Friday, 31 January 2014


I just want to unpack this week's Sepia Saturday suitcase (which features an advert for the Pacific Trunk Company) lay it out and look at all the objects they imagined a male traveller would carry.  For other Sepian adventures that may, or may not, involve suitcases see here.  I knew I would have photos of suitcases. In those times before tablets and mobiles there were always moments to fill when waiting for a train so why not take a photograph.
This Friday is a special day for me and I am featuring the reason, which is my mother, whose birthday was the 31st January.  I also always associate her birthday with change, the lengthening of days becoming noticeable and the promise of the year ahead.   To return to the photograph, taken at a different time of year, October 1958.  I would be about 9 and it looks as though my growing spurt is on the way to overtaking my mothers hight of 5 ft. She was an accomplished in sewing so the coat is one of her creations, as is the hat.  She would continue to knit hats, both when she ran a wool shop and towards the end of her life when she specialised in brushed woollen ones, always admired.  The photo shows us packed and waiting at Ulverston station on the way to Preston.   The journey would have been to visit my Auntie Phyl who lived there for a short while.  I think that was also the time I fell off the dining room chair, (yes I was swinging back on it) and put my teeth through under my bottom lip. I was in good hands though because my Aunt was a nurse and like my mother very good at needlework although I hasten to add not on me, there was more blood than injury, although  enough that I was given Dettol antiseptic mouthwashes for the duration of the stay, and afterwards.  I still remember the pungent smell.      
Sarah (Sadie) Pugh
As a child holidays were always spent visiting relations, usually my mothers sisters, or on a weekly run-around rail ticket.  When my parents became more affluent then their holiday of choice was to go walking.  Here she is waiting at the outside of the station of the previous photograph, Ulverston .  Is it me or do those plants in the background look remarkably like cabbages?  The suitcase may have changed but the strap on one of them has a familiar look to the first photo, belts and braces packing. My farther has filled the backs of this set of photographs with information, it was one of their favourite holidays.  This one says "Saturday June 30th 1984. After the holiday at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight. I wait with the bags while Sadie goes to the phone (for a taxi) at Station Corner".  Is this before, or after, she has charged off to the phone box? She only had one pace, fast, even into her eighties she was going the same speed.  She also always liked to be busy so the walk up the hill to the phone box would fill in some of that pesky waiting time.                

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


The contented Grey Crowned Crane considers the human with the camera. Its range is from the Congo to South Africa and is the national bird of Uganda.  The only crane species to roost in trees. Its omnivorous diet is perfect for its habitat of grassland and wetland but these are under threat from drainage, overgrazing and pesticides. This one is living in the Bird Garden of Harewood House in Yorkshire as part of their conservation project.

So what other cranes can I show you?
Yes we are in homonym land, words with the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings. Must be a nightmare for those who first language is not English because there are an awful lot of them. You would have to crane your neck to look up at these big 'birds'. The cranes are moving goods in the Prince of Wales Docks, Workington.
 Here on the Cumbrian coast my viewpoint is Town Quay where a fishing boat is coasting in from the sea perhaps after casting their net.  The morning clouds spread over the sky but they would soon clear to a blue sky day.
It was a family boat and here father and daughter concentrate on cleaning and untangling the net while winding it back on the drum. The day was clear and calm with no wind.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at C here.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Take the Bike

Wordsworth was inspired to write a sonnet here, 'Upon Westminster Bridge' ..."This city does a garment wear,/the beauty of the morning, silent bare./Ships, towers, domes and temples lie/Open to the fields, and to the sky"...  There are now very different towers and no longer fields but the trees provide the greenery on the embankment.  Our couple have no eyes for the view and the bicycle rider keeps an eye on the view ahead.  She is riding one of London's hire bikes usually called 'Boris Bikes' after the city's mop headed, bike riding mayor.  At present sponsored by Barclays Bank (its logo is on the back wheel) who are now bailing out, delivering only half of the £50M it had promised to pay and the deal will end in August 2015.  Well they do have to pay those banking bonuses. 
And nearby is one of the bike hire points. Three people are trying to work out payment and release system.  I have puzzled over these payment points myself, but not in London, I don't think there is pleasure in travelling on those busy lorry laden roads.
Although a more cycle friendly city like Antwerp in Belguim would be tempting.  These two were forward planning bike hire by taking notes.  The hire bikes are on the Jordaenskaai and the metal sheds to the right were originally built c1889 for the storage of goods being landed from the River Schelde which flows past even further to the right. Today it is a car parking area and since 1981 the roofs have been a protected historic monument.

The view of the roofs also shows how the bike route running past the sheds is separated from the main road.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Named But Unknown

An entry to Sepia Saturday "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

The face of an ordinary soldier killed in the Great War at the Battle of the Somme for this week's Sepia Saturday is one of loss but my choice of images is a different kind of loss, that of a life story.
On the back of the photograph is a question "Did I send you one of these before?" Well I only have one so maybe he hadn't.  A name has been added on the back - Henry Taylor, Royal Artillery.  It was amongst my Grandmothers stash but I have no idea of the connection. To find a member of the Royal Artillery from WW1 is like a needle in a haystack, each town in the country had an artillery unit.  I can surmise he could be from Westmorland or abutting Lancashire area from the family connection, but I don't know what section he was from Royal Field, Royal Garrison or Royal Horse Artillery. Maybe the indistinct lapel badges will give clues with further research.  
 There are about 150 'Henry Taylor' listed and if we go to those only listed as H Taylor then we are up about 650.  What can be told from the photograph, when not being mesmerised by those immaculately shined shoes, is the absence of ribbons or medals which indicates he was neither a regular soldier or a territorial and was war raised. From the jodhpurs like trousers and whip he might have been connected to the horses but I know nothing about the artillery. I did find an ebook on Project Guttenburg printed for private circulation in 1919 by CA Rose MC  called 'Three Years in France with the Guns' which had this photo
The 'Grey Battery' at St Omer, May 1917

The name written on the back of the card was in my father's handwriting so I had to check that uniform just to make sure it was WW1 and from my Grandmother's collection.  Was the name Henry Taylor familiar, I  know he had a scouting friend called Wilf Taylor so I turned to something I inherited from my paternal Grandparents  a bound collection of the weekly "The War Illustrated" -
 and yes this the uniform was the same as this Royal Horse Artillery Battery from the Great War, on the occasion of 3 of their members being recommended for the VC in the November 1914 issue.  The deed took place at Compi├Ęgne which was also the site of the signing of the armistice in 1918.  I wonder how many survived?   

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Arnside on the Rails

Built in the mid 19th Century I think the view has altered little on Arnside Station since then, apart from the station furniture.  All is quiet until

a bust of activity as passenger arrive at Arnside Station, crossing over the bridge and heading for the way out on a summer's late afternoon.  I was waiting for the train going in the other direction.  When I do board the train just a short distance west over the blue sea in the distance

is the Arnside viaduct.  The signal is up and the Barrow to Manchester Airport train, a distinctive Desiro DMU is taking them home.    
The 50 span and 1,558 ft Arnside Viaduct crosses the Kent estuary (low tide when this photo was taken).  The viaduct, built in 1857, was repaired and refurbished in 2011.
Low Tide Channels, Arnside Viaduct, Morecambe Bay

 An entry to ABC Wednesday, starting a new journey through the alphabet and a new logo, its Round 14

Friday, 10 January 2014


An entry to Sepia Saturday
Using old images as prompts for new reflections
My unexpected discovery in book was a purchase in a second hand book shop.  The book had a very small printed last name on the frontispiece, Quemby,
and that same small writing appeared on the back of the two photographs left inside. No need to guess where we are in the world here with pyramid looming in the background. I love the white walled tyres of the car, not to mention those two toned shoes.  On the reverse of the card it says - "Welcome", Vi, Jean, Siabhra, Driver. There is even a date 2.3.51 but the era might have been guessed from the immaculate white gloved hands, although Vi is more free-wheeling.  I'm not sure if our party is arriving or departing but here they are on the ultimate tourist experience-
We are treated  to camels and the sphinx in the background plus an extra member of the party. The driver must be waiting by the car as only the guide appears on a donkey, the photo says on the back "L to R Cliff, Vi, Jean, Siabhra - 'Welcome' 2.3.51"  I wonder if Cliff is the photographer of the first photo and the owner of the book or is there another person behind the camera. I'll never know, at least I can make an educated guess from the name Siabhra that she may be Irish. These photographs were perfectly placed in a book as I found them in next to a map
of  Laurens van der Post's journey down Africa by plane (and that is where they remain).  He disliked this mode of transport, no wonder, he'd set off from what was then called Heath Row Aerodrome, landing at different refuelling points, to eventually arrive at Chileka aerodrome 7,000 miles and 72 hours later and says he was "pleased to have done flying for some months at least".  The book, 'Venture into the Interior', was published in 1952, one year after our unknown travellers appear in the photographs.  I wonder if they were planning another trip?  I don't think any side of my family had travelled this far at this time, unless they were in the uniform of the navy or the army.
Which is how the publisher shows Lauren Van der Post who had left England in 1940 as a soldier behind enemy lines in Abyssinia, then the western desert to Syria and the Transjordan frontier, ultimately through the Dutch East Indies where he walked into a Japanese trap and spent several years in a prisoner of war camp. I remember picking up this "Venture to the Interior" (his first travel book) in the shop because I'd read his novel "Flamingo Feather" (first published in 1955) which had remained lodged in my head.  Rationing was still in place when Van der Post journeyed from England in May 1949, on instruction from the government, to Nyasaland (modern day Malawi) to look at two tracks of land that had not been accurately mapped. One was a rugged mountain mass and the other a large plateau.  The reason was the British government was worried about production of food and Van der Post was going to have a close look at the area on foot.  He travelled light and only took a few clothes and sealing wax.  Why sealing wax? Because it was the only thing he thought he would not be able to buy in Africa.  I haven't used sealing wax for about 45 years but remember using it to seal bags going to the Ministry of Defence, there is something very satisfying about dripping wax, but Van der Post was going to use it to seal samples he hoped to collect in Nyasaland.  

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


I zeroed in on this sign while walking by the Chester Canal and knew that the last, and one of the difficult,  letters of ABC Wednesday, was in the bag.  The sign is advertising a kitchen/bathroom design company called Zest.  I imagine you could still deliver goods by water to the rear of this property judging from the large doors.
although the growth along the banking tells me that in actuality it will be delivered to the other side by road. Yes the canal nowadays is for leisure pursuits whether on or
by the side of the water.  These retirees with a zest for life have stopped for a chat with the zealous fisherman as the canal moves away from Chester past Boughton.