A QUESTION : We won the pub quiz again on Friday and the prize, of course, is a free drink and the honour of setting the quiz for the following week. So this is an appeal for anyone out there who has any good pub quiz questions they feel like sharing. You know the kind of thing, "What name is shared by the largest waterfall in Asia and a popular denture fixative paste?" (don't waste your time looking for an answer I just made that up). Any kind of question would be welcome, be it a straightforward one (what is the capital of the state of Kentucky?) or one of those counter-intuitive, mind-bending puzzlers which always make you want to punch the question-master on his nose. Remember the audience will be in West Yorkshire so "Who is the current Attorney-General of New Zealand?" might not be suitable. If you have any suggestions please add them to the comments to this post, but just in case any of the participants in the Rock Tavern Quiz are reading this, don't include the answers : I will get in touch if I need these.
MARY PICKFORD : The archive picture I have selected to accompany the call for submissions for Sepia Saturday this week is a gorgeous photograph of Mary Pickford. Finding the image via Wikimedia took no time at all, but what was time consuming, and gloriously so, was the trail of recreational research that it led me into. I had never appreciated what a long and fascinating life she led and how important a figure she was in the development of the motion picture industry, both in front of the camera and behind it. I was commenting on one of last weeks' Sepia Saturday contributions the other day - after I had perhaps had a glass or two of single malt - and I suggested that behind every old photograph there is a digital thread that can lead us on the most fascinating journeys. That is the beauty of old images. If you want to set out some of those digital threads for others to follow you can always come and join us over at Sepia Saturday.
A BAG OF THROW-OUTS : In my last post I told of the time when my father worked at the Mackintosh chocolate and toffee factory in Halifax and how the sweet smell of boiling toffee used to greet me when I would go and meet him from work. Several people have asked if we got free sweets and chocolates. The answer is that they were not free, but they were very cheap. Each Friday, the factory would sell its workers large brown paper bags of what were called "throw-outs" (misshapen or rejected chocolates of all types) and my father would come home from work with one or two bags of these. The problem was, of course, that familiarity bred a kind of sweet-toothed contempt, and what were Christmas and birthday treats for other children became rather boring fare for us. There was, however, a brief period of renewed pleasure when Mackintoshes were taken over by Rowntrees and the weekly bags would suddenly contain misshapen Smarties and twisted Kit-Kats. But in time, even the wonder of these became somewhat pedestrian.