Mise Tales Forty-Two

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Video: What hidden treasures lie within Orfordness Lighthouse? Charitable trust opens the iconic landmark to the public before it’s taken by the sea

–  Monday, April 14, 2014 

Orfordness_Lighthouse

Orfordness Lighthouse is opening its doors to the public for the very first time. Nicholas Gold, the new owner of the lighthouse.

For centuries it served as a beacon of security, offering safe passage for thousands of seafarers.

Now, as the sea it once guarded over grows perilously close, the end of Orfordness Lighthouse looms near.

But before the iconic landmark is lost to the waves, a final chance to view it in all its glory has been made possible. . . more

To inquire about visiting email orfordnesslighthouse@gmail.com. Continue reading

Dreams of Being a Lighthouse Keeper

For years past, adults and children of all ages had dreams of growing up to be an adventurous lighthouse keeper. That dream is slowly dimming as the world automates its lighthouses.

The following article from The Guardian  brings to our attention the dimming of the dream in the UK

The lure of the lighthouse for our islanded souls
With the last lights set to go out, many of us will miss these concrete symbols of our humanity

by Joe Moran The Guardian, Saturday 12 April 2014.

Lighthouse, County Durham

The tower lights, the ones that rise impossibly out of the sea and carry the most romantic connotations for landlubberly ignoramuses like me, were the most dreaded by the keepers.’ Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Growing up, I wanted to be a lighthouse keeper. Just like Moominpappa in Tove Jansson’s Moomin books, my ambition was to live on the loneliest lighthouse on the remotest skerry farthest from land. It didn’t end well for Moominpappa, the island he and the other Moomins settled on being barren and desolate, inhabited only by a silent fisherman who turned out to be the ex-lighthouse keeper driven mad by loneliness. It didn’t put me off.

I have since met many compatriots who have had the same dream, for there is something about lighthouses that seems to speak to our islanded souls. more . . .

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Now, to celebrate the quincentenary of Trinity House, the organisation responsible for the lighthouses of England and Wales, an exhibition is opening at the National Maritime Museum. Guiding Lights will display intricate models of lighthouses and lighthouse keepers’ personal effects. It is hard to imagine a similarly pulse-quickening exhibition about air-traffic controllers or road-safety officers, although our lives are similarly in their hands.

“I meant nothing by the lighthouse,” Virginia Woolf wrote of its role in her most celebrated novel, “but I trusted that people would make it the deposit for their own emotions.” Lighthouses, Woolf realised, are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. Artists, from John Constable to Eric Ravilious, have made them the focus of their paintings, which can’t simply be to do with their pleasingly vertical contrast with the horizon.

I suspect that lighthouses appeal especially to introverts like me, who need to make strategic withdrawals from the social world but also want to retain some basic link with humanity. A beam sweeping the horizon for the benefit of ships passing in the night is just that kind of minimal human connection. “Nothing must be allowed to silence our voices … We must call out to one another,” wrote Janet Frame, a shy New Zealand writer also fascinated by lighthouses, “across seas and deserts flashing words instead of mirrors and lights.”

I finally cured my lighthouse fantasy by reading Tony Parker’s oral history of lighthouse keepers. Looking after a light – no keeper ever called it a lighthouse – was, I learned, a tedious job, with little to do but linger over meals and make ships in bottles. One keeper was so lonely that in the middle of the night he switched on the transmitter and listened to the ships radioing each other, just to hear some other human voices. The tower lights, the ones that rise impossibly out of the sea and carry the most romantic connotations for landlubberly ignoramuses like me, were the most dreaded by the keepers. Without even a bit of rock to walk around on and escape from your housemates, they were the lighthouse-keeping equivalent of being posted to Siberia.

In any case, I was well out of it because lighthouse keeping was not a job with prospects.

The lighthouses began to be automated in the 1970s and the last keeper left the last occupied lighthouse in 1998. Now, in an age of radar and computerised navigation systems, working lighthouses are an endangered species. Their haunting fog signals are being switched off. Their black-and-red painted stripes, meant to stand out against the land and sky, are being left to peel off. And many lighthouses are being decommissioned, turned into holiday cottages or expensively renovated homes.

No doubt satnav will now do the job just as well, but it will be a shame when the last lighthouse turns off its light. In an age when we have to justify public projects with the consumerist language of stakeholders and end users, lighthouses still feel like an uncomplicated social good that belongs to us all. They are the concrete symbol of our common humanity, of the fact that people we may never meet – at whom we may do no more than flash our lights in the dark – are also our concern.

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One of my dad’s oldest friends was a lighthouse keeper for a few years. He was sometimes posted to those lights that stand alone on a rock. In a ‘big sea’ waves could be so high that water would come down the chimney and put the fire out. He also said that if your hearing went dull it meant that the level you were on was underwater because of a big swell – and a thick metal door was the only thing keeping the Atlantic out.

There are terrible stories. One was the lighthouse often had to eat the tallow candles when ships bringing supplies could not make it through the rough sea. Also the tradition of 2 keepers came into being when one single went out of his mind.
I’ve a slight problem with repeated ref to concrete. Most early lights were built with granite(or timber with plinth granite) interlocked water proof hydraulic cement. Smeaton’s Eddystone the prototype, and later Stephenson family business up north.

To be honest lighthouses are no longer necessary as the coastline is now starkly outlined by the amount of light pollution from our towns, cities and villages. You really can’t miss it when sailing down the coast. Also our new technologies are way in advance of anything we’ve had in the past and even a small yacht can now pinpoint its position to a matter of metres on the ocean. So if we do have any shipping catastrophes in the future they are likely to be down to human error.

“even a small yacht can now pinpoint its position to a matter of metres”

I too sail a small yacht in and around NW Scotland and, because I lack all but the most basic GPS, compasses and echo sounder, greatly value our lighthouses – albeit, unmanned. You will know that whenever NATO carry out exercises in the Minch, warships regularly cause GPS screens to go blank!!!  Serious accidents are not unknown.

You are referring to an exercise 2 years ago where warships blocked GPS for 20 miles. There were no accidents but due to complaints Warships in UK waters are now banned from blocking GPS. I’m not sure about other navies though.

Not every small boat has radar… not all coastlines are outlined by light pollution.

But most people now have mobile phones/iPads/Tablets with GPS.

Please, please, please do not go to sea relying on an iPad/phone etc for navigation! Road signs, and indeed ‘roads’ themselves are fairly limited at sea in my experience.

I can see one of our oldest lighthouses from here. It is on the top of St Catherine’s Down and known locally as the Pepperpot. It was built by local people as a punishment for buying smuggled wine. There was an oratory attached to it at one time to say prayers for the souls of the shipwrecked of whom there were many and the graves in the churchyard will attest. Although high up it wasn’t much use as the mist which frequently covers that part of the coast line blocked out the light when it was most needed and many ships went aground on the notorious Atherfield ledge. The new lighthouse built by the shore is a beautiful building and it would be a great shame if it were to become just another house, although coastal erosion and land slips might put off anyone but the most foolhardy from purchasing.

Foolish idea turning these off. Given potential failures of equipment these are very useful as a last backup. Oh well I’m sure it saves some middle managers budget some money somewhere.

This is a shame, lighthouses are exciting. I don’t think it’s possible to go on holidays to the coast without spending some time watching out for the distant lights and trying to identify them. I know we used to look forward to foggy days so we could hear their fog horns going off.

And at night, if you were staying in a house nearby, some of the beam would sweep around the bedroom from time to time.

Many years ago I recall reading an article in some sailing magazine. Title was The Antikythera Light. The author told of sailing through a storm in the Eastern Med. He had been at sea for days on end and the storm had bounced his small boat around quite a bit. This was long before GPS and he didn’t know exactly where he was. He knew he was approaching the Greek islands and some very dangerous and rocky shores. Then, flickering on the horizon in the far distance and through the storm…a flashing light. Lights flash in timed sequences and those are indicated on charts. He identified this one as the light on Antikythera, the island in the center of the passage through into the Aegean Sea.

Now he knew where he was. Now he was safe. He wrote of his grateful appreciation, not only for the light keeper whose job it was to help people the keeper would never see, but to the society that posted the man there and built the tower and light that led him to safety out of a storm, money spent for no special benefit to the community but only to the benefit of passing strangers in need of help.It was a wonderful essay on how humanity consists of people doing altruistic things, not only for strangers, but for strangers they would never know needed the help. Lighthouses are a symbol of what is best in all of us.

A good few years ago we did the soundtrack to this short documentary about the some of the last people to man the lighthouses, they tell their stories and explain how automation affected them, very sad some of it: http://vimeo.com/m/71760571

Bishop Rock lighthouse – the westernmost point of the Isles of Scilly – that’s the one I’d most like to go inside. And I’d pay good money to see the BBC documentary about it, by Tony Parker, first shown just over 40 years ago:  http://trinityhousehistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/on-this-day-in-trinity-house-history-6-february/

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Mise Tales Forty-One

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Aaron Priest Photography Photo Keywords  lighthouseSome beautiful night-time photos of lighthouses, some in a 360º panorama format from Aaron D. Priest on his website aaronpriestphoto.com.

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Machias Seal Island – An Ongoing Border Dispute Between the United States and Canada

I have mentioned Machias Seal Island before in my articles here, here, here, and here.

Well writer John Farrier published on Neatorama on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 a great article about how MAJOR/insignificant this dispute really is!

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(Maps: Google Maps)

This is Machias Seal Island, a 20-acre island in the Bay of Fundy.

You can’t see it? Let’s zoom in.

And from there the story continues! Such an insignificant island for such a big debate. That is government for you. Naturally it belongs to Canada! . . . more

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Hmm. That doesn’t help much. Let’s zoom in some more.
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There it is! It’s a speck of land that barely appears on the map.

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(Photo: Albnd)

You can see the lighthouse in the photo above. The island is inhabited by 2 human lighthouse keepers, a few seals…

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(Photo: Thomas O’Neil)

…and lots and lots of puffins.

The ownership of Machias Seal Island is disputed by the United States and Canada. Canada is in physical possession of it, but the United States has not formally dropped its claim to the island.

I’ve previously written several posts about the development of the US-Canadian border, whichincludes weird exclaves. Ambiguity about the border even led to the creation of 2 short-lived nations.

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(Painting by Benjamin West of the American delegation at the Treaty of Paris)

Although the United States and Canada now maintain a long, peaceful border, the placement of that border has been in doubt since the Treaty of Paris (1783) in which Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation. That treaty attempted to draw borders over unexplored lands. The authors did the best that they could with their knowledge of geography. But, alas, one of the descriptions for the border between Maine and maritime Canada was problematic. The treaty says that US territory includes:

all Islands within twenty Leagues of any Part of the Shores of the United States, and lying between Lines to be drawn due East from the Points where the aforesaid Boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one Part and East Florida on the other shall, respectively, touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said Province of Nova Scotia.

I’ve bolded the parts of the text that are the source for the Machias Seal Island dispute.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the eastern border of Maine was of great concern to the British. Some British officials coveted what Americans saw as their territory, and vice versa. Control of the Bay of Fundy was of great importance to British commissioners at the Treaty of Ghent (1814), which ended the War of 1812.

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(Photo: Thomas O’Neil)

Now back to Machias Seal Island. The American argument is that it lies within 20 leagues (approximately 69 miles) of the coast of the United States.

The Canadian argument is that a land grant that pre-exists the Treaty of Paris defines the island as part of Nova Scotia. It built and has operated a lighthouse on the island since 1832.

Occasionally fishermen from the 2 nations have gotten into scraps about its ownership. Some Canadian citizens have staked mining claims to the island as a means of asserting Canadian sovereignty. The State of Maine has included the island on its maps of electoral districts.

But if possession is indeed 9/10ths of the law, then Machias Seal Island is Canadian. The United States has chosen not to press the issue.

Sources:
Clark, Edie. “Barna Norton Invades Canada.” Yankee 62.6 (1998): 48. Biography Reference Bank (H.W. Wilson). Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

Guo, Rongxing. Territorial Disputes and Resource Management: A Sourcebook. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2007. Web. Google Books. 22 Apr. 2014.

Kelly, Stephen R. “Good Neighbors, Bad Border.” New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) ed. Nov 27 2012. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2014 .

RELATED NEATORAMA POSTS

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Mise Tales Forty

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One. As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short bits of information, when it is removed from the front page, will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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necklace5_1024x1024

survival necklace s1401 from Cougar Fashion in Tahsis, British Columbia

from the rainforest, for the rainforest price $12.50 this necklace is transformed to emergency fishing gear within minutes. all you need is a pocket knife.

contents: – 3.8 m. fishing line  – 3.5 cm. bait hook – interlock snap swivel  – split ring  – 6 cm. hoochie

Now this is a unique West Coast piece. It is a very beautiful necklace and would draw comments wherever it is worn. dsc_6902I am not too sure how practical it would be with only 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) of fishing line, but anything could work in an emergency.One would be better off also wearing a Survival Strap (get one in a matching colour) to add length to the necklace. Hey, two unique pieces of survival jewelry which you can wear anytime. Check out all the other items which you can find at Cougar FashionContinue reading

Mise Tales Thirty-Nine

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

As mentioned earlier on the front page of my website, any photos or cartoons, or short information will also be included again later in the next Misc Tales when it is removed from the front page. That way you can keep track of it, search for it, or copy it.

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Enduring Lights – The Lighthouse Keeper is a historic documentary told through the accounts of four lighthouse keepers who tended America’s lighthouses in the 1900’s and never let the light go out. These men are living parts of history and their stories exemplify their significance in American history. – by Todd J. Burgess, photographer and video producer.

See his photo work in yesterday’s post Lighthouse in a Mason Jar.

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Wolf Trap Lighthouse For Sale

Back in February 2013 I posted the article below on my front page:

Wolf Trap Lighthouse for Sale The lighthouse is for sale for $249,500 by a private owner. It was first offered for nonprofit and historical properties under the Lighthouse Preservation Act, but it was auctioned when it received no offers in 2005. Laura Pierce of ERA Bay Real Estate explains, “You would have to restore it and update it, but someone could live there full time or part time.” . . . more

 

[private]The home measures about 1,500 sq. feet, according to Pierce, with five floors, including the top floor, which contains the light. As an added incentive, Pierce mentions that because the home is a historic property, it’s tax-exempt, and the state of Virginia will offer tax credits to the next owner who restores the home to its former glory.[/private]

Excerpted from NBC news, here. 

Editor’s Note: Want to read more about the trials and tribulations of owning a decommissioned Chesapeake lighthouse? You can read our full-length feature, Got A Light? online.

Mise Tales Nineteen

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

Braddock Point [Lighthouse] Bed & Breakfast

The Perfect holiday gift – – –  gift certificates are available!

Welcome to the historical Braddock Point Lighthouse, established by the United States Lighthouse Establishment (USLHE) in 1896. This majestic jewel has been restored to its original Victorian grace and splendor and is now open seasonally as a truly unique Bed and Breakfast. Your hosts, Nandy and Donald Town know a few things about what it takes to pamper their guests at the inn. They are the owners/innkeepers of the world renowned Town Manor Bed and Breakfast in Central Florida. more . . . 

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Be one of the very few that have the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience what it is like to live in an historical lighthouse perched on the shores of Lake Ontario near Rochester NY.  Tour the restored lighthouse tower and take in the breathtaking views from high above. Be inspired by the magnificent workmanship involved in turning this spectacular home back to its original glory and now, finally open to the public. Braddock Point – come and visit us, we’ll leave the light on!

Established: 1896

USLHE 

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Braddock Point Lighthouse 

(863) 984-4008,  (585) 366-4419 

email: info@braddockpointlighthouse.com 

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Braddock Point Lighthouse On “The Price Is Right”

Hilton, N.Y. – An historic lighthouse on Lake Ontario will get some national attention next month [January 2013].

The Braddock Point Lighthouse in Hilton will be featured as a vacation getaway prize on the TV game show “The Price is Right.” Continue reading

Mise Tales Eighteen

 

For an update on what a Mise Tale is then please see Mise Tales One.

Build a Redstone Lighthouse in Minecraft

This article may be a bit outside the scope of this website, but then maybe not.

Everybody loves a lighthouse, whether it is on the sea, in your garden or in your computer as is this PC/Mac program called Minecraft. This may not be to everybody’s interest but I am sure there are a few of my readers out there who play the game and might be interested.

I have never explored Minecraft, but a short description will more than help you understand the fascination. I might even give it a try. You all know my fascination with Lego!

Minecraft: What The Hell It Is

The literal description: Minecraft is a first-person, free to play indie PC/Mac game created by one person, with crafting, building and exploration at its center. The graphics are straight out of 1991. There are no characters and there is no story. There are none of the “production values” that define gaming these days, but within those narrow confines lies one of the most innovative and endlessly fascinating game in existence… and it’s still in Alpha.

While there are various versions and builds available out, there are three basic play-modes to Minecraft: Single Player Creative, Multiplayer Creative, and Single Player Survival. All three plop you down into a huge, open world, filled with different natural resources you can exploit and bend to your will.

Single Player Creative mode is like an infinite LEGO set. You can create fantastic structures out of basic building blocks all day if you’d like. You can try it out for free, in-browser, right here. Multiplayer Creative is the same deal, with others. – g4tv.com

So, here is a short video on how to build a Minecraft lighthouse:

[media url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny5JxKwRtnI” width=”400″ height=”350″]
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Lightkeeper Retirement Homes

No, this does not refer to retirement homes such as you are imagining for senior citizens. This is a fictitious tale of what I imagine a lightkeeper might look for in a home when he retires. None of these homes are actually inhabited by a lighthouse keeper, as far as I know, but they appealed to me as a place where a keeper might like to retire.

Most keepers hate to leave their lighthouse homes at all, but sometimes, as in my case, retirement beckons too strongly and we give up the solitary life. Maybe we would move into . . . 

1. How about this one?

I saw this little dwelling and its location and immediately fell in love with it. It is isolated; it is near water; it even has a boat (note the kayak beneath the house). I still ride a bicycle, so why not paddling a kayak into old age? Perfect location for me.

The photograph is by Irene Becker for National Geographic Picture of the Day: A Tiny River House in Serbia. The website says:

A house in the middle of the Drina River near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia. The Drina is a 346 km long river that forms much of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. It is the longest tributary of the Sava River and the longest karst river in the Dinaric Alps.

i searched via Google Earth and finally found the location at latitude 43°59’3.73″N, Longitude 19°33’59.67″E (Google Earth KML file with several more photos of the house). Continue reading