Neurology Appointment and Other Stuff

A brief account of my appointment with the neurologist at QEH and of the arrival of my new computer.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday I attended an appointment with the neurologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and I also dropped my old computer at PC World so that they could transfer stuff from it to my new computer, and my aunt picked up both machines from them today.

THE NEUROLOGIST APPOINTMENT

This went well. The dizziness and disorientation I experienced as an immediate response to my new anti-seizure medication appears to relate to a problem with my inner ear, which meant that organizing an appointment with the audiologists at Addenbrooke’s became of increased importance. This appointment is booked for 11:30 on June 3rd, immediately after I have other appointments at Addnebrooke’s, t0 minimize the number of journeys to and from Cambridge. I also have in case of emergency a medication for taking if the dizziness gets really bad. I am greatly relieved to have some answers and the prospect of further answers at the audiology appointment.

WITHOUT THE COMPUTER

Yesterday afternoon and evening I had a lot of time without access to a computer, and I filled some of it by mounting postcards for display until I ran out of glue dots (I had three postcards still to mount to complete the intended display, as you will see), and I have some stamps that will need the same treatment if I am to display them. This morning I used my phone to open facebook and post a message on the NAS West Norfolk Commitee page. Here are some pictures from yesterday:

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As these pictures show depending on layout considerations one can mount three or four postcards on each side of an A4 sheet, meaning that each section of a Poundland display file contains 6, 7 or 8 postcards according to layout.

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These are the three I have still to mount…
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…and I took the opportunity to get a close-up of this one.

OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS

Of course these are not the only photographs I took…

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This is an unedited photo…
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…and this is the edited version.

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Unedited…
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…Edited

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Unedited…
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…and edited

A Grockle’s Eye View of Cornwall 12: Homeward Bound

Bringing my series on my visit to Cornwall to a close.

INTRODUCTION

All good things come to an end, even this series of blog posts, and with this post we do indeed reach the end of my account of my visit to Cornwall. 

THE JOURNEY HOME

With my train due to leave St Germans at 9:27AM on Monday July 16th we had decided that a departure from Fort Picklecombe at 8:30AM was warranted due to the fact that I had a reserved seat on that train, which was going all the way to London, and would have been in the region of £100 down had I missed it. We arrived early at the station, and once the train arrived I found my seat easily enough, although as had happened on the journey down they had reversed the running order of the train and I was facing against the direction of travel instead of with it (trust me, for a photographer this is quite significant). Here are the last of the Cornish pictures…

sea birdSt GermansScheduleRiverMarshy riverRiver with boardsYacht and buoyWaterside housesSaltash stationCrossing the Tamardetail from suspension bridgesuspension bridge and boatsTamar Bridge

The rest of this post takes place outside Cornwall. The train ran a trifle slow, arriving into Paddington sufficiently late to ensure that I would not make my intended connection at Kings Cross. However, the failings of Great Western were as nothing compared to those of Great Northern. The train arrived at Cambridge where it was supposed to divide in two as usual with four coaches going on to King’s Lynn and the rest going back to London, then a good couple of minutes later we got an announcement telling us that the split was not happening and that we needed to go to Platform 7. As a direct consequence of this mess up we then hit two red signals, at Waterbeach and again at Watlington, arriving into King’s Lynn much later than we should. This made it four successive journeys on Great Northern where the schedule had not been adhered to. Their failures appear to have got worse – just a few days ago I saw a special bus service running between King’s Lynn and Ely.

DevonportSouth Devon RailwayStationStation IIView from the trainNewton Abbot stationNewton AbbotNewton Abbot canopy and big buildingRiver near Newton AbbotRacecourselong bridgeLone boatAcross the waterAcross the water IIChurch towerAcross the water IIIBoats and buildingsBoats and hillsidesGrand HouseChurchButterflyriverside walksrural riverExeter St Davidstree and housesTiverton ParkwayTiverton Parkway IITauntonTrain, ExeterTrain, Bristol IIMetal curlicuesTrains, BristolBristol with trainsBristol Temple MeadsCleaning Britain's Railwaysbridge and pipebridge and pipe IIBath SpaBath Spa IIChurch tower IIBarge and churchBig churchcricket fieldRailway buildingGWR MuseumGWR Museum IISTEAM building

Tunnel trucks
These trucks look like tunnel segments on wheels.

SwindonPlatform detailGoods trainsingle trainReadingReading Stationtrains near ReadingLondon Underground train

Royal Oak
Westbourne Park, the penultimate Hammersmith & City line station west of Paddington – until quite recently local mainline train services stopped here as well. When the Metropolitan Railway opened in 1863 it used GWR rolling stock (broad guage in those days), and there were track connections between the two railways. This line to Hammersmith became part of the Metropolitan Railway in 1864, and between 1877 and 1910 services ran through to Richmond by way of a viaduct from Goldhawk Road the far end of which can still be obeserved at Ravenscourt Park. The last legacy of these connections is that today the Hammersmith and City platforms at Paddington are nos 15 and 16 of the main station.

Hammersmith and City line trainPaddington platforms

Interchange, Baker Street
The interchange from Circle and Hammersmith and City through to the four platforms that serve the Metropolitan line at this station (and escalators down another four platforms which serve the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines)

Screen

 

Autistic Special Interests 1: Public Transport

The first in a series of posts about #Autisticspecialinterests that will be appearing here during May.

INTRODUCTION

Here as promised is the first of a series of posts I shall be doing about my special interests. I am starting with public transport, and in this post I shall be referring to events that took place long before I was diagnosed as autistic.

GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL AND THE BIRTH OF A SPECIAL INTEREST

I was a patient in a child psychiatric unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital for over a year in the early 1980s. The trigger for the illness that put me there appears to have been a bout of chickenpox. For the first half of my time there I was an in-patient, at the hospital 24/7, and then when they deemed it safe for me to sent home at nights I was a day patient. Although I cannot remember a time when trains did not interest me, it was during this period that I would say that my special interest in public transport was formed. 

My family moved to London in 1979, when I was four, and I have a London Underground map from that time:

LU 1979

Now, here is an edited version, highlighting the two key stations:

LU 1979 - edited

Tooting Bec was our local station, just about a mile from our house, while Russell Square is the station for Great Ormond Street Hospital. My father would take me there in the mornings and pick me up in the afternoons, using London Underground. We took some very bizarre routes, as my fascination grew, which sometimes led to my father getting awkward questions from ticket inspectors (yes folks, in those days London Underground had on-train ticket inspectors). 

TEENAGE YEARS – GOING SOLO

In later years I was able to explore on my own, and when I was in my early teens the child rate for a one-day travelcard was only 90p, so I would often go out on a Saturday and explore London transport in detail (I used various local railway lines as well as the Underground, though in those days I did not make much use of buses). It was also in this period that I discovered the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden

A big moment for me was the opening of The Docklands Light Railway (I travelled on it on its first day of operation way back in 1987, and it was a huge buzz to be there at the start of a new development in public transport). In particular I first developed the method of visiting Greenwich described in this post on www.londontu.be as a teenager, and since the DLR was then pretty much brand spanking new I claim to be the pioneer of that method.

Like most who have been regular users of it I came to despise the Northern Line, and later in my teenage years it was a thing with me to make my excursions without using the Northern line (this meant starting and finishing at one of various railway stations which were walkable from home – Tooting, Streatham Common, Streatham, or Streatham Hill). A frequent finish to my excursions was to take the Hammersmith & City line to Hammersmith, get an eastbound District line train to Earl’s Court and then cross the platform to get a Wimbledon train, finally changing to railway train to Tooting. 

At the same time as I was exploring public transport in London to the full I was also learning more about its history and development. 

Very late in my teens I became a regular commuter, because after finishing at my local comprehensive I decided to resit my Chemistry ‘A’ Level and do the first year of Maths and Physics ‘A’ Levels at Richmond Upon Thames College of Further Education, whose local station was Twickenham, two stops west of Richmond. I had two regular routes there, either travelling in my mother’s car as far as Baron’s Court (the nearest station to the school she was teaching at in that period), District to Richmond, train to Twickenham, or from home, walk to Balham (about a half-hour walk, perfectly manageable for an 18 year old), get a train to Clapham Junction and change for another train to Twickenham. The fastest trains over the Clapham Junction – Twickenham section were those going to Reading, which did it non-stop. Those trains were also the only ones that still had manually opened and closed doors (two choices folks, either slam the thing, making a monstrous crash, which most people did,  or learn, as I did, how the catches worked so that one could shut the door quietly). 

FURTHER POSTS

When I revisit this series, probably at the weekend, the story will move away from London, as I did, and will indeed go international. To finish for today, here are some old pictures of Tooting Bec Station, taken from the book Bright Underground Spaces:

Tooting Bec 1
The Stapleton Road sufrface building agt Tooting Bec, which was the one I used to enter and exit by.
Tooting Bec 2
Both of Tooting Bec;s surface buildings (from 1926-50 the station was called Trinity Road).

Lot 1047

A detailed look at lot 1047 from James and Sons’ April Auction.

INTRODUCTION

When I did my post about James and Sons’ April Auction I said that I would be devoting a whole post lot 1047, an album of railway postcards that fell to me, and here it is.

IMAGING LOT 1047

I had time for only one close up in addition to a sample shot of four images, so this is what I did:

1047

1047-a

LOT 1047 IN DETAIL

Here are is a detailed look through look lot 1047:

Front Cover1234567891011121314151617181920

Acts of Parliament Relating to Railways

A little bit more detail on my latest acquisition.

INTRODUCTION

Those of you who read my post about James and Sons last auction of 2017 will recall that I secured a collection of copies of Acts of Parliament relating to the development of railways. I am now going to provide a little more detail about each item in that collection.

LOT 544 ACT BY ACT

I am going through these documents in the precise order in which I came across them when I photographed them individually on Friday, starting with…

FARNHAM AND ALTON

Farnham and Alton

The section of line this refers to is a branch that diverges from the main line towards Basingstoke and Salisbury at Brookwood, calling at Ash Vale, Aldershot, Farnham, Bentley and Alton. These days there is also a side branch from Aldershot to Ash, Wanborough and Guildford. 

HAMPTON COURT

Hampton Court

This little branch, which is still very much in service today diverges from the main line at Surbiton and has only two further stations, Thames Ditton and Hampton Court. More information about Hampton Court itself can be found here. I cover a potential use for this branch as part of a greater whole in this post.

EGHAM AND CHERTSEY

Egham and Chertsey

This branch, which diverges from the Waterloo-Reading route at Virginia Water has stations at Chertsey, Addlestone and Weybridge, the last named of which offers an jinterchange to the main London-Portsmouth route. This branch, still very much in service, is a part of my envisioned London Orbital Railway.

ARRANGEMENTS WITH OTHER RAILWAY COMPANIES

Arrangements with other railway companies

Rather than dealing with specific infrastructure plans this one seeks to provide the London & South Western with powers to make arrangements with other railway companies. The necessity of bills of this nature, and the fact that on many occasions the companies concerned were at such loggerheads with each other as to be chiefly concerned with doing one another down rather than with providing the best possible service hints at serious weaknesses with having railways in private hands. 

READING, GUILDFORD AND REIGATE

Reading, Guildford & Reigate

This is a substantial line, running in fact from Reading to Redhill, one stop beyond Reigate, and these days having a southern spour from Redhill to Gatwick Airport. There are intermediate stations at Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh, Wokingham, Crowthorne, Sandhurst, Blackwater, Farnborough North, North Camp, Ash, Guildford, Shalford, Chilworth, Gomshall, Dorking West, Dorking Deepdene and Betchworth. 

LONDON BRIDGE

London Bridge

This was a matter of gaining access to a major London terminus. Today London Bridge remains a very major station, with interchanges to London Underground’s Northern and Jubilee lines.

WHITCHURCH, ANDOVER & SALISBURY

Whitchurch, Andover and Salisbury

This refers to the section of line that heads west from Basingstoke calling at Overton, Whitchurch, Andover, Grateley and Salisbury. 

GUILDFORD, FAREHAM AND PORTSMOUTH

Guildford, Fareham, Portsmouth

This covers half of the line between Portsmouth and Southampton on todays network and the stretch from Portsmouth to Guildford which goes by way of Fratton, Hilsea, Bedhampton, Rowlands Castle, Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Haslemere, Witley, Milford, Godalming and Farncombe.

RICHMOND TO WINDSOR

Richmond to Windsor

Both the Hounslow loop and the line to Windsor are still very much part of the network. This is one of two lines to Windsor, the other of which runs as a shuttle service between Slough and Windsor. These two branches which currently have terminuses so close together feature in a scheme I have in mind for the District line.

STAINES TO WOKING AND WOKINGHAM

Staines to Wokingham and Woking

These days there is no direct connection from Staines to Woking. The other route, with stations at Egham, Virginia Water, Longcross, Sunningdale, Martins Heron and joining the western end of the Reading and Reigate line referred to earlier at Wokingham. When I attended Richmond Upon Thames I sometimes used trains travellingf this route because they used to go non-stop between Richmond and Clapham Junction. In those distant days the rolling stock had doors that had to be opened and closed by hand – no push buttons on that line, and it needed either considerable care or a willingness to make a very loud bang to be sure that the doors actually were closed.

WIMBLEDON TO CROYDON

Wimbledon to Croydon

This little line is now the northern spur of London Tramlink. For more detail on this line and its possible role in a wider scheme go here.

READING EXTENSION

Reading extension

This can be though of as tying up a loose end, and the arrangements still hold to this day.

HAVANT TO GODALMING

Havant to Godalming

This line comprises the majority of the main line between London and Portsmouth, and still fucntions today pretty much as it did then (save for South West Trains’ continuing problems with reliability and punctuality).

SALISBURY TO YEOVIL

Salisbury to Yeovil

This little section, which from Salisbury calls at Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne and Yeovil Junction was conceived as a useful link. Yeovil has two stations, Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill which are so close together as to be considered effectively an interchange.

YEOVIL TO EXETER

Yeovil to Exeter

A short western extension, which is still in use today, with stations at Crewkerne, Axminster, Honiton, Feniton, Whimple, Pridhoe, St James Park, Exeter Central and Exeter St Davids. 

BRANCH TO CAMBRIDGE TOWN

Branch to Cambridge Town

No misprints here – what was then known as Cambridge Town, Surrey is now called Camberley, and this branch, which diverges from the line to Reading at Ascot and calls at Bagshot, Camberley and Frimley (well known to those who enjoy darts) before joining the Aldershot line at Ash Vale, is still very much functioning.

SUSSEX AND SURREY

Sussex and Surrey

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway clearing the way for future developments in Sussex and Surrey, many fo which came to fruition and are still in service, and some of which fell beneath the Beeching axe in the 1960s. 

AMALGAMATION

Amalgamation

The London and South Western getting the go-ahead for expansionism. 

BASINGSTOKE TO NEWBURY

Basingstoke to Newbury

There is these days no direct connection between Basingstoke and Newbury. The mentions of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon are of interest to me as this is the part of the world I grew up in. The station referred to as Lower Merton is nowadays called Haydons Road. All of Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon nowadays have London Underground stations serving them as well – the District reached Wimbledon in 1869, while Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Colliers Wood and South Wimbledon (which between them cover Tooting and Merton) were all opened in 1926 when the Northern line was extended southwards from Clapham Common to Morden. 

DORSET

Dorset

Purely about improving access, and having travelled that way many times over the years I can tell you that the track widening referred to did take place. There are still regular services from Bournemouth and Poole up to the Midlands, as well as between London and Weymouth. 

NORTH CORNWALL

North Cornwall

Something of a ‘portmanteau’ act – covering operations in a vast area and relating to many different sections of railway. Over 2,100 years ago a Roman consul named Titus Didius recognised the undesirability of unrelated matters being tacked together in big unwieldy pieces of legislation and outlawed the practice – an aspect of Roman law that we would have been well advised to incorporate into our own laws.

Homeward Bound

My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.

STARTING OFF

The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:

Sun on waterthree boatsTwo boats

Heron
A first for me – the first time I have captured a heron on camera.

On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:

Water viewBridge, Plymouth

I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…

Platform 7, Plymouth

Gull waiting for train
An avian passenger?

Posters 1Plymouth PosterPenzanceDevon PosterDevon Poster 2Departure Board

PLYMOUTH – LONDON

This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…

Across the water from the trainAcross the Water from the train IIBridge from trainThe seaCliffsAcross the water from the train IIIHeadland from the trainTown across the water from trainBoats and buildings through the windowBoats and Buildings from train IIBoats and buildings from train IIIAcross the water from train IVBoat and housesboat and buildingsRed cliffsRed cliff and two big housesStately homeRed cliffs, buildings and treesRed cl.iffs and red houseWaterfront buildingsWaterside viewView through the bridgeAcross the riverLarge churchLarge church IILarge church IIITwo towersSpire through treesSpire II

Plat 1
Exeter St Davids (two images)

Exeter St DavidsMonument

Chalk Horse
This chalk horse, carved directly out of the hillside, is visible at distance at a time when the train is at full speed.

Chalk Horse II

Reading
Reading station
Royal Oak
Royal Oak – the Hammersmith & City line’s last station west of Paddington. The next station towards Hammersmith, Westbourne Park, used to offer an interchange with mainline railways but nowadays Ealing Braodway is the last mainline station before Paddington. Back in the old days there was a connection – the first locomotives to run over what was then The Metropolitan Railway were supplied by the Great Western, while this extension to Hammersmtih opened in 1864, only one year after the original.

LONDON TO KING’S LYNN

I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM. 

Paddington 1View from the Hammersmith & City line platformsPaddingtonH&C trainCablesTrainEdgware RoadEdgware Road from aboveEdgware Road Plats 1&2

Hammersmith & City line
This picture was the cause of minor quarrel – I was challenged by another passenger as to why I was taking pictures of his friend, and it took my a while to get the point across that I was not, and that it was this map which was my target. His friend’s hat did appear in the uncropped version, but no face was visible, and my only interest was the map. I was perhaps a little harsh as I was fully expecting to miss my intended connection at Kings Cross due to the delays on this leg of the journey.

Great Portland StreetEuston Square

Kings Cross clock
The platform from which the train to King’s Lynn was l.eaving was revealed with a mere eight minutes to spare, and if you going to Lynn you have to go to the front of the train (or else get out and dash along the platform at Cambridge).

Kings Cross arched roofTrains at Kings CrossKing's Cross just before departureJourney PlannerAeroplaneStansted ExpressStansted Express 2

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral.

 

Kernow!

Setting the scene for my Cornish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

To explain the title of this post, Kernow is the Cornish name for Cornwall, and that is where I am at the moment, staying for a few days in my parents new home. Here is a map to start things off:

Kernow map

My parents new place is near Kingsand, towards the bottom centre of the map. 

In this post I will tell you about the stage I left the November auction in, describe my journey down from King’s Lynn and finish with a few pictures from the new house.

JAMES & SONS NOVEMBER CATALOGUE

I had booked Thursday and Friday as leave, and in order to be as up to date as possible before going on leave I agreed to work Monday as well as Tuesday. By the end of Tuesday the imaging was as complete as possible, and I had given my colleague Andrew a start towards the printed catalogue, with a front cover image selected and placed appropriately on the page and the back cover completed. I offer links to the files and also screenshots:

CatalogueCatalogue – coin book versionBC screenshotFC screenshotFC Screenshot 2

Why two versions of the front cover? Well my employer did not like my initial choice of front cover image, requesting the coin book in its place, and being me I kept both versions.

KING’S LYNN TO CORNWALL

The first part of my journey was on the 9:54 train from King’s Lynn to London, which mirabile dictu ran to time. As far as Cambridge I had the company of Jo Rust, Labour candidate at the last two general elections in my constituency. Ely Cathedral was, as often, a target for my photographic attentions:

Ely Cathedral 2Ely Cathedral

On arrival at King’s Cross I headed down to the Circle/ Hammersmith & City/ Metropolitan lines to get a train across to Paddington. The first train was heading for Uxbridge, therefore not one for me to take, but the second was bound for Hammersmith, and hence going by way of the right Paddington, the one that is structurally part of the mainline station, as opposed to the Circle/ District line station that should revert to it’s original name of Praed Street. 

Giant Roundel, Kings CrossVic, Met, H&C, CN&PAll KC linesLU mapWestbound, KCPlatform roundel, KCUxbridge departureDistrict lineMapsH&CPaddington

Paddington H&C
Looking across Paddington from the H&C platforms (these are platforms 15 and 16 of the main station).

Paddington all lines

Having a had a decent but not stellar connection at King’s Cross I arrived at Paddington with just under an hour to go before my train for the long-haul section of the journey was due to depart. Although careful to stay close to the information screens that I would not miss the platform number for my train when it came up I did get some photos while I waited for this information.

Paddington InfoSnack Van, PaddingtonPlansStation plan, paddingtonPaddington arched roof 1Paddington, Heathrow ExpressPaddington clockPaddington latticeworkHeathrow Expressironwork, PaddingtonDetail, Paddington

I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked during the train journey to Plymouth, as my camera’s battery ran out of charge just beyond Exeter (so no pics from Newton Abbot, Totnes or the approach to Plymouth). The train arrived in Plymouth exactly on schedule, making it a jackpot-like two train journeys in Britain on one day that had run to time!

Reading
The first stop out of Paddington – from here there was a long fast run to Taunton, then Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth.
Doom Bar
Some Cornish refreshment from the on-train bar, although at prices that would have made the proprietor of a plush central London pub blush (£4.50 for a half-litre bottle!)

Tiverton Parkway 2Exeter St Davids

Sea View from Train
A first glimpse of the sea on this journey.

Picklecombe Fort, wherein my parents have their new apartment is about 2.5 miles from Plymouth as the crow flies, but the road journey is so roundabout that this portion of the journey took almost the same amount of time as King’s Lynn – London had at the start of the day!

THE FIRST CORNISH PICTURES

This morning, with my camera battery fully charged I took some pictures here at Picklecombe Fort.

En suite
The guest bedroom has an ensuite bathroom cunningly disguised as a set of cupboards.
light fitting
Mean spiritedness from the previous owners.
Book display
My parents library.
View from bedroom window
Three views from my bedroom window…

View from bedroom window 2View from bedroom window 3

View from balcony
The rest of these pictures were taken from the balcony, and show the apartment’s #1 selling point – the sea views.

Lighthouse and boatsLighthouse closer focusHarbourAcross the waterboatsBig ship

Lighthouse special
The third picture I took featuring the lighthouse.