A Rainbow at Christmas (1)

Theme this my Christmas posting, and I hope you’re all making the best holiday you can after a challenging and awful 2020……. that’s enough of the Pandemic for this evening 🙂 .

(Been a while since I’ve Blogged here but I do check the stats from time to time, now here’s a perverse fact for you, I don’t write here yet I’ve never been so popular, why?……Well the sad fact of life is ‘sex sells’ and if you’ve read this Blog previously you’ll understand why the popularity, yep people enjoy reading about sex, watching others have sex (tedious and boring) and best of all we all live for sex with other humans. Oh and I haven’t lol met with any women since March 23rd and beginning of covid lockdown! Read a post or two here and you’ll understand why enough said 😀 .)

A Rainbow taken somewhere close to Oxford 21/12/2020 from my mobile phone

This afternoon I saw my first Rainbow since I don’t know when, then I got to thinking I only ever witness these wonderful meteorological phenomenon two or three times a year and that honestly shocked me, every one of us knows what a Rainbow looks like yet we see so few! Can you remember the last one you viewed for real?

After having delivered several Christmas presents to friends, pausing to chat also allowing a brief rain shower to pass important to this tail, oh and socially distancing which goes without saying, I began to walk my return journey home with a bright low winter sun shining behind me.

HOWEVER (and remember that rain storm passing through) those same dark clouds now faced me in the distance, two meteorological ingredients perfect for recreating a quite remarkable visual colourful spectrum, because rays of sun shining into cloud laden droplets of water are the perfect conditions for creating colourful Rainbows and a que for other pedestrians to pause and whip out they mobile phones, for residents to spill out from their homes to like me, take photos of a wonderful 8 coloured Rainbow in the sky, a same natural world phenomenon sure to have perplexed cavemen several thousand years ago.

Other photographs were taken, to be continued……………………………..

A. Shepherdson 2020

Bubblegum Pink or polka-dot Blue… which colour do you prefer?

Go on say it, “sewing your own masks Andrew? You’d make a good house husband!” (I wish 😀 , spare a thought for me whilst you are riding hubby’s ‘dick’ ‘cowgirl’, I haven’t been laid in 3+ months.)

I’m thinking the ‘bubblegum’ Pink one a tad tooo girly? Perhaps a mask for the super confident young lady who loves to be the centre of attention……… then again see a pretty girl walking in the street dressed in shocking Pink and you’ll think she’s a sex hooker touting for business in a Pandemic!

Anyways where was I? Oh yes covid-19 face masks. F*** me if you said to me way back in January that I’d be making masks on my mum’s sewing machine come summertime, that in the UK you’ll be fined £3000 pounds for riding on a bus not wearing one, that you are breaking British Laws by not wearing a face covering whilst shopping in a supermarket……. well I’d have replied “you really do need to see a Doctor right now!”

Strange times indeed, and tying my posting neatly together who’d have imagined the most viewed videos on YouTube are middle aged American moms using their sewing machines to make yes cotton face masks! I should know I’ve been watching these mommy seamstresses more used to making party dresses for their daughters. But then you already knew this and btw don’t think me flippant, theses ladies videos have millions of viewings because worried parents are making them for friends family and first responders, fabric coverings that may well be the difference between catching coroner virus whilst riding on public transport or not.

Sad times indeed, I limit the amount of covid-19 related news stories I expose myself because I value my own sanity and wish to stave off clinical depression. But from watching News streams from across the globe this past 3 months, experts DON’T appear to agree on anything apart from wearing face masks in public areas stops the spread of coroner virus, they may not stop you catching it mind, but if you’re coughing sneezing and spreading this horrible virus asymptomatically, fabric cloths covering your nose also mouth will (may) protect others around you.

So returning to my original question, which colour do you prefer? (To be continued.)

A. Shepherdson 2020

London (long) weekend away 4

Part 4 of my long weekend visit to London late July 2020, today with photographs of both inside and outside the rather expensive ‘posh’ Hotel. Be sure to read postings 1 2 and 3 🙂 and all photos taken by me.

My plump cheeky ass has been complimented by several women……….. lol thought you’d be interested in that fact! 😀

A. Shepherdson 2020

(Go visit Booking.com for great last minute accommodation deals, Hotels slash prices if you’re prepared to take a risk, scour the internet and wait till the last day even.)

My visit to London 3

Photos! Nice and simple and no more 1000 word essays lol.

Rather than explaining the tale of my Covid-19 lockdown holiday in London all over again….. phew that was a mouthful! If you’d like to read more of how I came to be there I have 2 previous postings, this evening’s one is what the cool kids call a ‘photo dump‘.

London Sky Garden’s viewing gallery is on the 43rd floor of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building with awesome panoramic views over London.

With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this leafy indoor garden provided fantastic views of the iconic London skyline. I strolled through lush landscaped gardens before making my way to the observation decks and open-air terrace………. except I couldn’t, coroner virus regulations banned outside viewing? However I could still buy a drink and bite to eat which shows there’s no rhyme or reasoning to covid safe living

A. Shepherdson 2020

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

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

‘Social Distancing’ comes easy to us Brits

‘I wake of a morning, stare at the light bulb dangling from the ceiling and question myself, is this chaos for real? (Big sigh) Tragically yes it is 😦 .’

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Queuing comes easy to us born and bred Brits, my Grandparents living through two World Wars became accustomed to decades of food rationing, the ability to queue patiently is in our DNA……. picture taken by me waiting to enter a Supermarket to buy food and notice the security guards! Boris’s Government is doin ok, the Country’s pulling together 3 new hospitals are being built as we speak, the UK is working to a plan and long may this continue 🙂 .

We Brits are adjusting relatively easy to social distancing, 🙂 doesn’t surprise me actually.

Rationing queues outside grocery shops existed well into the early 1950’s, my mother still has her now treasured ‘Ministry Of Food’ rationing books kept from when she was a child, my Grandmother told me she’d join orderly queues affront food shops NOT wanting anything in particular, only that there was always an off chance a delivery of either fruit meat or veg was waiting to be distributed………. like I said, queueing just might be in our DNA! (Ok no… but you get the idea.)

Evelyn Dunbar, The Queue at the Fish Shop. 1945
Evelyn Dunbar ‘The queue at the Fish Shop’ and notice the grey drab clothing, the not so Great Britain was bankrupt!

THE WEEKLY RATION FOR TWO PEOPLE, UK, 1943
Late 1940s Weekly food rations for 2 people whether they be rich or poor! And the reason both my Grandfathers kept chickens, one even grew his own vegetables on two ‘allotments’……… in fact the allotment concept still exists to this day… and look at that cheese…… for TWO! 

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28 Housewives waiting in a line………….. I’m saying nothing! 😀

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Food rationing a common sight in Villages Towns and Cities across the UK

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…… and those who haven’t a clue as to what I talking about, the ‘allotment’ garden is a throwback to WWII, and who knows they just might become a common sight once again? 

 

A. Shepherdson 2020

‘Tower of London’ ravens

Our tour group was assigned a Yeoman Warder (above), a lovely guy his humorous and fascinating tour lasted one hour and interestingly they are ALL serving soldiers in the British army…. if you wish to upset a Yeoman Warder lol call him or her a tour guide, being an entertaining story teller is a prerequisite and you know how children love tales of murder blood and intrigue! 

I wouldn’t imagine these photos taken during my 2018 summer visit to the Tower of London will be of terrifically great interest, but I feel passionately about the Tower’s 1000 year royal history and cherish the wonderful stories that it holds because I’m unashamedly proud to be British…. sometimes I wonder if I can admit such a ‘heresy’ within present day multi cultural Britain? Not to worry 😀 tonight’s post was as much an exercise in historical research for me, as well as an excuse to ‘show share’ my photos somewhere!

(Please note ALL the unpublished photographs below were taken by me.)

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Clear blue skies… I’d forgotten how lovely the day was.

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Raven facts written in many different languages for the benefit of tourists.

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A raven looking at the central White Tower which seems pretty apt for a Castle that’s recognised the world all over, an image that defines England and what it is to be English.

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Enjoying the warmth from a late afternoon sun.

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Perched precariously on one leg… now that’s what I call a clever raven.

Our Yeoman Warder Guide would pause at points of interest throughout the Tower grounds, address the assembled group of tourists with captivating facts and lurid tales of murder intrigue and English history anecdotes I’d last studied 40 years ago!

One of the many legends to have grown around the Tower of London, is that of the Tower ravens. The legend states that if the ravens, which can be seen dotted around the grounds or perched on walls, should ever leave then the iconic White Tower would fall along with the entire kingdom (happened 2016 after Brexit!), incidentally it’s said to be King Charles II (1660-1685) who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected. 

Long before the conquest, ravens had been a familiar sight in the streets of London, where they were welcomed as natural scavengers who carried away bones and edible refuse from the gutters. The legend of the ravens, and no one is quite sure by whom it was started, has become of such importance that for hundreds of years royal decrees have been issued protecting the birds…  our Yeoman Warder said they can never leave, they cannot fly away because a vet has clipped a single flight wing.

I guess the saying ‘better safe than sorry applies’!

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Apparently this is the brand new raven enclosure, housing 6 birds.

One Yeoman Warder is tasked with caring for the ravens and is termed ‘Raven Master’. Up until just recently 6+ birds were caged by the Wakefield Tower but have since been rehomed, and I guess rather than name the birds each Tower raven has a different coloured band on one leg, interestingly captive ravens in the Tower grounds have reached the age 40 years…… I imagine the lack of predators helps!

Click here I’ve been sightseeing in London again! (The Tower of London)to view ‘loads more’ gloriously colourful photographs.

A. Shepherdson 2020

My work colleague’s Sexy selfies!

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Not Lizzie’s actual selfie, but you get the idea

I KNOW a young lady who posts semi nude photos of herself on the internet, yep Lizzie (for the purposes of this post) shows scantily clad selfies of herself wearing colourful bikinis she’s gonna use on holiday…. and there’s more! You’ll hardly believe this true, but wow she also posts selfies wearing tasteful white lingerie… and you just don’t know how tempted I’ve been to post one…. all in the name of investigative journalism mind you!

However I’ve resisted temptation because posting on my blog is morally reprehensible, no just darn right wrong! Not forgetting revealing her identity could almost certainly get me the sack from work, infringe Copyrights on umpteen social media platforms, and most importantly of all might cause the young woman untold embarrassment.

That’s if she cares of course.

(I haven’t but jeeze I’ve been so tempted if only to prove a point…. honest!)

Let me expand this rather cautionary tale, perhaps it’ll interest you mums with daughters of your own? You see Lizzie works at the same place I do, and that’s all the detail I am going to divulge for obvious reasons, except she’s aged about twenty, an apprentice plumber (or perhaps not) by trade and a rather pretty young lady with I might add a cracking petite figure.

“Well Andrew that’s rather forward of you, isn’t it?”

Now this is where my tale gets really interesting, because a colleague happened across her Instagram account and btw not me! He’s never said how and I’ve never asked why, but I guess if you searched her name on Google, and she owns an Instagram account, then you WILL easily find her….. a cautionary tale indeed. 

Well cutting a short story shorter, the majority of Lizzie’s photos are of pets Grandparents and friends and surprisingly accessible to public viewing (though not all), but there’s more! To my guys astonishment, Lizzie shares full body length photos of herself, captured in her bedroom gazing at her reflection in a mirror with a mobile phone to hand, and yes there are photos of herself wearing bikinis, clubbing outfits and omg white lingerie!

I’m not ashamed to say we men have all viewed her Instagram, it’s been passed around the department like naughty schoolboys sharing porn images with their chums….. btw I’d like to strongly protest that I haven’t downloaded these images.

I haven’t, but here’s the point I could have screenshot her wearing ******* print bikinis, I’d guess some colleagues might have but she’s over 18, they’re public viewing so who’d care if they’re into that kind of thing… and unworried if the wife inspects their mobile phone! 😫

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Well if she were my daughter I’d be concerned

So my question is, does Lizzie suspect we’ve seen these revealing photos, you know wearing her bra and panties? There’s a thought, all I do know is sharing compromising photos on the internet has consequences, nosy guys find them, images get uploaded onto porn sites AND potentially you could see one posted onto a middle aged guy’s WordPress.

MY WP! 🤫 

Jeeze, now wouldn’t that have made for an entertaining read 😂 .

 

A. Shepherdson 2020

Google street and Lilly’s mini convertable

Mild sex themes and written just for fun. Intrigued? Then please read on.

So Andrew why retell this true story in a blog? Well sex themed posts are a lot of fun to write and this one’s definitely unusual, mind you ladies names must be changed or you just might receive angry NO furious texts 11 o’clock at night, a long story read here…….. though on reflection I wouldn’t bother.

So with secrecy also discretion clearly in mind, let us name our lady err Lilly!

Don’t you think ‘Google street view’ is the most amazing website ever created? Now here’s a switched stream of consciousness for you. Ten years ago the thought that you could log onto a PC, enter a house number into a Google search engine, press ‘click’ and you’d be whisked to the exact location on a digital map was the stuff of dreams, you can even do this on a phone for heaven’s sake. What’s more you can move a yellow avatar, drop him onto the chosen house number and by the wonders of near science fiction itself, the screen will change to a street level photograph looking directly at the house you’re searching for.

Incredible, and because human beings are prone to breaking the law, you’ll gaze at alternative views and in effect ‘case the joint’, garden gates that may be unlocked, windows that could well be left open, all in all a website that’s tailor made tool for house burglars.

One evening several years ago, laptop to hand sat in a comfy living room chair, I located my own home on Google street having decided to take a nose around my neighbourhood, we’ve all done this and fascinating this car like journey can be to.

(As an aside my mother discovered a neighbour had built a swimmng pool in the garden she hadn’t known about! 😀 )

Ahh before I continue, below are two ‘screen shot’ images of my own home taken from Google street, but note all sensitive information has been blanked out, I don’t want any cat burglars robbing my home when I’m out!

Screenshot (2194)Screenshot (2193)

Incidentally, many years ago I was standing at a bus stop yes waiting for a bus, and this van slowly drove past with the name Google emblazened across the side, and with what looked like a tripod fixed to the roof taking 360 degree photos from the road, I’ve since located that bus shelter to see if the camera captured me but of course all us prospective passengers were blurred out.

BTW as is the number plate of the stationary Mini convertible outside my home.

Anyways there I sat driving an imaginary car ‘up and down’ this quiet street I live in, and I can distinctly remember wondering who an earth owned that white Mini half parked on the pavement? Now I don’t own this sporty little car, neither do my neighbours nor any of my friends family or acquaintances. Well this started to bother me, just be aware I live in a very quiet neighbourhood with lots of road parking space, yet this Mini sat directly opposite my front door, no question in my mind the owner was visiting me, was I out perhaps at work? Who were they?

Then after half an hour or so of wracking my brains, like a streak of lightening I remembered it was Lilly’s car, yes at that very moment a Google van drove past, this young lady was inside my house and now I remembered she’d said her own car was being serviced in a garage, and she’d been loaned a white Mini courtesy car for the day.

Well I was chuckling to myself well pleased I’d solved this worrisome conundrum, then lol a second more wicked thought crossed my mind, and yes as I zoomed in closer to the second floor bedroom window, the curtains were drawn closed and note in the daytime, why would my curtains be CLOSED? 

I know exactly why, Lilly was in my bedroom that’s why! 😄

Well turns out at the very second the Google street van drove past photographing my house, for absolute certain I can say without any shadow of doubt, Lilly and I were having sex in BED together, now there’s a thought, could even have been the very moment I climaxed as she rode my penis cowgirl. Now if you are interested and I know you are, cowgirl is my very favourite position, heavenly sex for lazy men. I can visualise Lilly now with her long blonde hair, a pretty ‘blank’ year old with trim figure firm strong thighs straddling my groin as she breathlessly rode me like a female jockey astride her stallion.

(I mean sitting on her horse ‘bobbing up and down’ as it raced to the finish line!)

Keep up 😀 . 

Lovely lady was Lilly, with her firm to grasp high round boobs and bubbly personality, I’ve seldom had more enjoyable fantastic sex than with Lilly, she could even swallow my entire 160mm shaft down her throat……….. with condom fitted of course. Hmm happy days and she had the cutest little kitty!

Now come on! Tell me if I’m wrong, what are the chances that anyone can pin point where they were, or what they were doing at the time Google chose to ‘upload’ a photo of their home on the internet?

Can you ‘top’ that with your own unusual tale of coincidences conundrums and science fiction technology? 

A. Shepherdson 2019

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

Trellick Tower (pt3/3)

So let’s just say I win the lottery, gifted the riches to purchase the home of my wildest dreams and desires, which home do I choose? A quaint pretty cottage set within deepest rural Oxfordshire, a perfumed wild flower meadow with babbling brook streaming through long natural grasses, lazy days of watching butterflies and keeping bees or purchase a top floor duplex apartment in London’s Trellick Tower?

Hmm, I’m genuinely in a quandary deciding which to choose.

For fear of repeating myself you really should read my previous two posts if ‘this’ phrase Trellick Tower intrigues you.

(Five minutes later)

So you have returned, thank you 🙂 (oh and please note all photos taken by myself and feel free to copy if you so wish 🙂 )

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Standing 322ft high, 31 floors and housing 217 apartments, these homes are accessed via ‘streets in the sky’ connected to a service tower with lifts……… a quite beautiful building!

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………… and the iconic phrase “Streets in the Sky” was born!

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Trellick’s 217 apartment balconies face South enjoying a full days sunlight, their front doors opening towards North facing corridors. These design details, alongside quality materials, set this iconic building apart from tower blocks long since reduced to stone and rubble.

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Admire Trellick’s impressive and imposing service tower and just marvel at those ‘battlement window slits’ and castle-like watchtower.

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Two ridiculously simple security measures (originally requested by Goldfinger himself) transformed Trellick Tower’s then tarnished reputation. Once a concierge and entry intercom had been installed, the problems of vandalism, lift rapes and prostitution all but stopped, and don’t you agree a concierge makes so much sense in hindsight? He or she would be the eyes and ears on the ground, a go to for people’s problems, bar entry to people who shouldn’t even be inside! All the reasons Hotels have employed them for centuries.

So returning to my question which home do I choose? Well, as of this moment and similar to many a rich Londoner in 2019 I’ll purchase both, the idyllic country cottage for the weekend and Trellick Tower for living in Monday to Fridays……. though I have the feeling the shine and novelty would sooon wear off!

But Trellick’s renaissance isn’t a totally happy tale. Originally designed by Ernö Goldfinger as cheap social housing back in 1972, now that ‘brutalism’ has returned to being fashionable and in vogue, a sickening process of ‘social cleansing’ is taking place across London. Private equity firms are purchasing these concrete high rise living spaces from cash strapped London Councils, decanting poor renting families into cheap low level housing, then selling these Tower block apartments for millions of pounds! And here’s the irony, these until recently hated concrete homes in the sky built for the poor, are once again deemed cool living yet only affordable to the rich and wealthy. 

pre-fabricated-high-rise-blocks-flats-uk.v1476952239And now to Ronan Point where the high rise dream came quite literally crashing down! 

The now demolished Ronan Point, a 22 story tower block built as affordable housing, opened in 1968 but tragically partially collapsed soon after unveiling to residents and public. Poorly designed and shoddily constructed Ronan is the complete antithesis of Trellick built but a few miles away in Canning Town East London. On that fateful day 16th May 1968, only two months after Ronan’s completion, a gas explosion caused the collapse of one entire corner of the building (a resident lit a gas stove to boil a kettle), killing four people and injuring 17 this terrible disaster rocked people’s confidence in the safety of high rise living. A judicial enquiry soon followed leading to an overhaul of existing building regulations after uncovering design flaws associated with side wind loading, fire damage and small explosions..

Looking at the photo above I’d suggest the scars of bolted together walls also off-site prefabricated construction are clearly visible, a truly horrific photograph in so many respects leaving Britain’s housing dream in tatters, the consequence all Public confidence was lost in high rise living and has never returned even 50 years or so later……….. such an ugly building as well. 

So what fate awaits Trellick Tower? Now Grade 2 listed and deemed architecturally important by the great and the good, this once reviled building is fashionable again, now privately owned and having been made from quality materials I’d suggest this iconic building will outlive me! And truthfully speaking I’m still unsure why I love this building so? All the more strange knowing that I hate concrete tower blocks with a passion. 

I hope readers have enjoyed these three posts written from a personal point of view, if you wish a little more insight and detail then I guess the internet is the place to go!

A. Shepherdson 2019

Trellick Tower, London 09/11/2019

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Picture by A. Shepherdson

Hi 🙂

Now be honest, you’re all busy people, do you really want to read a blah blah blah blog where I list the reasons I stopped posting? No of course not, just so as you know I’ve reignited enthusiasm, there’ll be no sex and silliness (that’s a lie) and I’ll be returning with several London themed ‘photo dumps’ (that’s a term the cool kids use), in other words that’s sharing photos I’ve taken to you and I.

Been a while, so what have I been doing? Worrying about Brexit for one (sooo upsettingly depressing), reading blogs written by the (many) middle aged women writers I follow, and for the purposes of today’s post and several to follow, I visited London today, walked the City’s streets (note I’m not a hooker!) and ‘snapped’ lots and lots of photographs.

Only trouble is I’m unsure if any of you lovely people remember me since three months ago, of course you lol don’t? But not to worry as I’ve always said to myself, if at least one person enjoys reading an always original post written by moi, then I’m a happy Andrew.

So why visit London? To see for myself a British architectural icon that is Trellick Tower situated close to the Borough of Notting Hill, and yes that is the ‘Notting Hill’ movie of the same name starring Hugh and Rene, also home to the world famous Carnival. Incidentally the short video below features this 1972 Tower Block built to satisfy Britain’s post war housing shortage, Trellick is now a Grade 2 listed building, a structure recognised by people the length and breadth of Britain with a very short film uploaded onto my YouTube Channel.

(Are you surprised a concrete block of flats has preserved status?)

I’ve never seen this Tower Block for myself before today, it’s an impressive building all the more notable because every major City has been demolishing these grey concrete monoliths, poorly constructed, hated by the residents and quite rightly considered a disastrous exercise to provide cheap social housing for the masses, many have been pulverised to rubble. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing, Tower Blocks became synonymous with all that is wrong with inner cities, magnets for drug taking, physical assaults, isolation, deprivation, poverty, devoid of human scale and with a complete absence of (yes) private gardens so loved by the British public, all in all an expensive social engineering project that went disastrously wrong!

HOWEVER with London’s housing shortage now at epidemic levels, gazing out the coach window as the city scape passed by, I noticed shiny modern examples are rising lol like a phoenix from the ashes, with I guess many a lesson learnt?……… I do hope so! Yes Tower blocks are disappearing, yet Trellick remains and what’s more it’s Grade 2 listed which means the City planners CANNOT pull it down. Now for a confusing dichotomy, I for one love this important building which surprises me when I hate concrete Blocks of Flats so! 😀 

So finally, do you see beauty in this building?

To be continued………………

A. Shepherdson 2019

Saturday Dog minding!

Discussing our Brexit farce both upsets and depresses me, I will vote this Thursday however I’ll leave the ‘why  I must’ discussion for another day, so replacing my planned political posting I have a happy ‘doggy’ tale instead!

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Saturday the 18th May 2019 had been pencilled into my diary for quite some time, err perhaps I should be more honest and admit my mother INSTRUCTED me before Christmas I WAS to be helping her dog mind this last weekend, no arguments no discussions no excuses, a friend of hers had to attend an important family function, and mum agreed to look after their 7 month old Border collie all day Saturday through to Sunday morning because mum is a nice helpful person like that 😀 .

We as a family have owned black and white Border collies ever since I can remember, I’ve even shared their photos somewhere on this WordPress HOWEVER both mum and I had absentmindedly forgotten how much hard work looking after a puppy actually is. In fact mum phoned me this evening to say she was exhausted, also a little annoyed because a piece of paper sitting on the telephone table had been shredded, along with an email address she hasn’t a copy of!

Border collies are wonderful dogs, extremely intelligent, quick learners with a heightened sense of play, they’ll chase and retrieve a ball all day long, adore working to command with the only downside they demand a great deal of attention and mental stimulation, and if an owner hasn’t the time also patience to train and exercise collies, they can often become destructive with behavioural problems…………. they’re fun, lovely natured working animals, with energy to burn and most definitely not lap dogs.

The offshoot is our borrowed collie hardly paused to take breath ALL day, she shredded nearly every toy, dug a few plants up in the garden, did her best to try and entice my mother’s collie into playing games of ‘chase me’ around the living room carpet, and by Saturday evening and several outdoor walks (mum counted she walked 15,000 steps) all four of us were exhausted.

Yes I’d forgotten how demanding a breed they are, and even contemplated once or twice buying a puppy, that was never going to happen but our borrowed collie was a timely reminder these are working dogs, and if you want a collie pet then you must have the time to exercise and train. Watching them round up stock animals, agility and walking to command in the show ring is all good fun and very seductive, but they’re hard work and remember sleeping is for wimps! Lol 😀 .

Having said all that I wouldn’t own another breed, we all have our favourites and a Border collie is mine.

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My mum, me behind the Smart phone camera, and our borrowed 7 month border collie for the day, Holly’s out of the frame and we’re sat in a local Pub garden. The landlady even brought a bowl of water over!

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‘Dog tired after today’s fun and games, and now it’s time for a little ‘nap’ on the sofa’.

A. Shepherdson 2019

Visit to CHARLES DICKENS museum

(As promised I’ve a literary historical photography post for you today, yes the Great man himself Charles Dickens.)

13th APR 2019 I day-tripped to London by bus, changed onto the Underground taking the train to visit the Home lived in by Dickens for two years of his life, years later in 1925 the home was purchased then transformed into a museum, and now a ‘time capsule‘ revealing how Victorian homes actually looked inside.

The front door of 49 Doughty Street, now entrance to the museum in Dickens time owned by solicitor Henry Pickards, is a magnificent terraced residential home only 5 minutes walk from Farringdon Tube Station, comprising three floors, a scullery kitchen basement, and also a ‘loft’ we tourists weren’t allowed to ‘peek’ inside.

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London Underground ticket APR 2019, also a walking tour map beginning at Dickens home and finishing at St. Pauls Cathedral taking in many notable landmarks along the way!

Read my ticket date above, “just sayin”. The map I’m also holding is printed from the internet, a free publication describing in detail ‘walking tour’ directions from Dickens Home all the way to St. Pauls Cathedral (a British jewel of historical architecture), incidentally showing a ‘route’ considerably longer than I’d first imagined!! 

Alas virtually all of Dickensian London has been lost to years of redevelopment, both progress also a consequence of rebuilding this great City after 4 years of Hitler carpet bombing homes, buildings and factories by his Luftwaffe……….. what was the point to this monstrous vandalism? You tell me, on second thoughts please don’t! The truly surprising no unbelievable fact is Christopher Wren’s St. Pauls cathedral survived intact, incredible!

(There is a reason why, long story.)

On first walking through the front door to number 48, I was under no illusion I would be staying no longer than 1 hour, Dickens little known Museum is strictly for quiet thoughtful souls who wish to experience the Victorian atmosphere knowing this great man shared meals with his wife and children, wrote tales at his desk in the drawing room, endlessly climbed three flights of stairs the entire day (two up one down) and yes made love to Catherine in the master bedroom……………….. well come on yes he did!

Below you see a map essential to making ‘head and tale’ of today’s post, look carefully and both a floor showing three levels including the basement, also the various rooms inside 48 Doughty Street London, incidentally I was charged a very reasonable £9 entrance fee. Enter through blue door number 49, then once inside walk through a door into number 48 their family home.

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48 & 49 Doughty Street, London

1 Entrance Hall

The busy household passed back and forth on errands and social visits. Dickens often made, sometimes nightly, walks through the City he called his ‘magic lantern’. His neighbours were professionals, architects, writer and artists. yet the law courts, workhouses and slums fuelled his writing were but a short walk away.

(Remember Dickens was both a social and prison reformer, his father had been earlier locked up in a debtors prison, and Dickens would himself demonstrate outside Newgate Prison situated a mile up the road, in fact he was instrumental in having prisoner hangings moved to behind prison walls to the public’s disappointment!) 

2 Dining Room

The location and grand architecture of the house was ideal for launching Dickens socially. This elegantly curved room played a key role. As a rising author enjoying his first flush of success, he entertained many leading figures here.

Pictured above, a dining table and bowl displaying any number of ‘plastic fruit’, Dickens bust hanging from a wall, and a lovely young lady tour guide wearing a very becoming ‘black and red’ check shirt! And yes I made a point of chatting to her 🙂 because I’m very friendly that way 😛 .

Remarking “you seem very tired” as she yawned 😮 , the young lady smiling answered “yes I am”, then standing one foot on the bottom staircase, hand resting upon the banister about to climb up, I turned grinning and said “this way to the bedrooms?” Well she actually laughed out loud finding my enquiring rather amusing (or because she was Dickens bored), all good flirty fun 🙂 don’t you think? You gotta at least try and make women laugh even if SHE IS thinking ‘jeeze he’s old enough to be my father!!’ 😀

3 Morning room

Catherine Dickens used this family room to arrange household matters, spend time with the children, welcome visitors and write letters. As a Dickens travelled often, much of their daily communication was in writing. Surviving letters show their happiness as a couple then.

Stepping into the second ground floor room I’m now standing in Dickens Morning room, as I said earlier I wasn’t under any illusions, there’d only be so much to actually see wandering around someone else’s home, but standing in his writing room is quite a magical experience, standing affront Charles’ writing desk reading a page written in his own hand, knowing he possibly quill penned tales of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist and Fagin, Pip and Miss Havisham possibly three of the greatest tales ever written, I truly sensed the standing on hallowed ground feeling or is that a little pretentious?

That desk sits affront a window probably because rays of natural sunlight are considerably brighter than the gas lights hanging from the morning room wall, I can attest to the rooms gloominess and the reason why my photos are slightly grainy……….. Tourists are banned from using a camera’s flash!

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To the right, Dickens accounts book IN HIS OWN HANDWRITING breaking down servants wages.

4 Kitchen

(Descend one flight of stairs into the kitchen.)

The servants prepared the family food here, managed by Catherine Dickens, the mistress of the house. Traders came in and out with supplies. Victorian Kitchens were often low lit, home to vermin, and filled with heat and smoke from the cook’s fire.

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I photographed a bowl of plastic fruit on the kitchen SIMPLY because I was so ‘frigging’ HUNGRY!!

Above 5 photos: The ‘cast iron’ cooking range, a dresser displaying china plates, looking upwards through a window onto Doughty Street, looking back through a doorway towards the Washhouse, and glass bottles standing on a shelf.

…….. and who knows what evil chemicals they contained in Victorian times? 

5 & 6 Scullery and Washhouse

The maid washed clothes and dishes here, and cleaned around the house on a demanding schedule. Dickens’s sympathetic portrayal of servants endeared him to domestic staff around the country.

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Washhouse, who knows this basin could have appeared in any number of Novels.

7 Wine cellar

Dickens wrote about both the pleasures and harmfulness of drink. At home, he kept a good cellar to lavish his guests.

8 Drawing room

As a child, Dickens improvised performances for friends and family. As an adult, he delighted in hosting amateur theatricals. In a later home, he had a rom made into what he called ‘The smallest Theatre in the World’. From the 1850s he would take his book readings to the public stage, becoming a celebrated solo performer.

9 Dickens’s study

Dickens had a strict routine, writing without distraction from breakfast to lunch. Then he might visit his Club, work on one of his charitable projects or take a long walk. He filled this room with a vast collection of books.

Below looking out upon the rear garden, and at current London property market prices helped by number 48’s provenance, I’d suggest this home is worth 2 digit £1,000,000s?

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Above two notable and extremely famous artist prints hanging from a wall, to the left Dickens a middle aged man seated in a chair. To the right the Ghost of Christmas PRESENT seated upon an enormous pile of presents, clutching a lantern of Christmas spirit in one hand, and lecturing Scrooge as to the error of his ways!

….………….then again he could reminding Scrooge that phantom number three, the grim reaper incarnate follows sooon!!

Staircase  (Between First floor & Second floor)

Below, photos pointing upwards to the master bedrooms & looking back into the Drawing room.

10 Mary Hogarth’s bedroom

Dickens experienced one of the most upsetting events of his life here, the death of Catherine’s’ sister Mary Hogarth. She was s 17 years old and apparently in good health. The shock devastated the family. Dickens struggled to accept the loss of someone he considered pure and good. The sentimentality of death scenes he later wrote is rooted in that traumatic even.

11 Master bedroom

While living here, Catherine Dickens gave birth to Mary and Katy. She would go on to have 10 children by 1852. Dickens separated from Catherine in1858. But when they lived here, they were largely contented and shared this bedroom.

Pictured below, and standing beside the Master bedroom four poster bed could be Catherine Dickens herself looking out the window onto Doughty Street. On the bed you see laid out garments of period clothing, whether the stockings belong to Charles or Catherine I have no idea………… but I can tell you two of their children were conceived here, yes Victorian sexual intercourse!!

(I’ve often mused ‘did Charles visit local side streets and sample the infamous Victorian ‘two penny knee trembler? Don’t be tooo shocked upstanding fine gentlemen visit brothels!)

Hmm pictures above remind me of that ghostly little book ‘A Christmas Carol’ once again, remember a frightened Scrooge sitting upon his four poster bed, the curtains drawn around to keep the three spirits at bay, no? Well why not go read this wonderful novel and see for yourself 🙂 .

Incidentally, I read ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Christmas Eve every single year.

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Pictured above, is yes a reflection of myself taking a photograph towards the dressing wardrobe mirror…………  alas my youthful head of hair is a ‘long ago’ distant memory! 

12 Dickens dressing room

Dickens washed, shaved and dressed here. In 1840 the historian Thomas Carlyle described Dickens as clothed fashionably rather than ‘well’. This ‘fine fellow, Boz’, he wrote loftily, has ‘clear blue intelligent eyes’ and a ‘face of the most extreme mobility’ topped with a ‘loose coil of common-coloured hair’.

13 & 14 Nursery and Servants’ bedroom

The attic was the domain of the children (Charles Junior, Mary and Katy) as well as the servants, away from the more public spaces of the house. 

I didn’t take any photographs of either the Dressing room, Nursery or Servants bedroom, there’s only so much culture you can ‘snap’ in one day.

I hope you enjoyed my mammoth post!

©A. Shepherdson 2019

 

 

Easter ‘Bluebells’ and our Pet Dog

Readers to this WordPress may be aware the walk from the housing estate I live upon, through to our Town centre is by means of a tree lined Lane which later divides a grassy Common. A lovely walk in all weathers, fun when there’s snow on the ground, glorious in springtime or sunny summers days, and I even love the driving icy rain on cold Winter mornings as I walk to work! 

Below you’ll see photos of wildBluebells’ growing alongside the Lane’s pathway, they looked beautiful bathed in this evening’s dimming low sun, so I ‘snapped’ a selection of photos below adding three of our family pet dog taken Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

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‘Bluebells’ growing in the wild

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Spring has finally arrived!

🙂 When the sun’s shining and the sky is blue I don’t think my £8 camera from eBay could take a poor photo, especially when I’m no great photographer.

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This house has been my home for twenty years now and yes I love it, incidentally I live in the English county of Oxfordshire if you are wondering (a farm half a mile away features in Downton Abbey), and in all those many years I can honestly say I only really appreciate this vivid yellow flowered tree several days a year.

Mind you I once had to ask my mother what its name is? And yes as one or two readers will recognise the yellow tree at the bottom of my Garden is a Forsythia 🙂 . So there you are, I was giving my lawn its first spring trim of the year and snapped a few photos for my WordPress. 

The question is have we dodged anymore snow until winter this year? I think so.

A. Shepherdson 2019

(a day trip to) Highgate Cemetery

I have a conundrum for you this evening!

Thursday I travelled to London by coach with the aim of visiting Highgate’s Victorian Cemetery and yes it lived up to my expectations. I had promised a photo blog much the same as I’ve written before after one of my daytrips, however, alas I have only 3 photos for you pictured below of the imposing Gothic gated entrance, the centrepiece 200+ year Circle of Lebanon Cedar tree and a view taken from the pathway.

So why so few photos? Well our Tour guide said camera photography was permitted, yet no one did perhaps for no other reason than taking pictures of the dead seemed disrespectful? A Cemetery after all is a peaceful quiet place of eternal rest anyways not to worry.

Which all means I’ll have to exercise my brain (with a twist) and write about the day instead.

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My photo of the imposing entrance. Imagine 150 years ago horse drawn carriages, their manes adorned with plumes of black feathers entering by these gates.

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Now I am really pleased with this photo of the ‘Circle of Lebanon’ damaged by sunstrike, AND yes I was looking toward a low spring time sun but I like the photo. Alas this dying Cedar tree’s days are numbered but I’ve given you a hint of sunken vaults in the foreground.

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My photograph surreptitiously taken from the winding snaking gravel pathways

I guess each person within our tour party would have loved to spend the afternoon roaming the cemetery’s many vaults, mausolea, statues, catacombs and other treasures, but alas our lovely ‘super efficient’ tour guide had a schedule to be kept to, wandering stragglers at the rear were given a sharp,

“Do keep up now!”

The lady sounding rather like a brusque, rather annoyed headmistress with her cut glass posh English accent…………. but there you are who can complain when her 70minutes tour blessed with many fascinating facts, dates and true tales was so interesting.

However!

Please remember if I’ve wetted your appetite for visiting and seeing for yourselves this wonder of Victorian London, please remember you CANNOT just turn up on the off chance because it’s not open to the public to wander in from the street! If you do you’ll be faced with my photo above with it’s large wrought iron gates locked tightly shut, but that does kinda add to the excitement, knowing that only a lucky few can visit each day. No you have to do some on-line preparation work before hand, and just imagine if this was open to the general public! Thousands of people walking traipsing wherever they wish, leaving coke cans and vandalising both the wildlife and structures with all peace and tranquillity disappeared.

Not to worry though, visit Highgate cemetery’s website and you can book a ticket for yourself and your partner (no under age8 children allowed), then pay £12.

Now through the wonders of Google here are several images below I’ve stolen borrowed from the net, look closely and you’ll see a photo of the centre piece cedar tree absent of sun-strike!

I quite took to our tour guide wearing her bright red shirt on a warm spring day, her tightly fitting slim blue jeans, a tall and slender lady no older than age60 and readers to this blog will know the older woman turns me on big time! Especially when she’s assertive bossy and domineering, but joking apart and being bluntly honest she was an extremely sexy specimen of aged womanhood, oh and with the hint of two gentle mounds of breasts beneath her scarlet shirt………….. that topped my day!

The lady’s most entertaining true tale, of which there were many, features the renowned Victorian anatomist and surgeon Henry Gray, similar to many of the interns beneath Highgate’s undergrowth he was a man famous of his day, and if you wish to know more then Wikipedia for other notable Victorians laying six feet under!

(Charles Dickens wife and children are buried here.)

Henry Gray’s headstone had only recently been discovered by a volunteer clearing from amongst the thousands of headstones, and ivy strewn undergrowth. Apparently as the story goes, during surgical operations he would try to cut as quickly as possible with his knife and saw because the patient was not under anaesthetic, though Gray did later discover ether would make the knifing procedure less painful. Again as the story goes, our lady guide told us Gray also holds the impressive record of most deaths in one single operation, because in his haste to amputate a man’s leg quickly, he cut three fingers off his assistant (who later died of infection), a member of the public watching (for as we were reminded this is where the term ‘operating theatre’ originates) dropped down dead, and of course the patient later died also succumbing to his injuries.

Three deaths during one operation, impressive no?

Of course the connection between infection and cleanliness of instruments hadn’t been discovered yet, much the same as Joseph Bazzalgette hadn’t yet discovered cholera was a water borne infection, the Victorians believing cholera was an airborne disease with horrific consequences, incidentally Bazzalgette invented London’s sewage system and yet another genius Victorian who shaped the modern world!

Incidentally Victorian high society was captivated by this new profession called surgery, but (apparently according to our gorgeous tour guide) surgeons were the superstar ‘must have dinner guests’ at parties of the time, but little did they know surgeons also paid unscrupulous London men to rob graves of their dear departed all in the name of practice and science, that’s until an act of Parliament allowed the dead from workhouses to be purchased and dissected. 

I guess the Anglican Church didn’t believe souls of the poor required saving?

The real irony of course is, Highgate was built a fortress with armed guards in order to keep grave robbers OUT which kinda amused me, and I wasn’t aware the vaults were fitted with bells because apparently Victorian Londoners biggest fear was waking alive after being presumed dead……….. now I can see the logic in that!

Hopefully I’ve given you a sense of how the Lady interwove different tales into one stream of consciousness, very clever and as she said sporting a rather wry grin, “Of course we did what every cash strapped charity would do! We contacted those wealthy Fellows Of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), to see if they would be interested in helping pay for Henry’s grave to be cleaned”, and again as we were reminded ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ is still purchased today by bright eyed medical students embarking on their career in medicine.

There is so much more I could write about such as foxes visiting after dusk, the catacombs are home to a rare breed of spider having found it’s home inside the damp burial vaults, bats hang from the ceilings above lead boxed coffins, still visible the wooden casket having  decomposed and rotted away, tales of how Londoners could walk from Canning Town through fields and meadows to marvel at this the poshest Cemetery in England, and for a Brit that’s an astounding vision because the journey today is walked through street lined buildings! And George Michael is buried behind it’s strong high walls I guess in an effort to keep it hidden from view or from becoming a public shrine, jeez just imagine if his final resting place was open to musician following pilgrims and their posters!! 

Yes a truly amazing Victorian splendour with heaps of history and atmosphere and THANKFULLY no stories of ghosts!

Finally why not book on-line and go visit for yourselves, however note you cannot spend an afternoon doing as you wish but does that matter anyway? Oh and if you’re lucky you to may have an attractive sexy Grandma for a tour guide. 

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The ‘Egyptian Avenue’ taken from a print of the day, I think we were colonising Egypt at the time!!

 

©A. Shepherdson 2019

 

 

Full Moon through MY telescope (18th Feb)

This is a post for lauraroettigerbooks.com also anyone else interested in seeing new photos of the moon taken by meee!

Some Readers may be aware I own a telescope! Well Christmas 2018, 22nd of December to be more exact, I shared photographs taken through the telescope eyepiece using my Fuji digital camera and I’d agree they weren’t particularly good.

Have you ever heard of the saying killing three birds with one stone?

Several days ago on the 18th of February we had another full moon and seeing as I have a new telescope lens, I was curious whether my Galaxy tablet camera would capture superior images AND Oxfordshire’s night time skies were crystal clear, I decided to have a second attempt at taking photographs of our moon, below you’ll see the best 15 from 133 taken and I’m really happy with them.

I could witter reminding you how I never tire of gazing at our moon, perhaps we all take for granted that up there in the sky circling our earth is a big grey rock we call the moon, I’ve always been incredibly awestruck and fascinated by this celestial marvel, so much so I purchased myself a telescope and you may well find me gazing at a full moon………… when our English weather permits!!

(The final photographs below is a map of the moon showing the Apollo landing sites………….. gaze into the Sea of Tranquillity knowing Apollo 11’s Lander sits on the surface!)

🙂 Lol if you’ve skipped directly to the ‘pics below’ remember they were taken by myself and please feel free if you wish to download.

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WEST side of the moon (the large white crater is Tycho)

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S.WEST side of the moon (the dark grey mass above Tycho is ‘The Sea Of Clouds’)

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SOUTH side of the moon

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NORTH side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon

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N. EAST side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon (the upper dark grey is the ‘Sea of Serenity Apollo 17 landing site’, below it is the ‘Sea of Tranquillity Apollo 11 landing site!’

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WEST side of the moon (the white crater half way up is ‘Copernicus?’, and above ‘The Sea Of Moisture’

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N.WEST side of the moon

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N. WEST side of the moon (do you see all the craters on the left edge of the moon)

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Full FACE of the moon (notice the sharp circle of the lens) (the small dark grey far right is ‘The Sea of Crisis’) 

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FULL face of the moon (again showing a sharp lens periphery)

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NORTH side of the moon

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EAST side of the moon (the lower dark grey is ‘The Sea of Nectar’

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WEST side of the moon (again do you see all the craters far left? The East side of the moon has larger craters than the West)

And now for a Google map of the moon!

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Apollo 11, Tranquillity Base image taken by the LRO

Shepherdson 18th February 2019

Upcycling! My Washing Machine firepit (BBQ?)

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I’m hoping this Googled image (above) gives you an idea of what a washing machine DRUM fire pit looks like, yes they can be used as BBQ’s 🙂 (garden incinerators?)

Below you see my very recent homemade video uploaded to my YouTube Channel…………. don’t get tooo excited I receive very few views on the site AND make no money) but hey making videos is much the same as WordPress……….. fun……… why not have a go?

(My apologies for whispering, Sunday morning and I didn’t want my neighbours to think I was going loopy talking to myself!!)

Upcycling – Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

So you are maybe aware of my ongoing washing machine saga no? Well to cut a short story even shorter, several weeks ago I had planned to share write a post with accompanying video on how to fix a broken washing machine blah blah blah lol, well it didn’t happen, I fixed the new part but the machine err never worked again!

Who knows what went wrong? Not to worry, my Bosch appliance was 19years old so I wasn’t about to pay £90 call out plus parts, and then it may never work again anyway?

So I decided instead to extract the stainless steel drum from within my washing machine and upcycle/transform into a wood burning fire pit, never heard of them? Well you’ll find tens of videos on YouTube, also they cost £25 on eBay so if you have a broken down machine why not make your very own for zero pounds/dollars……….. anyways my firepit project was a success…….. jeez extracting the drum was hardly rocket science and very easy to do!

Why not have a go yourselves, now you may be wondering how hard can this be? Well I’d guess the skill level is a medium, anyways why not read my following post where I’ll explain ‘how to’ and judge for yourselves, err when I’ve written it that is.

So to wrap up todays upcycling money saving post, my very own How to, Do it yourself, Step by step explanation will appear here sooon…….…..

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.

Read More »

Christmas Lights & busted by Security!!!

 

Listen to the audio at 2 mins 45 seconds, 😀 where I get busted by a very pleasant and friendly (Shopping Precinct) Security Guard!

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Do I have a story for you this evening, oh and this is my final photo Post of 2018!

Several hours ago I thought why not take a few photographs of my Town’s Christmas decorations and lights, so carrying my Samsung Galaxy Tablet with me, I took the short walk into Town making for to the Main Shopping Precinct. Then for the next 15 minutes I photographed the lights also a video up above, I must admit I could see I looked a little conspicuous holding the Tablet aloft walking down an empty Street at 9.30pm.

Oh yes the photos, you’ll see a 10ft diameter Tree decoration at one entrance, and a Christmas Tree with flashing lights at the Cinema entrance, well by coincidence at the same time as I’d finished filming a Security Guard, very pleasant he was to, strode up to me to ask what I was in fact doing?

He went on to say the Police had been watching ME on their CCTV then contacted the Guard to have a word in ‘my shell like’ ear……………… anyways not to worry he made me laugh, I guess overt Security is a sign of the sad times we live in. Happy Christmas 🙂

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A 10 feet diameter Christmas tree decoration…….. quite impressive actually

 

©A. Shepherdson 2018

I’ve been sightseeing in London again! (The Tower of London)

Strap yourselves in dear readers this is gonna be a long one but I have tried to go easy on historic detail such as ‘Kings and Queens’ names also dates! But not to worry you’ll discover lots of photos within this post and ALL taken by meee! Please feel free to copy any if you so wish 🙂 I’m a terrible one for ‘borrowing’ photos courtesy of Google imaging so fair’s fair.

The picture below might just give you a hint as to the ‘location’ I visited 20th October 2018……………. yes ‘The Tower of London!’ And I’ll tell you what, I haven’t half been lucky with the weather this year in fact all my daytrips/countryside walks were blessed with blue skies and bright warming sunlight.

Holy blank I’ve hit a story telling wall, the history surrounding The Tower of London is near impossible to write about especially when I’m little more than an informed tourist myself, William The Conqueror built the central White Tower 1000 years ago, Henry VIII lived here, he had his wife Anne Boleyn beheaded on Tower Green her body being later laid to rest in the Tower’s Church. Queen Elizabeth I (Henry’s daughter) had her arch enemy The Earl of Essex beheaded on Tower Hill, staunch Catholic Sir Thomas Moore lost his head because he refused to acknowledged Henry’s Protestantism as the one true faith. Then you move forward through the centuries and SS officer Rudolph Hess was held prisoner on Tower Green after being captured in Scotland fleeing from the Nazis. Reggie and Ronnie Kray the infamous London 60’s gangsters spent a night in the Tower at His Majesties pleasure having failed to turn up for National Service……… where an earth does one begin? Wild animals presented by Kings and Queens of Europe among them an Elephant and African Lion being housed at the Tower before being moved to London Zoo in Regent’s Park. Throughout WW1 the Tower Grounds were used to train Coldstream Guards with shooting practice in the now waterless moat. NOT forgetting the British Crown Jewels are kept for display inside the Jewel House! Oh and who could forget Guy Fawkes was imprisoned within these walls after his failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament! And had he succeeded Britain would have been in political turmoil………. hmm sounds familiar although we call it Brexit!

Perhaps I’d better stick to showing you the photographs I took on the day and let you visit wonderful Wikipedia and fill in the history detail!

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Wooden staircase taking tourists up into the central White Tower built 1000 years ago by William the Conqueror! (I’m gonna have to go easy on the exclamation marks within this post, however it’s not going to be easy because this truly is an awe inspiring London Palace.)

Below you see a panorama of three photos taken from Tower Hill which looks down upon the Tower of London and notice the waterless moat now with its carpet of green grass, incidentally Tower Hill Tube station is a five minute walk behind me!

I am a peculiar specimen of human manhood!! No don’t you shake your heads and disagree, I remember sitting on a bench overlooking Tower Green and feeling everso slightly paranoid, feelings of ‘will you believe the photos are my own’ and I know completely irrational but not to worry my ticket below reveals the date 20/10/2018, and yes that’s my packed lunch of brown bread ham sandwiches and succulent in season Conference pears 🙂 ………… incidentally I’d never really noticed before but a late October sun never really rises above horizon level.

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Photo taken 11.30am and for the whole day this bright sun’s rays never went much higher than straight into my eyes…………… such a strange late October phenonium.

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😮 I know £29.50!!

If you’ve never visited The Tower there is only one entrance pictured below, sorry I tell a lie there is a second at Traitors Gate which opens out onto the River Thames. For the past 1000 years this gatehouse has seen Kings, Queens and Tourists walk into what is now a world heritage sight, and quite possibly the most treasured building in Britain today, the 1000 year birthplace of my Country’s history. 

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How’s this for an iconic signpost? Showing directions to White Tower, Bloody Tower, Crown Jewels, Tower Executions oh and Raven’s shop

https___historicroyalpalaces.pictureparkThe magnificent Imperial State Crown, a googled image for alas tourists aren’t permitted to take photographs inside the Jewel House 😦 A shame but I guess security is paramount…….. anyways I stood looking for 5 minutes as the diamonds glisten back at me under the spotlights……… mesmerizing amazing pick any superlative adjectives and few will come close to explaining how I felt.

Below you see several pictures of the central White Tower, one of the oldest buildings in England and around which several encircling walls were built with their own cylindrically shaped Towers, each possessing their own particular history mystery and intrigue…… a truly iconic building that truly takes your breath away and I’d guess every tourist will get a tingle down the spine knowing they’re standing on the exact spot Queen Elizabeth I walked or Anne Boleyn lost her head!!

I’m afraid I bottled out at taking a photograph of my Beefeater Guide pictured below, I doubt he would have minded but you never know?

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My tour guide for the day was a Yeoman Warder who’s name escapes me, his uniform costs £1500 to make and he like every other Beefeater before him achieved the rank of Warrant Officer in the British Army before applying for a job at the Tower……….. our group listened and followed him around as he regaled tails of beheading traitors and telling us Anne Boleyn was actually beheaded on the lawn to his rear……….. the story goes the Frenchman was so swift with his swing at Anne’s head that when lifted from the basket and held aloft her eyes and lips still moved for 15 seconds after the blow.

Above left you see the Jewel House, look closely and you’ll see a queue of tourists waiting patiently to see the Imperial Crown with South African diamonds………. alas I wasn’t permitted to take photographs but all I can say we filed past near opened mouthed at the sight of thousands of diamonds and the largest rubies emeralds and sapphires I’ve ever seen.

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These wooden framed building facing Tower Green are the oldest standing Tudor buildings in London, the rest burnt down in the great fire of London 1666. Incidentally these houses are where the Yeoman Warders and their families live…………… wow what a place to call your home, just imagine sitting on the veranda looking out upon Tower Green when all the tourists have gone home!

Below left you see a memorial to Anne Boleyn (I guess the glass cushion represents the one her chopped off head fell onto? On reflection a rather pointless structure which does look out of place (my Beefeater Guide’s words) but there you are, and pictured to the right behind the rather curious looking tree you see the entrance to a Prison Tower.

Would I be correct in saying the soldier below is another instantly recognisable symbol of London? The Tower exists as a Royal Palace still to this day, hence fifteen British army soldiers stand guard inside The Tower grounds, the Regiments change throughout a year sometimes from the RAF, Royal Navy and British Gurkha Rifles but the Saturday I visited the Grenadier Guards were on duty……….. although still a Royal Palace I’m afraid our Royal Family no longer reside here.

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A Queen’s soldier from the Regiment of The Grenadier Guards looking smart in his red tunic and black bearskin hat.

To be continued……………. (lol I’m a little exhausted so how did I do?)

A. Shepherdson 2018

 

 

 

 

Crafting – A response post

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Wouldn’t you agree ‘imagination’ is the mother of all inventions? Me aged @10yrs beside a go-cart I’d constructed from old pieces of wood, stolen buggy (stroller) wheels and my parents old kitchen lino floor for a roof! I’d even painted it racing blue and added a bike wing mirror.

Oh and the hair is but a distant memory (sigh) 😀 , back in the 1970s I was always making things from old scraps of wood so was I taught to be creative or inherited the skills through my genes?…………… Happy days! 😀 And back in the days of my youth pram wheels were childhood currency, if you had them some kid would always buy or exchange for a swap……….. I’m wondering :/ do children play like this in 2018 or am I looking at my past through rose coloured spectacles?

Anyways chatting about ‘meee’ isn’t necessarily the point to this post.

My mother is a perfectionist she can turn her hand to almost anything, as a small child I remember her sitting at the dining room table, cutting out material for dresses, shortening curtains by sewing machine and taking the hem up on my Jeans because she could never buy…………….. LOL long story!!! Most evenings leading up to Christmas she’d be baking mince pies, cooking a fruit cake, icing when cool with brilliant white sugar solution then leaving on the dining room bureau to dry. My mother used to make everything and anything before arthritis took hold of her hands (they’re not so bad which is a blessing but sewing is a hobby of the past), and only just recently she helped me assemble a bathroom cabinet holding it up while I drilled screwed and attached to the wall……….. yep a lovely family anecdote to put down in writing.

Ah where was I? Oh yes crafting a response post to a lady blogger I follow, about the age of nine and for some unknown long forgotten reason I had to make from scratch a small ‘sitting stool’ from oddments of timber. You know the scenario, this crafting project was a task to be completed earning me a badge from my Cub Scout leader, successful and mum would later sew onto my arm. The point to my tale is I guess mum could have left me to my own devices, and yes I could would have presented a half decent chair to my Cub Scout leader, earned the badge because well I was good with my hands and now I’m a time served engineer by trade.

Anyways rather than leaving me to work on my own, mum helped with the measuring cutting drilling screwing together before trusting me with a tin of brilliant white gloss paint!…………… And measuring each small piece of timber is the key to my tale, the dimensions had to be marked with a pencil then cut to a line, left to myself I’d have used rule of thumb and yes as I remember the ‘sitting stool’ EXACTLY resembled the picture on the plans……… even if I say it myself the stool looked pretty darn spectacular with its shiny paint drying under bright sunlight.

As an aside after the presentation ceremony, unbelievably one rather catty bitchy mouthed mother had the nerve to criticise mum saying,

“I don’t agree with parents doing the children’s work for them!” (Mum let it pass!)

Ffs I physically made it! Mum just instructed me how to use tools properly and to this day I still live and work by the mantra measure twice and cut once, and yes still to this day there are occasions when in a rush to get tasks done the initial first measurement turns out to be wrong…………. don’t you think that bitchy mother was out of order? I guess some parents compete against other parents through their offspring and it gets outer hand, anyways very childish behaviour but there you.

So what’s the point to my tale? We all have childhood memories experiences which only when many years later as adults ourselves do we realise shaped our lives, to this day I can close my eyes and picture us two knelt on the concrete front drive with tools and oddments of wood scattered around about us, I guess some would use the word bonding though I’m not so sure? To me our labours were more an exercise in how things should be done correctly, and yes on reflection the anecdote is a happy childhood memory which perhaps I’ll appreciate even more in years to come……… sadly.

I’m employed as an engineer so perhaps her early construction lessons rubbed off?

The amusing part to this tale is knowing my mother as a person I’d guess she was herself competed against other parents, however note she was very careful NOT to make the ‘sitting stool’ for me (btw I’ve asked mum and she cannot remember what happened to it), yes a competitive parent but cheating to win an award wasn’t and isn’t her style!

So my message to the blogger I’m responding to, don’t worry about the mess, the child is crafting and baking but life skills are being learnt, I’d guess treasured memories are being locked away for future reference and at least the child isn’t staring at a screen zombie like watching TV.

A. Shepherdson 2018

Walking in the Windrush Valley, pt2

Several days ago I posted photos of myself and Holly the ‘cross collie’ (our family’s pet dog), both out walking together in the Windrush Valley, the title is ‘see if you can spot the collie dog ‘ and if you click the link you’ll see my photos and incidentally a post I’m very pleased with. 

Now that you’ve hopefully returned, I also filmed a brief mp4 of the two of us and uploaded onto my (rarely viewed) YouTube Channel which I’ll share below. Oh and apologies if you thought I sounded worse for drink…………… I’m not! I narrate like this when I’m concentrating 🙂 .

A. Shepherdson 2018

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.)

 

Photo blog #4

Photo blog 16/09/2018

The title Blog #4 will hopefully tell you this post is part of a ‘family/relationship/caring for’ blog series.

My parents own a collie cross who as many of you pet owner’s will agree, has become an integral and important loving member of the family, good company for them both she needs exercising and enjoys reminding no begging/pestering us to take her out for walks, owning a dog is a great form of exercise and companionship however isn’t for everyone? Anyways this afternoon I walked the dog around our lake and Town’s nature reserve and took quite a few autumn scene photographs………… I hope you enjoy.

We are lucky and as I’ve hinted at before the majority of Town’s right across the UK have their own small wildlife sanctuaries with woods and lakes, ideal for dog walkers or family’s with pushchairs and maybe joggers…………. saw a lovely ‘bouncy’ lady in tight leggings and green licra today, the sight of pretty ladies always brightens the day especially if she smiles at you 🙂 !

I would like to add a word of caution to owning pets, yes they can be a focal point and comfort but please don’t go getting one on my say so, everyone’s home circumstances are different both ability to care for and give exercise to, plus the cost of food vet bills etc but 🙂 then you all know that.

Unfortunately in the UK our seasons are most definitely changing, the air temperature has dropped by half from a balmy 30 degrees and leaves on the trees are turning rustic browns and golds, oh and as you’ll see horse chestnut fruit is falling to the ground ready for children to collect and play the English game of ‘conkers’.

Hm when I retire one day I’ll buy myself a Border Collie pup

©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!

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©

Yours truly! March 2018

All photographs taken by meee (except the first!), A. Shepherdson 🙂

The ‘Beast from the East’ is set to visit our shores once again! For goodness sake I’ve had enough of this Siberian ‘snow beast’ for one Winter, we Brits love talking about atrocious weather conditions yet we’re never prepared when it arrives? No word of a lie once snow begins to settle on the roads my beloved country soon grinds to a frigging halt, transport stops, schools close and worst of all selfish people clear the grocery shelves of all bread and milk! Absolutely crazy behaviour and just so as you know, the sight of panic buying makes my blood boil, it’s so pointless and needless! 😀 Rant over.

Three occasions this winter Russia’s frozen Beast has dumped snow over the UK, 3 times the local buses have stopped running and my central heating’s been on permanently, I shudder to imagine what my next gas bill’s gonna cost me? :/

(Btw I’ve more 2018 snow blog photos to share! Yes?)

Don’t get me wrong living in snowy Oxford can be fun and a novelty, for youngsters, but commuting to work’s been a frigging nightmare this year, so that’s enough fun and novelty for 2018 thank you very much 🙂

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Our snow drifted Bins, exciting photo hey? Not!

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Dusk and snow is beginning to settle

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The following day, noticed I’ve just cleared my mother’s path for her!

🙂 I hope those in sunnier warmer countries enjoyed these pics.

A. Shepherdson.