Ravings From The Bog

Even Wind Turbines Get A Day Off!

Wind Turbine Green EnergyI didn’t realise I could get this close to the local wind turbine (North Down Borough Council’s lip service to the Green agenda). I really expected it to be protected from potential “terrorist/freedom fighter” action.

I really love the shape of the cowling of the propeller. It has a taste of nostalgia to me as it reminds me of many of the engine cowlings on Airfix aircraft models I assembled over the years. Cracking day today too!

My Flikr Photostream (for more pictures)


Time Travel Bangor Through Postcards
February 18, 2009, 3:39 pm
Filed under: History, Memories, Nostalgia, Thoughts, UK | Tags: , , , , ,

Ballyholme Bay 1912Ballyholme Bay 2009I collect postcards of Ballyholme Bay which is about half a mile from my home. My collection sits at 51 and includes pictures taken from either ends of the bay, the yacht club, some of the Esplanade and one of the Ballyholme Windmill (pre-1911 when it still had it’s sails). This is one of the older postcards and I particularly like it because the chap in the straw boater and the lady in the background give a sense of the time through their clothing. The contemplative pose of straw-boater man is also indicative of a less frenzied and more sedate period – something I feel nostalgic for!

I took the opportunity this morning to photograph the scene and compare the two. In 1912, when the postcard was postmarked, Ballyholme was a separate entity to Bangor, a point indicated by the old Bangor town limit represented by the rusting and decayed marker just fifty yards from where straw-boater man sits. (Picture below)

Many of the buildings visible in the postcard are still there today although the blueish-roofed building on the far side of the bay, formerly The Ballyholme Hotel, and then the Ballyholme Residential Home (my wife worked there at one point), was demolished some years ago and rebuilt into apartments in a similar design. The wrought-iron and wood benches are also still available although moved to a safer distance from the incline in this health and safety conscious age.

I intend to do more of these photo-comparisons. They remind me of a practice common in an interesting magazine called After The Battle which compares photographs taken in battle during WWII with the same scenes taken today. It will be the closest I get to time-travel in my lifetime.

Bangor Town Marker

Misty Morning in Bangor NI
January 28, 2009, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Life, Thoughts, UK | Tags: , , ,

MistyMisty start to this morning here in Bangor, NI. It has brightened up considerably since this was taken though. Looks like we’ll have a nice afternoon.

PSNI Circus – Which Are The Clowns Mummy?


The latest issue for the Parades Commission to deal with. Has Sir Hugh Orde gone potty? This won’t help his chances of taking Sir Ian Blair’s job as head of the Metropolitan Police! BTW, we attended the circus last Wednesday evening – fantastic show with really excellent performances from every act…

A circus has been reported to Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission for leading elephants through a street in Bangor, County Down. 

Alexander Scholl from the Sydney Circus said the elephants were being exercised last week when the police arrived and told him to put them back in a trailer. He said he had never heard of the commission and that the elephants had been welcomed everywhere else.

The PSNI confirmed they had reported the circus to the parades body.

‘With all the other towns it wasn’t a problem – we would just bring the elephants wherever we went, bring them through the town,’ said Alexander Scholl, who is from Germany despite the circus’s Antipodean origins.

‘But this time in Bangor the police stopped us and told us to put the elephants back in the trailer. The officer said ‘you cannot do this – this is an illegal parade’.

‘I didn’t understand what he meant, we’ve always been welcome everywhere else, so we put the elephants in the trailer and brought them back to the show.’

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on controversial parades during Northern Ireland’s marching season

War and Peace and a Family Tradition
August 21, 2008, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Family, Fun, History, Life, Memories, Thoughts, War | Tags: , , , , , ,

Many years ago, in the late 1960s, my father took my brother and I on trips from Belfast to Bangor in the summer evenings. The trips I remember best were the ones in which we visited Ward Park. A regular highlight was time spent on or near the submarine gun, which had been erected as a monument in the 1920s. My dad used to lift me, or Eugene, up onto the barrel of the gun, which seemed much further from the ground than it does today.

I have always had a fascination for all things historical and especially stuff with a military background. This gun fits the profile perfectly. I like to imagine the travels of the gun on the deck of the UB19 around the North Sea, The English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean commanded by Oberleutnant Erich Noodt, and it’s last battle in which the ship was lost, it’s recovery and it’s journey to Bangor in the 1920s.

The inscription fitted to one side of the gun reads:

“This gun taken from German submarine UB19 was allotted to Bangor (County Down) by the Admiralty in recognition of the valorous conduct of Commander the Hon. Edward Barry Stewart Bingham of H.M.S. Nestor at the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. For which he received the Victoria Cross.”

The gun is a very striking sight, situated as it is, in front of the Bangor War Memorial. It was even more striking at one point during the 1980s when local vandals painted the gun pink, although council workers speedily removed this.

Many years later, I was delighted to take my own son, Chris, and set him on the barrel. It felt me as though I was completing a rite of passage. I wonder how many other families have a personal connection with this piece of military hardware over the years

Big Brother Misses A Trick!
August 19, 2008, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Corporate Greed, Economy, Life, Politics & Current Affairs, Society | Tags: , , , ,

The main Bangor to Belfast (or Belfast to Bangor road, if you live in Belfast!) road has recently had an ugly addition to its street furniture.

Bright yellow masts fitted with the latest camera equipment now measure the average speed of drivers travelling in either direction. If you’re clocked at an average speed above the speed limit for that section of the road, you get a ticket…or so you would think.

Since the masts were fitted in May, only one driver has been issued with a speeding ticket. We need to assume that the system has not been calibrated correctly as the same system in Newry has netted 77 drivers in the same period. That’s £4620 in fines and 231 penalty points compared to £60 and 3 points in Bangor.

It could be that the Belfast-Bangor commuters are safer drivers – I don’t think so. I imagine that the boy-racers are stilling bombing along in their Vauxhall Novas and Citroen Saxos as usual, so what has gone wrong?

Somewhere, in the maze of bureaucracy that we know to be the NI Civil Service, The Department of the Environment or the Roads Service NI, heads will roll!

Gordon Brown will not have had his slice of motorist and someone will need to pay the price!

On a separate point; why were the masts not disguised as trees like the telephone masts that we have seen in recent years? As you can see from my picture, they’re ugly brutes, and this is repeated along the road as far as Holywood.

Not good enough!