In this blogposting…
* David Nove’s request
* Le blog à Pépère
* The Difficulties of English Spelling - Solved
Curtain up!

In the last posting - number 376 - I mentioned an email I’d received from David Nove, one of whose previous incarnations was as one of BBC Radio Newcastle’s Sunday presenters.  David was looking for information about an old photograph he’d found - for more details, take a look back at the last blog.

If you look down at that blog’s Comments, you’ll see that Sid has responded to Dave’s request - and has acted on it, conducting research on Dave’s behalf.

Sid suspects that the ‘JL’ visible in Dave’s photo is John Lindsey, a company that built tugs on the Tyne at St Anthony’s - an impressive piece of detective work.

I have contacted Dave to ask if Sid’s very sensible request for the photo in question to be made available on the truckshunter blog can be met.  I really hope it can; this is a story whose ending I want to know!

If anyone else has any ideas about how we can carry it forward, or suggestions for sources of information, please get in touch in any of the usual ways.

In the meantime, thanks very, very much Sid for the work you’ve done so far.

And thanks, too, to Val for her family memories of Dave’s radio show.  I’d like to know more about that, too!  When was Dave at Radio Newcastle?  And how long for?

Watch this space - and contribute to it!


Serge’s blog goes from strength to strength; he’s now had well over 100,000 page-views, far more than this blog has had.

His latest posting features the only French joke you may ever have heard.  Which means it’s worthwhile repeating it here…

‘Un bûcheron décide de se préparer pour l’hiver et coupe du bois.
Soucieux de savoir si il en a coupé assez, il décide d’aller voir un grand chef indien. L’homme lui demande ‘Grand chef est ce que cette hiver sera rude?’
Le grand chef indien lui répond d’une voie grave ‘Oui hiver froid, très froid.’
Le bûcheron coupe et recoupe du bois et retourne voir le grand chef indien et lui repose encore une fois la même question, et il lui répond ‘Oui hiver froid, très très froid.’
Le bûcheron lui demande alors ‘Mais comment vous faites pour savoir à l’avance que l’hiver sera froid.’
Le grand chef indien lui répond ‘Quand homme blanc couper beaucoup de bois, hiver froid, très froid!’

If your French isn’t up to seeing the joke and you are staring po-faced and unamused at the screen, I have taken the liberty of translating it for you as best I can.

‘A woodcutter decides to prepare for winter by chopping some wood.
Wanting to know if he has chopped enough, he decides to visit an important Indian Chief and asks him ‘Great Indian Chief - is this winter going to be severe?’
In a solemn voice, the Indian Chief replies ‘Yes - winter cold.  Very, very cold.’
The woodcutter goes away and cuts some more wood - and then even more - then revisits the Indian Chief to ask him the same question again.
And the Indian Chief again replies ‘Yes winter cold.  Very, very cold.’
So the woodcutter asks him ‘But how do you know in advance that the winter is going to be so very cold?’
The Indian Chief replies ‘When white man chops much wood, winter is always cold - very, very cold.’

This tickled me a lot, perhaps because - after all this time - I was able to see the joke.  In French!


I got this from Kev a while ago.  I think - although I don’t know for certain - that it was originally written by Mark Twain.  Whoever dreamed it up - it’s brilliant!

It takes the form of a plan for the gradual simplification of English spelling…

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet.

The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

Awesome.  Thanks Kev.


Our next AGM will take place at 1100 on Thursday 26 July at the café in Saltwell Towers, which is in Gateshead’s Saltwell Park, notwithstanding tongue-twisters, tangos and planking.

Should I hire a chara?


Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com


Kev said...

I can't resist a puzzle so here is what I have managed to find out (mind you the words barking, wrong and tree also spring to mind)
In 1871 a ship called Canute was built at the Hebburn yards of Andrew Leslie. This yard opened in 1854 and later merged with the locomotive manufacturer R and W Hawthorne to become Hawthorne Leslie and Company.
The yard of John Lindsey was open for the fairly short time of 1890 - 1898.
Hope this helps

Sid said...

Thanks Kev, that information certainly helped me.
Your vessel must surely be the one in the mystery photograph.

Kev said...

Here is more information on the Canute:
Her ship number was 62400 and she was a steam ship built in Hebburn in 1871. Her International Code Symbol was KQTH.
She was iron build and had a length of 225.5', a breadth of 30.6' and a depth of hold of 17.4'
In 1880 her reistered owner was HEP Adamson of North Shields but by 1890 she was owned by the Charlton Steam Shipping Company, Queen St, Newcastle. Her registry ended in 1905 which corresponds with the date of the photograph at the breakers yard.
Isn't the Internet canny?
Try http://www.maritimearchives.co.uk/ships.html

Sid said...

I think you have earned the right to sharpen the pencils this week Kev.