Thursday, 11 June 2009

Looking Back - Le Mans Disaster

On this day in 1955, the biggest disaster at a motor racing circuit, occurred at Le Mans in north-west France. At least 80 people died and a similar number were injured as a result of two cars colliding in front of a spectator grandstand. A Mercedes-Benz being driven by Pierre Levegh hit the bank by the grandstand and immediately exploded. Parts of the wreckage were blown into the enclosure packed with mainly French spectators. Pierre Levegh was speeding down the strait in front of the pits, at over 150 mph, when he clipped an Austin-Healey driven by British driver Lance Macklin. Levegh was killed outright. Macklin's car spun wildly before coming to rest in the middle of the track, but he was unhurt. The race was being contested by three teams, Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Shortly after the crash the Mercedes manager instructed the two remaining Mercedes to withdraw from the race as a mark of respect to those killed in the disaster. The accident happened about two hours after the 24-hour race began.

It was several hours before spectators on the far side of the track knew of the crash. It was only when Mercedes pulled out of the race, they realised something was wrong. The race had promised to be one of the fastest and most keenly contested ever held at Le Mans. Two British victims were among the dead, Jack Diamond (24) from London and Robert Loxley from Worcestershire, who was celebrating his 24th birthday.

Officials confirmed that security measures for the race went beyond standard requirements.

There was some criticism that race had not been abandoned, with the organizers claiming that stopping the race would have alarmed spectators and hampered rescue efforts. The French government concluded race security should be further improved and the distance between the track and spectators increased.

At the end of the 1955 season Mercedes-Benz withdrew from all motor racing and did not return until 1987.

Following the tragedy Switzerland banned all racing on motor circuits and this was only lifted in June 2007.

The race was won by the British Jaguar team, drivers Ivor Bueb and Mike Hawthorn who reached a record average speed of 106 miles per hour (170.5 kmh).

Are These Cute - Or What?

" Give us a kiss, Mum!"

" I wish I'd brought my mittens!"

"Don't worry little chap, we'll find your Mum!"
(Click images to enlarge)

Ever Wondered Why?

Why the sun lightens our hair,
but darkens our skin?
Why women can't put on mascara
with their mouth closed?
Why you don't ever see the headline:
'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
Why 'abbreviated' is such a long word?

Today's Smile

Sweet Taste Of Revenge

On the first day, she sadly packed her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases.
On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things.
On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining-room table, by candle-light, she put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of spring-water.
When she'd finished she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimps dipped in caviar into the hollow centre of the curtain rods.
She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.
On the fourth day, the husband came back with his new girlfriend, and at first all was bliss.
Then, slowly, the house began to smell.
They tried everything; cleaning, mopping, and airing out the place.
Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned.
Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which time the two had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked!
People stopped coming over to visit.
Repair men refused to work in the house.
The maid quit.
Finally, they couldn't take the stench any longer, and decided they had to move, but a month later - even though they'd cut their price in half - they couldn't find a buyer for such a stinky house.
Word got out, and eventually even the local estate agents refused to return their calls.
Finally, unable to wait any longer for a purchaser, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.
Then the ex-wife called the man and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely and said that she missed her old home terribly and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for having the house.
Knowing she could have no ideas how bad the smell really was, he agreed on a price that was only one tenth of what the house had been worth.....but only if she would sign the papers that very day.
She agreed, and within two hours his lawyers delivered the completed paperwork.
A week later the man and his girlfriend stood smiling as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home....and to spite the ex-wife, they even took the curtain rods!

Communal Cabbing

I came across this picture in the on-line BBC news magazine. The caption refers to the two-day London tube strike, and the suggestion that people should share taxis. At the same time posing the question. Why save it just for crisis days!

A Big Thank You!

And finally today, I would like to say a very big thank you to all those Journal readers who send in pictures, stories and jokes, usually by email, which make a massive contribution to the Blankney Journal content. Since the Journal started on 1 January this year, this thank you is post number 831. That represents a tremendous amount of material, an average of over 5 posts per day, every day since the blog began. I am currently publishing 7 posts each day. Your contributions are invaluable. Any readers who have not previously sent in material, please feel free to do so, I would love to hear from you. The content can be on any subject under the sun, providing it is not abusive or offensive. If your contribution makes just one person somewhere smile, it will have been worthwhile. The email address is .