Hot Heat and Fire.

Returning from the New Forest spotted smoke in the distance which quickly became thicker and closer.

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Soon we were at a standstill as the fire was so intense the road upfront was blocked by smoke and flames.


Very quickly  Fire Engines x3 arrived Ambulances, Police and a backup water bowser


We sat unable to move on for an hour while the incident – a lorry on fire which had also caught some of the trees above it was dealt with by the authorities. They even distributed bottled water to people stuck in the incident on this baking hot day. One can only reflect what those poor people in Greece went through when caught up in the fires there.

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Quite pleased with the pictures taken from a dash camera.

Flower Power Protester.

As the summer goes on the grasses have turned brown and as it has been so dry everywhere it is dusty under foot but among the grasses, colorful flowers poke through the brown.

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The cinnabar moth caterpillars have hatched and their distinctive orange and black strips make them an easy spot. They are only found on their host plant the Ragwort. The moth is also recognisable due to its bright red spots and stripes on the grey-black front wings, their rear wings are scarlet with charcoal edging. The moth can be found in open fields and gardens from May to August.

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This Wood Pigeon decided to come off his branch and wander around on the ground amongst the flowers and reminded me of Flower power and peace protesters around the time of Vietnam War. So perhaps he was doing a peaceful anti-Trump visit to the UK one bird protest.




Shared enviroment.

Spent the afternoon and early evening at the Beach. We got to the sea as the tide was going out. While in the sea I watched two lads pack away their fishing rods into their works van, then throw a pile of paper wrapping and plastic bags from their fishing bait onto the path which blew along in the wind. They then finished off their cans of larger and tossed those onto the beach, before getting into the van and driving off. Two elderly ladies out walking reached the rubbish which was blowing towards them collected it up putting into a bag before depositing it into a rubbish bin. When I got out of the water I retrieved the cans from the beach. You are never more than a few hundred yards at Meon Shore from a council provided litter bin along the waterfront. From March to the end of the October there is a litter picker. I am glad there are more who try to care for the waterfront than the few who just have no respect for this lovely environment.

As the light was starting to go we backed up and left for home. Driving up the road I had just said to my other half  “Two days on the coast and I had not taken any pictures.” Seconds later we passed a fox walking up the verge by the sailing club, it sat down and had a scratch!  I pulled over and took his picture.




Much more of a town fox that the one I saw earlier in the year down on the nature reserve.

Below link to 2017 fox pictures.


A Marked land.



Around the farm where we are staying the history dates back 1000’s of year’s man has made his mark on the land. As I walk around I hope the only mark I make on this land is what I record. However I drive a car and live in a world were the marks of everyday life is often a blight on the environment.


location Plas Lligwy Moelfre, Isle of Anglesey- open all year just a short walk from the road and signposts from Moeflfre roundabout.

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Soldier’s Point Hotel


Built in 1848, Soldier’s Point Hotel was formerly the residence of a Government engineer Charles Rigby who built the harbour breakwater at Holyhead. He was also an Anglesey magistrate and commanded the 2nd Anglesey Artillery Volunteers.


It is an example of an early Victorian castellated building, and has two stories, and had barred windows and curtain wall towers.



The hotel closed in the 1960’s. Many plans for redevelopment have been put forward but the future of the site has been put at even more risk following a catastrophic  fire in 2012.






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Sunday was another snowy day and more snow fell in the night. Monday morning life starts to get back to normality. I had to de-ice and  de-snow the van before a trip out. At Southampton General Hospital crew are de- icing the air ambulance ready for action.


Outside the hospital and across the road is a cemetery and plans were underway with horses and hearse for a snowy funeral.

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Life goes on what ever the weather.




Hatch Grange

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Today Hatch Grange is a public open space and parkland in our village of West End near Southampton but it was the home of John de Hache in 1320. Around 1863 there was a farm called Grange Farm at the site which had been purchased by the Caleb Gater family who owned the Water-Mill at Gater’s Hill on the River Itchen. The family created the Hatch Grange Estate of 300 acres. A house was built in 1863 on the site of Grange Farm.

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In 1872, it was acquired for Warnford Fletcher who lved in the house from around 1874. Fletcher planted an avenue of Limes Tree’s and as keen gardener created extensive gardens, including a rockery and pond. The house was approached through the row of Limes’ it was concealed behind an ornamental woodland. 

On the death of Warneford Fletcher in 1928, the estate was split up and sold. The House with 4 cottages in a 35 acres plot with the carriage avenue, formal gardens and grounds, It was bought by Commander A Thurlow and Basil Underwood, who were developers and builders. In the late 1930s the house was destroyed by fire. I recall a story from an elderly gentleman who lived in Lower New Road who was a member of West End’s Volunteer Fire brigade and being the youngest at the fire was ordered up the ladder with the hose to tackle the fire with little effect.
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In 1938,The ruin and 30 acres of estate were purchased by West End Parish Council. The house was demolished there remains a flat area where the house once stood and the drive  with the Lime tress can still be seen.

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A walk on the pier

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I last visited Southsea pier in December 2015 when it was closed and being restored – click on link below for details and history of the pier.

Southsea Pier Blog 2015

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southsea pier 4.jpg Construction of the pier started in 1878 and it was officially opened on 26 July 1879. It was partly dismantled during WW2 in an attempt to hinder any possible German invasion. Over the years it caught fire several times, most famously in 1974 during shooting of the film “Tommy”.

Over time maintaining the pier ran into many £1000’s a year and like many other British pier’s Southsea’s was failing, By November 2013, following an attempt by the owner to re-open the Pier, Portsmouth Council served a formal closure notice on the Pier to “protect the public from immediate danger”.

Much local involvement led to new investment in the pier to save it. In April 2017 with more than four million pounds  spent repairing the structure and  building, the new owners announced they had secured the pier’s long-term future and were ready to open the pier to the public again.

Under the pier, often an area overlooked by pier visitors.

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Dead starfish washed up on Southsea beach, there were many hundred along the strand line.

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Reach for the Sky. a local museum



Solent Sky is a 1st class small museum in Southampton and well worth a visit if you are in the city do not be put off my the rather dull exterior of the building – GO IN.


Southampton made an important contribution to the Second World War. The Supermarine Spitfire came from the city.  8,000 were buit in Southampton  and the aircraft was continually developed throughout the war, resulting in 24 different Marks.


Reginald Joseph Mitchell  (20 May 1895 – 11 June 1937) an aeronautical engineer, who worked for Supermarine Aviation in Southampton, between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft.  He is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the Spitfire. The City of Southampton, Mitchell and fast flying is linked in history.  – full details here


Up Hill


If you are in the area of Penshaw you cannot miss the sight of the Greek Temple which dominates the skyline. For many who come from the area of Tyneside and Durham, Penshaw Monument is the sign of home. It was built in 1844 in honour of 1st Earl of Durham,



A copy of the Theseion, the Temple of Hephaestus, in Athens. It has also been linked with the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. It is built twice the size of the original. It was designed by Newcastle architects, John and Benjamin Green and built by Thomas Pratt of Sunderland. The Monument is the best preserved model of a Doric Hexastyle temple in Britain. The Marquess of Londonderry presented Penshaw Hill as a suitable site. It has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1938.


Well worth the walk to the top for the views there is a foundation stone which was laid by the Marquess of Zetland on 28th August 1844, four years after the death of the Earl. An inscription which has since been erased read as follows

This stone was laid by Thomas, Earl of Zetland, Grandmaster of the Free and Accepted Masons of England, assisted by the Brethren of the Provinces of Durham and Northumberland, on August 28th 1844 being the Foundation Stone of a memorial to be erected to the memory of John George, Earl of Durham, who after representing the County of Durham in Parliament for 15 years was raised to the Peerage, and subsequently held the offices of Lord Privy Seal, Ambassador-Extraordinary and Minister of the Court of Petersburg and Governor-General of Canada. He died July 28th 1840, in the 49th year of his age. This monument will be erected by the private subscriptions of his fellow countrymen, admirers of his distinguished talents and exemplary private virtues.

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This door in 1 of the columns leads to a stairway up to the top of the folly the NT arrange tours on a few days per year.