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I've finally made it back to San Diego. The vacation was great, but it's good to be back home. I'm also glad to see that the site wasn't completely overrun by spammers in my absence. Here's a few snapshots from the trip:

Posing with Nessie in Drumnadrochit.

The relatives I was staying with in Gloucester had a weird, mutant goldfish swimming around in their backyard pond. I dubbed it Nessie. Later we learned that the poor fish was suffering from dropsy and had to be put down before it popped and infected all the other fish in the pond.

image  image I was amazed by the meats they sold in French supermarkets. On the left is lapin, otherwise known as rabbit meat. Since the rabbits were already skinned, I couldn't tell if one of them was Bernd. On the right is pigeon meat, which isn't really very shocking, though you'd still be hard-pressed to find it in any American supermarket.

image Here I am posing in front of the Piltdown Man Pub located in the town of Piltdown. Unfortunately the pub was closed when I was there, so I didn't get a chance to go inside. Plus, it was raining when this picture was taken, so I didn't stick around for very long.

Finally, here's an odd advertisement that was painted on a wall next to the hotel I was staying at in York. I had no idea if 'Bile Beans' were ever a real product, and no one I asked knew either.

Exploration/Travel Miscellaneous

Posted on Sun Sep 26, 2004


Mmm, lapin . . . never had pigeon before, tho'.

Good you're back . . . now give us more hoaxes, dangit! 😛
Posted by Jim North  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  05:25 PM
Bile Beans were apparently a real patent medicine -
Posted by The Hermit  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  06:00 PM
Yes Bile Beans were real - though not beans, I believe they were starch or cornflour.

No pigeon in the USA? How about Quail (Another bird), the eggs are popular(ish) in the UK, well they had them in Safeway.

Better still is the Edible Doormouse... mmmmm! (We don't generally eat them anymore, but by the name we obviously did once.)

If you're from the USA and you meet a Brit do ask them to explain what pudding is (Several thing go by the name) - especially Black Pudding hehehehe
Posted by Peter  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  06:21 PM
I hope the goldfish was removed in time!
Posted by john  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  06:43 PM
Bile Beans were an extremely popular English patent medicine. One of the biggest areas of patent medicines were kidney & liver cure-alls, of which Biles Beans were among the most popular, probably 'cause of their catchy name, which was all these medicines had to go on (that and usually having very high alcohol, opium, or cocaine contents!)
Posted by Josh W.  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  08:16 PM
"How about Quail"

I've had quail once that I recall, and if I remember correctly, it tasted pretty dang good.

"especially Black Pudding hehehehe"

The cousin to Gray Oozes and Gelatinous Cubes, by any chance? :lol:

*tries to supress nerdish tendencies, fails*
Posted by Jim North  on  Sun Sep 26, 2004  at  10:38 PM
Welcome back! I recognize that exact same Bile Beans sign from a trip I took to York myself - I regret I didn't get a picture of it for my collection.
Posted by Matt  on  Mon Sep 27, 2004  at  02:45 PM
Peter, I've had black pudding. It's actually a favorite of my wife (she's British). It's not bad. Kind of like sausage, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat it.

As for pigeon, I think Americans view pigeons as being somewhat on a par with flying rats, thus the lack of pigeon in American supermarkets. Though I'm sure farm-raised pigeons would be quite tasty.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Mon Sep 27, 2004  at  03:30 PM
The photograph of the Bile Beans advertisement sent me looking through my collection of antique medical equipment: here's a photo of a genuine bottle of Bile Beans, containing a few, smelly purple beans. As you can see, they were a treatment for constipation but I don't know when they were made or what they contained, or whether they worked!
Posted by Dr Ed Penman  on  Mon Sep 27, 2004  at  05:29 PM
Very reassuring, next to that bottle of POISON!!!
Posted by Paul  on  Mon Sep 27, 2004  at  06:27 PM
Black pudding....Doesn't that have blood in it?
That's what makes it black....right? No?
Posted by Paul  on  Mon Sep 27, 2004  at  06:29 PM
mmmmmmmmmmmmm pigon
Posted by jjj  on  Wed Sep 29, 2004  at  07:03 PM
Just to let Peter know that Edible doormice were raised and then eaten by the Romans when they occupied Britain. They were particularly fond of stuffing them with nuts and honey and then roasting them.
On the subject of Black pudding - It really is delicious with a good old English (or Welsh) breakfast. It may be full of blood and Fat but the Massai in East Africa virtually live off Cows milk and blood and they are really healthy!
Posted by Rob  on  Tue Oct 12, 2004  at  10:14 AM
Shock! Horror! I believe that sign has gone. Hold on to your photo, one day it may have value to York residents who yearn for a simpler time, when landmarks were proper landmarks, they alliterated and refered to digestive juices...
Posted by sweevo  on  Thu Oct 27, 2005  at  07:53 AM
The sign for Bile Beans is there I can see it from my window. Bile Beans were widely used here in the UK. Above the urinals of the Black Jug Pub in Horsham, West Sussex is a bile beans advertisment which tells the story of a house maid who was suffering with constipation. She was going to be operated on until she had bile beans, they seemed to loosen her up!! Black Pudding is lovely. Needs to be bought from a local butchers and not in sausage form as is sold in supermarkets. Yorkshire black pudding is best.
Posted by Andrew Evers  on  Sun Mar 19, 2006  at  02:56 AM
Yes, of course Bile Beans were real. They were a product similar to Liver Salts and Made by Fisons. Latterly thet were available in compressed pill form. Fisons phased them out in the 1980's.

I was involved in repainting this piece of 'Industrial Archaeology' in 1986. I founded the York Arts Forum in January of that year. It was to be an interdisciplinary Arts group designed to get the citizens of York involved in the impending 1987 York Festival. I had been a successful artist since the mid 1970's, selling hundreds of paintings, - but this was different!!!

We organised several exhibitions throughout 1986, then locals asked us if we would repair the crumbling wall mural which is much treasured by some locals. We approached Fison, the owners of Bile Beans about this and they paid us a sum of money for the paints and agreed to sponsor the effort, though they did stress at the time that Bile Beans was a product they were trying to discontinue and did not want it to be re-popularised. We were due to begin repainting in August 1986, but unfortunately I had become seriously ill with a severe early bout of Multiple Sclerosis. After a week in hospital undergoing tests I was 'sprung
Posted by Peter  on  Sun Feb 04, 2007  at  11:54 AM
I just returned from York with my own Bile Beans advert photo I took on a walk around the city walls. I decided to look them up, and found this page. Nice work Peter and the YAF, it seems this mural has piqued the interest of many people.
Posted by Geoff  on  Sun May 06, 2007  at  08:48 PM
Wow, I was amazed to see the name of one of my local pubs on here, The Black Jug, Horsham. I often look at that bile bean advert on the wall and read how a housemaid escaped operation. Didn't think the pub was that well known. The list of ailements that bile beans cure is particularly amusing, especially when it says they can cure "all womens problems".
Posted by stephen  on  Sat Jul 07, 2007  at  04:06 AM
Hey, I have an old house at least 122 yrs. old and I have found 5 small bottles in the walls
funny enough, one of them said was a small, roundish kind of bottle and says bile beans(embossed) on it.
Posted by Renee Kasuboski  on  Mon Jun 02, 2008  at  10:45 AM
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