It's a wonder what you see on the Plain!!


I saw this group having fun, on one of my trips  on the Plain!  Where they came from, no one knows, where they went, is anyones guess!  They did stop for a quick wave tho!

Bill Loader with Stan Rawlins

Mr Bill Loader from Ablington Farm - RIP

Sadly Bill passed away following a long illness, just days before Christmas at the age of 96.

I was fortunately able to spend some time with Bill on occasions.  The last being a couple of weeks before he passed away.

Although he had been bed bound in his thatched farm cottage for several years, his mind was still very active and history and knowledge will be sadly missed.

Below is the press report I completed with the help of Bill and the Rawlins Family, outside his cottage, in the field, in August 2011 at the age of 86 becoming 87 in a few days.

'This had been planned a while ago and we had been waiting to cut this field, as we thought it would be appropriate to do what we have achieved this afternoon.  It was a very pleasurable thing to do, as you will see, Bill was not expecting this and was delighted to be involved.

Bill came to Ablington Farm in 1946 aged 21 from Dorset and worked for Mr Walter Rawlins driving the combines and tractors etc.  His first combine was a tractor drawn International with just a six foot cut, as they did not have a self propelled combine until 1951.

This is when they had two seven foot six inch Massy Harris machines as shown in the photographs below. The photograph shows these combines, which were used to bag the corn in the West of England, two to two and quarter hundred weight bags.  Each machine had two operators.  Bill drove one of these with Charlie Major and drove combines for the Rawlins family for fifty years.

Today, we managed with the help of the Rawlins family, to get Bill out to ride with Stan Rawlins in the latest combine on the farm.

We chose the same field that the potograph shows Bill cutting, some sixty years ago and that was also milling wheat.  This years crop being collected in a lot more comfort than what Bill would have been used to and with less effort.

The combine in use today has a twenty five foot cut and can hold around seven tonnes of corn in its tank.   It costs around £100,000 and weighs twelve to fifteen tonnes.  The average rate being collected is around four tonnes per acre.

Knoxbridge invasion of Normandy - 24.09.20

These photographs show Grace the Green Goddess on Salisbury Plain.

They were fundraising for the ABF Soldiers Charity and RAF Benevolent Fund by driving a 500 Mile round trip in their Green Goddess Fire Engine along the South Coast.  They were planning to travel to Normandy for the trip but had decided, due to new safety regulations, not to travel there. 

Military and Classic Vehicles and anything else interesting was welcome to join them.

If you wish to donate please see their fundraising page: -


Major Field, Combine & Bailer Fire - Update - 31.08.20

The fields and combine, which belongs to Mr Lamont from Haxton, look destroyed by the fire.

Major Field, Combine & Bailer Fire - 11.08.20

These photographs were taken this afternoon at approx 16:00 near Netheravon.

The combine is Mr Lamonts from Haxton, which was destroyed and the fields that are on fire are Mr Lamonts on the Downland and also Simon Bennett's whose bailer was also involved.

There were at least 9 fire engines from Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire at the scene and a water bowser on site.

There were several areas on fire.  A plough was used to create a fire break around the fire and crews then used beaters and hose reel jet to extinguish the fire.

Crews from Salisbury, Amesbury, Bradford on Avon, Royal Wootton Bassett, Pewsey, Stratton and additional support from crews from Yeovil and Andover responded to the incident.


Abnormal Load from Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil to Ministry of Defence Boscombe Down - 25.08.20

These photographs were taken today, near the A303 Amesbury and in Durrington, at 15:30.

The abnormal  load journey from Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil to Ministry of Defence's Boscombe Down site took approximately four hours.  Disruption was expected as the AW101 helicopter was transferred by road.

A police convoy escorted the helicopter across Somerset, as a traffic warning was issued to local motorists.

A rolling roadblock was in place as the aircraft was hauled from the Lysander Road factory to MoD Bosbombe Down near Amesbury.

The convoy travelled on the A3088, A30, A37, B3151, A303, A345, A3028 and some unclassified roads around Amesbury.  The load left Yeovil at approximately 10:00.  Road users were warned to expect disruption and ideally avoid the route between 10.00 and 14:00.

2nd Abnormal Load Coming into Wiltshire - 30.07.20

Today saw the second abnormal load entering the county at Parkhouse at around 10am, travelled along the A303, before exiting at Codford and travelling north on the A36 to Warminster.

I managed to catch up with the load this morning on the A0303 at Winterbourne Stoke at around 11:15.

Motorists across the county had been warned that they could experience delays this week due to abnormal loads.

The convoy will consist of a swimming pool and will be 4.6m wide.  Its final destination is around the Rudge and Brokerswood area.

Police escorting resources are being provided by officers, paid for by the haulier at no cost to the public.

Abnormal Loads Coming into Wiltshire - 29.07.20


These photographs were taken this afternoon in Larkhill at around 14:35.


Motorists across the County had been warned that they could experience delays this week due to abnormal loads.


This was the first abnormal load  arriving in the county at Parkhouse today and traveled along the A303, exiting at the Countess Roundabout near Amesbury, before heading north on the A345 to Larkhill, where I caught up with it.


The convoy consisted of two "modular buildings", each 4.4m wide.


Police escorting resources are being provided by officers, paid for by the haulier at no cost to the public.

Abnormal Load Entering Wiltshire on the A303 - 23.07.20


I had the opportunity to take these phorographs at the junction of the A303 and A338 at around 14.40.


Road users on the A338 around Tidworth were warned that they may experience some additional delays due to the abnormal load which entered Wiltshire on the A303 between 14:00 and 15:00, 

exiting at Parkhouse before heading north on the A338 to Tidworth.


The final destination for the gantry crane was a military establishment outside of the town.


The convoy consisted of one load some 34m in length, plus associated private and police escort vehicles.

Alzheimers Society Cupcake Day - 13.06.20

Dust off your baking bowls, whip out your whisks and get ready to bake a difference - it's time to turn up the heat on dementia. Whilst Cupcake Day might look a little different this year, we’re still calling all bakers to rise to the occasion – where there’s a whisk there’s a way! Host your Cupcake Day online, at home, or whenever and wherever you can!

Abnormal Load on the A303 - 11.06.20


Road users were warned to expect an 'abnormal load' on the A303 and A338 towards Tidworth.


I managed to take these photographs on the outskirts of Tidworth Garrison.
The 34 metre load carrying a gantry crane was being delivered to a military establishment just outside the town.


It entered Wiltshire via the A303 at around 14:00, exiting at Parkhouse Cross before heading north on the A338 to Tidworth.  As well as the 34-metre load, the convoy involved associated private and police escort vehicles.


Police escorting resources were provided by officers, paid for by the haulier at no cost to the public.

Ermine Caterpillar - 17.05.20

Extensive caterpillar webs of several species of tiny Ermine Moth, micro moth family Yponomeutidae, are being sighted in many parts of the local area.

The small caterpillars of Ermine species are often difficult to identify, particularly when inside the silk web, and often the best way to identify the species of Ermine caterpillar is by the foodplant.

The webs will often coat large areas of hedging and trees such as Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Spindle and Bird Cherry.

These are favoured by particular species of Ermine caterpillar such as The Spindle Ermine which feeds on spindle trees and hedging.

Emergency Services Personnel Search the River Avon by Broad Quay Road, Bath - 08.03.20

These photographs were taken as emergency services personnel search for a person in the water, in the River Avon by Broad Quay Road, Bath, after reports that someone had entered the water.

The ambulance, fire and police had all been in attendance. They used an inflatable dinghy and helicopter but after several hours of searching couldn't find anyone.

Coronation Road, Durrington - The Last of the Ceremonial Trees to mark the Queens Coronation.

After the Second World War a large council estate was built south of Coronation Road in the 1950s and was extended in the 1960s, while many more houses were also built at Larkhill Camp.
Durrington continued to expand in the 1960s, after a drop in population in the 1950s owing to fewer military personnel being in the parish.

In 1953 when the estate was built, as a condition of planning, trees were planted along the roadside verges through the estate.  In additon, some residents had trees planted in their gardens and most properties also had hedges, bordering the footpaths.

These trees ranged from Lombardi Poplar to Chestnut, Cherry, Laburnham, Hawthorn  and many others.

Some mature Ash and Beech were also preserved during the building works.

Unfortunately most of these have long since disappeared.

In recent years a Lombardi Poplar situated along Coronation Road, has been allowed to grow to a full mature sample.  Unfortunately, this tree was definitely planted in the wrong place and has become a menace.

It was the home to many starlings and pigeons, who of course not only make a lot of noise roosting, they also leave a considerable amount of droppings under the tree on residents properties.

Having been planted in the narrow grass verge between a footpath and the roadway, its roots have no doubt travelled many metres in all directions.  The roots have also lifted the ground around its base including the kerbs and tarmacadam path and road.

Over the last few years during storms it often dropped limbs onto the road etc.

This tree is now being dismantled, presumably to be removed.

As far as I am aware this is the last of the ceremonial trees to mark the Queens Coronation.  It was one of an avenue of Poplars planted in the verge from the Meads Road junction to have survived on the estate, if not the whole village.


Updated 28.05.20


The first six photographs show the return of the tree surgeons and removal of the whole tree.

'Abnormal Loads' Travelling Through Wiltshire - 03.02.20

These photographs were taken this morning near Chippenham.

Drivers were warned about a couple of "abnormal loads" travelling through Wiltshire.

The main areas affected were Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury, but motorists were warned that these delays may hit those commuting to Salisbury on Monday and Tuesday.

Wiltshire Police stated that they would be leaving Junction 17 of the M4 at around 10am on both days, travelling down the A350 around Chippenham, Melksham and then Trowbridge before taking the B3097 to Brook Lane, Westbury.

Tuesday will see a further load move into Westbury from the M4 from around lunchtime onwards.

The loads are rail infrastructure, up to 4.7m wide, and were accompanied by private and Police escort vehicles.

Due to their size, they were both slow-moving and had the potential to cause congestion in places where oncoming traffic was required to pull in and wait for it to pass. Traffic travelling behind the moves was not able to overtake.

Police escorting resources are being provided by officers, paid for by the haulier at no cost to the public.


Save the Ablington Woods Project - 29.01.20


As I drove past Ablington Woods, I was pleased to see the fundraising thermometer had reached its Goal of £32,000.

Kings Heavy Haulage move Merlin Helicopter EH101 - 21.11.19


These phorographs were taken this morning on the A303 at Winterbourne Stoke showing Kings Heavy Haulage moving a Merlin Helicopter.
Kings Heavy Haulage moved this massive helicopter from  Boscombe down to Yeovil at a whopping 28m long x 4.97m wide x 5.5m high (once loaded).  Kings designed and built the custom frame for the helicopter to travel on to make this move possible.
Motorists faced slight delays as the helicopter was transported through Wiltshire.
The load, consisting of the prime vehicle and both private and police escort cars, was due to leave Amesbury at around 10am and traveled westbound along the A303 to the border with Avon and Somerset.
Due to the size of the helicopter, nearly five metres wide and five-and-a-half meters tall, the convoy was slow, potentially causing congestion.  In some instances drivers had to pull over and wait for the load to pass.

Geoff Souden - RIP

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Geoff Souden, at the age of 92.

I was contacted by his Son Chris, who informed me that Geoff was one of the engineers who worked for Edward ‘Ted’ Hine and helped restore the showman’s engine 'Quo Vadis' back in the 1960’s.  Geoff even drove the Scammell low-loader to some rallies and Chris remembers riding ‘gun shot’ in the passenger seat.

The funeral details are as follows:

Semington Crematorium,
Wiltshire BA14 6HL

Time: 11.30 on Saturday 19th October.

Rose's Catering - A354


If you are travelling to GDSF, a stopover at Roses's catering unit on the A354 near Woodyates on the Wiltshire/Dorset border, is a must!  A welcome break to grab a cuppa, burger, breakfast roll etc. and to catch up with the latest news.


Rose knows all her customers and it's a great place to stop, even with the odd engine dropping in!


Here, Rose can be seen catching up with the New Zealand boys and taking the opportunity to grab a selfie!  Of course Rose is Aunt to Robin Marshman (of Horsham Traction Engine Company fame!)  I hope they didn't share too many secrets with Rose!   

Wiltshire Steam & Vintage Rally - Rainscombe Park, Oare - 8th to 9th June

Taking place this weekend.

A one minute silence will take place in the ring on Saturday, when the steamers are in, in memory of Mr John Newton.

WAPG have donated £68,000 to charities so far, the charities include, Bobby Van Trust, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Julia's House Hospice, which will be receiving more donations after this years Rally.

John steering John of Gaunt

John Newton - R.I.P.

Speaking to Barnaby Newton today it is with great sadness to report the passing of John Newton, Gentleman of Steam.  

Mr John Newton was the man who helped bring steam to Hungerford with steam rallies on the common during the 1970's, followed by a Victorian Extravaganza which took place in December.

A really likeable man who I have enjoyed many discussions with on the rally fields.  John always took the time to explain things to me and was full of wonderful steam history and often told me how he had managed to collect such rare engines.  

Over the years I was able to talk to John and share the times, while listening to Barnaby's organ and getting up very close with John’s wonderful engines.  I have on occasions travelled on the road with these engines as they made their way to steam events.

Unfortunately, John started to suffer from loss of memory over the later years but I was still able to have a conversation with him but he was not aware of who I was but remembered me as the man who took the photographs.

I can recall travelling home from London in 2016 where I was with Verity and Carters Fair during the day, as I travelled out of Hungerford I met John's engine, The Philadelphia, parked by the roadside.  John was onboard having been taken out for a ride on the engine.

Later that year I was able to take some photographs at GDSF of John steering John of Gaunt.  It was wonderful to see John out on his engines.  

John will be very much missed.  I can only thank Mrs Newton, Barnaby and Family, in addition to the engines crews, for allowing me the time I spent with them.  My thoughts are with his Family at this time.  R.I.P. John.

Abnormal Load - Ludgershall - 31.05.19

I took these photographs in Ludgershall at 10.20.  Drivers were being warned that they may face delays on Friday May 31st, as an abnormal load was due to hit the roads.

Wiltshire police warned that a 4.27m wide load was travelling along roads near Devizes and Andover.  Oncoming traffic would have to pull over to let the load pass and it could cause delays in the county.

A spokesman for Wiltshire police said: "Road users in the Ludgershall, Everleigh, Upavon and Devizes areas of Wiltshire may experience delays on Friday.  An abnormal load is due to enter Wiltshire via the A342 at Ludgershall and travel through to Devizes via Everleigh, Upavon and Rushall, departing Ludgershall at 10am and arriving under escort in Hillworth Road, Devizes at around 11.30am.  It will consist of the prime mover, plus both private and police escort vehicles, with the load itself being an electrical switch cabinet 4.27m wide.  Due to its size, the load will be both slow moving and have the potential to cause congestion in places where oncoming traffic will be required to pull in and wait for the vehicles to pass. Traffic travelling behind the move will not be able to overtake.  Wherever possible, disruption will be kept to a minimum although both hauliers and motorists are asked to please be patient should they come across this load. Anyone travelling both over this period and along or across this route on time critical matters should allow sufficient additional time for their journey.  Officers from the Community Policing Team in Devizes will in due course be contacting residents on affected approach roads to ask them to park elsewhere for a short period of time (to allow the load to safely reach its destination).  Police escorting resources are being provided by officers, paid for by the haulier at no cost to the public."

23rd & 24th March - Wilton Model Engineering & Hobbies Exhibition

Spiral Cloud seen from Salisbury Plain - 05.02.19

It was while out on Salisbury Plain near to The Old Marlborough Road between 16.00 and 17.00 on the 5th February that this strange happening occurred.

I often meet on the Downs with my friend and his dogs at the end of the day, it is a great way to unwind at the end of the day and be in relative peace with the wonderful views that are available.

We usually walk my friend’s dogs and often meet others doing the same, following this we have a cup of tea and discuss various subjects. Very often there is Military personnel about and we often talk to these people and have a look at the vehicles etc in transit or on exercise.

On the evening in question we walked the dogs and I took several pictures of the sunset as it set below the horizon.

We were sat in the vehicle for a cup of tea and a few seconds later noticed the spiral of cloud, of vapour or whatever it was.   It appeared to have been tainted red by the setting sun.  As the sun set it became dark and disappeared. 


Having noted the time and our exact position it was decided to send this onto the paper, that I often provide with happenings and events.

I spoke with the content Editor and supplied the information as written here, the paper was very excited with the pictures and asked if they could follow this up and contact relevant people.

For several days now the world’s press have been covering this feature and story.

Unfortunately as always things get out of sink with the worlds press trying to make things sound different to the facts.

I can recall that famous quote “Send reinforcement we are going to advance” was delivered as “Bring three and four pence we are going to a dance”

Also the latest TV Advert (Send supplies)???

Having now spoken to others who saw what we did and following my estimates of direction and how far away it was, I can confirm it was at least over in Somerset, maybe further away than that. 


It was about 30 miles west of where we were, in the direction of Westbury which is at the western edge of Salisbury Plain.  It could even have been nearer to the Bristol Channel. 


To quell a few theories in newspapers and on the internet!


I do have concerns about a few blatant comments, referring to rockets and plumes of smoke and underground bunkers near Stonehenge, being used by the MOD.

This is absolute rubbish and to publicise this about an ancient monument is out of order. Stonehenge is miles away and totally in the wrong direction!

However, I have seen and do have pictures of the underground bunker at the ancient monument.  This was the old underpass that was supposed to be removed; this did not happen and is used by the security staff at the site.

Stonehenge was never fenced when I was a child, it was free and open for everyone to see.  The road which was situated alongside the site, the A344 was one of the oldest roads in the Country.  This was dug up and access to the stones denied, along with the free access to the monument that as locals was agreed many years ago. The monument belongs to the Nation not English Heritage who are using it as a moneybox.

It is also not correct to put the blame on the MOD. I was born here on Salisbury Plain, just a few miles from the place we walk the dogs  It was nothing to do with the Ministry and yes they would always be notified as they have been on many occasions, when we see unusual happenings out on the land they are responsible for.

Vintage Spirit - March 2019


Thank you to Brian Gooding, for featuring in the 200th issue of Vintage Spirit, my journey across the New Forest with Douglas Hynd, on route to The Great Dorset Steam Fair in 2018.  Also thank you to Douglas and crew for allowing me to accompany you and to capture your journey. 


2018 - On the Road to GDSF!

CTP 2019 Vehicle Events

Valentine Tractor Road Run - 10.02.19

Somerset Steam & Country Fair - 19th to 21st July 2019

Plain Crazy - 30.12.18

Plain Crazy is a 12.5 ish mile run and has been described as hilly, cold, scenic, desolate, windy and can even be snowy. This event is supported The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal with a donation from the race.

Plain Crazy is race no 4 in the Winter Series of the Wiltshire Off-road League 2018/19.

The race started at 11:00 at Pepper Place, Warminster BA12 0DW.  There was a short safety briefing before the race.

Plain Crazy is open to runners over the age of 16 years on the day of the race. Dogs are welcome on a lead. Places are limited to 245 places, although they were numbered up to 265.


Alton - 27.12.18

On route through Alton Hampshire to an assignment, this rather large Santa Hat caught my eye and I just had to stop and take a photograph!

This apparently was Alton’s first illuminated unique Santa Hat and is the only one in the UK!!  The Santa Hat was on the lawn outside the Assembly Rooms, to compliment the Santa Run event.  The Santa Hat illuminates when dark.


Village Charity Sleigh Ride - 24.12.18

Santa and his sleigh visited the villages of East Gomeldon, Idmiston, Porton, Winterbournes and Hurdcott.

Santa and his elves visited the villages and handed out gifts for all the children to raise money for the Stars Appeal.


Team Rubicon - 11.12.18

I met up with this team out on a run.  This was no ordinary group of runners, these people were extremely fit and one member had run from London, where he set out on his journey on Friday.

Extract from Rubicon website:

What’s the challenge?:

We’re approaching Christmas, and a month of eating / drinking far too much is looming ahead of us.  Why not counter-act the calorie-fest and get your running shoes on in support of a great cause?

Damian Lewis is running from 99 City Road to Team Rubicon UK’s HQ in Chilmark (approximately 165km), over the course of five days – from Friday 7 December through to Tuesday 11 December… and he needs some company!

Each day will be broken into stages of various length (ranging from ~5km up to ~20km), and Damian is hoping you’ll join him for a stage (or more!). 

We’ll be running as a group, so there is no requirement to run at an Olympic pace here! The target is to get as many people involved as possible.

‘Fancy’ getting involved?:

This event is open to all, and is a ‘the-more-the-merrier’ occasion. We want as many people as possible to get involved – so spread the word, friends and family welcome too!

Bonus kudos will be given to those running in fancy dress (it is a “Santa Run”, after all!), so raid your fancy dress boxes for the most hilarious outfit you can find. 

You can find out more -and donate- here

He's only gone and done it: Greyshirt Damian's 165km SantaRun is complete!

Through fair weather and foul and via a few pubs he was joined along the way by staff and volunteers from Team Rubicon and Inmarsat.

CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery enters Southampton Container Port - 05.12.18

CMA CGM Antoine de Saint Exupery is a container ship that is operated by French shipping company CMA CGM.  As the lead ship of her class, she is the flagship of CMA CGM's fleet and the largest container ship to sail under the French flag and the largest Europe-based ship.  Named after the French author and aviator, Antoine de Saint Exupery.

She was delivered to CMA CGM on 25 January 2018, ahead of her entry into service on 6 February on a routing from southeast Asia to northern Europe.


Antoine de Saint Exupery measures 217,673 gross tons, and is 400 metres (1,300 ft) long, with a beam of 59 metres.

The photographs were taken from Calshot and also the container port on her arrival.

This was just hours after the sister ship, CMA CGM Louis Bleriot, sailed after her maiden trip to Southampton at 02.30 this morning.  Unfortunately, the ship visited the port during the hours of darkness, so I was not able to get any pictures of this vessel.

CMA CGM Louis Bleriot on APL’s Far-East Express 1 (FX1) is behind schedule, as the vessel was hit by a quay crane at Southampton on 4th December 2018.  The vessel only suffered minor damage but the crane has been taken out of service, resulting in schedule delay in order to complete the discharge.


Local Councillor and Volunteer refurbishing the finger post - Alvediston - 19.10.18 & 26.11.18

On a recent trip to Alvediston, I noticed a Local Councillor and Volunteer refurbishing the finger post and took the opportuity to snap a few photographs.  I made a return visit to see the finished product and what a splendid job!

As in many other Councils this is a job that years ago the WCC would have carried out but with staff and budget cuts, this is no longer done.  Fortunately for local volunteers, these skills and history is kept alive.

Bath on Ice - 16.11.18 to 06.01.19


I dropped in to see Bath on Ice as it was getting ready to open and then again when it had been opened.  What a spectacular site  with 1000m²- their biggest year ever!


Can you spot the cable car?


Follow the link below for more information.

Alzheimer's Society Christmas Raffle courtesy of Helen & Peter Palmer - Palmers Papers, Durrington


A Christmas raffle is being organised by Helen & Peter Palmer, Palmers Papers, Bulford Road, Durrington.

The local Newsagent in the Village, has for a number of years run at least one raffle or special collection event during the year, in additon to supporting the Charity by having a collection tin within the shop. 

I have donated a selection of local featured calendars, many including my late Fathers photographs for this event in aid of the Salisbury Alzheimer’s Branch.

I can only thank Helen & Peter and the Villagers on behalf of the Charity, for their continued and generous support.

Warminster Town - 4th November 2018


Warminster town has been flooded by a sea of around 17,000 knitted red poppies which are being displayed for Remembrance Day.  The bright cascade of poppies, which was made last year by volunteers in the town, is once again being displayed on the front of St Lawrence Chapel.  Around 11,000 poppies make up the spectacular cascade and the rest are used on the war memorial, with every name having their own poppy.

A memorial bench and wreath have also been made with the knitted poppies, and a giant poppy is displayed on the tower of the chapel.

The traditional red poppy has for generations been a sign of respect for people lost in military conflict, the white poppy is a sign of pacifism but the purple poppy is worn to remember the millions of animals killed in human wars.


The numbers of animals killed in military conflict are staggeringly high with an estimated eight million horses and donkeys dying in World War One alone.  The pigeon is also counted in with these animals that were part of the war effort, as they were vital for communications, out on the battlefield, many were shot by snipers and it was recorded that several pigeons were injured many times and even awarded medals.

It was estimated 750,000 dogs were killed in one week in Britain at the outbreak of World War Two, as the government told pet owners they would not have enough rations to feed animals.

Purple poppies were launched in the UK in 2006 and are often worn alongside traditional poppies and are also widespread in Australia.

Howitzer in Swindon - Wednesdsay 24th October 2018

The first tour of Swindon with the howitzer will take place Wednesday 24th October, please see attached for specific details.

This has been in the planning for several months.  Colin Hatch, being very keen to make this all work will be visiting with the Howitzer, the places where parts for these guns, were manufactured during WW1.


Below are a couple of photographs of the Howitzer on the GDSF WW1 Convoy 2018.

The Big Guns are coming to Swindon!

Details of the Howitzer-in-Swindon - 24.10.18.


Kempton Park Racecourse - 21.10.18

Alongside racing Kempton Park Racecourse also had a selection of vehicles from the First World War on display.  Members of The Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society were on site with information about the role Kempton Park played during WWI as part of the centenary commemorations.  The vehicles supplied courtesy of the GDSF WW1 convoy troops!

The display also visited Sandhurst Military Academy.

Spotted - Sunflowers Growing on Salisbury Plain


These sunflowers are growing on Salisbury Plain and they turn their heads during the day, to enable them to always be pointing towards the sun!


Spotted - Soya Bean Crop


Having spent several days travelling back and forth to the Dorset Steam Fair site along the A354, I have been noticing the changes to some of the fields  and their crops.

 In the last week I have noticed a strange crop that I have not seen before, near to the Handley roundabout.  I have asked some of my Farmer friends and I understand it is soya beans.


Michael Oliver King of Steam, 50 Year Commemorative Issue 
It will be Old Glory's 30th year this year, first mooted at 1987 show, first issue in 1988 at first year at Tarrant Hinton Site.  Brian Moore's book 'King of Steam' which includes 49 new photographs of some of the men and women who helped build the Great Dorset Steam Fair, will be on sale at £9.95 at the show.
Thank you to Brian for the image and information.

GDSF - 2018

50th Anniversary Show


Head over to the GDSF - 2018 pages and see the start of the site being prepared for the show!

LNER A4 Class 4-6-2 no 60009 Union of South Africa - Sunday 15 July 2018 

I was in Bath very early this morning and almost forgot, there was a steam train tour this morning.  While taking other pictures, I met a Colleague who was waiting for the train.  Unfortunately I did not have time to find a good vantage point, therefore this photograph was taken as the train approached Bath Spa Station.  Note the diesel on the rear of the engine.

Due to the risk of fire with the recent weather conditions, all steam train running has been reduced or totally suspended.  Therefore, we now have the diesel engines out doing the work, while the steam engine just has enough steam to lubricate and run the system  and whistle etc.  This is a great shame, as we may not ever see this engine in steam on the mainline again.

The  60009 ‘Union of South Africa’  has firebox issues, No. 60009 will not be taking part in any railtours in the near future.  This comes as a blow to many, as the locomotive was due to be hauling stages of the ‘Great Britain XI‘ rail tour over the coming week.

At this moment in time, it is not known  the extent of the repairs required, or whether these will be carried out.  No. 60009 is due to be withdrawn in 2019 and placed in a museum at the owner’s house in Fife, along with K4 No. 61994 ‘The Great Marquess'.


Market Lavington Vintage Meet - 14th & 15th July 2018 

In Market Lavington, the Vintage Meet will be held over the weekend of July 14th and 15th 2018.  Visitors will be able to see the historic steam engine Lord Roberts which has close ties to the area and the famous Holloway Family of Builders.
Lord Roberts was present at the Heddington & Stockley Steam Rally last weekend.  It was a wonderful site having recently been restored to its former glory. 
Holloway Brothers was Lord Roberts first owner, taking delivery on New Year’s Eve 1900.  The engine was used at the Market Lavington Brick and Tile Works.  Holloway Brothers built churches, schools, public libraries and baths, including the Bank of England, Admiralty Building and the Old Bailey in London.
It is thought Lord Roberts also worked on the construction of the Central Flying School at Upavon so organisers hope it will be a great piece of local history for everyone to see at close quarters. 
On Friday 13th July the engine be making the journey under steam from Lavington to The Trenchard Lines at Upavon and returning to Lavington.
Lord Roberts will also be at West Lavington Fete on Saturday when it will travel through the village around 9:00 and will return at approx 13:00.  It was also travel through the village on Sunday to and from the Fete.
The Vintage Meet will also see a large number of classic cars, commercial vehicles, steam engines and tractors on Elisha Field in Drove Lane from 10am to 4pm each day.  Military vehicles will also be on parade and military re-enactment and living history groups will give displays.
The vintage event has been revived following an initiative started by Gary Sainsbury who grew up in Market Lavington and remembered regular steam rallies held in the 1980s and 1990s.  He gained support from the Parish Council and Wessex Stationary Engine Club and volunteers came forward to make the weekend possible.
 In addition to the many vehicles on display there will also be trade and craft stalls, arena events and entertainment for all the family.
Entry costs £3.50 for adults and £2.50 for children over six.
Update - 13th Juy 2018
I travelled with the engine Lord Roberts and its crew to the Officers Mess, Trenchard Lines, Upavon.  This was one of the buildings that the engine would have hauled building materials to (i.e. bricks and tiles), during its working life.
The Military were on site to welcome the engine, right outside the Officers Mess.

The Mullein Cucullia Verbascum Caterpillar

Distributed widely in England, most commonly in the south, and scarcer in Wales, this species is more often found in the caterpillar stage than adults, which however do come to light.

The larval food plants in the wild are various species of mullein (Verbascum), but it also feeds in gardens on Buddleia.

The Mullein moth flies mainly at night between May and July when they feed at flowers.  The female lays batches of eggs between May and July on species of Verbascum and cultivated Buddleia plants.  They hatch within 10 days and the caterpillars feed gregariously on the host plant often causing severe defoliation.  The boldly marked caterpillars feed conspicuously out in the open during the day as well as at night.  The caterpillars are fully grown within about 30 days when they leave the food plant to pupate in the soil forming a very tough cocoon.

The moth may not emerge for several years.

Wiltshire Steam & Vintage Rally - 9th & 10th June 2018


Taking place in Rainscombe Park, Oare, SN8 4HZ.  The show will see the Bloodhound land speed record show car with childrens activities, the Stunt Monkey trial bike display team and hundreds of vintage vehicles with parades taking place around the show ring.


The show has something for everyone.  Please take a look at the poster to the left for further details.


On Friday 8th June I will be travelling on the road to the rally with the engines detailed below.  On Sunday 10th June, I shall return to Hungerford with the engines.  


The engines I will be escorting from Hungerford are:

Fowler T3 Steam Roller, Built 1923 Wks Number 15964 Reg number WY 7912 - 4-hp 8-ton compound.


This roller spent most of its working life in Yorkshire, originally a tar sprayer, working for Guisley Aireborough District Council.  It was purchased in 1968 by the owners late Father, after it had finished its working life in 1964.  It has had several restorations since, which are ongoing.  Jason Howard is celebrating the 50 years of Family ownership of this engine later this year.


This roller has driven to several events this year including Castle Combe and Lechlade and will be making the journey later this year to GDSF.


The engine will be driven by Jason Howard and Nick Barker


The Newton Family are bringing the Burrell Road Loco Engine Number 4066. John of Gaunt Built 1927 5 NHP VF 589.


The last Burrell Road Loco to be built in St Nicholas Works, Thetford.  Used for timber hauling by its first owners Tailors of Cringleford, the engine was used for threshing by several owners.  The engine attended some early rallies in East Anglia.  It was purchased by the present owners in 1971 from Ron Deamer of Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.


The engine has attended many rallies in the Thames Valley area and was restored by present owners John and Brenda Newton of Hungerford.  The engine will be 91 years old this year.


John of Gaunt will be travelling on the road with the roller and will be crewed by Colin and Ian Hatch.  The engine is very rarely seen making road journeys, so it will be quite a privilege to travel with it.


Below is a snapshot of last years event.  The roller was not at the event last year but thought I would add a photograph in case you do not know this roller!   


I am pleased to report that the aerial view of the showground was taken by me, after climbing to the top of Martinsell Hill on the Sunday morning - yes me climbing!  Was it worth it - Yes.  Would I do it again - No!!  Martinsell Hill is the third highest point in the County of Wiltshire - 948ft above sea level and the location of an Iron Age hillfort.  Give it a try - but mind the climb down!!

House Fire - Windsor Mews, Durrington - 22.05.18

I noticed a lot of smoke here in the village, to find Firefighters dealing with a 'fairly significant blaze' in the village this morning.  Three crews from Salisbury and Amesbury attended the fire in Windsor Mews.  A two storey terraced house was ablaze, starting on the ground floor and spreading to the first floor.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue were called to reports of the house being on fire.  A crew from Basingstoke also arrived to remove tiles from the roof of the house on fire, to check for any spreading and to remove any necessary tiles from the houses next door as a precaution. 

I am pleased to say that the residents all left the house safely.

Bath - RVP Nursery Plant Sales


Royal Victoria Park's award winning Nursery in Marlborough Lane, has all the elements you need to create a quintessentially English garden, will be holding monthly public plant sales in 2018.


20th May, 10th June, 8th July, 12th August and 16th September - 10am to 4pm.





I came across this shared on the Sewards of Petersfield Facebook page and as I do not use Facebook, I thought I could share this on here and reach as many people as possible.


'Please share the hell out of this- make it too hot too handle.

My 30ft container containing mine and my brothers pride and joy - a 1956 hotchkiss jeep and trailer has been stolen from Stoke on Trent. It not only contained the vehicle but all my workshop tools and all my stored belongings including furniture, books, models, various militaria and a lot of electrical equipment.
Please share to try to get at least the jeep back, it has so many memories for us.
The police are investigating but this will hopefully speed things up.
The container is distinctive as per the picture and has red oxide painted doors at the rear.
30ft containers are not that common so should be easy to spot'


Extract from Bath Chronicle (photograph courtesy of myself!) - 10.01.18


How much of the city the University of Bath and Bath Spa University owns


Our two universities bring millions to the city every year, but how much of Bath do they own?


The Chronicle can reveal that the University of Bath owns 10 buildings across the city, with its acquisition of the city's former police station in Manvers Street bringing it to double figures.

Its portfolio also includes the controversial Lansdown Crescent property, bought for £1.6 million in 2002, which is currently home to Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell.

The responses from both universities also show that one building, acquired by the University of Bath in 1977, is currently being let to Bath Spa University on a 50-year lease.

If you have any queries or wish to purchase a photograph, please contact me:


+44 7831237759


If you wish to send a donation to the Alzheimer's Society, you can now click on the link on the Alzheimer's Society page.

Get social with us.


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  • Eleanor firmstone (Thursday, January 23 20 09:20 am GMT)

    Hi, do you have any information on the steam roller ru7342. We now own the roller and wondered what year this was taken.
    Thanks Eleanor

  • Sarah Mitchell (Wednesday, September 11 19 10:31 pm BST)

    Hi there is a wonderful picture you took of a dear friend of mine on his journey to the gdsf this year. It is in the western daily press dated 22/08/19 Carl Brown roading the Marshall to gdsf. I cannot locate this picture on any website to purchase and was hoping i could purchase through yourself many thanks Sarah

  • John Baines (Friday, April 05 19 03:45 pm BST)

    Have you any photogaphs of James & Crockerills yard in Durrington? Their MD Peter Barber owned the Burrell Scenic Road loco 'Prince of Wales@ and other engines including Burrell roller 'Daffodil'

  • Zoe Read (Saturday, March 02 19 07:08 pm GMT)

    I see you already have dates for this one but I wondered if you would consider adding Purbeck Rally to your event list?
    9th -11th August
    worgret road, wareham, dorset, BH20 6AB
    Raising funds for Forest Holme Hospice Charity & other local causes.

  • Andrew Gray (Wednesday, February 20 19 07:55 pm GMT)

    Is that Mr Dimmer and the train made at Durrington Sec Modern, I started there 1963 and left 1968. Mr Dimmer (Regg) was such a great teacher. Wonderful set of images to treasure. p.s we met today at the Boscombe Down Tornado fly past.

  • Jamie (Saturday, September 01 18 01:39 am BST)


    I am Jamie. One of the coalomen from last weeks steam fair. I know you mentioned taking lots of photos of us and it would be lovely to see them. Please get back to me when you can with prices ect i will most certainly purchase a few! In the meantime i will admire wgat you have on your page here already, hope you enjoyed the show! Speak soon


  • Don Russell (Friday, August 17 18 08:51 am BST)

    Hullo, found your site when looking for GDSF info. I was wondering if you had any information regarding engines travelling to the GDSF. I read engines will be raising money for cancer on there journey but I cannot find any info regarding route and timings.Thanks

  • Brian Moore (Saturday, August 04 18 12:40 pm BST)

    Thanks David: Brian

  • Peter Freeman (Thursday, May 10 18 09:56 pm BST)

    Fantastic site, easy to read and great pics! Keep up the good work.

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