Destroy this mad brute

If you turn right out of the gate at the house where we’re staying, you head down to the river Helged. There’s a bridge across the river which was built from 1912 to 1915. It replaced an earlier, wooden bridge from 1865, which was needed because the river changed course in 1775, effectively cutting off Yngsjo from the main road.

Before the wooden bridge was built, people would cross the river by hand pulled ferry.

The directional change in the river effectively made Yngsto into a ghost town. A ghost town with a beautiful stretch of beach, to be sure, but a ghost town nonetheless.

Just before the bridge, there’s a small factory. Otto is the name on the main building. The same name on the plastic box we found in the freezer on our first night at the house. The plastic box contained a few big scoops of vanilla and raspberry ripple ice cream. Mirinda said it was very nice. After walking by the factory today, I suggested it hadn’t come very far either.

The walk down the road followed our trip into Ahus for lunch at our favourite cafe, Conditori Duvander. Today, rather than meatballs, the girls were treated to individual plates of roast chicken. They were also fussed over by a Swedish chap sitting next to us. In fact, when he saw the girls, he moved a table closer in order to pat them.

He said he loved dogs but had a cat. The cat belonged to his girlfriend. They also had small children but, he vowed, once the kids were a bit older, he was buying a dog. He’d grown up with dogs and missed having them around. We all agreed that dogs are much better company than cats.

He was one of those rare male humans that Emma likes. She was more than happy to allow him to pat and fuss over her. Freya was also patted but, as usual, was kept away by Emma.

Lunch was a delicious Caesar salad followed by Princess Cake (Mirinda) and a delicious piece of carrot cake (me). All very yummy and, hopefully we’ll get one last chance to visit tomorrow. Between meetings.

The rest of the day was spent working until dinner, after which I attended a Western Front Association webinar called The USA in the Great War.

I’d been a bit worried that it was going to be all about how brilliant the Americans were and how they won the war for the rest of the incompetent armies in the conflict, presented by some annoying American. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Major Gordon Corrigan OBE, was an excellent speaker. His lecture was informative, balanced and funny. He really knows his stuff and was a joy to listen to. That’s him on the mantelpiece, looking down on the Council of Four (l-r Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson).

The questions, too, were all well considered and asked. Mind you, one question, submitted by many viewers, was ‘Would the war have still been won without American involvement?’ Gordon answered it succinctly as his webinar ended. Yes, but it would have taken a lot longer, he claimed.

All in all, an excellent webinar (as usual) and a useful experiment in viewing British content in Sweden. I’m down to present the FATN next Thursday so it’s quite handy that it works.

Above is an American poster, inducing men to enlist in the army to fight the Germans. As Major Corrigan pointed out, the gorilla is actually a peaceful vegetarian and not a raging, fang ridden killer that steals women.

Speaking of the Great War…I finished the Epsom Post Office memorial today and will now start on the Epsom College Plaque.

And, finally, in passing…Following on from the vote in Parliament today, I find it very interesting that the UK government won’t feed starving children but is happy to destroy the economy to save the old from catching a virus. Anyone who voted for this awful government last December should be utterly ashamed. Unless they actually hate poor children, I guess.

Today, this happened

In 1928, Sir Thomas Beecham and the BBC teamed up and decided to create an orchestra. Tom left the project in 1929 and Adrian Boult took over. Adrian was the BBC Director of Music at the time. Then, 90 years ago today, the BBC Symphony Orchestra was ready to roll.

The BBC itself had only been in existence since November 1922 so this was an early milestone. Mind you, it wasn’t the first dedicated musical ensemble. In 1923, they had a dance band, a marching band, an octet and a light orchestra.

There was a bit of conflict between concert promoters who wouldn’t let the BBC use their venues for fear of the unfair competition so John Reith, being the clever clogs he was, asked the Royal Opera’s musical director, Percy Pitt to be the part-time, BBC musical adviser. Reith’s plan included using the Opera House for concerts.

Percy jumped in and, at first, expanded the octet into the Wireless Orchestra.

By 1925, Percy was working full time for the BBC, and he augmented the orchestra to create the Wireless Symphony Orchestra. Then, in 1929, the now famous BBC SO came into being.

These days, the BBC SO is a staple of classical music in Britain. Apart from its BBC functions, it is also the Associate Orchestra at the Barbican Theatre. Possibly it is best known for the opening and closing concerts of the Proms each year.

To quote music journalist Tom Service, “I’ve heard the BBC Symphony give concerts that I don’t think any other orchestra in the world could do as brilliantly … That supreme virtuosity in new music makes them unique among London’s big orchestras.” This is a far cry from this quote from a disgruntled member of the orchestra in 1979: “…[in] the BBC Symphony you can be a poor player, but if you’re on time and never moan at the conductor … you’ll have no trouble...”

But that was a long time ago. These days the BBC SO is world-class, and capable of attracting the biggest and best. Even physicist Brian Cox will guest star in December 2020.

They have an excellent website here.

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