Posts Tagged ‘family’

North Yorkshire Moors Railway

July 15, 2016

Today we are going back a few years – I think it was about 1974 and a family group shared a holiday in the North Yorks Moors. Inevitably, with me as part of the group we had to make use of the railway that crosses the moors which had become a heritage line. Back then the bulk of the line was operated by a diesel train of the type still totally common on the ‘real’ main lines. It was just the length form Grosmont to Goathland that was steam operated.

I was not always good with photos and captions but I have a black and white shot of a steam loco.


The loco is number 5428. This was a general purpose engine built for the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Altogether 842 of these engines were built between 1934 and 1951. The common nature of these engines earned them the nickname of black fives – solid, reliable and unglamorous. The 55A on the front is the code for her home. Of course it was a historic address by this time – Leeds, Holbeck.

This particular engine was built in 1937 and now carries the name of a railway photographer – Eric Treacy. (S)he is still in service on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

But my photo has a little family bonus for on the other platform there are family members.


That’s my wife in the big sun hat and my sister in law looking utterly fed up with being at a railway and then the hirsute man is my brother in law. Mother in law was on this holiday as well. Perhaps she was with me, taking photos.

On the canal in 1975

May 31, 2016

During the mid-70s, before the arrival of children, we had thought of buying a canal boat. We made a brief excursion into boat ownership with a strange little craft that had the name ‘Snatcher’ written on it. In theory, it had a car engine driving it with three forward gears and a reverse. In practice it was difficult to keep going and perhaps this was one of those occasions.


That’s me at the front, paddling the boat. My wife is at the back with a pair of nephews. I’m guessing we were somewhere near Honeystreet. Well perhaps the photo – I guess taken by my brother in law – captures the spirit of adventure in those days when our local canal, the Kennet and Avon, was not a through waterway and anything went. Nephews certainly look nervous!

These days this stretch of canal is the haunt of modern, luxurious narrow boats with some wider ones as well for this canal is a barge canal and can, mostly, take two narrow boats side by side through the locks. With Snatcher we never had to worry about locks for it was and still is in the middle of a 15 mile lock free stretch.

A paddle boat

April 23, 2016

I do not remember this occasion but then I was probably less than 2 at the time and I may not even have been a witness to this event. What we have is my sister operating a hand powered pedal boat.


I believe this was at Southsea, presumably at a boating lake. Brother looks to be enjoying it. Sister looks less sure. I think I might have been worried by that boat at rather a jaunty angle coming in on the starboard side,

A few years later I loved riding the paddle boats when staying with grandparents in Bexhill.

And I still find it hard to get used to the idea that I am the sole survivor of my childhood home.

Mum does the washing

March 30, 2016

Now to be honest, I can’t tell you just what was going on here. It was 1957 and we were at camp. Mum has gone to the local cattle trough and appears to be doing the washing.


I know it isn’t a brilliant photo but I still like it. There is mum and she is clearly rinsing something out in a cattle trough. The curious cows have come to watch whatever is going on and the one on the left certainly looks to be eyeing up mum – but rest assured, she came to no harm and we never found the local stock anything but docile.

There is another photo of the same event.


Happy days!

Alfriston Church

February 13, 2016

This is another of my grandfather’s pictures and it shows my dad and aunt at Alfriston in East Sussex.


Alfriston is always very highly regarded as a pretty village. In my childhood it became something of a tourist honeypot. It is wonderfully situated, between the South Downs and the River Cuckmere and of course, being ‘Alfric’s Town’ it has history.

I’m not sure what Grandad was most interested in when he took the photo. He hasn’t shown the church to best effect but he has caught his children on a gnarled old tree. This must have been around 1929.


There’s Dad standing up tall and high with my aunt hanging on grimly rather lower down.

That tourist honeypot destination was not often visited by us. My dad preferred to find his own places, quiet and unspoilt by the masses. But we did visit over 60 years ago in 1954 when my dad decided it was cheaper to buy cards rather than take his own photos and here is the one of the church.


Hmm! It lacks the human interest of Grandad’s photo.

Puddles, sheep and Fire

January 10, 2016

What did the grandchildren enjoy at Christmas? I’m sure they enjoyed opening presents and eating things, but they also liked getting out. We live along a rutted track and it was a young child’s delight for the rain had filled the holes with water – just right for playing in.

image002There’s the trio of little splashers. They love it!

It’s sometimes hard to know if the youngsters enjoy going to see sheep in the field. They appear interested, though, with Granny there to keep an eye on things.


But very popular was the bonfire grandad lit to dispose of a mountain of ripped wrapping paper. It was quite wild weather and so much heat and light were generated. It really was quite exhilarating.


At first it was just Grandad but others came to enjoy the spectacle.


Sadly, but not unexpectedly, it did very little towards burning away the garden waste that we hoped to convert to ash. And no wonder for whilst our weather was nothing like what the poor folk in the North of England have had to c0pe with, everything was still very wet.

These photos were all taken by my son.

First trip to Stonehenge

December 13, 2015

These days I think of Stonehenge as ‘just down the road’. Or at least I did until the road past the monument was closed. The authorities have managed to almost hide the old monument away and now those who really want to see it have no option but to pay the price to go in. Just as a matter of interest, members of The National Trust or English Heritage get in without further payment. And visitors can get short term membership which makes a visit much cheaper.

I cannot tell you what it cost when I first visited in the early 1960s. This would have been on one of my first trips out of the south east corner of England. We had no car until the very late 1950s and the first ones were elderly. But my dad got a job that involved travel and a brand new vehicle was bought – a Bedford Dormobile which served as family car and also holiday home HQ.

The trip past Stonehenge was en route to a camping week in South Devon. The photo my dad took of his three children does amuse me just a bit.


I’m the little boy on the right wearing the sandals my parents thought were good for my feet. My brother, on the left, 18 months older than me is determined to look like a hard guy with dour face and thumbs in pockets – but the sandals probably rather let down that image. My sister, in the middle, has discarded any footwear she might have had and is bare footed. She is keen to look like a demure young lady – no longer under the thumb of parents.

Actually, I know we were all thrilled to be at Stonehenge for it had seemed almost as remote as the North Pole until then. It was a place you read about, saw pictures of, but didn’t really expect ever to be there. Yet there we were, amongst the stones. It looks as though it was a fine day and I know it was in a Whitsun school holiday. It’s amazing that it was possible to get a shot with just us and no other people in view.

Flung by father

November 2, 2015

Well not really flung! I’m sure I was totally safe in the hands of my dad who was raising me high in the air.


This, I regret to say, must date from the 1940s and as that is me up in the air, it reminds me that I’m not as young as I once was. That, of course, is my regret. My dad is sitting in a chair and giving me a high view. I look to be taking an interest in the world around me, albeit I see no sign of a smile.

Behind us is the home I lived in, only for the first ten months of my life. It was near Wadhurst in Sussex. My dad, were he still alive, would tell us how much he loved living there. It was a life style he never quite recaptured elsewhere.

As we left there when I was a mere ten months old and I am now the only survivor of the very happy family that lived there, real memories no longer exist. So three cheers for photos!

Looking into a hole

October 25, 2015

I feel sure this photo should be used for a caption competition.


Just what are this group of people thinking or saying? I ought to know for I’m the youthful looking chap in cheap green wellies but I have entirely forgotten the occasion. Having said that, there’s enough location there for me to know that it is part of my ‘land’ and therefore my hole. The real cause of it, I’m sure, is badgers but possibly they just tunnelled too near the surface and a bit fell in. It isn’t the entrance to a badger sett which would feature a huge mound of soil dug out by those black and white home builders.

The other people in the photo are members of my family and from ages I’m guessing this was in the late 1990s.

On the left is a nephew with his wife behind him. Next is my brother in law and then me and it’s my son on the right. My sister must have taken the photo.

Much has happened in the 20 or so years since that photo was taken. My nephew is now a niece and his wife has stayed with her. They have a 15 year old daughter. My brother in law has developed a horrible, frontal lobe dementia and is more or less bed ridden in a care home. My son is married and a dad himself these days. I just look older and my current pair of wellies are black. I always buy cheap wellies. Expensive ones are just as prone to putting a fork through them or splitting where they crease as you walk. And of course, my sister, who took this photo, died last year which is why this photo has recently come to me.

Father and son on the beach

October 11, 2015

A few days ago I looked at mother and daughter at Haytor and commented on how much I liked to get up in hills – actually in preference to the seaside which I can visit a bit under sufferance. But when you have children (or as now, grandchildren) you have to put personal preferences to one side and get on down and enjoy the beach. And that, clearly, was what I was doing on the same holiday as the ‘Haytor’ one.


Yes, that’s me and my son who seems to be dancing round a piece of seaweed. Now it might seem odd but this is just the kind of beach I find least interesting. It’s all sand. Give me some rock pools and I’ll find something which I think is more interesting. If there are pebbles they have texture, colours and shapes I can enjoy. Sand always seems so uniformly dreary to me.

However, I seem to have the small plastic bucket and, no doubt, a spade is not far away. And with a bit of luck, son can build some kind of castle.


This would have been on the south Devon coast somewhere near Teignmouth. The year was 1982.