Saturday, 28 June 2014

Double spouted tea pots

I like a tall skinny latte just like the next chap, but the time it takes to make can be a real pain if you are in a hurry. The guy behind the counter bangs and knocks away removing old grounds, the machine hisses, milk is steamed, and the queue just keeps getting longer and longer. 

I came across this giant double-spouted tea pot at Canons Ashby House the other day, which made me think that things must have been better and a lot faster years ago :
Used  by a railway company, each time a train packed with thirsty passengers would arrive, the 'char ladies' would be ready with row after row of mugs all lined up. I imagine these ladies would not have put up with the long-winded messing around of modern baristas, as armed to the teeth with these double-spouted tea pots, they'd bring tea and cheer to hundreds of passengers, probably in much the same time as it takes for my one skinny latte to be made.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Back to my old Uni

I studied Textile Chemistry at Leeds, and needing to do some desk research into the properties of a polymer I wanted to use in a new product, I returned the other day. Being an 'old boy' the cheerful librarians were happy to let me still use all the libraries, and even borrow books if I wished. 

The main landmark building, the Parkinson building is just the same as it was, but a few new buildings threw me, so I got lost wandering around.
Leeds was once a huge centre for the wool industry, so the Textile Department stands right in the middle of the university. It came first, and the university came after :
I couldn't resist having a poke around, and the smell in the corridors hadn't changed. Some of the labs have now been turned into design studios, and a lot of the textile machinery had gone, but they still had the same space where they used to extrude fibres :
It was enjoyable walking around and seeing the clever students creating new knitted designs on V-bed machines or screen-printing in the print room.  I learnt to print in this room too, and still have a few of my prints hidden away in a drawer.
I'm sure the levitating lady wasn't there when I was a student. However as a nice touch she's floating over a garden planted with plants people used to extract dyestuffs from, such as madder, foxgloves, marigolds, etc :
My desk research only took an hour or two, while wandering round my old Uni and seeing how it's changed took much longer...