Category Archives: Travel & travel writing

Beside the seaside – part 3

This is the final post in this short series (part one, part two.)

These postcards date from 1967 – 1987. We’re firmly in the era of bright, saturated colours. Holiday destinations of choice are firnly located in the West Country.

Brixham, Devon, posted 1967

Brixham, Devon, posted 1967

Mousehole, posted 1970

Mousehole, posted 1970

This postcard from Mousehole is an interesting contrast to the more brooding, grainy image in part 2 – here. This card above was actually posted earlier in date, but it has a later feel to me.

North Devon, posted c.1976

North Devon, posted c.1976

This and the next postcard are the places I spent my holidays when I was growing up. It looked exactly like that.

Start Bay, posted 1987

Start Bay, posted 1987

My parents now live not far from Start Bay and below is a photo I took the last time I visited in  May.  It was taken from almost exactly the same position as the bottom left-hand image on the postcard above.

Start Point, May 2013

Start Point, May 2013

As it was a bit of an uninspiring, grey day, here’s the same image after a bit of 1980’s-style Photoshop jiggery pokery 🙂

Start Point, edited image

Beside the seaside – part 2

The first part of this series can be found here.

Not actually so many seaside images in this batch. I’ve ordered these by how old I think the postcard images are, rather than when the card was posted.

Llanberis Pass, posted 1965

Llanberis Pass, posted 1965

“We have just arrived weather was very good all the way, had a nice chicken dinner and waiting for another meal now.”

Food and weather – ticks all the postcard boxes. This is an ‘artistically’ hand-coloured b/w image”

The Sussex Downs, posted 1971-3

The Sussex Downs, posted 1971-3

I particularly like this pastoral image of shire horses ploughing the Sussex Downs. There’s something very pleasing about the composition and subtle colours, even if the sender wasn’t quite so happy…

“Temperature soaring up to 30F, lying on the beach in 4 sweaters, 2 overcoats and wellington boots. Car broke down, food lousy. Having a wonderful time, see you soon.”

North Wales, posted 1964

North Wales, posted 1964

Another nice image from North Wales, showing Snowdon. A picturesque view and I like the subdued colours.

Southsea rock gardens

Southsea rock gardens

I remember playing at Southsea rock gardens as a child. There’s something about this image that makes me cringe – perhaps the era, the twee manufactured-ness of the gardens, the women sitting around – doing what?. I’ve never liked overly developed coastal towns. My idea of hell is somewhere like Brighton, with tall, brooding Victorian hotels butting up against a bland, stoney shore.

Mousehole, posted 1977

Mousehole, posted 1977

This image is much more my sort of thing – a quaint Cornish fishing village. I make my first appearance on this postcard, sent by my mother to her parents. I was a 2 and a half years old at the time.

“We are having a lovely holiday doing nothing much except bowing to Jenny’s every whim. As the weather has been fairly good we have been going down to the beach a lot, which Jenny loves.”

There are also some scribbly pencil lines on the back of the card – presumably my addition.

Beside the seaside – part 1

On a recent visit to my grandparents’ house, my grandfather showed me another box of old postcards and photos he had dug out the attic. What caught my eye were the holiday postcards, dating from the 1930s to the present day. I’ve split these into three blog posts and will kick off with the oldest, dating from 1931 to the 1950s. You can click on all of the images to make them larger.

Posted from Bognor Regis, 1931.

Posted from Bognor Regis, 1931.

In the photo you can just make out the name of the beach hut – Linga Longa. This was sent by my great grandmother to her husband.  She writes, “I went to see the lady yesterday she let me have it for a pound a week as we seem such nice people.”  Presumably she was writing about the rental of this hut.

St Osyth Beach, Essex, August 1939

St Osyth Beach, Essex, August 1939

This was sent to my great grandmother’s family by friends, less than a month before the start of the Second World War.  They were “having a lovely time here very little rain”. No British holiday postcard is complete without mention of the weather.

Lulworth Cove, posted between 1955

Lulworth Cove, posted 1955

This was sent by my great grandmother to her son, John (my great uncle). I didn’t find postcards from the 1940s in the box – presumably holidays were interrupted by the war. My great grandfather was too old to fight but their son – my grandfather – trained to be a fighter pilot in South Africa.

The Old Mill Camp, St Helens

The Old Mill Camp, St Helens

This postcard was never written on or posted. It looks to be from around the 1950s and kept as a souvenir of a holiday to St Helens.

The Luck, Gurnard, Isle of Wight

The Luck, Gurnard, Isle of Wight

Another postcard not written on or posted that looks from a similar era – the 1950s. My grandmother was a great cyclist and would regularly cycle from London, where the family lived, to the south coast and Isle of Wight for holidays. It would take a whole day to make the 80-mile trip.

The sailing beach, Hayling Island

The sailing beach, Hayling Island

After so many holidays spent on the south coast my grandfather eventually moved there after the Second World War to raise a family. My mother and I were both born less than 10 miles from the place on this postcard.

If you’re trying to date a posted postcard and can’t read the postmark, this is a good website listing the dates different stamps were used to help you pin it down.

The next blog post will look at colour postcards from the 1960s.

Ghana

True to this blog’s name, I’ve been distracted over the last month or so from doing any meaningful writing. The reason for this was the volunteering trip I took to Ghana with the Lightyear Foundation, who teach practical, low-cost science lessons in schools. It was an exhausting, challenging but ultimately very rewarding trip, unlike anything I’ve done before. I’ll write up some of my notes into blog posts in time but for now here are some photos from this picturesque country.

Young pupil from one of the schools we taught at

Young pupil from one of the schools were we taught

Boats at Elmina at dusk, Cape Coast

Boats at Elmina at dusk, Cape Coast

Scientific testing of paper aeroplanes

Scientific testing of paper aeroplanes

One of our volunteers teaching

One of our volunteers teaching

The end of a long week

The end of a long week

Kew Gardens

I’m moving house in a couple of weeks so I thought I’d take advanatage of my short-lived proximity to Kew Botanic Gardens (just about walking distance) and get in another visit.

I’ve come here before when doing research for stories as you can experience many different landscapes (and even climates in the big glasshouses). The different planting often reminds me of places I’ve been on holiday – the hiss of the wind in a bamboo grove or the spicy scent of gum trees.

Fir tree and pinecones

Fir tree and pinecones

bamboo

One of the things I love at Kew is the juxtaposition of slightly decaying Victorian ironwork with rampant jungle in the glasshouses

sequioa

Sequioa

magnolia

Magnolia blossom

jungle

The trunk could be some kind of prehistoric creature…

japanese

Japanese Zen garden

Giving the blog a lick of paint

My unintended hiatus from writing this blog while I’ve focussed more on fiction writing has turned into a longer ‘what do I want this blog to be and do’ dialogue.

On Diversion started as a general writing, arts, crafts and anything else I found interesting blog. Over the last couple of years I’ve become more focussed on where I spend my time and what I want to produce and it’s time for this blog to reflect that change.

My aims for this blog fall into two areas

1) To be a vehicle for sharing my own original fiction and travel writing. To date I’ve posted almost none of the former but a fair bit of the latter on my (now mothballed) travel blog.

2) To provide useful and entertaining content to those who are also interested in writing and reading. This will include sharing what I learn about becoming a better writer. It will also probably focus more on the genres in which I write – fantasy and historical fiction.

I intend to start posting again regularly on these topics, probably with some photography thrown in and I’ve given the blog a bit of a facelift. The new header is a photo I took in Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand, a couple of years ago.

A brief seaside interlude

This weekend I went down to stay with one of my oldest friends – Starryeyed – who lives on the south coast with her French husband Dr. X, who likes to cook, much to everyone’s delight.

Dr X. and I dragged Starryeyed around the Tank Museum at  Bovingdon on Saturday. I was mostly interested in the First World War tanks, which will no doubt make an appearance in my WW1 novel at some point. Starryeyed sighed a lot and then claimed she didn’t realise she was doing it.

On Sunday it stopped raining just long enough for us to rush down to the beach for some sea air.

In between the showers

Starryeyed likes to blog about secret messages in the sand.

We had a birthday present exchange (we’ll gloss over the fact it was Starryeyed’s birthday in *cough* April). I’ve been playing around with this design over the summer and made her a beaded wrap bracelet with a Greek ceramic bead as a button. In return she gave me two of my previous necklaces to repair that she’s managed to break by chewing them. We’ll see how long the bracelet lasts…

Wrap bracelet with ceramic button