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Picture of the Day: Lookout! - North Wales, UK [2016]

When I was a little boy I was fascinated by lighthouses and all I wanted to be "when I grew up" was a lighthouse keeper. Growing a bushy beard, wearing a white sweater, smoking a pipe and telling outlandish tales about hidden treasure and sea monsters to passing groups of four children or more with their dog. Sadly the vast majority of lighthouses in the UK were undergoing an automation process so lighthouse keeping was, it seemed was a dying vocation.

When I was about 10 I went on a holiday to my favourite part of Wales. On this particular visit my parents took me up to see the view over Bardsey Sound and the lighthouse on Bardsey Island from Mynnedd Mawr. It was there that we came across this curious little hut, inside of which was a man, with a powerful telescope and radio equipment. 

The man explained to me that he was a Coastguard lookout and his job was to lookout for ships in distress and report on wind and sea conditions. This, I decided immediately, was what I wanted to do for a job when I grew up. Sit in a cabin and look out to sea all day while telling tales of seafaring, pirates and giant squid to passing groups of four or more children with their dogs. 

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Picture of the Day: Coke Head, Monkton, South Yorkshire, UK

Industry
Industry

There was a time when the skyline in Yorkshire was peppered with  sights such as this. Pit heads everywhere as industry stripped the seams  of coal to power the country and industry. Now, only a few mines remain  and most of them are open cast, looking nothing like the one in the  photo. 

That said, the pit heads of the colliery we see in the  picture above were, at the time, not functioning either. Today's  picture, taken in 2010, shows Monkton Colliery Coke Works and the  chimney stacks chucking out the smoke show the only evidence what the  site was actively producing - coke. Though not the drinking or snorting kind, the kind used in smelting and power generation

I  regularly drove past the coke works when I lived in the area and I  still remember the nasty smells and weird yellow tinge everywhere seemed  to have. The closer to the stacks you got the yellower and smellier the  atmosphere and surroundings. Who knows what it was doing to your lungs?  

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Picture of the Day: "Camouflage", Loughborough, Leicestershire [2011]

Believe it or not, there is a man standing in this picture. It may  look like a harmless artistic photograph of a grassy bank with a metal  pipe sticking out of it but if you look....really closely...you'll  see....there is a man dressed as a World War II German soldier. Can you  see him now? 

This was taken in 2011 when Zoe and I visited the  Great Central Railway's World War 2 Weekend which, until this year, has  happened annually. Volunteers, reenactors and enthusiasts recreate the  Second World War at the stations along the heritage line there. Each  station dressed as different stages - Evacuation Britain, Allied Camp at  Normandy, Battle ground and Occupied France. Its such an educational,  enjoyable and fun visual experience and comes wholly recommended.

Great Central Railway 

What I wrote about the day back then 

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Picture of the Day: Desk, Liverpool [2004]

Todays picture is another desk of hidden objects (not too disimilar to the one posted last month).  This time the picture is of my desk in the new build house in Liverpool. I probably  took this for a meme that was popular on Livejournal. It's interesting  to see many of the items on display and especially those just out of  shot that I know what they are but it would be doubtful if you knew.

Can you spot:

  • The spent concert ticket for Yes
  • Photograph of me pretending to be old 
  • A badger
  • A badger on a hat
  • A dragon finger puppet
  • An original Windows OS mobile phone 
  • The bottom of a gobstopper machine
  • The speakers and base unit of a really good stereo
  • A telephone
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Picture of the Day: Pies!, Honley Show, West Yorkshire, UK [2007]

When we were allowed outside, at this time of the year county shows  and festivals would be popping up all over the UK ,indeed, some of these  fairs have been going for many years others, like Hollowell, relatively  less. Prior to my visit the the Honley show in 2007 I had only really  been to the St Helens Show, the Liverpool Show and the Woolton Show all  of which kind of died out in the eighties and nineties having become  more trade and commercially orientated than their beginnings.

Back  then, being a social media content maker and wandering round filming  with your phone out wasn't as common place as it is now and, of course,  back then there were fewer platforms to publish your output. Mine was  (and to some extent still is) Livejournal. However, these limitations  didnt stop me and so, I walked around the show taking all manner of  pictures including this one, which became the main header image for a  project I worked on at University some time later. 

I also noted  how few of the stall owners seemed to have websites to promote their  wares. Being a big local food enthusiast I was keen to try and help  promote the businesses through my Muckybadger  website and dreamed about publishing my own local food enthusiast  magazine, tv and radio show and website. Then life and mortgages  got in  the way and other people got there before me..... 

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Picture of the Day: Laburnum Arch, Unknown, UK [2015]

Pergola in yellow
Pergola in yellow

When I was a child in the UK, laburnums seemed to be everywhere.  Trees in domestic and ornamental public gardens would bloom a vibrant  yellow every year. The annual display looked lovely and would add  further enjoyment of the garden to gardeners and visitors. 

Then,  sometime in the mid-nineties, around about the same time as the campaign  to identify all lone males as potential child sex pests began, a  paranoid parent announced to the world that laburnum was poisonous and  could kill little children. So began the terrible genocide and  eradication of the laburnum in the UK and the lovely trees were cut down  to make way for hot tubs, decking and patios - because having weird  back garden sex parties in full view of the neighbours, drowning your  sacrificial victim and burying them under the patio or decking is a much  better alternative than having to tell little Johnny not to put the  poisonous seed pods in their gobs. You wouldn't want to hinder a child's  self expression would you? 

Years passed and with the thinning of  the laburnum they became an almost unfamiliar sight in the UK to such  an extent that when I saw one on my travels growing over a lovely  pergola I forgot to enable my phone's GPS and the location of the said  laburnum has been lost to time and memory. 

They are lovely though.

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Picture of the Day: Gandalf the Blue, Delamere Forest, UK [2005]

Before we begin, yesterdays picture of the day was from 2011 and not 2016. Doh!

Today we see the rare demin coated Gandalf-Stegzy in the wild. This was taken during a walk through Delamere Forest in 2005 back when walking through Delamere Forest was a thing. Now Delamere Forest is mostly a middle class family centric Center Parcs knock-off aimed at those with free thinking, liberated self-expressionist pedestal children with names such as Calendula and Spatula, like many places in Cheshire seem to be these days. 

Bonus subscriber link — read about the rest of the day here and read about how much of a hipster I was back then....smoothies...juicebars...ffs.



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Picture of the Day: Bishop Eton, Liverpool [2016]

As a youth living in South Liverpool, I spent a fair bit of time in Bishop Eton Parish. Not only did I have a bar job  there, but in my younger, informative years, I spent a good while  singing in the church choir. The redemptorist priests had a house there  within the grounds, the gate house and boundary wall you can see in this  picture which was taken today in 2016.


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Picture of the Day: Canal Boat, Foxton Locks, UK [2017]

Before lock down there was a nice American themed grill house restaurant  at Foxton Locks called Texas Steakhouse. Seemed totally out of the way  being in the middle of nowhere in particular but it looked popular. Well  it appears that it is now closed and is called Hoggets  which styles  itself on serving wanky posh nosh like a teaspoon of baked beans on a  ryebread cracker garnished with a nettle - for £20.

Nice walks along the canal there though....