Saturday, December 22, 2007

What we were Reading in 1817.

Here is an interesting catalogue from the rear of a 1817 copy of Dr. Johnson's Rasselas, detailing Classics published by Walker and Edwards of London. How many should be rediscovered, we wonder.

Thomson's Seasons and Castle of Indolence.
Hawkesworth's Telemachus.
Pope's Homer's Iliad.
Ditto Odyssey.
Junius' Letters.
Ossian's Poems.
Young's Night Thoughts.
Rasselas by Dr Johnson.
Ovid's Metamorphoses.
Dryden's Virgil.
Robinson Crusoe.
Chapone, Gregory and Pennington.
Francis' Horace.
Ovid's Epistles.
Roderick Random.
Death of Abel.
Falconer's Shipwreck.
Gray's Poems.
Tales of the Genii.
Milton's Poetical Works.
Vicar of Wakefield.
Cotton's Visions, and Moore's Fables.
Seven Champions of Christendom.
Hervey's Meditations.
Pope's Poetical Works.
Old English Baron & Castle of Otranto.
Spiritual Quixote.
Zimmerman on Solitude.
Sturm's Reflections.
Humphrey Clinker.
Sandford and Merton.
Gulliver's Travels.
Don Quixote.
Gil Blas.
Watts on the Mind.
Tom Jones.
Persian and Turkish Tales.
Pilgrim's Progress.
Peter Pindar's Works.
Lord Chesterfield's Letters.
Joseph Andrews.
Bucaniers of America.
Goldsmith's Essays, Poems and Plays.
Marmontel's Plays.
Beauties of Sterne.
Belisarius, and Numa Pompilius.
Locke on Understanding and Bacon's Essays.
Chesterfield's Principles of Politeness &c.
Paul and Virginia, and Elizabeth.
Nourjahad; and Almoran and Hamet.
Cowper's Poems
Devil on two sticks.
Peregerine Pickle.
Doddridge's Rise.
King Arthur.
Mackenzie's Works.
Dodd's Beauties of Shakespeare.
Tales of the Castle.
Atala; Indian Cottage; Gressner's Idyls, and First Navigator.
Tristram Shandy.
Mason on Self Knowledge; Economy of Human Life; and Melmoth's Great Importance.
Fairy Tales.
Sterne's Journey.
Voltaire's Charles the 12th, and Peter the Great.
Chinese and Oriental Tales.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

First World War field guns

This first photograph shows the wonderful array of equipment accompanying what presumably would have been first world war field guns (type unknown.) There are baskets, shell cases, tracks, ammunition carrying boxes complete with straps &c. &c. Where these photos were taken again is beyond us. There are no inscriptions to the rear. The visible flora, particularly in the photo below, appear north European, with birches [?] predominating among the trees. The moss on the trees is perhaps densest on the side nearest the camera, with the light coming from the right as we look at the image. Any input again would be appreciated...

Ephemera - Unknown football team

Can you help identify the football from this unmarked and undated contemporary photograph? The principal clue is the presence of a double-headed eagle on the shirt badge. According to Wikipedia, the double-headed eagle appears as a part of the state symbolism of the following countries: "The lot was purchased in Fife or Tayside and we would suggest a Polish connection as an initial line of enquiry. Was the double-headed eagle not also used on club shirt badges? We don't know.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ephemera - Mystery Singer

Can you name the mystery singer in the picture above? (This is not a quiz: we have no idea ourselves.)

The photo turned up, as ever, in a box of old books. The photo is cardbacked and has written "Copy C" on the reverse.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ephemera - Penguin biscuit wrapper

How long has it been since Penguins looked like this? Who designed them?

Ephemera - Old Industrial Photo

Questions: where was this old photo taken? And when? What industry is at work here? Why are there no people in the picture?

Ephemera - Wartime Map of Tunisia

An old wartime (presumably world war two) map of Tunisia washed up in an elderly biopic, but without much in the way of context or background. From the advertisements on the rear cover it seems likely that this was published in the Dundee Courier, but again this is open to speculation. The date of publication is also something of a mystery.

[Fragments of text from the map side:] "[...]Tebessa. One force pushed through Kasserine Pass and then swung westwards in two parallel columns, one along the Tebassa road and the other up the dried-up bed of the Wadi Retod,...

"diving for [...] from the "Tiger" tank, diving[..]6 a ditch at the same moment as the British offier. The battery, although only at 40 yards range, fired five rounds before the re-..."

[Placenames from the map:] "Bonna, La calle, Tabarca, Bizerta, mateur, Djedeida, Tunis, C. Bon, Kelibia, Nabeul, Hammamet, Pont du Fahs, Robaa, B. Arada, Gafour, Testour, Beja, S. Arba, Kef, Souk Ahras, L. Salines, K. Djerda, Thala, Tebessa, Feriana, Kasserine, Sbeitla, Sbiba, Pichon, Maktar, Kairouan, Ousseltia, Siliana, Enfidaville, Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia, Kerker, El Djem, Pavilliers, Sidi Saad, Faid, Bouzid, Sfax, Graiba, Mezzouna, Maknassi, Sened, Gafa, Shott Gerid, Tozeur, Kebili, Matmata, Cekhira, Metouia, Gabes, Zarat, [and those east of the Mareth Line:] Medenine, Tatahouine, Remada, Ben Gardane."

[From the rear leaf:] "...from the shop at 22 Hawkhill occupied by Frank Fredman.
"a second charge was that he stole household articles from the workshop at 56 Gellatly Street, occupied by Israel Rosen.
"It was stated he got access to the premises as a firewatcher. He had said he took the smaller articles in a gas mask container and he tied the other srticles round his waist. Property was valued at £50 17s 3d.
"His mother, Jessie Watson or Chambers, was sent to prison for thirty days for resetting the goods, which had all been recovered."

"At Drumgeith W.R.I. open meeting, presided over by Mrs Bachelor, president, who was also hostess, with assistants, the programme was sustained by Mr. and Mrs Macdonald, Dundee, in an illustrated lecture on "Song and Story of Mull and Iona."
"Mr Macdonal gave the talk and Mrs Macdonald rendered songs illustrating the talk, while their daughter, Miss Macdonald, was accompanist and Mr Norman Brown, Dundee, was lantern operator.
"Thanks to the artistes who were accorded on the call of Mr McLeod. Mr Macdonald replied and thanked Mr Brown.
"A pochette, gifted by Mrs Bachelor on behalf of the funds, was won by Mr Buttar."

"For having broken into the house at 94 Nethergate, Dundee, occupied by Constance Loseby or Mitchell and stolen goods valued at £62 5s, Thomas Kelly, 15 Craigielea Terrace, may be sent to Borstal.
"At Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday he admitted the theft and one previous conviction.
"It was stated he visited the house the previous day in connection with the window [c]leaning. He stole a watch valued at £25, [a]nother at £30, a cigarette lighter valued at [~]5s, and £4 of threepenny pieces. A report [i]s to be submitted on his suitability for Borstal."

"LEAGUE of Nations Union (Dundee Branch).- Public meeting in King's Theatre Cafe tomorrow night at 7.30p.m. Speaker-Professor A. F. Skinner, M.A., Ph.D., of Dundee Training College. Subject-"America and Ourselves." You are invited. Collection.
"MASONIC.-Lodge Thistle Operative (158) meets to-night. Peter St., 7.15. Business. Passing.
"MASONIC.-Lodge St David (78) meets to-night, 7 p.m. Bi-centenary committee; mark degree.
"MASONIC Lodge Operative (47) meets to-night, 7.30 p.m. Presentation to Bro. H. Winepress. Harmany."

"CAT, smoky-grey, lost, 20th. Dr Mills, 3 Clarendon Tce., Dundee.
"FOX terrier bitch, wire-haired, tan head; answers to Pat, collar; lost from Trinity on Saturday afternoon. Please return to Stevenson, Trinity, or Police Office, Brechin. [...]
"...Oct, 1942, silver com-[...]

Ephemera - Harmony Classes

"Edinburgh Corporation Education Department: Broughton Commercial Institute.

"Name 'Amdor [or Awdor]' / Matric. No. 481 / Fee Paid 20/- / Date... / Initials of H.M. or Clerk... / Tues. 7-9 Harmony / NOTE.-This card should be retained by the student and shown to each teacher. B&S 65-30M-7.62"

Questions: To whom did this belong? What was Broughton Commercial Insitute? What does the B&S code stand for?

Ephemera - Inverewe Gardens, Wester Ross

"After the barren magnificence of Wester Ross, the gardens of Inverewe come as a surprise to the traveller.

"They were founded in 1862 by Osgood Mackenzie, owner of Inverewe estate. There was only rock and peat; soil for flower beds was carried in creels.

"Ninety years later, his daughter, Mrs. Mairi Sawyer, presented to the National Trust for Scotland, gardens which are a show place of the Highlands, where plants from all over the world fourish in the same latitude as Labrador.

"Adult 20p" [from the reverse]

Questions: Who designed the front of this really sweet bookmark? When does it date from?

Monday, April 02, 2007


The shop shall be closed this coming Monday, 9th April 2007.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ephemera - Typewritten Recipes 1

1. Chocolate Polka Dot Cake
Ing: 2 Lion Eggs; 5ozs. Castor Sugar; 4 ozs. Polka Dots; 3 tblsp. Sugar Syrup; 6.5 ozs. Flour; 1 level teasp. Baking Powder; 2.5 fluid ozs. Milk.
Method: Break eggs into bowl. Heat Sugar at Gas Mark 5.5 for 6 mins., tip swiftly onto sugar and whip till mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Soften Polka Dots in small pan with sugar syrup, fold into cake mixture and stir in flour and milk gently. Bake in two oiled-paper-lined Victoria sponge tins at gas mark 5 for 12 mins. Fill with chocolate butter cream and ise with softened Polka Dots.

2. Chocolate Polka Dot Meringues - see image.

3. Omelette norvegienne - see image.

4. Neilson's ice cream cholcate swans.
Draw to scale on the back of cheap plastic material a swan's neck, two wings and a tail. Cut out. Tow the shiny side over a bowl of softened Pola Dots, leave to set. Peel off. Cut an oval of sponge for each swan base. Pipe round the edge with butter cream. Affix neck, wings and tail into this holding mixture. Fill the centre of each swan with a generous blob of chosen Neilson's Ice Cream. Decorate with whipped cream and crystallised flowers. Serve immediately.

5. Cafe Brulot - see image.

Post-war Anglo-Saxon cooking is surely defensible only in the context of wartime economy. Those recpies which are not bland beyond non-description, are artifical and plastiky, yet still preferable to today's microwave culture. No. 4 above is a by no means unique example of this lazy obsession with playing with and shaping food over the hours of experimentation and imitation required to be able to cook.

6. Coffee Baravoise - see image

7. Henry VII Shoe Buckles - see image

8. French Omlette - see image

9. Heinz Baby & Junior Foods Omelette
Ing: 2 or more Lion eggs; 1 tin Heinz Junior Vegetable and Beef; 1 tin Heinz Strained Beef and Liver; 2 tblsp. top of the Milk or Single Cream; 1 oz. Butter.
Method: Beat Lion Eggs lightly. Season with salt and pepper. Cook as instructed, spread with half a tin of Heinz Junior Vegetable and Beef, flip over one fold, turn out - thus making second fold. Cover with contents of hald tin Heinz Strained Beef and Liver. Finish with Milk or cream. Serve immediately.

10. Fruit Souffle - see image

Ephemera - Perfect Cooking by Parkinson

Cookery books typically prove an ephemera junkie's paradise, with blank final pages doubling as a scribblepad and loose leaves being thrust in at random. An exceptional instance of this was provided by the above title, which is not only rare enough itself, but contains numerous such inserts. These will be published or reprinted in our blog entries throughout the coming week.

Bibliographical reference: Perfect Cooking: A Comprehensive Guide to Success in the Kitchen, Entered at Stationer's hall. All rights reserved. Written and compiled by the Staff of the Demonstration and Research Department of the Parkinson Stove co., ltd.,. With a Section on Fascinating Foods from Abroad contributed by Miss GWEN L. HUGHES, Dipl. of Dom. Sc., Melbourne, Australia. Revised, November 1947. Hardcover, in green cloth. pp. 275.

The section on foods from overseas alluded to above betrays a remarkably wide appreciation of international cuisine, and the recipe list is worth quoting in full here.

Borstch, Herring Salad (Germany), Soles aux fines herbes et au vin blanc (Brittany), Soles à la bonne femme (Banska Bystrica), Bacǎlao, Leipziger Allerlei (German), Aubergine provencale, Braun Katoffler (Danish). Pommes de terre savoyard, Spaghetti (Italy), Ravioli (Italy), Pieta, Sheese-filled pockets, Gibanitsa (Chesse Tart), Djuvetch, Musaka, Ražnjići, Kajmak (Kaimak), SourMilk, Joghurt, Slatko, Slatko of Roses, Black Coffee, Slava Cake - Zito, Chinese Steamed Rice, A Famous Chinese Fish Dish, Chinese Savouries, Japanese Beef Sukiyaki, Hungarian Goulash, Sauer Kraut, Wiener Schnitzel, Filet Mignon Henri V., Schnitzel Garni, Fillet of Veal with Mushrooms, Crôute Fromage (Swiss), French Pêches bourdaloue, Caramel Sauce, French Toast, Little Plum Puddings (Czechoslovakia), Czecho-Slovak Cakes, Bratislava Rozky, Kolac, God's Grace, Noodles, Vanilla Kipfel, Christmas Stars, Black Boys in Shirts, Anicka's Little Coffins, Tvaroh, Knedlicky, Strudel, Spinach Pie, Apfel Strudel, Baba au Rhum, Crêpes suzettes, Paris Biscuits, Cornflake Nutties, Passion-fruit flummery, Swedish Wafers, Hjortetak, A Swedish Wedding Cake, Gurabija, Nuremberg Merigues, Petits Fours, Pernik, and Boiled Eggless Cake. Any of these can be supplied on request. Please contact us through the Midnight Oil Books website.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ephemera - Concert Annonce

"The Philharmonia Concert Society Ltd. (Artistic Director: WALTER LEGGE) Thursday Next, at 8

SCHUBERT Nacht und Träume / Suleikas Erster Gesang / Suleikas Zweiter Gesang / Fischerweise
R. STRAUSS Three Orphelia Songs from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" / Wer lieben will muss leiden / Ach was Kummer, Qual und Schmerzen / Morgen / Ständchen
WOLF Wenn du zu den Blumen gehst Sagt, seid Ihr es feiner Herr Trau nicht der Liebe Unfall / Die Zigeunerin
WOLF-FERRARI Songs from the 'Italienisches Liederbuch' (1936) (Settings of Tuscan Folk-Poems) Op. 17 / (First performance in Great Britain)

Tickets: 7/6, 10/6, 15/-, 21/-, 25/- from Hall (WAT. 3191) & usual Agents."

Sadly nothing more survives of this cutting. What newspaper was this published in? And in what year/month? Did Moore and Schwarzkopf perform regularly together or was this a rare occasion? Were you at the performance and do you remember it? Cf. Comments.

Ephemera - An Introduction to Mission in History


A. No Mission without History!

Why our understanding and practical involvement in mission is deeply affected by history, and needs to take a lively interest in history.

B. A Pattern of Mission History emerges in the New Testament.

Luke, the Evangelist and first church historian discerns a pattern of developments: God's Spirit overcomes barriers... Believers act responsively and sacrificially... Response mixed with compromising sin... Barriers re-erected by human antagonism and satanic opposition... The Spirit's initiative is renewed.

C. From Pentecost to the Present: Four Periods of Mission History

1. Pentecost to AD 500 - Suffering and Vindication

The Church living in the shadow of the Roman empire, penetrating society within and beyond the empire's boundaries. The Church weak, and yet strong through its witnesses, martyrs and teachers of faith.

  • [-] 64 Persecution begins under Nero
  • 180 First Christian King (Edessa)
  • 303 Last Roman Persecution (Diocletian)
  • 313 Edict of Toleration signed in Milan
  • 339 Forty years Persecution begins in Persia
  • 343 Ulfilas' mission to the Goths
  • 410 Alaric sacks Rome
  • 426 Augustine of Hippo writes "City of God"
  • 431 Patrick sent to Ireland
[new page]

2. AD 500 to 1500 - Conquest and Defeat

The Church assumes temporal power. Two dominant ecclesiastical centres: Rome and Constantinople. Christianisation of all Europe. North Africa, wholely, and the Middle East partially lost to Islam. Growth of "Fortress Christendom". The Church strong and yet weak.

  • 496 Conversion of Clovis, King of the Franks
  • 590 Gregory the Great made Bishop of Rome
  • 596 Gregory sends Augustine to Canterbury
  • 622 Mohammed establishes his community in Medina
  • 635 Alopen arrives as a missionary in China
  • 719 Mission of Boniface to German tribes
  • 800 Charlemagne crowned Emperor by Pope
  • 862 Cyril and Methodius evangelise the Slavs
  • 1096 First Crusade
  • 1208 Francis of Assisi gathers and sends out his friars
  • 1272 Thomas Aquinas writes his Summa Theologica
  • 1415 John Huss burnt at the stake
3. AD 1500 to 1900 - Division and Expansion

Reformation divide, yet the expansion of Europe. Mission runs parallel with colonisation, seaborn to the coastlands and then overland into the interior. Atrocities and compromise. Holiness and heroism.
  • 1492 Isabella of Spain defeats the Moors at Granada. Columbus crosses the Atlantic and reaches West Indies
  • 1517 Luther posts his 95 thesis on door of Wittenberg Cathedral
  • 1541 Frances Xavier arrives in India
  • 1700 Peter the Great christianises the Russian Empire
  • 1792 William Carey writes his "Enquiry"
  • 1807 British parliament votes for the abolition of the slave trade
[new page]
  • 1813 East India Act increases the access of missionaries to India
  • 1856 David Livingstone crosses the African continent
4. AD 1900 to the Present. Testing and Evaluation

The Church is tested by world wars, resurgent religions, secular ideologies. Enhanced opportunities and compounded difficulties. Southward shift in Christian influence. Attempted re-evaluation of the missionary enterprise.
  • 1909 Pentecostal stirrings in South America
  • 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh
  • 1914 Outbreak of First World War
  • 1917 Bolshevik Revolution
  • 1922 Willem van Rossum becomes "missionary Pope"
  • 1952 Missionaries expelled from China
  • 1968 Latin American bishops support liberation thrology at Medillin conference
  • 1974 Evangelicals at Lausanne Congress pledge themselves to world evangelisation
D. Six Ways of Mission Demonstrated in History

APOSTOLIC: The New Testament pattern and model explained in B.

ANONYMOUS: The unselfconscious witness of ordinary people: [-elided-]

ESTABLISHMENT: Development of orders of ministry, patterns of worship, and systems of theology. The attempt to mold society as a whole according to the Gospel.

CHARISMATIC: Renewed energy and gifts of the Spirit disturbing the institutional church.

VOLUNTARY: The attempt to [-elided-]

RADICAL: Protest against political and social status quo.

[new page]

E. Biblical, Christian and Missionary Understandings of History

(a) A SCHOOL FOR MATURITY: "God made temporal things for the sake of man, that by their means he might grow to maturity and bear fruit for immortality." Irenaeus. "History for Irenaeus, was an education by which God led the human race to maturity and would bring all "to a head in Christ". R.A. Markus

(b) THE STAGE FOR A POWERFUL DRAMA: "there was in Christianity a propulsive was forever giving rise to something new... I could not guarantee that its contribution would remain unmixed with contradictory elements... It had failed to safeguard the Roman Empire after that state had professed allegiance to it... It had not preserved the structure of medieval Europe it had done so much to shape... [-elided-] More than one of the movements of which it was the source was diverted to quite un-Christian purposes... Yet in Christianity was a vital force impelling man towards the "high calling of God". Kenneth Scott Latourette

(c) THE UNFOLDING OF GOD'S PURPOSE: "I am God. I make known the end from the beginning... My purpose will stand... What I have planned, that will I do." Isaiah 46:10 "Israel's history has a purpose running through it... an end to which it is moving... Since God had set Israel in a universe he had created, that universe too must have an end... This end is not merely the last moment in a series of historical moments; it is also the meaning of the whole." George Knight

Ephemera - Pressed Plants 3

And finally...

"This is probably the Soft Shield Fern (Polystichum setiferum)
"Was it growing as a "garden fern"? It's very like the one I bought from a local nursery as Soft Shield Fern. Sometimes the garden ones are a little different from the wild ones! But Soft Shield Fern is very near the mark. I think.

Ephemera - Pressed Plants 2

And here we have the aforementioned Polypody (Polypodium vulgane) showing both a curled fern and an outstretched one.

Ephemera - Pressed Plants 1

"This one defeats me!"

...and we are none the wiser either.

"This one defeats me!
Was it growing in a wet or
dry place; and is a wild
or a garden fern? In a
hedgebank or on a wall?
It's a bit like the Black
Spleenwort, but the stem is
green and not black!
Also, if the back of the
leaves don't have spores
(as in the Polypody)
identification is more difficult."

Ephemera - Dundee Municipal Elections 1969


"Tuesday 6th May
"Craigie Ward 4
"P. R. Starling

"The Progressive Candidate


"78 Seafield Road,

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

"I am honoured to be selected by the Dundee Ratepayers' and Electors Association to stand as Progressive candidate for Craigie Ward.

"Since my co-option to the Dundee Town Council, it has been my pleasant duty to represent you on many Corporation Committees, where I have endeavoured to serve your interests to the best of my ability.

"I have called upon many of you in your homes, and have taken a keen interest in your personal problems.

"Dundee has been my home since the War, and as a citizen of Dundee I have taken an active interest in the affairs of the Dundee Ratepayers' and Electors' Association, both as a committee member and as a candidate.

"I would therefore ask the ratepayers in the Craigie Ward to have confidence in me and vote for me on Tuesday, 6th May.

"Progressive Achievements
  1. New civic theatre.
  2. Development of New Central Site.
  3. Satisfactory industrial situation.
  4. Direct air service to London.
  5. Social and Health and Welfare buildings functioning in 1969."
Questions arising:

Was the candidate successful?
If not, who did?
What has become of the Ratepayers' and Electors' Association?

Searchable terms: homeless, Planning Department and Public, Inner Ring Road, Crime, Lord Provost, Progressive Administration, Scottish Secretary, Local government, Election Pledges, Pension Increase Act, Local Authority Pensions, Socialists, Teaching Auxiliaries, Nursery Schools, Further Education, Commercial College, transport, Prices & Incomes Board, Scottish Omnibus Group. Should it be necessary, I would be happy to provide the appropriate paragraphs as searchable text.

Rear side:

Ephemera - Trust Houses

Again a little ephemera found in an old book, the full text reading as follows: "Trust Houses, Ltd. / Registered Office: SHORTS' GARDENS, DRURY LANE, W.C.2 Telephone: TEMple bar 7741 / Date......19... / B.K.T. 1/54 Ref. Bin 34 / Breakfasts / Luncheons / Dinners / Teas / Coffee / Suppers / / / Ale and Stout / Wines / Spirits / Liqueurs / Minerals / Cigars / TOTAL / CU 54377 Waiter's Initials / No. of Persons.

A basic Google search gives no results of consequence for "Trust Houses" and "Drury Lane", the latter of course needing no introduction. It would be interesting to hear what these Trust Houses were, if anyone has any idea. The two leads of possible significance are the Graves Trust Houses in Sheffield, which appear to have been some sort of social bed and breakfast arrangement; and, the following line, "and inns in Great Britain under the control of Trust Houses Limited" that I am unable to reference. Again any help on this front would be much appreciated.

Monday, February 26, 2007

что же есть это блог?

что же есть это блог? Midnight Oil Books - антикваят/книжный магазин в Шотландии, который имеет особенно широкий выбор на темы_ лингвисткы и языковании. Наш адрес 120 Commercial Street, Kirkcaldy, Fife и наш адрес по интернету - Добро вам пожаловать! Pishi mne na russkom esli nuzhno.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Play Reading Group

Day Two of the Play Reading Group's weekly read through classic and contemporary plays will be on Tuesday, that's this Tuesday, 27th February 2007 at Midnight Oil Books, 120 Commercial Street, Kirkcaldy. After enjoying a unpublished work by Brian Freeland last week, which provoked a few interesting discussion on the ages of man, we shall turn this week to look at Henrik Ibsen's 'Hedda Gabler'. The format as before will be the assumption of characters, our read-through, and breaks where appropriate after certain scenes to discuss points of interest. The text costs £1.25, and this may be used over two weeks. Comfy chairs, tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Advance Notice of Holidays 2007

Midnight Oil Books shall be closed on the following days in 2007:
  • Monday, 9th April
  • Monday, 28th May
  • Monday, 16th July
  • Monday, 1st October

Ephemera - Rhyme

The author/ess of the following work is unfortunately unknown, though surmised. Together with two somewhat less artful works, we came across the following rhyme in which the author laments his or her age and its attendant opportunities and limitations.

"50 something, youth has gone,
A greater confidence has come.
To someone outside looking in,
You're just another old has been.
But when you're inside looking out,
You're just the same without a doubt.
This age of all the new inventions
Opens wide a vast dimension.
Opportunities galore to change your skills,
Stretch your intellect if you have the will.
Travel on a budget pass,
The world's your oyster at last.
Shrug off all the mundane tasks,
Take on new challenges, and bask
in comfort with yourself.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ephemera - Entertaining Inspiration

A selection of handwritten notes, mostly on the cooking theme:

Item one, page one.

Whisky Chocolate Pudding
Raspberry Malakoff
Ice Cream

Whisky Chocolate Pudding
Songe Fingers - sprinkle with mixed strong coffee.whisky.
Melt chocolate ; Beat in egg yolks
Whisk whites . Fold into Mixture .
Chill . Degrate with chopped
Roasted Almonds

Drambuie Iced Souffle

Item one, page two.

Item one, page three.

Melon ;
Turbot or Halibot
Chicken must not be frozen
Coq au Vin
or Chicken Breasts
Raspberry Malakoff or Ice Cream
Salade Nicoise
With Salmon, Anchovies, Tomatoes.
Potatoes, French beans
Hardboiled Egg, Lettuce
Black Olives
Peppermint Car[?h?]bib

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Engelsk-Svensk for Life - Some good Maxims

"There is nothing better in heaven than religion.
Our actions of to-day are the thoughts of yesterday.
A truthful woman is the greatest adornment of a home.
If you live in impure thoughts you will be impure in your lives.
Profanity is more or less a profession of your loyalty to the devil.
Nobody ever went to sleep indifferent to religion and waked up in heaven.
A child is loved by God because it has no opinion and wants to learn something.
Don't get into anybody's way with your naturalness, but try to be yourself wherever you go.
Run into heaven barefooted and bareheaded rather than miss it on account of anything in the world."

Engelsk-Svensk for Life - Salaries paid to heads of governments

And continuing the series:

"Variosu [sic - I wouldn't usually but this is a dictionary] governments pay their chiefs as follows: The United States, $50,000 a year; Persia, $30,000,000; Russia, $10,000,000; Siam, $10,000,000; Spain, $3,900,000; Italy, $3,000,000; Great Britain, $3,000,000; Morocco, $2,500,000; Japan, $2,300,000; Egypt, $1,575,000; Germany, $1,000,000; Saxony, $700,000; Portugal, Sweden and Brazil, each $600,000; France, $240,000; Switzerland, $3,000."

It would be interesting to see how the pay scale had changed in the intervening period. Odd too perhaps that the best-run country paid the least.

Engelsk-Svensk for Life - The Eleven Great Wonders in America

Presumably to give them something interesting to read on the steamer ploughing across the North Atlantic, the publishers of one of the earliest US English-Swedish dictionaries decided to pack the book with an assortment of information that they deemed of utmost importance to settlers arriving for the first time in the States, including "How to secure a U.S. Patent", "Cistern Capacity", "Brickwork Measurement", "U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau Flag Signals", and "Salaries Paid to heads of governments". Some of the finer (most bizarre) are republished here:

The Eleven Great Wonders in America
Suggestions are welcome for a revised top eleven.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ephemera - W. W. Lackie certificate

From the rear of a copy of the Queen's Gift Book, undated. Marked with the R. L Sinclair circulating library sticker, Montrose.

"W. W. Lackie Esq. C.B.E., M.I.C.E., M.I.Mech.E., M.I.E.E.


"We, the undersigned members of The Glasgow Corporation Electricity Department Staff, have to offer you our sincere congratulations on your being created Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and we trust that you will have long life to enjoy the well merited honour which His Majesty has conferred upon you.

"R. B. Mitchell. R. B. Maccall[?].
"W.L. Calderwood. G. L. Black.
"Thomas Barrie. Hugh R.S. Drysdale. Campbell Miller.
"D. Berry. Edward Edwards. William Miller.
"John Bremner. Walter Hamilton. George Morgan.
"Robert Cairns. R. Hardie. James Purdie.
"Alex M. Carnegie. James H. Irons. Alex P. Robertson.
"H.[?] J. Cooper. G.[?] MacDonald. William Ross.
"John R. Cowie. H._[?] Ewen. Wm Roxburgh.
"D. Denholm. Charles W. Marshall. H. M. Stronach.
"??[] Taylor

"9th January 1919."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ephemera - Bitumen Coatings

Enclosed in the rear of a copy of Berry Wiggins' 'Bitumen Coatings for Thermal Insulation' was the following letter.

"13th January, 1955

"From: Laboratory
"To: Mr. R.G. Bruce, Laboratory.

"Berry Wiggins - "Bitumen Coatings for Thermal Insulation"

"This book is well written and contains much practical advice.

"Of Berry Wiggins' list of products, we have only examined three - "Tensulac" (Primer Grade) 5258 and "Aquaseal" 5 and 1081. We have also examined "Tensulac" KA4116. The "Tensulacs" resemble "AQUATEX" Solution, but are more fluid - they are solutions of Bitumen in Coal Tar Naphtha. "Aquaseal" 5 resembles our Standared Clay Bitumen Emulsion, while our No. 7 Clay/Bitumen Emulsion was based on "Aquaseal" 1081. Kingsnorth 835 appears to be 60/70 Pen Bitumen, Kingsnorth 1116 and 1122 appear to be Oxidised Bitumens."

The letter appears to be the result of some reverse engineering being conducted by one of Berry Wiggins competitors. Berry Wiggins & Co. Ltd was based in London, had laboratories in Stratford, and refinieries and works in Kingsnorth, Kent; Weaste, Lancashire; Ellesmere Port, Cheshire; and, Alloa, Scotland. In 1964, it was one of only eight firms refining oil in the UK, having an annual capacity of 190k tons (the others, BP, Esso, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Phillips-Imperial and Burmah, would each go on to become giants of the modern petrochemicals industry.) A footnote to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission Report on Petrol of 1979 mentions that Berry Wiggins had ceased oil refinery by 1977.

Unscheduled Closing

Midnight Oil Books shall be closed on Wednesday, 14th February until 11.00am for stock collection. Apologies for any inconvience this may cause.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 7


Vaccinum Vacciniae. Vaccine Lymph. If stored below 0oC, keeps its potency for long periods, but if stored above 10oC, the potency cannot be assured for more than 7 days. Dose-By scarification, .06 mil; 1 minim.

Vaccinum Typho=paratyphosum. Anit-Typhoid-Paratyphoid Vaccine. T. A. B. Vaccine. Contains in 1 mil 1000 million of dead B. typhosus, 500 million of B. paratyphosus A. and 500 million of B. paratyphosus B. Should not be used later than 18 months after preparation. Dose-By subcutaneous injection, .5 mil (first dose); 1.0 mil (second dose after 7 to 10 days' interval).

Tuberculinum Pristinum. Old Tuberculin. A concentrated filtrate from a fluid medium on which B. tuberculosis has been grown for a period of 6 weeks. or more. A transparent, viscous liquid, yellow to brown in colour. Odour like that of honey Biologically assayed. If undiluted is stable at ordinary temperatures. When prescribed with the suffix T is prepared by growing the human bacillus, when the suffix is PT the bovine bacillus. Dose-By subcutaneous injection. []stic, .001-.005 mil ; 1/60-1/12 minim. []tic, .000001 mil, gradually increased; [], gradually increased.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 6

Sodii Sulphas. Sodium Sulphate. Glauber's Salt. Na2SO4,10H2O. Colourless crystals, bitter saline taste, efforescent, sol. 3 water. Dose-2-16 g; 30-240 gr. Prep.-Sodii Sulphas Effervescens. Sodium sulphate, sodium bicarbonate, tartaric acid, citric acid. Dose-4-16 g; 60-240 gr.

Sodii Phosphas. Sodium Phosphate. Di-sodium Hydrogen Phosphate. Na2HPO4,12H2O. Colourless crystals, saline taste, efflorescent, sol. 7 water. Dose-2-16 g ; 30240 gr. Prep.-Sodii Phosphas Effervescens. Dose-4-16 g ; 60-240 gr.

Sodii et Potassii Tartras. Sodium Potassium Tartrate. Rochelle Salt. COONa.(CHOH)2.COOK,4H2O. Colourless crystals, or a white crystalline powder, saline cooling taste, sol. 1 1/2 water. Dose-8-16 g ; 120-240 gr. Prep.-Pulvis Effervescens Compositus. Compound effervescent powder. Seidlitz powder. Blue paper contains 7.5 g rochelle salt and 2.5 g sodium bicarbonate. White paper contains 2.5 g of tartaric asid. Dissolve no. 1 powder in a tumbler of cold or warm water, then add No. 2 powder. Should be taken while effervescing.

Sodii Benzoas, Sodii Bromidum, Sodii Iodidum, Sodii Nitris, Sodii Salicylas, Sodii Phospas Acidus are not classified with sodium salts.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 5

Finally, the three longer crib notes from the series:

Antitoxins, Serums &c.

Antitoxinum Diphthericum. Diphtheria Antitoxin. Is a preparation from serum containing the antitoxin globulins which have the specific power of neutralising the diphtheria toxin. Biologically assayed and its potency expressed in units. Dose-By injection. Prophyltic, 500-1000 units. Therapeutic, 10,000-20,000 units.

Antitoxinum Tetanicum. Tetanus Antitoxin. Biologically assayed. Dose-Prophylactic, 1000-2000 units. Therapeutic, 20,000-40,000 units.

Antitoxinum Welchicum. Gas-gangrene Antitoxin. Neutralises the toxin formed by B. perfringens. (B. Welchii.) Biologically assayed. Dose-Prophylactic, 4000 units by injection. Therapeutic, 10,000 to 20,000 units by intravenous injection.

Serum Antidysentericum (Shiga). Antidysenteric Serum (Shiga). Contains the immune substances which have a therapeutic value in persons infected by B. dysenteriae (Shiga). Biologically assayed. Dose-By injection, 4000-10,000 units.

Toxinum Diphtericum Diagnosticum. Schick Test Toxin. Diphteria toxin diluted so that .2 mil contains the test dose. Dose-By intradermal injection, .2 mil; 3 minims.

Toxinum Diphthericum Calefactum. Schick Control. Is Schick Test Toxin which has been treated to a temperature of not less than 70oC for not less than 5 minutes. Dose-By intradermic injection, .2 mil; 3 minims.

Toxinum Diphthericum Detoxicatum. Diphteria Prophylactic. The toxicity of the toxin is reduced by several methods. Dose-By subcutaneous injection, the volume indicated on the label as the dose, twice or thrice at intervals of two weeks.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 4

Extractum Hepatis Siccum. Dry Extract of liver. An alcoholic extract of ox or sheep liver, contains the specific principle which increases the number of red corpuscles in the blood of persons suffering from pernicious anaemia. A light brown, very hygroscopic powder, faintly meat-like odour, saltish taste, sol. water. The dried powder is mixed with 1/10 of its weight of dried sodium chloride and transferred to tubes which are then hermetically sealed. Each tube contains the equivalent of 225 g or about 1/2lb. fresh liver. Dose-The contents of 1 tube.

Extractum Hepatis Liquidum. Liquid Extract of Liver. The dry extract dissolved in a mixture of glycerin, alcohol, and distilled water. 1 oz. is the equivalent of 8 oz. liver. Dose-30 mils; 1 oz.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 3

Belladonnae Folium. Belladonna leaf. The leaves and tops of Atropa Belladonna dried. When belladonna leaf is prescribed Belladonna Pulverata shall be dispensed. Preps.-Belladonna Pulverata. Adjusted to contain .3 per cent of alkaloids calculated as hyoscyamine. Dose-.03-.2 g; 1/2-3 gr. Extractum Belladonnae Siccum. 1 per cent. of the alkaloids. Dose-.015-.06 g; 1/4-1 gr. Tinctura Belladonnae. Dose-.3-2 mils; 5-30 minims.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 2

Asafoetida. Asafetida. An oleo-gum-resin obtained by incision from the living rhizome and root of Ferula foetida and other species. Afghanistan and Persia. Greyish-white to dull-yellow tears. Dose-0.3-1 g ; 5-15 gr. Preps.-Pilula Aloes et Asafoetidae. Tinctura Asafoetidae. Dose-2-4 mils; 30-60 minims.

Ephemera - Medical Crib Notes 1

Our most recent rescued ephemera comes from a medical textbook on Tuberculosis. They appear to be a series of crib notes, perhaps intended to aid exam revision. We print them here in full again with the intention that nothing of value be lost to posterity.

Acidum Lacticum. Lactic Acid. CH3.CHOH.COOH. Contains 87.5 per cent. w/w of C3H6O3. A colourless, syrupy, hygroscopic liquid iwth a slight, but not unpleasant odour, sour taste. Dose-0.3-1.2 mils; 5-20 minims.

Acidum Borisum. Boric Acid. Boracic Acid. H3BO3. White crystals or powder, slightly acid bitter taste. Sol. 25 water. Dose-0.3-1 g; 5-15 gr. Preps.-Glyerinum Acidi Borici. 31 per cent. Unguentum Acidi Borici. 10 per cent.

Chromii Trioxidum. Chromium Trioxide. Chromic Acid. CrO3. Dark red acicular crystals, deliquescent and corrosive. In contact with small proportions of alcohol, of ether, of glycerin, and of other organic substances, it is liable to []. Very sol. water. Acidum Acetylsalicylicum. Acidum Benzoicum, Acidum Boricum, Acidum Hydrobromicum Dilutum, Acidum Hydrocyanicum Dilutum, Acidum Oleicum, Acidum Salicylicum, Acidum Tannicum, considered elsewhere.

Monday, February 05, 2007

fao any Mowat Slater

I include this blog entry in the hope that it might one day be picked up in a Google or Ice Rocket search or something by any Mowat Slaters interested in family history. Just to say that a family Bible with autograph poems and christening dates etc... has come into our possession and will be kept aside for a year or two. If you are interested then contact me at

Friday, January 05, 2007

Web Projects

Just a short update on some of the web projects currently being trialed by everyone here.
The main Midnight Oil Books website. This is our multi-function engine room. If folks like our policies, service and descriptions, and particularly the speed of delivery, then they can buy directly from us with all the usual Amazon safeguards. It is not an ideal world from the commercial point of view, for as far as most people are concerned there really is little point searching a directory of 5,000 books when you could be looking at the complete range on Amazon; and, most people will want to compare prices anyway. We do aim to consistently undercut our competitors, and as a reputation thing, once news spreads perhaps it will be used more.

Other features of the website include our specialist linguistics pages, complete with YaBB, journals, newsletters, shop description, and directions to it. There is more to business, particularly a bookselling business than raising revenue, however, and I would love to be able to provide a local history forum of sorts and a pile of articles online. At the moment there is only the one, but this will be expanded in time.
The newest of our sites: just a bit of fun really. Perhaps a good way to kill time more than anything else, although I've already been cautioned that the Falling Sand recommendation is likely to render you economically unproductive inperpetuity, or something like that.

Speak to me if you know of any other links worth adding.
I have a lot of hope for the wayo listing. Its big, yellow, online rival has two shortcomings in my eyes. Firstly, there are no opening hours. When you search for a business online, my guess is that 30% of the time, people are looking to find out when it opens or close, hence, 'wayo' or 'when are you open?'. There are three technical hurdles that I am trying to overcome: the data structure, forms and data storage using MySql, and displaying the output. I would love to be able to do things like produce maps showing what stores within 3 miles, say, of a particular location are open at any particular time. Could be challenging.

Basic data for the Commercial Street area is already available online and it is worthwhile checking out a sample individual record, in this case for Gibb's Florist. Opening hours will ultimately be displayed on each individual card, but I sure there will be opportunities to have fun and - not be bored - playing around with the maps and running stats searches etc for your area. One example could be: which area has the hardest work business in Scotland, and which has the laziest.
International Travel Baggage Advice: possibly one of the duller topics of non-interest online, but this one does fit in well with the whole Ask Jeeves 'the internet can answer any question' philosophy. Hopefully, it will become a well-linked, few hundred hits a day site; maybe the odd travel agent will keep it open on their desk: just a case of keeping the data accurate and the graphics straightforward.