Posts Tagged ‘2005’


August 25, 2016

There are not so many parts of the UK which I have not visited. Actually, I have not yet made it to Northern Ireland – the 6 counties. But elsewhere I have been most places.

But Sherringham in Norfolk I barely know although I have been there. It features on my railway poster calendar for this month.


Artwork here is by Tom W Armes and the poster was used from 1948 to 1965.

I look at this and wonder how I have come to miss the place. As ever, a railway poster makes a place look very special. When I was there, back in 2005, I took a couple of photos.


Well as you can see, I’m not quite in the place. We went to a National Trust owned area – Sherringham Park.


Sherringham is on the heritage North Norfolk Railway


The railway station in Sherringham featured a modern clock and a pigeon back in 2005.



At Sumburgh

May 15, 2016

Sumburgh is the southern tip of the mainland of Shetland. We were there in 2005. My camera at the time was fine, but didn’t have the optical zooming capacity I have these days, nor the large number of pixels which make digital zooming better. So my Sumburgh wildlife pictures are distant, but maybe it’ll tempt some folks to go there.

In the breeding season the cliffs, we are told, are awash with puffins.  But by August 12th when we were there we were lucky to see even one on the cliffs and here he (or she) is.


That was the full extent of optical zoom so now let’s stretch those pixels.


Well, not so bad!

But  better was to come, albeit distantly, for we had the good fortune, also, to spot a whale. We’d been told that the gloomy weather would not make a whale spot likely. Once again camera limitations reduce the quality, but the whale was swimming and surfaced only occasionally. Getting a camera pointing the right way and taking a photo produced quite a few shots containing just the grey waters of the north. But I did manage to capture a shot or two which showed the whale.


Once again we’ll need to do a bit of pixilation!


We think this is a minke whale but we are always prepared to be proved wrong.


So that was two magic moments at Sumburgh.


Across the Forth Bridge

May 12, 2016

My first sight of the Forth Bridge was from a train crossing it in 1970. It ought to have been perfection. 1970 was the era of diesel trains which gave passengers a view past the driver and out of the front of the train. My wife (then fiancée) and I had the very front seats. We were set for a grandstand view.

But it was not meant to be. The Firth of Forth was swirling in really quite thick fog. The bridge itself was barely visible even though I was on it. My good old little Canon Demi did its best and this is what I got.


The train made good progress for AWS (which could stand for audio warning signalling) was in place. At regular intervals we could see the AWS ramp as the train ran over it and here the all clear bell for the driver. Even so it was quite disconcerting heading into the fog filled void at speed.

And that has remained, so far, my only train trip over the bridge. Of course, I have been up there by car and used the Forth Road Bridge which gives a chance to stop and enjoy both eras in bridge technology.


The 19th century bridge by Fowler and Baker is certainly magnificent. This photo dates from 2005.

The road bridge, of course, has had much publicised problems but is presumably OK now.

Kollafjordur Church

January 17, 2016

When we visited the Faroe Islands, up in the North Atlantic, we found we had entered a different world in many ways. This was a location short of many resources we take for granted and where people had to come up with workable solutions to many problems. One such was keeping the rain out of buildings – often solved by using turf as a roofing material as we see here on the church at Kollafjordur which is a few miles north of the islands’ capital at Thorshavn.

image002 This little church caught the eye and also the ear for a bell ringer was at work. This was a simple, single bell – not at all like the change ringing which I do at my local church.

Perched up in the little tower, below the date pennant for 1837, a man sat, tolling the bell.



A noisy job for the ringer. No wonder he wears ear protectors.

Ten years ago

December 27, 2015

Since digital photography came in (for me that was 1998) I have found it so easy to look up what happened on specific days in the past. When writing for the 27th December 2015, I looked back ten years and came up with this photo taken on 27th December 2005.


Signs of Christmas are evident in this shot taken in our sitting room, mostly because of that little pile of books under the settee.

The group of people, who include my daughter and wife, are playing a game called Perudo. This is an international match. Two of the girls on the settee are Brazilian. One of them is now married to the chap with his back to the camera who was a school friend of my son. Do you know, I can’t place the chap on the right but that’s not so unusual at Christmas. I am delighted to say my son still feels able to treat our home as his own and when he stays we can expect friends of his – or friends of friends to turn up. That is always one of the pleasures of the Christmas period.

I am shocked to discover this was ten years ago. It feels like only yesterday to me yet for others, many changes have taken place since then. My daughter is married and her eldest child is now 5. My son, missing in that photo is also married with a two year old. Visitor Steve and his Brazilian wife are married with a couple of children. Visitor Pete who I know was there that day is also married now with two children. My wife and I have both joined the ranks of the retired but seem to remain busy on all sorts of things.

But even so, that day, ten years ago does seem very recent.

Red sky in the morning

December 9, 2015

Ten Years ago

On this day – December 9th 2005, I woke up to a glorious looking sunrise.


The sunrise comes a little late to us because we have a glorious view over our village and then the land rises up to Salisbury Plain. If we were on top of that area of downland we’d see the sun a bit earlier. But often those two or three minutes wait are worth it for we see some superbly coloured skies.


Oh yes! I know that a red sky in the morning is the shepherd’s warning. Traditionally the morning red sky is not a harbinger of good weather for the day.

I’m afraid I have no easily accessible record of what did happen ten years ago.

But it was certainly a good sky to enjoy that morning.

Drying Grass

August 19, 2015

From time to time I do a post about the Faeroe Islands. These specks of land,, way up in the North Atlantic towards Iceland, were important in World War II. Information gathered there helped our side to know what was going on in the vastness of the ocean and helped in making sure conveys carrying cargoes got through to the required destination.

My father in law, a wireless operator, was sent there in 1944. He had time to take photos and record what they were. This is one of his shots.


It looks like a couple of buildings, but those aren’t fences.

It would be hard to know just what was going on without his caption.

Father in law explains what the picture is about

Father in law explains what the picture is about

What looks like fences is actually grass being hung up to dry. Some winter hay was needed to keep horses going through the cold season but the uncertain weather on the islands made producing hay quite a problem.

Sixty years later when we travelled where father in law had been we could still see the same process.

The same process 60 years on

The same process 60 years on

Nets have been hung up to contain the grass which keeps it off the ground and allows the wind to do its drying best.

Back then – and it was ten years ago – the Faeroes were an odd mix of seemingly archaic agriculture like this alongside very 21st century living.

Perhaps that’s what made them such a magical place to go.

The wooden walk at Newtown

July 26, 2015

Newtown is one of the seven wonders of the Isle of Wight as sometimes featured on postcards. These wonders are those where the name can be interpreted to be the opposite of what they seem to say. Newtown is neither new nor a town although it was once.

When you’ve had enough of the hurly burly holiday crowds down the east coast of the Isle of Wight, Newtown offers peace, tranquillity and a goodly chance of either solitude or maybe an interesting birder or two.

I’ve featured Newtown before on this blog. Indeed I have featured this photo of the wooden walk.

image001This was ten years ago and to walk out to ‘the hut’ you had to negotiate this. It was rickety and just a tad scary and if, perchance, somebody came the other way then it was a very tight squeeze to pass. Wheelchairs certainly couldn’t cross the wooden walk. So the peace and beauty at the far end was out of bounds for such users.

But after storm damage, the whole wooden walk was replaced. The new structure maybe lacks the rustic charm of the old one. It is solid and feels dependable. It is wide enough and smooth enough for a wheelchair to traverse it. I worried that it might increase the number of people seeking the strange little ‘middle of nowhere’ spot on the Newtown River estuary. That doesn’t seem to have happened, probably because once you leave the small car park there really are no facilities. The car park offers loos and close proximity to the old Town Hall. This is a National Trust property and worth a visit but check opening times. It doesn’t open in winter months and doesn’t ever open every day.

But once you set out on the walk (little more than a kilometre) you are on your own. Anything you think you might need you have to carry with you.

And here’s the present day wooden walk which even has a passing place near that little pond to the left of the walk.


I have seen a wheelchair user cross it. Good for that person.

It’s a great walk for seeing birds. Black headed gulls are common.


There are always egrets about.


There are wading birds of many kinds. Here’s an oyster catcher.


He’s been poking that probing, orange bill in the mud!

No wonder I am regularly drawn to this spot.



The Smyril

May 10, 2015

There is always a ship called Smyril serving the Faroe Islands, those wonderful little blobs of land way up in the North Atlantic Ocean, half way between Scotland and Iceland. It isn’t always the same ship – indeed it gets replaced as and when needed. The one we travelled on in 2005 was nearing the end of its life and was replaced soon after. The one father in law saw in 1945 was a different one again.




That’s his version of the ship which he captioned as…


That was on the most southerly of the islands – Suduroy. It’s a goodly two hour voyage from the island capital at Thorshavn.


In 2005 the service still ran from Thorshavn to Suduroy and we used it, on this ship.

In this case it was moored at Krambatangi. This ferry is, as can be seen, a car ferry but we were foot passengers only since we were met by Eric for a tour of the island.

And here’s a photo taken by Eric just 4 months later of the New Smyril (on the left) meeting our Smyril.


Urchfont on 1st May 2005

May 1, 2015

Urchfont is a pretty village just a few miles from where I live. For some years now the village has been organising a wonderful scarecrow festival during the May Day weekend. It is wonderfully organised and provides fun for all the generations. It’s particularly great to come across groups of teenagers trying to solve the clues and work out who the scarecrows represent.

Don’t get any ideas that srarecrows are like any you might see in a field doing the job they were intended for. Many of the fifty plus in Urchfont are true works of art, set into a wonderful scene.

Ten years ago the theme seems to have been song titles. Maybe this ‘scarecrow’ represented ‘Climb every Mountain’.


Our routine, being locals, is to go round the scarecrows one day and then come home (probably after a cuppa and cake or maybe a pint of ale or some ice cream) and work out the answers. The next day we can take a completed answer sheet in and maybe take a walk in Urchfont just to enjoy the village. And a bit of that – on May 1st ten years ago, is what you see below.

We have never actually won but that hardly matters. We have enjoyed it enormously – and still do.


A green and sunken lane


Urchfont Community Shop


West End House



Urchfont – ‘The Bottom’