Calke Abbey

On a quick trip to Calke Abbey, a couple of days ago I saw this little fellow in the stables.
Calke 1

Calke Abbey is full of random items.
Calke 2
…and a lovely herd of deer.
Calke 3
There was a lovely display of wild(ish) flowers including these allium, poppies and cornflowers.
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Dalí's House

On a recent trip to France and Spain I visited the area near Roses in Catalonia.

Dali museum

Salvador Dalí Museum

Having enjoyed the Salvador Dalí museum in Figueres I was keen to go to Cadaqués and visit Dalí’s house at Portlligat.

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We drove to Cadaqués and walked across the headland to Portlligat.

Light in the water

The clarity of the light (and the water) here is amazing!

Personally, I found Dalí’s house at Porlligat more interesting the the museum at Figueres. I feel that the museum represents Dalí the showman and the way he presents himself to the world, whilst the house is much more intimate and personal.

Dali's house

Dalí’s House

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Birmingham 2022 Comonwealth Games Triathlon

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Triathlons were held In Sutton Park and Boldmere, local to my home. It was a rare opportunity to try my hand at sports photography, and cycling in particular. There were four events, on the Friday Mens & Women’s and on the Sunday Para & Relay.







Team Relay


Steam Fair

On a recent visit to my brother at his home in Lichfield we walked in his local park, Beacon Park. This was an opportunity to see Carter’s, a visiting steam fair.

The Octopus

Carter’s Steam Fair is a traditional English travelling funfair with rides dating from the 1890’s to the 1960’s. The rides and vehicles are all beautifully restored.

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The Excelsior Steam Yachts
This impressive set of 1920s steam-driven yachts is one of only two or three surviving examples of a very popular ride in Britain at the turn of the 20th century. Two ‘yachts’ swing under steam power to an almost vertical angle which, although appearing sedate from the ground, gives it a kick which makes it one of our most popular rides with thrill-seekers.

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The Paramount Chair-o-Plane
Dating from the 1920s, this is a rare example of working vintage chair-o-planes.

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The Lightning Skid
Noisy and fast, and beautifully and intensely decorated, the Skid is a very popular ride dating from the 1960s.

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The Jubilee Steam Gallopers
The oldest ride that the Carters own, the Gallopers was built in about 1895 by Robert Tidman & Sons in Norwich; when it was new, this would be the fastest most people had ever travelled.


A Cotswold Walk

Seven miles west of Bourton-on-the-Water lies the village of Salperton. These pictures are from a couple of walks that Mary and I enjoyed in the area.


Now wild, these trees had been previously cultivated for pollarding.


Hares sighted near an abandoned railway cutting.


Rolling Cotswold hills.


The ancient village of Salperton.


Lone horse on the skyline.


Bucolic pastures.


Another hare.

Kinver Edge

Eleven miles south west of Dudley in the West Midlands is the pretty village of Kinver. Kinver Edge is a National Trust property that lies just outside the village. The property consists of extensive parkland and woods, and includes an iron age hill fort and the Rock Houses.

_DSC9611 Having explored the rock houses, Mary and I enjoyed an excellent cream tea with hot scones.


Fortified, we went to explore the woods.

Some of the paths are very steep but the woods are well worth a walk. It was early October and the trees were just beginning to change colour. There were still some wild flowers to see.

One of the features of Kinver Edge is “Nanny’s Cave” reputed to have once been the home of a hermit.
It’s a bit of a climb to get into but is full of interesting shapes.
…and grafitti!

St. Audries Bay

Just three miles west of Watchet in Somerset, is St. Audries Bay waterfall.


The waterfall flows from a cliff of Triassic Mudstone and the beach consists of curved and shelving Mudstone steps.

It’s a beautiful area and well worth exploring.

Gloucestershire Weekend

I recently spent a weekend near Harescombe in Gloucestershire.


Harescombe has an architecturally quirky village church which…


…lends itself to a ‘Day for Night’ treatment.

We also walked down to the River Severn at Arlingham.



I do like a tree!
Trees provide infinite possibilities as a photographic subject.
Rich in textures…
…and shapes.
Distant trees (rainforest covered mountains in Costa Rica)…
… and even dead trees.

Brean Wreck

Last July we were lucky enough to get away to Somerset for a few days. Whilst walking on the beach at Brean I came across this old wreck in the sand.

Having taken the ‘obvious’ picture I thought it would be a good idea to go inside the opposite end of the wreck and take one looking up the beach, towards the dunes. So I walked down to the far end and stepped from the (very firm) sand of the beach...
The next thing I knew was that I was lying on my side in a layer of extremely soft mud holding my precious camera aloft. Luckily, my wife was persuaded to walk to the edge and reach across for my camera. The mud was only about knee deep, so I was never in real danger. The cleanup took quite a while!

West Coast Stories pt.1

In June of 2017 Mary and I decided to spend our holiday exploring some of the west coast of France.

We planned to take the ferry to Cherbourg and spend a few days near Bayeux, then travel south for a few days to the Loire Valley, and on into Charente-Maritime before following the coast north to Brittany.

The first few days were enjoyable as we settled into our holiday routine and took in the sights of the Normandy beaches and the Bayeux tapestry. Our first surprise came when we moved to the Loire Valley and visited Saumur.

Here, we accidentally found ourselves in the the Anjou Velo Vintage festival. There were hundreds of riders, in costume and all on bicycles from before 1987.

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There was a real party atmosphere - including the balloons.

Montgolfiers _DSC4120

We visited chateaux, including Saumur (above) and Montsoreau (below).

We found this lovely area of wild flowers behind the Chateau of Montsoreau.

See part two for our adventures when we moved south west to the Charente-Maritime.

West Coast Stories pt.2

Travelling south west to the Charente-Maritime. We arrived at the municipal campsite of Saujon, a town near Cognac. This was a good base for visiting the coast south of La Rochelle.

Exploring the area we drove through Cozes, on our way to the Gironde estuary and the small town of Meschers-sur-Gironde. Here, there are traditional fishing cabins along the shore.


On other days we drove to La Isle de Olleron and La Rochelle.


I found the the towns and villages along the coast, such as Chaillvette, Talmont and Royan more interesting.


We had booked a visit to one of the most extraordinary places I’ve ever been to, but more of that in part three…

West Coast Stories pt.3

Having travelled to a site just outside St-Laurent-sur-Sèvre in the Vendée department. We visited Grande Parc Puy du Fou. It’s described as an historical theme park, but if you expect to find rides here you will be disappointed. What you will find is an absolute feast of amazing re-enactment.

I’m not going to list all of the attractions in the park. This link to their
Wikipedia page describes everything. Highlights for me were…

The Viking raid


Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantômes


The Roman chariot race


This was all more convincing than I had expected, in part because everything looked so authentic. The Roman arena was built in stone, for example.

On the following day we walked into St-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. The town is well known for the ancient church of St. Laurent, with a rather spooky calgary.


On the day after that we travelled on to Brittany and what happened there is in part four.

West Coast Stories pt.4

We travelled to a campsite just outside Concarneau. This is a very picturesque part of France, with interesting fishing ports and pretty coves to explore.

Concarneau is very ‘touristy’ but well worth a visit.

We toured the area and enjoyed some really beautifully walks on the coastal paths.

The plan, was to travel north to one last campsite in Normandy. The plan was not to be!

In the final part of this account shows the value of being well insured.

West Coast Stories pt.5

We had planned to travel north from Concarneau, to a site near Pontorson, in Normandy. We were going to stay there for the last three nights of our holiday, crossing from Cherbourg on the Monday.

About an hour after we set out, our trusty Subaru developed a problem which resulted in our having stop and call for assistance. We had insured our trip with the Caravan Club’s Red Pennant travel insurance. By the time we’d had our lunch a recovery driver arrived with a truck that would carry our car and tow our caravan. After an hour's journey south (we
had been travelling north) we arrived at a ‘depanage’ depot at Vannes. We had no idea what would happen next but I received a call from Red Pennant and was told that we would be taken to an ‘approved’ campsite, and that our car would go to the nearest Subaru dealer, which was in Nantes, some seventy odd miles away!

As it happened the ‘approved’ site turned out to be Penboch, which is on the Golf du Morbihan, not far from Arradon. I should mention that this was on a Friday, which also happened to be Bastile Day, so there would be no news about our car until Monday at the earliest!
We arrived, with the caravan, on site at around 4pm and settled in, with no idea of how long we would be there.

The following morning we explored the campsite and immediate surrounding area. Well, if you
have to be stranded somewhere, you’d go a long way to find a better place than this. I had previously been unaware of the Golf du Morbihan, which is an enclosed bay dotted with islands and teeming with pleasure craft. It’s a real summer playground.


We were without a car, but the three mile round trip to shops in Arradon (or four miles to the supermarket) was a very pleasant walk along the shore, but best done early as the weather was very hot. Whilst there we enjoyed some lovely walks along the coast and around the country lanes near the site. One day we will visit that area again.


Our car was repaired by the Tuesday. The problem had been a split turbo induction manifold (replacement & fitting £176). We took a taxi to the dealer to collect it and were able to catch an evening ferry on Wednesday.


We had enjoyed an extra two days in what was, for us, a previously undiscovered part of France. Red Pennant had made all the necessary arrangements, including changing the ferry booking, and covered the cost of the recovery, the campsite and the €200 taxi fare to Nantes. Their staff were friendly, reassuring, efficient and kept us informed as the situation unfolded.

What could have been a disaster, we look back on as a very enjoyable adventure. We had that Subaru Outback for over ten years and 100,000 miles. That was the only time it missed a beat.

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