A Great Success!
Gor blimey … ere we go again. We were going to tell you about our latest trip to “ee by gum country”. But, instead, his mind has been hijacked, and he wants you to know about his Great Success. Just over a week ago.
What I am about to tell you, with a few pictures and music chucked in, may inspire you. Or leave you thinking … whattttt? For this is the world of GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) again and the GREAT SUCCESS. Here is the catalyst.
A Lifetime in Ties.
Bobby has never really liked ties. Most of his life they have been worn for convention. School and office work, where the “rules” had to be obeyed. To him they represent restriction. Having to wear appropriate shirts. Mums and wives consigned to endless ironing to satisfy the daily fresh shirt.
When he retired, he took the vast majority of office shirts and ties to the charity shop. Finding himself on his own now, the iron has only come out twice. To iron my bow tie. (more…)
Bobby: “How sad it is that two lovely, stylish, talented ladies died before their time. Amber at just 45. She had become a successful photographer in that cut throat freelance world. Fashion especially. Her distinctive style stood out when you read the colour supplements and other magazines that her mother saved with such pride. Her world where you are only as good as your last job. Her tenacity for her career left less time for relationships and I wish I could have got to know her better. Diddley was so proud of her. They shared a love of Leonard Cohen and it was Amber who designed the back page of Diddley’s funeral programme with those immortal words –
There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
On the top deck of a No 410 London Country bus, Bobby was presented with a dilemma. Sitting there with one eye to his telescope, he was surveying the parked aircraft at Biggin Hill Aerodrome. 1961. Reading the registrations out for his girlfriend to write in his notebook. Suddenly, she declared: ”I’m not doing this any more. It’s me or plane-spotting”. Poor young Bobby made the wrong choice that day and continued making it for years to come. But, like so many of his generation, he never lost his love for all things mechanical. Planes, trains, trams, buses, boats. All were fair game in a world where you made your own entertainment. And still do, as evidenced by the dominance of that age group at all things old and mechanical today.
He pursued his love with regular visits to his favourite shop. Lens of Sutton. Just up the hill from school, selling new and second hand transport magazines. The shop in a precarious position; perched above a quarry now occupied by a giant, hideous B&Q. Lens of Sutton is legendary and many transport books on sale today will have credits for pictures to “Lens of Sutton”. Bobby still has a whole shelf of Ian Allan Booklets bought in that shop in the 60s.
Little White Van.
This is the first ( and maybe the last!) story about LWV. Little White Van. The time he spent with Little Miss Naughty. As you can see, it is an alternative story written in the Mr Men book of that name. Scribbled in a Youth Hostel at Trefin when Bobby, in his younger days, backpacked the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Stopping at Youth Hostels en route.
It’s up to you to decide as believers in talking, thinking bears whether or not the same claim can be made of a Little White Van!
Walking to Wintershall.
We walked to Wintershall on 23rd August 2017. Exactly two years since we lost Diddley. It is one of those places that we can talk about, but none of those involved over the years are here to talk about it now. The memories are Bobby’s alone.
The National Garden Scheme (NGS). To many the “Yellow Book”. 100s of gardens open all over England. Wintershall has opened its estate to the public for one day a year for a very long time. Here are the details for last 14th May. (more…)
The Great Little Trains of Wales.
The Great Little Trains of Wales are simply wonderful. They are everybody’s childhood dream of what a toy railway should be. They are Thomas the Tank Engine in miniature.
They mostly have fascinating histories of bygone days, when the original purpose was quite different to now. Some are born of the industrial revolution. Some the very first seeds of the conservation movement. All at some stage have been closed, left derelict and been rescued by determined individuals and groups. They have now reached a halcyon age in the restoration and preservation of what are now treasured holiday destinations. You can travel on them to some of Wales’ most glorious scenery. They are history. They are steam and they are quite simply unadulterated fun. And they will forever pose that question of what do you throw away or allow to fall to bits at your peril? (more…)
Gigrin Farm, Radnorshire.
One day in June 1966, a young lad of 22 got married. A few weeks later he set off on a big adventure. His honeymoon to a far off land. In his even younger days, all his adventures had mostly been by bicycle. Youth Hostelling round the south east of England and East Anglia. Pursuing his favourite hobby. Plane spotting. He had also developed an interest in the natural world and birds in particular. You often saw skylarks at aerodromes… And he travelled across the sea to the first of his beloved islands. The Isle of Wight. By paddle steamer. (more…)
We arrived at Martin’s Haven on Tuesday. A group grabbed Bobby’s heavy gear and carried it up the steps to the boat. We knew we were with friends for a week.
On this, the finale of our trilogy, we talk to Kenny Birdringer. OK, that’s not his real surname, but it has a certain, erm, “ring” to it! Ahem… (more…)
Kate Strudwick: Composer, Writer, Musician.
Bobby has met all sorts of people on the islands. Richard Brown (Warden) told him last year that ornithologists are only one group. There are artists, photographers and people like a Bobby who loves wild, free places that have an element of safe passage about them. But, in all those years, he has never met, to his knowledge, someone like Kate Strudwick.
Here’s our interview. (more…)