Category Archives: Editorial

Today in the Dales

We’re basking in a Yorkshire summer: a mixture of thunderstorms, heavy rain and the occasional sunny spell to keep the spirits up. Today we had a trip to the Ribblehead viaduct, on the Settle to Carlisle railway. The viaduct was built between 1870 and 1875 and it’s a testimony to the people that designed and built it. My pictures don’t do justice to how graceful and well built it is. I can only admire the skill and labour of the people that put it there. 

Here are a few of the photographs I took today. 

Here’s a picture of the whole viaduct. The piers are of stone and the arches are brick, built with a stone face. The whole viaduct flows in a graceful curve. It looks effortless, but designing and building it must have been challenging. What really strikes me is that it’s a marvel of Victorian engineering and industrialisation, yet it fits perfectly into the landscape. 

Here’s one of the regular passenger services that runs on the Settle to Carlisle line. In 1983, British Rail threatened to close the line, claiming it was uneconomical, and in danger of collapse. A group was formed to successfully fight the closure. The line now runs several passenger trains a day, regular freight runs and steam hauled trains. The viaduct is a Grade 2 listed building and the ground below it is a scheduled ancient monument because of its prehistoric field system. It was a cloudy day, and if you look closely you can see a full hazy sun in the background. 

I couldn’t resist this picture of one of the local residents. She stood in front of us and posed for several minutes. 

Yorkshire Dales Special

Hi everyone. After a few year’s absence from the field (no more bad puns I promise), we’re back out camping. It’s been a while, so we’re practising by having a few days away in the Dales.  We arrived on Tuesday night in beautiful weather, but today’s heavy rain is good evidence why this part of Yorkshire is so green. Anyhow we weathered the worst if it (OK, so I lied about the puns. Get over it), and we’re having a relaxing time. Here’s a few photos from Tuesday and Wednesday. 

First here’s two Yorkshire sheep giving us a typical Dales welcome.

Here’s our little encampment. In the distance there are some posh people in caravans. 

From today, here’s a picture of Settle railway station. Sadly there were no steam trains. 

Tomorrow we’re off to Malham. Anyone who suffered geography lessons at Glossop School in the 1970’s will have this place seared into their memories. For the rest of you, I’ll post some lively scenic pictures tomorow. 

Finally, here’s a ‘sunset from the rig’ picture from my mate John. The huge expanse of sky and sea make it look like the loneliest place in the world. 

Goodbye Sally

It’s been a strange sort of week, and for one I won’t be sorry to say goodbye to it. 

I’m very sorry to say that we had to say goodbye to our lovely dog, Sally, this week. Unfortunately her poor legs finally gave out and the kindest thing was to let her slip away. 

She was a cracking dog, and leaves a massive void in our lives. We were so lucky to share our lives with her – she enriched them so much. 

Sometime soon I’ll post a gallery of our favourite pictures, but for the time being here’s one of my recent favourites. 

Next week we’re off for a short camping trip to the Yorkshire Dales. I’ll post a ‘picture if the day’ while we’re there. 

Cheers everyone and goodbye Sally: we loved you very much. 


Out and About

I’ve been out and about this week in what passes for summer, taking a few photographs of interesting sights. I might moan about the weather (raining one day, hot enough to give me sunburn the next), but it’s great to have the long days to wander around in.

Despite the weight of a heavy camera and all the trappings, I enjoy taking photographs of pretty much everything I see. I’m a fairly indiscriminate taker of photographs, but it does have its advantages. For one it makes me concentrate on what’s going on around me, rather than just wandering around in a daze. I’m an expert at losing myself in my thoughts, but if I’m on the lookout for pictures, I’m forced to be more alert.

Actually I had rather a proud moment at Malton Show this weekend. I was there with Ryedale Dog Rescue, helping to run the dog show and take photographs of the contestants. I was busy photographing the dogs on the agility course and another photographer came and stood next to me. You could tell he was a proper photographer because, not only did he have a  decent camera, he didn’t push his way in front of me to get a better view. Real photographers tend to be more considerate of each other.

Anyway, we exchanged nods and then got on with the task of trying to photograph dogs in mid-air as they went over the jumps. As we were waiting between contestants he turned to me and said:

‘Who are you snapping for?’

‘I’m just with the dog rescue’, I replied ‘taking a few photographs for their website’.

‘Oh, right’, he said ‘I’m here for the Malton and Pickering Mercury’.

Vain soul that I am I felt quite proud that I’d been mistaken for a professional photographer. It’s probably because I had a large camera with me: it’s a good job he didn’t see the results.

In retrospect it’s a bit like the comments on my first year school report from secondary school. My mother always made sure I had the right PE kit for school, and I was always well turned out. Shame I was crap at sport, and my teacher was spot on in his comments. He wrote:

‘David is always correctly dressed for his PE lessons. It’s a shame his prowess doesn’t match his sartorial elegance’.

Anyway, pro or not, I’ve enjoyed myself with the camera this week. Here’s a gallery of my favourites.

Three Dikes

The three parallel earthworks in the picture are known imaginatively as Three Dikes. They are on a hillside overlooking Langton in North Yorkshire


My son and his friends having fun on Jamie’s new boat. Shortly after I took this picture the engine died and they had to float the rest of the way home.

Flying Dog

This spaniel’s clearly having fun on the dog agility course at Malton show. It cleared this by miles! I think the ears help.

Low Flying Dog

“OK, so some of us aren’t that good at agility. Why are you making me do this?’


One of the rabbits from Orchard Fields in Malton having a late evening snack. It wasn’t too bothered about me getting up close for this picture.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoy being out and about taking them. To be honest the photo essays are my favourite part of writing this blog.  So, for the rest of the summer, I’m going to concentrate on getting out and about and publishing my favourite photographs. Instead of two posts every week, an editorial on Wednesday, and a main article on Friday, I’m going down to one a week, with the focus on photography.

I’d like your opinion too. Since I started this blog I’ve written a mixture of book reviews, short stories, photo-essays and family history. What are your favourites? I’m thinking of tweaking the blog in the autumn and I’d like to know what you like to read the most.

Have a good week and look for more ‘out and about’ photos next week.



Writing to the Moment

I’ve received a lot of feedback about my daily posts when we were in Italy: most of you enjoyed them, and they were fun to write.

It just shows that it’s good to try something different from time to time. Normally most of my blog posts are planned and written in advance. It’s probably the safest way of making sure I’ve something to publish each week, but it lacks the spontaneity of daily posts. There’s a greater sense of immediacy about them: what eighteenth century author Samuel Richardson termed ‘writing to the moment’. It’s not quite the same, as being there, but I hope you felt almost as if you were on holiday with us.

Having done it once, daily posts are something that I’ll try again. We’re off to Rhodes in September, and that seems the perfect opportunity.

For the moment though, I’m going to move back to twice weekly posts. This week I’ll be publishing a review of John Wyndham’s classic sci-fi novel The Midwich Cuckoos. That will appear this Friday, 30th June.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to focus on researching our family history, as I’ve slipped back on this a little. What I really need to do is sit at my desk and work through the research. The trouble is that, although there are times when this is genuinely exciting, a lot of the time family research is a time consuming and methodical slog through thousands of documents. It’s got to be done though: it’s too easy to miss one small detail that can totally derail your efforts.

I think family research makes a better winter activity than a summer one. There are two many other distractions at this time of year. But I’m not going to give up: I’ll just have to try and cultivate some more self discipline.

So it’s back to the desk for me. In the meantime, have a good week.



Italy, day fourteen: 21/06/17

We’re back at home in not so sunny North Yorkshire, after two magnificent weeks in Florence and Bologna. We’ve got some magnificent memories and over 1000 pictures to remember our trip by. 

Today’s photo will be the last of my daily postings: next week we’re back to normal, but I’ll write some extended articles about Italy later in the year. 

One of the features of Bologna that’s really noticeable are the miles of arched colonades that provide covered walkways all round the city. The biggest of them all, the longest colonaded walkway in the world, stretches almost four kilometres from the city centre to the hilltop shrine of St Luca. Today’s picture is a stretch of that walkway. 

Italy, day thirteen: 20/06/17

I always try to bring you high culture in this blog, so todays picture is of the Anatomical theatre of the Archiginnasio. 

Bologna is apparently the oldest university in Europe and, during the   Renaissance the Archiginnasio housed most of the university faculties. 

This beautiful lecture theatre is where medical lectures took place, including dissections. 

It might seem gory now, but places like this helped build the foundations of modern medical knowledge.