Continuing a theme from some recent posts with preserved Royal Navy ships, I add another part of the Portsmouth historic dockyard. HMS Warrior was the world’s first iron hulled warship. See served a reasonable career as a warship but, as was the case in those days, technology moved on fast and she was gradually relegated to lesser duties. Eventually she became a hulk for storage and then a floating oil jetty. Restoration was undertaken in Hartlepool in the 80s and she was opened to the public in Portsmouth in 1987.
I have not ever visited her. I moved away from the area around the time she arrived and, while I have been back there more recently, I didn’t include her as part of the visit. I have photographed her from a distance though. Writing this has made me think that I need to visit at some point. With Victory and Mary Rose in the same area, you might get a bit “shipped out” but I shall have to give it a go some time.
Scanning old photos has mainly focused on my folders of negatives. Unlike serious photographers, I almost always shot negatives. However, I knew that slides were supposed to be the way to go and decided to experiment with them a few times. One of those times was a show at North Weald during my college days. I did not know a lot about what I was doing then and that is even more the case when considering the use of slide film. However, some of the shots are okay.
What is more fun is seeing the sort of planes that showed up at a show in the late 80s. Some of them are familiar today while others are long gone. A Norwegian A-26 was there which is coincidental given I have recently shot a Norwegian P-8 and a private A-26. A Jaguar displayed from the RAF as did Tornados. Sally B was busy then as she is now. Some things change and others don’t. Here is a selection of the least crappy shots from that event.
I was searching through my archive looking for some ship shots and the keyword search threw up a few extras that were separate from what I was after. It included some shots of HMS Victory. Victory is one of the most famous warships in the UK. She was the flagship of Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and he died on her deck as the battle was won. She survived after her main career was over and sat afloat at Portsmouth for many years before being restored and put on display in a dry dock in the navy base.
I have been on board a few times over the years. I have some old photos from the film days that I took and also some aerial shots of her and thought I might share them here. I understand that she has recently undergone a further restoration. The hull had been sagging around the supports underneath and so she has been repaired and the support system modified. It is also now possible to go under the hull as part of the visit. This is something I would like to try when I next have time during a visit to the UK.
I was digging through images for something else and came across some aerial shots I took while flying around the Isle of Wight with my relative and fellow aviation nut, Pete. We had been flying up to Cowes from the west end of the Island and then turned to go around East Cowes and off towards Ryde. I grabbed a bunch of shots of Osborne House. Now managed by English Heritage, it was one of the homes of Queen Victoria. Not that this is a recommendation for holidaying on the Isle of Wight, but it is where she died.
I think I have shared some photos of it before but these don’t show up in my list of previously posted shots so I thought I would throw these on to the blog to provide some geographical variety and also to cover for the fact that I don’t have a huge amount to post at the moment!
I had in mind to make a post about the London Eye a while back. This was going to be based on some old pictures I had taken when we lived and worked in London. Since then, we made a trip to the UK and ended up staying very close to the attraction. I remember when they were initially building it. The whole structure was laid out flat on the river and, only when it was complete, did they winch it up into the vertical position.
It was a huge hit when it opened and it remains so today. The opening of The Shard has provided a new location for people to get an elevated view of London but this hasn’t stopped the visitors lining up. While we were visiting, England was preparing for the start of the Rugby World Cup and the pods on the Eye had the flags of the competing nations applied to the undersides. This added some color to the structure.
Shortly before we left London, I headed out early in the morning to get some shots of the Eye. It was interesting to see the different shapes it offers depending on where you view it from. It wasn’t in use at the time so things were being readied for the day with some of the mechanisms being tested and the pods were stationery. I didn’t get a chance to shoot it at night which was a shame but that wasn’t why I was there. However, it was nice to see it again and to see that it is going strong, long after its original out of service date has passed. I hope it will remain a feature for a long time to come.
A short while ago, Nancy and I returned from a vacation in the UK. We had an excellent time and ended up seeing and doing a ton of interesting things. Consequently, the blog is going to have a stream of things from the UK showing up in the coming weeks. This is just the start.
In putting together a recent post about the kite festival in San Ramon I was taken back to my kite flying exploits when I lived in Lancashire. I had always been a kite fan as a kid and had a Peter Powell stunt kite at some point. In the early 90s, the designs of kites really got inventive. I bought my first flexifoil kite when I lived in Lytham and had a lot of fun flying it on the green by the sea. A few of my friends also got into the flying and they bought the same kite. The design meant it was easy to stack them on the same lines which meant you could have quite a lot of pull if the wind was good.
We weren’t the only ones flying though. Some other people were flying on the sands at St Annes so we headed down there one time to join in making quite a stack. My flexi was 6’ in span. We had about ten of them on the line with two 8’ span kites and one 10’ on top. The wind was not strong but this was quite a combination.
We all had a go at flying this. I found that I could turn it one way a lot better than the other as a result of lacking arm strength on one side. We all got dragged along by the combination. Retreating along the beach needed a couple of guys to drag you back. My mate, Rich, got caught by a big gust and went rolling down the beach. We realized later that his watch had been ripped off and we never found it. I guess kite flying is more dangerous than we realized!
This is a very self indulgent post (as if having a blog isn’t self indulgent enough). Many years ago, we spent our honeymoon in Cornwall. Just outside the town we stayed in was a small village. We drove through it many times on our way to something else. However, one time I did think it necessary to stop and take a picture with the village’s sign.
There are plenty of historic railways in the UK but most of them are a tourist attraction and operate at limited speed to allow people to experience something from days gone by. However, there is a slightly more unusual railway on the Kent coast. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway runs along the Kent coast from Hythe down to Dungeness. It is a narrow gauge railway that, while popular with tourist, does provide a year round service. It is even contracted by the council to take kids to a local school.
The railway has been in operation for decades. In the Second World War they even had an armored train for coastal defense. The service was restored after the war. Most of the locomotives date from before the war and are outstanding scale steam locos. These are a few shots I got of the trains from a crossing in Hythe about ten years ago.
As a kid growing up by the sea in the UK, I had a fascination with lifeboats which remains to this day. For those of you not from the UK, the sea rescue service in the UK might come as a bit of a surprise. It is a charitable organization, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) formed in 1824 which has continued to this day to provide rescue services around the coast of the UK and The Republic of Ireland. The government has no role in its operations and it is entirely funded by donations. Various members of my family have been involved in fund raising and serving in the crews and I remain a member of the institution despite having left the UK over ten years ago.
The Isle of Wight, where I grew up, had two offshore lifeboats. Cowes, the town in which I lived for many years, is home to the Inshore Lifeboat Centre for the RNLI where they build the boats while Bembridge and Yarmouth both have boats. Yarmouth’s boat is permanently afloat in the harbor while Bembridge’s boat is housed in a boathouse at the end of a pier with a slipway direct into the water.
A few years ago we were in Bembridge for a family wedding. We took a trip down to Lane End where the lifeboat is based and we timed it well since they have a practice launch once a week. I wasn’t going to miss this.
I actually nearly blew the shot. We were on the shore waiting for the boat to come down the slip. I figured I should get as many shots as possible since I wasn’t going to get a second chance. As it happens, the boat goes down the slipway a bit more slowly than I had anticipated. I started firing as soon as I saw it. On the body I had in those days, the buffer wasn’t huge and I managed to fill it up. However, I did still get some shots as it entered the water.
Since that trip, the old boathouse and pier have been replaced with a new facility. I have a shot of it taken from the air. However, if we go back sometime soon, I would really like to set up something with the crew to get shots of the new boat launching from the new ramp. Ideally, I would like to shoot from a boat out at the end of the ramp. I would aim to have a second body mounted on the boathouse with Pocketwizards mounted on both to get simultaneous shots from two angles with both the side on splash and the overhead view of the boat entering the water. I have relatives who know members of the crew. Whether we can make anything happen I don’t know but it would be cool to do!