Monday, 26 September 2016

When do the clocks change? Here’s why 2016 is a special year for the historical change

When do the clocks change? Why 2016 is a special year for the historical change
(Picture: PA)
Winter is only months away, leaving many of us scrambling for the thermostat.
Before alarm clocks, people were employed to wake workers up with a long stick
Freezing cold nights aren’t the only major change winter brings – with one less hour of sunlight in the evenings.

The clocks go back at the end of October, which means waving goodbye to British Summer Time once again until March 2017.
This year is a special year for the clocks changing too, with it being the 100th anniversary since we started turning the clocks back.

When do the clocks go back?

The exact time you need to change them this year is 2am on October 30. The clocks will go back an hour in 2017 on October 29. If you find yourself confused about which way the clocks will be going remember ‘Spring forward, fall back.

Do the clocks change due to the equinoxes?

Time is ticking so you’ll have to solve it soon (Picture: Getty Images)
While the equinoxes and clocks changing forward and back happen around the same time of year – they aren’t actually related.
The date of the equinoxes are determined by the position of the moon, the Sun and the Earth while the date the clocks change is set by the government.
The date the clocks go back only changes each year because it is the last Sunday in October on the Gregorian calendar. The clocks go forward on the last Sunday in March.

Why do the clocks go back?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Musician Chris Martin of Coldplay performs onstage during the 2015 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/AMA2015/Getty Images for dcp)
Musician Chris Martin of Coldplay (picture: Getty)
Because of Coldplay. No, really. Chris Martin’s great-great-grandfather, William Willett, came up with the bright idea of British Summer Time back in 1907.
He spent much of his life trying to convince people they should get out of bed an hour earlier in the spring to make the most of the brighter mornings, although he died just before it was brought in in 1916.
The year in question was notable too because it was in the middle of the First World War and it was thought it might help the war effort and improve the economy. That and save fuel.

Clocks changing: the facts

We have had 100 years of changing the clocks twice a year.
Daylight Saving was introduced in the UK by William Willet to make the most of natural daylight.
He was keen to prevent people from wasting vital hours of light during summer mornings by starting the day earlier, making the mornings darker but creating longer evenings.
He published a pamphlet called ‘The Waste of Daylight’ in a bid to get people out of bed earlier by changing the nation’s clocks.
Germany was actually the first country to introduce the scheme on April 30th 1916 during the First World War in order to save fuel and give people more time to work in the fields. The UK followed suit soon after.
Lots of people think it should be scrapped altogether because the dark mornings are dangerous for children walking to school and the change means that the sun doesn’t rise in northern parts of the country until 10.00am.

Some want to scrap the whole thing

(Picture: John Keedy)
(Picture: John Keedy)
Some people think the extra hour would be more valuable after work rather than before, and we should just scrap the whole clocks going back thing.
They say it could even lead to fewer road accidents and help people keep more active after work or school.

Read more:

Poem of the Week

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse
Image courtesy of 
The Lady of Shalott
Part I 
On either side the river lie 
Long fields of barley and of rye, 
That clothe the wold and meet the sky; 
And thro' the field the road runs by 
       To many-tower'd Camelot; 
The yellow-leaved waterlily 
The green-sheathed daffodilly 
Tremble in the water chilly 
       Round about Shalott. 
Willows whiten, aspens shiver. 
The sunbeam showers break and quiver 
In the stream that runneth ever 
By the island in the river 
       Flowing down to Camelot. 
Four gray walls, and four gray towers 
Overlook a space of flowers, 
And the silent isle imbowers 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
Underneath the bearded barley, 
The reaper, reaping late and early, 
Hears her ever chanting cheerly, 
Like an angel, singing clearly, 
       O'er the stream of Camelot. 
Piling the sheaves in furrows airy, 
Beneath the moon, the reaper weary 
Listening whispers, ' 'Tis the fairy, 
       Lady of Shalott.' 
The little isle is all inrail'd 
With a rose-fence, and overtrail'd 
With roses: by the marge unhail'd 
The shallop flitteth silken sail'd, 
       Skimming down to Camelot. 
A pearl garland winds her head: 
She leaneth on a velvet bed, 
Full royally apparelled, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
Part II 
No time hath she to sport and play: 
A charmed web she weaves alway. 
A curse is on her, if she stay 
Her weaving, either night or day, 
       To look down to Camelot. 
She knows not what the curse may be; 
Therefore she weaveth steadily, 
Therefore no other care hath she, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
She lives with little joy or fear. 
Over the water, running near, 
The sheepbell tinkles in her ear. 
Before her hangs a mirror clear, 
       Reflecting tower'd Camelot. 
And as the mazy web she whirls, 
She sees the surly village churls, 
And the red cloaks of market girls 
       Pass onward from Shalott. 
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, 
An abbot on an ambling pad, 
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad, 
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad, 
       Goes by to tower'd Camelot: 
And sometimes thro' the mirror blue 
The knights come riding two and two: 
She hath no loyal knight and true, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
But in her web she still delights 
To weave the mirror's magic sights, 
For often thro' the silent nights 
A funeral, with plumes and lights 
       And music, came from Camelot: 
Or when the moon was overhead 
Came two young lovers lately wed; 
'I am half sick of shadows,' said 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
Part III 
A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, 
He rode between the barley-sheaves, 
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, 
And flam'd upon the brazen greaves 
       Of bold Sir Lancelot. 
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd 
To a lady in his shield, 
That sparkled on the yellow field, 
       Beside remote Shalott. 
The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, 
Like to some branch of stars we see 
Hung in the golden Galaxy. 
The bridle bells rang merrily 
       As he rode down from Camelot: 
And from his blazon'd baldric slung 
A mighty silver bugle hung, 
And as he rode his armour rung, 
       Beside remote Shalott. 
All in the blue unclouded weather 
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, 
The helmet and the helmet-feather 
Burn'd like one burning flame together, 
       As he rode down from Camelot. 
As often thro' the purple night, 
Below the starry clusters bright, 
Some bearded meteor, trailing light, 
       Moves over green Shalott. 
His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; 
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; 
From underneath his helmet flow'd 
His coal-black curls as on he rode, 
       As he rode down from Camelot. 
From the bank and from the river 
He flash'd into the crystal mirror, 
'Tirra lirra, tirra lirra:' 
       Sang Sir Lancelot. 
She left the web, she left the loom 
She made three paces thro' the room 
She saw the water-flower bloom, 
She saw the helmet and the plume, 
       She look'd down to Camelot. 
Out flew the web and floated wide; 
The mirror crack'd from side to side; 
'The curse is come upon me,' cried 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
Part IV 
In the stormy east-wind straining, 
The pale yellow woods were waning, 
The broad stream in his banks complaining, 
Heavily the low sky raining 
       Over tower'd Camelot; 
Outside the isle a shallow boat 
Beneath a willow lay afloat, 
Below the carven stern she wrote, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
A cloudwhite crown of pearl she dight, 
All raimented in snowy white 
That loosely flew (her zone in sight 
Clasp'd with one blinding diamond bright) 
       Her wide eyes fix'd on Camelot, 
Though the squally east-wind keenly 
Blew, with folded arms serenely 
By the water stood the queenly 
       Lady of Shalott. 
With a steady stony glance— 
Like some bold seer in a trance, 
Beholding all his own mischance, 
Mute, with a glassy countenance— 
       She look'd down to Camelot. 
It was the closing of the day: 
She loos'd the chain, and down she lay; 
The broad stream bore her far away, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
As when to sailors while they roam, 
By creeks and outfalls far from home, 
Rising and dropping with the foam, 
From dying swans wild warblings come, 
       Blown shoreward; so to Camelot 
Still as the boathead wound along 
The willowy hills and fields among, 
They heard her chanting her deathsong, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
A longdrawn carol, mournful, holy, 
She chanted loudly, chanted lowly, 
Till her eyes were darken'd wholly, 
And her smooth face sharpen'd slowly, 
       Turn'd to tower'd Camelot: 
For ere she reach'd upon the tide 
The first house by the water-side, 
Singing in her song she died, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
Under tower and balcony, 
By garden wall and gallery, 
A pale, pale corpse she floated by, 
Deadcold, between the houses high, 
       Dead into tower'd Camelot. 
Knight and burgher, lord and dame, 
To the planked wharfage came: 
Below the stern they read her name, 
       The Lady of Shalott. 
They cross'd themselves, their stars they blest, 
Knight, minstrel, abbot, squire, and guest. 
There lay a parchment on her breast, 
That puzzled more than all the rest, 
       The wellfed wits at Camelot. 
'The web was woven curiously, 
The charm is broken utterly, 
Draw near and fear not,—this is I, 
       The Lady of Shalott.'
Featured image courtesy of

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup
Makes 1 quart (1l)
Make sure the cookware you’re using is non-reactive and your clothes are stain-friendly. If you use an aluminum pot, it’ll get stained and the next batch of mashed potatoes you make may come out pink. Ditto for spatulas and anything else to plan to use to stir the syrup while it’s cooking.
If you live somewhere where huckleberries are available, you could use them instead.
  • 2-pounds (1kg) elderberries (see note below), woody stems removed and rinsed
  • 4 cups (1l) water
  • 2½ (500g) cups sugar
  • one nice-sized squirt of freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1. Put the elderberries in a large, non-reactive pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil and cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender and soft.
2. Pass through a food mill, then discard the skins.
3. Pour the juice back into the pot (I use a fine-mesh strainer again at this point, but I’m crazy…), add sugar, and cook at a low boil over moderate heat for 15 minutes, until the syrup has thickened. Add a spritz of lemon juice. Cool completely.
4. Pour into a bottle or jar and store in the refrigerator.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Riddled with Gilt

Poems by W.B. Yeats
by W.B. Yeats
Gilding is an age old art which consists of applying gold in powder or thin sheet (gold leaf) form to an object - in this case, a book's pages or even cover boards.
The gold in gold leaf has typically been mixed or alloyed with other metals such as silver or copper. But there are other options, and not all that glitters is gold. Some cheaper editions simply have gold-coloured paint, which can dull quickly, while at the other end of the spectrum are firms like Easton Press, who still accent editions in genuine 22kt gold.
It's common to see page-edges of books, particularly antiquarian books, shining with gold. Often it's just the top edges, but front and bottom edges can be gilded, as well. The gilt is beautiful and eye-catching, but also serves a practical purpose - applied in conjunction with glue, it helps to protect the page edges from browning, moisture and dust. They should be treated with care, however, as they are susceptible to physical damage and easy to scratch.
While gilt is most prevalent on page edges, and you may often see terms applied to antiquarian books such as aeg (all edges gilt), or teg (top edge gilt), but the edges aren't the only parts of a book to be given the gold standard - the spine is often decorated as well, with titles and text, and raised bands often being gilded. And gilt can make for spectacular patterns, designs and illustrations on the boards, or covers of a book.
We've sifted through the stacks to find these 25 shining examples of gilt-decorated books.

Please note: prices are approximate to within a small margin, as currencies fluctuate. Quantity on rare books extremely limited; copies on display, or copies with exact cover pictured, may sell quickly.

Riddled with Gilt

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser
Apollo 13 by James Lovell and Jeff Kluger
Apollo 13
James Lovell and Jeff Kluger
The Young Maiden's Mirror by the author of The Child's Keepsake
The Young Maiden′s Mirror
by the author of The Child′s Keepsake
The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation by Izaak Walton
The Compleat Angler
Izaak Walton
Jack and Jill: A Fairy Story by Greville MacDonald
Jack and Jill: A Fairy Story
Greville MacDonald
The Florist and Pomologist by Robert Hogg and John Spencer
The Florist and Pomologist
Robert Hogg and John Spencer
The Blue Lagoon by H. De Vere Stacpoole
The Blue Lagoon
H. De Vere Stacpoole
Tales of the Punjab Told by the People by Flora Annie Steel
Tales of the Punjab 
Flora Annie Steel
The Private Life by Henry James
The Private Life
Henry James
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
She Stoops to Conquer
Oliver Goldsmith
Johnny Nut and the Golden Goose by Charles Deulin. Translated by Andrew Lang
Johnny Nut and the Golden Goose
Charles Deulin Translated by Andrew Lang
The Thread of Gold by Arthur Christopher Benson
The Thread of Gold
Arthur Christopher Benson
Dunvegan Castle by Harold Steward Rathbone
Dunvegan Castle
Harold Steward Rathbone