Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Lighthouses - Sepia Saturday

While looking for some information I came across this verse by Rachel Lyman Field

I'd like to be a lighthouse
All scrubbed and painted white.
I'd like to be a lighthouse
And stay awake all night
To keep my eye on everything
That sails my patch of sea;
I'd like to be a lighthouse
With the ships all watching me.

It seemed so appropriate for this week’s prompt:

 It also reminded me of a poem I learnt at school, (all 69 lines of it), called The Inchcape Rock - by Robert Southey:
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
The ship was still as she could be,
Her sails from Heaven received no motion,
Her keel was steady in the ocean.

Without either sign or sound of their shock
The waves flow’d over the Inchcape Rock;
So little they rose, so little they fell,
They did not move the Inchcape Bell.

The Abbot of Aberbrothok
Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;
On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,
And over the waves its warning rung.

When the rock was hid by the surge’s swell,
The mariners heard the warning bell;
And then they knew the perilous Rock,
And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

A short story about the Inchcape Rock may be read at and Southey’s full poem at

Fortunately for all Robert Stevenson built a lighthouse (1807 – 1810) on the reef known as the Inchcape or Bell Rock which is located off the east coast of Angus, Scotland.

Bell Rock Lighthouse - 2006
(by Derek Robertson - CC BY-SA 2.0 - Geograph project collection)

This video tells how it was built. I suggest you watch the first 4.1/2 mins. (After this it’s about the man, who became Baron Inchcape and later the Earl of Inchcape, before ending as little more than PR for the Inchcape motor group.)

Britain also boasts of the smallest island in the world with a building on it – the Bishop Rock off the Isles of Scilly. The Bishop Rock Lighthouse stands on a rock ledge 46 metres long x 16 metres wide, 4 miles west of the Scillies.

Bishop Rock from Periglis Bay, St Agnes - 2006
(By John Davey - CC BY-SA 2.0 - Geograph project collection)

The first lighthouse on the rock did not last long

First lighthouse
It was started in 1847 but was washed away in 1850, before it could be commissioned.

Second lighthouse

The second Bishop Rock Lighthouse was started in 1858 – a solid tower structure constructed from dovetailing blocks of Cornish granite. It soon became apparent that even this was not strong enough to resist the large waves to which it was subjected. Cracks snaked up the sides of the tower and vibrations caused by the waves make the lighthouse shake violently. In 1874 waves over 40metres high broke over the tower washing away the lantern; tons of water coming down inside the tower threatened to drown the keepers.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse
In 1881 an outer stone skin built around the existing tower increased its height and strength; there have been no problems since, Changing keepers by boat was a hazardous operation. A helicopter pad added in 1976 mad this easier. The last keeper left in 1992 and the Bishop Rock Lighthouse has been fully automated since.

Bishop Rock Lighthouse - 2005
(By Richard Knights - CC BY-SA 2.0 - Geograph project collection)

For further enlightenment don't forget to cross over to Sepia-saturday-188.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Trees - Sunday Stamps

The theme this week proved more difficult than I thought. Perhaps I couldn't see the wood for the trees.

However I am reasonably sure what this is.

Bangladesh - Palm Tree
Still in the southern hemisphere I came across a log, even if I don't know what tree it came from.

New Zealand
In colder northern climes a make believe tree.

Iceland - Europa CEPT
Perhaps this one is easier to identify.

Iceland - Spruce?
My final tree is one produced by a Norwegian romantic painter.

Norway - Slindebirken by Thomas Fearnley (1802-1842)

I believe this is a birch of some sort.

I'm hoping someone will be able to show some trees from Britain. I know of at least two that have appeared - the horse chestnut and the oak.

To see other varieties please cross over to Sunday-stamps-131.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Heirlooms - Sepia Saturday

Apart from some pieces of my wife's jewelry and some paintings that we have acquired over the years I was initially hard put to come up with anything in our possession that falls into the heirloom category suggested this week.

But then we both came up with what we see every day in our oak dresser and kitchen cabinets.

Royal Doulton Dinner Set (part)
I was not allowed to remove them from the dresser or the cabinet.

Royal Doulton Meat Dish and Tureen
How do I know it's Royal Doulton? I must confess to taking a peek at the markings on the bottom. This is what I found.

Royal Doulton - Burslem - Mark (Lynn Pattern)
John Doulton and his partner had established a pottery in Lambert, South London as early as 1815. In 1877 John and his son Henry purchased an interest in Pinder, Bourne & Company at Nile Street, Burslem in Staffordshire. By all accounts they weren't exactly welcomed as Henry observed, "In their view we Southerners know little or nothing about God and nothing at all about potting. It was at Burslem that Royal Doulton had its origin.

Sir Henry Doulton
The back marks on the pottery enable you to determine its age. The first Burslem mark consisted of the central Doulton Burslem floret with the four interlocking 'Ds.' The coronet was added about 1886 to mark the appointment of Henry Doulton as Potter to HRH The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII)

This mark continued to be used until 1902.. England was added to the mark  in 1891.

Sir Henry Doulton (1820-1897)
(Statue at Burslem Market Place - by Steve Birks - CC BY-SA 2.0)
A plaque at the rear reads, "This statue was unveiled by Mr Stuart Lyon, Chairman of Royal Doulton Limited, 11 June 1991. Sir Henry Doulton was the first potter to receive the Albert Medal and to be knighted for his services."

The Nile Street factory was closed in 2004 and demolished in 2008, Royal Doulton was taken over by the Waterford Wedgwood Group in 2006.

Now all that remains is to determine where our heirloom goes on our demise!

For other treasured possessions pass over to Sepia-Saturday-187.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A Blurry War - Thematic Photography

When I think of the hundreds of blurry photos that I have taken and destroyed or deleted I know why I have struggled with this week's blurred vision theme.

So I have had to resort to photos taken in the Mediterranean during WWII.

Malta blurred by German bombs.
Aircraft Carrier under attack
View astern
These shots are from my brother's war photos. He served in the Fleet Air Arm aboard carriers. If I had been there with my camera I'm sure my vision would have been blurred as well.

For other blurry shots visit  Carmi's thematic-photographic-253-blurred-vision.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Royal Couples - Sunday Stamps

For Viridian's theme of birth, marriage, death and other life changes I have selected three royal couples to show. Two of the marriages were not to last.

Great Britain
Princess Anne & Captain Mark Phillips
Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson
And in the week when a royal birth was expected, I have to include, from a first day cover -

Prince William and Catherine Middleton
The FDC will soon find its way to Willa.

For other  life changing events move over to Sunday-stamps-130.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Boudica the Celtic Warrior Queen - Sepia Saturday

A statute of Boudica (not Boadicea) may be seen in London,

Boudica statue near Westminster Pier, London - 2007
(by Sergio "srgblog" - CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dio Cassius, the Roman historian, described Boudica the woman who led the largest British revolt against the Romans in these terms. “In appearance terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh, a great mass of tawniest hair fell down to her hips.”

Our prompt picture looks a bit feeble in comparison.

Boudica was the wife of Prasutagus, the so-called client king of the Iceni tribe in what is now East Anglia.

 The Roman client kingdoms were formed from native tribes who chose to align themselves with the Roman Empire and who saw it as the best option for self-preservation or for protection from other hostile tribes. Also the Romans created (or enlisted) some client kingdoms where they felt influence without direct rule was desirable. At his death Prasutagus in AD 60 had left half his possessions to the emperor Nero, expecting thus would protect his kingdom and his family. It didn’t.

The Romans sacked his palace, seizing Icenian land and his daughters’ inheritance. Boudica was flogged and her daughters, age 10 and 12, brutally raped.

Enraged, Boudica and the Iceni swept south torching the Roman towns of Camulodunum (Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans).

Balkerne Gate, Colchester - 2006
(By David Hapgood - CC BY-SA 2.0)
[The Balkerne Gate is the largest Roman Arch in Britain, Colchester and its wall were rebuilt by the Romans (not the pub!) after Queen Boudica led the rebellion in AD 60. Camulodunum ("Fortress of Camulos"), originally a Celtic settlement became the first Roman town]

Governor Suetonius Paullinus who had been away trying to eliminated the druids in Anglesey returned with his troops and crushed the Iceni in battle. Boudica is said to have poisoned herself.

For more horrid or less horrid histories don't forget to take a look at Sepia-Saturday-186.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cloudspotting -Thematic Photography

I looked out of my office window when I saw Carmi's cloudspotting theme and, of course, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. However I have managed to find a few photos containing clouds and as usual some are there by accident; in others the clouds 'make' the shot.

Cloudy Horizon - Traverse City, Michigan
Norwegian Fjord in Autumn
Air Monaco Helicopter coming in to land at Nice Airport
Just two clouds for company - good visibility all round.

Majorca - early morning clouds
Back home in England large clouds dwarf the bridges at Yarm.

Yarm Bridge and Viaduct (behind) from the Teesdale Way
From Saltholme Nature Reserve there is a good view of the Transporter Bridge under a cloudy sky/

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
And a close up with the clouds above.

Looking up
You can't have failed to spot the clouds.

The clouds cannot be reached this way.

Firefighters practising with a Simon Snorkel Ladder
The English county of Cornwall is also known as the Land of the Saints or Cornubia.

Cornubia - painted by John Miller
This picture hangs in Truro Cathedral. It was painted to celebrate the centenary of the Cathedral in 1980. I am glad the clouds did not block out the light.

Now it's time for you to follow the Rolling Stones' advice ( ) and cross over to other cloud spotters at Thematic-photographic-252.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Presidents and Kings - Sunday Stamps

My stamps this weeks cover men and countries where there has been turmoil in my lifetime.

Josip Broz Tito - Yugoslavia

After the 1914-18 war Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Following the German occupation (1941-45) the country became a republic with Tito as its president. In 1963 he became president for life - he died in 1980, but the disintegration of Yugoslavia had begun in 1974.

Mohammed Reza Pahlavi - Shah of Persia (Iran)
Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was Shah (King) of Iran from 16 September 1941 until he was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979.

A president in office for an even shorter time was the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Mikhail Gorbachev - President of the Soviet Union
Gorbachev was the first President of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on December 25, 1991.

For more Presidents, Kings - and - Queens cross over to Viridian's Sunday-stamps-129.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Rain - Sepia Saturday

It's hard to work up enthusiasm for rain in the middle of a heat wave as this week's rainy prompt requires.

 A dip in a swimming pool would be much more enjoyable.

Hartlepool Bathing Pool
The open-air swimming pool was opened in 1923. It was badly damaged during the great storm of January 1953, and was never fully repaired. The surviving remains of the pool itself are mostly obscured by seaweed, and all of the shoreward structures have long gone.

'Bathing Pool' area - 1953
A local beauty spot where children were often taken to paddle was Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale but not on a day when the river was in flood.

Aysgarth Falls
Aysgarth Falls are a triple flight of waterfalls, surrounded by forest and farmland, carved out by the River Ure over an almost a one-mile stretch on its descent to mid-Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales of England, near the village of Aysgarth.

In Cornwall the River Fowey can flood quite spectacularly as it did in 2008

Somehow I don't think that there would have been many boat trips round the estuary that day. You would also have been struggling to go for a pint at the King of Prussia.

Fowey Parking - 2008.

It may have been OK for The Beatles to sing.

But for me it's Adele who has the right idea.

Meanwhile while you check out other rainy themes at Sepia-Saturday-185. I have to get ready to take my wife out for a birthday meal.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Grown - Thematic Photography

When we moved in to our current home in the early 1990s we inherited a shrub that needed some TLC. Despite our best endeavours there came a time when we decided to call it a day and dug it up.

We must have had fit of remorse because we eventually transferred it to a tub that just happened to be spare. It looked a bit forlorn with just a short trunk and two green shoots; but it survived and after a couple of years it had grown into this.

Rhododendron - one flower (2008)
The next year in a larger plot the flower had grown quite impressively.

Impressive flower (and a second on its way)
When it grew too big for its boots/pot it was time for it to go back into the garden. By 2012 the whole shrub was a thing to be admired.

Rhododendron behind the foxgloves and lupins - 2012
Now there is a second shrub in a large pot next to it which has had one red flower this year. I wonder just how long we will have to wait for them to be as grown up as these.

Rhododendron - Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall
Perhaps they think that those Cornish shrubs have an unfair advantage with the weather better there than in the North East of England - not that there is much difference during the current heat wave.

All of them will have to shoot up a bit to catch up with the self-setting sunflower - not fully grown.

Eight feet tall & growing bigger all the time.
To see what else has grown cross over to Carmi's thematic-photographic-251.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sea Creatures - Sunday Stamps

I had to search quite hard to find some sea creatures to show for this week's theme, but was surprised by what I found.

Canada - Bowhead Whale
The bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) is a baleen whale of the right whale family. It is an endangered species which can grow to 20m in length; the thick bodied species can weight 75 tonnes. It is also know as the Greenland right whale or Arctic whale. It also appears on a stamp from the Faröe  Islands.

Norway - Blekksprut
The Blekksprut (Sepiola atlantica) is a species of bobtail squid found in the North East Atlantic Ocean from Iceland, the Faröes  and western Norway to the Moroccan coast.

Greece - Dolphin Mosaic - 1970
This stamp is from the Greek Mosaics issue and shows a Dolphin Mosaic from Delos island, 110 BC. Now how do I find out who the rider is?

For more sea creatures take a ride across to Viridian's Sunday-stamps-128.