Monthly Archives: December 2021

Seamus —

After a night on the tiles —

‘I didn’t get in till six .. I just want to SLEE-EP!’


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Posted by on December 29, 2021 in out and about



Longer days —

That’s right – the days are getting longer from now on —

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Posted by on December 23, 2021 in out and about


The Riddle of Cairn Holy —

What better time than Winter Solstice to ask the question —

but my photos are from a Summer Solstice —

Even if they were from outer space —

I still wouldn’t know the answers —

No doubt it would help —

If I knew the Questions —

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Posted by on December 21, 2021 in out and about



Rutland Water —

Been trying to upload photos of a Terex TS24b in recognition of where I was working half a century ago.

Quick Edit; Patience my friend – these double engined scrapers were much easier to get the hang of than this computer is — I think I’ve got hold of a pic or two —

Yup – 50 years ago I was a member of a team of three plant fitters looking after a fleet of twelve double engined TS24s and associated Cat D8s – Aveling Barford graders – vibrating rollers and all the other bits of plant involved in a major earth-fill dam building project.

Major it was – what started off under the banner of Empingham Reservoir in the early seventies took almost five years to complete. One village was flattened and an important stone built church was dismantled and rebuilt on higher ground before the dam was flooded.

The clay used for the new – impervious dam wall was extracted from the floor of the soon to be flooded dam. Judging by the fossils and clamshells dug up with the clay – this inland site had been a sea bed millions of years ago.

I had arrived home in the UK seriously ill eleven months previous after catching a bug while working for a few years in hard rock tunneling in tropical Africa.

Having spent the first thirty years of my life involved in arduous work and sport it was tough to see the muscle I had fought so hard to achieve waste away in a matter of months. It would be six months before I was deemed fit to work again and a further twelve before I was able for an overseas posting.

No worries – with the biggest man-made lake in the UK being built about thirty miles from my home on the outskirts of Nottingham – I was right in there with my toolbox as soon as the doc said OK.

It proved to be a tough number. A six o’clock start to fire up the twelve double engined TS24b’s and have the compressed air for the rear engine controls up to pressure by the time the operators hit the haul roads at seven was mandatory. A TS24 weighs approx 40 tonnes as it stands and 70 tonnes plus loaded. On the well graded haul roads 30mph was achievable and sometimes more.

Operators were paid big production bonus’s – plant fitters depended on overtime to bring home a decent wage and boy was there plenty of that to be had! Machines would work a twelve hour day .. any repairs however major – would be done overnight and completed before the machines started again the following morning at six. It did mean I had to live in a caravan on site most of the time I worked there.

I lasted twelve months in the mud but was quite pleased to be heading overseas to warmer climes when the time came.

And what happened to ‘Empinham Reservoir’ – named after the nearby village? Well it wasn’t grand enough for the biggest man-made lake in England. Once the lake was full it became Rutland Water after the county it was in and of course a much more fitting title for what is now a World Heritage Site.

Unfortunately a camera wasn’t part of my tool kit fifty years ago —

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Posted by on December 20, 2021 in out and about


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What a Poser —

Loki – our flat coat retriever —
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Posted by on December 20, 2021 in out and about


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My Favourite —

And it’s not Strictly —

It’s this one —

Looking south from the old Roman fort – with the Ochil hills on the horizon. I did miss the those hills when I moved to Nottingham for work in 1967 —

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Posted by on December 18, 2021 in out and about



South China Sea Idyll —

Just over quarter of a century ago — I was retired for the first time and ‘home’ was in this one room hut on a tiny island in the South China Seas —

a room with a view —

Nothing is ‘forever’ and the Chinese have probably added it to their fast-growing Empire by now —

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Posted by on December 18, 2021 in out and about



The Battle of Sheriffmuir —

Took place here in 1715 —

Scotland ‘won’ that particular skirmish with 250 of their number killed but the English controlled the media back then too and claimed the win – despite losing 750 of their own —

Nice pic tho’ 🥃

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Posted by on December 14, 2021 in out and about



Walking in Mid-Wales —

Fifteen years ago while living on the Welsh border my life revolved around work and Wales. Memories of working in the southern Valleys post Aberfan disaster where even the coal dust covered sheep were but a distant memory …

Mid-Wales especially had become my playground .. it had it all .. great biking roads .. marvellous walking and trail-riding routes and the sandy beaches around Cardigan Bay within easy reach …

One such area that I would visit summer …

or winter were the picturesque Pystll Raedaer falls …

There were times in the winter after a prolonged cold spell when they would be frozen from top to bottom …

But whatever time .. Mid-Wales was always worth a visit …

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Posted by on December 8, 2021 in out and about


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Sheriffmuir today …

Our picnic spot amongst the trees …

With a panoramic view of snow covered hills near our home to the north …

and somewhere to give Loki a good run …

And run he did … flat out!

All supervised by the boss herself …

When I could get her away from her cuppa …

And of course after last weekends gales there’s the mandatory fallen tree …

A very tall one on this occasion .. considering how high on the moors it was growing …

A shame to see it down as these trees were standing here when I first rode past on my 350 Velocette over sixty years ago …

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Posted by on December 5, 2021 in out and about


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