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A Family Headstone

I can trace part of my ancestry back to my grandmother’s family in Tyneside. She was born Margery Besford in Hebburn, now South Tyneside, but a book I inherited through her from her father suggested he had once lived in Cramlington, Northumberland. There in May 2021 I found this headstone relating to an even earlier generation of Besfords.

Besford Grave, Cramlington, Northumberland Village,

The gravestone tells of the unfortunate fate of John Besford. He was run over by a train on Stannington viaduct. How devastating that must have been for the family. His young wee daughter followed him just a year later. Annie was obviously a bad luck name for the Besfords as the Annie in the following generation, my granny’s older sister, also died very young, of Scarlet Fever I think.


On the way back up from Peterborough we stopped off at the village of Aldborough in Yorkshire.

There are Roman remains there but the English Heritage site was shut due to Covid restrictions so we couldn’t access them. Maybe another time.

Aldborough is one of those English villages centred round a village green. It’s slightly unusual in that the green still has a maypole.

Aldborough Maypole

Maypole, Aldborough, Yorkshire

The other part of the green has a lovely oak tree on it:-

Oak Tree, village green, Aldborough, Yorkshire

There was the obligatory church (St Andrew’s):-

Aldborough Church, Yorkshire

St Andrew's Church, Aldborough, Yorkshire

Another historical hangover is the presence of stocks:-

Aldborough Stocks, Yorkshire

The memorial you can see beyond the stocks in the photo above was erected on the 50th anniversary of an air crash where due to the skill of the pilot the aeroplane narrowly avoided Aldborough. All seven crew were killed.

Air Crash Memorial, Aldborough

This stone is just along from the memorial. It records where MPs for Aldborough and Boroughbridge were elected in the days before the Great Reform Act of 1832. Was Aldborough a rotten borough?

Aldborough Election Site

The Clock with no Face

A curiosity in Peterborough Cathedral is this unusual clock.

It strikes every half an hour. Often enough I suppose for the monks to get their Lauds, Matins, Vespers and Compline right.

Information board:-

No Face Clock Description, Peterborough Cathedral

The clock itself:-

No Face Clock, Peterborough Cathedral

River Teith at Doune

Doune Castle (see previous post) is built on a promontory just above the River Teith. The river’s banks are pretty overgrown now so it’s not easy to see the river till you get quite close to it.

River at Doune

Path by River Teith near Doune Castle

It must be fine for fishing though as there was an angler there the day we visited:-

Fishing in River Teith

The Teith flows on to join with the River Forth just upstream of Stirling. Curiously, the Teith is the wider river at this point but the merged river is called the Forth.

A Small Aeroplane

Occasionally a micro-light flies over Son of the Rock Acres.

Less often we get a light aircraft, but last May we did.

I’ve no idea what type it was.

Small Aeroplane 1

Small Aeroplane 2

Small Aeroplane 3

Calke Abbey Chinese Bed

One of the discoveries the National Trust made in Calke Abbey was hidden away in wooden chests since it had arrived at the house in the early nineteenth century. It was a state bed, perhaps given to Lady Caroline Manners as a wedding present when she married Sir Henry Harpur, but the bed didn’t fit any of the rooms in the house.

State bed info, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

However its seclusion in the chest preserved the Chinese silk of the bed’s hangings, keeping them in great condition. It is all housed behind glass to protect it so the photos are a bit indistinct. It’s a magnificent survival, though:-

Chinese silk state bed hangings, Calke Abbey

Chinese silk  hangings, Calke Abbey

Smaller pieces of the silk were also found in the chest:-

Chinese silk, Calke Abbey

Chinese silk, Calke Abbey

The wooden chests:-

Chinese silk store chest

Another eclectic item in the house was this organ with mandolin above:-

Organ, Calke Abbey

Soviet Aircraft Parts and Art Deco in Rye

The first place we entered in Rye, apart from the hotel, was an antique shop.

Imagine my surprise to find the tail fins from a Soviet MiG Fighter for sale!

MiG Fighter Tail Planes

There was also this Art Deco poster of Bexhill-on-Sea, featuring the town’s iconic Art Deco/Moderne De La Warr Pavilion:-

Art Deco Poster of Bexhill-on-Sea

And a jolly elephant (the company’s logo is an elephant) on a French (language) advert for Côte d’Or milk chocolate with the added bonus of an Art Deco style building in the background:-

Art Deco Picture

St Barbara’s, a Greek Orthodox Church in Chester

Another striking sight in Overleigh Cemetery, Chester was the presence of a Bulgarian Flag on a church within the grounds.

This turned out to be St Barbara’s, a Greek Orthodox Church, and the building is the former cemetery chapel.

St Barbara's exterior, Chester, orthodox church

St Barbara's exterior

The inside is sumptuous and full of iconography:-

St Barbara interior, Chester

St Barbara interior, Chester, orthodox church

St Barbara interior, Chester, orthodox church

St Barbara interior altar, Chester, orthodox church

The vaulted roof is a bit less ornate though:-

St Barbara's, Greek Orthodox Church, Chester

A Socialist Utopia?

The keener eyed among you will have seen from my side bar that I have just finished reading Chinese SF author Cixin Liu’s collection entitled Hold up the Sky.

In it there were two separate references to characters requiring medical procedures that were too expensive for them to afford.

I also heard on the TV news recently that those receiving a test dose of a vaccine newly produced in China against the Covid-19 causing coronavirus also needed to pay the equivalent of £45 pounds for the privilege.

China is reviled in certain quarters as being a Communist country.

I must say that on the evidence above China must be far from being even a socialist utopia, the minimum requirement for which I would have considered to be medical treatment free at the point of use.

Cockenzie House

Cockenzie House is a mansion House in the town of Cockenzie and Port Seton, East Lothian, which we visited in September last year as they were hosting a small antique Fair in Cockenzie House.

Cockenzie House

In its grounds there is an unusual memorial – to Cockenzie Power Station – which stood in the town and whose twin towers could be seen for miles around and were even prominent from Fife across the Firth of Forth. It was built in 1968 and demolished in 2015.

Cockenzie Power Station Memorial:-

Cockenzie Power Station Memorial

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