Posts Tagged ‘2014’


August 6, 2016

Back in 2014 a nephew got married near Hull. It gave us an opportunity to explore the area and we heard tell of a monolith at Rudston which is up towards Bridlington. We decided to take a look at the place and found more of interest than just the monolith.

Here we have the grave of ten year old Alistair Thompson who died back in 1953. I wonder how much that is a likeness of the poor lad.


Another grave plot seemed grand.


And when you got close enough to read it, it seemed misplaced in East Yorkshire.


We certainly weren’t expecting to find the burial site of Macdonald of the Isles here.

There’s quite a crop of them. Here’s one at a readable size.


So, they were chiefs of Sleat. That’s on the Isle of Skye.

The church actually had some bits of tile inset in the walls. We rather liked it.


So far we had not seen what brought us to Rudston – which was the monolith which certainly is a megalith of a monolith. In other words it’s an enormous, standing stone which ancient men planted there. It’s truly enormous – actually, it’s the tallest such stone in Britain.


That’s it from one angle and below from another.


There’s a brief message to explain this amazing stone.


Let’s give it a bit of scale – and compare it with my wife


And finally, I was pleased to find a benchmark on the church wall.


That’s a bit of Rudston – an interesting little place!

A walk in St Agnes

April 10, 2016

St Agnes is in Cornwall and my wife had ancestors from that area. It’[s a mining area and the ancestors were all mining families. Back in 2014 we took a stroll in the St Agnes area – notably a path known as the Rock Road.

Let’s start at Trevaunance Cove and head upwards from there.


Mine engine houses are very much the order of the day in this part of the world.

image004We had gone up quite a way from Trevaunance Cove.

image006We were in amongst the relics of the old mining industry.


image010More mine engine houses.



Most of the engine houses remain as gaunt ruins – a reminder of a time past. Some have been converted into dwellings.

image014Taking this walk really was walking through family history. We do not know where in the parish of St Agnes ancestors lived or where they worked – there are dozens of possibilities, but they must have walked this or similar paths to get to work. Some area might remain recognisable to the folks from 150 or more years ago.


Visiting Kew again

March 8, 2016

Yes it is time to visit Kew again, courtesy of a 2016 calendar. This time it is March and potential visitors are being persuaded that this will be blossom time.


Oh! Of course visitors are encouraged to get there by London Underground District Railway to Kew Garden Stations.

This poster is by Freda Lingstrom and dates from 1925.

I have to confess that visits I have made to Kew Gardens have been by car although I know South West London based relatives went there by train the other day. But then they are of an age to benefit from the Londoner’s free ticket, not just on buses but on trains as well.

My last visit was in May 2014 where I snapped a shot of this unknown lady.


Now that looks relaxed!

Another calendar

January 23, 2016

Another calendar

Well, well! A third calendar for 2016 which I can feel is worthy of a comment. This one is actually about a garden and was given to my wife. But it also has a railway context for this one features posters of Kew Gardens, encouraging people to get there by Underground.

You can just think of it as lovely poster art and here is the January image.

image002This is a 1939 poster with artwork by Edward Bawden.

For added nerdiness it even tells you which trolleybuses can get you there.

I like poster art. It has no hidden symbolism designed to allow experts to spout on about it. It may attempt to glamorise the absolute truth but it does give an idea of reality. If you go to Kew these days you can still see cacti as shown in this poster.


This was on a 2014 visit.

And of course, the huge glasshouses are still there too.





May 16, 2015

Stonehenge is not much more than ‘just down the road’ from where I live. Until a year or so ago, when the road I used when visiting many relatives was closed to improve the environs of the monument, I used to drive past it regularly, taking enormous care to avoid tourists who forgot that the stones were in a fork between two A roads.

But one has to go back in time since I last actually got in amongst the stones. It was 1978 and my son was a little lad in a wheelchair and I was still a user of the good old Canon Demi camera. Was Stonehenge not so popular back then? It seems amazing I got a photo from within the stone circle that is completely devoid of people.


Mind you, we can see the weather was awful even after the photo has been brightened up a bit.

It is only really when you get close up to the stones that you can gauge just how vast the huge sarsens – locally sourced – actually are. The inner ring of blue stones are much smaller, but it was still a mammoth task to bring them here from the Preseli Mountains in west Wales.

Last year we had a treat at Stonehenge by being guests at an event to mark the First World War and its impact on the area.

On a black November evening the stones were illuminated.


Buglers played ‘The Last Post’


And all the time, film of First World War soldiers was projected onto some stones.


This was a truly magical experience. It was a real privilege to be there.

Others, with better equipment than me got much better images. The one below comes from the ITV website who gave credit to PA for the photo – so I do as well.


Since the road changes I see less of Stonehenge for it has become easier to take a slightly more northerly route when I travel east to see the folks. But of course, it is still ‘just down the road’.

The Market Cross

April 27, 2015

My local town is, and has been for close on 45 years, Devizes in Wiltshire. When I drove into the Market Place the other day I was shocked by a structure I didn’t, at first, recognise. But then I was driving and concentrating on other traffic and pedestrians using the crossing.

I was able to park the car and get a photograph.


It proved to be the Market Cross under wraps. Presumably it is getting a bit of a spruce up.

Having lived in the area for 35 years I take these things for granted but I have found a photo I took of some classic cars around the Market Cross on a very wet day in May 2004.


You might notice there’s a metal plaque on the cross. That tells the tale of Ruth Pierce.

This extract is from A History Military and Municipal of the Ancient Borough of The Devizes, by James Waylen. 1859. It tells the tale of Ruth’s attempt to be dishonest and her rapid demise.


So let that be a lesson to one and all!

A tin tin mine

March 17, 2015

Last year we camped in Cornwall, close to Blue Hills Tin.

We thought a visit to this site was fantastic. The whole process of tin extraction and production was explained in clear easy to understand ways. You could see a water powered Cornish stamp in action, crushing tin ore. You could see furnaces for smelting the ore. It really was a wonderful visit, particularly as my wife has Cornish tin mining ancestors. Some insight was gained into what the bal maidens actually did and how miners actually worked. I’d thoroughly recommend a trip there. It’s well worth the entry price.

The whole process is gone through, in this case to finished items designed to be sold to us tourists. And why not? The site owners of this last working tin business in the Duchy have to make a living and when you see what a fantastic job they do – well, you feel a need to come out with a bit of tin.

One item we bought was a tine mine engine house, cast in blue hills tin. It’s a lovely item and of course with the ancestry it is very meaningful to us.

It comes in a box which makes a handy display stand.


And it really looks the part – that iconic symbol of the Cornish scene…


…no matter which way you look at it.


Now who needs silver when tin looks that good?

High and Over

January 22, 2015

Chalk hill figures have always fascinated me. I think they fascinated my dad. He’d have known the Long Man at Wilmington in Sussex from his childhood and he took us to see it in 1954. I can’t be certain that we saw the fairly nearby horse carved on Hindover Hill, also known as High and Over. Photography wasn’t cheap in 1954 and Mum and Dad bought a set of small sized  postcards in and around the Alfriston area and one depicts this white horse.


Back in 1954 an expedition from camp meant cycling and this horse was quite some way away. I know we visited after the arrival of a car which was in 1959.

And my wife and I visited in 2014 as we drove from visiting the Peggy Angus exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne towards my rendezvous with the old family camp site. This is the photo I took just last September – 60 years after we may have visited in 1954.


This particular horse, like most of them, has no antiquity. It was cut in the 19th century although there may have been an earlier figure on this site near the village of Littlington.

Figures like these fade away if not cleaned (scoured is the word used) at least every seven years. This one needs attention soon.

Aysgarth Falls

January 21, 2015

Today I am returning to our holiday in Yorkshire which was at the end of November last year. We seemed to go in for waterfalls and this included the falls at Aysgarth.

Aysgarth Falls are in Wensleydale which means it is the waters of the River Ure which are tumbling down here. The Ure is quite a big river which means an impressive amount of water makes its way over a sequence of falls. None of the falls are that high and, we gather, in dry seasons the flow reduces to little more than a trickle. But these falls are a tourist honeypot, probably due to good communications – in the past. Even now there is a big carpark (charging big carpark prices) and a visitor centre with associated tea room. But the popularity of the falls probably stems from the adjacent Aysgarth Railway Station which we have already seen on this blog (click here).

We stayed in Carperby and that was no more than a mile away from the falls – a delightful walk through what I call ‘stone country’. We’ve looked at that before as well (click here).

On that occasion we did end up seeing two of the falls at Aysgarth.


Not much height but plenty of water make this impressive.

A couple of other tourists give this some scale.


Being a tourist site, this is laid out with firm paths, steps and safety fences.

You walk a bit further to reach the lowest fall and things get a little less well trodden and just a tad wilder.


You can get close up to the fall here.


Now my unsolved question. Maybe you have an answer. The water looks much like churned up water on the more level sections. Why does it look so brown on the tumble?

These falls were well worth the visit but for us the walk from and back to Carperby was also very lovely.

Having a grouse

January 15, 2015

It was at the end of last November that we spent a week in the Yorkshire Dales. We stayed in Wensleydale but on several occasions we went over the tops and down into Swaledale. Those tops were grouse country.

I suppose they are really there to provide pleasure for the shooting fraternity and a little bit of meat for some. But for me they were just birds of beauty.

I have to confess that these birds hadn’t really crossed my radar before. When we first saw them I had to look up what they were.


This early in the week shot was not particularly good. We didn’t know these birds were to become things seen regularly.


This was a common roadside sight – a grouse – these are female – on a fence post or road side wall.


Now we’ll get to some better shots.

These grouse would pretty happily ignore cars but if you got out and walked you heard them – and a fascinating sound they made – but you didn’t see them.

So we sat in the car to get the close up shots.


This one with the big red eyebrows is the male.



Another fence post female.


Sorry folks. We also found that grouse were on sale in a Leyburn supermarket.