A filling station in rural Cornwall

THE LAST TIME that a person other than me put petrol into a car that I was driving was in August 2003 in South Africa, where self-service petrol pumps were then a rarity. In India, where I do not drive, vehicles are often filled by the garage attendants. Today (24th June 2021), we were driving along the A394 road in Cornwall when we spotted a petrol station, the modest-looking Double S Garage at Ashton, selling lower than average priced petrol. It was charging £1.26 per litre (currently the price of a litre in Cornwall ranges from £1.24 to £1.36).

I stopped by a pump and got out of the car, ready to operate the pump when an elderly man came out of the garage and on to the forecourt. Instead of having to fill the car myself, he filled it. While he was putting petrol into our car’s tank, I looked around and noticed that his small garage was filled with about five used cars, all with prices attached.

The most prominent car on sale was an aged Bentley, which the garage owner told me he had been driving for the past 15 years. The other cars in the small showroom-cum-garage included a vintage MG convertible; an old Jaguar sports car with a soft top; an Austin Seven complete with engine crank; and a very old looking Morris Minor. The owner, who had filled our car, allowed me to take photographs of his collection of old vehicles and appeared pleased when I told him that his garage was like a small motor car museum.

The Double-S is across the road from a small Victorian gothic chapel built with granite walls and a tiled roof. This is The Annunciation. It is the parish church of Breage with Godolphin and Ashton and is contained within the C of E diocese of Truro. The edifice was designed by the prolific church architect James Piers St Aubyn (1815-1895) and dedicated in 1884. The church is small but seen from outside, it is lacks architectural distinction.

We could have filled up at a superstore, where petrol prices are often not unreasonable, but I am glad that we patronised The Double S Garage, which must be amongst a diminishing number of fuelling places in England where the customer does not need to serve himself or herself. Also, it was fun finding the fascinating collection of vintage or almost vintage cars being stored close to the pumps. It is idiosyncratic experiences such as visiting this garage that help to make Cornwall a delightful place to visit.

Postcards from the past

Sunset and lights_800

Yesterday (30 Aug 2018), I visited an exhibition that fascinated me. Held at the Brunei Gallery on the campus of SOAS in London, it will continue until 23 September 2018.

United services club

The exhibits are replicas of postcards sent from Bangalore and Madras (Chennai) during the early 20th century when India was part of the British Empire. I have visited both Chennai and Bangalore many times, but it is the latter that I know best.

Club panorama_1024

The building that housed United Services Club, which used to be a place that British Officers relaxed in Bangalore, still stands today. It is now the main building of the prestigious Bangalore Club.  Unlike so many old buildings in Bangalore, this one has been well-preserved.

Comm Str

Commercial Street was and still is an important shopping street in Central Bangalore, but it has changed in appearance greatly since this postcard was produced. It has changed yet again since my coloured photograph was taken.

Commercial Sunset_800

Queen Victoria’s statue in Cubbon Park was placed by the British near the end of her reign. It still stands today, but the cannons in the postcard are no longer in place.

Queens statue

That this statue of a former foreign ruler still stands is a tribute to Indian tolerance, as i point out in my latest book, “TRAVELS THROUGH GUJARAT, DAMAN, AND DIU” (see:https://gujarat-travels.com/):

It is a sign of Indian tolerance that a monument celebrating the deeds of invaders has been left intact. I have seen examples of this elsewhere in India. For example, Cubbon Park in Bangalore has two well-maintained British statues, one of Queen Victoria and the other of King Edward VII, and in Calcutta there is the Victoria Memorial.”

The late queen_800

If you can find a short time, I can strongly reccommend visiting this fine temporary exhibition.

exhibition leaflet