My littlest monkey is currently obsessed with krakens. Well, krakens, octopuses (I thought the plural of octopus should be octopi, but apparently not), squid and all things cephalopod.
So, to try and keep him entertained for a while, we went for a visit to The Deep in Hull.
If you don't know about The Deep, it's a massive aquarium with over 3000 creatures including sharks, sawfish, ray fish, sea turtles, jellyfish and much more. They've even got penguins! They've got pretty much everything except an octopus...
For more info on The Deep, click HERE.
We hadn't visited since not long after it opened about 16 years ago, but to be honest it seemed pretty much the same - only in my mind it had been bigger the last time. The place was still packed, the restaurant still crowded and noisy and the ticket prices were still an arm and a leg. Although they do last for a year - handy if you're local, but not so much when you're over an hours drive away.
Reading that back all sounds super negative, but I'm a grumpy dad - we love to moan! Apart from that, my little dude loved it. Although I think he loved the gift shop most of all - he managed to fleece me in there too!
After a couple of hours there, we went for a wander round town to see the sights and grab some food. We also called into the Hull Maritime Museum and gazed at the exhibits - the most impressive being a massive whale skeleton and also a couple of polar bears. There's lots of fishing heritage in there and a staggering amount of memorials of sailors lost at sea. Quite heartbreaking to see - especially when a lot of them were younger than my eldest.
My other half used to live in Hull as a student, and we followed her idea to search for the smallest window in England. We ended up having to Google it and found it about 2 minutes walk from where we were! I was initially disappointed it didn't match the image I had in my head, but had to admit it was kinda cool.
That's enough waffling - here are some snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm XPro2, Fuji 18mm.
We fancied a little trip to the seaside last week, so we jumped into the Adventure Mobile™ and headed for the coast.
We started with a chilled out walk round Staithes before heading down to Whitby for fish and chips and then on to Saltwick Bay to visit the shipwreck of the Admiral Von Tromp.
A proper chill out in the fresh seaside air.
Here's some snaps.
For more info on the mystery of the Admiral, click HERE.
Gear used: Fujifilm X100F.
After seeing lots of articles the last few weeks regarding the 75th anniversary of the crash landing of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Sheffield, we decided to head on down there for a little family walk and visit the spot dedicated to the 10 USAF Airmen that lost their lives that day.
The story has garnered lots of media attention recently, after a journalist spotted Tony tending the memorial and listened to his story. Posting the info on social media, the attention received was staggering and a memorial flyby was held on the 22nd February - 75 years after the crash in 1944.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get to visit for the flyby, but about 10,00 others did - including relatives of the air crew. The sight must have been awesome!
Tony had been playing in the park with friends that day, as the battle damaged B-17 bomber appeared low over the rooftops searching for a place to land. Seeing the children on his hopeful landing spot, the pilot eventually crash landed in the trees, resulting in the loss of all on board. The pilot, Lieutenant John Kriegshauser, was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery in minimising the loss of life through his actions.
The 'Mi Amigo' was returning from it's mission to Aalborg, Denmark, where it had come under attack from German Focke-Wulf fighters - resulting in heavy damage and 3 mortally wounded crew members. The pilot and copilot managed to navigate back to England through terrible weather conditions, but suffered engine failure over Sheffield, forcing them to land.
Tony has tended to the crash site since 1953, after learning the significance of the crash and how the pilot had spared the children's lives at the expense of their own. In 1969, a memorial was built by the RAF to honour the airmen. Tony has selflessly tended to the area almost daily ever since.
On our visit, we'd been at the memorial for only a few minutes before Tony himself approached us through the trees. We weren't expecting to see him, but we were so glad we did. It was an honour to shake the hand of this gentleman.
He also posed for a photo with my little Sea Cadet, who wants to join the Navy when he's older. Such an awesome memory for him to treasure.
When asking about Tony's personal wreath laid at the back of the memorial, he told us that that's also the place reserved for his ashes to be laid when he passes. That certainly brought a tear to the eye. What an amazing man.
A few more snaps.
We left Tony to be interviewed once again and carried on our little walk.
Endcliffe Park is a lovely place to visit. Even on a gloomy, rainy February day (typically it was red hot the day before we went!)
For more info on the place, click HERE.
Some more snaps from our walk.
Gear used: Fujifilm X100F
The little monkey had been nattering us to take him for a picnic, so earlier this week we headed over the hills to revisit Dovestone Reservoir.
Dovestone sits at the edge of Saddleworth, on the Manchester side of the Moors at the edge of the Peak District. It's a lovely, chilled out walk round. For some info, click HERE.
The weather was a bit dull, but a few glimpses of blue kept our hopes up, and we explored a few bits we'd not seen before. A little picnic kept the monster happy and all was well until half way round. The bit dull turned to very dull, and then to complete downpour for the rest of the walk. We sheltered in the trees for a bit, but still got absolutely drenched by the time we got back to the car!
We still had fun though. And Mr Little Legs walked the entire route without a single complaint. That's deffo one for the books!
Here are some snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm X100F
Last night we decided to have a wander round Frickley Park as it's another one of those places-on-your-doorstep that we'd never been to.
When I was a nipper I used to play on the old colliery site here all the time. We'd play near the old pit pump ponds at the bottom and walk through the woods at the back, looking for conkers and riding motorbikes on (what I called) 'the quarry' part at the back of the old folks bungalows on the Westfield Lane side - although these have all gone too. I also used to cut across from the Frickley FC side (who remembers the 'you'll never walk alone' painting on the wall?) as a short cut when walking from my grandad's on Pine Street to my auntie's house down on Elmsdale Close. I used to love it here - the wide open spaces made me feel like a proper explorer. I grew up next to Kirkby pit too and always enjoyed exploring there - although I was scared of 'the tunnel' and always managed to go home filthy!
Anyway, we had a little walk round. We started by exploring a little field of sunflowers before heading onto the old lines and following them back down to join the path into the park. The park is lovely. The developers have done an awesome job. There's over 7 miles of foot and cycle paths criss-crossing through it. There's also a few little nods to the site's mining history dotted about. A nice touch.
We didn't get time to walk round everywhere as the sun was dropping quick, but we'll deffo be back for more. It's a proper little den of tranquility. We need more regeneration of our little mining villages.
For more info on the park click HERE.
Here are a few snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm 1.4
We've not taken the kids anywhere for a while, due to illnesses and other pesky things, so on Monday we jumped in the Adventure Mobile™ and headed over to the coast.
We spent the day between Flamborough Head, North Landing and Thornwick Bay.
It was a ridiculously foggy day - at some points on the way there, visibility was about 20 feet in front of the car! We made it in one piece though, and proceeded to spend the day the way we always do at the seaside - walking on the beach, throwing stones in the sea, eating too much food and moaning about car park prices. Well, that last bit might have been just me...
The fog did roll out at one point towards the end of the day and we got a good 20 minutes of blue skies before it came rolling back in again. Along with the start of the rain!
I also never knew there was a Castle at Flamborough. I must have driven past it a hundred times. It is a pretty small stack of stones in a field though - with no signs or info to show for it. Regardless, I went with all intentions of taking a few snaps - only to find it covered in scaffolding.
Anyway, we had a top day out and, as usual, I took far too many photos.
Here's the snaps.
Gear used - Fujifilm X70
After a nice, relaxing Christmas, we headed up to Scotland to spend the New Year.
We'd booked an awesome converted barn 30 miles south west of Dumfries on the coastline near Gatehouse of Fleet.
It was a bit cold for our usual walks, not to mention that a few of us were struggling with the usual winter lurgy, so we pretty much just chilled out with a few little explores in the car. A lovely hidden gem was an old abandoned Kirk pretty much at the bottom of our driveway. We visited this a few times while we were there. I spent an hour on New Year's Eve freezing to death shooting some star photos in the graveyard.
We visited Castles and Cairns. Had a few little walks along beaches in tiny bays and stood on the beach watching the sunset. Went and had a nosey at the awesome Coo Palace - a Palatial Dairy Farm that is currently being refurbished into holiday apartments. Me and my little ginger had fun exploring a shipwreck on the coastline near Kirkcudbright. We visited Dundrennan Abbey - the place where Mary Queen of Scots spent her last night in Scotland. Like most of the other tourist spots though - it was closed, so we had to settle for views through the gateway. We visited the lovely little Kirk at Kirkandrews and a few other local spots.
We ate too much, drank too much, and pretty much saw in the New Year as chilled out as can be.
Happy New Year folks. Here are a few snaps from our trip.
Gear used. Fujifilm X70, Fujifilm Xpro2, Fuji 35mm, Fuji 50-230mm, Samyang 12mm
With the weather turning for the worse, we jumped up at the first sign of a non-rainy day, threw our big coats on and jumped in the car to have a little trip to look at the local Wentworth follies. I talked about the follies on THIS blog post a while back, but hadn't really had a chance to check them out until now.
I love autumn. The colours, the leaves - everything is a photographer's dream.
The first stop was Hoober Stand.
Hoober Stand is a pyramidal tower that stands just shy of a hundred feet on a little hill at roughly 157 metres above sea level. Construction was completed in 1748 and was to commemorate the quashing of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.
And it looks awesome.
I love pyramids and angled buildings. Shooting this from the side reminds me of one of my favourite buildings in New York - the Flatiron Building. The setting where it sits is also quite nice. My kids love the woods and there was a nice little bit of woodland here for them to go crazy in.
Next stop - Needle's Eye.
The Needle is just down the road from Hoober. A quick 150 yard walk up the footpath from the roadside brings you right to it. It looks pretty bizarre, a sandstone pyramid just sitting at the top of a little rise on it's own.
I do love a pyramid though!
The story behind this one is a little vague. It was apparently built in the mid-18th Century for the Marquis of Rockingham to win a bet that he could drive a horse and carriage through the eye of a needle. Measurements confirm that it would have been possible - so that brings a little bit of merit to the story. Rich folk have far too much time and money on their hands if you ask me!
There's also a little part that made my missus get a good case of the goosebumps - along one side of the pyramid are a grouping of musketball holes at head and torso height, suggesting that this may once have been a site of an execution by firing squad.
Next stop - Keppel's Column.
On the way we happened across a field of Highland cows, so obviously had to stop for a few snaps. A snorting big shaggy cow is a pretty awesome sight when it's a foot away from you. I'm glad there was a gate in the way!
The Column is a 115 foot tower built to commemorate the the acquittal of the court-martialled Admiral Augustus Keppel after the Battle of Ushant.
The tower sits on another hill, not quite as high as Hoober, but still a pretty good viewpoint.
The tower is in a bit of a sorry state. Not open to the public anymore, but it still stands tall and impressive on the rise.
This one is basically 'park at the side and take a photo'. The kids didn't even get out of the car.
And that's the follies! Here are a couple of snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm X70 with the WCLX70 fitted.
Went out to the Rockley Engine House and Furnace for a bit of fresh air (and for Alfie to wear his new classic army pouches!)
I like Rockley. There's not much there, but the woods have cool trees, there's mega vines everywhere, there's a little stream, it's always quiet and the ruins are cool.
The furnace is from 1700 and the engine house is dated 1813, but reported to be older. The engine house once housed a pumping engine that kept the local Iron mines dry.
And it looks a bit like a castle with the castellated top - so kids love it!
Freddie's favourite part of the day was 'trampoline log bouncing'. And yep - he fell off. Laughing.
Here's some snaps.
Gear used: Fujifilm X-Pro2, Samyang 12mm, Fuji 35mm 1.4,
Some snaps from a little walk around the wharf area as the sun went down.
Gear used: Fujifilm X-Pro2, Samyang 12mm, Fuji 35mm 1.4, Fuji 56mm 1.2
Thought I'd start this little blog to let people know what we get up to. Some personal stuff thrown in the mix too.