Posts Tagged ‘2001’

15 years ago

July 28, 2016

A few days ago I looked back ten years. Today I’m looking back 15 to 28th July 2001. It was the day of a stunning sunset.


This was taken at the front of my house. I found the important thing was to use spot metering for light levels rather than averaged metering. Point the centre of the frame at a suitable bit of sky and half press the shutter. With it half held compose the picture you want to take.

This blacks out the land and gives us a nice silhouette of the shapes at the bottom. I could wish there wasn’t a double telegraph pole – but it is there. Yes I could clone it out very easily but on the whole I take what I can see. Personally, I think the end result is stunning.

By the way, my camera in 2001 was a pretty basic affair. The best assize was 1.3 megapixels – tiny by present day standards but it seemed to take good photos for which I don’t claim credit. I’m a recorder with a camera rather than an artist.


June 27, 2016

Looking back precisely 15 years ago today, I see we had young swallows in our barn. The barn is a modern building. I made a hole in the wall, high up on a gable end so that swallows could enter and leave, even if the door was fully shut.

A swallow’s nest was a regular occurrence and a delight to see.


There are three of the little beauties (or should that really be uglies) hoping to see mum or dad return soon with food. It was June 27th 2001.

A few days later (July 2nd) four youngsters were visible and looking much more like the handsome adults.


They will be airborne before long.

We still see swallows but they seem to have abandoned our barn as a nesting place.

Holme Fen

June 14, 2016

I have written before, on this blog, about reaching extremes, particularly in my home United Kingdom. Amazingly, Holme Fen is an extreme and therefore when in the area, back in 2001, I felt a need to visit it. It is just south of Peterborough.


This hardly looks extreme. It’s a flat area reaching as far as the eye can see, but there is variety.


Some of the fen is wooded. In fact it is a fine silver birch wood.

image006We are at the lowest point in Great Britain here. It is 2.75 metres or nine feet below sea level at the lowest point.

If the sea ever burst into this area it would be entirely lost. However, don’t worry too much for it is about 30 miles to the Wash – the nearest bit of coastline.

Photos date from 2001.



Christchurch, Dorset

April 9, 2016

2001 may have been the year for a Space Odyssey but for me it was a year to actually spend a little time in Christchurch in Dorset. This, of course, is my personal take on a lovely place. It is definitely not a tourist guide.

I’ll start with Place Mill, a water mill which was unique in taking water from one river – the Avon and returned it to a different river – the Stour. For me it is a lovely brick building.


People, of course, can make a scene and here we have the bowlers – all men, it seems.

image004They look a contented bunch of chaps.

Christchurch Harbour is a large expanse of water, open to the sea only via the narrow exit of the Avon at Mudeford. Most of it is very quiet and a haven for water birds – and yachts and other small boats.

Mudeford is the place to go to see swans out on the open sea.

image008Yet another lovely part of the world.





November 25, 2015

Today I am unashamedly showing some railway locos that will keep me happy. The small tank engines built by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in the 1870s became my favourite type of loco in my train spotting days getting on for 90 years after they were built. A few were still in service. One of them, my absolute favourite, was number 32635 which had been painted in its 1870s colour scheme. When I knew this loco it fussed around Brighton station, shunting things out of the way. Sadly, that particular engine got scrapped, but others survived. The work these engines did earned them the nickname, ‘Terriers’.

Back in 2001, on a trip to the Bluebell Railway they had no less than four of these wonderful locos gathered together and all working trains.

image002There are two of them about to depart with a train from Sheffield Park.



Here’s a third. This is Stepney, the Bluebell Railway’s first loco acquired back in 1960. She is in that 1870s livery so looks very much like I remember that Brighton shunter.

And here’s the fourth Terrier running round a train.


What a fab day that was. And there were other locos in steam and operating as well.


A quick look at London

July 5, 2015

I’m not a city slicker. I’m very much one for open spaces. In fact I don’t like being confined by crowds of people all that much.

But from time to time I do visit our capital city and in 2001, for the first time ever, I went in St Paul’s Cathedral. With all due deference to architect/designer, Christopher Wren, I don’t like the interior. There’s something in me which feels reviled by showy grandeur at huge expense and for me, St Paul’s comes into that category. For my taste it is overly ornate and my mind turns to the families of cathedral builders who were killed when they fell from the heights. I bet they didn’t get any or much compensation. It was deemed far better to expend cash on elaborate, fancy marble work.

The outside building, though, I can admire. It’s a handsome structure and wonderfully engineered.

And inside, up in the dome, is a grand place for views over London and that’s what we’ll look at.

image002Here’s a view over the Thames to the old Bankside power station – now the Tate Modern art gallery. And spanning the Thames is the Millennium Bridge – another lovely and elegant structure. Sadly it wobbled alarmingly when it opened and so it was closed again for remedial work. It was closed when this photo was taken.


The tall building is the Telecom Tower which used to be called the Post Office Tower. That used to have a revolving restaurant at the top. I never went to that but I have been up to the observation platform.

A view along the river with the iconic London Eye.

Let’s finish with the reconstructed Globe Theatre – made to be as it was in Shakespeare’s day.


Yes, St Paul’s is a good place for viewing the cityscapes.

Maud the Mill

May 21, 2015

The Maud Foster drain is a watercourse in Boston, Lincolnshire. Alongside it there is a massive windmill which is called the Maud Foster Mill. It is a grand structure.


The most striking thing for me, used to neat and tidy south of England mills, is that this one has five sails. Well, there is that and just the sheer height of the structure. Boston is in the flat lands of Eastern England and height may have been needed to get a good smooth air flow. Had there been a hill, then a less dramatic, smaller mill could have been built on it. But Boston is not known for hills. So this mill has three floors before you reach the gallery at fourth floor level. The gallery, of course, gave access to individual sails.

This mill dates from 1819. It remained in commercial use until 1948 and then, rapidly fell into disrepair before full restoration in 1987. The mill works and tourists can buy its products.

There are eight sets of stones for grinding the grain making this the most productive windmill in Britain.

The granary, next to the mill is also a charming building but is overshadowed by Maud the Mill.

We visited in 2001 and the photo above is actually two shots stitched together to produce a large photo of the entire mill. That hardly matters on a blog post where images are small. It is interesting, though, to remember the tricks of the trade from those much earlier digital photography days.

To Tyndrum

March 10, 2015

It was back in 2001 that we were able to complete a gap in my coverage of the Scottish rail network. We had never taken the line to Oban. Our nearest point had been Tyndrum on the West Highland Line. But in 2001 we had the opportunity to travel from Oban to Tyndrum Lower and back. In truth I’d have liked to have gone one stop further, to where the trains crossed at Crianlarich but common sense told me that it was quite possible the train back to Oban might already be sealed and ready for departure and we’d have a very, very long wait for the next one.  It does mean there’s a length from Tyndrum Lower to Crianlarich I haven’t actually travelled for the West Highland line goes to Tyndrum Upper. The two lines are never far apart, on opposite sides of the River Fillan.

So we boarded a train at Oban. The trains on the line were ‘sprinters’.


That’s McCague’s tower above the train (and the town). It’s a nineteenth century structure with no actual purpose. It was built to provide employment for masons and builders – a charitable enterprise.

You soon start to see the really lovely countryside the line offers. Of course, the modern (well quite modern) trains have all sorts of advantages over their predecessors. They are faster, smoother, have ergonomically designed seats and they are air conditioned which makes for a comfortable temperature as you travel. But for me that air conditioning is a bugbear for windows can’t be opened and photos have to be taken through the double glazed windows which, despite good efforts, get dirty. But of course, I try photos.



Isn’t that stunning?


We pass quite close by Kilchurn Castle.

On another visit to the area in 2009 I was able to reverse this picture and take one of a train from the castle.


But on we go to Tyndrum.


There’s my wife by the station name – in English and Gaelic.

There are good views here too.


I can just make out the West Highland Line, curving around that hill as it heads off to Fort William.


But there’s our train to take us back to Oban.

image018 I don’t recall picking up this souvenir of the line but I certainly wouldn’t have taken it off a carriage window where it would have helped passengers from Glasgow to know if they were in the Oban or Fort William part of the train.


Great journey – not because of the very ordinary train but because of the stunning scenery.


Thoroughly recommended


Now actually, there’s another bit I haven’t travelled – from Helensburgh to Arrochar and Tarbet. Perhaps I could fill that bit in sometime.



Boxing Day – 2001

December 26, 2014

For a Boxing Day post I’m looking back to the Boxing Day of 2001. Back then our children were still single. We had no grandchildren and clearly we had no other visitors on December 26th. We went out for the day to enjoy some stunningly good weather at Hengistbury Head.


Just look at that amazing sky. What wonderful weather for the end of December.


Our children walking on the beach.


Thirteen years on – to today – and activities like this are not on the agenda. Son and daughter will be with us by lunchtime, bringing wife and husband respectively and three grandchildren – and can I be the proud grandfather and say they really are grand children.

I feel so lucky to have my descendants around me.

Shove ha’penny

December 21, 2014

Yesterday I wrote about our bagatelle board and I always associate the two games of bagatelle and shove ha’penny. This is because back in my childhood we had a shove ha’penny board and at some stage my dad made a bagatelle board on the other side of it. Well, as we saw, we have a Bakelite bagatelle board which would be impossible to make into a shove ha’penny game. So quite a few years ago I was bought a shove ha’penny game. The photo shows it in use at Christmas 2001. I am giving my son a game.


I could comment on our dining room which still looks much the same today. To be fair, curtains and carpet have changed and so has wallpaper. I can see half a coal scuttle on the left and back then we had a coal fired heating system. That failed some years ago and we replaced it with an oil boiler. But we still have the same table, chairs and other furniture. We even still have the same television and it still remains the only one we have. I see a Christmas reindeer next to the TV and that still comes out each Christmas. The window sills have my son’s cactus collection in his GCSE project watering trays. They have been consigned to the past!

And I’m sitting at the table about to palm a half penny (old money of course) across the board, hoping to get it to stop precisely between the grooves which go across the board. As we play it (others may have different rules), in each turn you get 5 coins and the idea is that you can use the ones already on the board to help manage the one you are palming. A skilful player will get quite a few of their five coins to be scorers – sitting between the grooves.

It’s still a game I love, but normally one plays it in a standing position.

I must get the board out this Christmas!