North Yorkshire Moors National Park

[ Photo Gallery # 92 ]

It is the area where I spent my youth and which will for ever be close to my (now southern) heart.  I have shown my photographs, taken over the many times I have revisited, in previous blogs.  The ones below were taken on a motoring tour of this delightful high moorland area in 2005.

The North York Moors is a national park in North Yorkshire, England, containing one of the largest expanses of  heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It covers an area of 554 sq miles (1,430 km2).  The area became a national park in 1952.

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Ralph Cross on Westerdale Moor

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The Lion Inn on remote Blakey Ridge is a 16th Century establishment located at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park.  It stands at an elevation of 1,325 feet and offers breathtaking views over the valleys of Rosedale and Farndale.

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The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge

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Long before ‘Heartbeat’ and TV fame, the tumbling waterfall of Mallyan Spout helped put Goathland on the map as a tourist village in the nineteenth century. 

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The waters of West Beck into which Mallyan Spout tumbles.

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Grosmont Station is home to the operating and engineering world of the NYM Railway. Here you will find the engine sheds where the steam and diesel locomotives are maintained and restored.

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Yes, steam trains – in all their glory!

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This bracing moorland village has attracted visitors since the 19th century, but numbers soared following its appearance (as ‘Aidensfield’) in the television series ‘Heartbeat’ and its role in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.

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Trains passing at Goathland (‘Aidensfield’) Station

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A view from the NYM Railway, of the pyramid shape of the Fylingdales Royal Air Force station on Snod Hill in the North York Moors. It is a radar base and is also part of the National  Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

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The Rydale Open-air Folk museum can be found in the beautiful village of Hutton-le-Hole, in the heart of the North York Moors National Park.  The museum offers a unique glimpse of the past, with collections housed in 20 historic buildings depicting rural local life from Iron Age to 1950s.

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Some of the cottages at the Rydale Folk Open-air museum

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Maldon & the Thames Sailing Barge

[ Photo Gallery # 91 ]

Thames Sailing Barges

Maldon is a town on the Blackwater estuary in Essex, England.   Cruises can now be undertaken from here on the traditional Thames Sailing Barges.  During the 17th and 18th centuries Thames Sailing Barges played an important role in ferrying cargo to and from ships to the London wharves. The very first barges were different from those we see today and lacked the distinctive sails which were introduced over time. Such craft  came in a variety of sizes that could carry from 100 tonnes, (river barges) to 300 tonnes (large coasters) to suit a range of needs.

The flat-bottomed barges with a shallow draught were perfectly adapted to the Thames Estuary, with its shallow waters and narrow tributary rivers. The larger barges were seaworthy vessels, and were the largest sailing vessel that could be handled by just two men.

The cargoes carried by these boats varied enormously – bricks, cement, rubbish, hay, coal, sand, grain and gunpowder. Timber, bricks and hay were stacked on the deck, while cement and grain was carried loose in the hold. They could sail low in the water, even with their gunwales beneath the surface.

They sailed the Medway and Thames in a ponderous way for two-hundred years; then in the 1860s a series of barge races were started, and the barges’ design improved as vessels were built with better lines in order to win. The Thames barge races are the world’s second oldest sailing competition, second to the America’s Cup.  At the time of World War 2 these Thames Sailing Barges played a vital part in the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk, their shallow-bottoms proving excellent for this purpose.

 

 

The Thames Sailing Barge Trust, which owns such boats, operates some of their boats from Maldon and offers the opportunity to sail to various locations around the Thames Estuary,  and also to take part in competition with other barges in the various barge matches arranged throughout the sailing season.

The photographs below, except the first and the last, were taken by me on a visit to Maldon in 2005.

[  My notes above are based on information from a variety of sources ]

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Map of the Thames estuary and the Essex coastline

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Thames Sailing Barge in full sail

 

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RYE, East Sussex, England

[ Photo Gallery # 90 ]

RYE is an English town near the coast in East Sussex.  It was one of the original Cinque Ports and parts of the original walls and town gates, once built to guard against invasions from the French, still remain.  Over the centuries, however, the sea has receded leaving Rye Harbour and the coast of the English Channel about 2 miles (3.2 km) downriver from the town.  In the town centre, cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street still exist lined with medieval, half-timbered houses. The redbrick Lamb House was once owned by writer Henry James. Nearby, the tower of the Norman St. Mary’s Church overlooks the town. 

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Low tide on the River Rother at Rye

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Ancient Rye Mill, reconstructed in 1932 after a fire destroyed much of the superstructure

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Fascinating weather-worn textures in part of the ancient town walls

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Looking uphill along the cobbled Mermaid Street to Lamb House at the top right

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View across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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Another view across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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View towards the River Rother from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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A Burne-Jones stained-glass window in St.Mary’s Church

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A lovely corner window in the town

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House front near St.Mary’s Church

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One of the ancient town entry gates

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The green plaque is inscribed ‘Radclyffe Hall (1880 – 1943), Novelist, lived here.’

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The  FOLLY

Painshill-RuinedAbbey

THE  FOLLY

 

It might well be a fancy flight
a seemly sight
to pierce the night

The ruin stands by planned design 
stately in its verdant dell
beside the lake
a tableau there 
no history to tell

Reflections guaranteed to please 
float beside its stones
imaging false contrast
in the water’s mirror
a mirage of a potent past

To build a ruin seems absurd
why would you do it
the thought occurred

Perhaps to glory in the past
show time has passed
and nought can last

But as I wander within its wall
dark and damp
and weather worn
stained in moss
and ivy clad
I feel that here
real history lies
a tale so sad
a mystery

I do recall how
in its recent age
it yet was young
was burnished bright
both stone and tiles
a comely sight

To see an abbey in its prime
no sort of crime
merely a jest with time

Fanciful, a fantasy, 
undoubtedly a fallacy
yet
reflection of a legacy
portrayal of a history

 

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London

[ Photo Gallery # 88 }

A few of my photographic memories of a stroll through central London and the City on a beautiful warm summer’s day in 2005. 

 

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Looking upriver from Waterloo Bridge towards Big Ben, the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament

London 2005 (2)

Looking down-river from Waterloo Bridge towards St.Paul’s Cathedral and the City

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View  of St.Paul’s Cathedral across the River Thames from the top of the Tate Modern Gallery

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The dome of St.Paul’s Cathedral looking north across the Millennium Footbridge

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The dome of St.Paul’s Cathedral looking north across the Millennium Footbridge – 2

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View to the east from the Millennium Footbridge towards Tower Bridge

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Street entertainer on the South Embankment of the Thames – Waterloo Bridge in the background

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Office block in the City

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London Guildhall – exterior

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London Guildhall – interior – the excavated remains of the Roman Amphitheatre discovered beneath the foundations of the Guildhall.

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London 2005 (13)

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Early 20th Century Autograph Books

[ Wednesday Replay # 1 ] 

Previously published on Roland’s Ragbag on August 6th 2016 at:
‘Early 20th Century Autograph Books’


 

Autograph books, where they exist, are now used mainly for collecting the signatures ( or at least the scribbled ciphers) of the latest popular music or sports star.

Compare this scribble below by Wimbledon Champion, Andy Murray, in 2013, with, from my own autograph collection (of 2), this perfectly legible  autograph of England and Yorkshire batsman, Len Hutton, obtained in the 1940s . . .

100 years ago Autographs Books were primarily more for the collecting and usually exchanging, of aphorisms, homilies, comments,  pithy verses, simple drawings, personal messages, with friends and relatives.

These autograph books of the first half of the 20th Century, give a clear picture of the social mores and conventions of the time.  Their contents can be clearly seen as a means of passing popular wisdom on to subsequent generations. Nowadays they may be thought of by some as schmaltzy, even maudlin, but they do present a picture of the tastes and sentiments of that time and help to remind us of a much simpler and less cynical age.

 REPRODUCE BELOW, In Slide show format) SOME OF THE SKETCHES FROM MY OWN FAMILY’S AUTOGRAPH BOOKS – THE MAJORITY OF THE ENTRIES ARE DATED 1929.

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. . . AND HERE ARE THE TEXTS OF SOME OF THE MORE DISCERNING ENTRIES . . .


Beware sweet maid when men come to thee
And say they seek their soul’s affinity
When all they want, the base espousers,
Is someone to sew buttons on their trousers.


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_____________
_____________

‘Just a few lines from a would-be poet’


It’s very hard to find a friend
When your heart is full of hope.
It’s harder still to find a towel
When your eyes are full of soap.


In ascending the hill of prosperity
May you never meet a Friend


It’s not the one that knows the most
That has the most to say.
Nor yet the one that has the most
That gives the most away.


Love is like a mutton chop
Sometimes cold – Sometimes hot

Whether cold or whether hot
It’s not a thing to be forgot.


‘Taint what we have,
But what we give,
‘Taint what we are,
But how we live,
‘Taint what we do,
But how we do it,
That makes life worth
Going through it.


Make new friends but keep the old,
One is silver, the other gold;
Cheeks may wrinkle, hair grow grey,
But friendship never knows decay.


When the golden sun is sinking,
When your time from care is free,
When of others you are thinking,
Will you sometimes think of me?


Written in faltering, scratchy handwriting …

This is a damned bad pen you’ve given me!

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The City of Bath

[ Photo Gallery # 84 }

Bath

Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England.  It is renowned in particular for its Roman spa baths, built c. 60 AD, when it went under the Latin name of Aquae Sulis (‘The Waters of Sulis’).   In 2011, the city had a population of almost 89 thousand.

Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London.  The town is set in the rolling countryside of south-west England, and is known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture.  It has strong connections with the 18th Century author, Jane Austen, who lived here during the Regency period from 1801 to 1806 and who set two of her novels, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’, in Bath.

Honey-coloured Bath stone has been used extensively in the town’s architecture, including at Bath Abbey, noted for its fan-vaulting, tower and large stained-glass windows. The museum at the site of the original Roman-era Baths includes The Great Bath, statues and a temple.

In 1704, Richard (‘Beau’) Nash, the celebrated leader of fashion, became ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at the then rising spa town of  Bath.  He lived in the town for much of the first part of the 18th Century and played a leading role in making Bath the most fashionable resort in 18th-century England.

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I hope my gallery of photographs, taken in Bath on a visit to the city about 12 years ago, will give a taste of the pleasures and architectural delights of this city, one of the most visited in the United Kingdom.

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The River Avon and Pulteney Bridge at Bath. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides. 

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The Avon Weir, beside Pulteney Bridge

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Close-up of the Avon Weir

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A more distant view of Pulteney Bridge and the Avon Weir

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Statue of Mozart in the Parade Gardens, Grand Parade, BATH

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View of the East window of Bath Abbey from the Parade Gardens

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Fan vaulting on the nave of Bath Abbey

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Close-up of the nave ceiling at Bath Abbey

 

 

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Memorial to Sir Richard Hussey Bickerton (1759-1832) in Bath Abbey.  He was a British naval officer, at times, second in command to Lord Nelson

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The Great Bath – the entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later construction. There are four main features to the complex: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the museum

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The Spring rises within the courtyard of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and water from it feeds the Roman Baths

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Sally Lunn’s is much more than a world famous tea and eating house in the centre of Bath.  This historic building is one of the oldest houses in the city.  It owes its fame to the creation of the first Bath bun, an authentic regional speciality known throughout the world, and first introduced by the legendary young Huguenot baker, Sally Lunn, in Georgian Bath.

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Gotland, Sweden

[ Photo Gallery # 82 }

Gotland is Sweden’s largest island.  It is (approximately) 176 km (109 miles) by 52 km (32 miles), with a coastline of c. 800 km (500 miles) and a population of round about 58,003,  over 23,000 of whom live in Visby, the island’s main town.  The island has had a long and colourful history, due in large measure to its strategic position in the Baltic Sea.  Gotland’s main activities today centre around agriculture, food processing, tourism, and information technology services.  There is a small amount of heavy industry, particularly associated with concrete production from limestone which is mined on the island.

My photographs below were taken on a visit to the island in 2004.

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Gotland’s position on the Baltic Sea

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View across the roofs of Visby towards the Baltic Sea, with the ruins of the Saint Catherine church on the left. 

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View towards the Cathedral in Visby

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Visby Cathedral, now known as St. Mary’s Church

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View of Visby Cathedral’s towers from outside the city wall

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On the Baltic shore near Visby

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Interior of a reconstructed Viking Longhouse on Gotland

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Further view of the Interior of a reconstructed Viking Longhouse on Gotland

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Västerhejde Church on Gotland

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The Iron Age Stone Ship burial place at Gnisvärd.   Such stone ships are burial places for the chieftain of a village, built of many large stones, placed in the shape of a ship. The persons remains are cremated in a large bonfire and then placed in a vessel in the centre of the stone ship.  This one at Gnisvärd is Gotland’s second largest ship at 45 metres in length

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Another view of the Iron Age Stone Ship burial place at Gnisvärd. 

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Art On The Rack

ART ON THE RACK


tall and slender
thin and lean
what do such racked
such skeletal
figures mean

imagination extended
perception broadened
brought to brush and canvas
stone and chisel
bronze and rasp
unique reality
given expression
in the artist’s eye
and distorted vision

el greco
modigliani
giacometti
parmagianino

artistic differences
paralleled
in paint and bronze

fashion’s fad
now continued
on the catwalk

do my eyes
deceive me
with beauty
in the eye of the bewildered
creating
or perhaps following
fashion

emaciated
underfed
and stretched out models
tapered
taut
and elongated
in the artist’s vision

paraded to their public
asked to accept
an interpretation
allowing retrieval
of a larger truth

thus to become
stricken and striated
darlings
of a new generation

fêted now
as great and good
but fated still
to be misunderstood

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The images at the top are, from left to right  . . .
El Greco:  ‘St.John The Baptist’ – c.1600; Oil on Canvas
Giacometti:  ‘Walking Man’ – 1960; Bronze
Modigliani: ‘Lunia Czechowska in Black’ – 1919; Oil on canvas
Parmagianino: ‘Madonna With Long Neck’
The bottom picture is of ‘Catwalk models’ – from Pinterest.

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North Yorkshire Coast #1

[ Photo Gallery # 78 ]

After my three Photo Galleries displaying the delights of Whitby, my next two galleries will cover some of the delights of the Yorkshire coast further north, now named the ‘North Yorkshire and Cleveland Heritage Coast’.

01 NY Heritage Coast

‘Heritage Coast’ sign at Sandsend

02 HawskerChurch

A sea mist masks the church and gravestones of the coastal village of Hawsker

03 sandsend

Evening view to the north from the beach at Sandsend

04 sandsend

Rough sea looking south towards Whitby from Sandsend.

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Misty morning beside Westbek at Sandsend

06 RunswickBay

The picturesque artists’ village of Runswick Bay

06a Runswick

High tide in the bay at Runswick

06b Runswick

Further view of Runswick Bay

07 Skinningrove

The old mining village of Skinningrove where the Kilton Beck meets the North Sea and still runs red with the iron deposits carried down from the surrounding hills .  Known as ‘Britain’s Iron Valley’.

Kilton Culvert

Kilton Culvert (N.B. not one of my own photographs)

09Skinningrove

Three views of the ‘Repus’ Cobble, an old Skinningrove fishing boat now positioned looking out to the North Sea from the beach at Skinningrove.

10 Skinningrove

It is not clear why this cobble has been named ‘Repus’, but it has been pointed out that the name spells ‘Super’ backwords!

11 Skinningrove

Manning the prow of the ‘Repus’ Cobble

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