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Picture of the Day: Down Tools - Swaffam, UK [2017]

I try not to take arty photographs because snobbery. Anyone can point  a camera, hold it correctly, frame the view and press the button. They  can even apply filters if they want. Its not exactly difficult like  smooth shadework, mixing oil colours or sculpting from clay. But every  so often I see something that shows Run Down Britain and out comes the  David Bailey in me. 

Here we are in Swaffam in Norfolk in 2017. I  took this to convert into an amusing post-ironic-postcard to send to an  arty friend of mine. It is clear that the vans have not moved in many  years. I wonder what the drivers were thinking as they parked them up  for the last time.

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Picture of the Day: Little Steam Engine, Kirklees Light Railway, Yorkshire [2007]

The LIttlest Chuffer
The LIttlest Chuffer

Can you see the little steam engine? Look how shiney its brasses are. Look at the red buffer bar and the green and black livery on the engine. Can you hear the hiss of the steam coming out of the engine?

"All aboard" cries the station master and the carriage doors are closed noisily. Can you hear the carriage doors closing? 

Peeeeeep — the station master blows his whistle. Can you hear the whistle blowing? 

Chuff chuff chuff  — that is the sound that little steam engines make. Toot Toot goes the engine's whistle. De-clack de-clack — is the sound the wheels make as they go along on the track. Can you hear it?

Perhaps, when lock down is over, you might travel to Denby Dale just outside Huddersfield and visit the Kirklees Light Railway and see the little steam engine. 

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Picture of the Day - Sundial, Farnborough Hall, UK [2017]

A Sundial - so poor people who didn't own a clock could tell the time.
A Sundial - so poor people who didn't own a clock could tell the time.

A great thing to do in the UK when you're absolutely stinking rich  and still living in the massive family home but you don't want to spend  money on maintainence, is to gift the home to the National Trust on the  condition that you only open to the public for the minimum amount of  days allowed as per conditions agreed. This way you can continue to live  in faux luxury and still feel like you're something special as you pomp  your way around the village and talking with a mouth full of plums.

The  National Trust own many properties up and down the UK and many are a  wealth of fine architecture and landscaping. It's often interesting to  see how, because God made our ancestors poor, we should live in abject  poverty and slavery while those born wealthy or who built their empires  on the backs of the poor could have massive luxurious manses in remote  parts of the country - safe from the possibility of actually seeing the  effects of poverty while also stocking the cupboards with the finest  crops and meats farmed on your own land by the local poor farmer who was  "thankful for being poor God bless ya me lord" if you ever asked him.

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Picture of the Day: Cleethorpes [2018]

Cleethorpes  in 2018. Notice the groups of people.
Cleethorpes in 2018. Notice the groups of people.

It was a splendid day today in 2018, the sun was out, the sky was blue  and Prince Harry was getting married to an American. What more could a  British person want?  A trip to the seaside for Fish and Chips you say?  Perfect!

And so that is what we did. You can read about it all here and you can discuss your obsession with the seaside on the BesideTheSeaside sub on Reddit [https://www.reddit.com/r/besidetheseaside]

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Picture of the Day: Royal Oak - Langstone [2008]

Royal Oak, Langstone
Royal Oak, Langstone

As a child I was gifted the book Haunted Inns by Marc Alexander (1973) which is a kind of gazetteer of reputedly haunted inns around the UK. Indeed, during the early days of the internet (you know, when it was fun and not full of fascism and capitalism) I had a site on Geocities called Haunted Inns of Great Britain which,was mostly comprised of photographs I'd taken when, having a car, I was out and about exploring the UK as a young adult and, at the time, often had me being interviewed by local journalists.

Although I didnt manage to visit all the inns mentioned in the book at the time, I have, whenever possible, tried to complete the collection over the years, often when in the area or by accident. Handily, a great deal of the inns in the book are in the midlands near where I live now so you never know, I might just take up the hobby again.

In 2008, during a visit to Hayling Island near Portsmouth, I saw this pub at Langstone which is near to the causeway to the island and thought that it looked idylic and quaint. It wasn't until I got back home that I realised it was a Haunted Inn mentioned in the book. How fortuitous!

The ghost, if you can call it that, is the sound of a chair being dragged across a flagstone floor. Not exactly Amityville Horror or Ju-On but sufficient to be recorded in Alexander's book.

Incidently I am now also posting Picture of the Day to Pillowfort (let me know if you would like an invite to join the site) and Wordpress.

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Picture of the Day: Ty Coch (Red House) - Nefyn [2004]

Ty Coch - Morfa Nefyn, North Wales
Ty Coch - Morfa Nefyn, North Wales

One of my favourite walks starts by parking in the National Trust Car Park on Lon Golff in Morfa Nefyn and, depending on the tide, walking along the beach toward the distant Porth Dinllaen then, after a bite to eat and a pint at Ty Coch (http://www.tycoch.co.uk/), a leisurly stroll up the cliff road and through the golf course back to the car park. Or, if the tide is in on arrival, the reverse.

Ty Coch and the houses in Porth Dinllaen are only accessible via the beach or via the restricted delivery road through the golf course. It is one of those "secret" pubs in North Wales that everyone seems to knows about. It's really popular on hot sunny days, especially with families (mostly because of the beach/pub combination) and boat owners (the natural harbour there attracting the wealthy). 

Ty Coch has been a place I've always tried to visit when I'm in the area. It is a unique place steeped in history and natural beauty (a short walk around the headland often results in seal sightings). Its really handy for mid-walk refreshments and, at one point, it did live music of an evening in the pokey little bar area. I often think about whether there are other places like it in the UK - regularly cut off by the tide and only accessible via foot or sea. I'm sure there are. Do you know of anywhere like it?