Film Friday ~ Contax Aria

Over on the Universe blog, I’ve been posting my outings to Northumberland churches, but I also took a few shots along the journey.

Sophie spotted this tree whilst I was doing my Ben Hur around the country roads, think it could be an oak.

Sophie’s Tree

We had late lunches and afterwards travelled home via the scenic route. Going through and out the other side of Warkworth there are parking spaces on the A1068 which runs along side the River Coquet. Looking back towards Warkworth you can see the medieval castle on the hill that dominates the landscape.


Looking forwards and ahead is Amble marina, you can just see the boat masts next to appartment blocks called ‘Coquet Cottages’. Pfft. Like no cottage I ever saw.

Coquet Cottages 🙄

Further along towards the coast we came across a stone gateway which seemed incongruous all alone on a country lane.

Craster Tower Gateway

It was built in the late 1700’s and made of whinstone rubble, and belonged to Craster Tower. The tower was a 14th century pele tower and is referred to in a survey of 1415 as in the ownership of Edmund Crasestir. When Edmund died the tower remained in the Craster family and a two storey Manor house was added to it in 1666 by another Edmund Craster. In 1769, George Craster erected an impressive five-bayed, three-storey Georgian mansion adjoining the south side of the Tower, which was reduced to three storeys and recastellated at this time.

 In 1785 the estate was in the hands of Shafto Craster who changed the appearance of the pele tower, to give it a gothic style. It was at this time he also built the coach house and the gateway. Shafto was also responsible for starting the kippering industry in Craster which still thrives to this day. 

And now onto cats and sunsets!

Winnie doing Winnie things.
Lord Vincent
Shepherd’s delight
Tango sky

And that’s it this time.

Laters Gaters 🐊 😊

📷 🎞

Friday Film ~ Contax Aria (1)

I’ve now completed 2 rolls of film on my Aria, had them developed by the wonderful Analogue Wonderland people and sorted them out ready for posting. Not all have turned out well and mistakes were made, but I’ll be leaving those ones in the dustbin of posterity and just posting the ones I like. I am on a steep learning curve with the Aria and though I’ve worked in manual mode before with the Rollei’s it’s been a while so that’s an ongoing refresher too.

The first roll I put through was a Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 135/36 Color film, and I started that at the back end of December. These shots are test shots mostly around the house and a few from South Shields. I haven’t faffed with any of them other than to crop or straighten where necessary, I save all that malarky for my digital work. It’s nice just to have them as they are.

King Street, South Shields

like a lot of small coastal towns in the North things have gone downhill, with shops closing down, the shoppers going to Newcastle or Sunderland instead of local. In (a vain~ sorry- cynic) an attempt to regenerate the town centre, the council are demolishing buildings in King Street, which housed Mothercare, and Thorntons (chocolate shop) amongst others. This is in order to ‘clear the way for further development’ and according to Councillor Dixon, “We know that for our town centre to thrive we need to move beyond retail and create a more vibrant environment”. More details HERE.


Back at home we had a snow day. I say snow day but I really mean a snow 2 hours. The picture isn’t so good, I was hanging out the bedroom window and camera shake was a thing, but I had to document the only snow we’ve had this winter so far. 2 hours I ask you? What’s the point in that?

Snow. A bit.

We had Livvy and Matty to stay over one Saturday night, another dodgy shot as I didn’t get the exposure right so the shutter speed was too slow for a crisp shot, but I like it anyway, makes me smile.

Livvy, Matty.

Of course I had to turn the Aria on the cats..

Winnie on Phils window sill soaking up some rays.
Winnie being snug
Lord Vincent being snug

I have always taken images of the sunsets I see from the bedroom windows, I have an ongoing series of Wardley Sunsets, so I had to see if the Aria would be able to contribute.

Wardley Sunset
Wardley Sunset

So that’s enough for this week. Out of 36 frames I got 19 I was happy enough with, so thats 50%, considering how expensive film is that percentage needs to be improved, but that’s fine, I’m at the beginning of this journey and I’ll get better with practice. Stay tooned for next time when I shot a few frames in Newcastle. 🙂

all pictures clickable and embiggenable, but don’t, they look better smaller 🤣

Cats on film 1981~2004

Most of my life has had a cat or 2, or 3, or 4 in it. Mum had a cat, Susie when I was a little girl, and when I left home , finished my nurse training and got a flat of my own, the first thing I did was get a kitten. I named him Freeway after a dog (!) I’d seen in a TV programme, “Hart to Hart”, and he grew up a beauty.

After a couple of years I had to move out of the flat and back into nursing accommodation, so my Mum gave Freeway a home and he lived a great life with her being pampered and fed tasty morsels whenever he wanted, I think it was the best thing I ever did for her as she loved him to bits.

Eventually I got my own place again, a rented house with a big garden. A lady up the road had kittens going for free, Ben was a little lad so we walked up the road and chose this little lady.

We named her T.C, after Topcat and as soon as she reached adulthood she promptly got herself pregnant and had her first litter of kittens.

2 of the kittens went to good homes, but I couldn’t resist keeping 2 for us

E.D and Wispa are the two at the back, Sam in front went to a very good home where he was loved and looked after, I got regular updates on him.

We moved house to my first home purchase, a flat, and the kittens came too.

Wispa growing up

Wispa was as mad as a box of frogs, nervous of people and charged about like a squirrel, she also had a skin condition and her fur came off in patches where she’d itched at scabs, but we took her to the vet and an injection cured it.

E.D (after Oedipus 🙂 ) grew up to be bigger than her Mum or sister, and was much more placid, maybe not as pretty as Wispa, but easier to live with!

she had a great fondness for lying upside down

The twins

One day as I was arriving home from work I happened to glance up at the flat windows, (I was on the 2nd floor) and saw T.C jump out of the little window I’d left open, and run down the side of the building. I thought she’d kill herself as I saw it happen, but no, she ran off into the park where she was joined by several boyfriends and proceeded to have a gang-bang. Horrific I tell you, but nothing I could do to stop it, and she didn’t seem to mind. SO we had another litter of kittens, all who went to good homes, but I got her spayed quick smart after that! And Wispa & E.D!

Wispa and E.D loved babysitting the kittens

The recessioon in the early 90’s hit me hard, interest rates were so high that my flat was repossessed, but as luck would have it the cleaning lady where I worked had a second house for rent, so we moved there.

Wispa and Mum T.C taking over the bed

when Mum went into hospital I had to take the two cats she had at the time Peanut and Einstein. I worried that my cats wouldn’t be happy, but I couldn’t let Mum down, and I needn’t have worried, everyone just got on.



My best friend over this time was a girl I’d met at work who also had a couple of cats, and I’d go to her house and feed hers when she went on holiday. Unfortunately bit by bit she became an alcoholic, and didn’t get her cats spayed. As her house backed onto farm land, the cats were practically feral, and eventually when the neighbours called the cat protection people in, she had 26 cats coming in and out. One of her cats that I really liked had produced 2 beautiful ginger Toms, and I agreed to take them in before the protection people got them. These were the first boy cats I ever had.

Hercules and Iolus (Herky & Yoyo for short) named after another TV programme “The Legendary Journeys of Hercules” 🙂



under the watchful eye of T.C

By the time I moved out of the house to come up north, T.C and E.D had died, and the girl who was lodging with me wanted to keep Peanut, Einstein and Wispa. They all went to other homes eventually. The boys came with me, first to my flat in South Shields, and then to live with me and Phil. The boys were great characters, Herky was a beautiful loving cat, but didn’t like Phil for about 6 years and then became his best buddy, and Yoyo was a cheeky little short legged guy with the cutest face. By the time I moved up, I was into photography and had a digital camera, so the rest of my cat pictures belong to a different blog.