musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Harbour

Retrospectively Wading through Weymouth

This is another retrospective blogpost that I should have done way back in 2013, on returning from Weymouth for a job interview. The exif data puts the images at 19 June 2013.

Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, and I was hoping to really see what the Brits were like when they were on their summer hols.  I on the other hand was burdened with a tie and my usual interview gear so could not get dirty or sweat stained, and I would have to make sure that I was on time for the interview. I even left my bucket and spade at home!

(1500×498) I do like to be beside the seaside…

I also could not dally too long either as I had a train to catch back to Southampton.

The station was close to the beach, but I do recall stopping at a taxi service to get a business card just in case I needed to get a taxi in a hurry.  Because it is a seaside town most of what I saw was centered around the beachfront, although I did make an excursion into the industrial area. Naturally war memorials were priorities to photograph, and any big ships too although Weymouth Harbour is really geared towards the fishing, pleasure craft and tourism industry. 

It was not too crowded either, although that could be because I had arrived while everybody was having breakfast. ​I hoped that the much loved seaside landlady trope had not been perpetuated into our new century and I am sure many of the beachside “boarding houses” had been where so many of the typical seaside holiday stories had been written. 


There were three War Memorials of note along this stretch of beachfront. The first was an ANZAC memorial for the First World War, I covered this memorial in allatsea

In the image above you can see the town War Memorial with a poppy field between them.  It commemorated “The Citizens of the Borough who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the Second World War”. It also lists those lost during World War 1.  (allatsea link)

Weymouth, being a port city was also defended by Fort Nothe which is situated at the end of the Nothe Peninsula on at the entrance to the harbour. I would have liked to have had a close look at it but did not have the time to do so.


This side of the harbour mouth was the home of one of those strange towers with a rotating doughnut on it, although it was not in operation by the looks of it. There was construction work going on in that area so I could not really see what I wanted to. You can see the tower sticking out in the image below.

King George III was a frequent visitor to the town and he has a statue in it.

The king used to take a dip there because he had been advised to bathe in seawater to help with his Porphyria.  Unlike today one did not just leap into the sea, and the much talked about “bathing machine” was taken out into the water, whereupon the person could have his paddle in private.  Huzzah! they even have a bathing machine on display.

Staying with our beach theme, my experience of going to the seaside as a child was probably very different to that of a child in England, and there were some activities that we did not seem to have in common during my era. The first being the Punch ‘n Judy show:

Although I suspect Mr Punch has been sanitised and made more politically correct, and of course the seaside donkey ride. 

Donkeys at the seaside in Weymouth

It was quite a strange feeling walking along this beachfront because so many odd memories kept on popping up and I had to resist the temptation to roll up me trouser legs, tie a knotted handkerchief around my head and go for a paddle in the sea.  I now headed for the harbour as time was marching and the harbour was a good place to navigate from. A lifting bascule bridge joins the two sides of the harbour and allows access to the inner harbour.

I stopped at the church that you can see on the left and came away with one very poignant image. It is quite odd to think that he really lives on in this church while his “schoolfellows and friends” have all been lost to memory.

Shortly after my harbour visit I headed off to my interview in the industrial area. It was not a long walk, but it was becoming quite a hot day and I longed to dispose of that tie. I did not get the job though, and I suspect I was much too under qualified anyway. On my way back I paused at the local cemetery and church before arriving back in town.  I had time to kill so headed off along the Esplanade. There was a church in the distance that I wanted to have a look at.

(1500×503) A church in the distance…

The esplanade is composed of converted Georgian terraces that serve as flats, shops, hotels and guest houses. Many were built between 1770 and 1855 and they  form a long, continuous arc of buildings which face Weymouth Bay.

This iteration of the Royal Hotel hotel was opened in 1899 and is a Grade II listed building. During World War 2 it was requisitioned for use as the local headquarters of the United States military.

The Memorial in front of the building serves as a reminder of the part Weymouth played in the invasion of Normandie.

 The inscription reads:







There is also an a reminder of the tragedy that befell man who were being trained for the assault at Lyme Bay:

28 APRIL 1944
24 DECEMBER 1944.

The other landmark in this area is the Jubilee Clock Tower, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 50 years of reign in 1887. 

My destination was in sight, although still quite a walk away. If only I had my bicycle back then. 

I suppose I could have caught “the train”

Or hired a boat

Make no mistake, the sea was flat calm out there, and you would be able to wade out quite far too. In the bay was a sailing ship and I was able to zoom into her and later identified her as the 1971 built  TS Royalist.

and then finally I was approaching St John’s Church.

The church stands out for me as it had what was probably the scariest angel I have ever seen on a church building.

And then it was time to turn around and head for the station. 

The exif data says the image below was taken at 17H39, but that could be when I uploaded them. At any rate, my train is here, its time to go.

My trip to Weymouth would not be complete without random images…


DRW © 2013-2019. Retrospectively created 11/08/2018

Updated: 10/04/2019 — 19:33

Gloucester Harbour

It is strange to find a harbour so far from the sea, but then you really need to remember that the Severn is not a small river. Gloucester harbour is not a deep water port as I know it, but was built more as a harbour for barge and small vessel traffic. Unfortunately, like so many of these places the need for it became superfluous as the truck and better roads brought about a whole new way of moving goods from one place to another.  Even the railways were not immune to this new way, and Gloucester, like Tewkesbury and Cheltenham were all in the firing line of the Beeching axe

Today the harbour is a small boat and pleasure craft harbour, with a lot of narrow boats and yachts and small pleasure craft (aka floating gin palaces). However, the buildings remain, being converted into yuppie pads and trendy working areas or shops for those that are attracted to them.

Use the image above to get an idea of what this area looks like and realistically the easiest way to see the harbour is to use our fictional vessel: “Diverse Alarums” and start from where the River Severn splits and the left fork is the entrance to the locks that will enable us to enter the “Main Basin”

Do not be tempted to go to starboard because there be dragons. Seriously though, that part of the river may not be very navigable, as I saw trees drifting downstream along it. 

The lock also has a lifting vehicle bridge over it, as well as an associated control cabin. The road would take you to the back of the warehouses on the right bank of the Main Basin. I did not really explore that area too well though.

Assuming we were successful, the Diverse Alarums would exit into the “Main Basin” which has a number of interesting things in it.  The image of the basin below is looking towards the lock which would be in the top left hand corner.

Sailing down the basin, roughly midway there is a cut that is the entrance to the Victoria Dock. It is really just pleasure craft that are berthed there and is of no real interest to somebody like me who prefers working vessels. 

Going full astern to escape the the throng of very expensive craft we are safely back in the main basin. On the right hand side of the basin are two drydocks, and these are really fascinating places for somebody like me. I did a blog post about drydocks many moons ago and these two feature in that post. Today both docks were in use.


Just past the drydocks is what is known as the “Barge Arm”. It is occupied by a bucket dredger with the rather quaint name “SND no 4”

The building in the shot is home to the National Waterways Museum. I visited it in 2015 but I was not impressed. It seemed more geared towards young visitors instead of jaded oldies like myself. 

If we go astern again and turn back into the basin we will be presented by the Llanthony Bridge which is a lifting bridge. It is the third bridge at this site and was built in 1972. 

Exiting from this bridge the quay to our Starboard side is known as the Llanthony Quay and it was built in the early 1850s by the Gloucester & Dean Forest Railway Co., soon taken over by the GWR, to provide a means of supplying coal from the Forest of Dean as an export cargo.

Baker’s Quay would be on the port side and was constructed in the late 1830s by a group of local businessmen led by Samuel Baker at a time when the Canal Co. was heavily in debt and could not finance much needed additional quay-space.


The red vessel in the distance is the former Spurn Head lightship that used to be moored at the mouth of the Humber Estuary. She was decommissioned in 1985, she has served as the headquarters of a yacht club and as a tourist attraction in various locations. She was extensively restored and converted into a treatment centre for alternative medicine under the name “Sula” and at the moment she is up for sale. If only I had vast amounts of money….

The area opposite her on Baker’s Quay is not accessible and recently a warehouse burnt down there. There is some serious foliage on the one building, 

I did walk into this area but there was not much to see except for the sort of space that would make any urbex buff smile knowingly.

If we had continued along past the Sula and the old warehouse buildings we would be facing the High Orchard Bridge. I have not gone much further than the lightship though. Maybe another day? I did see a sign for a Telford Bridge so need to do some investigating of that. 

It is  bascule bridge but I have not seen it raised yet. Beyond that I have no idea. At one point I will go on a boat trip downriver and see how far it gets us. There is quite a lot of interesting stuff down river but at this point we will disembark from our well found tub because our tour around the harbour is complete. The Gloucesterdocks website covers most of this in much better detail than I can and is well worth the visit.

Ships and small craft.

There are not too many vessels that catch my eye here, but some are worth showing.

This beauty is called Johanna Lucretia, she is a topsail schooner and was built in 1945 in Belgium.

Johanna Lucretia

Severn Progress  is a tug and was built in 1931 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd, Bristol. Her low profile is necessary to sail under low bridges.

Severn Progress

Sabrina 5

FY86 White Heather


Random Images


© DRW 2015-2018. Created 04/06/2017

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 16:58

Galloping around Gloucester

Looking at my handy index page for 2015, I was last in Gloucester in August and September of 2015, and in those visits I took in the Cathedral, the Jet Age Museum and I saw lots of dudes with odd shaped balls.. I had really intended to return one day but it has taken me over a year to do that. 

Actually I had two reasons to be there. The first was to go look at a hobby shop, the second was to take a look at the recently opened HM Prison Gloucester as well as take a closer look at the harbour/docks. This particular post does not deal with that aspect of my visit, it will have a post all of it’s own once I have completed this post and added images to some of my other posts. Realistically I am going to amalgamate some of the images I took way back in 2015 with this one. 

The weather was a deciding factor for this trip, I was not really in the mood for an expedition, but the sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold so I grabbed my camera and headed for the City of Gloucester. For a change I did not go via Cheltenham but took the 71 bus straight from Tewkesbury. (£6.50 return). My planning for the trip really was based around finding the prison and shop, but as I was there early I decided to hit the harbour first. I will be honest though, I am not too much of fan of the city, but then I haven’t done too much exploring. The map on the left pretty much sums it up. The bus station is out of the picture but would be in the top right of the map had.   

 On one of my previous visits I did go to the local cemetery and looked around the harbour, but it was a grey day so not too much came of those visits. From what I can see the city really is formed around a cross of streets and spread outwards from there. As usual there is a mixed bag of old and new and all manner in between.

The hobby shop I was after is much further along and on the left hand side. I visited it on my way back. At the point where I am standing now I turned 180 degrees and headed in the general direction of the harbour.

Amongst the odd things I spotted were large customised statues of pigs. Unfortunately there was no mention of what the campaign was about, or who was responsible for the customisation.  Ah well they did make for interesting oddments to photograph and the images of the ones I saw are on the relevant page.

This is not the only street art in the city, there is this interesting depiction called “Spirit of Aviation” by Simon Stringer from 1999.

 And oddly enough, a Roman on a horse! 

Gloucester was founded in AD 97 by the Romans under Emperor Nerva (that’s him on the horse) as Colonia Glevum Nervensis, and was granted its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II. Parts of the Roman walls can be traced, and a number of remains and coins have been found, though inscriptions are scarce. In Historia Brittonum, a fabled account of the early rulers of Britain, Vortigern‘s grandfather, Gloiu (or Gloyw Wallt Hir: “Gloiu Long-hair”), is given as the founder of Gloucester.  In Brunswick Place there are two bronze reliefs set against the wall, and one shows the Romans doing what Romans did well.

Continuing on my stroll I encountered “St Michael’s Tower” which was once used as a tourist information centre. The tower was built in 1465 on the site of the nave of the previous church of St Michael the Archangel.  In the 1840s the old church was demolished, apart from the tower, and a new St Michael’s Church was constructed in 1851, it too closed in 1940, The main part of the church was demolished in 1956, but the tower was spared.

This area is also known as “The Cross” because it is the intersection of Northgate, Southgate, Eastgate and Westgate Streets. 

There are a number of church spires poking out above the rooftops, and one I returned to was St Mary de Crypt in Southgate Street. it was first recorded in 1140 as “The Church of the Blessed Mary within Southgate”. 

It still has it’s churchyard attached and that is a destination all on its own.

One really stunning item I saw was this wonderful scene set up against the wall of a “practical watchmaker”. I am not too sure what happens where the time comes for them to chime but you can bet it is awesome.

By now I was within smelling distance of the harbour, and I have dealt with it in better detail on it’s own blogpost. 

And, I dealt with the Prison on it’s own page too. 

My walk along the Severn took me to the site of the ruins of Llanthony Secunda Priory. Realistically it is a shell of a building and there was not much to see.

 A bit further on is the old Victorian farmhouse that is under conservation. It is a very pretty building and was part of what was then Llanthony Abbey Farm. 

Within the harbour you will find “Mariner’s Chapel”.

 I visited it in 2015, and it was really typical of a chapel that you would expect to find in a harbour. 

It is a simple building but you can feel the call of the open water within it’s walls.  

On my bucket list from 2015 was the War Memorial, and I visited that in 2015.

Then it was time to find out where the Prison was and I asked a passing policeman who had worked in the prison, and he said it was a very grim place. He also solved the one question that had been bugging me since I first photographed it in 2015. “What is this in aid of?”

It turns out that is not a drinking fountain but a urinal! That could explain the lack of a tap. It is marked “Gloucester Board of Health 1862” on the base, and I suspect it was walled when it was in use. 

Crossing out of the harbour area I passed the locks that would have led into the Main Basin of the harbour with it’s gates and bridge.

I found my hobby shop without too much looking, although it did not have what I wanted.

and that wrapped up my trip and it was time to head for the bus station and home. Gloucester was “in the bag”, but I suspect I will return one day, I really need to revisit the cemetery and of course take a look at the museum, but that may never happen. 

Random Images 2017 

Random  Images from 2015

© DRW 2015-2018. Created 03/06/2017

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 16:58

Navy Day

My Triang Minic collection has been quite a popular subject on this blog, in fact there are a number of pages related to my 1/1200 and 1/1250 scale waterline ships.  This page is really about some of the naval vessels that I have accumulated. Let me get this straight, modern warships do not really interest me, however, I do have a fondness for WW2 vessels as well as those strange pre-dreadnoughts that were in service when warships were a hodge podge of ideas with no real direction.

To start the ball rolling, I have managed to pay my hands on a few vessels of interest to me.

The first pair are members of the Daring Class of Destroyers: HMS Dainty and HMS Daring.

HMS Dainty is in front. Both these have been given a custom paintjob by their previous owner, and they made a great job of it too. 

The other pair that I acquired are: HMS Vigilant and HMS Virago

This pair are “V” Class frigates, Vigilant is the ship in front.  

I picked up HMS Whitby awhile ago, she is a Type 12 “Whitby” Class anti-submarine frigate.

as well as HMS Alamein, a “Battle” Class destroyer.

The modern Royal Navy does not have too many ships that make me want to swoon, but I really like the Duke Class frigates of which HMS Sutherland (F81) is one.

I have seen her one sister in real life, 

HMS St Albans

and HMS Westminster (F237), seen here alongside HMS Belfast in 2013.

I am in the market for an HMS St Albans and will look for her when I am bored. 

I also bought 4 “steam” tugs that were from the original Triang range. These had also been “customised” as naval tugs. 

One of my current projects is to convert a “modern” Triang steam tug into something else. I am not too keen on the looks of the modern tugs, but they do make interesting bases for conversions.

The middle vessel is a “modern” iteration and it is very different from an original tug, my conversion is the vessel on the left. When/if I finish it I will paste a pic of it.

My other acquisition is the former SS Australis in 1/1250 resin cast. She has been on hiatus because her sizing is wrong, but I decided to start work on her anyway. I was toying with converting her into another iteration but never did. It is early days for her still.

This afternoon I started to paint funnels and decks, and tomorrow will give a second coat to the hull.

Progress so far. First coat of funnels is done although I may lighten them a bit, sports deck is done and mast is mounted, however, I may have to redo the hull because the sheer line is not where I have painted it so will have to redo the hull. The problem with the ship is not only her length, but her hull height too, dropping the sheer line may leave very little grey hull below. And of course I hope that the white will overcoat the grey.

I have established the sheer line on this side of her, but must wait for it to dry before doing the other side and of course then straightening any bumps. Hooray for trimline! I must also make an “X” for each funnel, easy to do but difficult to get right.  I may end up redo-ing those X’s as they are not quite the way they should be.

I also acquired a Liberty ship 

as well as the famous WW2 Tanker Ohio, of Operation Pedestal fame 

The other ship that I dredged out was the Flower Class Corvette that gave me so many problems. I don’t see her in any of the posts that I have made, but in short the kit was a disaster and I eventually just finished it and put it on the shelf because I was really no longer interested in it. The paint job is half done and probably will never be completed. This is what she looks like.

However, I did not haul out the ships to take a few random shots, instead I sent them all back to their harbour and took some pics.

It was Navy Day today and the fleet was in.

Even HMS Vanguard was alongside, possibly to get her mast straightened? 

The blue cruiser is HMS Swiftsure 

and HMS Ark Royal was alongside too.

And then all of a sudden the fleet put to sea and we get a rare glimpse of HMS Bulwark and her escorts.

and a final battle group with HMS Ark Royal in it. 

Their manoeuvres complete, the fleet sailed back into their display case leaving me to clean up the mess.

However, there was still a coastal convoy to push through before lunch time…

The Flower Class Corvette in the image above I got from Mick Yarrow Miniatures

My real interest is in passenger ships and I did a diorama of them awhile back, so any more ship movements will not be happening until I have the energy to pack and unpack them all again.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 04/02/2017

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 16:42

That last voyage across the harbour

In March 1990 a group of us went down to Durban to see the arrival of the Cunard cruise ship Vistafjord arrive. By way of explanation, I was a member of what was then the Transvaal Branch of the World Ship Society. We would occasionally go down to Durban over a weekend to see ships. Many times it was to see a specific vessel with a visit organised, and it would usually incorporate a trip out on the pilot boat or one of the tugs. Most of the vessels we visited are listed on my ship visit book page at allatsea. These were the days of film so we were limited by how many pics we could take which depended on how much film we had or could afford to process. It was an expensive exercise, and I shot mostly slide film back then and conversions to digital media is not always successful. 

The subject of this post is about a short voyage we made across the harbour on board the dedger Ribbok. She was in her last days, and was laid up at the Ocean Terminal awaiting disposal. The berth she was in had to be vacated for Vistafjord, and we were “in the area” when the pilot arrived. He was an amiable Dutch guy and usually tolerated our puppy dog eyed pleading and would allow us on board.

On sea trials. (Image by Pete Bower)

On sea trials. (Image by Pete Bower)

Ribbok was a diesel electric suction dredger, built by Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow as Yard No 698, she was launched on 11 November 1961 and registered in Durban.  She was of 4594 grt, 1726 net, 5120 dwt. and just over 110 metres long with a beam of 18 metres and draught of just over 5,4 metres. (

She was a regular sight in Durban and I would have loved to have spent a day on her, but dredgers are working vessels and really would have not been an ideal way to spend a day. 

Entering the harbour after a days work

Entering the harbour after a days work

Ribbok alongside

We boarded Ribbok and took up position, I no longer recall where, but we always kept out of the way of the crew or pilots during their work on a ship. The lines were singled and we were soon on our way, dead ship, with a tug at the bow and possibly the stern. The pilot remarked that the poor old girl was in a poor condition and that was obvious from the many rusted areas and plated over decking.

A last voyage

The vessel literally on top of the tug is the Estrella Do Mar, a small ferry that used to run up towards Zanzibar and Mozambique, she ended up in Durban in later years and we always hoped she would do coastals but that never happened. 

Then we were tied up alongside and we disembarked. We all felt saddened to see this stalwart like this, but unfortunately like so many ships before her there comes a time when she has to sail away forever. Ribbok had very little time left, she was broken up in July 1990 at Alang.

The replacement for Ribbok was the RE Jones, and amongst my images is an image of her alongside Ribbok. 

Bibbok inboard, RE Jones outboard

Bibbok inboard, RE Jones outboard

Unfortunately the scanner chopped off the bows of the pair but in the background you can see the Achille Lauro in her short lived StarLauro livery which puts this image at December 1989. I don’t think Ribbok ever wore the new corporate livery and had her SAR&H funnel livery till the end.

RE Jones underway in Durban

RE Jones underway in Durban

And what about Vistafjord? I have to admit I did find her somewhat of a disappointment, and I only really appreciated her when I saw her as Saga Ruby in Southampton in 2013.

Vistafjord arriving in Durban. march 1990


Saga Ruby sailing from Southampton 2013

And so our short voyage slipped away into memory, to resurface during a discussion at our tug group. Good memories, but a sad one too.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 15/09/2016

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 16:37

Heritage Day: Bristol Docks

The last part of my Bristol excursion on the 3rd of October takes place inside Bristol Docks and was an unexpected bonus. However, I am going to use a mix of my 2014 images as well as images from this excursion as they are almost interchangeable (the sunshine ones are from 2104). My intention had been to walk along the dockside to capture images of the SS Great Britain from the opposite bank to where she is berthed but my priority changed when I saw a plume of moving steam on the opposite bank to where I was. It was at that point when I changed my mind and crossed over to that side of the harbour.  My approach was via the so called “Banana Bridge” which was originally erected as a temporary bridge in 1883 at another site. It is quite a striking bridge, and a reminder that footbridges need not be ugly. 
The difference between this time around and last time was I headed towards St Mary Redcliffe Church instead of straight to the harbour.  My original harbour entrance had been from an inner basin where an old lightship was berthed.

This led onto onto one of the first vessels of any size that I saw, and it was the 1959 built Thekla she is really a floating nightclub/bar/salon/venue. 
For some reason she reminds me of a small oceanographic research vessel, but the reality is that she was a very tired coaster that found a new life. 

It seems as if she has had a paintjob since 2014, and the original hull line is still visible.

Leaving Thekla behind the next vessel that I was after was the Balmoral, and I have covered her in a separate blogpost.

Astern of Balmoral were two old tugs, The John King being one of them
On this day she was out and about, and I managed a far off pic of her sailing, but got better images when she returned from her trip.

She is the last of Bristol’s biggest fleet and was built in 1935 for Kings Tugs Ltd. and was used on the Avon and Bristol docks until 1970.  The vintage steam tug Mayflower was berthed in front of her  in 2015 and she dates from 1861 and is the world’s oldest steam tug and the oldest ship afloat in Bristol (the Great Britain is in dry-dock so does not count).

On the weekend I started out on the opposite side of the harbour, because I wanted to see Mayflower, Balmoral and John King from across the water. As I got there John King sailed away and there was an odd looking boat alongside Mayflower.

It turns out that this odd looking boat is called Pyronaut and is a fire-float and was built in 1934!

Walking along the quayside I crossed the Pero’s Bridge with it’s collection of padlocks. Gee, where is my bolt cutter?

My next destination was the sailing ship Kaskelot.

She is somewhat of a TV and movie star, and luckily for me I saw her in 2014 and managed a better shot of her from where Mayflower was berthed.

It was while I was standing at Kaskelot that I saw the odd plume of steam and smoke from the other side of the harbour and I zoomed into it to see what it was.

Now not too long ago I was reading about “The Flying Bufferbeam“, which was a similar sort of steam loco. Could this be her? Photographing the Great Britain could wait, this was more important. I rang down for a full astern and headed to the other side of the harbour at full revolutions.  Walking down towards the steam engine I realised there was another source of steam doing the rounds, and that was just in front of the Bee is a 1970’s built supply tender. 
The thumping great steam crane is an interesting beastie on its own. She is a Fairbairn Steam Crane and she was built here in 1878 and was designed to lift heavy loads from ships and she can still lift 37 tons (or 7 African elephants)! She worked until 1974 when the docks closed. She is an impressive machine though, making loud trundling noises as she rotates on her platform. I may even have video of it, but have not worked through the video that I shot to see how much came out. Naturally the moment I hit the shutter she stopped moving! She has the distinction of being the only surviving Fairbairn steam crane. 
I was also now at the place were my errant steam engine was dashing hither and thither. In fact there were two steamers there, the first being Peckett No 1940 “Henbury”.
And the source of all the commotion was the Bagnall 2572 “Judy”

Judy was doing driver experience jaunts and that entailed a slow pull away, then a rapid dash down the line and an abrupt stop under a cloud of steam, and then backwards in a similar fashion. The unusual design of the loco was required to cope with some extremely tight curves, and a very low bridge under the Cornish Main Line close to where she served originally.

I watched this strange loco going up and down for awhile and then headed back towards Balmoral, pausing to watch the John King come alongside, followed by the Matthew which is a reconstruction of John Cabot’s ship

The design is a Caravel, and it hard to believe that ships of this size were capable of very long voyages, she is only 24 metres long, while John King is 19 metres.

There were also two classic vehicles at the harbour, the first was a Bristol flatbed truck

and the other was a 1961 built Bristol bus. That bus is the same age as I am! (and much better looking).



And then it was time to head to the Balmoral and see about getting on board her, but that is another blogpost on it’s own.

I had been extremely lucky to be in Bristol on this day, I saw so much and revisited a place that I wanted to come back to. I did not get to the Great Britain, but that’s reason enough for another trip. It only cost me 9 pounds to get there so it is very do-able for more trips in the future, but with winter closing in I suspect I may end up hibernating instead.

DRW ©  2015-2019. Images migrated 02/05/2016, originally created 05/10/2015.

Updated: 24/06/2019 — 19:18

Return to Bristol

I did my first trip to Bristol in January of 2014, and the main object of that exercise was to  have a look at Arnos Vale Cemetery and photograph as many of the CWGC graves that I could find in one expedition.  To be honest, I had no idea what the place was like, and the cemetery was my only goal at that point. I was pleasantly surprised though and a return trip to Bristol was on my list for action, although I did nothing about it until August this year when we made a detour to the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the city.
It was time to return, and on this fine foggy morning I groped my way to the station and boarded the train to Bristol Temple Meads. 
The temptation is great to use the original images from my 2014 trip, but on that day I had spectacular weather, on this day it was foggy and grey and not really photography weather. But, I persevered and so the images in this post will be from today. Fog and all!  The train runs from Great Malvern, Worcester, via Ashchurch for Tewkesbury, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucester, and then onwards to Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads. It took roughly 90 minutes although we did spend 15 of those standing still in Gloucester. 
The cemetery is roughly 30 minutes walk away, and well provisioned with a packet of chips and a sandwich I followed the Bath Road to my destination.

Actually I had 3 destinations in this direction because there are three cemeteries involved. My first goal was St Mary Redcliffe Churchyard, then Arnos Vale and finally Holy Souls Catholic Cemetery.  

When I had first visited St Mary Redcliffe Cemetery in 2014 I had been puzzled because I could not find the church associated with it, and there was no church in the cemetery either. At any rate, I had missed two graves there last time, and was fortunate to find one with not too much trouble, but the last one evaded me, and it probably always will. In many instances the missing graves are private memorials and the kerbs have sagged or the stones have toppled rendering any inscription illegible. Without any grave numbers on the graves themselves it becomes even more problematic. I know when I am beat though and I headed over the road to Arnos Vale.  
By now my shoes and socks were soaked by the wet grass, and I was going to have to squelch my way through the day like that. I should look at a pair of wellies, they may be suitable cemetery stompers.  Arnos Vale had not changed much, but the one major change that had been made from my previous visit was the installation of the original ledger stones in front of the screen wall at Soldiers Corner. 
These ledger stones were found in the crypt under the Anglican Chapel and were on the original graves that make up the grassed area in front of the Memorial. 
In 2014 these had not been found yet so I saw this area as a green patch, and now that have been replaced. Not all the ledgers still exist though, and some are not very legible. Generally there are 4 names on each stone, and number 675 includes the names of two South Africans: M Modlalaand HC Jones, The former a South African who served with the South African Native Labour Corps, and who died of Pthysis and was buried in this small triangle.  He is not the only South African buried here, Jacobus Molupe, Richard Baker and Stanley Jenkins are also buried here, and only the ledger with Molupe mentioned on it is missing. These stones are very historic and give us an early glimpse of what was done during the war to bury the many casualties that died locally. I know much more about these ledger stones now and you can read about the re-dedication of Soldiers Corner and the unveiling of restored and new ledgers in that plot in the post I did in 2018
My list of names was a long one though, and I had covered a lot of the cemetery previously so would be going over my tracks, but I found an additional 11 previously un-photographed graves and these will now be added to the record. I did not want to spend too much time at Arnos Vale though because I had other plans, but more about those later. 
The Cross of Sacrifice in the distance is the one by Sailor’s Corner and you can see that blue skies do not exist. I had forgotten how tangled the undergrowth was in this cemetery, and a few excursions into the brush was enough to remind me. 
I headed down towards the chapel area as my bladder was reminding me of my priorities. As I walked past the |Anglican Chapel I realised that the one door was open so I thought I would pop in for a look. The cemetery is currently having an exhibition about the war and its consequences, but I was really more interested in what else was in this space. 
The bays on either side contain coffins behind slabs, and the other bays were in use for the exhibition and some contained cremation urns, old stonework and other bits and pieces probably associated with the cemetery.  
It was an interesting glimpse into this building, but I suspect that there must be more than this small space. Co-incidentally, it was in this crypt where the ledger stones were found.  
Time was marching and I found the loo and it had been created in the area of the old 1928 opened crematorium by the other other chapel.  
A small exhibition was in place showing the furnace and associated equipment. The windlass on the left leads to the lift that was used to lower the coffin from the chapel above into the area where the crematoria was. Arnos Vale was able to survive because of the crematorium, as did West Norwood in London. Like it or not, cremation was a source of revenue, and this was sorely needed in a cemetery that was filling up and having to compete with other cemeteries in the area. I was also very fortunate that the chapel above was open (technically they were holding a wedding reception there) so I had a quick look.
Having taken my pics I was ready to start making tracks again, my destination being Holy Souls Catholic Cemetery next door. On my way out I did some casual photography and managed to find a wonderful child statue hidden in the bushes.  
I had not seen her before and she is on my list when I do a return visit one day. Unfortunately the lack of sunshine was not great for photography, and I had too many other plans to be able to spend too much time in Arnos Vale. My previous visit to Holy Souls had been a quick one too. It is a difficult place to photograph and the graves are stacked up a hill. 
Fortunately most of what I had found originally had been clustered around a central screen wall and I was missing 11 graves. They were not where I hoped they were and I headed towards the other end to start my search. By sheer fortune I encountered a grave I had been at previously and it had a number which placed in slap bang in the middle of a section, and working my way to either side of the section I was able to wrap up 5 graves that were in the section. Alas though, the others were probably scattered amongst the balance of the population. 

It was time to leave. I had under 20 graves in total completed, so I have to return one day. But my time here was at an end as I wanted to go the harbour and photograph whatever was floating in it, and I would do that via St Mary Redliffe. This is the church that probably ties into the cemetery I had been to first. I turned my bows towards the Bath Road and in the general direction of the harbour. I would pass the church on my way. I had scheduled a train for 14.42, and it was now just after 12 so I had roughly 2 hours left to see a lot.

My day to visit Bristol was a fortuitous one as there was some sort of heritage festival on the go and the harbour was suddenly the right place to be, although I will deal with that over the page

DRW © 2015-2019.  Created 03/10/2015, images recreated 05/03/2016, more images added 26/01/2017
Updated: 24/06/2019 — 19:25

Mariner’s Chapel, Gloucester

One of the many churches I have seen in my travels is the Mariner’s Chapel in Gloucester. The connection between Mariner’s and Gloucester does seem tenuous, however, Gloucester used to have a thriving harbour, although now it is more about floating gin palaces and narrow boats.   

The chapel is a very uncomplicated building and is seemingly lost amongst the former warehouses that surround it. Admittedly there is much less traffic around now, but that could also mean that much of the former congregation is also gone. 

The building inside is almost spartan compared to some of the churches I have visited, but it is this simpleness that makes it special.

The history of the church is told on their website, and it is still an active parish church and on both occasions when I was there the door was wide open. 

The building was designed John Jaques and it has a nave and a bell tower with the chancel  at the west end instead of the normal east. It was built by a local builder; William Wingate and work began in 1848 and was completed a year later. The opening ceremony occurring on the 11th of February 1849 and Rev James Hollins was appointed the first chaplain.

It is a grade II listed building and in a very good condition, even the pulpit has a nautical theme!

There is a small War Memorial, but I have not looked into the context of the names on it yet. obviously there is a connection to Gloucester, but what is the connection to the chapel? 

Technically the church is what is known as a “proprietary chapel”, ie. a chapel that originally belonged to a private person. 

The High Altar is very simple, and if you did not know otherwise you would think it was a writing desk. There are three stained glass windows above it.

And that is the church in a nutshell. It is worth looking in if ever you are in the area, it is not a cathedral but I am sure the congregation from the docks were more welcome here than they would have been at Gloucester Cathedral.

DRW 2017-2018, Retrospectively created 04/11/2017

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 16:28

Time to go.

I am now in my last month in Southampton; from next month I will be living in Salisbury, and to be honest I am not looking forward to leaving this city. I have been here since April and have made it my home from home. I have enjoyed looking at the ships and visiting the cemeteries. I have walked many kilometres, seen many things, and experienced “life at the seaside”. 
It is not a perfect place, if anything it is somewhat of a tired, worn out place. Full of old buildings, strange road layouts, and peculiar idiosyncrasies.
Somewhere in its history it tried to throw away the old and bring in the new, and in doing so lost a lot of its own heritage. World War 2 also caused a lot of havoc with the city, destroying a lot of the heritage with as much gusto as the politicians who made the decisions as to what to destroy and what to keep.  The harbour today is a mere shade of its former busy self, although it is still a working and effective harbour. Possibly it is a much more efficient harbour? 
I had a unique glimpse into what goes on inside it, and experienced the seemingly chaotic period between when a cruise ship arrives and when it sails.
I have been cold, wet, hot, sticky, and almost blown off the quayside by the wind. I have seen pigeons and seagulls, often in strange situations…..
I have seen people of all ages, races and persuasions.  I have walked where the Titanic sailed into history, 
and seen the effects of the disaster in the many monuments and plaques scattered around the city. I have often heard the soft echo of a church bell on a Sunday, and explored some of the interiors of these grand old places of worship, 
I have heard the noisy whine of the street sweeping machine, and the muted rumble of a ships engines, and the roar of aircraft flying overhead. All around me people have gone hither and thither, often caught up in the mindless pre-occupation of their cell phones. I have seen children laugh and  play and cry and sulk, with parents that are often indifferent to the small munchkins that are growing up in front of them. I have almost been run over by people on bicycles and mobility scooters. Cars have tried to run over me, and large trucks have almost bowled me over with their slipstream.
I have seen the season change from spring to summer, and the sun rising earlier in the morning, and setting later at night. 
And, as I prepare to leave the city that cycle is reversing and soon winter will be upon us and the glorious sunny days will be gone for another year. I have seen the women go from drab clothing to almost full on nudity, and I still shake my head at the fake tans and abundant tatoos. I have seen the after effects of a nights drinking in the park, and the detritus left behind after a festival. I have stood on the quayside till late at night, waiting for a ship to sail, watching the scudding clouds as they evolve and move onwards.
I have seen the tide come in, and watched the waves lap on the shore, in the timeless way that they always have.
I have stood where the mighty Itchen River meets the River Test, and seen the effect that these two rivers have on the city, and how important they are to commerce and leisure.
I have walked the ancient walls of the city and questioned myself as to what it must have been like so many centuries ago.
I have stood beneath the Bargate, once the gateway to the city, and today a mere ancient building with no function except as a landmark.
I have remembered those who died in wars at the cenotaph, 
and I have visited the old cemetery where Southampton buried it’s dead.
I have seen and done many things since April, and when I finally ride the train for the last time I will be closing off this period of my life and will be starting a new one. I have not had full time employment since May 2011, and on Monday I am starting my first new job since then. Its going to be hard to make that adjustment to my life once again.
So, if things do quieten down a bit on this blog, you will know why, and you will understand that I have left the city I always wanted to see and am now in another, and hopefully will find much there to interest me, just as I did in Southampton.
Many of the places I visited were with my landlord, he was a true friend who helped me at a point where I hit rock bottom, if it had not been for him I would probably not be here today. Thank you Bob, I will never forget what you did for me. 
As they say in the classics: It has been quite a ride…
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 11/04/2016
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:38

Hullo Southampton

Today, 7 April 2013 I packed my bags and headed for the port of Southampton. Like with London I do feel a connection to this city and its port, probably because so much of my maritime literature featured Southampton very strongly, and of course this is where the ill fated Titanic sailed from. When I did my original planning before coming to the UK I had listed Southampton as the destination where I would go once I left London, 
Of course ships will rate very high on my list of things to do/see while I am in this city. In fact, in a short period of six hours I saw two cruise ship sailings already. The first being P&O’s Ventura.


Followed shortly thereafter by Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.
Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Many years ago, during the 1950’s and 60’s these self same Western Docks would see rows of major passenger vessels, Our own Union-Castle Line would have had at least two ships in port every week.

Union-Castle ships in Southampton

So many years later the character of the docks has changed, containerisation has killed the traditional cargo ship and cruise liners now berth where once passenger ships from all around the world plied their trade.
And of course the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary would have dominated every other ship afloat when they were calling. Alas those days have passed and today we have to take what we can get. The two cruise ships above don’t really do much for me, I have seen much better looking. And, by the looks of it there are quite a few arrivals and sailings scheduled for the next month. On top of that is the anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic from these very docks 
How long will I be here? till 8 May probably, after that? who knows. I am going to do my job hunting here and hopefully be lucky, or will have to move on. Either way though, I intend to ship watch and visit the Hollybrook Cemetery to pay my respects to our fallen Mendi Men who are commemorated there, and I know that will be a sad occasion.
Till the next time I visit my blog, I shall leave you with photograph of SS Shieldhall, a really nice looking vessel that is more up my line. At any rate, it will be a change from cemeteries.
I finally left Southampton in October 2013, it had been a fascinating few months for me, and this prequel does not even touch the surface of what I saw and did. Follow the story from here, there is much to see, and much to discover.
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 29/03/2016.
Updated: 02/02/2018 — 07:56
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