Sea glass marbles

Interesting solitaire games…

Marbles frosted by the sea, and Codd marbles, also from the sea. Well frosted!




Taken at 0537 on 15 November, 2016. One day late! Using a 135mm lens.

The most recent supermoon occurred on November 14, 2016, the closest to Earth since January 26, 1948, and the next one like this will not be until November 25, 2034.

Compare it with this taken at 1811 on 12 November, 2016. Two days early! I used a longer focal length lens (270mm), but it’s out of focus.

I do not understand why the moon appears to have rotated…


Exeter Fire

14f513fc-0e12-4e43-aa28-ecbc1f02334c-1The fire began around 0500 on 28 October in a building covered in scaffolding in Cathedral Yard, to the left of the Well House, shown on the plan below – from Exeter Memories. On the ground floor was an art gallery which was completely destroyed. This is the oldest part of Exeter, many of the back-to-back buildings have a timber frame from the 15th and 16th centuries.


Plan- Exeter Memories

The art gallery building was being converted into apartments and effectively burnt itself out, all the floors collapsing in spite of the gallant work of the Devon and Somerset fire services (later supplemented with resources from Dorset) – up to 120 firemen and 20 appliances – with an aerial ladder.

By mid morning they began winding down the operation – a drone flight overhead had been used to inspect for any remaining fires –  when suddenly the roof of the Royal Clarence Hotel caught fire, which is on the right of the Well House building in the plan above.

Somehow the fire managed to jump over the Well House building. They brought in a second aerial ladder and decided they needed more water from the river and escalated it to a major incident. Despite their best efforts the hotel had virtually collapsed by mid afternoon and they were mainly trying to protect adjacent buildings.

Late in the afternoon the Well House building started burning, presumably because fire had spread from the Royal Clarence Hotel.

This photo  shows all three buildings emitting steam and smoke from the fires.


Photo- D&C Police Drones, 1500, 28.10.16

There is a video here.

Some 17 hours since it began the fire threatened to spread to the High Street, reportedly to Costa Coffee and Laura Ashley. Both these buildings subsequently suffered significant damage to roofs and internally – as fire fighters needed access to the rear of the building – as well as flooding from fire fighter’s hoses.

At 2230 an additional aerial ladder was deployed, as further fires appeared. The fire chief interviewed on BBC TV said the main concern was that there were several seats of fire which were spreading because of voids in roof spaces. At this stage it looked as if the fire could spread from Cathedral Yard to the High Street.


Photo-Emma-2200, 28.10.16

During the day of the 28th October Sainsburys supermarket in central Exeter sold out of food.  Meanwhile water had to be brought in by tanker to the city centre because of low mains pressure as the fire services were using so much of it. Smoke and debris from the fires permeated the air.

More from The Guardian.

Early morning of October 29th – buildings still smouldering, but the fire has been contained to Cathedral Yard.

b8a690f5-e28b-477c-9ca7-026f157fddec-1But a short time later it looked likely that the fire has taken hold in a building adjacent to the hotel but, in fact it had been contained by determined fire fighters – and a lot of water.

whatsapp-image-2016-10-28-at-21-40-51-1Fire fighters were held held up for a time on the morning of Saturday 29th October because of a ruptured gas main in the Royal Clarence Hotel building, which was feeding the fire! A technique known as “cold cutting” was used to stop the flow of gas – a highly dangerous process when surrounded by flames! This may explain why The Royal Clarence was almost totally destroyed – its fire being fed by gas – while buildings on either side were not.


Photo -BBC-1100, 29.10.16

So with the gas main isolated, it looked like everything was now under control by late morning.


Photo-BBC-1130, 29.10.16

And this is what has been destroyed.


Photo-Christian Schoter

Later in the day a drone was again sent over the site of the fire. From left to right the burned buildings are

1. The start of the fire (art gallery/building being renovated)

2. The Well House, although this shows the roof not the inside, as it appears the building was somehow protected from some of the fire.

3. The Royal Clarence Hotel


Photo-D&C Police Drones, 1500, 29.10.16


Sunday 30th October, fire fighters are still on site damping down and used foam to subdue hot spots. The Royal Clarence facade was almost totally destroyed and is in danger of collapse.



Adjacent buildings appear unaffected;


View from the aerial ladder over The Royal Clarence Hotel-The Well House on the right;


Photo-BBC-1100, 30.10.16

Structural engineers have examined the remains of the hotel and have concluded it will have to be demolished. Equipment will be on site in the next few days.


Published by the Express Echo and Gazette on 2 November.


There was also suggestion that the operation was scaled back before fire crews realised the blaze had worsened.

Joe Hassell, group manager of Devon & Somerset Fire, told the Echo at no time did they scale back the operation.


He said: “We didn’t scale back the fire operation but what we did do, which is what we have been doing throughout the incident, is having a relief strategy in place to swap crews to make sure people had breaks. Nothing was scaled back.

“From what I understand, we didn’t take people off the operation but at one stage we managed to knock the fire back into the main building of origin and things seemed to have calmed down.”

Incident commander Bill Haverson said there was a period early on in the fire’s history, just after 7.30am, where they thought the fire was under control.

“Luckily we hadn’t counted our chickens, we hadn’t scaled down too much, we still had appliances,” he said to the BBC.

Mr Haverson, one of the first on the scene, said: “There was a period around half past seven where we thought we had the fire well surrounded and well under control.

“Certainly from the outside,  most of what was coming across was steam, but there were still fire pockets. What we didn’t realise was at the rear of the well-house, lower down the fire had got into the timbers and voids and was working its way up to the back of the Clarence.

“It was only then when it broke through the roof space which it did quite aggressively, did we realise we had a real problem on our hands.”

He said they had a pump failure at one point and problem with water hydrants but overall the team worked well and managed to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby Martin’s Lane.

This incident was the most difficult of its kind Mr Hassell said he had dealt with in his career.

He said the blaze was ‘never out of control’ but it was ‘very challenging’.

“It was an unprecedented fire, we had a building from floor to ceiling on fire which was incredibly challenging to make sure the hotel was fully evacuated.

“Unfortunately because of the hidden voids in the roof and the construction of the building, we couldn’t stop it spreading to the hotel.

“We did manage to stop it from it spreading to Martins Lane fortunately, I’m really proud of our firefighters for how they managed to do this.”

Mr Hassell said it was “It was certainly the most challenging fire I’ve dealt with in my career; it’s the one that’s had the most significant impact on businesses. Our heart goes out to everyone and we are so thankful to the public for their support through this,” he said.

His message to people in Exeter was one of thanks for their continued support throughout the incident.

He added there was an advice line being created to offer console to anyone who has a heritage building and how to safeguard it from fires.

1 January 2017

Several shops in the High Street affected by the fire are still closed and those which bore the brunt of the fire on Cathedral Green are covered in scaffolding as rebuilding gets underway. However, the Royal Clarence Hotel remains untouched – a dismal wreck awaiting final demolition.