A visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is always a good day out, and never more so than on a sunny, warm October day.

For more information visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park https://ysp.org.uk/


Photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller


















No visitor to Bavaria to southern Germany can fail to notice the number of houses decorated with biblical scenes or depicting images of daily rural life. Known as the ‘Luftlmalerei’ or ‘Luftl’ the tradition of painting these pictures or frescoes dates back several centuries. It possibly started as a way of embellishing window surrounds and doors but soon became a fashionable way for local people to display their wealth by decorating the houses and businesses with ornate frescoes. The colourful paintings were originally applied by mixing colour pigments into the wet lime plaster whereas nowadays the images tend to be painted directly onto the render by skilled artists. It is a testament to these skills, ancient and modern these wonderful images remain for all to admire. Here are just a few:-



Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller











This picturesque Bavarian town on the River Isar and in the shadow of the Karwendel mountains lies on an old trading route linking the medieval towns of southern Germany with those in Lombardy, northern Italy. Famous since the 17th century for the making of musical instruments the town today is a place where tourists come to stroll along the Obermarkt admiring the painted old houses, inns and shops or to ski on the nearby slopes.


Matthais Klotz settled in Mittenwald in the 17th century after studying and training as a ‘luthier’, a maker of stringed instruments, in Padua and Cremona under the master luthier Nicolo Amati. Klotz founded the Mittenwald school of violin making and the town began to prosper as a centre of excellence for the making of string instruments, a reputation which lasts to the present day.

However, Mittenwald also has another possible call to fame, or perhaps infamy, when wealth or gold is mentioned. In 1945 with the end of the war in sight the SS, removed quantities of gold bullion, currency and jewellery from the Reichsbank in Berlin; their whereabouts a closely guarded secret hidden it is rumoured by Martin Bormann  encoded in a piece of sheet music which in turn possibly includes a reference to Matthias Klaus and hence Mittenwald. So far attempts to find this buried loot have proved fruitless, but the search goes on!

In the meantime here are a few images from a recent visit to Mittenwald.

(click on individual images to enlarge)














 Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

“Our special guest today is a Roman general and statesman, so a warm salutation and ‘Salve’ to Julius Gaius Caesar. So Julius Gaius, if I can make so bold, welcome home from your latest campaign in Asia Minor and please tell us all about it. Where did you go, what did you see and what did you get up to over those long months away?”

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

“Haha, very ‘ad rem’, to the point. Seriously Julius, there must be a little more to your campaign. I’m sure your audience is dying to know.”

“Well, no, that’s about it really. One campaign is much like another. ‘Audere est facere’, to dare is to do as we say in the military. You set off with the lads from Legio Decem; a few forced marches; a little sightseeing, getting to know the lie of the land; mingle with the natives; negotiate with their rulers, which on this occasion  culminated in a bit of slash and bash and a battle at Zela. Then we split a few amphora of wine, had an impromptu bacchanalia before a triumphant return home to the adulation of the plebs.”

“Oh ‘mea culpa’, such modesty, Jules. There must have been one or two hairy moments, a few escapades and incidents you can share with us. You know, anecdotes from the edge of the world. You must have kept a diary or despatched the odd wax tablet or papyrus to Rome you can let us in on? Just between us, ‘bona fide’, it’ll go no further.”

“No. As I’ve already said. ‘Ceteris paribus’, all things being equal, it was all in a day’s campaigning. ”

“Oh. Well you must have been showered with tributes, looted and taken treasures from conquered tribes, brought back captured chieftains in chains and cart loads of slaves for the glory of Rome?”

“Err, ‘ars gratia artis’, art for art’s sake, the usual trinkets, some gold for my own coffers, a couple of good horses. That’s about it. The lads in the Legion laid waste the odd settlement or two, got smashed and raised merry hell, as I said earlier, and generally subdued the populace leaving our ‘Roma invicta’ stamp on society. Like I said earlier, all in a day’s campaigning.”

“So, no new discoveries then. No exotic creatures, wild animals, foods and spices, drinks, customs, wonders of the world?”

“No, ‘nihil novi’, nothing new.”

“Oh. So what’s next for our glorious commander in chief? A Gallic charm offensive, silencing the Germanic hoards, ‘Pax Brittanica’, or something closer to home?  Anything you’d like to tell your audience today, Jules?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“So back to work then, Roman nose to the grindstone haha. No time in your schedule for a few weeks off; perhaps a well earned trip south to the Bay of Naples, a spot of R and R, chillaxing in Pompeii or Baia?”

“Well if you must know. I’m looking to further my political ambitions. ‘Lacta est alea’, the die is cast, as you might say, I’m crossing the Rubicon. As for you; you are the stench of a low-life latrine with the brains of a sleeping two year old. ‘Vade retro me, Satana’, get behind me Satan. No, sod it, here, you deserve this; suck my gladius. ‘Valete’.”


Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller


Written for ThirskWriteNow, a group of talented local writers meeting every two weeks at The Golden Fleece Hotel, Thirsk. (If you would like further details please contact me.)




The day of the race and we’ve put the flags out! My village in pictures:-


And then the race came through. A few photographs from the hairpin bend on the ‘Cote de Sutton Bank’ :-


Photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller


Everyone likes a carnival and Funchal’s annual spring time Flower Festival makes a glorious spectacle as a procession of decorated floats and dancers make their way along the waterfront. A veritable feast of music and dance, a riot of colour and dazzling costumes, hundreds of happy smiling faces and an abundance of flowers and blooms. Here are just a few photographs from this year’s festival:-









Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller




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

It was a cold, crisp Tuesday morning in Ramsfeckle under Whiteskelfe and the locals were going about their business. Nimrod, a local for more years than many could actually remember was waiting for his pal Walter, also an inhabitant with more years tucked under his belt than most. Sitting cross legged on the communal seat, set a few yards back from the main road and footpath on a grass verge beneath a line of old yew trees which overhung the high stone boundary wall of Sweet-Feckle Hall, he was enjoying the warming rays of the sun and clutching a thermos flask of coffee and two slices of thickly cut ginger parkin wrapped in grease proof paper. It wasn’t like Walter to be tardy for morning coffee, he thought, and if his lifetime pal didn’t buck his ideas up there would soon be just the one slice of parkin and only half a noggin of coffee to share out between them.

A scuffling sound and a string of curses caught his attention and Nimrod turned to see his best mate stumbling along towards him resplendent in flip-flops worn over bright orange socks.

“Thy’s late, Walter.”

“Bloody miracle I’m ‘ere at all,” came the tetchy reply.

“And what’s with t’outfit and clartin’ about like a worm in quicksand?”

“Hutch up and let us sit down and I’ll tell thee. Come on, Nimrod, move over.”

Nimrod duly shuffled along, grumbling as he went as he’d just warmed that bit of bench up. “Anyways what’s wrong with thee?”

“I’ve bruised me toes, soles of me feet are tender and I can’t get me boots on.”

“But Walter. Socks with flip-flops?”

“Mary would give us hell if I wore me slippers and I’m not a barefoot hipster.”

“Thy’s got a point,” said Nimrod. “Coffee and parkin?”

He unscrewed the thermos, poured out two cupfuls and carefully unwrapped the sticky ginger treacle and oatmeal loaf which he had made himself.

“You’ll have to have it without cheese. I’ve not been to that new supermarket yet.”

“Well my advice is don’t,” said Walter. “Or if you do mind where you put yer size tens. I tripped and went arse over tip on the kerb by the disabled bay in the car park.”

“Eck,” replied Nimrod, munching on a mouthful of cake whilst taking a slurp of coffee.

They sat chewing and cogitating in silence for a while watching as Mrs Perks approached, walking  her pet Poodle, Ollie.

“Clever dog that,” said Walter. “Watch when it reaches the dog pooh bin. Always cocks its leg, never misses.”

“Humph,” said Nimrod. “And it also never misses crapping down the lane too. And when you’re shod in flip-flops then that’s definitely somat you ought to be missing.”

“Oriflamme Ongar Olivier the Third.”

“Eh. What’s thy wittering about now, Walter?”

“Ollie, the dog’s proper name is Oriflamme Ongar Olivier the Third. He’s got pedigree. Mrs Perks told me he was shortlisted for Crufts ‘Best of Breeds’ the other year.”

They raised their mugs in salute and chomped on as Mrs Perks and Ollie drew level.

After another brief respite Nimrod cleared his throat, “Are you up for a pint today then Walter. Do you think you can ‘obble as far as the pub for opening time?”

“Too reet I can, Nimrod, even if it means teking me socks off.”


Words and photographs Copyright © 2017 by Antony J Waller

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