My weekend in London! (2)

(After reading the brilliant comment thread on lady LA’s irregardless blog, I’d be amazed if I can write another posting ever again.)

#Accommodation

Hmm so where’s my train of thought taking this posting? I always try so hard to keep these brief and to the point but I guess if after reading you have an idea that booking late saves you money, then I’m happy, oh and as for sharing a photo of my ass in the shower I’ll leave the explanation for a later posting, NOW lady/male readers don’t lie that captured your attention!

(Whether travelling to London in the middle of a pandemic was irresponsible I’ll leave for a later post)

The past weekend I enjoyed a 4 day city break in London, sleeping 3 nights in a rather posh Hotel (prices reduced by half due to the pandemic) so be under no illusion I most definitely, without question never usually stay in swanky expensive accommodation, they’ll always be out of my price range ok…… now’s a good point to perhaps read the introduction posting What could possibly go wrong? 🙂 .

I’d suggest the Hotel accommodation website booking.com is familiar to you? If not, the clever premise behind this digital business is brilliantly simple (as good ideas always are). Competing Hotels are desperate for customers, bedrooms empty of holiday makers also weary travelers and they’re hemorrhaging cash by the £1000, consequently if you leave booking as late as possible prices plummet and you can save yourself a lot of money.

Well curtailing a short story even shorter, late evening on the 23rd of July I booked the 25th through to the 29th at the ‘Hotel with no name lol’ in central London, we’re talking the borough of Westminster where houses sell for millions and Hotels are in-affordable to the great unwashed public like myself to ever contemplate staying at, then covid-19 decimated the holiday booking market and prices were slashed…….. I paid £168 for 3 nights at a frigging 4 star Hotel in swanky Pimlico, the lovely receptionist looking classy in her navy pencil skirt and nude shear stockings said “you can triple that for last year”.

Hmm as always I wondered if she wore any knickers, just saying 😀 (I’ll be returning to this question another time)………… can’t lie dreams of her calling by room late one night did cross my mind, yeh dream on Andrew.

(Blah blah lol, you all play this game of hunt the cheapest whether ‘rental cars trains air-flights ovens whichever’… thank god for the internet we say!)

If you’re interested my second floor bedroom had a balcony, only trouble being the gazing out at a row of identical houses opposite……….. I’m not showing off BTW, I got lucky with the pandemic because the risk of catching covid-19 was recklessly high, the phrase ‘you pays your money and makes your choice‘ come’s to mind. But after 3 months legally enforced home detention I’m prepared to start leaving my home again, we’re all living a life of assessing risks and taking care with PPE precautions, we’re all crossing our fingers and hoping for the best, agreed?

I’m probably getting a little over excited retelling my urban walkabout tale because my usual accommodation is always in cheap Motels, drab red brick buildings populated close to soulless motorway stations, you look out a window (if there is one) and you’ll see noisy rumbling lorries hauling their Chinese manufactured cargo the length and breadth of England…………….. still on the upside when you’re in bed with a 50 year old lady (with a dodgy knee) who cares you have to keep the bathroom lights switched on because the bedroom’s doesn’t work!

(Below) The view from my balcony, as an aside the Hotel room was spotlessly clean however ridiculously SMALL no word of a lie with only a 5 inch gap between bed edges and the walls all around.

Anyways where was I?

(Above) And yes that’s my glasses edging into view as I take a selfie, I put off purchasing a smartphone until recently but now I love this amazing smartphone with interactive maps and digital ticket apps, this device can be found glued to my hand similar to any teenage girl………….. I now see the attraction, I understand the obsessions, I’m aware addiction is but one ‘swipe’ away still on the bright-side google street maps is a godsend to someone (like ME) with zero sense of direction!

No word of a lie, I studied my trusty well thumbed ‘London street-map’ for five minutes, walked straight out of Victoria Railway Station then returned 5 minutes later having walked 200 metres in the wrong direction……….. my spacial unawareness amuses my brother but is more than a little worrying, hmm the beginnings of dementia?

More about the bedroom and walk-in shower below in the following posting 🙂 ,

Yes I’m aware I look ridiculous backed into a corner what’s with the odd shadow on my neck? After setting the camera’s 10 second timer I hopped inside the cubicle and the water was f****** boiling hot! And note the high hands! As for rating my ass feel free all comments are welcome.

(…………………….and if you’re feeling envious don’t be, I’m conscious this appears showing off, so yes travelling on your own can be fun and the freedom liberating, but the downside is living with ones own company can be lonely a place and a little depressing at times, you know shared experiences like the simple pleasures of holding a partner’s hand, 1 2 3 ahhh!)

A. Shepherdson 2020

My weekend in London! (1)

We just have to start leaving our houses, hopefully enjoy living a normal again? Spend a little money or we’re all f*****!

(For the ‘intro’ post click here)

Maybe a little foolhardy of me to visit London last weekend seeing as we’re in the middle of a pandemic, perhaps sleeping in a Hotel for 3 nights could be seen as reckless with an R rate rising, but lol I appear to have survived ‘for now!’ (btw I’m going to isolate myself from people until Monday).

I guess the key to sharing photos on WP is NOT repeating myself over and over again, so if you’re (hopefully interested in my tale please read earlier postings)……….. I’l try my utmost to keep the text ‘light and fluffy’, don’t you just hate travel blogs where the writer keeps telling REMINDING you what a fantastic time they’ve had in Bali.

Last Sunday until today was little more than an urban city break we ALL can enjoy.

Hmm I’ll try to explain why we should try to live some sort of ‘normality’ again, yes take safety precautions, but I’d suggest visit places of interest because the attractions I visited really have taken covid precautions seriously! (Very seriously).

Blah blah blah 😀 .

So let’s begin with a photo teaser showing 3 places visited, St. Paul’s cathedral, an exquisite church I hadn’t seen in side for 30 years, the world famous Botanical Gardens at Kew, and London’s newest attraction Sky Gardens a tropical plant oasis situated on the top floor of a skyscraper, incidentally I was a virgin visitor to the last 2…… so go visit, they were truly spectacular.

I ONLY wish I’d photographed used my trusty Fuji camera instead of the phone, but hey things don’t always work to plan………. 😀 anyways you get an idea.

Doesn’t the saying go ‘pictures paint a 1000 words?’ 🙂

And of course they’ll be anecdotes a little sexy or it just wouldn’t be me lol.

Below you see 2 young lady’s both happy and cheerful (supposed to be a pandemic according to the press?) striding across Victoria railway station, note I’m only using the photo to demonstrate we have to wear masks by law now.

Finally I’ll try my best to avoid my usual 1000 word postings, more photos to follow.

A. Shepherdson 2020

Living in a Ghost Town

Photographs taken by myself (©Andrew) at midday 6th April 2020.

Below you see a series of 4 photographs all snapped (now there’s an historic phrase for you) with me standing at the very same spot on our planet’s surface, they’re all captured using my (new) Smart phone and all taken pointing in a North East South & West direction. 

(Ever heard the saying Never Eat Shredded Wheat’? Ugh what? That’s the rhyme my mother used to teach me as a child so I’d remember the clockwise points on a compass, hmm is there a name for this teaching aid?)

Anyways where was I? 

There’s a startling visual phenonium flooding the internet at the moment, and of course social media has picked up on it, whether on FB or Insta, you’ll see fascinating pictures taken of global City streets striking by the absence of ALL human beings. But there’s more, even more remarkable are the Global tourist attractions taken before lockdown and soon after, again there’s not a human animal in sight!

Whether outside Buckingham Palace or The Taj Mahal, Cityscape wonders of the world usually packed with people are empty and they’re truly remarkable, capturing your imagination because empty Cities no longer exist, incidentally I read a remarkable statistic yesterday it’s estimated one Billion souls are currently locked inside their own homes!

😮 one Billion me included!

Anyways ever the one to latch onto a trending #hashtag I thought I’d share photos of my own Town’s empty Streets, btw I live somewhere in the UK (lol wall’s have ears and I don’t want some crazed Italian woman trying to track me down again, but she did look stunning out of her virgin white bra and panties, no virgin though!)

Back on message, gazing at my photos once again it’s no exaggeration to say I’ve never seen my Town look so empty, yes startling photographs but also a little unnerving upsetting even…………… hopefully we’ll return to normality soon 🙂 .

Incidentally the pillared building pictured below/left was historically my Town’s centre, in the year 1606 Richard Ashcombe left £50 to build a house ‘over and above’ the Cross, which later became a place where residents sold perishable goods such as butter.

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Looking NORTH 

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Looking EAST

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Looking SOUTH

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Looking WEST, alas Police will stop a Motorist to ask him where he’s going

The City is Birmingham 1982, the song ‘Ghost Town’ by The Specials a social comment of a depressed and decaying Britain………..

 

©A. Shepherdson 2020

Christmas in Oxford 2019

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Front entrance to Oriel College Oxford University, taken 7am this morning with a Christmas tree and Christmas market in the foreground

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Photographed today descending the escalator inside Debenhams Department store Oxford, and quite an impressive Christmas tree if you ask me!

To a person all of the bloggers I follow here on WordPress have written their own Christmas themed post, and seeing as the Christmas lights in my own home Town are absolutely (blank) rubbish, I’ve photographed several trees around Oxford instead although the lovely specimen outside St. Johns college Oxford didn’t come out so well, shame really because the large multicoloured light bulbs made for a spectacular sight BUT alas not for my phone camera!

My place of employment lies in the heart of Oxford city, I’m a lucky boy because within 5minutes of leaving work I am quite literally walking amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford, magnificent buff coloured buildings with their own ‘Quads’ enclosed behind high walls. Without fail throughout summer or winter you will find trucks of equipment brought in by motion picture companies for series such as ‘Morse’, the ‘Harry Potter’ films and SO many more period dramas.

The phrase Oxford University can confuse people because no such place exists, wander the city streets in the heart of Oxford and you’re amongst Colleges dating back to the middle ages, and it’s those constituent Colleges which make up The University. As always happens wherever you live upon this planet, you take the place you live in for granted, look at my photo of Oriel College and you’ll see the entrance to a 17th Century building, itself situated upon College land that can be dated back to 1324 in the middle ages……. lol beat that you Americans 😀 , incidentally there are four other Colleges older than Oriel.

Oxford’s a beautiful city to visit if you ever get the opportunity, unspoilt Colleges museums and green parkland all protected by strict planning restrictions, and if I’m ever walking past College entrances, the fact many famous scholars have entered these oak wooden doors in their time as undergraduates isn’t lost on me, whether that be kings queens poets writers movie stars also politicians, talented minds from right across the globe have studied here and below I’ve included five famous graduates from Oriel College.

Notable students (alumni) include,

Baden Powel founder of boy scout movement
Cecil Rhodes founder of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough – Undergraduate 1840, politician and grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron – Undergraduate 1710, friend and patron of George Washington.
Walter Raleigh – Undergraduate 1572 to 1574

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, (and note I haven’t mentioned the word Brexit, hopefully in 2020 there’ll be an orderly withdrawal from Europe but I have the feeling Cameron ‘The Great Destroyer’ and Boris ‘Trump wannabe’ Johnson won’t have made that process pain free or easy…….. oh well as the old adage goes “remember, all you have to do is keep on breathing”)

A. Shepherdson 2019

‘Model Train’ spotting!

Below you see two photographs taken by me, a depiction of the identical rural scene one looking from afar, the other a black van waiting at the gates of a level crossing. (Please read on if you’d like to know a little more?)

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Incidentally my Grandpa owned a bakery van similar to this one

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A  ‘Chocolate box’ pretty image of 1950’s Britain long ago disappeared, in other words a hankering for many Brexiteers longing for the ‘good ole days’ that never were?

Yes I’ve been creating videos (below) and uploading onto my YouTube channel again! This time it’s Model Trains, or more specifically photos taken the day I visited Warley Model Railways Exhibition late November 2019.

With a playing time of 1.34 minutes, that’s a long movie for me!

What better way to begin the day than a pipping hot Cornish Pasty purchased at the train station, I might add be impressed with these photos taken on the move because that’s a skill you just cannot learn!

And the Crowds of people (below)! I’m coming round to thinking there’s just tooo many people living upon this tiny island in 2019, I travelled by train to Birmingham’s NEC and stood for one hour on the return journey home. The station concourse was packed! The Exhibition Hall was ‘heaving’ yet did thin out as the afternoon wore on. Again lol notice these were taken on the move hence the blurred ‘out of focus’ carpet, like I said these are far from easy photos to take.

Now don’t laugh, yes the majority of paying public visiting that particular November Saturday were 95% older men, and lol most above a certain age but hey as the saying goes.

“Every man needs a hobby… keeps them out of mischief”

Or in my case cheap motels and sex crazed women you can meet off the internet…… incidentally there’s plenty of true tails to read here on this my WordPress.

Ever since I was a young child I’ve had a fascination with model railways, my mother even has photos of me aged 4 standing beside model layouts designed and built by enthusiasts, I have locomotives a little track and controllers in the attic, whether I ever get around to  constructing my own layout God only knows….. but when you wake every weekday morning at 5.50am and return home 6.30pm after a day at work, then after making an evening meal, washing the dishes blah blah blah, that doesn’t leave a great deal of spare time especially when you realise scratch building ONE single tree would take hours days even! 

Model Railways are a true test of patience, they’re a labour of love and similar to all hobbies consume vast amounts of spare time, a luxury most of us just don’t have what with families and occupations, oh and of course hobbies have to be SUPPREMELY FUN or what’s the point?………………. So my plan on retirement, which seems a long way of judging by the precarious state the British economy, is to build my own model railway on a wooden baseboard in the attic lol or where ever.

Hmm but sadly I don’t imagine I ever will, I’m in love with the idea of recreating an idyllic 1950’s branch line, with a steam train winding it’s way through a fanciful rural British landscape that’s long ago disappeared, vast open fields and meadows now consumed by red brick housing estates, but hey in the meantime a man can and gaze into the proverbial ‘sweet shop window’ that is a hobbyists Exhibition!

(Deep down I know I’ll never make one, but day dreaming is nice 🙂 )

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A model viaduct many of which can be scene throughout Britain

I do love these railway modellers attention to detail (above), pictured left religious Monks of all people wandering the grounds of a Monastery, to the right a gardener tending his village allotment.

Above a car accident, again a depiction of idyllic 1950’s Britain with a countryside road accident and obligatory fire engine, ambulance and police in attendance, the modellers true skill is attention to detail and of course depicting realistic scaled scenery…………. and I guess drama helps the interest!

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On reflection I think I’m more in love with the Britain of yesteryear than the model trains themselves, blame any nostalgia on Brexit.

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You could almost mistake the scene above for a real life photographs, quite literally hours and hours of painstaking work goes into the making of these model railways

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A railway modeller pictured alongside his hobby’s hard work, nope Andrew dream on for you’ll never make one of your own 😀

Below the centrepiece steam locomotive also a 1950’s vintage bus.

So there you are, photos taken by me at the Model Railway Exhibition November 2019, to be more specific Birmingham’s NEC in central England.

A. Shepherdson 2019

Daytrip to London (photos)

Several weekends ago, eagle eyed readers to this WordPress may have seen my architectural series of posts titled Trellick Tower! Well seeing as I was in London I took many photos throughout the day and thought I’d share within a post, and why not because I really enjoy looking at personal photos from bloggers I follow.

A London themed ‘photo dump’……………. as the cool internet bloggers say!

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The impressive building to the left, overlooking an ice rink! Is the world famous Natural History Museum

Is it me feeling jaded and forgetful, or do Christmas celebrations seem to arrive earlier and earlier each year? Hmm I’d guess a mixture of both or in other words I’m getting old!

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Sandro’s Café

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A traditional English breakfast and yes tasting good as it looks 😀

Are you familiar with that British culinary tradition ‘the fried English Breakfast’? I’d suggest even if you live abroad you’ll have heard us non vegans may well start the day with a fried egg bacon and sausage, a side order of buttered slices of bread and a steaming hot mug of builder’s tea! Now be aware I don’t begin everyday eating this ‘fat laden’ potential heart attack, but if I’m day tripping in London (for example my visit to Trellick Tower) I will attempt to find a High Street Café such as Sandro’s in Notting Hill N. London.

……… and NO this post isn’t another themed Trellick Tower!

I prefer to travel light if I’m out and about on a weekend, a rucksack camera waterproof jacket and a little cash is all I require, well after several underground train rides earlier this November, I walked a short distance into the heart of Notting Hill and happened across Sandro’s pictured below. A traditional English cafeteria which has all but disappeared from our High Streets, they do survive and can be found in large Towns and Cities but more often than not these cafés have been replaced by that culinary cancer that IS McDonalds………………. you’ll never find me eating a ‘Big Mac’ in these God awful ‘restaurants’, identical neon eyesores you’ll see the length and breadth of Britain devoid of all character and tradition.

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Sandro’s Café, Notting Hill in North London

Yes I agree Sandro’s doesn’t appear the most upmarket looking establishment from the outside, though once inside, heat from cooking stoves warming the coldest customers walking in from ice cold November Streets, this ‘homely’ café with white Formica tables and London photos adorning its walls, has a welcoming ambiance befitting the average working man or woman.

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And I wonder is that Sandro himself preparing my breakfast behind his counter? No idea, lovely food though and ALL for a little over £5, which surprised even me knowing how expensive London is to live in these days! Burn every KFC and McDonalds to the ground that’s what I say, and let’s have a return to our traditional English cafeterias please 🙂 .

(I AM joking btw.)

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 My London Transport train ticket for the day, 09 NOV 19

Now I’m the first to admit I’m far from a particularly skilled photographer, but I’ll always have my small £8 eBay digital camera to hand (all the photos on this my WordPress are snapped by this internet bargain buy), and as well as taking photos of Brutalist 1970s Tower Blocks, I’m sharing pictures of London taken that same day………. not particularly noteworthy APART from I do enjoy looking at ‘naturalistic’ personal photographs, especially if taken by bloggers I follow from across the globe.

A London themed ‘photographic dump’ (a phrase the cool kids use) to follow.

 

A. Shepherdson 2019

FULL MOON – from my rear garden – 22/12/2018

This is my response to WordPress blogger author Laura (click here) and if you know me at all, I enjoy interacting with other bloggers 🙂 , all good fun!

“Here men from planet earth first set foot upon The moon. July 1969AD. We came in peace for all mankind” (Neil Armstrong)

Below you see a picture of the Moon I photographed yesterday evening, as you are all no doubt aware, December 22nd was the shortest day, and luckily for myself we in Oxford were gifted a wonderful bright Full Moon……………. if a little cloudy! Still to this day when I gaze up at the Moon I’m both emotionally and conceptually ‘blown away’ that man walked upon it’s surface………………. very near incredible but with my ❤ heart of hearts I believe!

So how did I capture this image? By holding my camera to the telescope eyepiece hence the peripheral black circular border……….. hmm I’m happy with it and definitely the ‘best of the rest 😀 .’ Incidentally the darker surface patches you see are named ‘seas’, as in Sea Of Tranquillity’ ‘Sea of Serenity’ ‘Sea Of Fertility’ etc.

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Full Moon December 22nd 2018, photograph taken by my eBay purchased digital camera looking directly through my telescope eyepiece. With-out Moon Filter (please feel free to copy if you wish).

Picture below reminds me I never painted my garden fence in 2018 😦 .

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My Skywatcher Refracting Optical Telescope pointing toward tonight’s Full Moon, picture taken from my back garden 22/12/2018

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Btw it’s neither raining or snowing, those white dots picked up by the camera are tiny dew droplets, the air was thick with mist and wispy clouds kept obscuring the Moon.

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Of all the photographs taken yesterday evening I think this is my favourite, a Moon Crater is clearly visible also a very much in focus edge to the Moon.

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Lens fitted with Moon Filter this time

Below more photos now see if you can spot the one’s taken without a fitted Moon Filter, and btw it’s not the length of your telescope that counts, the diameter of the first optic denotes the size of the celestial image.


And Finally, wonderful photographs taken by Apollo 11-17 astronauts standing upon the surface of the Moon. A little geeky information for you, Apollo astronauts had a fixed focus specially designed Hasselblad camera attached to their chest, to which 70mm film magazines were fitted each taking 165 frames, along with moon rocks the photos were the only objects to return and are now stored inside a refrigerated building in Texas. Several years ago the 70mm film was defrosted over 24 hours, rolled out and unfurled then digitally scanned. After wonderful scan shots had been taken they were rolled up again and back into freezer storage.

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See if you can spot the Collie dog

My mum’s dog loves her photo being taken! 

Way back in June 2018, incidentally this year turned out to be one of the longest driest and warmest on record, I took one of my many walks deep into the Windrush Valley situated in the edge of the Cotswolds.

And you’ll have guessed, for those readers following my WordPress, I was accompanied by walking friend Holly the cross collie and not forgetting my trusty cheap Fuji little camera. Incidentally it cost £8 off eBay!

It takes stunning photos when the sun’s out and absolutely awful ones when the sun disappears?

Well cutting a short story even shorter! I’d always intended to share with the readers but being truthful a blog idea ALWAYS popped up from nowhere? Anyways the other evening I came across a picture folder and it suddenly dawned on me Holly actually got herself into nearly every photograph!

Like I said she loves the camera 😀

Anyways (it amuses me ‘anyways’ is a favourite word of mine) rather than just looking at MY photos of the Oxfordshire countryside, why not play a game and try and spot Holly just as if you were trying to spot the ball,

🤔and whatever happened to spot the ball competitions? Did the internet kill the game off? Discuss! No! 

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Holly my mum’s Colle cross dog

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Wild Poppy

Above wild red poppies growing amongst the fields of crops, and I could imagine soldiers fighting in the trenches on the Western Front, if they’d turned and gazed across French cornfields they’d see blood red poppies .

Must have been quite a sight the vivid red int erspersing golden yellow in summertime, not forgetting WW1 was another human made tragedy.

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I’m not quite sure what type of cash crop is being grown in our local fields now? When I was a child I remember golden corn, as for now I guess this could be……… who knows what’s planted, any farmers out there. And notice in the foreground wildflowers growing alongside the path we’re  walking on.

Above is a montage of photos of this unknown plant and the path I’m on, keep in mind I am walking a circular route.

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Fields of long grass, no crops here

Below we’ve no walked into an animal grazing field interspersed with daisy’s.

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If I were to lay these 4 photos out they’d be a sequenced panorama view.

Below and we’re back on the trail through natural tree canopy branches.

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Above one of several ponds that lie along our walk, are you playing my game of spot the collie?

Below left and you can just make out Minster Lovel ruins, it’s behind Holly in the distance. I swear she must have walked into the shot as soon as I took my camera out.

Below a church built from golden Cotswold stone looking resplendent under the sun, I cannot be bothered to Google the name lol (I’m half an hour into this post already and I’m freezing and in need of a hot shower), except to say it’s very old and lies on the outskirts of Minster Lovell village. (We’re in Oxfordshire btw).

Notice the small pink flowers and green moss growing on the Cotswold stone wall in the foreground.

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Cotswold stone is very unique to the area!

On reflection I should have enlarged the three photos above, you can btw, because bottom right shows Minster Lovell Ruins with said church behind the trouble is I managed to get the gatepost into shot as well.

Bottom left is me standing inside the ruins looking up towards the sky. That leaves photo three which tells you all about the ruins. I guess you could Wikipedia?

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All these photographs are a reminder Britain still has beautiful countryside if you look hard enough.

Below isn’t a natural water spring, these pools form where small streams meet the pathway used by farm tractors.

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Pathway pools of Oxfordshire water

(Below) Me gazing down toward Crawley village.

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A closer shot of the bridge leading out of Crawley village

Below a photograph very important to the history of this area, VERY IMPORATANT, yes it’s a sheep……… well keeping the tale short sheep were raised on the green fields encircling my Town, consequently 8 or so Mills weaved the wool into blankets later shipped around the world…………. the reason a railway was built and a reason why this part of Oxfordshire became very prosperous.

Have you ever heard of Witney blankets?

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A Cotswold sheep, there used to be fields full of them!!

Below I’m walking beneath the overhanging canopy of trees, and no it’s not a natural scene, the avenue was planted many years ago, is very long, and follows a busy road which takes me back toward my mother’s home.

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A tree lined Avenue and quite spectacular

I hope you enjoyed looking at the views taken along the Windrush Valley one June summer’s afternoon.

A. Shepherdson 2018

(Feel free to download copy any picture (or all 48) if you wish, 😊you have my blessing and please do, thank you.)

 

Lions Tigers in a farmer’s field?……… IN England?

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To avoid confusion the cages below are not in a zoo, these big cats in my photos were all rescued from zoos then released into the wild. 🙂

I had intended to call this post Animal Zoos are cruel! But that’s a negative title and I’m a positive guy please read on……………. 

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I hope you’ll enjoy Matt Monro (yes we had our own Frank Sinatra) singing ‘Born Free’ perhaps you’ve never heard this tune before?

Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heartRead More »

My daytrip to a Heritage Steam Railway…….

….……….. 🤔now there’s a real mouthful ‘Title’ for you ty for being so patient! Being a little more precise and accurate today’s post is more a self taken ‘photo dump’, or in other words sharing pictures ‘snapped’ by me on said daytrip to GWSR’s Heritage steam attraction.

Below these 4 pics are important photos to my tale, they include day ticket to ride the line for the day, the branch map later scanned from the souvenir program and myself holding a coffee mug bought from the station shop! (Now at work).

1/09/2018, a warm sunny Saturday!

Let me begin by saying I’m quite pleased with the strip of photos below, Imagine me precariously hanging out the passenger carriage window (people have lost their heads!) taking 4 photos which when joined together make 1 panoramic scenic shot/view.

 

To be honest how to best approach writing this post has been playing on my mind, let me explain! There are 2 ways of writing about my day which could either be a ‘1000 wordRead More »

My daytrip to a Heritage Steam Railway, pt1

Apologies for this post being a little late coming, but this draft has taken a great deal of planning………………. the photographs are ALL of the same location, namely my Town’s Station and Goods Yard, alas the track was pulled up sometime ago and the buildings pulled down……. 🙂 that’s called progress, I’ll go on to explain why my home Town regrets the closure decision taken by Dr. Beeching way back in the 1960’s, and remember I’ve tried to keep this post relevant to my daytrip rather than a transport history lesson.

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Steam train and passenger carriage stopped at Witney station, a UK branch line that connects with Oxford (unseen in the far off distance)

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Again a train stopped somewhere along the Witney to Oxford branch line

Call this post more of an introduction to last Saturday’s daytrip to the middle England ‘Gloucester Warwickshire Steam Railway‘ Heritage Line, and because that’s a real mouthful I’m NOT going to keep repeating, so for the purposes of this post I’ll use the anacronym GWSR!

Now I’m passionate about all things trains and railways so I’ll try my best to keep my stream of consciousness simple and free from nerdy techno detail, there is in the UK a rather patronising unfair label pinned onto railway enthusiasts called ‘trainspotters’, well I’m lol not a ‘spotter’ but trains capture my imagination.

There you are wouldn’t life be boring if we ALL talked about soccer all day? 

The above two photographs give you a hint as to what became of our Railway branch line….…….. please read on then return to this picture a little later! Btw they’re one and the same bridge.

My home Town used to have a rail line connecting itself with Oxford, yes the famous University city. Built before the turn of the 19th century, progressively over the decades the line fell out of used, then in about 1960 three hypothetical options were on the table as they were for 100 no profitable lines across England, people were buying cars and well society was changing.

These three options faced this loss making Oxford branch line!

1. The Town’s folk to use the railway to commute into Oxford, shop work and play, then commute home again hence making a massive profit for British Rail, the consequence the line remains open.

2. People stop using the railway completely, drive their cars everywhere and all freight switches to lorries on the road, consequently the line is closed as being non profitable, and soon after houses roads and factories are built on the land………. it’s called progress.

3. The non profit Oxford branch line closes because no one uses the trains, however the public form a preservation group, raise the funds to lay new track, buy steam locomotives to haul paying tourists schoolchildren and townsfolk to and from Oxford. The consequence the railway becomes a Heritage branch line and profitable!

(The collage of photos below also appear individually)

My Town chose option…………..…

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The Goods Yard, and now this is where the layout kinda gets complicated! The photographer is looking at the Goods Yard which after closure became a Coal Depot. Now for the purposes of my tale, the passenger Station and platform  is directly behind him, this Yard joins the Branch line and if you’re to make any sense of the following photos try and visualise the layout!

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I believe this is the very last passenger train to run on our train Line to Oxford, the gentleman in the centre has a camera hanging around his neck, the word special is written on the train and apparently rathe ironically hundreds of Townsfolk came to ride in this funeral procession!

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Two locomotive coupled together hauling a passenger train into the main Station, colour but probably taken early 1950’s

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A freight diesel locomotive hauling coal coming out of the Goods Yard

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Passengers waiting on the platform, the photos in colour, there’s a great many people so possibly this is taken the day the very last passenger train travelled the line.

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Looking at lady standing at the Station wearing stylish fashionable clothes, this could be early 50’s?

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They Goods Yard yet again!!

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The Goods Yard probably 1950’s and still in operation, on the left is tracks and the vehicles are painted red and cream the livery chosen by British Railways before privatisation?

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Buildings that used to make up the Goods Yard after closure became a coal depot and now wait for it! Now visit this spot in 2018 and you’ll find Sainsburys supermarket

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I would guess looking at the ladies dresses this photo of a train at Witney station is very old indeed. Late 1800’s?

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(The following 2 photos are taken from my own collection and I paid money for them! Reading the captions, these two very special trains are all set to leave the Goods Yard and join the Oxford Branch Line……….. which as you remember is situated behind the photographer……………. let me ask you a question, have you ever heard of the name Witney Blankets?)

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My home Town used to be famous the world over for making woollen blankets, the photo shows wagons loaded with blankets setting out on their journey to Oxford and beyond, alas every blanket mill has disappeared along with the railway.

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This isn’t the same train from above, no this locomotive hauling many wagons filled with bails of blankets is possibly earlier than the above train……….. I don’t know but taking a look at the lorry on the left I would say it’s an old one?

……….yes you guessed correct, our Town chose option 2 line closure, the awful consequence being all the above photos are Town’s buildings long gone consigned to history……………. and rubble!

The reason why is simply People stopped using the Oxford Branch line, it stopped making money and passenger trains stopped rolling down the tracks in the late 50’s, soon followed by the last freight hauled train in the 60’s, and yes houses and roads were built on the land. Virtually little is left to show we once had a railway many years ago………. all except these old grainy photographs I’ve in my collection. (Above)

Without wishing to labour a point the Heritage railway GWSR, remember I visited Saturday lol keep up, chose yes option 2, tourists now visit from miles around some flying in from all parts of the globe, all to sedately ride up and down the line pulled by steam trains, and the line makes money……….. hmm, with a little foresight Witney could have done the same!

In my following post I’ll share with you all my taken photographs, a picture post of pure English nostalgia, but before I go I’ll leave you with the final dark episode to my dark foreboding tale.

With vision and insight things could have been so different, my Town could have purchased the land, formed a Heritage Company and carried commuters to and from Oxford, yes life could have been so different, but alas we didn’t and Jeeze aren’t we regretting that lack of insight……. worse still Oxford City Council has ridiculous pipe dreams of building a line and connecting Witney with Oxford because well, the shear volume of traffic on the roads causes daily misery and gridlock! Between 7am and 9am, then 3pm and 6pm traffic is virtually at a walking pace!

The irony is, with a little vision planning and people playing their part by travelling on this Oxford branch line, the line would be open today then all our transport problems would have been solved………. and they say human beings are intelligent? 

The point to this sorry tail? Those same 3 options back in 1960 faced the branch line I visited last Saturday, GWSR chose to stay open and create a Heritage railway, we closed ours and have regretted that depressing decision each and EVERY day.

I hope this hasn’t been dry reading hence I’d planned to write the post as simply and straightforwardly as possible! (I was pushed for a little time as well 🙂 )

A. Shepherdson 2018

 

Sightseeing in London…….. a photo dump!

I’ve been close to pulling my hair out! This post has taken ages to write and my Dell Laptop is playing up (dying), so apologies this follow up to my walking tour around The V&A and Tate Britain is such a late upload.

I would suggest reading part 1 (click ‘here’ for link) will help explain why I made this journey to London in the first place, thank you it’ll lol save me writing 300 words and please note ALL the photos were taken by me as I walked around London’s landmark buildings Saturday August 4th 2018.

(Very quickly I’ll tell you this is a response post to a WordPress blogger by the name of Juliette Turrell, she herself visited London namely The National Gallery and The V&A and click ‘here’ for Juliette’s very own daytrip to London with photos.)

Btw the blogging phrase ‘photo dump’ is a new one on me but I like it 🙂 .

Below is a picture of me sitting on the grass in sunny London enjoying an ice cold can of coke and slice of pizza..…….. and what do you think of the shoes? Don’t answer lol because I love them!

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😀 Feeling hungry and thirsty I gave The National Gallery a miss and went to Leicester Square for coke and Pizza in the sun…………… I don’t have to remind you I love my shoes, sooo comfortable!!

London was a blue skies blazing sun and 30 degree temperatures beautiful day, tooo hot for me if truth be told but I’m loathed to complain because there were pretty ladies wearing short dresses everywhere! I ask how could I ever complain!

Tate Britain picture gallery 

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Depending on which name you prefer, this painting hanging in the Tate is called ‘May Day’ or ‘Punch and Judy’

Below are a selection of exhibits both paintings also a marble sculpture of ‘Eve’ that particularly caught my eye!

 

The Victoria and Albert art museum (better known as the V&A)

Below the museum’s entrance , ‘the cast west wall’ and central hall containing several sculptures.


I have to admit I love riding the trains on The Underground, depending on a Tube Line I choose the train will within minutes whisk me to any number of landmarks parks railways stations. It’s the ONLY way to travel in car contested London.

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A tube train pulling into a London Underground station, and remember Londoners slept on these platforms during throughout world war two. 

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I visited London yesterday……. museums and art galleries

(All photographs taken by myself A. Shepherdson 4th August 2018)

I visited London yesterday…………… here’s my photographic journey!

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The Houses of Parliament, by me

A (very) short introduction

Anyone who Follows me on WordPress knows for sure I enjoy interacting with other bloggers whether that be tags or writing challenges, well this fine Sunday morning I have a response post for blogger Juliette Turrell, oh and of course anyone who’d like to see photographs taken on yesterday’s daytrip to London.

Juliette Turrell pretty much 1 week ago (read her blog here) visited both the National Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum for her own personal daytrip, and note both are FREE ENTRY though she’s themed her post Architecture, which I’d forgotten about………… Well seeing as Saturday was such a beautiful sunny day I thought why not visit the V&A Museum and here is a photographic journey taken that day.

🙂 Thanks Juliette for inspiring me to visit London and NOT spend the morning in bed!

But first before I begin 2 pictures of the coach and underground tickets! 04/08/2018 🙂

The V&A museum Google for more detail

The 2 hour Oxford to London journey shuttled me deep into the heart of London, then from Victoria Coach Station I took the Underground directly to The V&A Museum, I’ve never visited before and being quite excited thought it would make a good start to the day!

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Entrance to the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

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Western Cast Wall remind me of a Victorian backstreet, must be spooky at night with just moonlight streaming in

(Above) just look at the effect bright shafts of sunlight has on the structure!

Below The Hereford Screen, I actually stood gazing at this magnificent choir screen for what must have been 10 minutes…….. loved it! (Text courtesy of that fountain of knowledge Wikipedia.)

‘The Hereford Screen is a great choir screen designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811–1878) and made for Hereford Cathedral, England in 1862. It was one of the Gothic Revival works in iron of the nineteenth century and when it was unveiled at the 1862 International Exhibition it was hailed as the “grandest and most triumphant achievement of modern architectural art”

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V&A Museum entrance Hall, more spectacular sculptures!

Juliette you visited the National Portrait, well I’ve been inside before though admittedly not for a few years! But decided on Tate Britain (picture and sculpture gallery) instead and I loved it! The paintings are truly spectacular by artists such as Turner and Constable, incidentally ‘The Hay Wain’ is displayed here……………… ok but I’m not a landscape man :/ .

Tate Britain fabulous! I loved it! Perhaps Wiki for more detail!

The Tate (note not Tate Modern at Battersea) is a picture gallery home to so many great artists through centuries past and or course many painted scenes from the Bible (loved these fables have inspired great works of art)……………. I’ll visit again simply because you could spend a whole afternoon looking at just 3 paintings……………… couldn’t you!

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Entrance, many Victorian museums had these magnificent stone structures built ESPECIALLY for them! Hmm Britain had a rich Empire back then.

The ‘Lady of Shalott’ (below & 1 of 3 versions) can be seen here, a truly beautiful image and I can assure you my camera hasn’t done the painting any justice…………. the light inside the gallery was poor and the public cannot take flash photography!

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The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse

And below my favourite sculpture of the day, in fact my favourite art piece housed in Tate Britain, can you guess why? And very pert smooth and shapely she was tooo! Her name?………. I’m afraid I forgot my pen and paper sorry.

(Looking at the sculpture once again I’ve just this second noticed something I hadn’t seen at the gallery! Look closely below her feet and I see a snake coiling itself around the plinth…….…… which says to me the lady in the sculpture is in fact ‘Eve’ from the book of Genesis, she gave Adam the fruit so lol all blame should lie at her feet?)

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My favourite…… omg she’d look spectacular in my rear garden!

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Blenheim Palace photos pt2 (& Trump visit)

My photos and please download and save if you wish.

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I know I’ve written many times this is a politics and religion free blog, but Trump’s visit is more a carnival event rather than working visit, (he’s desperate to have tea with our Queen) now like you all I have personal opinions which I’ll refrain from sharing here……………….. only that if Trump is your guy, your chosen leader then that’s called Democracy in action.

Before I begin I will suggest before reading my Blenheim Palace pt2 you should go and look at the photos in Blenheim a photo post pt1, which I’ll ‘link here’, viewing will both help follow my thread of thought ands saves me having to repeat everything twice aka Trump’s visit! Thank you 🙂 .

So having visited pt1 you’ll now know MY photographs were taken walking around the beautiful Palace Parklands, glorious they were bathed in glorious August sunlight, however to begin with I wish to mention something of Trumps’ official UK visit next Friday! Just be aware Blenheim WILL be global news next weekend.

Number 10 confirmed Friday Donald Trump’s 4 day visit will avoid London, with one caveat, he and the wife will sleep one night at the Ambassador’s residency in Regent’s Park and well that’s all he’ll see of London! Incredible because historically Nixon Kennedy Bush Reagan and Obama have ALL visited Number 10 and the Houses of Parliament, shared tea with the Queen at Buck Palace but such is the threat of major demonstrations Trump is in effect banned from London. Our Capital City thank God hasn’t been suicide bombed in a while, and well I’d guess MI5 MI6 have advised against a visit for his and our own security………. all very sad.

Remember in pt1  lol told you he’d miss London in favour of Blenheim, I was right when I said ‘watch this space’ as I shared the fact Trump’s visit is little more than a stop over visit to Fortress Blenheim Palace, lol I told you so…………. ok someone I know who work’s in security informed me that he’d heard the mountain will be coming to Muhammad, the mountain being British establishment, Muhammad being of course Donald Trump.

Ok here’s a brief itinerary ‘yawn lol’ if you’d really like to know, such a shame because Obama was welcomed with open arms and well Trump IS an unwelcome liability. (Courtesy of Microsoft on-line).

  • The US President’s four-day tour will instead include a military parade at Winston Churchill’s birthplace of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, talks with Theresa May at her Chequers country home, and tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle
  • Trump will spend just a few hours in the capital, when he overnights at the US Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park.
  • He will not visit Downing Street, Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Parliament, all of which are expected to feature the biggest protests ever seen during a visit by an American President.
  • The ‘working visit’ lacks the status of a full state visit, but organisers of the event on both sides of the Atlantic have tried to meet Trump’s demands for ceremonial pomp, a military theme and rounds of golf in Scotland.
  • Trump coalition is still planning a Carnival of Resistance across the entire country, and demonstrations – against Trump’s sexism, racism and treatment of migrants – are planned not just in central London but also some of the stops on his now public itinerary.
  • With some Britons expected to take days off work to attend the protest, the main demo in London next Friday will start outside the BBC’s headquarters and end at Trafalgar Square.
  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan has given the go-ahead for a giant “Trump baby” inflatable balloon to be tethered above Parliament Square.
    Amid security worries, intense secrecy has shrouded the President’s plans for months, but Downing Street finally announced details of the event on Friday.
    Trump will arrive on Thursday July 12, when he will come directly from the NATO summit in Brussels.
  • The Prime Minister will then host the President and the First Lady for a black-tie business dinner at Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Spencer Churchill family. The event will begin with a military ceremony performed by the bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards. The bands will play the Liberty Fanfare, Amazing Grace, and the National Emblem.
  • During dinner, the Countess of Wessex’s Orchestra will perform a series of classic British and American hits. The Royal Regiment of Scotland will pipe the President out at the end.
  • Windsor Castle, where President Trump will meet Queen Elizabeth II next week
  • The next morning, the President and the Prime Minister will visit a defence site, yet to be made public, to witness “a demonstration of the UK’s cutting-edge military capabilities and integrated UK-US military training”.
  • Chequers for bilateral talks on a range of foreign policy issues, over a working lunch. Trump and May will then hold a joint press conference, the only point on the visit when media will have direct access to the President.
  • The President and the First Lady will then travel to Windsor Castle to meet The Queen, a key moment of the entire trip.
  • On Friday evening, they will travel to Scotland, where they will spend the weekend. It is understood that the British government will play no part in the Scottish leg of the trip as it is a ‘private element’ of the official visit.

Finally he is expected to travel largely via his ‘Marine One’ helicopter, so along with ‘Black Hawk’s’ ‘Apache’s’ and May’s helicopter Blenheim Grounds will resemble a Heliport!

Returning to my OWN Palace visit here are photos taken as I wandered the track that leads visitors around the stunning beautiful Parkland, new photos you’ll not see in pt1.

The guy wearing a green shirt, holding a blue rucksack and drinking lemon and lime is of course MEE!

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………………….. AND finally to conclude this rather mixed bag of a post, if you hadn’t heard of Blenheim Palace before July 2018…………watch the TV and you will sooon 🙂 .

A. Shepherdson 2018

 

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire 2017

A photographic post for you and note all taken by me. Feel free to download and use if you wish 🙂 (btw you may wonder why I’ve reblogged? Well the post didn’t appear in any tags? Hmm :/ ).

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Above is a panorama of the lake with the Palace behind me.

A few readers to this WordPress will be aware I had a Blog before this one, how do I know this? 🙂 Several followed the old one. A short story made even shorter, I deleted that Blog along with ALL my posts (a Blenheim also), I didn’t copy any apart from ‘Pretty lady on a train‘, no in the hurry I lost stories tales and plenty of bs but in hindsight I’m pleased, the thought ‘Oh I have this old post, it’s ok I’ll just slip it in’ will never cross my mind and in hindsight what’s the point in that!

Enough talk of my old ‘yawn’ Blog!

August 2017 I visited one Blenheim Palace situated in the English County of Oxfordshire, well the day was gorgeously hot and sunny, the Palace grounds looked stunning in the sun and Blenheim Palace looked magnificent. Well I took my trusty cheap but very competent digital camera with me and took many photos and quite a few videos for my YouTube Channel……… then the other day I thought to myself ‘perhaps my new Followers would enjoy looking at them because I absolutely love looking at other people’s photographs’.

One more word about Blenheim Palace, you may think to yourself ‘never heard of it?’ Well I’m here to tell you I’d strongly suggest you have but perhaps not realised! Lol why do I contradict you, the Palace and Parkland have appeared in many movies for example Transformers Last Night, several James Bond films, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix to name several, not forgetting TV and music concerts PLUS when Donald Trump arrives for his 3 day visit he will be based at Blenheim.

And I think I know the reason why, a little birdie tells me and he works in security, he reliably informs me that because the Palace Grounds are encircled by a high stone wall in addition all three entrances have large oak gates apparently makes Blenheim Palace one of the most secure residences in the UK plus closely situated to London! And I’ve also heard because of the future demonstrations (note I don’t say possible) no because of the planned massed demonstrations and threat’s Trump is unlikely to visit London…………….. I maybe wrong but you lol read it here first lol.

Again note this is a politics free blog and if Trump’s your man then fine 🙂 but the security threat is large so all his Apache gunships and Black Hawk helicopters will be parked in Blenheim grounds along with the Chinooks and tanks…………… I’m sitting on the fence here, but I don’t think he’ll be as welcome as Obama.

Anyways if you wish to learn more about the Palace’s History I suggest you search Wikipedia that reliable mine of information, all I will say is the Palace’s Parkland was designed by the landscape architect Capability Brown.

I hope you enjoy and remember these were snapped August 2017.

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I waited for the lady (MILF) below in blue tight tee shirt to reach me, you know taking pictures of scenery, a swig of drink wasting time etc, all on the pretence of looking at her magnificent shapely boobs, well you just have to don’t you! I remember I said “hello”, she replied “lovely view” but then I was dumbstruck………… hmm when you meet a single older woman what an earth do you say? “Fancy a roll in the long grass?” JOKING.

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The panorama individuals below,

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All photos by A. Shepherdson 2107. (Remember download and use if you wish and there’ll be more to come)

Holly buttercups and pools of water! Part2

I borrow my mum’s collie Holly at ever opportune moment, we all love our animals whatever they may be and perhaps owning a pet is our last tentative connection to being part of mother nature? 🙂 Isn’t it odd that I feel the urge to owning a dog……………… do they fulfil some primeval need so which is it? Companion friend or just that they are utterly devoted to their owner?

Hmm how would a blog fair dedicated solely to my mum’s dog? (Might be more popular than mine? 😀 )…………….. btw I won’t be but it’s an interesting thought all the same!

The photo below shows Holly adores being in the countryside, her brain is alive and thinking and I love the way even in a 3 hour walk she’ll always stay close, never stray and keep me in her sights.

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There’s a guy at work called ‘Dave the plumber’, a lovely colleague who likes joking around and taking the ‘micky’ out of me, I should explain that’s light hearted ribbing to you foreigners, well at one point in our conversation he said,

“Andy you must be the last person alive who still uses a digital camera!”, I thought for a second or two, and yes perhaps I am because EVERYONE I know takes photos using a tablet or mobile phone! Hmm but are each as good as the other?

I’m NOT going to write a comparison test “yawn”, but looking again at the photos uploaded and displayed on Holly buttercups and pools of water, my previous post, I have to be bluntly honest and say in my own humble opinion, I think my little digital camera captures pretty good images.

I hope you take a peek at the linked post (part 1) because then part 2 (this post) has a context and additional point of view, and lol saves me repeating the exact same text again. So if you’d like to see several more photographs taken from my afternoon walking Holly the collie, I’ve included them all below and all snapped in what’s affectionately known as ‘The Indentation!’

Pictured below I’m standing on the edge looking down into the ‘bowl’ which incidentally has been known to flood 2 feet deep!

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Looking closely at photographs from both posts, I’m hoping you’ll understand the reason why this small piece of wasteland came to be known by residents as ‘The Indentation’, and yes you’ve guessed correct it’s shaped similar to a large bowl and lies below the level of all the surrounding houses, simply because at times of sudden heavy rainfall, say an electric thunderstorm, excess water is piped into this manmade bowl and stops people’s homes being flooded out! The beautiful consequence of a designed civil engineering functionality is the basin is constantly replenished with clean life giving water, it’s not stagnant, and as we all know, wherever in the world water comes in contact with the land then nature thrives………… and buttercups have taken hold in this moist soil also toads no doubt sourced from resident’s garden ponds!

Here endeth the natural history lesson.

I guess for those readers who live in America, would you say ‘The Indentation’ is another name for a ‘Storm Drain?’

Lol who cares 😀 , I think this wildlife haven is fabulous! And don’t you agree the vivid yellow buttercup with its gloss shiny petals is as beautiful as any garden flower?

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🙂 Now having looked at both posts, do you see this low lying ‘bowl’ with it’s gently inclining sides so as to collect storm water flooding in? Hmm buttercups seem to like this ‘spongy’ moist soil.

A. Shepherdson 2018

Holly buttercups and pools of water!

I’ve been rereading the introductions to many of my posts and lol I keep saying the same friggin thing and it’s gotta stop! Right here stop now! Btw I’m far from annoyed I just dreamt that opening up and it made me laugh, but being serious for a ‘mo’ my Blog is devoid of a theme and always will be an eclectic random mixture of whatever captures my imagination…………. so if adult content isn’t for you (you have taste btw) then perhaps nature posts or a cookery lesson possibly will (you have taste btw) just be aware this is all new original content by me. 

Lol rant over! (A nice friendly rant 😀 )

Above you are looking at a picturesque sweep of 4 photos that form one scenic panoramic view, and taken by me 03/06/2018, to be more precise you are looking at a pond and heathland very close to my mother’s home, and this small oasis of British plants and insects is enclosed by housing estates on all four sides.

Yes this urban natural scene is most definitely by definition an urban wildlife oasis and absolutely essential for both quality of human beings life also for keeping British wildlife alive and thriving…………. Town planners have to realise these sanctuary’s in overcrowded urban environments are incredibly important no absolutely essential if we’re going to have any type of wildlife left in the United Kingdom………. and yes they’re as important as acres of picturesque National Parks with their deer wildfowl.

Within large cities such as Birmingham Manchester and London these sanctuaries for plants bees toads and birds are important places for inner city children to visit on school trips, so they at least feel some sort of connection to the Natural World. Btw I’m not being patronising we have charities which will transform rubbish laden filthy shitholes into wildlife havens and we should feel grateful for such great citizens.

Oh and they’re fabulous locations if you are a dog walker like myself but then I’m very lucky because we have many such nature reserves dotted around my Town, I have old photos but I’ll not publish again…………… I used to belong to a conservation group hmm perhaps I should join again……….. perhaps I’d meet a middle aged single with large saggy breasts!

Well if you enjoy looking at the panoramic scene I’m sharing above, larger individual images are shown below, and being absolutely honest if I didn’t walk my mother’s dog from time to time then I doubt I’d have any sort of affinity or connection to my natural surroundings, without Holly I’d have been inside tapping on my laptop keyboard writing bad erotica on this Blog rather than enjoying a sunny June afternoon walk……………. isn’t that at least one great reason to owning a dog! Get away from social media lol.

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A busy trunk road and large housing estate lie exactly 26 seconds walking distance directly behind me 😮 .

More pictures will follow because I walked further out into our British countryside, in fact I walked several miles I guess that’s why Holly is so pleased to see me when I visit mum on a Sunday and have a beef roast dinner made for me! But she gets to tell me about her week and chat so all’s good.

Below is Holly, not quite a collie dog but an intelligent loyal companion all the same……. she loves ‘The Indentation’ as well………………. oh I forgot to tell you it’s called ‘The Indentation’ because it’s basically a large bowl lower than the surrounding houses.

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A. Shepherdson 2018

Policewoman and her near indecent exposure!

(Contains references to sex crime)

🙂 Now even if I say it myself that’s a friggin awesome post title! Lol I’ve truly surpassed myself but yikes now I have to write the post…………….. f#ck it’ll never live up to that hype but oh well I’ll tell my true tale.

(A brief Intermission similar to those they used to have at my local cinema when I was a child, Saturday afternoon’s the matinee would stop then ‘old stumpy’ would walk round selling cartons of ice cream and shout at kids to stop throwing sweets at him! Just to explain I’m telling the near indecent exposure tale one hundred percent true and, because I’m ALWAYS honest, I’ll admit her knickers could be an exaggeration but till this day I’m utterly convinced I saw them!)

A few years ago now, but I’m living at this same address so we’re talking quite recently, dead on 6.07 am on a weekday morning I pulled my front door shut, and why such a precise time you may well ask? Well I catch the bus to work 6.25 and it takes me exactly 15 minutes to reach the stop.

My walk to work is an absolutely stunning one though at times can be a little nerve-wrecking but I’ll get onto that in a moment just hold that thought. My 13 minute walk is quiet peaceful and a changed landscape everyday of the year yet I take exactly the same route? The beginning couple of minutes are breath-taking strolling beneath canopies of overhanging trees, leafy in summer cold and bleak in winter, and stunning in the snow. Then I walk alongside the wall of an ancient Manor House, turn left at the Dovecot, pass by an ancient Church then cross open common land with it’s 2 bridges over the river Windrush with woods and trees either side.

🙂 

I’m unbelievably lucky, some early mornings I’ll watch ducks geese and swans as I cross the rivers, a heron if I’m lucky, and circling over the open fields I’ll quite often see Barn owls swooping down for food and best of all I’m often the only person walking across the common. There’s never another soul in the dark winters and only the odd female jogger her tight ass squeezed into body hugging Lycra in the summer…………. if she’s bouncing boobs then all is right in my world!

However my early morning gorgeous walk can be unnerving in the winter, it’s dark but for a few pavement lights, pitch black in some parts and frigging scary some days especially if my imagination is alive and I’m feeling jumpy. Why so? You may have guessed already, the common is a magnet for men who have sexual propensity to run up to females and expose their genitals, ‘flashers’ I KNOW frigging sick or what, WTF why do it for f#cks sake?

rapepngwebA tragic tale for you, two years ago and on the same day I crossed that open common, I arrive at work switch on my computer to catch the local news only to read a young woman was attacked @3.00am before I’d walked past that same wooded area, it’s always dark because of the closely planted trees.

I know I’m getting off topic, sort of! But it turns out this particular early morning a man dragged the woman from the pavement, into the undergrowth, assaulted her breaking bones in her back then he raped the unfortunate woman. However by breaktime that same morning the case was solved, it turns out minutes after the Police arriving at the crime scene they went directly to a particular known address close by and arrested a convicted rapist who was out on remand soon to appear in Court for the rape of another woman………….. it was written there in black and white, the rapist was allowed out of prison ready to attend Court where he’d be found guilty for whatever and sent back to prison! But he assaulted in the meantime and sentenced life/9 years minimum.

Unbe-f#cking-lievable, you just cannot make this incompetence up!

Anyways returning to my story of walking to work one particular evening and now you understand why I’m both elated by the scenery and nature and nervous that I’ll get beaten up or robbed blind. Several years prior to the serious assault our local Police, in I guess a gesture to calm public safety fears over the number of exposures taking place and because several hours later around 9.30am children walk across the common to get to school, a visible Police presence was increased from zero to quite a few and I’m not being sarcastic there’s only so many Policepersons and FAR too many crimes taking place.

11949846491773218673woman_police_02_gerald_g_01.svg.hiI’ll get to the end of this frigging true tale if it takes all evening lol! So I’m often nervous, the only member of public out and about this early hour, now if you look at my photo below this is virtually the exact spot where I was startled. Suddenly aware of movement and rustling between the bushes and because I’m a fast walker I strode past the noise and commotion half expecting to see a cat or the grey squirrel my mum’s dog chases HOWEVER what do I see but a uniformed attractive Policewoman squatting on the ground her skirt pulled up over her knees halfway up her thighs, knickers down around her ankles (side on so I didn’t see her actually doing ‘it’ or she’d finished) well all I can add is she was as startled as me, our gazes and eyes briefly caught each others, both no doubt WTF? I hurriedly kept walking and just understand there was an awful lot of commotion from those bushes as said Policewoman adjusted her dress! I will be absolutely bluntly honest, the image of her squatting half naked is still kinda sexy!

I realise now the juxtaposition of a story about a rape and a peeing policewoman don’t perhaps sit happily? Hmm, I’ll leave it, they happened but feel free to comment. 

(I remember later smiling to myself thinking ‘I’d hope she saw the funny side afterwards’, out hunting for flashers but no instead she flashed a pedestrian. 🙂 )

It’s a strange old world, day after day month after month I take that exact same route through beautiful countryside, passing various wildlife and then one day what do I see but a peeing Policewoman! BUT being deadly serious for a second and please don’t think me flippant, on another day a young woman takes that exact route and is raped! Jeeze we have to take care these days, there’s far too many assaults robberies and knife crime in my Town!

My morning route to work, the common and lane with bushes. (My old photos but I doubt you mind. 🙂 )

A. Shepherdson 2018©

Is your most prized possession IN FACT worthless?

I hope you’ve read my previous blog, linked here, lol if you haven’t not to worry it’s a very personal family tale written about an ancestor of mine who goes by the name of Matthew, to me a truly fascinating character. I’d love to have met him because I have a feeling we both have similar character traits, how do I know? Well I take after my father, he after his father and so on, we all have so much in common…………… everyone says I’m my father’s son and more so than I’d like to admit……. put it this way when growing up we had a difficult relationship as eldest sons often do!

My thoughts behind this evening’s post are both what value we place on possessions and I’ve decided to put memories of my family into electronic print (WordPress). I know I don’t have children but I have ‘little people’ for relations and who knows one day they maybe interested? Whether my memories are interesting to other readers is a totally different matter but I know several bloggers have been interested in the past, we’ll see 🙂 …………… and certainly different to the tale about a Romanian masseuse sticking her lubricated finger up my asshole and tickling my prostate gland, she wasn’t a doctor mind you, she was ‘milking me’ with her other hand! You haven’t heard my prostate massage tale?

Well lol you never will because it got deleted! 

Anyways not to worry tonight I’ll leave you with a question, what value do you put on your personal possessions? I’d guess the majority of you could do without possibly all your material possessions but I’d guess there will be several that mean the world to you, monetarily worthless however for very personal reasons they are priceless and irreplaceable.

I have two.

My home is overflowing with ‘clutter and stuff’ I’d guess your own is very similar, cupboards are crammed full of papers books, shelves groan under the weight of items I’ll never use again, but honestly speaking I have only two personal possessions that I value above all else. I’d be heartbroken if I ever lost them, you just don’t know how upset I’d be if they were mislaid forever.

And what two items am I referring to?

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The gentleman standing in the doorway of his village butcher’s shop, is my Great Grandfather and according to everyone I’ve heard talk about him they all say he was lovely man. He was a Church elder, he gave meat to poor women in the village, one hundred flag bearers of the Royal British Legion stood at his graveside on the day of his funeral, and a fine upstanding gentleman who served his Country on the Western Front during World War One. He didn’t fight in the trenches but he was stationed very near Ypres though he was only a private and butchered meat to feed army soldiers. 🙂 An important job all the same.

Btw he never sold or ate offal, and a butcher’s opinion is good enough for me! 

He wasn’t Catholic by faith, making the decision Church of England was his personal path toward the Kingdom of God, however Catholicism is linked to my treasured possession, oh yes those two personal possessions my mind does tend to meander. My Great Grandfather wasn’t Catholic however for some unknown reason throughout 1917 and 1918 whilst stationed on the Western Front, he kept those Rosary Beads on the left of the photo with him throughout his time in France. We know he purchased them or was given them by someone in Bethune village because when you hold the Rosary up to the light, look through that tiny eye glass in the middle, you can actually see is different photographs of Bethune’s village Church!

Those Rosary Beads in the photo are the first possession I’d be heartbroken if I ever lost it, that he kept them with him throughout his tour of duty must have been for a very good reason? They obviously meant a lot to him perhaps an antidote to all the horrors going on about him, and although I’m very much a non believer (I truly wish I did believe in God btw) you could offer me any sum of money for my/his Rosary and I wouldn’t exchange.

I should add out of all his many Great Grandchildren for some reason my Grandma handed her father’s Rosary Beads to me for safe keeping and I know not why? Perhaps there’s a reason I’m not aware of but she considered them safest in my possession and another reason why they’re so valuable. Lol all my other Cousins were given monetarily valuable stamp albums and the like, and I have the Beads and Medal. 

Perhaps she somehow knew I’d be the one who coveted them above all else?

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An extra photo for you, My Great Grandfather’s WW1 Medal after serving on the Western Front

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The second item one or two of you may have already guessed, I have another Great Grandfather who was awarded the Queen’s South Africa medal for his Military service in the Second Boer War 1899-1902. It’s quite heavy, struck in solid silver and yes they sell for a considerable amount of money on eBay, but again appreciating the QSA medal was earned for Matthew’s military service and handed down to me means the world, it would never ever be sold however much I was offered. Link here for tales of my Great Grandfather Matthew.

©A. Shepherdson 2018

Follow me around OXFORD (pt1)

Photographs taken by myself 21/04/2018 apart from the 3 picture’s of pretty ladies wearing very little! You mean you don’t understand? Lol you’ll have to read on 😀 btw I’m NOT ‘click baiting’ readers, this post is ‘hopefully’ a blend of humour and historically serious………. in other words entertaining.

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St. Magdalen Church and Cemetery Bluebells

Towers and Churches (with a fun introduction) 

The UK has experienced an unseasonal no lush incredible! Mini heatwave, we’ve just had the hottest 3 days since written records began, sorry for droning on about our weather lol but if you have a friend who’s from England then you’ll understand our national obsession, no our number one pastime, is talking about our weather! No word of a lie I kid you not we can experience all 4 seasons in one day, three weeks ago we had snow (click link) this weekend we’ve had blue skies high humidity brilliant sunshine and 28+ degrees, I’ll return to sultry steamy temperatures in a second. AND please take note of the Cemetery photos with their Bluebells and Daffodils, these pictures were snapped by me a week or so ago.

Enough of English weather lol, oh yes where was I? Saturday’s clammy sweat inducing sticky humid air, so tiring to walk through you’d imagine we lived in the Everglades!

Lol after waking Saturday morning (a night in bed all alone ahh), I made breakfast gazed out the kitchen window and thought to myself ‘yes I’ve had a long tiring week at work, but jeeze staying at home today of all days would be criminal’, so I grabbed my camera and decided to visit Oxford and wander around my home City as a sightseer, join all the other tourists taking photos…………… perhaps write a blog post?

Hold on what’s that noise I hear at the window? No word of a lie it’s frigging raining, you see what I mean, summer could be over and done with already!

Returning to this past Saturday. (If you don’t wish to read my observations of today’s pretty ladies skip a paragraph!)

I absolutely adore English hot sunny weather, the muggier stickier airless the better, and some of you may already know what I’m about to say next! At the slightest hint of stifling soupy hot temperatures ladies lose all their modesty and abandon layers of clothes, omg sweet Jesus do their clothes ever come off! Winter coats are hung up until next Tuesday and they hit the summer tee shirt chest of draws HARD and the results are gorgeously spectacular!

Look I understand I’m getting side tracked, the churches can wait I’m in free flow sharing my love of women!

The centre of my Town lies 10 minutes away, well after leaving home a hundred yards in I pass by the recreational Park and wow there stand’s a young mother wearing only a string vest with an oh so visible black bra underneath! A hundred yards further and I’m watching a mature lady approaching wearing a crisp white blouse, and the closer she gets I see she’s braless with unrestrained bundles of fun bouncing happily together, well I had to stop by the river’s bridge just to let my pulse slow down! Finally I arrive at the bus stop to Oxford and a petite very pretty young woman saunters past wearing beige HIGH cut hot pants with both buttocks hanging out!! Incredible, and I don’t know if her father had checked her dress code as she left her home? Afraid to say I hardened and twitched for a second or two 😉

These Googled images below remind me of today and all day, lol I shouldn’t share them should I but this is my blog and all that, you get the idea! 😦 We’ll be wearing winter coats by next Tuesday and sunny days of no bras and bouncing boobs will be but a memory 😦

😀 enough of sexy young women (and note sexy mature as well) let us quickly move on.

Part 1, today’s published Post, feature 2 Churches a Saxon Tower also Martyrs Memorial, I will try to be brief and to the point else this post will read as a history lesson, I DON’T want that either, you’ll have to visit Wikipedia and sift through the Fake posts for a history lesson.

Having said that, whilst wandering around Oxford’s busy Street’s alongside decanted bus loads of Japanese Tourists I suddenly thought to myself I pass these two Churches below every single day of my working week! Twice if you count in the times I pass by at 4.30pm on my way home (questioning myself ‘am I happy in my work?’ or do these feelings of discontentment plague every person who’s hit middle age?’)

Anyways enough of that silliness!

Returning to my bolt of lighting moment of revelation I did honestly realise I pass by these ancient landmarks each day, yet I know absolutely not a jot about their historical significance :/ both a sobering and rather awful admission. So this Post was a history lesson for myself as much as you lol!

Btw between both Churches lies a strip of tarmaced road, on this site a Fair comes to Oxford every year and has done for the past 400 years!

The Saxon Tower at St. Michael at the North Gate, the Tower is one of the oldest Buildings in Britain no less, and these Churches are 12th Century so we’re talking OLD!

I wonder how many people you’d have to stop in the Street before someone could describe the history behind this this ancient Saxon Tower? (They don’t allow anyone to walk to the top anymore, Why? Because people keep jumping from tall buildings in Oxford!)

Originally built around 1000–1050, with the tower from 1040 still in existence, the church is Oxford’s oldest building. It was constructed of Coral Rag and until yesterday I’d never looked closely and yes there is coral in the mix!

The Oxford Martyrs were imprisoned in the Bocardo Prison before they were burnt at the stake in what is now Broad Street nearby 1555, at that time immediately outside the city and the cell door can be seen on display in the tower.

Saint Magdalene Church

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This fascinating historic Church stands isolated on a traffic island at the south end of St Giles, near the Martyr’s Memorial. The first Church was built in the Saxon period and stood just outside the city walls replacing a timber church destroyed when Vikings attacked and burned most of Oxford down in 1010 and 1013.

  • The church was burnt down again in 1074, 
  • In 1194 Saint Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, had the Church rebuilt. Work of that period survives in the east wall of the chancel wall and in the south aisle, and the altar is dedicated to St Thomas Becket.
  • By 1235 the church had an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The chancel was rebuilt late in the 13th century. A century later the scholars of newly founded Balliol College had an oratory dedicated to St Catherine in the present North aisle.
  • In 1320 the Carmelites founded a chapel in the south aisle, which survives as the present Lady Chapel.
  • The west tower was built between 1511 and 1531 with stone taken from the dissolved Oxford’s Cistercian Monastery.

Saint Giles Church

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Built 12th 13th Century St. Giles Church lies 500 metres North of Oxford’s old city wall, standing in open fields with no other buildings between it and the city wall. As I said earlier that’s where the North Gate Church and Saxon Tower stands. Interestingly only about a thousand people lived within the walls of Oxford at this time, you should see outer Oxford now! 

Damaged during the English Civil War when the Parliamentarian army besieged the Royalist force then defending Charles. John Goad, vicar from 1644 until 1646, is said to have led services in St. Giles during Parliamentary artillery bombardments in 1645.

Martyrs Memorial

Victorian gothic built to remember martyrs killed at the sight of execution virtually on the same spot! In 1840 when constructed it replaced tottering wooden house. 

 

Photographs by A. Shepherdson April 2018

 

The Beast From The East (March 2018)

Photos © A. Shepherdson.

Perhaps if you reside in a Country outside the United Kingdom you may not have come across the phrase ‘The Beast From The East’. Don’t worry it’s not a name attributed to the evil Russian who’s been leaving deadly nerve agent inside restaurants and smeared on park benches around Salisbury, no the ‘Beast…..‘ is a phrase attributed to a very British weather system, or more specifically a sudden blanket of snow falling across parts of the UK.

Weathermen do like to conjure up imaginative descriptions, Great Britain finds itself at the heart of five different weathers systems the worst being a cold front which blows down from Siberia, possibly catching a little Arctic blast on the way! Well temperatures plummet, snow falls and my Townscape resembles photos which wouldn’t look out of place on as next years Christmas card………. all good fun unless you use public transport to get to work.

Bah Humbug! (I must be getting old)

We’ve experienced three overnight ‘snow bombs’ this winter and were due to have a fourth this Easter, however the short boring story is the wind changed direction, a warmer front blew in from France bringing four days of persistent rain.

All of these photos below were taken by myself one Sunday morning in early March, follow the journey from my little house, all the distance across Town to my Mother’s for a Sunday roast beef dinner…………. I guess you could call the occasion a little treat in return for doing a few jobs around the house.

Follow the journey and bare in mind the house above may or may not be mine.

Below right is the side wall of an old Manor House and Farm used as a set and backdrop in the period TV Drama Downton Abbey… you may have heard of it!

I won’t say where abouts the 12th Century Norman Church below is located, just be aware we’re talking rural South East England.

Perhaps I’m becoming a little weary and jaded and yes I’ll admit to being rather cynical as the years roll by (I’ll have to keep an eye on this), I didn’t really mind this winter’s snow, in fact it’s quite astonishing how overnight the Town you wake up to is totally transformed and looks nothing like the evening before.

A. Shepherdson.