My verdict? I will be honest and say that I preferred the Kobo from a hardware perspective. The Kindle feels plasticy and I think if dropped it will crack or shatter. The battery life does not seem as good as that on the Kobo either. From a content perspective there is much more available though, but unfortunately you still end up being tied to connecting to Amazon. The Kobo also had a slot for expanded memory whereas the Kindle I have only has 4GB available and no options for an expanded memory and there is no way this can hold “thousands of books” as advertised. I have less than a 100 and already the memory space has been reduced. What does seem to happen is that the Kindle stores the cover and a link to the content that lives on “the cloud”, and that comes down when you want to read the book. I have also hit the situation where I have finished a book only to be taken to a screen that wants me to rate and review the book. I am not connected to wifi as a rule so it is not going to happen; but I am unable to actually finish a book because of this and that last page can only be overcome by going 1 page backwards and then exiting the book.  So far that is my theory based on my observations of the device. But, I may be wrong. Overall the Kobo was the better device although from the content side it was not. The jury is out, but I am still more biased towards the Kobo. 


DRW 2020 The last Kobo user has left the building on 10/05/2020