A Time of Change

The British Isles  – Autumn 2022.

‘Keep Calm & Who is the United Kingdom’s Prime MinisterToday?’

For a variety of reasons I spent several weeks in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland in Autmn 2022.   The tone was set when within 4 hours of landing we learnt that Queen Elizabeth had died.   Drama continued unabated for weeks.  Two Monarchs, 3 Prime Ministers, countless other Ministers, financial and political turmoil and a Pound that simply collapsed.. and more.

Fortunately I was reminded that the UK and the Republic of Ireland remain  fascinating and beautiful places.  

Click on photographs to enlarge.

York Minster 8th September 2022

Just after arriving in York from our flight, we stretched our legs and did a bit shopping and whilst strolling by the Minster, noticed a few ladies sobbing, men in dark suits arriving and even an Army chap on hand.  We quickly learnt it had moments earlier been announced that the Queen had died.  For a while the nation – and media – was united.

Rochester Cathedral & Castle

Rochester in Kent, by the way has Englands second oldest cathedral, so it was right that it was a center of mourning for days after the Queens passing.

Last Of The Summer Wine

Overlooking Cardigan Bay Wales, from Criccieth.

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Weddings and Stately Homes

Two wonderful weddings in Stately Homes gave a chance for my wife to pretend that ‘she belonged’ for a short time.

The Pubs & Pub Signs of England

Despite on line entertainment and other distractions and a culling of the numbers of Pub’s they remain, in many places, an integral part of community life.



Set on The Medway, with a castle and cathedral and an old lively center, it was a place that Charles Dickens called home for several years.

 The ‘Boys Walking Weekend ‘ (BWW)

Nowadays inaptly named –  as the walking is limited, we don’t have to do it at weekends and frankly, we are not boys in the strict sense.

 This year we are found on the Ffestiniog Steam Railway platform in Porthmadog, west Wales.

Porthmadog, Wales

Early morning setting for the first steam train of the day heading to the platform.

Porthmadog, West Wales

On a bright September morning the train to Caernarfon waits to depart.

Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

It is difficult to comprehend that at Whitby Abbey in 664 AD a synod, or religious meeting, took place in this really remote town, which decided when Easter was to be observed.  

Weddings and Stately Homes

Here is a rare self portrait – and in suit too.

In the Library.

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Full Moon over England

A full moon lights up the church in the grounds of Staunton Harold Hall, Derbys.

Seafront Houses

Brightly kept seafront houses at the Welsh town of Criccieth.

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Melbourne Hall, England

Electricity Bills was a main topic of conversation as prices multiply.  Even the owners of Stately Homes who run these places as hotels and event venues were talking about it.

Views from The Far North Line

It seems that every bit of the Far North Line from Inverness offers a surprise.  Here Carbisdale Castle overlooks the Kyle of Sutherland.

The Beauly Firth

Within minutes of heading north out of Inverness the wonderful views begin.   You have another 4 hours before you get to Wick or Thurso.

Norwich Railway Station

One of my very first jobs was as Station Supervisor here!  Daily operations were either quiet or total chaos.

Built in 1886 the building was a grand entrance to the city and still is.

Click on photographs to enlarge.

Wick, Caithness, Scotland

A very wet, grey,  morning in Scotland’s far north, seemed to match the mood of the nation, with the loss of The Queen along with economic and political mayhem.


For a while it seemed that even every station and tube station was covered in posters as the country, for a remarkable week or so, marked the the passing of Queen Elizabeth

Knaresborough,  North Yorkshire

Symmetry.  The River Nidd provided a reflection of the viaduct.

The viaduct was first completed in 1848 but just before it was opened to carry the new railway line – it collapsed!  No injuries but a long delay in opening the line!

North East Scotland Coastline

Much of the train from Aberdeen south offers grand North Sea views.  Here just south of Stonehaven as the sun goes down.

Victoria & Albert Museum, Dundee

Another of Scotland’s excellent and often new museums, the V&A Dundee is nicely located on the Tay River.  A bridge over it can be seen in the building arch.

Dingwall, Scotland

On a beautiful day an early morning train arriving into Dingwall on the way to Inverness.

Scottish Premier League, Dingwall

The small highland town or Dingwall (pop. 5,500) to my surprise is home to a Scottish Premier League team – Ross County.  It was a treat to visit on a beautiful Tuesday evening.   Unfortunately Ross County lost 5-0.

Athlone Station, Ireland

I sat amused for a while as an animated local chap regaled an unsuspecting visitor with a story.  I loved the look of the man behind and could not resist a sneaky photograph.

Salmon Weir, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Beautiful riverside town, Ballina is known in Ireland for its salmon and the salmon weir.

Westport House, Co. Mayo, Ireland

Ireland has a number of magnificent houses that mostly were built for the British landowners (thats another story) 200 to 300 year ago.  Westport House is certainly amongst the most beautiful.

Nowhere in particular, Co Galway

At the other end of the housing spectrum you can see, if you look, many abandoned cottages – likely abandoned during the 1840’s Famine – by desperately poor folk who probably then emigrated.

Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland

One of Ireland’s prettiest towns the river is almost  the main street.  With a population of around 6,000 only it is the gateway to iconic places such as Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay and Achill Island.

Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

A full moon lights up the harbor of this small town just a few pleasant miles outside Belfast.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

A long divided city this sign became a rallying cry after Bloody Sunday in January 1972.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

You do not have to scratch the surface much to see evidence of the divide although Derry/Londonderry is now a lovely, interesting place to visit.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The site of Bloody Sunday 30th January 1972 took place in an area not much bigger than a football field.   The consequences have lasted for a couple of generations.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

What is in a name?

Catholic Derry, Protestant Londonderry.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Signs and symbols of division.

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Signs and symbols of reconciliation.


Beautiful Pull’s Ferry in the Cathedral Grounds


Punting on the River Cam in the University City of Cambridge.

St Ives Cornwall

Even on a blustery, off season, mid week, mid October, afternoon the train from St Erth for the 10 minute (very pretty) train ride was busy.  Can’t imagine how busy this beautiful seaside and artsey town is in the brief summer months.

Limerick, Ireland

I confess I had to check what a ‘horse repository’ was.  Turns out it was like valet parking in the era of horse transportation.