September 22, 2016

From my childhood home in Ifield in Sussex to a village called Crosshill in Ayrshire, Scotland is  a road journey of 435 miles which the Automobile Association estimate would take seven and a quarter hours of continuous driving. Yet my childhood home was called Crosshill and was named after this village. My home was one of a pair of semi-detached homes. The other was called Straiton and that is named after the neighbouring village to Crosshill.

When returning home from a recent holiday in Scotland there was an opportunity to visit Crosshill in Ayrshire and see just what my old home had been named after.

Like many a Scottish village it is quite an attractive place.


Here we have some of the main street and just opposite here there is a Post Office and store where I was allowed to copy an old photo they had hanging up.image004This photo, to judge by the car, dates from my childhood era.

We also had it pointed out to us where we could see more photos from the past.


The square had a war memorial and of course, it still does.


This is King Street in 1913 – a dozen or so years after my home was built.image010A similar view now.


And this was my childhood home – the right half of the pair. The left half is Straiton.


The Garden in 1975

September 21, 2016

Back in 1975 we lived in a pleasant little semi-detached house which we had bought as the first owners of a new house in 1971. It had a small garden, but backed on to the disused Devizes railway line. Our dream of buying it had become reality and we (and neighbours who bought) had a landscaping job to do. The railway was in a shallow cutting and the ballast was still there. The ballast needed a goodly layer of soil on top but would always be well drained. We decided a rockery with steps was the way of coping with the descent down to the old line level. We were able to transfer soil down to make the lower tier of the garden level. And here is what we finished up with in the summer of 1975.


There’s the rockery with our cat, Wilmot, sunning himself on a warm stone. I built a reasonable flight of steps to get down the level. The grass down there does look a tad parched but that was on the ballast. We can just see that our neighbours had a different scheme and just made a gentle slope.

The following year we moved to our present house so we have been there for forty years now.

This photo, of course, was taken on my little Canon Demi using Agfachrome slide film.

Magpie Mine

September 20, 2016

Magpie Mine is a former lead mine near Sheldon in the Peak District of Derbyshire. We came on it rather by chance when avoiding heavy traffic in the Bakewell area. This was back in October 2008.


This is one of the best preserved mines in Derbyshire – some restoration has been carried out. It almost looks Cornish.


Apparently there are guided tours but with no one about we took an unguided one.


It was beginning to look quite stormy.




In fact it was distinctly gloomy. But cameras can fight the gloom and make it look pretty cheerful.



There were remnants of the old mine everywhere.


Here we have a winder, a stack and the cottage at the mine.



A view through an arch in the old mine building.


Another winder.


Magpie Mine in its setting.


But just what is this?


The Shout

September 19, 2016

When we holidayed in Scotland we called in at Tighnabruaich each evening because I could get internet access there and could send and receive messages. Our chosen spot was by the lifeboat station which meant we were there when the lifeboat was called out. It’s an inshore type. It was darkening as dusk turned to twilight.

I was sitting in the car when I became aware that the lifeboat was being hauled out.



It was pushed into the water on a cradle behind a special tractor.

image006Once in the water the engine was started.


The lifeboat set off.


As it set up its wake it nearly created the need for another rescue.


That floating pontoon really did the rock and roll but the photographer out on it somehow managed not to fall into the briny.

We saw the boat return, rather more sedately, when we were back at our holiday home in Kames.

The next day we visited the shop at the lifeboat station and learned what had happened. A boat described as a dinghy had suffered engine failure off the island of Inchmarnock. The sailor had installed his reserve engine which didn’t start. As he was drifting and without power he called for help and was safely rescued. He had called at the lifeboat station earlier that next day and, we were told, put a good contribution in the box

How lucky we are to have volunteers willing to ride out and effect rescues


A Co-op Pass Book

September 18, 2016

When I was a child my mum shopped, when possible, at the Co-op. She was a member, with a number, which meant every purchase earned a small dividend. It is more than 50 years since my mum died but I still remember her co-op number and would reveal it to nobody as it can be a useful password or number.

When I became an independent adult it was natural for me to become a Co-op member and I joined up in 1970 and was given a pass book. Here it is.


I have blanked out parts of this – I’m a tad wary of identity theft.

Looking back I have no idea, really, why I became a member and what benefits might have accrued to me from it. For by this time the Co-op had abandoned member’s dividends in favour of Co-op saving stamps. It’s clear from the inside of my book that no transactions were ever entered.


Again, sections have been blanked out.

I have no real reason for keeping the book – except nostalgia for an old system.

The Peak District

September 17, 2016

I like the Peak District so it was with pleasure that I turned my railway poster calendar to September and found a picture of this Derbyshire (mostly) area.


This poster, for the old London, Midland and Scottish Railway was first published in 1923 with art work by R S Wyatt

It features a viaduct with a train in LMS red passing over it.

I suspect this represents the viaduct at Monsal Head – now a walking/cycling trail. I snapped a photo of it in 2008 when I was in the area.


I note from what I wrote at the time that I was unwilling to pay to park near there so was unable to get a good photo but I can certainly find photos of elsewhere on the Monsal Trail.

image004It is a very pleasing area.


The Monsal Trail is clearly a former railway – once part of the third way between London and Scotland.

On the Waverley

September 16, 2016

The paddle steamer Waverley has featured before on this blog for I have seen this lovely ship in various locations. However, at the end of July in 2016 we stayed in a location that was close to Waverley sailing routes. And, what’s more they were in Waverley’s Clyde area homeland for this venerable vessel had been built to take Glaswegians ‘doon the watter’ to places where they could enjoy sun sea and air. Our plan was to catch the boat at Dunoon for a tour of Loch Long.

Annoyingly, for me, it was not possible to keep tickets. I did take a photograph, though.


And so it was that we joined a queue of at least 250 people all boarding at Dunoon. It looked a lot, but somehow once on they seemed to thin out. It didn’t feel crowded.

But first let’s see the wonderful paddle steamer arrive.




On board it was really rather elegant. There was a café with Lloyd Loom furniture.



There was plenty of space on the open decks.


But for me it was the engine room that made it.

At the control panel.


The engine itself.


You can click here to see and hear the engine at work.

Or click here for a second film of the engine.

The scenery was as lovely as you’d expect. With a loch side castle at Carrick on Loch Goil as an end point.


Then back to Dunoon where we left this delightful boat to sail off – it ought to be into a sunset, but the weather wasn’t that kind.


Kew September

September 15, 2016

Kew September

My September Kew gardens poster dates from 1927 and shows a plant archway.


Now I like that artwork which is by Clive Gardiner. He wasn’t familiar to me but having looked him up I shall keep an eye open for his posters.

Now here’s an archway in my garden.


This arch is very utilitarian for it is covered with our fig tree. The steps are out to pick figs. It was an entry from this tree that won my wife the best horticultural exhibit in our village produce show at the August bank holiday. Blackberries also earned a prize.

I’m sure the arch at Kew was more beautiful. After several weeks of moderate neglect our garden needs attention, but it is being productive. The dinner I ate earlier had a grand collection of veg and fruit from the garden – fresh, tasty and as healthy as can be.

An Oxo tin

September 14, 2016

Oxo tins must be incredibly common. I have several from different eras and in different sizes. The fact of the matter was that having used the Oxo cubes inside, the tins made very handy storage containers. Here is a very well used small tin.


This could date from the 1930s although I certainly can’t be sure of this.


The tin has writing on all sides but most of it is too worn to be readable.


We clearly see a tin which has seen much more use than storing the six Oxo cubes until used.

The inside is in better order.


The inside of the lid has a readable message and then we can see what became of the tin.


Yes, it was part of somebody’s sewing kit. Those spools are, I believe, the ones that were used on earlier Singer sewing machines.

This tin and contents was given to me as a present. I’m not knocking it as a gift at all but in case anyone should ask, my guess is that the cash value is approximately nothing.

Bragging rights

September 13, 2016

Back at August Bank Holiday weekend we had our village produce show. So who came away with the bragging rights?

Some of us have to make do with odd little bits of success and I am proud of the fudge I make. I have learned, by being a helper at the show, to take note of what judges like and to learn from what they say. I have learned that our food judge seems to be very fond of my fudge. It has won three firsts and a second in the last 4 years. It looks ordinary but it is packed with everything bad for you and seems to be very popular.


So that’s my fudge on the small blue plate and I’m totally happy for my wife’s sweets, on the yellow plate came third. And here’s the judge’s comment.

image004I’m very happy with ‘lovely flavour and consistency.

But my wife has the real bragging rights with a collection of trophies but I’ll pick on her first prize loaf of bread.

image006And the comment here…

image008Brilliant – now who wouldn’t feel just a tad smug with that comment?