Sunday, 27 November 2011

Monty's birthday bash in Redhill

17th November was a special date in the calendar for my Churchill's Secret Reigate talk at St.Paul's, Redhill - the event also attracted several volunteer stewards from Chartwell.

This time I started off with topical news - firstly a letter from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council thanking me for my street name suggestions, and to confirm that the new residential road off Linkfield Lane will be named to commemorate Churchill's connection with this area, to be ready by June 2012. (I was told on the phone that it will be called Churchill Close. Monty doesn't get a streetname because Montgomery is too long a name - well at least he has a legend for evermore with Monty's Secret Hideout, up on the hill.)

The second bit of news was that it was actually General Montomery's birthday that very day - he was born on 17th November, 124 years ago. Even more amazing was that it was actually on his birthday, in 1941 aged 48, that he was promoted to be head of South Eastern Command and he went immediately, that same day, to Reigate to set up his HQ. Coincidence or design? History in the making.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Reigate Cave Mystery - Lost stone

Have you seen this stone? Missing since 1st June 2011, last seen in Barons Caves, Reigate. There is a long tradition of guides explaining for visitors that it was used in medieval times as a way of summoning service from the castle servants upstairs.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Strolling through our Priory Park on Friday, I noticed that the neat lollipop-style bay trees were not looking too healthy any more. Of seven trees, several now have dead, brown leaves and at least one is denuded of its lower bark.

Stopping to chat to my park keeper friend who was carefully tending the herbaceous borders in Monks Walk, I just mentioned this and to my horror, he told me what has been happening.

Repeatedly on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, persons unknown have been yanking those trees out of the soil, lugging them over to the fountain pool at the centre of the Sunken Garden, and leaving them there in the water to drown!

What mindless evening pranks - those idiots responsible for this are thoroughly disrespectful to the trees, to all of us who visit the park and especially with this particular part of consecrated ground beside the old Priory. The whole set of baytrees was replaced last year, but it looks as if this new batch are destined for the tip too. And the cost to ratepayers? £100 each plus VAT. Go figure how much that costs.

Then we have 2 young lads who decided to light a fire in the woods, necessitating a callout by the Fire Brigade, because of the risk of burning peat. It turns out that these thoughtless visitors had travelled all the way from Orpington and London.

And to cap it all, there are so many people coming from all over, with picnic stuff and choosing to go to the more secluded areas like the stable hill - and what do they do with their rubbish? Precisely nothing. This is exactly what I had written about to the local newspaper a few years ago.

I hope they all get caught, named and shamed - and fined. Anyone else with a camera?

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

In the comfort of Reigate Priory - problem solved

Update March 2015 - the problem of Reigate Priory's leaking roof is solved and all is well.

Original post in 2011: While the spring sun shines and the cherry trees blossom beautifully, it is easy to forget the bitterly cold weather of three months ago, but not the damage that it did to roofs, gutters and roads across the country.
Sadly our town's magnificent historic Grade 1 listed building, home to Reigate Priory Junior School and Reigate Priory Museum, took a terrible blow from the snow. The museum is currently closed and the treasured artefacts have had to be temporarily rehoused to keep them safe. That means the museum collection would be inaccessible to the public for the foreseeable future. I do hope Surrey County Council will be able to get the Priory roof put right soon, and treat it as a priority to restore the museum collection to its rightful home in the centre of Reigate. After all, the items were donated by local residents for the good of the local community, and part of our heritage.
Exactly a century ago in 1911, our beloved Reigate Priory was a private country mansion which was often rented out for rich and famous tenants, and a popular choice for weekend house parties. On 28, 29 and 30th October of that year, it was the location for a vital three-day meeting of top Government and Admiralty figures. Here, Admiral Lord Fisher could advise and educate the new First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill about the wisdom of having a battleship fleet fueled by oil, rather than coal. As well as oil fueling greater speed for the ships, it was going to be a darned sight cheaper than solid fuel, and would save on personnel! What a practical decision was made here. Now, with a hundred years of hindsight it was not especially original as an idea, but still, such discussions required a suitable, comfortable environment where these decision makers could be sheltered from outside events and focus on the job at hand.
Reigate Priory's 19th century addition of the library area has long been a source of water leaks. Presumably because Winston Churchill described the meeting as being "in the comfort of Reigate Priory" in his book, The World Crisis, he was not inconvenienced by such unfortunate events here a century ago.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Bath Bomb chemistry from Epsom, Surrey

Pure and simple: sodium bicarbonate and magnesium sulphate - with optional extras

With people needing simple solutions to help themselves get rid of 'nasties' like bugs or poisonous metals, what could be lovelier than to remember those times when Grandma scooped a handful of sweet-smelling glittery crystals into the bathwater and swished them around.
You can create your own personal health spa! One of the main ingredients is Epsom salts, named after the town of Epsom just up the road here in Surrey. The magnesium sulphate salt was distilled from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. No wonder it has been such a popular area to live in for centuries, and for breeding and training prizewinning racehorses too.

It might be a good idea to stock up on the chemicals for future use in emergencies.

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Things You'll Need

  • Large glass of cold water

  • Towel

  • Skin Brush (Optional)

  • Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate)

  • Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)

  • 40 minutes

  • Optional ingredients: Aromatherapy oils, grapefruit seed extract, ginger, herbs, hydrogen peroxide.

Detoxification of your body through bathing is an ancient remedy that anyone can perform in the comfort of their own home. Your skin is known as the third kidney, and toxins are excreted through sweating. A detox bath will assist your body in eliminating toxins, as well as absorbing the minerals and nutrients that are in the water.


  1. Prepare your bath on a day that you have at least 40 minutes available, as the first 20 minutes are said to help your body remove the toxins, while the second 20 minutes are for absorbing the minerals in the water.

  2. Fill your tub with comfortably hot water, using a chlorine filter if possible.

  3. Add 2 cups or more (up to 16 lbs) of Epsom Salts, aka magnesium sulphate. This can be purchased in 3 lb bags or 1 lb cartons at discount stores in the garden centre, or in the pharmaceutical area, or ordered from garden centres in 50 lb bags. It's very inexpensive.

  4. Add 1 to 2 cups or more of Baking Soda, aka sodium bicarbonate. This is said to help eliminate the chlorine in the water, as well as soften the water, and help the body to absorb the magnesium. Large bags can usually be found in the swimming pool chemical area, or the boxes from the bakery aisle will work fine.

  5. Know that Epsom Salts and Baking Soda bath is a detox bath in itself, and other items can be added for further effects. Ground ginger, or fresh ginger tea both work quite well. The ginger is heating to the body and may cause your skin to turn slightly red for a few minutes, so be careful with the amount you add. Depending on the capacity of your tub, and your sensitivity, anywhere from 1 tablespoon to 1/3 cup can be added. Most people sweat profusely with the addition of the ginger, and if you wrap your body in a blanket immediately after getting out of the tub, you can continue to detoxify through perspiration for another couple of hours. This is especially beneficial if you are trying to rid the body of a bug of some sort, like the flu, or a cold.

  6. Add aromatherapy oils; this is optional, but there are many oils that will help the bath to be a pleasant and relaxing experience, such as lavender, or ylang ylang, or those that will assist in the detoxification process such as tea tree or eucalyptus. Around 20 drops is sufficient.

  7. Swish all of the ingredients into the tub, and soak for as long as you can, preferably 20 minutes. You should start sweating within the first few minutes, and the longer the better, up to 20 minutes. If you feel too hot, start adding cold water into the tub until you cool off. Sit in the cool water another 20 minutes, if you can. When you get out of the tub, move slowly and carefully, as your body has been working hard and you may get lightheaded or feel weak and drained.


  • Take a large, 32 oz or more, glass of water with you into the tub and drink plenty before, during and after the bath to help your body excrete the toxins.

  • Don't eat immediately before or after the bath.

  • Relax for the rest of the day and allow your body to continue to detoxify and heal itself.

  • Other additives historically used by some are hydrogen peroxide, 2 cups, grapefruit seed oil, 1 Tablespoon, and herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

  • Have your towel nearby the tub and ready so that you can wrap up immediately and continue the detox.

  • Shower off the Epsom Salts, if desired, but it's not necessary, and it benefits your body more if you wait until morning.

  • Dry brush your skin before the bath for further benefits.


  • Do not take a hot bath or a detox bath if you are pregnant, or have heart, or any other health issues. This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or otherwise take the place of the advice of your licensed healthcare practitioner.
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual and slightly edited for my Pigeon Post blog. Please find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Take a Detox Bath. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

St Pauls, Dorking

I was invited to give a talk to the Monday group at St Paul's Church, Dorking during Science and Engineering Week 2011.

The centrepiece was my patchwork quilt comforter which I designed to commemorate 70 years since WSC became Prime Minister, and the Battle of Britain. Naturally it didn't reveal any of the engineering masterpieces that had been constructed underground, e.g. at Deepdene, so around the quilt on the tabletops I put out all my "props" which everyone enjoyed browsing through, to see the evidence for themselves.

Towards the end of the evening we moved on to medical science and the continuous war against infections which Winston Churchill cared so much about. I was able to provide some good news that probably never reached his ears despite all attempts, and the audience with all their years of experience, immediately recognised the significance. I didn't need to say much about that.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Surrey PCT legal boilerplate meltdown

Surrey Primary Care Trust replied under the Freedom of Information Act today.

Watch out - before even opening the file there is a long load of legalese lingo - here's one paragraph:

Please note that the information provided is the property of Surrey PCT and subject to Intellectual Property and Database Rights. Any commercial application or use of this information may be subject to the provisions of the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005. This means that if for any reason you wish to re-use the information provided for any commercial purpose or applications, you must ask us for permission to do so. Should we agree that you can use the information it will be subject to the issue of a licence which may or may not involve a fee. If you have any questions about this process please contact the Head of Information Governance, c/o the email address below. Any breach of these regulations will be taken extremely seriously by Surrey PCT.

So I respectfully point out that

The aim of the Regulations is to encourage the re-use of public sector information by removing obstacles that stand in the way of re-use.
And that is straight from National Archives.

Besides, how silly! The 2 documents were

(1) a press release already published in the commercial press in 2008 and freely accessible online,

(2) a 32 page booklet published by the Department of Health, and Crown copyright, freely given out as 50,000 copies and online for the best part of a year.

To cap it all, Surrey PCT have now put back on the internet some faulty wording which is untrue and misleading, which had taken me the best part of a year to get all the faulty versions REMOVED! Yes, side effects to that vaccine are much more common than the government's PCTs have been telling you.

And here is the rabbit to pull out of my hat. Here is proof that Surrey PCT sourced its press release information from a document citing clinical trials that weren't even on the same vaccine! Well, that's too bad for Surrey children because the Reisinger paper was on Gardasil, and the studies were even designed by drug giants, Merck. This is all very odd for our Surrey girls who have been injected with Cervarix, made by Glaxo Smith Kline.

Ref: Reisinger Gardasil figures in TABLE 5.
Adverse Experience Summary Days 1–15 Postdose 1, 2 and 3.

Be warned. If you want to know facts, don't believe anything without checking.

And don't be put off by that legalese lingo either. Typical British bully tactics are just putting obstacles in your way, discouraging you from sharing information, and that, my little pumpkins, is precisely what the European Union was trying to put an end to.


Saturday, 5 February 2011

Pigeon Post's WW2 pigeon homework

There is nothing better for cheering me up after a truly awful week than a stroke of luck - or was it merely a coincidence?

The reason I called this blog Pigeon Post is that during World War 2, a prize-winning pigeon loft at 18 Doods Road, Reigate was commandeered for the war effort. Reigate was the Battle HQ for South Eastern Command, headed by the military VIP, General Montgomery.

For my talks on Churchill's Secret Reigate, I always feature the role of these pigeons because it just goes to show how small creatures and small messages can make all the difference if they are delivered safely - and sometimes with great bravery. I have even suggested to the Council of the Reigate Society that they should be commemorated somehow locally, but they seemed to think it was a silly idea. Oh well it's their loss - our next-door ancient market town, Dorking, commemorates a flipping chicken on its main Deepdene roundabout, just where Churchill used to stay as a teenager.

I knew that the Dickin Medal had been awarded to at least one of Mr Blasby's Reigate pigeons. This is the equivalent of a Victoria Cross for animals! In total, 32 pigeons were awarded the Dickin Medal for their magnificent wartime work. Oh, how I would have liked to find out more - like their specific names, and which one did what. I guess that they had a key role in the D Day landings since these were secretly planned by Monty's army staff on a massive scale. I think it is an inspiring story.

So it was a great delight to go to Bletchley Park on Sunday - my birthday - and at the last minute to find a whole roomful of exhibits in code-breaker Alan Turing's Hut 8 - devoted to the role of pigeons in war! I shall have to go again sometime in warmer weather, and allocate an hour or so to view those exhibits in detail.

How strange that this morning, only 6 days later, when Dave my window cleaner and his friend Malcolm turned up about some household repairs - what should the guttering man do as a hobby but breed racing pigeons! So he is going to lend me a book.

And just as a bit of light relief from the ugliness and deceptions of this corrupt, sad world, I am now eagerly awaiting a DVD called "Valiant". It has only cost me one penny and it's the story of one of those splendid D Day pigeons - as a British-made cartoon. I hope that will be fun.

PS It was. I recommend it to schoolchildren needing to learn about World War 2 without any books or study skills.