European ‘Roach Trip

I don’t reblog very often, as you know. But I couldn’t resist this fun post from an English blogger who has written a great book for kids, and has taken it on her travels around Europe.
Check out The Little Cockroach.

The Little Cockroach

Whoop whoop… off we go. The van is packed, excitement is high & Pedro is ready. European vacation here we come!⠀

Pedro has made it to Amsterdam!! I absolutely love this city. The first time we came here with the kids it was Pride and there were parties every where. Elsie couldn’t believe adults could be so fun & silly. It set the bar high and although they both still love it … it will never be as bright, colour and fun as that first weekend.

On our way to Stuttgart we noticed Backnang was only 25 minutes away from where we were heading, so we decided to swing by. It’s beautiful. I’ve seen ‘Twinned with Backnang’ so many times on the ‘Welcome To Chelmsford’ sign. I always wondered what it was like and I never thought I’d visit…. but here I am!! ⠀

We went from Backnang to Stuttgart…

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A Trip To Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth is a traditional seaside resort on the East Coast in Norfolk. Always popular, it is unashamedly ‘down-market’.

(The photos are large files, so please click on them for detail)

But it does have a long seafront, a nice old pier, and a big sandy beach.

In late 2011, before we lived here permanently, and before we got Ollie, we went for a day trip with Julie’s identical twin daughters, and their dog, Baxter.

Julie with one twin.

And with her sister.

Baxter is a Mastiff cross, and enjoyed playing on the beach.

Sadly, he now has cancer, and his prognosis is not good.

We didn’t go on the Carousel, but I love the old style of such rides.

And on the pier, I insisted Julie pose for photos in the reproduction Victorian cutouts.

Baxter is still holding his own, despite the diagnosis. He is a great dog.

Heybridge Basin

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them, so please do that.
Then use the extra icon to see all the detail!)

Last week, I visited my cousin in Essex. She lives close to Heybridge Basin, so we made the short drive to there, in very nice weather.
This article will tell you about the history of the place.

Where the River Blackwater meets the sea, the tidal estuary is the place where freshwater joins seawater.
This lock allows boats out at high tide, and the lock-keeper’s cottage is still lived in by the lock-keeper.

On the canal side, some people live full-time on the water.

In a garden on the bank, ‘Marie’s Garden’ has become famous for the statues of wild animals displayed there.

When the tide is out, thick mud-banks and wading birds can be seen.

A Thames Sailing Barge was passing by. Now restored, these classic old ships were once a common site in the docks of central London.
If you enlarge the photo, you will see that the name is ‘The Blue Mermaid’.

Boating and sailing is very popular there of course, and there are many clubs operating in the area.

One of two local pubs, The Old Ship has been around for a long time and is popular with local people and holidaymakers too.

Still home to some light industry, the floating crane gives some idea that there is still work going on nearby.
The name of the crane ship is ‘Spartacus’. If you enlarge the photo, you will see that.

If you are ever in the Maldon area of South Essex, make the easy trip to Heybridge Basin, and enjoy a peaceful afternoon.

Little Violet Rose

Regular readers will remember that last November, we had a new baby in the family. My cousin’s daughter gave birth to a lovely little girl. She named her Violet, after my late mother, with a middle name of Rose, after my grandmother. This moved me immensely, to know that my mum’s name would live on in our family.

Last week, we went down to Essex to visit her. She is now nine months old, and still such a joy. Always happy, rarely crying.

Here she is, enjoying her lunch.

After a walk along the sea wall, we took her to the park, where she loved being on the swing.

Getting up speed.

Swinging close to the camera.

It was great to see her three days in a row, and to watch her playing with the toys I had brought her.

Our family continues, into the next generation. My mum would be so proud and pleased.

The Camera At War: Early War Photographs

Ever since 1914, we have been used to seeing images of wars. Soldiers, battles, and the mechanical weapons of war too. More recently, we can watch modern wars ‘live’ with reporters bringing us footage of battles as they are happening, in Vietnam, Iraq, Syria, or Afghanistan.

But war photography goes back much further than that. In The Crimean War of 1853-1856, intrepid photographers travelled to Russia with the armies, to try to capture the life of the Victorian soldier.

A British Guards Sergeant, proudly posing in his uniform.

CRIMEAN WAR 1854-56 (Q 71631) Portrait of Sergeant William Knapp, Coldstream Guards, with his pack and equipment. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

British Lancers, from a regiment that would have charged into The ‘Valley of Death’, at Balaclava.
(Photo obviously ‘colourised’)

From 1899-1901, The British Empire fought the army of Dutch settlers in Africa, known as The Boers.
Both sides wanted to retain their influence in two areas of South Africa.

Boer fighters. They were a tough and determined enemy.

British Troops manning a machine gun, taken in 1900 during that war.

But no war was ever previously photographed as much as the US Civil War, from 1861-1865.

Boy drummers, who would have marched into action alongside fighting troops.

Freed slaves and free black men were allowed to fight in the Union Army, though they mainly had white officers commanding them.
Here, some new recruits pose with their weapons.

This was one of the first times that the carnage of war was photographed for public consumption.
The bodies of soldiers after the Battle of Antietam, in 1862.

Confederate dead in the trenches at Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1863.

The body of a dead confederate after the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1863.
It was later discovered that many such photos were ‘staged’ by some photographers.
The bodies would be moved into specific locations, or arranged in the pose of a supposedly ‘heroic’ death.

There was also some attempt to portray the devastation caused by this long war.
Here is the centre of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865.

Postcards from blogging friends

You may remember that I recently published two posts about the fact that the sending of postcards is dying out.

I made the request for my readers and followers to send me picture postcards to enjoy, and to save for posterity.
I am pleased to say that many of you responded, and here they are.

From Paul S, in England.
A vintage postcard depicting Lake Como, in Italy.

From the lovely Karolina, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

From the British blogger, ‘mybeautifulbritain’, who used their own photos to create a unique card for me.

From my long-time cherished blogging friend, Fraggle.
She chose a vintage representation of one of my favourite UK castles.

From Elizabeth, an American blogger who resides in New England.
She chose Californian Sea Otters, her favourite animals.

From the wonderful Lara, who thought it was my birthday, for some reason.
Her husband is from New York, so she chose a card featuring that city.

Wilma is from The Philippines, but has made her home in Chicago.
She sent me a view of ‘The Windy City’.

David Miller, one of my oldest blogging friends, sent me this view of Las Vegas.
It is suitably ‘glitzy’, as the card is covered in glitter!

As you can see, I didn’t make a song and dance about getting ‘perfect’ photos of the cards, but I was immensely grateful to receive them all.

If anyone else would like to post one to me, you can read my address easily, and your card will be featured in Part Two.
Thanks again to all of you who took the time and trouble to send me a card.

One For The Ladies

I grew up during the age of ‘Women’s Liberation’. Long-suffering females finally protesting their lot in life, their treatment in a male dominated society, and the interference in the natural functions of their bodies. Outspoken feminists like Germaine Greer finally got some air time to express their frustrations, and to promote their quest for equal treatment. Female workers were protesting in factories and offices about doing the same job for less pay, and with almost no opportunities for advancement.

This was the time when some women were discarding or burning their bras to make a statement.
(Note the audience of excited men watching that happen)

Women had spoken up for their rights before of course.
Like these Suffragettes campaigning for the right to vote, in 1910.

This was also a time when it was difficult to get justice for victims of Rape.
Women who wore attractive clothing, and went out for a drink with a man, were often considered to be ‘asking’ for sex.

Very soon, the words ‘Sexist’ and ‘Sexism’ were seen and heard all around the world.
Along with brave women protesting the existence of both.

More recently, body image has been protested too. Tired of seeing the ‘ideal woman’ portrayed as thin and conventionally ‘attractive’, some have taken the step of showing what many real women actually look like.
Well done to them!

Despite everything, it remains an uphill struggle to this day.
As shown by this woman’s solo protest.

And even after the discovery of DNA testing, and some changes in the laws, Rape victims are still struggling to get recognition and justice.

Keep going ladies. Many of us are on your side!