365 ~ 7th ~ 13th February

Into a new week, away from the trauma of selfies, and into the following week of dreaded landscapes. Dreaded because I’m such a fairweather photographer, I don’t like going out in the rain, it makes me miserable, and who wants to be miserable doing a hobby?? But luckily snow happened so I did manage to get out and about. I was hampered a bit by working and getting home too late in the beginning of the week, even though it’s getting lighter in the evenings. I made do with urban landscapes from my windows, but it’s not like this is an exam so it doesn’t really matter. Anyhoo, on with the show!

Day 38 ~ Surprise ~ This week’s theme is landscape photography, which covers a lot of photos with different sub themes–natural landscape, cityscape, urban landscape, abstract, to name just a few. Some mornings you look out the window and are surprised that the sun is going to be shining and it is going to be a beautiful day.  What surprise in the landscape can you show us today? As it happened there were no surprises at all! It was grey and moody all day and still that way when I came home from work. There’d been a smattering of snow/sleet but nothing major.

No surprise

Day 39 ~ Macro Monday ~ Rough ~How do we combine ‘landscape’ with ‘macro’ and also tie in the prompt word “rough”?  Impossible?  Nothing is impossible! I took my camera and macro lens to work with me, there’s a field next to our building and a college behind it and I thought I might find something there in my lunch time. I was quite chuffed with the result.


Day 40 ~ Ambience ~ Light can set the mood or tone of your image. Just think how the ambience of the day can change from sunrise to sunset. Bright days can feel enchanting, cheerful, even optimistic whereas a low light day often feels dreary, moody or even mysterious.  As you go through your day, take notice of the landscape around you at various times. How does the ambience of the day change? Do you prefer the morning or evening light?  I went for evening light due to aforementioned working, and took a night shot with the Iphone, not great quality but quite ambiotic I think!


Day 41 ~ Petal ~ We don’t always have the opportunity to capture a typical “beautiful” something, but remember that you will always have the opportunity to capture what’s beautiful from your day.  What petals do you have access to today? Haha petals in February in Northern England, not going to happen. I took my camera for a walk over to the marshland across the way and some petals from the flowers Phil got me the other week. I scattered some on the frozen marsh ponds and took a few shots but didn’t really care for them, plus it felt a bit like cheating! I liked the look of the bullrushes though so I used my lensbaby to blur the edges and isolate them, and they’ll have to stand in for petals.

petal (not 🤣)

Day 42 ~ I think landscape week is the perfect theme for today’s word, spectacular.  We’ve all seen amazing landscape photos that awe us.  I bet there are plenty of magnificent sites in your area.  Show us what spectacular looks like to you. Off to the coast with Phil to have a walk along the cliff face. I was hoping for big splashy wave crashes against the rocks but it wasn’t that kind of day, in the end I used a shot of the beach and Trow rocks. Not sure it’s ‘spectacular’ but I like it.


Day 43 ~ Chilly ~ Today your challenge is to capture a chilly landscape. That could include snow, or ice, or post processing magic. Well any of the shots for this week would count for chilly, but Phil and I went on a walk around the woodlands near us, then I had too many photo’s to choose from!


Day 44 ~ Resourceful ~ Landscape photography is a wide open subject, both literally and figuratively.  As the photographer, we have to decide the intended subject, message, or purpose of the image we shoot, beyond being just a pretty picture.  As you photograph a landscape today, do so with intention.  You may also want to try a “less is more” approach and see what happens.  You may be pleasantly surprised! Well that flumoxed me. Resourceful. Hmm “Think of resourceful people as “full of resources,” or tools for coming up with solutions. They adapt well to new or difficult situations and they are able to think creatively. For example, if a snake gets loose in the pet store, a resourceful person will be able to figure out how to lure it back into its cage again“. Really??? I’d run a mile! Well there’s no snakes or pet stores in the vicinity so I had a wander over to the marshlands again and took some pictures there. I found this tree/bush thing with bobbles on it that reminded me of milk chocolate Lindors and I figured whatever the were they would have been a food resource for birds.


Well that’s another week gone by, and now we are into a colour week again. This time it’s to be pink. (I’m really not a pink kind of person so bear with me!)

and a little treat for any landlubbers, a few seconds of seashore sound 🙂

Souter Lighthouse ~ March 2019

The History Bit

On the coast near the village of Marsden on the outskirts of South Shields, stands the rather magnificent looking Souter Lighthouse. This lighthouse was the first in the world to be designed and built specifically to use AC (alternating electric current) and was the most technically advanced lighthouse of its day. Opening in 1871 it was described as ‘without doubt one of the most powerful lights in the world’.  Originally planned to be built on Souter Point, from where it gets its name, it ended up being built on Lizard Point which had higher cliffs and therefore better visibility.  As there was already a Lizard Lighthouse in Cornwall, they didn’t bother to rename it.

The lighthouse was definitely needed by the time it was up and running. Prior to that there had been several shipwrecks at Whitburn Steel, (the name of that bit of coast) due to the underlying dangerous reef. In 1860 alone 20 wrecks had occurred, and it was known as the most dangerous coastline in the country, with an average of 44 wrecks for each mile.

The lighthouse didn’t use incandescent bulbs, but instead used carbon arcs, and the 800,000 candle power light could be seen for 26 miles. The main lens array consisted of a third-order fixed catadioptric optic surrounded by a revolving assembly of eight vertical condensing-prisms which produced one flash every minute. There was extra light to highlight hazardous rocks to the south which was powered using light diverted (through a set of mirrors and lenses) from the landward side of the main arc lamp.

In 1914 it was decided to give up the pioneering electric light and it was converted to more conventional oil lamps with a new, much larger bi-form first-order catadioptric revolving optic, which is still there today.  Then in 1952 it was converted back to mains electricity and the revolving optic was run by electrically run clockwork until 1983.  Sadly the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1988, but continued to serve as a radio navigation beacon up until 1999 when it was finally closed.  No need for lighthouses now what with GPS and satellite navigation taking their place.

Souter Lighthouse was never automated and remains much in its original operational state, apart from maintenance and updates to its electrical apparatus and lanterns.

Souter Lighthouse

The grassed area north of Souter was once a thriving community of 700 people. Built as a mining village in 1874 to house the workers at the new Whitburn Colliery.  The best coal seams in the North East extend out into the North Sea here and Whitburn Coal Company sunk two shafts south of the lighthouse between 1874 – 1877 with the first coal brought out in 1881. By 1898 it was producing 2,600 tons of coal per day. The colliery finally closed in 1968. The reclaimed land is now Whitburn Coastal Park.

Whitburn Coastal Park

The Lighthouse is owned by the National Trust now and you can go and have a look around inside and climb the top. The engine room, light tower and keeper’s living quarters are all on view. Two of the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages are used as National Trust holiday cottages. The lighthouse is said to be haunted, and has even featured on British TV’s Most Haunted ghost-hunting programme. 🙄

We went first to look around the inside of the lighthouse, there’s a lot of gubbins!

copper gubbins

lens and lamp

One of the volunteers was there when we were, and was twiddling knobs and handles to build up the air pressure that drives the foghorn, which still works.


more gubbins

going up

When the pressure was right the Mr.Foghorn told us to follow him so we could set off the foghorn.

Sophie with the foghorn button.

Sophie hit the button and the foghorn nearly blew my ears off!

One of the old bulbs.

We saw the keepers living quarters.

After that we climbed the very steep spiral staircase to get to the top, the last section was just a ladder! But the views were great!

The Foghorn

It only takes a morning to do the lighthouse, so in the afternoon we went off to Cleadon, which apart from being where the posh people live, has an ice~age duck pond and a gothic grotto. So stay tooned for that!


South Shields Food Fair ~ May 2018 ~ part 2

More photo’s from the fair,

Never mind Bizarre, bacon flavoured chocolate is all kinds of wrong! 🤮


Dragon’s Breath (which is what you’d have if you ate bacon chocolate.)


No damn reaping here! Scary sauce!


a mini Bar-B-Q


I had a go at ‘doing a Joblin’ which is to say, trying to do people, (which I’m mostly rubbish at as I don’t like pointing my camera at people I don’t know in case they lump me one), a bit like street photography (like my mate John Joblin does on his excellent blog HERE) only in a park. 😀  Also I made up what I thought their faces are showing, you can do your own 🙂

Are you sure??


That’s it. I’m getting a divorce.


Ow! Hot! Hot! Hot!


I’m too cool to be here really, but there might be fit birds.


What the heck is that girl doing?


I can do it! C’mon legs!!


Good grief, she has the grace of a drunken camel, I can’t bear to watch.


YES!!! Perfect 10! Go me! Olympics here I come!


Crap! Me leg’s escaping!


That’s the end of our trip to the fair.

Full album can be found HERE

and as always the photo’s here are clickable to embiggen


Stay tooned

South Shields Food Fair ~ May 2018

Sophie and I love a good food fair, most of the stalls have free tasters which we take advantage of whenever possible, we buy stuff you can’t really get in Tesco’s and have a cool lunch from one of the stalls.  I love to unleash the camera on some unsuspecting people for a change too. Back in May, we went to the one at Bent’s Park on the seafront and were not disappointed with the wares available.

Say Cheese!!! (The orange & whisky cheese was yummy!)


Interesting chocolate. Forgot to buy some :/


These otter go well with tonic!


The garlic lady. (Bought a peeler/mincer/storage jar from here. 🙂


and the rest!! 🙂


The Tempted


The Temptress


Making friends


Buy Two…


The War on Mundane begins

That’ll do for part 1 I think, don’t want you falling asleep.

Stay tooned for Part 2 coming soon to a screen near you. 🖥


Camel Parade South Shields~ Dec 2017 ~ Part 2

Part 1 HERE

After the drummers finished it was time to walk down and find a good spot to set up the tripods for the firework display over the sea. On the way I took a couple of shots of the illuminated people and strange looking Father Christmases

I have no idea what he represented. 🙂

I would be scared if they came down the chimney!

Normal (ish) people getting chips and gravy 🙄

So on to the fireworks, which I only get to practice once a year at this event, so this is my 2nd ever attempt. Marginally better than my 1st attempt last year, but that’s not saying much!

Full album HERE

and a little video so you can hear the snap, crackle & pop 🙂

Yep, that was it!

Stay tooned dear readers, though I’m not sure for what as yet, no sign of Sophie so far this year, so that’s the last of the reports for now.

In the meantime I shall plod along alone on Fraggles Other Place  so pop along and say hi if you miss me, which of course you will! 🤪

Camel Parade~South Shields~ Dec 2017~ part 1

2017 saw the 4th year that the Camel Parade has been an event in South Shields, Sophie and I went for the first time last year a few photo’s of which I posted HERE, so this year we made a return trip knowing what to expect.  It involves 3 camels with their handlers and riders dressed up as wise men, parading the length of Ocean Road, which is quite a long old road, followed by stilt walkers and a drum group called Sparks! It’s been controversial as the animal rights group PETA, who I have a lot of time for usually, have decreed it bad, and say that camels shouldn’t be used for public entertainment. I kind of agree with the sentiment, but really, all they do is walk the camels down the road, and then put them back in their vehicle and bugger off.  They don’t get prodded or poked or stand around being gawped at. PETA Campaigns Strategist Luke Steele said: “Using live animals in these sorts of events sends a damaging message to young people that animals are little more than living props”, according to our local newspaper, with one of the comments underneath being “it’s disgraceful that anyone should find this acceptable.  It’s not about the climate, it’s about the crowds, noise and the basic lack of respect enough to use animals for our entertainment. Animals are sentient beings, they are here for their own purpose, not for human monsters to use and abuse as they wish.  It’s archaic and needs to be stopped!”  I have to say the human monsters, particularly the baby monsters loved the whole shebang, and this monster doesn’t get to photograph many camels in our neck of the woods so was happy to see them.  I expect eventually the council will give in and the camels will come no more.

A lot of monsters turned up for the parade, and luckily it didn’t rain.

The trees along Ocean Road were all lit up

and the kiddies all waiting for the show to begin

the camels came first

so fluffy!

they were followed by stilt walkers I think representing the 3 shepherds

and this guy who was I think, the star of Bethlehem

then “The Creative Seed” wagon came, but I’m not sure what that was all about!

and these were followed by my favourite part, the Sparks! drum group

at the bottom of the road a stage was set up which Sparks! ascended and then played a cracking set of drum tunes. Well not tunes really but whatever it is that drums do without other instruments being about.

they somehow illuminate themselves and the drums and the whole thing is quite exciting to watch

stay tooned for the 2nd part when we see the firework display!

(pictures clickable for embiggening)


Tynemouth Murder Mystery Tour ~Part 2

Part 1 HERE

Tynemouth Boating lake was made in Victorian times, you can row around it and it’s home to swans and ducks and other watery birds, and as one of our clues was found there I took a few shots , there was a dramatic sky that day!

These chaps run the boat hiring.

Police box 16 which has been up for sale since 2015 and as far as I know is still available!


Part of our quest involved a long walk along the coast, in the picture below you can see South Shields and Herd Groyne lighthouse

a panorama of the same view, these are taken from the Collingwood statue

This chap was a member of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and is taken outside of their museum, he kindly pointed to the clue for us 🙂

Commanding the attention of all shipping on the Tyne is the giant memorial to Lord Collingwood, Nelson’s second-in-command at Trafalgar, who completed the victory after Nelson was killed. Erected in 1845, the monument was designed by John Dobson and the statue was sculpted by John Graham Lough. The figure is some 23 feet (7.0 m) tall and stands on a massive base incorporating a flight of steps flanked by four cannons from The Royal Sovereign – Collingwood’s ship at Trafalgar. That’s Sophie on the steps.


That’s part 2 done, more yet to come, stay tooned 🙂

Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum~part 2

Part 1 HERE

The reconstructed Roman Barracks show how the soldiers lived at the time when the fort was in use.  The first room you come to shows how the barracks are actually built, daub and wattle on a wicker frame.


The rest of the rooms show the soldiers home life.



The commanding officers house is really well done.















Many of the local schools have day trips to the fort, and whilst I was there a group were in getting some bootcamp training for legionnaires.





The kids loved it. This week the Fort has been awarded £150,000 funding boost for a re-development scheme, so I’ll be going back to see how it develops. I didn’t take any photo’s in the museum part, which has lots of excavated roman finds in it, because the lighting is atrocious (it has to be to keep the artefacts safe), but it’s well worth a visit.







Fraggle report ~ Arbeia Roman Fort & Museum, Sept 2016, part 1

The History bit….

The ancient Romans certainly left their mark across the world.  Hadrian’s Wall was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in 122 AD in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britains.

The Roman fort at Arbeia once guarded the entrance to the river Tyne and served as a supply centre, receiving goods from across the North Sea and along the east coast to supply the thousands of Roman troops stationed along Hadrian’s Wall.  The foundations of granaries, barracks and the headquarters building can be clearly made out and the site museum houses a fine collection of objects found during the on-going programme of excavations at the site.  Part of the garrison at one time was a squadron of specialist boatmen from the banks of the river Tigris in what is now Iraq.  A squadron of Spanish cavalry was also stationed here. Finds from the site illustrate the cosmopolitan nature of its changing population.  Arbeia Roman Fort has stunning full-scale reconstructions of original buildings including the commander’s house, a barrack block and a gatehouse providing a unique and inspiring insight into Roman military life.

And I live 20 minutes away from it, so back in May on a sunny day, went to visit.

The gatehouse
The gatehouse


Situated in Baring Street, South Shields, the modern town has grown around the ancient fort.










The view of the fort layout from the top of the gatehouse.  The white buildings just right of centre are the reconstructed barracks, which we’ll look at in part 2.


and how it would have looked back in the day









I went back to South Shields tonight, as last night on my way back from the river I spotted these park lights.











Day 347~366

Phil’s on night shift this week, and the temperature is quite mild, so took a trip into South Shields and shot the Port of Tyne from our side of the river, lots of pretty lights and reflections. Better if you click on the picture to embiggen it I think.



Day 337~366

This evening Sophie and I went to South Shields to attend the Camel parade, a christmassy thing with stilt people, drummers, fireworks and stuff. Now before anyone gets excited about camels, when the parade came down they were travelling so fast I hit the wrong button on my camera and didn’t get a decent shot of one. There was a herd of people following behind and we got swamped into it and couldn’t run to get in front of them and try again.  So no camels in this post 😦   But I did get a few shots of stilt walkers



and some of the drummers, they were amazing!


and learned that I have no idea how to shoot fireworks, I can see a youtube tutorial coming up!




of course, all these belong to my ‘light’ theme this month, so am going to choose the top one as my fave for the day. When I go through the rest of the photo’s if there are anymore decent ones, there’ll be a fraggle report for next year.