Well it’s seems like an age since I last posted, so I thought my snippet of a Chepstow Castle door (which dates back to the 11th Century) would be an apt header!
I would just like to wish all my new friends on WordPress Blogs (and any other Blogs for that matter) a very happy Christmas and a healthy & prosperous New Year.
The weather in Wales is much like the rest of the UK at the moment there are floods everywhere, and more rain than we have had in a 100 years. But it doesn’t appear to have deterred the shoppers, from the TV news I see that the High Street and the Internet have all had a last minute boost to their sales. And good luck to them – it didn’t come from my house!
I have a number of plans for the New Year, whether they will come to fruition or not is another thing. One never knows what is around the corner, good or bad? But if all goes according to plan, I intend to finally publish my PhotoBook on “My Time with the King of Skiffle“. I have quite a lot of unpublished pics of Lonnie Donegan (Does your Chewing gum Lose its Flavour) during the time I was with him from about 1968 to 1973. I am sure there will not be a lot of interest out there, but I know there is a click of hard fans who would welcome it. Besides, I feel it would be a shame if the pics didn’t see the light of day.
I also have a number of photos, also unpublished of other entertainers which I guess would be another book. Pics of ABBA during their sound check at the Royal Albert Hall in 1978. I was the only photographer allowed in – all down to CBS Clout – nothing to do with photography skills. And lots of photos taken at private gatherings, none of which I will mention here because I am not a ‘PAP’ and I will ask permission to publish, just out of politeness really.
When I say late what I really mean is LAzY! Well kinda. I’m not naturally lazy in fact I’m the opposite, I need to be doing something all the time, otherwise it tends to have a significant impact on my frame of wellbeing. So I am continually doing something, admittedly it is usually in front of a computer and if not then it’s behind the lens (hopefully).
I did mange to actually get out with the camera this past week just for an hour – I have been behind the lens in the studio every day. I decided to visit my local Castle and Country Park (Caldicot) which is really only 2 miles from where I live. It was really enjoyable, I was amazed at how many people were out during the week. It was nice to see them taking advantage of the facility, after all it has been there since about the year 1011. Henry the VIII was rumoured to have stayed at the castle on his way somewhere. I have been fortunate enough to use the inside of the castle for a number of photo shoots. The last with Queenie Mae earlier this year for her Album Cover.
The Autumn colours were truly awesome and I was fortunate enough to capture a couple of colourful shots.
I am now preparing for my ‘dreaded’ birthday next weekend. Age never ever bothered me much not until I reached 65, then in common with many other men no doubt, I began to ‘think’ about age. I was suddenly classed as an OAP, and Old Age Pensioner. But yet I didn’t feel like one thank God! Well that was 6 years ago, so you can imagine how I feel now! And don’t you just hate it when people say “ah…Age is just a number” one will usually find that those persons’ number is under 30!
But having said that I am grateful for relatively good health and I am able to combine some photographic work with looking after and caring for my darling wife of 38 years, although we have been together since the week we met, on the Englebert Humperdinck Summer Show, so that’s 43 years. Her MS of 17 years continues to progress but she does a fantastic job of dealing with it, much better than I could ever do.
Ok…I promise I will post again before Christmas (it says here) but just in case, I hope you will all have everything you wish for, for yourselves and your loved ones.
I know, it’s been an age in between posts! But I have finally found a few minutes to jot something down.
During my recent trip to the Golden Valley, I was fortunate enough to actually get out and explore the immediate vicinity, (my apologies if I repeat myself here and there).
You will recall that I went to a village in the Valley known as Vowchurch. Well this time out I went in the opposite direction and visited Peterchurch. Then the next time went back to Vowchurch and then on to the next little village which really was like stepping back in time. However, the first thing that I saw as I entered Peterchurch was a Second WW US Army Ambulance up on a ramp! Not something I expected to find in the depths of darkest Herefordshire.
Kind of weird really and something that made me stop in my tracks and just look at it, and wondered who would have driven it etc.
Immediately opposite the truck was the church of Peterchurch. This was a bigger one than the previous church I had visited but part of the same group (not the correct term I know) and administered by the same clergy. In front of the church was a magnificent example of an ancient Yew tree. The tree is recorded as being at least 850 years old! Apparently, in the Middle Ages many of the churches were used as a refuge and ‘forts’ as the villages were regularly raided by Celtic warriors from over the border in Wales. The main weapon of the day was the bow and arrow and, what wood do you think the bows were made from? Yes absolutely correct Yew. So that it is why in most of the church yards in the UK you will find a really old Yew tree in the yard.
The next village was back to Vowchurch and then on to the old village of Turnastone. As I entered the village it was just like stepping back in time, the first thing I saw was an old farmhouse. It was pretty old but also it was empty. What once was obviously a magnificent family home, was now just sitting there rotting away. From what I could gather it appeared the farm business was another victim of the current economical downturn that is affecting everyone.
Turnastone Court really would have been a beautiful place to live back in the day, and its garden backed on to the little River Dore. However, if I thought this was quaint, I wasn’t any where ready for what I was to see next.
It was almost like stepping onto and Ealing Studios British Film Set. It was absolutely wonderful, well it was for me, I must have take about 60 pics of the place from every angle.
I eventually came to St Margaret’s church and I went in side, it was a sweet little church and once again steeped in history. I took a number of photos many of which are still in the workflow but I will show them as soon as. Meanwhile, I will leave you with just one more pic. This was one I took of a memorial plaque on the wall inside the church.
It is written in old English where the ‘S’ looks like an ‘f’ and the Stonemason would abbreviate words to suit, as he was engraving to ensure it all fitted on the stone. The way that I read it is that young John Roberts Junior died just after Christmas on December 29th 1768 at the age of 22. Then just 12 days later his wife Catherine who was 25 also died as did their daughter Ann. I couldn’t find out anything out about the family or why they perished, but the Plague and the Pox were around at that time along with all the other diseases of the day, and obviously without any real pharmaceuticals to treat the illnesses with.
The poem at the bottom reads: In youthful years through pain and grief, we here retreat and find relief. Waiting in hope out of this dust, to rise and reign among the just.