Vanishing Point: Stumbling through Ploegsteert

I'm a virtual veteran of two world wars, one in particular; The Great War, the one to end all thingummys... as an anomalous title for a war as there could possibly be. That aside I do a lot of, or as much as I can afford and fit into life without...

Lost in a landscape: Thompson – Below the glacier.

When I was at school we had a teacher called Peter 'Percy' Williams, he primarily taught geography. At first he hammered it into our small and stupid heads; over those first three years he gradually worked out which ones of us were holding the...

Lost in a Landscape: Oxnead

A pasture for the oxen, that's what it means so say various sources. Others indicate that the Ox- may come from the word Ouse (Udso), which is an older form from our ginger forefathers possibly of Celt or proto-Celtic origin probably meaning River....

Mapping the Grim

  This was part of the original intent of the Public Archaeology project (for PA2015) and for me, because data is poetry and maps are fine prose. Due to the nature of my working life; the fact that I'm a bit of a butterfly/battering ram when it...

Lost boys: Sid Northrop

I recently rediscovered this. It was something I'd put on Flickr. It is the tale of another family member and his last few days and hours in the Great War. We visited the panel he is remembered on at Tyne Cot a couple of years ago. He was my...

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...

Lost in a landscape: Antingham

You can see Antingham, and identify it from quite a distance which is why I ended up there, I saw it from Suffield, remembered the view from trips to the coast up the A140 or across country out towards Aylsham. It stands out because of the two...

Vanishing point: Berlin Sap

It looks like a field, because it is a field, one that slopes gently up to a low ridge, 60 metres at its highest point, best appreciated either from a mile or so back in the open areas behind the old line. It looks like nothing much, close up it is...

V2 aerial ghosts

Vergeltungswaffe 2, The Retribution Weapon. A less than charming name for nasty things. The Germans were way ahead of us with rocket and jet technology, in fact they were way just ahead of us with most technology for most of the war. I remember...

Lost in a Landscape: Arminghall henge

Imagine for a moment flying over a landscape. There's a city below you receding to one side, fields coming into view on the other, lots of features to look at as well as flying a plane. You look down and spot a mark in a field, and this is the sort...

Lost in a landscape: Bromholm Priory

A bit of a hidden wonder, Bromholm or Broomholm Priory also known as Bacton Abbey sits on a piece of farmland just off the coast road as you enter Bacton from the Mundesley end. The Priory is situated on private land, the main surviving gate at the...

Shot at Dawn: John Abigail

John Abigail; A local lad, local to anyone in Norwich It's a longer story than I can write, and a sad tale too. Born in Thorpe Hamlet, they moved to Oak Street shortly before the outbreak of The Great War. John was one of eight children, the family...

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...

Lost in a Landscape: Weeting pathways

We've been here before. Scrambling about in the past and the past is somehow where this piece of Breckland always feels like it is frozen. We took our children to run around the ridges around the holes in the landscape and down into the belly of...

Lost in a landscape: Worstead

  I was looking for something else, I didn't actually find what I was after, because of gates and no access signs and the sound of people murdering wildlife in Westwick woods, but as I pootled down another dead end this vista was there, so I hopped...

Norwich: “Brightest shining of the city” – part 1

We live here. It is easy to forget where Norwich comes from, we take our surroundings for granted; a city that has grown from virtually nothing over the last 1200 years. A scattering of people living on  gravel terraces above a bend in a river in...

Dead cities: Langham Dome

A sort of anti-axis forces death star type thing. It looks a bit like one of those chocolate bombs or a steamed pudding, but about 18 feet high, made of reinforced concrete and painted black. Nestling on the edge of an abandoned airfield about 4...

Lost in a Landscape: Pudding Norton

There's a lot to be intrigued about in towns like Fakenham. Not unlike North Walsham, it sits on a small winding road that makes it's a much less direct but more interesting trip than somewhere like Attlebourough or Wymondham. The drive is less...

Lost in a landscape: Feet facing the sun – Bacton

Feet facing the sun, teeth biting the chill I went through the seasons under this hill. Cameron Self. When I was a kid, we had a dog called Sally, she was what the local vet referred to as a Daisy Dog, a mixture of this and that, pretty well...

WW1: Trench Ghosts Part 2

Part 2 in a series of an uncertain number of these things. There's no project like an open ended one... St Eloi 1915 St Eloi is just to the South East of Ypres on the Salient, not that far from Hellfire Corner, or Hellfire Roundabout as it is now....

Lost in a Landscape: Stratton Strawless

There is this thing were you travel through a landscape, passing things, that have become lost, part of the blur of the countryside, the unnoticed facets of a landscape which sit just back, away from our arterial routes cut as they are by human...

Vanishing Point: Out of sight

Genealogy is an inconsistent science and growing a family tree quickly becomes an obsessive work of semi-fictional detective work. The urge to push further and further backward heading into our peasant laden past, hankering after the occasional...

Ghost Airfields of WW2: Part 3

It's been a while. We drove around RAF Oulton today on our way away from the huge pile of humanity trying to take dogs, bikes, jetpacks and assorted noise with them to Blickling Hall. We went to Heydon, because a lot of people don't and we wanted...

Vanishing Point: Mash Valley and Ovillers

The Somme is exceptionally beautiful. For me a landscape which feels like home. It is chalk downland, when you get up onto the solitary heights of the Redan Ridge or the plateau where Thiepval sits it feels so similar to parts to the southern...

Coasting: Walcott

We used to go to Walcott quite a lot when I was a kid, it's was and is all concrete, groynes and flat inland space, with the rising glacial moraines starting just to the North towards Trimingham. You can see the past up on the cliffs to the North...

Coasting: Horsey

Horsey is a curious area, it's always felt like slightly dead ground to me, for the uninitiated it is just to the North of Winterton and South of Waxham, it has it's own Broad a large flat expanse of water edged by windpumps, dunes and intermittent...

Lost in a landscape: Booton

There's things you round a corner and don't really expect to see in the corner of a field, ostriches for instance, rare but not unlikely, elephants, I've seen photos of elephants in Norfolk fields. Booton has a really staggeringly odd,...

Waterland: Strumpshaw fen

There is something mysterious and magical about the Broads. I've idled a fair while in the past sitting in a boat, the idiot at the other end of the line from the maggot or more correctly a dead lamprey or smelt when I used to fish. It's basically...

Coasting: Sidestrand – the moving edge

There are a few places where you can really see the dynamism of the erosion of the soft coastline. It is obvious along nearly the whole length of Norfolk and well into Suffolk, our soft glacial memory is easily eroded. Shifts can be seen in the...

Vanishing points: Mining the front – Messines 1917

The anniversary of the massive mining attack passed at 3.10am on Saturday the seventh of June, ninety-seven years since. This year rather overshadowed by the 70th anniversary of D-Day on the sixth of June and justly so. But this is one of those...

Lost in a Landscape – Blickling Arborglyphs

Dogs lead sometimes, our is beige, stinks, is opinionated and prefers woods to beaches, muck and leaf mould to sand and pebbles. There's more to sniff and mark an roll in in woods and fox shit beats dead gull hands down in the scent masking stakes...

Vanishing Point: Bernafay Wood

After Carnoy the cloud started to drop, a shield of it obliterated the sun. Within twenty minutes the light had almost completely failed, the air filled with prickles of moisture. It took a good hour to lift as the edge of a small front slid in...

LOST IN A LANDSCAPE

Hidden corners, holloways, tracks, and desertion in the deep landscape.

Lost in a landscape: Little Witchingham

There's a sea of barley, the horizon a shadowed thin night cloud line of trees. In the late afternoon heat this far from the coast there's no wind, no air sucked in by the heated land to move the thorned tops. Everything is calm. The summer hasn't advanced enough to...

Lost in a Landscape – Lyng Easthaugh

The lands to the west of Norwich have only a passing familiarity for me. I grew up in north-east Norfolk where I recognise the landscape facets and how they fit together pretty well, the marl pits and churches and the little winding roads that dip in and to of the...

Lost in a landscape: Edingthorpe – Rising toward the surface

Lost in a landscape: Edingthorpe - Rising toward the surface The cloud has almost boiled back, the sun chasing a lowering and disintegrating weak ridge of low pressure, there's a space for early summer between it and the next low dragging in from the south west....

Last breath: Rosary Cemetery

My inclination was to put this into the hidden history category, but then I remembered how often I end up sauntering around with people I've never met, but whose names I can see, in the light and shadows of trees and bushes and stone and thought it all sort of needed...

Lost in a Landscape – Blickling Arborglyphs

Dogs lead sometimes, our is beige, stinks, is opinionated and prefers woods to beaches, muck and leaf mould to sand and pebbles. There's more to sniff and mark an roll in in woods and fox shit beats dead gull hands down in the scent masking stakes for some...

Lost in a Landscape: Buckenham Carr

Heading west of the city two days before Christmas and it's all a bit of a bind, a glue of cars sticks the inner ring-road fast, the whole route backed up with shoppers, escapers, people leaving work early, the driving dead. The light is at its most tangential, the...

COASTING & WATERLANDS

The sea edged curve of Norfolk and the waters within

Coasting: Trimingham

Stretches of Norfolk's curved coast get slightly brushed aside. Maybe they seem a bit inaccessible. Trimingham with its high cliffs, the highest in Norfolk and its all but hidden beach entrance off the coast road down a camouflaged dog-legged track is one of them. In...

Coasting: Morston

This isn't really my home Coast, I grew up with The stretch from Mundesley in the middle, awareness stretching from Sheringham to Winterton, the bits beyond were different, Great Yarmouth to the South was the stuff of fevered dreams and slot machines, impossible hoop...

Coasting: Winterton’s war

Yet more lumps of concrete, I doubt a the vast majority of people even give them a thought apart from trying not to scratch the car. Bit strange though, 13 ton blocks of concrete in a car park, and on the beach in one of those lovely little Norfolk corners. Winterton,...

Lost in a Landscape: Shipden

We are spoilt for lost villages in Norfolk and due to the nature of the coast have a huge number that weren't down to the usual suspects, so not things like plague, pestilence or bad land for farming or landlords enclosing land or commons; moving sheep in to replace...

Coasting: Walcott

We used to go to Walcott quite a lot when I was a kid, it's was and is all concrete, groynes and flat inland space, with the rising glacial moraines starting just to the North towards Trimingham. You can see the past up on the cliffs to the North the rise of the land...

Coasting: Horsey

Horsey is a curious area, it's always felt like slightly dead ground to me, for the uninitiated it is just to the North of Winterton and South of Waxham, it has it's own Broad a large flat expanse of water edged by windpumps, dunes and intermittent seals. One of my...

VANISHING POINTS

The Landscapes of the Western Front

Vanishing points: The Bull Ring, Etaples

Etaples was one of the main base camps along the coast of Northern France, being a port, a lot of men, thousands of them would have disembarked here. Many more would have embarked. It was known as "The Bullring", as were most of the base camps, but this one was the...

Vanishing Point: Out of sight

Genealogy is an inconsistent science and growing a family tree quickly becomes an obsessive work of semi-fictional detective work. The urge to push further and further backward heading into our peasant laden past, hankering after the occasional sight of a king or...

Vanishing Point – Langemark

Langemark is I feel one of the most desolate corners of the Western front. As I mentioned in another piece on Vladslo there is something so desperately bleak and sad about German cemeteries. They don't lack in any of the respectfulness of the loss or the death or the...

Vanishing Point: Devil’s Wood

Oak is a feature of the English psyche, a fabled national wood if there is such a thing. It proliferates throughout our history from warships and traders building an Empire to the familiar furniture and ancient twisting house frames. The royal Oak subverted to shelter...

Vanishing Point: High Wood

The way to start these things is difficult sometimes so here is a Piece of Mackintosh, not perhaps his best poem, but he can sum up the general situation in the area of High Wood better than I can. He knows what it was like because he was there in 1915 and wounded...

Vanishing Point: Fricourt New

The best and the worst of it all are hidden over a brow. You won't find the chattering crowds of the nexus points where death draws itself to a peak, this is not Thiepval or the Menin Gate. Nobody talks, no one sniggers, there is no rustle of frite wrapper when a hush...

Urbanism and the hidden city

Walking the old streets

Back in the HMSO

The now redundant HMSO building, Sovereign House in Anglia Square Norwich North. This was shot from the first floor of what would have been a two storey 'Mall' or shopping centre as we called them before America snuck in under a veil of capitalist freedom and deemed...

Hidden history

What you don’t always sense

Hidden history: The concrete toilet

<div class=" title-desc-block editable showFull "> Norwich, city of culture twenty err something eventually, home of the world's first pre-cast concrete sectional toilet. It's like our very own version of Shropshire's Iron bridge, only it's a concrete...

Hidden history: Norwich – In War disloyal; in Peace discontented

I had to go to the dentist yesterday, The one on Barrack Street that I remember being a pub with strange wallpaper in the 1980s, we drank lager and dripped ash on the pool table in there, The Sportsman. I didn't realise then how long it had been a pub, since the 1820s...

Hidden History: Lassie Come Home

Surprising what you find in your garden, I've found clay pipe stems and bowls and piece of Romano British pottery, meanwhile a friend of a friend found a bullet case just off Spynke Road in Norwich, it came from this Liberator, 'Lassie Come Home' she didn't come home...

Hidden History: Novo Jewish Cemetery

A curious place, hidden in plain sight in the middle of Queen Mary University in Mile End in London. It's a very old Sephardic jewish burial area the stones are higgeldy piggeldy and worn. I just didn't realise it was there until we walked past it when we were last in...

Ghosts: A Dog’s Life, the Catton Liberator

This was the scene in Catton at the corner of Church Street and Spixworth Road on the 13th February 1945 and the corner of the same Roads on 22nd December 2011. The Liberator 'A Dog's Life' was one of two that crashed in Catton on the outskirts of Norwich, The other...

Hidden history: Traces – Boulevard Saint-Michel, Paris

We have family in Paris, or nearby at least on a trip last year we went to see them and spent various days bumming around in the middle bit staring at things and drinking small coffees and trying not to look too gauche or too much like tourists. One evening My...

The Walled City

The flint and water circle

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