WINGS AND WHEELS

Posted in aircraft, aviation, britain, camera, classic, classic car, England, english village, FIGHTER PLANES, london, motoring, news, Nikon, paratrooper, photo, photoblog, Photography, re-enactment, relax, renactment, retro, surrey, technology, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, unusual, vintage, Wales, wings and wheels, world war 2, world war one, writing on August 24th, 2014 by wabisabipix

 

A sensational bank holiday weekend at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey watching the fantastic Wings and Wheels event, an absolute gem in the air show calendar,celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Wings and Wheels combines fast cars with stunning flying demonstrations. There was a fantastic range of aircraft and cars on show as well as World War II  re-enactment societies and displays. There was a awesome display by the Breitling Wing Walker “amazons” who at times, were showing steely eyed skill as they held on without harnesses and inches from those deadly propellors and amazed the crowds.At one point they almost touched hands while flying inverted,remarkable!

Iron Maiden rock star Bruce Dickinson made a surprise appearance and hopped into a World War 1 Fokker Triplane and duelled his Great War adversaries  around the airfield in a  simulation of a world war I air battle. Also present were the famous last two remaining Lancaster Bombers,one from Canada,bringing a nostalgic tear to many eyes as they flew with a battle of Britain fighter escort. There were also many cars speeding around the race track including a Ford GT40 a variety of classics and supercars and a selection of motorbikes,some with side cars,tearing around the track famous for its role in the Top Gear TV Series.

A short video clip of an Apache Gunship and the British and Canadian Lancaster Flypast shot on a Lumix LX7 compact camera:

More images from Dunsfold can be viewed here:http://…/p763200112 Copyright Kerry Davies/All rights reserved. 

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THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING:A VISIT TO THE FORMER HOME OF RUDYARD KIPLING.

Posted in aircraft, britain, Burwell, country houses, England, english village, enthusiasts, europe, Great War Society, Nikon, photo, photoblog, Photography, quaint, re-enactment, renactment, retro, road trip, travel, vintage, walking, walks, warhorse, Western, world war one, writing on August 3rd, 2014 by wabisabipix

A glorious sunny day in August and what better a place to visit than the former home of Rudyard Kipling the author of such classics as The Jungle Book and The Man Who Would Be King. Set in the rolling countryside of the  Sussex Wield,just outside the village of Burwash,it is a wonderful 17th century Jacobean house that was his home until his death in 1936. The house is now cared for by the National Trust and is open to the public. You can wander unhindered around the splendid oak beamed interior left very much as the great man left them. His own writing desk is left pretty much as if he has just popped out for an afternoon tea,scrapped sheets of paper containing his writings piled high in the litter bin opposite his desk,even his own Rolls Royce is on display in the nearby garage for viewing. The rooms are full of artefacts that reflect Kipling’s association with the East. The gardens are a spectacular affair,sunflowers ablaze and fresh vegetables and herbs in the allotment growing in abundance. Here you can pick up one of the kindly offered blankets,borrowed to visitors,and enjoy a picnic on the spectacular lawn surrounded by its rustic charm. My visit coincided with the national commemorations of World War One. Hundreds of events are taking place across Britain to remember the “Pals”-groups of friends,neighbours or colleagues who joined up to form their own battalions in World War One.In the spirit of the event, the lawns at “Batemans”,which is the name of this splendid house,had a wartime biplane parked in its midst and a gathering of tents as re-enactors from the Great War Society sent us back on a trip in time to the beginning of the First World War. Mostly volunteers,they gave authentic displays and explanations of the weaponry from the period including pitched battles that stunned the crowds and sent the gunfire and explosions thundering across the landscape.Truly spectacular and a fitting salute to the man who wrote many classic about the period and who indeed played his well documented part in the Great War.

More images can be viewed here:http://…/p830052178 Images Copyright:Kerry Davies/No unauthorised usage/All Rights Reserved

 

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PAINSHILL PARK:HAVING A BLAST WITH THE NAPOLEONIC ASSOCIATION.

Posted in age of elegance, britain, cannon, cavaliers, cool, drama, England, english village, enthusiasts, equine sport, europe, feature, film location, Film set, folk, forts, french, fringe, hussars, legends, london, lumix lx7, moods, muskets, myths, Napoleonic, Napoleonic association, napoleonic wars, nature, news, Nikon, painshill park, photo, photoblog, Photography, photojournalism, re-enactment, redcoats, relax, renactment, road trip, skirmish, surrey, swords, tourism, travel, unusual, vintage, Wales, walking, walks, warhorse, waterloo, writing on May 25th, 2014 by wabisabipix

The May bank holiday on sunday 25th 2014 certainly went off with a bang as the Napoleonic Association of re-enactors http://www.napoleonicassociation.org blitzed the Painshill Park near Cobham in Surrey http://www.painshill.co.uk with the thunder of hooves and the crack of muskets and cannon fire. An incredibly authentic experience of the “age of elegance”,they delve deep into all aspects of the period delivering an enthralling battlefield skirmish and other camp and entertainment experiences along the way. You have to blink twice to remind yourself that we are in fact still in the 21st century and cannot help but feel that these were in fact more elegant times. This group clearly eat,sleep and live this colourful period in history and provide a great insight to onlookers who ever wondered what it would have been like to live in these times. I can still smell those camp fires! Now where did I put that musket!

More images can be viewed at: http://www.surreypix.co.uk/p393250091 Copyright Kerry Davies /All rights reserved.

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Hunting Easter eggs in the land of Dragons.

Posted in Castles, Celtic, dragons, Festival, forts, gawain and the green knight, king arthur, knights, legends, lumix lx7, medieval, medieval castle, medieval joust, Monument, moods, photo, photoblog, Photography, quaint, renactment, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, Wales, walking, walks on April 20th, 2014 by wabisabipix

A delightful place to spent a day during an easter break is the highly impressive Caerphilly Castle in South Wales.Famous most recently for its role in the popular BBC TV Series Merlin but with a long history that very much equals the drama of its fictional roles.It is an enormous stone beast surrounded by moats and drawbridges and on approach looks very much like it has just repelled a siege by a well equipped invading army.It was built by the Norman Gilbert de Clare who was an enemy of the Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in the 13th Century and provide the influence for many of the concentric designs of Edward I castles in North Wales.As time moved on and regime change took place,the role of the castle changed and it found itself without a purpose.The castles condition declined until eventually in the late 19th century the third marquess of Bute began preservation work on this and other castles in the region.It is a great destination for tourism and provides a great Easter egg hunt for the kids,look out for the Dragons in the ancient hallways though!

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Camera used was a Lumix LX7

Copyright Kerry Davies

No unauthorised reproduction.

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THE GREEN MAN FESTIVAL

Posted in British Museum, Celtic, Christians, England, europe, Festival, folk, gawain and the green knight, green man festival, hastings, jack-in-the-green, king arthur, legends, medieval, moods, nature, pagan, photo, Photography, relax, Relics, renactment, saxons, travel, walks, william the conqueror, writing on June 19th, 2010 by wabisabipix

A pint of the local cider please I asked the man with green face paint behind the bar, the drum beat upon the castle hill in Hastings increased steadily to an all encompassing crescendo,something  rather sinister seemed imminent but clearly only the locals seemed to be in on the secret.My drink arrived,the third today of  this local beverage and the man bearing a vague resemblance to a tomato plant and something from childhood memories involving the Dr Who tv series and a half plant cactus man, leaned forward with my change wishing me a “happy Jack in the green day!” Turning around and heading back into the crowd I was confronted by another man in bizarre plant like leafery with the words RADIATOR emblazoned across his chest who stepped forward brandishing a green dripping sponge,”are you with us?” “errrr yes of course!” I muttered smiling inanely,oh good he said splattering my nose with green dye,oh well at least  I  looked like every one else now. I was a stranger in a strange land and yet I lived here.Rumour spread quickly,the drum beat increased constantly and a kind of concentrated frenzy and sense of purpose started to overcome the crowds ,it was time to kill Jack soon and quite who this Jack was remained quite a mystery.I was starting to feel like Edward Woodward in The Wickerman and glanced around to see if there were any looming wooden effigy figures in the immediate proximity of a few cans of petrol !!!

Soon however all was revealed as a green effigy bearing a face of a plant like mans face was transported into the center of the crowd and ceremonially executed in a flurry of sticks and leaves to the roar and cheers of the crowd.The frenzy dissipated and was replaced by merriment and an air of happiness.Everybody was good natured and headed back to town to enjoy the rest of the day, green noses held prominent and shown off proudly ,that was it for another year ,the spring had been welcomed,the ritual complete,bring on the summer.

What we had just witnessed was the culmination of several days of merriment and celebration that has become a yearly event lasting from April 30th to the 3rd of May in Hastings on the southern coast of England ,a small fishing town most famous for its famous history changing battle in 1066.

It is a ritual with largely pagan roots that predate christianity and is centered around the nature spirits and the “old ways” of  ancient Britain that still surge alive and well below the tapestry of  everyday British life occasionally surfacing on days such as this and in the rituals and dances of the May Pole and Morris Dancing .A tradition frequently seen as the leafy face adorning  sboards hanging over green man pubs it is an ancient way of welcoming the summer and spring time.Indeed  the Green man legend has also been linked to other myths including the Arthurian tale of Gawain and the Green Knight and even Robin Hood.The Christian church despite trying to stamp out paganism eventually adopted the legend into its dogma and the green mans face  is frequently seen adorning church buildings.The Arthurian writings in particular Gawain and the Green Knight appear full of symbolism and seem to portray a faith battle between Gawain (symbolic of Christian values) and the Green Knight(The old Pagan Ways).

The current manifestation of the jack-in-the-green festival in Hastings is largely based on a tradition from the 1830s which was snuffed out at the start of the 20th century and then revived again in 1979 by a Morris Dancers group.It is a very entertaining weekend of Morris Dancers and other performance groups from all over Europe and is very much a family event.

The Jack in the Green character,the manifestation of the spirits of the forest,leads a procession from the fishermans museum area of the old town and up to the castle perched overlooking the area.

Jack is accompanied by green clad locals known as Bogies that symbolise the incarnation of spirits along with a following of giants and appointed radiators who accompany the group splodging passers by on the nose with green dye to bring them into the fold.Its all very light humoured and a great day out.

At the culmination of the ceremony Jack is slain and the sticks that form the effigy are thrown into the crowds to be kept as a ward against spirits until the next winter solstice.

Below are some of the many spectacles from the day.They were photographed on a Nikon D700 with a 17-35mm f2.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8.

Pictures :Copyright Kerry Davies Strictly no Reproduction allowed.

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The Staffordshire Hoard a voice from the past.

Posted in Archaeology, arrows, Artifact, bows, British Museum, Castles, Christians, Crusades, England, Film set, forts, knights, medieval, photo, Photography, Relics, renactment, saxons, Staffordshire hoard, swords, travel, Treasure, Wales, writing on December 4th, 2009 by wabisabipix

Surge domine et dissipentur inimici tui et fugiant qui oderunt te a facie tua ~ “Rise up, o Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face”

An inscription carved on the back of a twisted metal crucifix possibly cleaved off a slain Saxon warriors battle shield.If ever the past reached across the centuries to speak to us about life in 7th century saxon Britain then this was it.

Wandering through the British Museum in London is a fantastic experience on any day but a recent visit left me reeling with wonder.

An announcement on the notice board near the main entrance caught my attention while visiting recently.

See the Staffordshire Hoard in room 36-7.

“It will redefine the dark ages ” say the experts.

The Hoard was discovered in a field in July 2009 by metal detectorist Terry Herbert and composed of 1500 individual items of  silver and gold mostly consisting of what appear to be battle trophies,there were 84 Pommel Caps,71 Sword hilt collars and gold crucifix formations looking like shield fittings that were cleaved off along with helmet cheek pieces and personal items.

The Items date from around the 7th Century,a  period when Britain was a maelstrom of tribal rivalry and religious revolution as the country went from pagan to christian beliefs.

Having seen the news and press announcing the find I was filled with anticipation as I clambered up the stairs and into the room containing a selection of the find in several glass cases just around the corner from another amazing artifact room that of the Sutton Hoo finds.

I was gobsmacked! It was stunning!!! absolutely amazing to see!!You almost have to pinch yourself to remind yourself  that what you are looking at is simply the real thing from all those centuries ago inches from your nose and not some prop from a Hollywood movie.

I fully understand how Terry Herbert the metal detectorist  who found it said he was dreaming for days about what he would find next.

It has been valued at 3.285 million pounds and the British museum has launched its hoard appeal to pay for it.

If you are in London grab the chance while its on show,it will enrich your sense of history and the ancient world.

The official Website is here:http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/about/

Pictures courtesy of the Staffordshire Hoard Website and Dave Rowan and Daniel Buxton.

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Moors and Christians in the Mountains of Alicante.

Posted in Alcoy, Almeria, Castalla, Castles, Christians, Churches, Crusades, forts, knights, medieval, moods, Moors, photo, Photography, pirates, relax, Relics, renactment, road trip, Spain, travel, walks, writing on November 29th, 2009 by wabisabipix

While traveling through the Mountains of Alicante region I came across many interesting sights.Two areas in particular captured my interest.The ancient Moorish Castle in the town of Castalla and the town of Alcoy world famous for its Moors and Christians festival held every year.

The town of Alcoy is the site of a yearly re-enactment that happens every April in which the entire population dress in  full historical costume.It remains one of Spains most well known and Colourful Fiestas.

It is based on  the battle of Alcoy in the 13th Century and is in place to honour St George the patron saint of the town who is said to have saved the town from the Moorish forces of Alazraq in 1275.

As the tale is told James I of Aragon led a campaign of reconquest through the region after centuries of Moorish occupation and influence. In retaliation the Moors  invaded once more to recover their lost ground.However as the battle was starting St George is said to have appeared in the sky over the v shaped famous gorge in the town to save the day.

It is a colourful and entertaining day in which mock battles are fought all over the town and where a fog of gunpowder and fireworks descend amidst the playing of traditional period music and merriment and much feasting.

It is a 3 day 24hr long festival in which 28 armies do battle and the whole town is festooned in the red cross flags of St George.                                  St George saving Alcoy from the Moors.

Being from the UK I was fascinated by the  interpretation of  the patron saint adopted both here and in  England and its interpretation in both countries.

In the U.K  St George is frequently shown as the slayer of a dragon but in this area of Spain he is shown as a saviour from the Moors.

The local Church of St George at Portal de San Marcos shows fascinating murals of the battle painted by Fernando Cabrera Canto painted in 1921 and a relic said to be St Georges finger that is paraded around the town during the festival.

Heres link to the Alcoi festival tourist site:http://www.alcoiturisme.com/

The Battle of Alcoy in St Georges Church

The Relic of St Georges Finger

Further South heading back to Alicante one sees the outstanding pinnacle on which is perched the Castle of Castalla.

The Castalla Castle

Raised in the 11th century by the Moors it was incorporated into the kingdom of Aragon in 1244.

In 1362 the castle was given to Ramon de Vilanova to defend against Castilian attacks and ultimately became part of the Hapsburg Monarchy’s defence strategy against Barbary pirate attacks on Alicantes coast line.

Throughout the 18th century Spanish war of succession it became a place for storage and sadly was in ruins by 1813.

Castalla like Pamplona also has its own running of the bull festival in August and like Alcoy above has its own Moors and Christians festival.

The town found itself embroiled in the Spanish Civil war and between 1933 and 1935 the hill and fort was sacked by the locals looking for treasure.In recent times it has been the subject of restoration with a view towards tourism.

Wandering through the old medieval town on an early morning sunlit stroll is a nice way to start the day and each corner throughout the maze of passage ways can reveal odd surprises and treats for the senses with sun bleached bright coloured old buildings and elevated views of the area ,a coffee and a taste of the local olives is also highly recommended.Below are some views around Castalla.

All these images were shot on a Nikon P6000 compact camera which I like to set up with easy access to manual overide settings for compensation,flash output and white balance using the my menu settings for speed.

Its a great light weight durable tool for keeping in your pocket when traveling light.

Bon voyage!

 

copyright:Kerry Davies.

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Six Guns,Swords and Sorcery a road trip in Almeria and the Alicante Region of Spain.

Posted in Almeria, arrows, bows, Conan the Barbarian, cowbay, cowboy, Film set, indian, knights, medieval, moods, photo, Photography, relax, renactment, road trip, Spaghetti, Spain, swords, Texas Hollywood, travel, Uncategorized, walks, Western, Wild West, writing on November 28th, 2009 by wabisabipix

“Howdy partner!” The gunslinger announced as we turned up unannounced in a wild west tumbleweed town strangely somehow familiar after traveling hundreds of miles across the sun scorched desert.There had just been a torrential downpour and the ground steamed as we disembarked from our metal horse with rubber hooves and examined our surroundings.” This Sure isn’t Kansas anymore toto”,I muttered as my boots hit the sand,”then again it isnt quite America either,more Almeria Spain,mmm! I think I fancy a pepsi and some tapas might be a good idea!!!”

We had just arrived in Almeria Spain,surprising to some this was the real wild west that is portrayed in the classic movies from the 70s starring such famous stars as Clint Eastwood,Yul Brynner and many others.

Clint apparently even bought his famous Poncho locally in the area.

It was the location of such Spaghetti Western classics by Sergio Leone  as “a fistfull of Dollars”,”for a few dollars more”,and “The Good,the Bad and the Ugly” and also for other films such as Conan the Barbarian and Michelangelo Antonioni film “the Passenger” starring Jack Nicholson.

My interest had been drawn to the area after seeing an hilarious Spanish black comedy film by Director Alex de la Iglesia called  “800 Balas” meaning “800 Bullets”(2002),starring comedy actor Sancho Gracia,Angel de Andres Lopez and Carmen Maura.Its an hilarious film about a Stuntman and his colleagues who make a living at a Wild West town in Almeria Spain.They are making a living entertaining small groups of tourists that are deposited in their Wild west  movie set town.The stuntmans son, also a stuntman, was killed in a filming accident back in the towns golden age somewhere far back in the decadent past when westerns were popular.His child grows up fascinated in the life his deceased father lived.So begins an hilarious quest as the son runs away seeking out the wild west town to learn more about his fathers percieved heroic past.When the childs powerful theme park executive mother finds out the son has run away she pursues them angrily trying to close down the park with hysterical results.

This film rekindled my interest in the Spaghetti westerns and I was totally stunned to find that the town portrayed in the film was in fact very Real and that it did indeed have a contingent  of Actors making a living out of the old Wild West movies.

Its called Texas Hollywood in the area known as Tabernas Almeria.

So hi ho silva and away and here we are!!!

It was a hilarious afternoon walking around the exact same set as 800 Balas almost pinching ourselves as to how we had stumbled across the attraction.

Throughout the day they put on shows for the public and provide excursions and carriage rides around the area giving a tour and insights into its movie past.

There are pictures from its film set days and you can see quite a few famous faces portrayed treading the dusty streets in which you now find yourself.

Theres also an Indian village and a few Buffalos, by the way,dont miss the Camels apparently related to those in Lawrence of Arabia which was partially shot in the area!!

Most recently a Pepsi advert was shot here starring David Beckham and his pals and the area is frequently used by car commercials needing that authentic Wild West touch.

All in all it was quite a surreal and amusing afternoon as well as quite informative from a movie history point of view. I’ve been watching the old spaghetti westerns lately just trying to catch a glimpse of parts of the landscape.

After some refreshments at the saloon  we saddled up,put in some more petrol,set up the Sat Nav and headed south  across the pass and into other areas of movie interest.

The area was  also the location of the film Conan The Barbarian by John Milius starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sandahl Bergman and the nearby Las Salinas mountains featured  in scenes portraying Conan in Hyboria which were in fact locations better known as the land of the spaghetti western.

Almerimar was the scene of the Wizard/Stone Fortress encounters along with La Ciudad Encantada,El Condor,Cuevas de Roque and Penon De Bernal the famous Mount Doom in the film.This was the location we headed for next in our whistle stop tour of the region.

Penon De Bernal was the mountain upon which a spectacular Temple of Doom was built and Arnold Schwarzenegger Aka Conan The Barbarian confronted his nemesis ultimately burning down the temple film set in the movie.

It is located near the town of Almeria itself.you can find more locations from the film here:

http://www.western-locations-spain.com/almeria-top-20/conan/index.htm

I found the Conan Completist Web site very useful in finding these locations and it is packed with great information on the area.

I am sure local tour groups provide tours of this movie history rich area and a little research would provide a great trip if you are interested in the area.

After a long day passing thorough several periods in movie history we turned our wagons back north and headed back into the sunset.

“By the way where did I put those bangers and mash? errr! black lotus ,anyone? Stygian the best!!

Contemplate this on the tree of woe!!”

Enjoy.

Blog Pictures:Copyright Kerry Davies.

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