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My village in pictures:-

Photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

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The 12th July 1911 and it was day nine of ‘The Prince Henry Tour’, an automobile race and one of the first international car rallies (though I suspect more of an endurance test for the 65 cars and their crews) starting in Homburg, Germany and finishing in London. The day’s stage was 129 miles setting off from Harrogate and ending in Newcastle upon Tyne motoring via Ripon – Thirsk – Helmsley – Easingwold – Thirsk – Northallerton – Darlington – Nevilles Cross and Chester le Street.

The route that day included a ‘loop’ from Thirsk to Helmsley to Easingwold before returning through Thirsk and onwards to Northallerton; presumably designed to take in the hairpin bend and severe gradients of Sutton Bank.

Sir Arthur described it thus: “My own little car did very well and only dropped marks at Sutton Bank in Yorkshire, that terrible hill, one in three at one point, with a hair-pin bend. When we finally panted out our strength I put my light-weight chauffeur to the wheel, ran round, and fairly boosted her up from behind, but we were fined so many marks for my leaving the driving wheel. Not to get up would have meant three times the forfeit, so my tactics were well justified.”

It sounds quite frightening! His car was a sixteen horse power, green Dietrich-Lorraine called ‘Billy’ which he drove himself accompanied by his second wife, Jean, and the observer Count Carmer, Rittmeister of Breslau Cuirassiers, and Alfred Stiller, ‘the chauffeur in the back’. (The Tour was organised by Prince Henry of Prussia as a gesture of sporting goodwill between Great Britain and Germany, in honour of King George V’s coronation. Thirty seven cars from the Kaiserlichter Automobil-Klub and twenty eight from the Royal Automobile Club, each car carrying an observer, an army or navy officer from the other team.)

The race, a total of 1516 miles, finished on 19th July in London at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall with the British the victors and the two teams joining in a toast to the Kaiser.

The photograph show Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vehicle No 52 parked on the cobbles in Thirsk Market Place in front of the Golden Fleece Hotel which hosted a grand lunch for the race’s many rich, powerful and well connected competitors.

Words Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

Photograph courtesy of The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

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The delightful historic coastal town of Whitby nestling beneath the ruins of a thirteenth century abbey, famous for Captain James Cook RN, Bram Stoker and ‘fish n chips’ always makes for a good photo-fest. Here are just a few images and some of the characters from a recent visit:-

 

 

Words and photographs Copyright 2017 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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Doorways, once shabby and neglected, in the narrow streets of the Zona Velha (old town) district of Funchal Madeira now invite you to stop and stare and to wonder what lies behind. There are several hundred colourful, painted portals. Here are just a few:-

(click on image to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2017 by Antony J Waller

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It was a beautiful morning in Ramfeckle under Whiteskelfe. The early wisps of mist clinging to the fields had dispersed, burnt off by the sunshine, and the low clouds which had earlier cast a veiled shadow over the village chased away up to the top of the bank. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and all was right with the world.

Walter was enjoying the moment, lounging on a new oak bench commemorating a recently departed villager. Set back from the road on the grass verge in front of a high stone wall, marking the boundary of Sweet-Feckle Hall, his seat afforded a view of all and everything that passed by. He saw Nimrod approaching.

“Morning, Walter. Thou’s up early. Owt wrong?”

“It’s our Mary,” replied Walter. “Spring cleaning. Deadly she is with a brush and duster, so I got out the way before I took a clout. How can I chill over a mug o’ tea with all that activity going on. Anyway, what about yerself. You’re out and about early too.”

“I’m off to the shop. Only it’s slipped me mind what it was I wanted. It’ll come back after I’ve had a sit.” And Nimrod plonked himself down on the bench next to Walter. For a while neither of them spoke.

“Feckle Hall’s looking good these days,” said Nimrod. “Spruced up a treat under the new owners.”

“Well those Bell sisters let it go a bit,” added Walter.

“That’s going back a piece. Rum lassies, those three. Life in the village was never dull with them about. The three Bell sisters,” echoed Nimrod.

“The tri-Bell elders as we used to call ‘em,” said Walter. “Destiny, Liberty and Southern.”

“Destiny,” repeated Nimrod. “Dessie. She was the eldest and most vociferous of the three.

 

Worked as a doctor, if I remember, though never married. Her final tryst was with the local vicar. Unfortunately one warm summer’s evening after Vespers the rector found them in the crypt. He was unfrocked and Dessie was struck off.

Then there was Liberty, the middle sister. A real artiste,  and quite a talented actress. Had her name in lights, ‘The Postman always rings twice’, ‘For whom the bell tolls’. But the drink got her. Fell off the stage at the Alhambra when playing Tinkerbelle in a musical version of Peter Pan.

Southern was the baby of the three, apple of her father’s eye, practical and philosophical. Conceived in First Class on the London to Brighton line. ‘Well it might have been worse’, she used to say to anyone who asked after her unusual name. ‘Daddy could have named me after the steam train or one of the stations.’ Often bumped into her in the village shop and she always had time for a quick chat.”

“What a font of knowledge you are Nimrod, and what a memory too. Now if you could only remember what it is you want from the shop….”

* *

Words and photographs Copyright © 2017 by Antony J Waller

The small village of Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe can be found nestling in the shadow of the Hills to the north of York, closer to the Moors and the sea than to the Yorkshire Dales. Typical of most Yorkshire villages of its ilk Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe’s roots go back through the centuries, though the angst and demeanour of life in the village is very much a part of the present day and not the past. This and subsequent stories are how village life and events are observed and perceived by Walter and Nimrod, two of the village’s more stalwart inhabitants.

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The small village of Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe can be found nestling in the shadow of the Hills to the north of York, closer to the Moors and the sea than to the Yorkshire Dales. Typical of most Yorkshire villages of its ilk Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe’s roots go back through the centuries, though the angst and demeanour of life in the village is very much a part of the present day and not the past. This and subsequent stories are how village life and events are observed and perceived by Walter and Nimrod, two of the village’s more stalwart inhabitants.

This week souvenirs are discovered in the village and they’re not being discarded by disgruntled tourists!

…..

Walter was genuflecting in a moment of rapt concentration when a familiar voice drifted over the low garden wall.

“Are yer knees givin’ out or ‘as t’teken to prayin’?”

“Shit,” replied Walter.

“I beg yer pardon?”

“Dog poop, Nimrod.  Some bugga’s dog keeps desecrating me lawn.”

“Ah, I wondered why you had bald patches on yer green sward. You’ll have to erect a sign.”

“What? Dogs can’t read.”

“Yer daft bat.”

“So what then? It’s not exactly conducive to a serious game of croquet if yer ball strikes a hardened chocolate sausage and is deflected past the hoop. ”

“I’m going to keep watch. Sit up all night with a flask of soup and a torch.”

“Well your Mary won’t like that. And the dog might not be regular. Could take a while. Have you got a jam jar with a lid.”

“Eh? Nimrod, I’m not looking to preserve it.”

“Doh. We’ll take it to the vets and ask him to run it through his spectrometer for analysis. It’ll tell us what the dog eats for its supper.”

“Oh great. Then all I have to do is ask round as to what folk feed their dogs on.”

“Aye, well it’s only an idea.”

“Sometimes, Nimrod, I wonder about you.”

“Sorry, Walter, lateral thinking’s not so easy at my age. My creativity is thinning.”

“Aye, like yer head.”

As they cogitated and scratched their thinning thatches a little cream coloured Schipperke trotted into sight and completely ignoring the pair squatted in the middle of the lawn.

“Well would yer look at that.”

“Brazen, I’ll give it that”, added Walter

They watched as the dog completed its ablutions, scratched away at the grass and trotted off again.

“Oh ‘eck,” said Walter. “I recognise it now. That’s Mrs Braithwaite’s pooch. She lost her Jack a few months back and dotes on that dog. Always talking to it. I haven’t the heart to say owt. I can’t.”

They looked at the steaming deposit on the lawn.

“Then I’m afraid,” said Nimrod wistfully, “you’ve got another souvenir to add to your collection”.

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Words and photographs Copyright © 2017 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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You never know who you might bump into or what you might see on a day out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park…

(click on images to enlarge)

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For more information go to Yorkshire Sculpture Park http://www.ysp.co.uk/

Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

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