Posts Tagged ‘2011’


September 15, 2015

Omey is a causewayed island just off the coast of Connemara. The nearest place on the mainland is Claddaghduff. We have stayed in that area twice. Once was in 1971 and then, again, 40 years later in 2011. We have walked across the sandy causeway to the island of Omey and enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of the place. This is me in 1971.


In 2011, working only from memory, I thought I’d try to get a re-creation of that photo. Well of course there’s nothing I can do to regenerate my lost youth, but I found a similar spot and got a similar view.


The sandy beaches we see ‘across the ocean’ are in an area we now call Actons. On each holiday we stayed there, although in 1971 we hadn’t realised the area was owned by the Acton family. Way beyond, in the distance, we can make out some of Connemara’s 12 Bens (or Twelve Pins). The weather was better in 1971 so we can see them better in that photo – a half frame slide taken on my little Canon Demi.

Happy memories there of a comparatively unchanging part of the world.

A tractor parade at Whitchurch

April 17, 2015

There are plenty of places called Whitchurch. At a guess it means the church was made of a stone which looked white. The one I refer to is in Hampshire between Basingstoke and Andover. The date was March 27th 2011. We had a family get together there.

As usual, we were early arrivals and enjoyed seeing tractors on their way to or from a rally.


I think the front one dates from the 1960s and is clearly a Massey Ferguson.

The one following it was an earlier Massey Ferguson but may well have been of 1960s origin too.


By modern standards tractors were tiny back then and offered no protection for a driver, either from the weather or in the event of a roll over.

This one, another M-F tractor, has a roll bar fitted.


And here we have a tractor with some weather protection.


This is a David Brown tractor and it was registered in 1969. The cab looks very basic but no doubt a roll bar is incorporated.

Here’s a much newer M-F tractor with a Ford in the background. It was tractors of this shape that my son collected on his toy farm in the 1980s.


That’s three Massey Fergusons of different eras.


This one was bringing up the rear as far as we were concerned for we had family to meet.


I don’t suppose motorists were too happy getting behind that lot but it provided a delightful interlude for me.

Near Oughterard

April 10, 2015

In the last three days, without any real thought, I have looked at an English relative and then somewhere in Wales and somewhere in Scotland. So with forethought, this time, let’s look at somewhere in Ireland and the place I have chosen is near a place sometimes called the gateway to Connemara. That’s Oughterard but we were a few miles further west at Derroura. According to the signs this is a mountain biking place but what impressed us were the wild flowers. The west of Ireland is rich in flora!



What wonderful colours.


That was a magical little stop back in August 2011.


January 27, 2015

Claddaghduff is a small village in Connemara – the west of Ireland.

We have been there twice with a forty year separation between visits. The first visit was in 1971 when I was using my good old Canon Demi camera and I took this photo of what seemed a fairly typical, if rather old style cottage.


There’s nothing like a glorious blue sky for making a lovely colour shot and this shows the cottage at its best. It’s a simple, single storey dwelling under a thatched roof. One chimney suggests some kind of a stove on which turf (what peat is always called in Ireland) is burnt. The black heap on the right is that turf.

Back in 1971 the modern age was creeping in. Note the barbed wire fence and in the left background an altogether more substantial house, solidly constructed, can be seen.

On our 2011 visit I looked for the same cottage but couldn’t find it.

In fact a rather run down cottage was clearly much more modern. And we had no blue sky!


Note the montbretia and fuchsias flowering and forming a kind of hedgerow. Connemara has delightful flora.

By the way, Claddaghduff is still delightful. The people are as laid back and relaxed as ever. There’s little in the way of rush. It’s wonderful over there.

The Metal Detector Finds

June 29, 2014

I am friendly with local metal detectorists. In fields close to my house one chap has made some fantastic finds. Having chatted with him, I invited him to do my field. Yes, I am lucky enough to have about three acres – bought with that pig in a poke wreck of a house I once described on this blog.

Here are some – the best – of his finds.

Let’s start with a key.


This is small but quite chunky. Perhaps it’s a desk drawer key. It’s no use to me, of course.

A teaspoon was found.


On the reverse it has those well-known letters EPNS. That stands for electro plated nickel silver – or as a rough translation – cheap and nasty!

Some money was found.


This is a good old UK threepenny bit from 1963. They were always favourite coins when I was a child!


Here we have the remains of what looks to be a highly un-valuable Christmas cracker quality brooch.

But the best (or worst) piece was the toy gun.


It seems as though I won’t be making a fortune from the items found!



The Sky Road

June 25, 2014

This name is given to a road which loops around a headland to the west of Clifden in Connemara. It’s a magnificent stretch of road which affords magnificent views. We first visited in 1971. We stopped at a designated car park from which this view over the plethora of off-shore small islands could be seen.


Forty years later, in 2011, we were in the same place and I seem to have captured the almost identical view.


Not all that much has changed in forty years, most notably a little settlement seems to have appeared on the mainland.

The nearest island, possibly connected by a low tide causeway is called Ardmore. Beyond it and with buildings visible is Turbot Island. The island on the right is Inishturk.

It is a lovely place – quiet and beautiful.

St Michael’s Mount

February 28, 2014

The floods of the winter of 2013/2014 have caused chaos and misery for many people in the UK. But today we’ll look at one3 community, used to being cut off for the causeway that links their island with the mainland is washed over by the incoming tide twice every day. This is St Michael’s Mount off Marazion in Cornwall.

Here’s the island on a rather grey day. It was May 29th 2011.


And here are people streaming over the causeway. It is wide enough for vans to take goods across.


But having got supplies over to the island, how do you get them up to the top? The answer is, by railway.

A little cable railway can be operated. It runs through a tunnel from the quay up to the big house. Bits of it are visible to passers-by.


There is the solitary wagon. The cable can be seen for hauling it up.


The tunnel entrance.

The system was built in 1912 and since 1920 the power to haul the truck has been electricity. It’s about 200 metres long and rises up to the house. It emphatically was never a passenger railway. People have to walk.

The Railway at Clifden

December 20, 2013

I first visited Clifden in Connemara, Ireland in 1971. I never noticed anything to do with a railway back then. I was on honeymoon so maybe I had other things on my mind.

We revisited to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary in 2011. It’s odd how a railway which closed in 1935 should seemingly reappear more than fifty years later. Or maybe it was me that changed!

If you haven’t been to Connemara it will be hard to imagine how this little town, with a population of just over 2000, can be so important. The truth is that it is very much the only town in Connemara and it serves as the capital of this large area. As a result it has streets of shops – far more than might be expected. It has hotels and facilities for people. And for just forty years it had a railway to connect it to Galway.

By 2011 we were in the times of ‘heritage’. Now I’m all for this. I do not live in the past but I do think the past has shaped the present and an understanding of times past helps with an understanding of the present. Heritage also means preserving things that are or were of importance to help people in the future have an understanding.

So Clifden now honours its long gone railway.


Railway signs have appeared on buildings.



A semaphore signal adds to the atmosphere and ‘pretend tracks have been laid on the ground.


The old engine shed has been converted into a general museum.



This building looks the part and amongst the amazing history of this area, there is a section devoted to the railway so we can see what it was like.


There’s much to love about Connemara – whether you are a nerd or not. It’s a grand part of the world.

A Hall Grave

July 10, 2013

There are some magical people working in county museum and records libraries. One chap, at the Cornwall records library in Truro, described in great detail a grave in Camborne Church. It was the grave of great great grandparents. Unfortunately, it is not in good condition. OK, that’s an understatement.


That’s the bottom of it. The top, in two pieces, lies flat on the ground.



Our ‘friend’ at the records library persuaded us to come back the following day. He said he’d bring a sketch of the grave.



What a magnificent chap – he has helped us on several occasions with difficult problems in our family history. Using all the bits, I made a digital reconstruction of the grave.


We know little of the people. Thomas died in 1851 before the census of that year so we only know he was born in Cornwall from the 1841 census. His wife, Grace, was a Miss Dunstone or Dunstan (spellings vary). They probably married in Grace’s home parish of Wendron – we have an unverified date of April 5th 1829. Grace lived until 1856 so we have 1851 information for her and we have pieced together a substantial family. Many of them, like many a Cornish miner, went abroad. Sadly, young Thomas perished on a voyage. We do not know if his ship foundered or if he fell ill on board.

Genealogy always throws up as many questions as answers. Is that what makes it such an absorbing and fun challenge?

The Lizard

May 31, 2013

Yesterday we looked at Britain’s most southerly railway station (also the most Westerly in England) at Penzance.

Quite close by is Britain’s most southerly point – Lizard Point. Readers may be relieved to know that no railway ever went to Lizard although the railway company ran one of the earliest motor bus services from the nearest station at Helston.

There are other things to get excited about at Lizard; things that belong in the natural world.

When I visited back in 2003 I was ignorant of what might be expected there. My daughter’s boyfriend (now husband) was captivated by seals. And so might I have been had a bird not flown by. To my utter amazement, it was a chough. Future son-in-law was unimpressed. ‘It’s just a black bird,’ was his summing up. But I didn’t even know I could see a chough in England and yet there was the distinctive red beak and legs. I was quite enthralled by it.

Sad to say I got no decent pictures for at that time I was using a lovely digital camera with a maximum resolution of 1.3 mega pixels. Distant birds and seals had to stay distant. You can’t digitally zoom in very much at all.


So that’s my chough and I can see why son in law wasn’t much impressed.

Whilst there, I photographed a flower which I didn’t recognise. I see I captioned it ‘Lizard Flower’.


Let’s fast forward to 2011 and we were at Lizard with son and his girlfriend (now wife).

There were no seals to be seen, but the RSPB have now erected chough watching places and have experts on hand to tell you where to look and what to expect. I was now using a 6 mega pixel camera so I have a bit of digital zoom capability.


Choughs remained a bit distant, but definitely chough like. Two of them did a little bit of aerobatics for us.


The ‘Lizard Flower’ I now knew was an invasive species from South Africa – the Hottentot fig. It was everywhere.


They look pretty, but are deemed ‘pernicious’.

Sadly, my son with a much better camera than mine never got a chough, but he did pretty well with a hovering kestrel.


Lizard is beautiful. I love going there. You won’t be the only person there, but it is not too trippery or commercialised.