Picture of the day – Cleethorpes [2018]

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

For other seaside related photographs consider the BesideTheSeaside group on Reddit [https://www.reddit.com/r/besidetheseaside]

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

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 posts to Pillowfort (let me know if you would like an invite to join the site) and Livejournal.

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

Ty Coch – Morfa Nefyn

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?

Picture of the Day: Uncle Nat’s Cottage – Rhiw [2004]

Uncle Nat’s Cottage

When I was a young badger, my Uncle had a lovely cottage in Wales that my dad would help do up in return for being able to spend occasional weekends and holidays there. Slap bang in the middle of acres and acres of grazing land on the side of a mountain in most rural, rugged North Wales.

The cottage was accessible by either a long walk up a very steep hill (rhiw in Welsh means steep) or a short scary trip up a muddy track in an old decrepit Land Rover. It had a coal fire (unusual to someone from suburban pre-millenial Liverpool), a lot of spiders and an upstairs accessible only via a ladder (a crog loft).

As my Aunt got older she became concerned about being stuck up the mountain without access to medical emergency services and encouraged my uncle to sell the place, which he did shortly after I started secondary school. Still, happy times were had and memories were made.

In 2004, Mrs Gnomepants V1.0 and I revisited the area with my parents to see how the place had changed. The Land Rover having been long turned into a tin of beans and chancing a bit of trespass, we walked up the newly lain CONCRETE roadway up to the cottage. It had been completely renovated and was looking well loved by the new owners.

I’ve been a few times since and it now seems that it is no longer a holiday home but an actual home for someone remote working – I bet they have better internet than I do.

How it looked during an earlier visit in 1999

Picture of the Day: Give Us a Kiss [2006]

The band was Dressed to Kill and so was I. Tribute acts were and are still a surprisingly popular thing. Indeed, I have a fondness for acts like the Kiss tribute act Dressed to Kill such as Polka Floyd, Beatallica, Iron Horse and Hayseed Dixie. In fact Zoe and I recently went to see Yes tribute act Yes Please in the centre of cultural excellence that is Witney.

Of course photos don’t really do the band’s talents justice and you don’t tend to go and see a band just for the visuals (Roger Waters aside). However, in 2006, camera phones were still a little bit of a novelty and, as much as I hate to be THAT PERSON these days, I stand guilty of taking terrible photographs of the band during their performance using my camera phone.

Why I couldn’t just stand there and enjoy the show without using my phone to spoil the view of those behind me I have no idea.

Picture of the Day – Abandoned Farmhouse – Langsett [2010]

Ten years ago, I went on a long walk to clear my mind and have an adventure. I took my Walkman/Creative Jukebox MP3 player, my denim jacket and a packet of crisps.

Intending on only being a couple of hours, I went on a long 4 hour walk through the rugged Yorkshire countryside (which you can read about in more detail here. It was on that journey that I discovered an abandoned farmhouse which was alive with rabbits, sheep skeletons and lots and lots of rabbit poo. Did the rabbits eat the sheep? Did the rabbits build the farm house? Who knows?

Eitherway, I like this photo as it is very stark but it could do with a looming angry cloud in the sky instead. Especially as, when I eventually arrived back at my car, the heavens opened and it did not stop raining until the next morning. 

Picture of the Day: Pansies – Radford Semele [2012]

One of my most favourite flowers is the pansy. They’re so vivid in colour and they really brighten up a garden. Our garden in Leamington Spa was big but lacked any colour apart from green. So, while Mrs Gnomepants was away from the house, I nipped out to Homebase and bought a shed load of pansies and other flowering plants and popped them in plant pots, hanging baskets and in beds. Eventually they bloomed and made the beautiful colour display you can see in the collage above

Picture of the Day: Bluebells, Berrignton Hall, Leominster [2016]

bluebells by a wall
Bluebells make smells

Bluebells are always pretty but their beauty and vividness are never truely captured by cameras. With the COVID-19 thing, we thought we’d miss this years bluebells but we managed to see some in a wooded area on our recent government approved exercise hour.

Today’s picture took me awhile to work out where it was taken. It seems it was taken at Berrington Hall near Leominster in Herefordshire near to where Zoe and I stayed when she went to a talk by Phil Rickman. As was this picture — 

Mrs Gnomepants in a wig
Mrs Gnomepants v2.0 in a wig

Picture of the Day: Aigburth Station – Liverpool [Year unknown]

Aigburth Station

Some years ago I was given a collection of photographs from my Aunt Joyce who died when I was about 11 or 12. They had come to me after her husband, my Uncle Harry, had died. 

I must have scanned some of them into my photo library today in 2012 for some reason. One of the pictures was a large format picture of Aigburth Station taken sometime in what seems to be the 1960s. I’ve no idea why Aunt Joyce had a picture of Aigburth Station or why it was passed on to me. 

Here is what it looks like today

© Alexandra Lanes

Picture of the Day: Load of Old Rhubarb – Brierley [2008]

Old Rhubarb

I love growing rhubarb me. I’m not overly keen on eating it, though I will, but I love growing it. 

My grandfather had a fine crop of rhubarb behind his greenhouse. My dad would often relate how he would have to go out with a bucket after the milkman’s horse so he could collect the manure for the rhubarb. He prefered custard though.

Today’s picture shows a crop grown from a head provided by old friend Carole. It has fired the rhubarb growing urge once more and, once I have a job, an income and allowed to go out, I intend to get a new head of rhubarb for our tiny garden.