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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Holiday in Northumberland : Visit to Lindisfarne Castle

One of the most iconic panoramas in North East England

A model of the original castle

This is a beautiful place in a beautiful setting. Lindisfarne Castle is on Holy Island, which is not a true island, it is connected to the mainland by a causeway that is flooded for part of the day by the tide.

The white hut is a refuge if you are caught by the incoming tide

Lindisfarne Castle is misnamed. It was built in 1570 - 1572, during the reign of Elizabeth 1st as an artillery battery as part of the coastal defences. During the English Civil War it was held by Parliamentary forces. In 1715, during one of the Jacobite Rebellions, it had a garrison of two and was captured by two Jacobites who held it for a short time, waiting for reinforcements that never arrived. In 1882 it had three 64pounder cannons, manned by the Volunteer Coastal Artillery. It was abandoned in 1893.

An industrialist/entrepreneur named Edward Hudson acquired the fort in 1901 and asked his friend, the architect Edwin Lutyens, to remodel it as a country retreat. This was the last major work done on the fort. It is now a National Trust property, open to the public.

Lower Battery position, probably Napoleonic era

Lutyens designed, main entrance and kitchen block


Upper Battery

Bedroom wing

Long Gallery external

Upper Battery, looking back towards the stairs

Long Gallery internal

Thursday, 30 May 2019

U3A News

The current academic year is coming to its end. On Tuesday I gave my last talk of 2018/19, "the Fall of Fort Eben Emael, 11 May 1940" to a Military History Group in Pocklington, a lovely location in the Yorkshire Wolds.

June is the last meeting of this year for my regular group, the Military History Group of U3A York. Two years ago the Group Leader, Mike, asked for help with the IT equipment and I volunteered. So I arrive early, put out the chairs and get the room ready for our 30+ attendees, when Mike arrives I help him to retrieve the IT equipment from the office downstairs, then at the end of the meeting I help to put everything away.

Mike is in his late 80's and he has announced his retirement from the Group Leader position. He has asked me to take on the role and, after some consideration, I have accepted.

My first task - to organise a farewell and thank you lunch for Mike. My second task will be to put together a programme of 10 talks for the year 2019/20. Then it will dawn on me just what a task I have undertaken.

A totally different subject - have you been in conversation with someone that has mentioned an album you have not played for some time. For me- currently its Joni Mitchell's "Blue", released in 1971, a lovely album.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

New Tables

About a month ago, I wrote about the new folding tables I had bought for use in our conservatory. I have received a couple of messages about the size of them. The tops create a field of about 6feet X 4 feet, or 1.8 metres X 1.2 metres in new money.

I thought this could be better demonstrated by photographing my first game, a simple Europeans v Ottoman forces, after turn 4.

On seeing the photos, a number of actions become obvious to me.

First - I really must buy a terrain mat, there are some very good 6 X 4 mats on the market.

Second - I need more movement trays, I have placed an order with Warbases.

Third - more flags. I think there would be a lot more flags on the field in the 18th century than I own at the moment.

Fourth - I need more Middle Eastern trees, I bought a bag of palm trees but I have not got around to basing them. I would also like some variety, maybe acacias and cypress, some olive trees for the villages.

So for the next few months, I think I should stop creating new units and sort out the ones I have and complete more terrain features.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Phoenix Park is probably the largest enclosed city park in Europe (according to Wikipedia). Within its walls is Magazine Fort, one of two forts built by the British within the Park during the 18th century. The larger of the two forts was demolished during the 1830's.

Magazine Fort was built in 1735 as the magazine for the city's garrison. the architect was John Corneille. It is based on a four sided plan, with each corner having a demi-bastion. The barracks block was added at a later date. Pillboxes were built on each bastion in the early 20th century.

When the British left in 1922, it was handed over to the Irish Army who used it until 1988. These days it is in a derelict condition, inaccessible to the public.

Trip to Dublin

My partner, B, had to go to Dublin on business with an overnight stay in a hotel. She said I could go as well if I paid the air fare. So Wednesday and Thursday was spent in Dublin for a cost of 45 pounds fare on Ryanair.

This was my fist trip to the Emerald Isle. I got to roam around whilst B had to work. Here are some photos of the sights.

The Spire - 120 metres stainless steel, 3 metres dia at base, 15cms at top

Parnell's Monument

Statue of James Joyce

The General Post Office, HQ for the Easter Rising, 1916

Ha'penny Bridge, a toll bridge across the river

In Phoenix Park, Wellington's Monument, with a frieze on each face of the base

The herd of fallow deer in Phoenix Park, not at all bothered about the tourists

Hooded crows

Views of the hills, taken from Phoenix Park

Very smart, new tram system
I have a lot of photos of Magazine Fort in Phoenix Park that I will list separately.