Monday, 21 November 2011

Music To Your Ears?

This is the wind turbine at Ringmer, East Sussex, built to supply power to the Glyndebourne Opera House. It's brand new, having been delivered only five or six weeks ago. As you can imagine, it's caused considerable controversy with the planning application and subsequent public enquiry rumbling on for years. Apparently, it's the first industrial scale turbine ever to be built in a National Park. The above picture was taken from three or four miles away, and from this distance it has a strange ghostly appearance. It was also taken with a zoom lens, so this one gives a better idea of the scale:

The turbine is built on a hill overlooking the village of Ringmer (three miles from Lewes), and the next picture is taken from the village.

I'd be the first to admit that it's not as lovely close up. But to my eyes at least, it's better looking than the pylon in the picture! 

And this one's from the site itself. It's 67metres from the base to the tip of the sails; if you can just make out the man in the dark jacket standing near the base, you get some idea of how huge it is! Glyndebourne claim that it will supply 90% of their electricity needs, and they promise to regularly publish the details on their website. It's not actually sited particularly close to the opera house, although presumably they own the land that it's on.

If I lived in Ringmer, I honestly think I could ignore it. I think it actually adds something, although that's more obvious from a couple of miles away. Some people say it will be very noisy, and that would be the only issue for me if I lived there. The sails were rotating slowly when I took these pictures (yesterday), and there wasn't a sound from it, but I have no idea if it's even working yet.

If you'd like to know more:

I'd love to know what you think......

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #179

I took this last weekend at Sheffield Park, East Sussex. I just liked the way the dark shadow added to the autumn colours. Hope you like it.....

This is a Shadow Shot Sunday post.

Sepia Saturday 97.

This week's Sepia Saturday call features a group of children outside a school in Connemara, Ireland taken in 1890. I've something similar to share with you, so here it is:

There's only one problem. I'm not sure who they are! As it was in my parents collection, I'm assuming that there's some connection with the family. If you look at the middle of the picture, there's a girl with a black mark across her forehead.

I reckon that's my maternal grandmother, but I need some help with identification. So what do you think; is this the same girl?

Second from the right here.
 Still not sure? Try this one.

And on the left here....

If this is my grandmother, then the first picture would have been taken in Ireland as well. If she's six or seven in this photo, then it dates from around 1910.

She had a hard life, certainly to start off with. To the best of my knowledge she had three sisters and a brother, although I've been told that there were ten others, all of whom died in infancy. I know almost nothing about her early life, but the three surviving girls ended up living in Wales around the time my grandmother would have been in her teens. They were shipped off to Wales because of 'the troubles' in Ireland at that time, although I think it's unlikely they had any direct involvement. Their parents stayed in Ireland, the eldest sister (my Great Aunt Biddy) being given the role of mother. I've mentioned Auntie Biddy in a previous post, and to say she was a strong character would be an understatement! Perhaps she had to be; it can't have been easy for any of them.

As far as I know, my grandmother worked as a nurse.

I don't know if she was formerly trained, or whether she worked as an auxiliary. She married a Yorkshireman, but I've no idea how they met. I don't think it was a particularly happy marriage; although I was only seven when my grandfather died, that's certainly the impression I got, even as a young child.

I'd love to know more about her and her parents, but there's nobody left to ask. The Irish side of the family all do that thing where a child is christened with one name, and then spends the rest of it's life answering to another! My grandmother's name was officially Anne, but confusingly she was known to everybody as Nancy or Nance for short! So researching that side would be difficult, but I suspect it's the only way I will ever get to know anything.

And this is how I remember her.

And yes, that is me; laugh all you like, I was only four! 

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

I Know What I Like......

I've been a bit quiet for a while. Amongst other things, we've been away spending a week in Guernsey, since you ask. We spent a day at Sausmarez Manor, and we both expected the usual deal with stately homes; a trip around the old house, a tour of the garden and a cup of tea. Lovely - nothing wrong with that!

What we actually got was something a little different. For a start, there was free entry to the garden around the house (difficult to imagine that happening in England), and the house seemed to be off limits unless you were on a guided tour. So we headed for the tropical garden, and found that it was an Artpark. This particular one was a permanent sculpture exhibition, with the exhibits changing once a year or as they were sold.

So we'll start with a picture of the house:

You wouldn't believe how long I waited for that bloke in the doorway to move...... 

 And they have this on their front lawn:

I thought the rust added to the effect, but what do I know? 
 They have an interesting use for old horseshoes and random scrap metal:

Photo courtesy of Mizzkay.
Once inside the tropical garden, then the sculptures came thick and fast:

This reminded me of an Aztec pyramid. Whether that's the intention or not is another matter....
This one's a mermaid. You can sort of see the attraction.....
Again, thanks to Mizzkay for this one.
I just liked the view. And I thought the red things added to it.

Just about all the exhibits were for sale. This next one's called 'Elektra' and she can be yours for a cool £67,000! 

Thanks to Mizzkay again. I thought I'd taken a picture of this, but I must have been distracted. Can't imagine why.......
I liked this a lot. Not sure why....

I thought this looked like a piece of cheese with a bit cut out! Very tactile.
As you can see, this one's a water feature. I took a picture of this, but Mizzkay's was better. So I nicked it.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a real frog look quite this cross!
Mizzkay again. She likes chickens. Note the spider's web!
Another water feature. I loved the look on his face......
A bit twee for me, but at least it would fit in my garden....
The next two were right outside the tea shop. Oh yes, I got my cup of tea (and piece of cake)!

It's a horse. I know it's difficult to see, but it's head is nearest the camera.
Again, the look on his face did it for me. He's dangling a caterpillar between his fingers.
All in all, we had a great day. I know nothing about sculpture, but there was something about seeing these outside in such an unexpected environment. I've only scratched the surface, if you want to see more then click here. Oh, and thanks to Mizzkay for some of the pictures. 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #177

A sculpture entitled 'Tuusum' by artist David Begbie, as exhibited in the Artpark at Sausmarez Manor, St Martin's, Guernsey. I loved the way the shadows just fell across the figures. It's made of copper mesh, and looks different depending on the angle it's viewed from. Fantastic!

Oh, and it can be yours for only £15,400. Cheap at half the price! 

This is a Shadow Shot Sunday post.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sepia Saturday 90

This week's Sepia Saturday call shows a very young Beatriz of Spain (1909-2002), daughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. Now surprisingly, I don't count European royalty amongst my family! Nor any Spaniards, come to think of it. So I'm going to use Alan's suggested theme of little girls, and write about this picture.

I'm almost certain that the little boy in this picture is my maternal grandfather. The photograph was taken in Batley, Yorkshire and that fits with what I know about him. If you assume him to be seven or eight in this picture, then it would have been taken in 1910/11. He also had a younger sister, but more about her later. If anyone out there has any ideas about the date of this picture, I would be very interested to hear your opinion.

My grandfather was born into a fairly prosperous family. His father and uncle were partners in a firm of insurance brokers; a business founded at the end of the nineteenth century by their father (my great-great grandfather). From what I know of it, it seems to have been a successful business; my great grandfather and his father before him, were prominent Masons and generally pillars of the local community. Unfortunately for him, this was not what the future held for the little boy in this picture.......

Dear reader, my grandfather was the black sheep of the family! At least, according to his daughter (my mother). I've no idea what he did to deserve that reputation; if Mum ever told me, then I wasn't paying attention at the time! As far as I'm aware, he spent most of his working life as a farm worker, presumably doing a variety of jobs; most of which would have come with the use of a tied cottage. He changed jobs frequently, and they moved around the country as his job(s) required. I wrote a little bit more about him here. 

This one was taken a little earlier, and shows the same children presumably with their parents and a grandmother. The man standing at the back is my great grandfather, and he was the owner (with his brother), of the insurance brokers I mentioned earlier. He was also an amateur artist, and I have two of his pictures that have been handed down to me. I know very little about him, and unfortunately I know nothing at all about either of the women in the picture. My great grandfather died in 1941, aged 64; his brother (my great-great uncle), continued to run the business until it was sold sometime in the early fifties. I do have a faint memory of him (he retired to the area I was born in), but he died around the time of my fourth birthday.

Funnily enough, a couple of days ago, I met a lady who remembers my grandparents, and who knew my mother as a teenager/young woman. She remembers my mum enjoying the dances at the local village hall, and she reminded me that Mum used to play tennis. I asked her if she remembered my grandfather, but apart from telling me that he worked on the local farm, she remembered little about him. I got the distinct impression that she didn't care much for him; a strange expression passed across her face when I mentioned his name. Of course, it may have been my imagination.....

I wish I remembered more about my grandfather; he died when I was seven years old. I have two younger brothers, and they have no memory of him at all, so perhaps I should be grateful! He would have been 64, exactly the same age as his father before him.

Since this post was inspired by Alan's picture of a little girl, perhaps I should finish by telling you what I know of the little girl in the pictures. She would have been my great aunt, but I don't even know her name! I just know that she married a solicitor, and that after my grandfather's death she wrote to my grandmother saying that she no longer wanted anything more to do with either her or my mother.

Families eh? Don't you just love 'em......... 

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #171

This week's selection for Shadow Shot Sunday shows the shadows cast by the Ouse Valley viaduct near Balcombe, East Sussex. The sun was going in as I took this, so I had to be quick!
And here's the 'proper' view........

This is a Shadow Shot Sunday post.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday #170

This was taken at Sovereign Harbour, a couple of miles down the road from us. You can see the strong shadow cast by the railings, and if you click on the picture you will see the balconies on the flats cast a shadow as well.

Ahoy me hearties!!!!

This is a Shadow Shot Sunday post.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Sepia Saturday 88

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt features a large and impressive tree. So, being a creature of little imagination, I'm going to write about trees!

This is my father; with his parents, at Sheffield Park, East Sussex. This is a National Trust property, with large informal gardens originally designed by 'Capability' Brown. It's also, confusingly, nowhere near Sheffield! I would guess my father to be about eighteen at the time, so this photo is from the mid fifties. I have no idea who the photographer was; my aunt was married by this time, so if she was there then my uncle probably would have been too, and you'd think one of them would have been in the picture. The slightly blurred faces gave me a small clue however; although this was taken several years before they were married, I think there's every chance it was my mother. I've lost count of the family photos I've seen where the heads have been chopped off, or the subject is slightly blurred! Even a finger over the lens if she was having a really good day!

As you can see from the background, Sheffield Park has a lot of trees. Fifty-five years later in September 2009, my wife and I went for a trip to the same place. At the time, I had never seen the above photo, and had no idea that my dad had ever been there. Funnily enough, he was supposed to come with us; unfortunately we had to cancel on the arranged day due to bad weather, and he was busy elsewhere when we did go.

If you look at the top of the next picture, you can see a couple on the bridge that my dad and grandparents stood on all those years before. I've no idea who they are, but it was the bridge that gave the game away!

The rest of this post is going to descend into gratuitous pictures of trees, I'm afraid. And all in colour as well; I'll be getting a telling off if I'm not careful! As I had no camera in those days (I'm a late convert to digital photography), I have to thank Mizzkay (my wife), for the pictures. I reckon she did a pretty good job......

This is taken from the same bridge......

And this is a view across one of the lakes, towards the house. Note the gardener clearing out the lake on the right of the picture.

A closer view of the house. They have been converted into flats; imagine buying curtains for the old chapel window at the end!

I just like the colours in this one; if you visit in the autumn this is what you can expect...

And finally, more trees!

I hope you enjoyed this; if you're ever in this area go and visit, you won't be disappointed. We certainly weren't, and I don't imagine my grandparents were fifty-five years before.

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Another Day at the Office.....

When the weather's good (and if I remember), I occasionally take my camera to work with me. I'm a recent convert to digital photography, having bought a Nikon P90 about a year ago. I don't pretend to have any talent as a photographer, but I've worked out that if I push the button enough, then I get lucky now and then!

I took these last week, and as luck would have it they're all from the area I grew up in......

This is looking south towards Newhaven, East Sussex. You can see the sea (to the right of the picture), and the cliff is Seaford Head. Oh, and almost slap bang in the centre is the new waste incinerator!

Perhaps you'd like a better look.......

There's no denying this is a striking building. The residents of Newhaven have other words for it, as you can imagine. For a lot of people, this has become their view. If you look to the left of the incinerator, just above the industrial units, you can see there are a lot of houses quite close by. And it's not even working yet; imagine smoke billowing from those chimneys! Now nobody would pretend that Newhaven is the prettiest town in the world, but it's on the edge of a very beautiful area.

Without moving my feet from where I took the first picture, this is the view to the east, looking across farmland to Firle Beacon.

Nice innit? Just imagine this with smoke drifting up the valley!

And the view to the north.......

This is Lewes, historic county town of East Sussex. You can see the castle in the centre of the picture. This is a very desirable (expensive) place to live; let's hope they don't feel the effects of the smoke! The waste company say that they won't, but then they would, wouldn't they?

And the view to the west, looking towards Falmer.......

It's hard to get away from the fact that the residents of Newhaven have been dumped on, big time. The incinerator is to be used for waste from all parts of East Sussex, so there will be several lorries a day winding their way down these little roads. And just to add insult to injury, the local water company are building a new sewage treatment works at Peacehaven, just two or three miles along the coast. Not that it's for the benefit of the local residents; oh no, apparently it's to service Brighton's waste!

And as for the positioning of Brighton and Hove Albion's new football stadium; just don't get me started!

Oh, and if you're coming to work with me again, I'd appreciate it if you didn't nick all my sandwiches next time.......

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sepia Saturday 87

This week's Sepia Saturday prompt featured a young Danish couple from the 1940's or early 50's. The suggested theme was romance, and because I'm too idle to think of anything better, I offer this.........

These are my parents, and this picture was taken on their engagement. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the date, I can only guess that it's from late 1955 or '56. This was taken outside my mum's home at the time; a tied cottage that went with my grandfather's job. Funnily enough, I was there only yesterday!

They were chalk and cheese in many ways. My mother was of Irish descent, an outgoing, sociable person and although you cannot see from the photo, she was a redhead with a temper to match! My father couldn't have been more different, a thoughtful, even tempered man, who kept himself to himself, and had no real desire to mix socially outside the family.

And this is their wedding day..........

They were married at St Pancras Church, Lewes, East Sussex on the 6th July 1957. Looking at this, I'm immediately struck by how young they look. My father would have been six weeks short of his twenty-third birthday, and my mother was six months older than him. It's a little odd seeing your parents at that age; you always see them as being much older than you! My father had already seen a little bit of life; by this time he'd done two years National Service, mostly spent in Germany. My mother had moved a lot up to this time; she once told me that she'd moved eighteen times by the time she was twenty-one! I expect she was more than ready to settle down!

This picture marks their silver wedding anniversary. Apart from them, this picture includes their three children (I'm at the back, behind my dad), and my grandparents. That is, my father's father and my mother's mother! My grandad is the same one that used to dress up as a cowboy! Oh, and you may have noticed the obligatory dog, in this case a German Shepherd called Sable. She was always my mum's favourite, and it would never have occurred to her to leave Sable out of the picture.

Unfortunately, they didn't quite make their golden wedding; my mum passed away in January 2005, and my dad was never quite the same without her.

I don't expect this is everyone's idea of romance (he wasn't Richard Burton, and she wasn't Elizabeth Taylor), but it was enough for them. And that's pretty much all anybody can ask. 

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

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