.

February 27, 2014

A Corinna Legend: The Lone Ferryman of the Pieman River


JOHNNY AHRBURG

'Yarns - they fell from his lips like ripe
mulberries from a shaken tree …'
Born in 1839 in Stockholm, Sweden, Ahrburg took to the seas early and his stories of racing tea clippers from China, of cargoes of fossilised bones from South America to Europe for ‘fertiliser’ purposes, of ships frozen in the Baltic Sea when crews subsisted for weeks on seagulls and other birds, lost nothing of their dramatic force or graphic description in the telling.

With flashing eyes and expressive phrases Ahrburg tells of one of his earliest deep sea voyages when as a lad he incurred the displeasure of a brutish captain, and for eighteen months was not allowed to set foot on land, while life on board was one of long and misery and bullying and ill-treatment. He told how when the steward, as a result of the same hard conditions, hanged himself in the hold, and none of the crew would venture down to the hatchway, but to him was assigned the gruesome task of cutting down the body and sending it up for burial.

Ahrburg though was particularly pleased to relate the sequel to that voyage when in later years he and the captain met in a back street in Stockholm. His description of the brawl which ensued and his feelings of deep satisfaction as he finally ground the old skipper’s nose into the cobblestones of the roadway was Ahrburg at his most passionate.

In 1880 Ahrburg left home altogether and after roaming the world for a number of years he gave up the sea in 1892 when he settled in Tasmania, and engaged in various occupations on the early West Coast mining fields. Seven years later he accepted the post of Government ferryman at the mouth of the Pieman River on an allowance £1 a week. He was to continue this lonely vigil up until a few months before his death, “a useful cog in the machinery in the country’s progress”.

During this period of activity, Corinna ‘14 miles up the river’, a thriving community of over a thousand men with their families exploited the alluvial gold-fields of the district. Consequently a fair amount of traffic would pass up and down the coast, but when the gold ran out the (Pieman) Heads reverted to their primeval state of solitude. Few again would break the monotony of (Ahrburg’s) existence.

“Well it is one of life’s privilege’s to know men like this and I know there are very many who will join me in wishing smooth sailing across the larger ocean on which he has now embarked, to the simple-hearted Swedish sailor man, who held down his job for 38 long years, in one of the wildest and loneliest out-posts of the Empire.”

The Ahrburg Bar at Corinna is named after this stalwart of the Heads.

- adapted from the Launceston Examiner, Saturday 7 August 1937 article by Frederick Smithies

Bowral Bradman Cricket Museum

THE Bradman Oval and Museum at Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.
BOWRAL MUSEUM PITCHES BRADMAN TO ALL AGES

David Ellis

DON Bradman 1948.
FOR most of us, March the 5th will most likely be just another day, but for cricket tragics it's one that will have them dusting off the record books, brushing-up on the trivia, and recalling with fondness the greatest batsman of all time, "our" Don Bradman.

Because it was on March the 5th 1949 that The Don played his last-ever first-class game, a testimonial between Victoria and South Australia for his good mate Arthur Richardson at the Adelaide Oval. Unfortunately it wasn't to be one of his finest: playing for South Australia he scored just 30 in the first innings, and later while fielding trod on the ball and had to sit-out the second innings with an injured ankle.

But that disappointment pales into insignificance compared with that of the year before at The Oval in London, where in his final Test innings before retiring, The Don needed a miserly four runs to finish his Test career with an unheard-of average of 100. And he must have had a premonition, because it's claimed that as he strode onto the ground he remarked aloud "What if I fail?"

To his horror, that of team-mates, spectators packed into The Oval stands, and the countless thousands staying up late to listen to the ABC'S cricket commentary on their crackly old valve radios back in Australia, he did just that: Don Bradman was bowled for a second ball duck – leaving him not with a Test-career average of 100, but one of 99.94.

STATUE of The Don outside the Museum
that honours him at Bowral today.
It's said that the ABC's then General Manager, Sir Charles Moses (himself a former ABC cricket commentator and aficionado) had the ABC's postal address in every capital city changed to PO Box 9994 in recognition of Bradman's average – but latter-day staffers write this off as urban myth.

Its yarns like these that many a cricketing buff can instantly recall, and which the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame in his home-town Bowral in the beautiful NSW Southern Highlands, feature in their wondrous collections and displays that enthral thousands of visitors annually.

And while most are teens or adults who already know either lots, or at least enough about the game and The Don to entice them to visit the Museum, it also has an interesting program that pitches – excusing the pun – to a much younger audience, one as young as three years of age.

VISITORS on a guided tour of the Museum
with Assistant Curator, Belinda McMartin.
"It's all part of the whole, wider program about cricket the game, and Bradman the man," says the Museum's Education Officer, Cindy Pryma. "We introduce the great man to the pre-schoolers in several ways, such as putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle created from a photo of Bradman in action.

CHILDREN learn about Don Bradman and the game of
cricket with Education Officer, Cindy Pryma at Bowral's
Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame.
"They get to know how truly special he was… famous not only in Australia, but all over the world, and so they actually learn something of Australia's culture through Don Bradman."

And they learn how the world has changed much since his time. "For example we have a photo of Bradman reading a telegram," Cindy says. "The other day a youngster asked what was the strange piece of paper he was holding… we had to explain what a telegram was, and how telegrams are now just history."

ONE of the many captivating
corners of the Bradman Museum.
Cindy also says younger visitors find it intriguing that the Australian cricket team used to journey to England by ship in a time before jet travel, how long it took and the many exotic ports they visited.

And fact boards and displays have plenty to captivate and interest older visitors to the Museum too, such as The Don being the only Australian to twice score a century and a duck in the same Test match, and how in a social match in the NSW Blue Mountains in 1931, Bradman knocked-up an amazing century from just three 8-ball overs (33, 40 and 27) – while his batting partner scored just two.

And how in 1930 Bradman set a world record Test score of 334 at Headingley, Leeds – and later the game was stopped so a telegram could be delivered to him while he was actually fielding. It was from a wealthy Australian living in England, saying he was giving Bradman 1000 pounds in appreciation of his 334-run effort.

The Bradman Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary on August 27 this year; more information www.bradman.com.au


(Images: Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame)

Struth! Chinese drink the French under the table

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says the Chinese have knocked the French off their perch as the world's Number 1 consumers of red wine.

 

In 2013 the French (and guests in their country) downed 1.80 billion bottles of red wine, the Italians 1.69 billion – and the Chinese a whopping 1.87 billion bottles (compared with an almost apologetic 312 million bottles of whites and sparklings.)

 

And according to those in the know, the Chinese appreciation of red wine didn't necessarily have anything to do with it being a nice drop to go with their cuisine: rather, the Chinese believe that red is one of the luckiest colours in the spectrum, and that red wine therefore aids their health – whereas white (embracing still white wines and bubblies) is one of the least lucky colours.

 

But while China may be the world's biggest consumer of red wine, as far as overall wine consumption is concerned, it's the Americans who lead the way here with over 4.02 billion bottles of reds, whites, rosés and bubblies going down their collective throats in 2013, followed by France in #2 place, Italy #3, the UK #4 and China in fifth place (with total wine consumption there of 2.17 billion bottles of reds, whites, rosés and sparklings.)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:

 

VINEYARDS grow up to cities' high-rise doorsteps in parts of China.

 

February 24, 2014

Struth! Supersonic airliner is a window on the world

SUPERSONIC – Sydney to Los Angeles in an 8-hour working day.

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says a company in America is working on a passenger plane that will have no windows, enabling it to fly twice as fast as today's conventional aircraft.

And although its first supersonic aircraft will be an executive jet it hopes will be flying in four years, it's also looking at a windowless supersonic commercial passenger jet that could ultimately have you flying from Sydney to Los Angeles in a normal 8-hour working day, and from New York to London in just 4 hours (half the time it takes now.)

FLAT-screens running the length of the aircraft would replace
windows and display pictures taken by outside cameras.
Spike Aerospace says aircraft need to be structurally reinforced where they have windows, which means window areas are heavier per square metre than the rest of the fuselage, which is unnecessary weight. Windows also create drag, so it wants to replace them with micro-thin flat-screens running the length of the aircraft's interior and displaying images captured by external cameras… passengers being able to change images from camera to camera, and to dim the screens next to them if they want to sleep.

Spike, that is working with such experts as Boeing, Airbus and NASA, says its ultimate aim after getting its supersonic S-512 executive jet airborne in 2018, is to "make supersonic air travel available to everyone, so they can explore more of the world, faster."

(Images: Spike Aerospace)


February 17, 2014

Weird hotels: Sleep in converted 727

 

FLIGHT OF FANCY IS PLANE COMFORT

David Ellis

 

HEAD for a Boeing 727 where it points out towards the Pacific Ocean from Costa Rica's Manuel Antonio National Park, and you'll not have to worry about metal detectors, X-ray machines, pat-downs, baggage searches or any other of the frustrations of big-city aircraft embarkations.

 

Not that they're unusually slack about security over there in Costa Rica. Rather that this 727 isn't going anywhere: it's fuselage sits atop a 16m high concrete tower, its wheels on a couple of sturdy equally-high steel frames, and its nose sticks jauntily out from a rainforest that abounds with everything from monkeys and iguanas to colourful toucans.

 

And the reason you'll go aboard will have nothing to do with flying. It'll be to spend a night or two here atop your concrete tower, indulging in one of the world's most unusual hotel suites – and a view to die for.

 

The so-called 727 Fuselage Home is part of the Hotel Costa Verde that offers a range of accommodation options from traditional hotel rooms to family suites, apartments and studios 300m in from the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park – one of Costa Rica's most-visited tourist spots.

 

And it certainly gets its fair share of attention.

 

Built in 1965 and operated for many years by South African Airways before being acquired in its latter years by Columbia's Avianca Airlines, the old plane saw sterling service shuttling locals and international globetrotters around Africa and South America before being retired and shunted off to its final resting place on the outskirts of San Jose airport in Costa Rica.

 

There it was slowly stripped, both officially and by vandals and souvenir hunters, until not a window or door remained, all seats, galley equipment, washrooms and the entire internal lining had been removed, and even the flooring torn out.

 

It made for a forlorn sight, until spotted one day by executives of the Hotel Costa Verde passing through San Jose airport, who when told the once-proud old jet was for sale at a give-away price, got immediately excited.

 

So much so that they snapped it up, had the 42m long fuselage and wings cut into sections, and the lot put on five special big-rig trucks for a slow, several days' haul to the Hotel Costa Verde. There everything was put back together again, new windows fitted throughout passenger areas and in the cockpit, and a massive crane brought in to lift it into the jungle behind the main hotel.

 

Interior designers and furnishers then spent months turning the 727 into a luxury hotel suite.

 

The entire interior was lined with Costa Rican teak panelling, and hand-made furnishings  – again teak – bought-in from Indonesia. Two bedrooms were created, the Master with two queen-sized beds and the other with one queen-bed, spacious ensuites installed for both bedrooms, and a kitchenette with adjoining dining area and  a TV room popped in.

 

Outside, the fuselage was painted brightly, a winding staircase built to the stub of the port-side wing (its wings had to be clipped because of space constraints,) and on each of the wing-stubs timber ocean-view terraces created, with voluminous shades protecting both from sun and tropical rain.

 

From these terraces guests indulge in million-dollar views of the beach and bay below, the Pacific in the background, the hotel's gardens, and delight in the jungle's inquisitive inhabitants: birds including the huge-billed toucans, monkeys, iguanas, squirrels, sloths, parakeets and woodpeckers.

 

Prices range from US$250 to US$750 a night depending on season; for all other room, apartment and studio rates and other details: www.costaverde.com

 

FOOTNOTE: The 727 Fuselage Home story is a happier one than that for Mississippi hair stylist, Joanne Ussery who also bought an obsolete 727 for just US$2000 in 1994, paid US$4000 to move it 100km to her lakeside home-site at Benoit, and US$24,000 to renovate it into her own private home.

 

She lived "very, very happily" in it until a few years ago when she decided to move it just 1.5km to another site to go on public display, while she pondered buying a used Boeing 747 for her next "aircraft home." Unhappily the 727 fell of the back of the transporter while it was being moved and was badly damaged; it is still the subject of an insurance investigation.

 

                                                               ………………….

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

 

[] THE Boeing 727 as found abandoned on the side of a Costa Rica airfield.

[] RESTORED and now a luxury hotel apartment.

[] GRAND entrance and wing-top viewing balcony.

[] PALATIAL master bedroom for the most discerning.

[] EQUALLY palatial master bathroom.

[] VIEW over the jungle, lagoon and out to sea.

 

(All images: Hotel Costa Verde)

 

 

 

February 10, 2014

Struth! Plans floated for 50,000 passenger "ship"




 IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says designers in America are working on plans for a "ship" that would be 1.3km long (0.8 miles,) carry 50,000 permanent-residential guests, have its own shopping mall with Westfield-style department stores, and a range of duty-free emporiums.

On its "roof" would be an airport with a fleet of 40-passenger aircraft to get passengers speedily ashore, and down below, a marina with hydrofoils to do so more leisurely.

And while referred to as "Freedom Ship International" they say that in fact it will be more a floating mini-metropolis on which residents will live, work, play, retire-to or holiday on as Freedom Ship International forever cruises the major oceans of the world.

It would be over four times the length of the world's current largest ship, the 225,000 tonne, 360m long Allure of the Seas that can carry 5,400 passengers, and as it would be too large to berth at most places in the world, it would anchor off-shore and send guests ashore by those planes and hydrofoils.

Stern view
Freedom's superstructure would rise 25-storeys above her main deck, her residential "neighbourhoods" having 18,000 permanent apartments, 2,400 time-share apartments, hotels with 10,000 rooms and suites, schools, a hospital, professional suites for doctors, dentists, attorneys and others, that shopping mall, and banks, restaurants, theatres, sporting fields, casinos and rentable office space.

Its backers are hoping to raise US$10.7-billion to see their dream, that would be powered by solar panels and wave energy, become a reality.

And if you look at our Image, it won't even look like a ship – as it is, more like a floating apartment block 1.3km long with a rooftop airport.

Shades of Old Rangoon. The Strand Hotel



OH TO BE STRANDED IN MYANMAR

David Ellis

FOR the famed Sarkies brothers to have anything to do with them, hotels in colonial Asia had to be very good indeed – amongst such esteemed places the brothers founded or managed included both Raffles and the Sea View in Singapore, and in Malaysia the Eastern & Oriental in Penang, and the Crag Hotel on Penang Hill.

From the 1880s to the early-1930s, the Sarkies were Asia's hoteliers of renown. And yet intriguingly, a hotel they owned for 24 years from 1901 and often considered the- then jewel in Asia's crown – more so than even Raffles or the Eastern & Oriental – later slipped most ungracefully from the top of the heap into the pits, becoming little more than a flop-house.

Even its lavish bar that had been the social hub of once-dazzling British colonial life, was reduced to stables for the horses of invading Japanese forces in the 1940s.

That hotel is The Strand in Yangon in Myanmar – or as many remember it, Rangoon in Burma.

And now, having been meticulously restored at a cost of millions of dollars, no visit to Myanmar today is complete without a step into The Strand's once-again unconstrained colonial opulence… be it for a night or two in a vast and luxuriously-appointed suite complete with your own butler on call 24hrs, or to dine in the grandeur of the 1920s and '30s under lofty chandeliered ceilings in the Strand Grill, to take a snack in the Strand Café, or to simply sip on a chilled G&T in the Strand Bar – thankfully now-sans any signs of those horses.

And despite the Brits having been tossed-out 66 years ago, to enjoy that most-British of institutions that The Strand still indulges guests in today: English High Tea in the Strand Café complete with scones and jam and cream, petite cakes and mini-sandwiches, and English Breakfast Tea.

And wherever dining, with classical guitarist, harpist or xylophonist discreetly off somewhere in the background…

The Strand, built in 1901 by British entrepreneur John Darwood a few steps from Rangoon's steamship wharf, was quickly snapped-up by the Sarkies. And although quite small at just 50-rooms compared with their other major properties, the hotel fast-earned an enviable reputation.

The popular British travel publication at the time, Murray's Handbook for Travellers in India, Burma and Ceylon described it as "patronized by royalty, nobility and distinguished personages," and "the finest hostelry east of Suez... one of the most luxurious in the British Empire."

And the Sarkies, who had been born in Persia to Armenian parents, imposed strict conditions on just who would be accepted as a guest in their Strand: it would be whites only – a rule that bizarrely lasted through subsequent owners until 1945 when Asian guests were finally allowed into The Strand's hallowed halls for the first time.

The Strand continued to flourish after the Sarkies sold it in 1925, but when Japan invaded Burma in 1941 its troops took over the hotel, including stabling their horses in the bar. Later after Burma's independence in 1948 the hotel was virtually neglected, and went through several indifferently-interested owners before being bought 40 years later by a group of Burmese investors who gave it a multi-million dollar refurbishment.

Black-lacquered chandeliers were re-installed in vast high-ceilinged public areas, teak and marble floors taken back to their original colonial glory, hand-made mahogany and colonial-era rattan furnishings re-introduced as in a by-gone age, and the countryside scoured for antique bathroom fittings to match those still surviving in the hotel.

The Strand re-opened in 1993 as a once-again treasured national landmark, its 50 rooms reduced into just 30 king-bed suites ranging from 55 to 65 square metres, and with a palatial Strand Suite of 200 square metres. Today its boasts being the only restored colonial hotel in South East Asia to remain true to its architectural past, with no added wings, pools or tennis courts.

Guests have included Prince Edward, Lord Mountbatten, Peter Ustinov, George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling who penned his Road to Mandalay there, Noel Coward who allegedly was inspired to later write his Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out In The Midday Sun… and David Ellis who had English High Tea and wrote this article there.

The hotel is today operated by GCP Hospitality: details www.hotelthestrand.com


PHOTO CAPTIONS:

[] THE STRAND Hotel in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma) today.

[] AN artist's rendition of the Hotel soon after it opened in the very early 20th century.

[] THE Hotel's palatial lobby today: restored to its true architectural past.

[] THE Strand Grill has seen the likes of Ustinov, Orwell, Kipling and Coward dine and create here…

[] AND possibly many an inspiration here, too: the Strand Bar: a favourite of Prince Edward and Lord Mountbatten.

[] FIFTY original rooms are now 30 king-size suites up to 65 sq metres.

(All images: The Strand Hotel, Yangon)


February 03, 2014

Dazzling paint schemes on cruise ships, not the latest fad.

 
Norwegian Pearl in her party paint scheme.
Sometimes when we look at the outrageous paint schemes on some of the world’s cruise ships, we think this is some modern phenomenon.

John Everett, Painting of the SS Lepanto (c1918). Postcard. Collection of Roy R. Behrens
 But historians at the Australian National Maritime Museum remind us that British artist Norman Wilkinson was perhaps the first to suggest that “dazzling” paintwork on merchant and warships could confuse German U-Boats and make the ships more difficult targets.

Photograph of the USS West Mahomet in so-called 'zebra' dazzle camouflage, 1918.
While the theory of dazzle paint was never really proven conclusively, the Navy obviously thought it couldn’t hurt. Especially when in the closing stages of WW1, eight ships were falling prey to the submarine menace every day.

RMS Mauretania in harlequin dazzle camouflage during WW1
This period of time produced some of the most startling steel canvases and if nothing else, it was a remarkable enterprise by the creative artist. Some 4000 vessels were painted in these lurid patterns.

Brand new (2013) USS Freedom in 21st century dazzle paint.
Even today, some state-of-the-art warships employ crazy paint schemes to confuse the enemy – and delight shipspotters.

Struth! Taking the Pisco in Peru

ON Peru's National Pisco Sour Day, water in this Lima inner-city
fountain is replaced by 2000 litres of the "national cocktail" for revellers to enjoy free.
IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that in Peru they treat getting on the national drink Pisco – a type of grape brandy – pretty seriously.

So much so in fact, that in 1999 no lesser body than the Peruvian National Institute of Culture passed a resolution declaring the fourth Sunday of every July, National Pisco Day.

Across the country vineyards and wineries promote their Piscos with tastings, gastronomic events, concerts and more, and restaurants and bars create special meals best suited to accompanying Pisco.

And apparently not considering that fourth Sunday in July reason enough to get on the Pisco, the National Institute of Culture in 2007 went a step further and declared the first Saturday of every February National Pisco Sour Day – to honour a heady "national cocktail" that's a blend of Pisco, lime juice, sugar syrup, whipped egg whites, bitters and ice.

As well as celebrating this cocktail in much the same way as Pisco itself in July, on that first Saturday in February in Peru's capital Lima, the water supply to a central-city water fountain is turned off for the day and 2000 litres of free Pisco Sour pumped through it courtesy of a major local supermarket chain – with locals queuing around the block for a complimentary slurp.

Samuel Johnson House: there's a word for it.

 

OF FOPDOODLES, BEDPRESSERS AND AMATORRULISTS

David Ellis

 

WHEN he wrote his celebrated Dictionary of the English Language back in the mid-18th century, lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson and seven assistants took eight years to complete the job – in today's terms a seemingly inordinately long time.

 

But across the English Channel, a French publishing house had 40 academics spend nearly four decades producing their first major dictionary, while in Italy another publisher took 30 years to get theirs done and into print.

 

The Johnson dictionary was by no means England's first, with the "Wordbook" having been published in 1538, and a dozen or so others in the years before Johnson's. But his was the most-commonly referred to – and most trusted – until the Oxford English Dictionary came along 150 years later.

 

And today, visitors to London can drop into the house just off London's famed Fleet Street, and see for themselves the garret Johnson and his team toiled away in for those eight laborious years. When finally completed in April 1755, A Dictionary of the English Language comprised two-volumes containing 43,000 entries, with 100,000 definitions of word meanings attributed to hundreds of earlier writers Dr Johnson referred to and quoted.

 

One apparently simple word could attract vast explanations in his dictionary. 'Put,' for instance, was given an extraordinary 100+ meanings, taking-up five pages.

 

And so large and cumbersome were the initial two volumes that they were later broken down into four – that when stacked one on top of the other, stood well over 25cm (nearly a foot) thick, and as the pages were 46cm X 50cm in size, their combined weight was 9.5kg (21 pounds.)

 

Samuel Johnson was an extraordinarily colourful and charismatic person, with an exceptionally brilliant mind. He was a teacher, journalist, essayist, poet, literary critic, biographer and book editor, yet almost all his life lived near-penniless.

 

His teaching career had ended while still quite young, students complaining of his "unusual" behaviour, which included appearing clumsy through being both partially blind and deaf, and also suffering involuntary head-shaking, gesticulating, grunting, emitting half-whistles and making sudden "clucking" sounds with his tongue.

 

It was only well-after his death that doctors started to record a condition that was to become known as Tourette Syndrome – Samuel Johnson's now-obvious problem.

 

Yet despite his ailment, Dr Johnson has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history," and "the second-most quoted English writer after William Shakespeare," although he was not without detractors in high places. One stated publicly that his dictionary was "imperfect and faulty," another that it was "grammatically and historically contemptible" and a third that "nearly one-third is as much a language of the Hottentots as it is of the English…"

 

But conversely, when two society ladies complimented him on having left vulgar words out of his dictionary, the ever-witty Dr Johnson feigned surprise, gasping: "What, my dears – you have been looking for them, have you?"

 

The tens of thousands who today visit the home where he wrote his dictionary, obviously have more admiration than Johnson's critics. Found at number 17 on the small pedestrian-only Gough Square off Fleet Street, the circa-1700 building is "4 bay windows wide and 5 storeys high" (as chronicled when Johnson lived there,) and is as sparsely furnished today as in his struggling times.

 

In fact the only times he had money of any significance was when writing spasmodically for the Gentleman's Magazine, fascinatingly described as "a repository of all things worth mentioning… a digest of news and commentary on anything from market prices to Latin poetry, divinity, philosophy and morality… fact or fantasy" and which was published for over 190 years from 1731 to 1922.

 

And again when he was paid 1500 English Guineas in instalments (around AU$250,000 today) by a group of London booksellers to write his dictionary.

 

And how words have changed: Dr Johnson's dictionary had cruise defined as a small cup, fireman a man of violent passions, fake a coil of rope, and urinator as a diver who searches under the sea.

 

Equally words that have gone out of use included bedpresser that Dr Johnson defined as a heavy and lazy fellow, fopdoodle as a fool, odontalgick a toothache, and an amatorrulist as an insignificant little lover…

 

Dr Johnson's House is open Monday to Saturday 11am to 5pm; details www.drjohnsonshouse.org

 

                                                              ………………………..

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

 

[] DR SAMUEL Johnson by 18th century painter Joshua Reynolds, depicting how Johnson was partially blind. (Academy of Arts)

[] THE home in which Dr Johnson and his team wrote A Dictionary of the English Language over eight years; it is now a museum. (British Tourist Authority)

[] PART of the interior of Samuel Johnson's home, as austere today as it was in his time. (British Tourist Authority)

[] EARLY two-volumes of the famed dictionary. (Kreutz Rare Books)

[] TYPICAL page entry showing Johnson's quaint interpretation for Oats… and how he attributed word meanings to others. (Kreutz Rare Books)