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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods January 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas FEBRUARY. 02, 2021

Odds and Sods, or "an assortment of small, miscellaneous items, especially those that are not especially important or valuable".

Because I am doing the 365 project I grab a camera whenever I go out each day. I never plan what I will photograph, so I choose a photo for my 365 post, but others get overlooked and potentially forgotten.

I take so many odds and sods of photos I decided to do an actual post each month for the odds and sods that are left over, thus encouraging me to go back and see what I missed.

Here are some shellfish cages at Dartmouth. Dartmouth is a very small working port as well as a tourist destination. Nowhere near as big as nearby Brixham it specialises in shellfish.

I have two neighbours who have been shielding since last March. They have not gone shopping in all that time and I have got to know them as they walk around the village, where we have a chat when it is fine. They stand well back from people but always stop to chat. One of them is Dutch in origin. Their favourite shop is Lidl in Dartmouth, a German discount retailer that stocks all sorts of European delicacies as standard.

My neighbours have managed to get all their needs delivered by friends or online shopping and we have been able to get one or two things from Lidl for them. Before Christmas they found some discount vouchers in their newspaper for Lidl, and put them through our door. We used the vouchers on our next shop and decided to get them a special bag of seasonal European goodies that they would not be able to get elsewhere.

They have never been to our house but on New Year's Eve our doorbell went and the lady presented us with a beautifully wrapped gift in Dutch style. Inside were these traditional New Year treats called "oliebollen ". They are what we would call doughnuts but with Christmas spices and fruit inside and they are delicious. We were given explicit instructions on how to warm them and sprinkle them with icing sugar. I was so touched that even in their shielded life they had gone to so much trouble that it actually brought a tear to my eye. We hope that very soon we will be able to invite them in and offer them some hospitality.

Although this month has been nowhere near as wet as last January it has been mostly dark and brooding and there was a sting in the tail as we have had some heavy rain in the last few days. As a consequence there is a preponderance of dark and sombre landscapes this month and not so much variety, as we have been in lockdown and we have not been further than three miles from home. I do quite like the dark atmosphere in some of them though and you need the contrast to really appreciate the bright blue skies when they eventually arrive.

This small building below is on our usual walk out of the village up to the next village. There is an ancient manor farm and this building is directly opposite. It has a temporary metal roof and what look like windows only on the upper level, which have been blocked up. The front door looks very old and original. There is a door at the back too. I have always puzzled as to what it's original purpose was.

So I decided to post the photo on the local Facebook page to find out. Almost immediately, two replies suggested that from memory these people had been told a long time ago that it was called the laundry or alternatively that deer were butchered after hunting. There is apparently a natural water source at the rear.

Izzy- So we’re not actually sure why it’s called the laundry. But dad has said that the farm’s historian, Robert Waterhouse, has said that it used to be an old hunting lodge for deer. They used to be funnelled down through the field behind and dealt with there. It’s had various uses since then. It has a wicker first floor and the front door is around 300 years old. I hope this helps.

I suppose if it had water and wash facilities and a wicker floor above with window openings, both purposes, wash house and deer butchery would be well serviced. The area upstairs could equally be used for drying washing or aging meat.

At the church in the next village, many of the graves are very old, so old in some cases that the original inscriptions are indecipherable. I thought the lichen on this grave was particularly beautiful and not having photographed lichen successfully before, had another attempt. I think the diffused daylight helped on this occasion.

This headstone below caught my eye because it was very out of place right by the front door amongst all the ancient graves, and not in the extended area at the back of the church where all the contemporary graves lie.

So I decided to see if I could find out who Jack Goodman was. I did better than that because, I not only found out, I also found a website containing several reels of oral history spoken by Jack himself. His nickname was Benny Goodman presumably after the band leader and jazz clarinettist.

Benny Goodman enlisted in the RAFVR at the age of 18 and was drafted in 1940. After being employed initially as groundgunner, he took up basic flight training in the course of 1941.

He was posted to 627 "Dam Buster" Squadron flying 30 missions including the attack on the Tirpitz, October 29th, 1944; the bombing of the Arnsberg Viaduct with a 22.000 lbs Grand Slam and the attack on the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgaden, May 25th, 1945.

The DFC was established on June 3rd, 1918, the birthday of King George V, and is awarded to Officers and Warrant officers for "an act or acts of valour and courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy". A straight silver bar is a further enhancement of the DFC, awarded for additional acts under the same terms as the cross.

You can hear Jack's first hand accounts of flying during the war including descriptions of the "Oboe" direction finding system and the time his plane was hit during a raid here.

Lime kilns in Frogmore creek.

Most people have seen tiled roofs, of course, but around here it is not uncommon to see tiled walls too. They normally face the prevailing wind and add protection to walls from penetrating rain. Walls that traditionally had lime mortar or were wholly made from Cobb, a sort of rammed earth and straw. The prevailing wind around here is South Westerly coming straight up the creek, so if your house is in a raised spot it helps to add that extra layer of protection.

Three gates in a row struck me as an unusual sight. I've never seen this before. They were a little way off the path so I had a look on Google Earth when I got home to find out why. The three fields the other side, divide into pizza slice shapes and meet at the pointy ends of the slices right here, which I assure you is very rare. I couldn't see what toppings they had. If you had goats in one field, buffalo in one field and sheep in the third you would have Tre Formaggi from a Quatro Formaggi. You would just need some nice Taleggio to make up the fourth corner of the Pizza.

I have my camera set to take Jpeg and Raw and mostly use the Raw files. This is a great example of why. Above is the unadulterated Raw image, which gives a nicely exposed sky and field, but everything else is almost pure black.

In fact there is far more information in that black than you can see. By adjusting the shadows in Affinity you can see that magic happens. This is not HDR, this is one capture. Not only is there a huge amount of detail but also a great variety of texture and colour.

Below some potential Pecorino or Ricotta for my next pizza. This field is what passes for flat around here.

At Kingsbridge Quay, a little way up from the main Quayside I spotted these ancient steps, which don't look as though they are used so much these days. In fact due to our risk averse lives there was a rather ugly, overly large sign, warning you to be careful if you use them because you might die, unlike the tens of thousands of people who used them every day in the past. I did like their rustic quality, and they made an interesting Graphic Square.

Also on the Quayside but closed due to Covid is a miniature railway. Years ago it was powered by dangerous dirty steam, but today it is clean eco battery electric, gathered from our aging nuclear power plants.

This is the storage shed where the engines are kept during pandemics. The old enamel advertising signs were always a feature of railway stations. In this case there are Cadbury's chocolates, which you have probably heard of, consisting mostly of fat and sugar, Tizer which is a fruit resembling, sugary soda drink from the Northern Wastelands of Post Industrial Britain and Craven "A" an early herbal remedy consisting of dried tobacco leaves, rolled up into small paper tubes which you set fire to, and then breathe through, like smoky snorkels, without the pretty fish or the wet suit.

"Cadbury's chocolate is a perfect food, absolutely pure therefore best. Delicious and wholesome"

"Drink Tizer the appetizer." Tizer was launched in 1924, and over the years it's tagline has changed.

You Can Tell It's Tizer When Your Eyes Are Shut. ( 1980, 1982 )

I'se Got The Ize. ( 1986 )

Refresh Your Head. ( 1996–2003 )

!tz a Red Thing. ( 2003–2007 )

Live the Red Life. ( 2004 , for Ringtones site )

Freeze Your Head. ( 1998, for Tizer Ice )

Craven "A" is named after the third Earl of Craven and was launched in 1921. The cigarettes appeared in the James Bond novel Dr. No. and Shanghai beggars in J.G Ballard's novel Empire of the Sun are described as 'shaking their Craven A tins like reformed smokers.

"So graceful, so sure of herself. Before her mirror she is particular to a degree. She knows that it's the little refinements that count. And of course she wouldn't dream of risking her appearance by careless smoking. She knows that Craven "A" cork-tipped do not shed untidy little bits of tobacco or stick to her lips. Made specially to prevent sore throats".

If you walk out of Kingsbridge as far as you can, following the estuary this is the end of the road. If the tide is in and you are in a boat you can travel the world.

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