Cartographilia

06Apr14

BLOG - Map Main

As someone who’s previously confessed to a deal of ambivalence about the joys of travel, it’s perhaps a little contrary of me to now admit to an unhealthy interest in the theory of wandering the world via the medium of maps. In particular maps, like my good self, that are slowly drifting out of use and relevance with age.

So a Friday lunchtime trip to a much visited local charity shop was deemed a great success, by some at Weir HQ if not all, with several fine additions to the collection – including a number of European Esso Touring Service maps, featuring the ever cheerful Esso Oil Drop Man below, and a beautifully illustrated Europa touring map from Shell above.

[NB: If European road maps of a certain vintage are as alluring to you as they are me then I should point you in the direction of Petrol Maps - Mapping the history of oil company road maps in Europe - an enormously thorough website looked after by a Mr Ian Byrne, a man one assumes who rarely gets lost.]

BLOG - Map D BLOG - Map A
BLOG - Map B BLOG - Map C


BLOG - RCe

It seems an awful long time ago now that Mrs Weir and I ventured in the eastern end of London to attend the world’s foremost sporting competition, so it was good to return along with Mr Weir Snr to the first major event at the Lee Valley VeloPark – which only months before was the London Olympic Velodrome.

The event in question was the London round of the elite track cycling Revolution Series which saw a whole host of top riders (ie some that even I’d heard of) in action including Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Lizzie Armistead, Ed Clancy, Francois Pervis and the tremendously named Quentin Lafarge.

Despite Mr Weir Snr’s fondness for the world of the bicycle my knowledge of two wheeled track based escapades was a deal less extensive than I thought. The Madison in particular was largely new to me although I can say that I became a fan almost immediately. The programme for the evening explained that “of all the track cycling disciplines, it is the most colourful, chaotic and bewildering to the uninitiated” and as someone firmly in the uninitiated camp I can concur that it was all of those things and more. Two hundred laps of this colourful chaos unfolded gradually over an hour making almost as little sense at the end than it did at the start but suffering not one bit as a spectacle because of this.

Remarkably, given the speed and chaos that had occurred on the track throughout the event, the evening was heading towards a collision free one, until at the very last moment of the very last race – the elimination round of the women’s Omnium – Dani King and Katie Archibald came together and crashed in spectacular fashion to leave Laura Trott to coast to her third victory of the evening. Thankfully both cyclists were up and about within a few minutes to great applause leaving those who’d attended drifting off through the largely desolate edges of the Olympic Park.

Hopefully we’ll get back there some time soon, if you’ve not been I can’t recommend it enough.

BLOG - RCc BLOG - RCa
BLOG - RCf BLOG - RCG


Saving Grace

16Mar14

A morning spent playing beach hut bingo.


BLOG - Meades

Many years ago I went to a lecture given by Sir Patrick Moore in an unloved municipal theatre hidden away in a nearby seaside town.

To say I was baffled by the evening’s entertainment is understating events just a little – that said it was entertainment of the highest order. Sadly watching someone inordinately brighter than oneself speaking on a subject both complex and complicated is an increasingly rare spectacle.

So with this in mind the recent brief return of Mr Jonathan Meades was most welcome.

It’s been a couple of weeks since his programmes on Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness have aired but having run through them again number of times it appears that I’m still a long long way off the pace. Still it’s fun trying to keep up eh?


We took a short visit to our capital city on Sunday.

And amongst other things I stumbled across Central Saint Giles – a development designed by Renzo Piano (see also The Shard) sat in the shadows of Centre Point.  On a unremittingly grey January day it was nice to see some colour.


Once A Year

13Jan14

BLOG - Straw Bear

More finery from the tremendous folk at Cafe Royal Books.

This time a couple of books from founder Craig Atkinson on the Trellick Tower and the Barbican. And thirdly a superfine publication from Homer Sykes, Once a Year: Folklore in Britain Now - which is in essence highlights of his now out of print book published in 1977, Once a Year: Some Traditional British Customs, a book I’m now very keen to seek out.


Happy New Year

31Dec13

BLOG - Big Ben

Given that I’ve been a boy of moderately good behaviour over the last year, I was lucky enough to become the proud owner of one of Lego’s architectural sets on Christmas Day. As you’ll have hopefully worked out from the picture above the set in question was the Palace of Westminster’s Clock Tower, which of course also goes by the name of Big Ben.

So on the day that the most iconic building in Britain sits up front and central in the nations mind I thought it only right to share my love of connecting small blocks of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene together and at the same time point you in the direction of Ian McMillan’s series of short programmes celebrating the BBC broadcasting the chimes of Big Ben for over ninety years (the first of which is below).

Happy new year!




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