Month: February 2014

Coasting: Eccles beach – far away in time

Eccles beach. Not Echo Beach, but I like a nice inexpensive joke derived from a slightly odd eighties lyric now and again, you just watch me. There are a fair few Eccles in Britain the famous one is in Salford, where those crumbly buttery cakes with raisins in that mess up everything in the vicinity when you eat them, there’s also one in Kent, another one near Snetterton and a couple in Scotland. And there’s this little one huddled up on the Norfolk coast between the flat stuff and the wet stuff, fish probably routinely dream of swimming over...

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Rephotography: Ghosting history

I should of course have done a piece on the Ghosts stuff properly ages ago, but time passes and what one minute seems to be the important and interesting bit of whatever you’re doing suddenly isn’t as much as it was three or four years ago. The recent conservation of the Bomb map; a large piece of crispy, old and fascinating paper which records where all the bombs dropped on Norwich during WW2 has enlivened interest in The Raids on Norwich again and I’ve started getting calls and emails about the collection of images I made, including questions like;...

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Hidden history: Under Paris

Last year we shared an hour of Halloween with 6 million dead Parisians in  l’Ossuaire Municipal or the Paris Catacombs, we know how to party. Twenty metres below the Place Denfert Rochero there are amazing, intricate piles of dead people dating as far back as late Roman times. The catacombs are the publicly open bit of the vast swiss cheese cut through the Cretacious, Bartonian and Cenezoic Lutecéan Limestones that keep Paris mostly on the surface, quite possibly mined for as much as two thousand years. You enter via the Paris’s former Barrière d’Enfer city gate, spiralling down a nausea...

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Vanishing Point: Vladslo – Mother and son

Deutscher Soldatenfreidhof Vladslo. The Cemetery is about a mile and half north east of Vladslo which sounds like it should be on the steppe somewhere but isn’t, it’s in Western Flanders towards Diksmuide, Belgium, itself about 20 miles North of Ypres. Somewhat hidden amongst woodland, very much off the beaten track, we drove in a circle trying to find it. Initially the cemetery was established during the Great War, with 3,233 wartime burials from this predominantly Belgian stretch of Front. In 1956, it began being used as a concentration cemetery for other smaller Burial grounds in the Diksmuide area....

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Vanishing Point: Sint Juliaan – Under a green sea

The Brooding soldier; Sint Juliaan or St Julian or Vancouver Corner, take your pick, Flemish, English or Canadian. It sits just to the North East of Ypres on the way to Langemark/Poellcappelle and not far from Passchendaele It is primarily a Canadian memorial. I can remember being quite surprised the first time I came across it on a rainy miserable day in the 1990s, you expect these things to be somewhere that’s special, it isn’t. It’s set back off a small staggered crossroads just the other side of Sint Juliaan next to a small car park surrounded by conifers...

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The long walk

Not the most thrilling set of photographs, but the one above shows how a field with some lumps in it, tells a story or doesn’t. And of course it also tells how history is there, I’m just the princess who knows where that particular pea is under this particular mattress. So if you will imagine for a minute a different landscape, one of holes and dust, the booms and snaps of heavy and light artillery, the chat and moans of men, the rattle and clank of equipment and tanks and the barked orders of officers. Dammstrasse was a German...

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Lost in a Landscape: Bawsey – the Church on the hill

It seemed rude not to, I’ve been driving past Bawsey for far too long, so on a trip to Derbyshire to drink and take in a band (Phantogram) with my Nephew Rich, I made an attempt to stop. In fact I had two attempts at it, Sundays’ mission was stopped by the heavens opening for about 5 hours which involved half the fen roads being flooded to add to the general gloom. Monday was more successful and just involved missing the side road twice, always irritating when you can see the prize. Quite on the beaten track and very...

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Coasting: Happisburgh – Where the wild thing were…

Happisburgh, a curious place to find yourself, another favourite of mine, the quality of the light, the changing riven landscape and the beating sea. It sits 20 miles to the East of Norwich, below the stretch of coast where the cliffs fall away from the faded Victorian resort of Mundesley and Bacton Gas Terminal dropping flat to the concrete seafront at Walcott before rising back up to the cliffs made of glacial tills which form the bruised battlefront between the North Sea and the soft sands and glacial gravels. Happisburgh is occasionally in the local news; it loses land...

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Coasting: Lost lands – West Runton

Another one of my favourite bits of Norfolk coast, lots of reasons; my childhood, our children played here, I spent a lot of my teens mooching about between the slipway with Vodka and the Village Inn with beer, staggering up to Roman Camp to doss on mate’s floors and settees. Then there’s the beauty of it, the roughly layered, twisted cliffs and massive chalk erratic, the weird flints the expansive beach and the sea. When the tide is out towards the shelf, it reveals not just sand but a major outcrop of Cretaceous chalk, between 145 and 60 million...

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