Le Clic, Revolog Kolor 2020 (2)

A few more from the Revolog Color folm, Part 1 can be found HERE.

I found the film to be quite grainy,

Phil at South Shields.

but it does remind me of vintage photos!

Sandhaven Beach

This one had a uniform cast of green tones.


more green tones

Trow Rocks
Target Rocks

This next one is my favourite, there are some subtle colour casts, top and bottom left and right, which I quite like.

Most of the rest of the photo’s are too green/red tinted, so what with that and the grain I won’t be doing another roll of it. Fun to try things out though so I’m happy!

Bishopwearmouth Cemetary March 2020

I recently posted on the Universe blog regarding the history of this cemetary, and the pictures I took with my FujiXT2. You can read that HERE. I also took my Canon loaded with some Pancro 400 B&W film, and now that the lab is up and running again, I’ve had it processed and so here are some of the results.

St Wilfred’s Church & Kirkharle ~ Dec 2019

Regular readers may remember from a previous post about All Saints church in Newcastle, that a medieval font was rescued from being destroyed by the marauding, pesky Scots, and ended up in St.Wilfreds Church up in Kirkharle. Sophie and decided to hunt it down on a mixed weather day on our last outing for 2019. First, as always, get your ☕️ and 🍪 at the ready, we’ll do

The History Bit.

Kirkharle is a hamlet in Northumberland. First recorded back in days of yore (1177) it was called Herle back then and comes from even yorier Old English words for a place of worship such as  “Herela’s Grove” or “herg-leah” which means “temple-grove”, for pre-christian Angles. The origin of the church dates back to 1165 when Walter de Bolbec founded Blanchland Abbey, and linked the Herle church to it. Most of the church that stands today was built in 1336 by Sir William de Herle who founded a chantry for priests to pray for his soul, especially after his death in 1347. Not much to say about Wills, he was a British justice, appointed as an attorney to the Common Bench (a common law court dealing with common pleas that didn’t involve the King) and there’s little information on him or his family. His wiki page doesn’t mention his involvement at Kirkharle but he is mentioned in A History of Northumberland by John Hodgson published in 1827, “1240 – Little Harle Tower – ‘This mansion in the capitol seat of the manor of Little Harle, otherwise called East Harle, which in 1240, was beholden of the baron of Prudhoe by Hugh de Herle.’ 1284 – ‘Sir William de Herle, knt., was one of the great lights and worthies of Northd.’ He or his son Wm. was made ‘LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS’ in 1317.” His father Sir Hugh de Herle is mentioned on the People of Medieval Scotland and People of Medieval Northern England sites as both a juror in land disputes between Scotland and England and as a plaintiff and defendant in other land deeds disputes. Anyhoo I digress.

In the 14th century the Kirkharle manor was passed into the Loraine family who came over from France not long after the Norman Conquest where Robert Loraine served under William the Conqueror. By this time the Tower, Manor, village and 1900 acres of arable land was in the hands of William del Strother, and passed to William Golddigger Loraine when he married the daughter Joanna Del Strother as it was her (very substantial!) dowry, and it stayed in the Lorain family for 400 years.

In 1664 a Baronetcy was created for Thomas Loraine, High Sherrif of Northumberland. Another William Loraine, the 2nd Baronet, built a new manor house to his own design between 1718 and 1738, replacing Harle Tower as the family home. His Grandson the 4th Baronet also called William (sigh) (1749-1809) added a couple of wings and replaced the roof. This sketch shows how it looked after Willy 4’s alterations.

Will 4 also had the original gardens removed which were attributed to Capability Brown. (More on him to come!)

The 6th Willy Baronet (1801-1849) like a lot of local landowners, went to the assistance of the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne banks which were suffering from the cost of the Napoleonic wars, and when the North Tyne Bank collapsed Willy 6 had to sell the Hall due to the declining wealth of the family. In 1836 Major Thomas Anderson, who lived in Little Harle Tower, bought the Hall, but as he didn’t need two houses promptly and exasperatingly demolished most of it except one section which he renamed Kirkharle Farmhouse. By way of compensation to posterity for this vandalism, he designed and built major extensions to Littleharle Tower, which were carried out in 1860-61. The Anderson family are still in posession of the estate.


There’s a handy carpark when you get there, and we were happy to see there was a cafe and some artisan shops using the farmhouse, but first wanted to walk up to the church. The first thing we came across was a stone monument. This was erected to commemorate Robert Loraine, a border reiver who was murdered in 1483. Robert was, according to a Loraine Family History of 1738, ‘a zealous prosecutor of Robbers, Thieves and Moss-Troopers’. (Actually Moss-Troopers didn’t exist back in 1483 but were brigands of the mid 1700’s who operated between the borders of Scotland and England, but as the book history was written in 1738 I presume it’s their word for persons of unscrupulous morals and the like. Much like the reivers!)

Robert lived at Harle Tower, (which we didn’t visit as it’s in private ownership), where he kept ‘a number of Horses and Arms, always ready…suitable for his estate to pursue the Scots Excursions and Depradations into Northumberland.

Erected in 1728 by Willy 2, replacing an earlier one that fell into disrepair.

He had a terrible death, having been waylaid between his house and the church by a party of men. Sir Lambton Loraine the 11th Baronet was interviewed by a journalist of The New York Times in 1874, and said the killers “determined to strike terror into the hearts of his allies, the Fenwicks,Wallingtons, Shaftoes, by the brutality of the murder”. Robert’s body was cut up “small as flesh for the pot”, then placed in the saddlebags of his horse, which was then left to make it’s way home.

We had a wander around the outside of the church


St Wilfred (633 – 709 or 710) started out a Northumbrian Nobleman, did his training at Lindisfarne, then in Gaul and Rome, returning to Northumberland in 660 where he became the abbot of a newly founded monastery at Ripon. He became famous for a speech he gave at the Synod of Whitby, advocating that the Roman method for calculating the date of Easter should be adopted. He was successful and the King’s son Alhfrith had him promoted to Bishop of Northumberland.

Back view.

Wilfred went off to Gaul to be consecrated and in the meantime Alhfrith seems to have led an unsuccessful revolt against his father, Oswiu (who you may remember in this post) and before Wilfred returned, Oswiu had put another chap, Ceadda, in the Bishopric, so Wilf went back to Ripon.

Tree & Tomb

In 668 Theodore of Tarsus became the Archbishop of Canterbury and deposed Ceaddur, restoring Wilf to the Bishopric, where for the next 9 years he worked hard establishing new churches, founding monasteries, and improving the liturgy, but Theodore wanted to break up large diocese like Wilf’s, and make them smaller. Luckily for Theo, Wilf had a barney with Ecgfrith, the King of Northumberland, who expelled him, so Theo got to implement his reforms and Wilf went off to Rome to see the Pope, Agatho, who ruled in Wilf’s favour. But old Ecgfrith wasn’t having it, and on Wilf’s return banged him up in prison, then exiled him.


Wilf went off to Selsey, a town by the sea in West Sussex, where he converted the pagans to Christianity, poor sods, and founded an episcopal see (a bishops eccleiastical jurisdiction). Theo and Wilf kissed and made up, and Wilf was brought back to Northumberland where a new King Aldfrith was head honcho, but in 691 Wilf was expelled by him too after quarelling over land acquisition. This time Wilf went off to Mercia where he was bishop to the Mercian King Æthelred. Yet again Wilf petitioned the Pope about his expulsion and the Pope ordered that an English council should be held to decide the issue. 

View between the church and the Farmhous, with evidence of medieval farming.

The council meeting didn’t go well for Wilf as the members decided to confiscate all Wilf’s possessions and so Wilfrid hot footed it to Rome to appeal against the decision. His opponents in Northumbria excommunicated him, but the papacy upheld Wilfrid’s side, and he regained possession of both Ripon and Hexam Monasteries. Wilfrid died in 709 or 710 and after his death, he was venerated as a saint.

Well now, we English are bonkers for our gardens, and the most famous English gardener was a chap called Lancelot Brown (1715/6 – 1783). Known as Capability Brown because he would tell his clients that their property had “capability” for improvement. He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. Lancelot was born in Kirkharle, his parents both working at the manor. He worked as the head gardener’s apprentice in Sir William Loraine’s kitchen garden until he was 23, when he toodled off down south, first to Lincolnshire, then Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, working for head gardeners for Lords and Ladies, and getting his own commissions to landscape gardens for the landed gentry. He ended up as King George III’s Master Gardener at Hampton Court Palace.

Apart from being born in Kirkharle, he was baptised in the Church but from the age of 23 never had anything more to do with the place, but he’s mentioned so much in all the history bits around the place you’d think he’d lived worked and died there! No wonder everyone else of import is reduced to a few lines! However, before he left he designed plans for a lake and stunning parkland at Kirkharle Hall, which never came to fruition. So the plans have now been updated and and his lake and associated planting were completed in 2010. It will take ages and ages for it all to grow into a fully fledged beautiful garden, but here are some photo’s of what there is so far.

The Temple (of doom??)
The Lake
Other side

Can’t say we were overly impressed, but it’ll probably look great in 50 years time!

Stay tooned for next time when we’ll look inside the Church.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkharle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirkharle_Hall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moss-trooper https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capability_Brown https://www.poms.ac.uk/record/person/9957/# http://www.pone.ac.uk/record/person/785/ https://one-name.org/name_profile/harle/ https://landedfamilies.blogspot.com/2014/07/130-anderson-of-newcastle-and-little.html

Film Friday

I’ve had a couple of scares with the Rollei SL35, twice the film jammed after 20 frames, and on the last outing I got strange effects on some of the shots. As I’m doing a year of film I needed a back up SLR so managed to purchase a Canon EOS 1000F N for £19.99 on EbayIt came with a 35-80mm zoom on it, which isn’t the best lens in the world but does for now. Apparently even newish canon lenses will fit on it so I might treat it to one at some point. I haven’t had a canon before, well I did have a compact canon once but lost it. I took it out with me incase the Rollei jammed again (it didn’t) and quite like it. It’s clunky but easy to use. I had a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in it when I took it to South Shields, and here are some of the photos.

Herd Groyne Lighthouse

The pictures came out grainier than I expected considering it was a sunny day.

Frondy things

There are a lot of these frondy things by the beach, I got a bit carried away with them 🙂

more frondy things

OK enough with the frondy things.

footprints (mine 🙂 )
Look out post
Biking by the beach

Yep, the lens isn’t great, I can see a 50mm in my future 🙂

Stay tooned for Weeble week next time!

Olympus XA

Ah the XA. One of the smallest rangefinder camera’s ever made, built in Japan and sold from 1979 to 1985.  Yoshihisa Maitani (January 8, 1933 – July 30, 2009) designed this little beauty along with the Olympus Pen, the Pen F half-frame cameras, the OM System, and later the Stylus, having  joined Olympus in 1956 and worked for them for 40 years.  The original XA features true rangefinder focusing, a fast 35mm f/2.8 lens, and aperture priority metering. The lens was protected by a sliding dust cover. Film wind is by thumb-wheel, aperture is set on the body using a small lever, focus is set by a small lever below the lens, film speed (ISO) is set on a dial below the lens, the viewfinder is optical direct-view with the rangefinder frame embedded in it and a display of the shutter speed at the side. None of the subsequent releases had that.

If you google Olypus XA reviews you will read or see photographers eulogise over them and the fact that they can do so much in such a small size, it’s smaller than a mobile phone and fits in a pocket easily.

I’ve been getting on well with my Minolta Riva Mini, and it being a point and shoot with no control other than to press the shutter I have found it quite difficult to really stuff up a shot. I thought it high time I took back control of my pictures.  🙂  I’d read quite a few reviews on the XA after coming across a Youtube review from one of the photographers I follow, so scoured the interweb and managed to find one in good condition at a reasonable price.  It arrived back in June and it’s been in my pocket since then, and over the past couple of months I’ve shot 2 rolls of Kodak Portra 400 with it. My first roll, a test roll really, came back with some light leaks on some of the pictures, but not all of them.  Can’t say I’m a fan of light leaks, people use mobile aps or filters to put them over perfectly good photo’s to make them appear ‘retro’ or ‘analogue’, I mean, duh!? I figure in using the XA I’m already analogue and retro, I don’t really need light leaks too. I’m glad I sent a second roll along with the first as the 2nd one didn’t have light leaks, so I’m putting it down to ‘operator error’ and not the camera malfunctioning.

Anyway, I sadly digitally converted the lightleak shots to B&W, which defeats the object really, but at least I saved the pictures.

Light leak on left and fuschia


central light leak, converted to B&W

I’m still getting a handle on the focussing.  Looking through the viewfinder there are 2 little squares that you need to bring together over your subject in order for it to be in focus, I’m not always successful.

central light leak converted to B&W,  Liddy blurry.


The second roll came out much better, and the camera does well at close ups, with some cool bokeh


The lens is sharp too, when you do get it in focus!

Cheeseburn Grange


Cheeseburn Grange

Onward ever onwards, I’ve finished another roll in the XA, and I’ve still got a roll to finish in the Riva, I can’t remember what’s on it so it will be exciting to get that finished!  On top of that it was my birthday yesterday, and there may well be a new old film camera on it’s way, well there definitely is as I ordered it myself  🙂  but that’s for another post on another day.

Stay tooned folks!



St.Albans, Hertfordshire May 2018 ~ Minolta Mini Riva

Phil and I met when we were both working in the Operating theatres of hospitals down south. Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans were sister hospitals which became a trust, and we worked in both.    This was back in 1987 through to about 1992 or thereabouts when Phil had to come back up North.  We’ve often spoken about going back to visit our old haunts, and at the beginning of May we had a weekend down there doing just that.  Of course, I took the Fuji, but also took the Minolta Riva Mini and some Fujifilm Experia 400.  We stayed in St.Albans and as well as old haunts we visited places we never got to see while living there. One such place was St.Albans Cathedral, but I shot that in digital and there’ll be a report on the Universe blog about that eventually, but I deliberately shot St.Albans town with the Riva.

The History Bit

St.Albans, of course, is possibly more famous as Verulamium in the days when Romans ruled over Britain and Boudicca decided to raze it to the ground and sack the place in AD60. This was in retaliation for the subjugation of her tribe the Iceni, the rape of her daughters and of her being flogged, though that’s a really short version of the story. A few traces of the Roman city remain visible, such as parts of the city walls, a hypocaust – still in situ under a mosaic floor, and the theatre, which is on land belonging to the Earl of Verulam, as well as items in the excellent museum. More remains under the nearby agricultural land have never been excavated and were for a while seriously threatened by deep ploughing. (That’s plowing to my USA readers 🙂 )

The Anglo-Saxons took over when the Romans skedaddled and changed its name to Wæclingaceaster (“the former Roman fortification of the Wæclingas, who were the next tribe along the line.”) I’m pronouncing that as “Wake-ling-acaster- in my head but I have no idea what Anglo-Saxon words sound like!

St.Alban was already dead and saintified before this, but I’ll go into his story when I post the cathedral shots over on the Universe blog. It was the anglo-saxons who founded St.Albans Abbey on the hill outside the Roman city where it was believed St Alban was buried.

Then we get to the medieval era and enter Abbot Ulsinus (known as Wulsin). Now he was like a mega-builder and architect as well as being a churchy guy. He was the Abbot of St.Albans Abbey, and also founded St.Albans Market, built churches at the three entrances to the town, and diverted Watling Street, which linked St Stephen’s and St Michael’s churches, in order to bring traffic through the town centre (the abbey owned the market rights and also charged tolls). He set up market days on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s, and they still go on today.  He also founded St.Albans School in 948, and guess what? That’s still going too. It’s not only the oldest school in Hertfordshire but also one of the oldest in the world.

The Market Place (without the market 🙂 )

Between 1403 and 1412 Thomas Wolvey was engaged to build a clock tower in the Market Place. It’s a square building of four stories of flint rubble with stone corners. (They’re called quoins apparently.) It’s the only medieval town belfry left in England now.  It contains two bells, the larger of which bears the mark of one of two London founders, William and Robert Burford, who were working at Aldgate between 1371 and 1418. It has an inscription in gothic capitals


Which I think means something like “my name is Gabriel” as it was named after Archangel Gabriel, and it weighs a ton. Literally. The bell, not the angel. Though I really don’t know how much Archangels weigh. The bell was rung every night after its insertion, at 8pm and I know it was a bit annoying to the people nearby, as eventually they whinged about it in 1861 and that stopped. Even more annoyingly it was also rung at 4am to get the townspeople up for work. I personally would have climbed the tower and chucked the ringer off the top of it.

The Clock Tower seen from French Row
French Row
The side door of the Clock Tower

Founded by Wulsin, nothing remains of the original Saxon building and no records exist of St Peter’s Church for nearly 200 years after its foundation. It was during the 13th century that the church assumed the form which it retained until the early 19th century. Then a chap called Lord Grimthorpe, (read about him here)or if you want his full title, Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe, QC (12 May 1816 – 29 April 1905), known previously as Sir Edmund Beckett, 5th Baronet and Edmund Beckett Denison, who was a “lawyer, mechanician and controversialist” as well as a noted horologist and architect, came along in 1893 and took it upon himself to restore St Peter’s at his own expense.


It was a lovely churchyard to wander around, with some seriously old graves.  In the good old days our landed gentry and aristocrats were quite philanthropic, not so much these days.

In the evening we went for our evening meal at a pub who’s name escapes me,

Hubby waiting for dinner and ignoring the footy 🙂

but it had a lovely outdoor area

and that’s the end of the film shots I took around St.Albans.

Marseille & Dijon~ Sept 2000~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

We decided to hire a scooter and do a day trip across to St. Tropez, a hairy ride to say the least, but fun.

ST.Tropez was absolutely heaving with people, but we got down to the beach, and did our sunbathing thing. To be honest I’m not a fan of crowded beaches, or any crowds really!

The building at the top there is The Citadel, built in the 1600’s. Nowadays that’s where I’d be with my camera!

My favourite part of the holiday was when we stayed overnight in Dijon on the way back home. We had time to explore the town and came across lovely old buildings.

love the cat and bird on top of the roof in this next one

The people in Dijon were really friendly and restored my faith in the French people!





Marseille & Dijon ~ Sept 2000 ~ part 1~Marseille

Back in 2000 I went on a road trip with my pal Gaz. Neither of us could afford a ‘proper’ holiday so we decided to drive down to the South of France, find a B&B soak up some rays, and explore the area for a while. We ended up in Marseille. It has an interesting history, named Massilia, a Greek colony originally, being founded around 600BC and populated by settlers from Phocaea (modern Turkey). It became the preeminent Greek city in the Hellenized region of southern Gaul. The city-state sided with the Roman Republic against Carthage during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), retaining its independence and commercial empire throughout the western Mediterranean even as Rome expanded into Western Europe and North Africa. However, the city lost its independence following the Roman Siege of Massilia in 49 BC, during Caesar’s Civil War, in which Massalia sided with the exiled faction at war with Julius Caesar.

Ships have docked for more than 26 centuries at the city’s birthplace, the colourful old port, and it remains a thriving harbour for fishing boats, pleasure yachts and tourists. Guarding either side of the harbour are Fort St-Nicolas and Fort St-Jean, founded in the 13th century by the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem and we took a boat trip out to see them.

Porte d’Aix (also known as the Porte Royale) is a triumphal arch in Marseille, in the south of France, marking the old entry point to the city on the road from Aix-en-Provence. The classical design by Michel-Robert Penchaud was inspired by the triumphal arches of the Roman Empire. The Porte d’Aix was initially conceived in 1784 to honour Louis XIV and to commemorate the Peace of Paris (1783) that ended the American war of independence. Following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814-15, the project was resumed in 1823, now to commemorate French victories in the Spanish Expedition, notably at the Battle of Trocadero, August 31, 1823. It was eventually completed in 1839, with a more general theme of victory. This is just the worst shot of it!

The port at night was gorgeous and we were treated to a lovely sunset


We sat in the square and had a glass of wine or two in the evenings, and watched the world go by

there was a chanteuse in the bar

and street musicians came round wanting money!

There was a beautiful old carousel in the town and I got a shot of it by day and night

It was a strange time, the Rough Guide, my travel bible at the time, warned that people in Marseille could come across as arrogant, and I certainly found that to be true.  I speak passable French but if I went to a shop and asked for things in French, I’d be cut off and given short shrift in English. One night we went to a restaurant that had outside seating. One half had a few people seated but also a few empty tables, but the waiter seated us away from everyone in the empty half. After our dinner we asked for coffee and when the waiter came with it he pretended to trip and tipped the cups into my lap. Of course it was a shock as I thought the cups were full, but they just had sugar cubes in them.  The waiter and everyone in the other half of the restaurant found it all very funny, we paid up and left.












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.

Tynemouth,South Shields & Seaburn, 1995

Before living up here in Tyne & Wear was even a blip on my radar, I brought Ben up for a cheapo holiday. We stayed in a lovely little B&B in Seaburn, and played on the mostly deserted beaches.

Marsden Rocks



small person in a big world

Jumping the waves

France 1992

I don’t have very many photo’s from this trip to France but am saving what there is! This is April 1992 and I was offered the chance to go with some work colleagues Sharon, her chap Chris, and Phil. Sharon’s or Chris’s parents owned a cottage in La Breille-les-pins and that’s where we were based. Ben came with us too.

The Cottage

It hadn’t been used for a while and with stone floors was bloody freezing!

Sharon & Chris

Phil, Ben & I went off to visit Tours and sat by the River Loire one day,,

And then the next day we went off to visit Le Musee de Blindes (Museum of Tanks) in Saumur which was at the Cavalry Barracks.


The Musée des Blindés is now one of the world’s largest tank museums. It began in 1977 under the leadership of Colonel Michel Aubry, who convinced both the French military hierarchy and the local political authorities. Started 35 years ago with only a few hundred tracked vehicles, it has become a world-class collection which attracts visitors interested in the history of multinational tank development as well as professional armor specialists. From the very beginning, Colonel Aubry had made it a key policy of the museum to restore to running condition as many historically or technically significant vehicles as was feasible.

The museum has the world’s largest collection of armoured fighting vehicles and contains well over 880 vehicles. Because of shortage of space, less than a quarter can be exhibited, despite the move to a much larger building in 1993. Over 200 of the vehicles are fully functional, including the only surviving German Tiger II tank still in full working order. It often performs in the spectacular armor demonstration for the public, called the Carrousel, which takes place in the summer every year. Saumur was the traditional training center for cavalry for over a century but now holds the current Armoured Cavalry Branch Training School which is entirely dedicated to training armor specialists. The tank museum had its early origins in a study collection.

When we got to the barracks and went into the museum there were no tanks, so I asked the lady at the entrance and she told us they were all held in a larger building (now the current museum). She then took us over to the barracks and in to see Colonel Aubry, who was so lovely and kind, and gave us all a tank badge. He then had his secretary drive us over to the tank place where they were just about to close. She told the soldier on duty that Colonel Aubry said to hold it open for us while we looked at tanks! Don’t think he was all that pleased. Anyway we got to see The Tiger II and a few others, and went home very happy!

Thailand 2001~Part 2

Part 1 HERE

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Royal Villa in the Dusit Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. And it’s not hard to see why.