Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Worry! Worry! Worry!

Now that the snow is thawing, I am starting to worry. What about, you might ask? Well, this afternoon, I came across a melting snowman on a lawn and have started to worry what happens to snowmen and women when they disappear.

Do they seep into the ground, end up seeping into a flowing river that joins the sea and get sucked up in the clouds - there to wait until next winter - or what? Am I alone in worrying about the fate of snowpersons? If anyone can ease my worries, please let me know?

Monday, 27 December 2010

Blog in the Spotlight

Do not put this bear in the bin
Originally uploaded by Le Fromagier Extraordinaire

As I prepare to dust off the scanner and start posting again, I thought it worth mentioning a review I saw in a UK newspaper. The Independent has mentioned the Faces in Places blog (click here). The blog is a collection of images of faces found in everyday places. Also, check out its Flickr group (click here). Hours of endless fun. Enjoy!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Greeting

Just a note to say thank you to all my 'blog' friends who visit this site so frequently. Since Blogger introduced its new Statistics system in June, I have had 9,965 visits so just 35 to go to reach the magic 10,000 mark. I live in hope that in 2011 I will at last reach 200 followers, not helped by the last fifteen months of working 200 miles away from home, including the move from Hillside Cottage in Somerset and the move into our new home in Lancashire. Now I am here and, importantly, know where my photographic treasures are - all in one place - look out for lots of posting from the New Year onwards. Talking of New Year, this seems the right time to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year! Here's to you. Cheers! Thank you one and all!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Pet Cemetery at Christmas

Ever since I published some photographs of decorated graves in an American pet cemetery, I have kept my eyes open for another and this one came along. The Christmas tree on this animals grave is quite spectacular. I find it very moving that the family continues to think of its pet at such a time . . .

Monday, 20 December 2010

Longridge Life: Total Lunar Eclipse!

Longridge Life: Total Lunar Eclipse!: "It seems that we are about to experience the first total lunar eclipse that coincides with the Winter Solstice for almost 400 years. BBC Rad..."

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Longridge Life: Don't forget to Feed the Birds!

Longridge Life: Don't forget to Feed the Birds!: "And whatever you do, please don't forget to feed the birds. I'm off now to clear the snow from the bird table - lots of Bramblings are hover..."

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Captain Loxley's Little Dog

Some years ago, when I was researching the loss of a First World War battleship - HMS Formidable - I visited the Abbotsbury Sub-tropical Gardens in Dorset to see if I could find the grave of an airdale terried named Bruce. This poor animal stayed on the bridge with its master, Captain Arthur Noel Loxley RN, as the ship sank in the English Channel. Bruce's body was washed up on the beach and buried in the grounds of the garden. I found his headstone among the graves of a number of pets. For more on his story, click here and here.

The writing on the headstone records:
Airedale Terrier
who stood till the end
Captain Loxley RN
on the bridge of
HMS Formidable
when sunk by a torpedo
30 miles from Portland
January 1st 1915

Bruce's body was washed up
below Abbotsbury Castle

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Spank the Planks!

And to make amends for the previous post - here is what I was originally watching. It features Spank the Planks Appalachian Dance Team and the Broken String Band - enjoy!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Hillbilly Fart Dancing

I was looking at YouTube videos of Appalachian Dancing when I came across this. If you enjoyed the Baked Beans sketch in the film Blazing Saddles, you will enjoy this. If you didn't, you certainly won't! It made me wonder what the world is coming to? Good Grief! Comments appreciated!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Wooden House

Originally uploaded by معضاد

I saw this while uploading a picture to the Best of Flickr group. I think it is remarkable. Click on the image to enlarge it!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Tea for Five

Taking tea was an enjoyable pastime for the Edwardians. Here a family enjoys a cuppa  or is that a coffee pot. This is an imported postcard so I guess it might be German. I wonder why many of them are looking elsewhere?

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sad Demise of a small Bird

It was the sharp tap at the window that alerted me to the fact that all was not well. I went outside and discovered a small bird lying dead on the path. It had flown into the window and was dead. Close scrutiny revealed the delicate nature of its feathers. I was struck by two things. One, the frost that gathered on its feathers and, two, the prehistoric looking 'armour' plates that protected its claws.

If you want to know more about the Blue Tit, click here.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Ahh! Factor

The Victorians loved mawkish or sentimental postcards. Here is one with a high Ahh! factor. I wonder how long it took to get the puppies into position!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Photographed from Behind!

For a number of years, I have held a small collection of black and white negatives that belonged to my late parents. When I got a decent scanner in the summer, I paid more attention to them and found there were a couple of hundred of negatives. Some were taken in 1950 in Benghazi around the time of my birth, others were difficult to identify.

I scanned a representative dozen or so negatives and was stunned by what I saw. My mother as a young woman cuddling a boyfriend on the local recreation ground, my maternal grandfather on a day out at the coast (he died in 1940) and a photograph that has troubled me. It is of woman pushing a pram, walking alongside a much older woman and an elderly man. To the side is what appears to be a chicken house. I couldn't recognise who they were as they were photographed from behind which was very frustrating.

Tonight, I looked at the photograph again and suddenly recognised two of them - my mother and my grandmother. The unseen child in the pram must be my much older brother who was born in 1938.

I still have to identify the old man. My heart says it is my grandfather, but I have only ever seen him photographed from the front. An ex-soldier, he always stood upright and had a military style waxed moustache! Perhaps if I compare his ears with photographs of grandfather I might be able to link the two. I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Autumn Tree

Autumn sees the leaves fall from the trees. The wooden skeleton left behind can sometimes be very striking. I was particularly struck by this maginificent tree. Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Just up the Road!

The other day, we went for a walk up the road. It doesn't take long to reach the countryside and really good views - very nice! I also crept up on a large cloud and caught it by surprise.

Blue skies and rolling hills - lovely!
Note the surprised look on this cloud which raises it eyebrows!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Super Hearing!

You may remember Minnie who appeared in some of this blog's earlier post. She who has 'Communed with Gnomes' has certain super-powers. The ability to hear distant conversations is one of them and Minnie , here, demonstrates how she achieves it!

Sinking Feeling!

Abandoned Buildings Are Dangerous
Originally uploaded by BACKYard Woods Explorer

I found this on Flickr and thought it worth sharing here. The photographer gave it the title 'Abandoned Buildings Are Dangerous.' Read his caption and take care!

RAF Harrier Aircraft in Diamond Nine Formation

RAF Harrier Aircraft in Diamond Nine Formation
Originally uploaded by Defence Images

I saw this award-winning photograph recently and liked its unusual perspective.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Dancing Ladies

Imagine finding these growing at the bottom of your garden? I saw them when I visited the historic Blue House in the Somerset town of Frome. I think they are a fine example of the woodcarver's art.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Bells, The Bells!

Take a five young men and a group of bells, and what have you got? Answer? A handbell choir (known as a handbell ensemble in the USA). I found this among a box of glass plate negatives. It was taken around 1905 and I wonder what became of them. They seem quite young. I wonder if any of them fought in the First World War which commenced only nine years later . . .

Monday, 25 October 2010

Jolly Roger Adopts a New Disguise!

Not content with being a Pirate, our subject got his wife to join him in a Royal pose and it reminds me of the act of creating events in costume for photographs - tableau vivant. Wikipedia gives a good account here.  Later, she poses for photographs of her own - enjoy and wonder!

Now, which Royals are they imitating?

Where did you get that hat?

Floral hat!

With a shepherdesses crook, does this depict Little Bo Peep?

Friday, 22 October 2010

My Name is Jolly Roger!

Back in July, I scanned a large number of glass plate negatives. Many were of members of a well-to-do family. A popular pastime in the 1900s was to dress up in costume and pose for photographers. Here are two snaps of the head of the family. It begs the question, "what on earth was he thinking?" Mind you, when I drove up the Turquoise Trail between Albuquerque and Sante Fe, I stopped at an artists' colony and dressed up as a cowboy in a photographic portrait studio. Not a pretty sight and no I am not going to publish any shots here!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Madcap Map!

I was fascinated to read a report in the Independent  and Daily Telegraph newspapers about a cult cartoonist Mr Munroe who has spent some months compiling a map for social network's lost souls. Munroe's Map of Online Communities is well worth a viewing. You'll find the link to the articles here and here. Enjoy!

Map of Online Communities (2010 Update)

Monday, 11 October 2010

New Home, New Garden

Well, it has finally stopped raining and, as the sun came out, I took the opportunity to take the first photographs at our new home. While not Hillside Cottage, there are a number of plus points. Only five minutes walk to the open countryside, for a start and the garden is not too bad. It has a surprise at the bottom which you will see by scrolling through the photos, below. It made my day when I saw it!

A view from the upstairs window
Steps lead to the Contemplation level

A bench lies hidden to one side

A place to sit and contemplate

At the rear of the garden is this fine vegetable patch!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Wartime Snapshots

A few weeks ago, I scanned a small collection of negatives relating to the Second World War. I was pleased to find they showed a pilot and his aircraft - a Fairey Swordfish, often dubbed the 'Stringbag'.
I wish I knew who he was, but for those who appreciate the sight of an historic aircraft, here they are.

Flying over a reservoir

The pilot is on the right

Another view of the pilot
Several Swordfish lined up on a grass strip

Ground crew work on this Stringbag

Proud of his work

Friday, 1 October 2010

New Home!

Well, we got the keys to our new home today. It rained and rained! I got the TV working and then it lost the signal. I got the new broadband working and then the wifi dropped out. I . . . well, the list is endless. The cats are pleased to be out of the cattery, but it is very cold in the house. The previous owner took all the curtains and we haven't got the gas central heating working yet. A small camping stove helps mask the fact that there is no cooker, fridge, washing machine etc.etc., but it will all come together in time. Total rewiring is the first job to be done, but it will be some time before the electrician can start the work - groan! Never mind, at least I managed to connect an ethernet cable up to the broadband hub so I can post this. Welcome to a new world!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Poignant Message!

Having climbed the steps to the top of Darwen Tower, I looked at the distant views before descending. Once back on ground level, I noticed some stones laid out in patterns. Summoning the last of my energy, I ascended once more and looked over the edge of the viewing platform. I took a photograph of the message which must have taken some time to lay out on the grass. The stones had to be collected and were quite large.

I wonder who did it and who Beth was? Perhaps they had broken up a few days earlier and he knew she would be coming to the tower? Who knows? I certainly found it moving!

Darwen Tower

Today, I visited Darwen in Lancashire and decided to complete a ten year goal - walk up to the distinctive Darwen Tower. It celebrates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee of 1897. From its circular viewing platform, the Isle of Man and the hills of north Wales can be seen when the weather is clear. Sadly, it wasn't but it was still spectacular. I just managed to make out the town I become a resident of on the outer edge of the Trough of Bowland when we get the keys to our new home on Friday! The tower overlooks Darwen from its perch some 1,200 feet high and is more than 80 feet tall.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Dream Home!

I know my fellow blogger, Owen, of the Magic Lantern blog has spent many years searching for his dream home. This one I photographed in Washington might be just the one he is looking for!

Monday, 13 September 2010


My friend Ollie felt it was time his own portrait appeared in this blog so here he is in all his glory. He came with Claude - a cat that I adopted - and was intended to amuse him. Ollie asked whether I would rescue him and so I did. For more than fourteen years, he has come on all our annual holidays and never misbehaves! Say 'hello' Ollie. "Hello Ollie!" I don't know, some times he can be a real (k)nit!!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Curious Case of Sambo's Grave

I have reported on a visit to a Slave's grave on the Lancashire Coast so click here to find it on The Graveyard Detective Blog.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Lost and Found

A few days ago, I went for a walk along the Lancashire Coastal Way from St Annes to Lytham Green. On the way along the beachside walk, I saw a sock, then a pair of Calvin Klein underpants, the peak of a baseball cap and a single training shoe.

I got to thinking about these somewhat less than treasured items and the wartime theme of 'make do and mend'. If I walked along say eighty miles of coastal footpath - a daunting task to say the least - would I find an entire wardrobe of clothing that would amaze my friends? I am not sure - not that I have any friends anyway.

This episode probably came to mind when I reached Lytham Green where a two-day event was taking place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The green was smothered with living history re-enactors. Here was a German Army camp, alongside a Russian platoon, next came the US airborne and British soldiers - all in authentic wartime uniforms. There was also a full-size replica Spitfire and wartime pilots sat around in deck chairs awaiting the order to 'Scramble!'

I was especially impressed to witness a flypast of a RAF Dakota transport aircraft and then a display of aerobatics by a Spitfire and a Hurricane.

Anyway, sorry for meandering off the subject. The whole purpose of this post was to ask people what unusual items they have found while out walking? Please share your experiences, here.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Anniversary of Wartime Tragedy

Today is the 66th anniversary of a tragic wartime accident that cost the lives of two teachers, 38 schoolchildren and seven other civilians when an American B-24 Liberator bomber crashed in the Lancashire coastal village of Freckleton.

The aircraft was one of two taking part in a test flight from the then RAF airbase at Warton. A ferocious thunderstorm started and the two aircraft were recalled. One pilot decided to the fly away from the storm, while the other - Lieutenant John Bloemendal attempted to land. A witness saw lighting strike the aircraft and it ended up partially destroying some house and a local cafe. Part of the bomber collided with a classroom packed with infants, its fuel tanks catching alight. All three members of the plane's crew also died.

At the rear of the churchyard of Holy Trinity, the memorial is a poignant sight and it is very moving to read the names of all the children who died.