73 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

  1. Wow, a wee treasure trove here – going up the way “Z cars” I remember undercover DS entering a student pub to be regaled with everyone humming the theme tune “Na Na Na nana Na Na – Na Na Naaah nanan Nah!
    Or something like that.

    Then the best Miss Marple ever and her on screen bit of rough played by her real life husband.

    Terry “Albsolute Showah!” Thomas.

    Where the bairns are playing is down by the Citadel in Leith. Can’t remember the name of the street.

    A wee tank engine hauling coal for town gas production somewhere, I’m sure the steam guys will know where.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terry Thomas was a funny man in the old movies.

    Margaret Rutherford was great too. The man with her is apparently her husband Stringer Davis, an English character actor.

    It was just the other day I read that what’s called “kerosene” in the USA is called “paraffin” in the UK and Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Conan……People sometimes forget that John D. Rockefeller made America’s first great fortune refining “kerosene” for lighting oil…..apparently considered much cleaner burning and lacking the smell of whale oil and older, cheaper oils. Rockefeller threw away the then worthless gasoline until automobiles came on the scene.

        I think the only really good Miss Marple was Joan Hickson. Margaret Rutherford’s flighty old woman comedy persona just doesn’t work for me in that role.

        David Suchet was the only good Poirot BTW. Every other Poirot was more or less annoying on the screen IMHO.


        1. Yes. I really love Margaret Rutherford, but her Miss Marple, although a brilliant character, was hardly what Agatha Christie wrote. In fact I believe Christie was most displeased.

          I shouldn’t think it put Margaret up nor down. She seemed to be a feisty in real life as her characters were.

          Agree too about Suchet. Although I prefer Peter Ustinov as an actor, he was useless as Poirot, or at least the Poirot that Christie wrote.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……I loved Margaret Rutherford in the role of Grand Duchess Gloriana XIII of Grand Fenwick in “The Mouse on the Moon.” She proposed that the Privy Council should be consulted in a discussion of outdoor “conveniences.” When informed that it was a different kind of privy, she replied “Oh…..Pity!” Then when launching the rocket, she had forgotten her speech and ended up opening a bridge and Christening a ship.

            Surely Agatha Christie had no casting approval when they miscast Rutherford to play a comic Miss Marple.

            I agree about Ustinov, who was a wonderful actor, but the role of Poirot defeated him as it did every other actor who ever played him on screen……except David Suchet.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. No, Danny. She had no say. But I believe she visited the filming and made it fairly clear that she wasn’t pleased.

              Rutherford was much in private life, as she was on screen.

              She made a film with Frankie Howerd and Petula Clark in the 50s, called “The Runaway Bus” (a load of nonsense,)


              Shortly afterwards Pet had appendicitis and was quite ill. When Rutherford heard about it she marched along to the hospital with her driver, and announced to the ward sister that she was there to see Petula Clark. The sister pointed out that it was not vising time (very strict in these days), to which Rutherford exclaimed “nonsense my dear” … her chauffeur produced champagne and she sent the sister off to find some suitable glasses.

              She was quite a woman.

              To be believable as Poirot you had to be small, fussy and a bit camp. Ustinov was none of these.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Tris……Great story about Margaret Rutherford. I like her sending the nurse for champagne glasses.

                I remember that there was a high budget big star Hollywood movie of “Murder on the Orient Express” produced in the 1970’s. I saw it quite a while back on Cable TV. All I really remember is how much I hated Albert Finney as Poirot. But Finney received best acting nominations for it for some unexplained reason.

                For me, it takes good acting to rescue an Agatha Christie story on film. Maybe Christie’s unrealistic tediously crafted plots work better as books than TV and movies.


                1. Finney was awful.

                  They did a few of these movies in Holywood with all-star casts that included Elizabeth Taylor and Angela Lansbury. They were, despite the talent, completely contrived and utterly crap.

                  Liked by 1 person

      2. If you’re using ancient paraffin, no wonder it smelled a bit!
        Actually though, just the other day I came across a paraffin heater behind a pile of junk in the basement. Might just dig it out and give it a refurb in anticipation of Brexit. No idea where to get paraffin these days. So, maybe I’ll no bother. As a youngster , I remember a bowser came round the streets selling the stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

            1. It may well be just a summer thing for BBQs etc. They sell it in 5 litre containers (max allowable by law) so I get two once every couple of years & put it in a jerrycan. I use it for storm lanterns in the garden on warm evenings.

              It seems a lot purer than the stuff I remember from the 1970s; doesn’t form wax at all even at -10C (its stored outside for obvious reasons).

              Liked by 2 people

        1. Jake, Vestas…….American gas stations (petrol stations) often have a kerosene pump someplace. In the states, there are two grades……1-K and 2-K…….with 1-K being the more highly refined grade with less sulfur and therefore less odor when burning. Presumably, a kerosene pump would be labeled as to grade. The situation in the states has the complication that kerosene that has not been federally taxed for road use is dyed red. The red color apparently causes it to burn with more soot deposits. So clear, undyed (and federally taxed) 1-K kerosene is preferred for interior use in homes.

          Lots of stores (shops)….especially ones that sell decorative oil lamps……sell a clear, highly refined version of kerosene in 1 quart (or 1 liter) bottles which is labeled “lamp oil” and identified as being “paraffin.” This further complicates the matter for Americans who may think that paraffin oil for lamps is fundamentally different from kerosene, which it isn’t apparently. Lamp oil for decorative oil lamps is often also available in an assortment of attractive colors, and is (I’m pretty sure) also sometimes scented.

          That brings us to oil lamps which (in the days before battery powered LED lanterns) were often used for light during power outages. Lots of Americans in rural areas still have the oil lamps their family used for lighting prior to FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration in 1936, which finally brought electric light to the farmlands, prairies, and wilderness regions of the American continent. In 1932, only about 10% of Americans (most Americans living outside of cities and towns) had electrical power, and some far flung rural areas still had no electrical power until the early 1950’s. So there’s still lots of oil lamps around that use Kerosene in power outages.

          Oil lamps that burned various kinds of relatively non-combustible oil have been around since ancient times……often no more than a clay bowl with some sort of a wick laid in it. By Roman times, the clay bowls had become a little more lamp-like in shape, but they were still cheaply made and lots of them have been thrown away since antiquity. So ancient oil lamps can be purchased fairly cheaply these days. If you want one that’s in good, not-cracked condition, those cost a little more. And……ancient Romans being ancient Romans………some of the higher quality lamps were crafted with sculptural images that are erotic and pornographic. I’ve been looking for one of those that would be in my price range.

          Your basic ancient Roman oil lamp can be had in the range of £ 100-200, but this erotic item will set you back £395.00. More explicit Roman lamps will cost more……not to mention any possible fines and penalties levied by local police authorities.


          Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Conan, 4 pics didn’t load for me but to be fair it’s time I replaced some of the valves in my computitor device. First pic – no idea exactly where but it looks like Aberdeen to me with those granite “bricks” and that white pointing between them: 1950s? I well remember Esso Blue and Aladdin Pink paraffins and the stink of them both but, hey, back in the day, when money was tight and coal too dear, a paraffin heater was no bad thing on a cauld night. And I also recall Z Cars – “BD (Bulletin Dispatch) to Z Victor 2 proceed to Conan Street – report of a person behaving strangely, Over”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kangaroo…….Very nice kerosene/paraffin poetry! 😉

      In the states, there is a standard color code for approved containers. Red for gasoline, Yellow for diesel fuel, and Blue for kerosene/paraffin.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The first photo is indeed Aberdeen. The coal is being delivered to the gasworks to produce coal gas. In the 2nd photo you can see the gas works on the left.

    The loco is Bon-Accord, built in 1897 by Andrew Barclay & Sons of Kilmarnock. It is still in use at the Deeside Railway at Milton of Crathes. I believe you can have a shottie at driving it for a small fee.

    It seems incredible now that trains of coal wagons pulled by a steam locomotive could pass through the streets of a large city. And without any police escort!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What was the precise function of the « skirts » over the wheels of the Aberdeen dock tank engines ? I think they had external cylinders and motion so might have been for protecting these parts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cairnallochy, I wonder if the side skirts were the equivalent of cowcatchers on the front of locos, the skirts in this case to prevent people, dogs from falling under the loco as it made its way through the streets. I remember that when I was a boy (long ago) in Dumbarton, the loco, known as Denny’s Pug regularly crossed the busy main road between the shipyard and a goods yard. I’m pretty sure the only safety/traffic control measure was a workman who walked into the middle of the road and stopped the traffic by holding up his hand.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A bit late in the day, and everyone’s moved on to Soppy Sunday, but yes, it was a safety issue. Which you’d know if your children had ever watched or read Thomas the Tank Engine!

          I never really understood the appeal of Thomas – I found it fairly boring – but the Rev W. Awdry certainly knew his stuff about railway operating procedures. Even at a considerable distance in time I still recall, in “Thomas in Trouble”, Thomas getting told off by a policeman, for running from the quarry along public roads without cow-catchers and side-plates being fitted for safety.

          And on a more mundane note, Wikipedia noted that, on tram engines designed specifically for running on public roads, the machinery must be concealed from view at all points above 10 centimetres (3.9 in) from rail level

          Liked by 1 person

  5. OT But
    This basically means NO Withdrawal Agreement and NO Transition

    Leaves only
    Revoke A50 or beg to Remain The SNP Position
    EFTA if they will have us. The Scottish Gov position
    No Deal and No FTA

    I hope the Continuity Bill case is decided soon. They suggested end of October so starting gun could fire very soon.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I’m still puzzling over the photo with the children playing. It must be one of our historic cities judging by the mix of stonework. And with some posh folk around – one of the kids is wearing a suit and tie, with a smart haircut. Somewhere in Edinburgh old town? But I can’t think where.


        1. I had a wee dig. It’s Johnston St, now gone, which was designated as a car free zone for bairns to play in; it is indeed near the Citadel.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well researched, Conan

            I see the arch is on canmore.org, catalogued as an artillery fortification. Great photo. I wondered if it was taken by Bert Hardy.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Albions! Checked my book; the shape of the script background matches, and the wheels match , the 1923-on Model 24. Headlight position’s different, although it’s possible that they could be in different positions depending on the customer’s requirements.


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