Toys… for the Boys young, old and even older


Grandson Ewan visited yesterday, so we thought we would go and take a look at some big boy toys.  It is a new collection of Classic Cars in a museum that has just opened not to far away from us.

It is called “ The Great British Car Journey ” and is a display of cars produced by the British Car Industry from Austin Sevens to McLaren.  Car enthusiasts will be in heaven, but for us lesser mortals, it takes you on a journey from small and basic, to small with just a little more comfort. Then onto larger family orientated cars and of course the monster limousines of the wealthy.  Tracking the increasing wealth of the population.  All of course with the odd diversion into sporty cars, just for fun.



Of course you can guess that Ewan was drawn to the Sportier cars of today… From DeLorean to the magic of McLaren._DOI5127_00039qqq

Just to prove that motoring was and perhaps still is a male oriented industry, the Advertising Posters make it all very clear_DOI5118_00030qqq

Just to ensure that the family is really at the heart of Motoring the exhibition setting tries to broaden your view


One novelty for the museum is that you can (for a fee) “Drive Dad’s Car” where a selection of cars from across the era are available to take to the road.  Just to prove the point, there were several Cars that I have driven over countless thousands of miles….  brought back to memories 


 I did though ponder on the title ‘Dad’s Car’…..  those visiting yesterday, were more of the Grandad era with grandsons in tow.

It also goes someway to support that old saying….. The only difference between Men and Boys is the Price of Their Toys  🙂


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

3rd June

(C) David Oakes 2021





Chirk Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal, Wales

A Thomas Telford construction, built to carry the Llangollen Canal over the River Ceiriog.  It stands some 70ft above the river and carries the canal over the river and valley for some 710ft (220meters).  The canal was built in 1801 and was a vital link between the many coal mines in this part of Wales, with the Industrial Midlands of England.

As you can see, there is another equally spectacular viaduct alongside Chirk aqueduct.  Its completion was around 1850 and was built to carry the newer faster steam railway.  More cargo could be shipped, much quicker, than by canal barge.  Of course this ‘progress’ occurred all over the UK.  The “Age of Steam” had arrived and the canals that had played such a vital role in the industrial expansions of the time, gradually fell into decline.  A  reminder that progress at times can be short lived.


Today the canal network is leisure orientated.  The majority of the original canal network still exists and navigable.  The Llangollen Canal is particularly popular.  Spectacular scenery that straddles the English and Welch borders, travels through a World Heritage Site, and the chance to navigate the narrow high aqueduct here at Chirk, but also an even longer construction at Pontycysylite, are magnets for canal cruisers in the distinctive Narrowboats.

Progress is being made in our troubled times……. but please

 Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

27th May

(C) David Oakes 2021



The Port of Ravenglass, Eskdale, Cumbria

In the shadow of the Cumbrian Mountains, one the northern edges of Morecambe Bay and overlooking the Irish Sea, can be found the old Port of Ravenglass.   It doesn’t look much like a port, just a few hints that relate to its past maritime history….. but make no mistake that this was once a very busy Port.

From Roman times, through to at least the 1940’s, Ravenglass was a Port of some importance.  At both ends of that time spectrum it has been a vital strategic and then commercial link, though its fortunes did fluctuate.   There is no harbour infrastructure, no docks.  Vessels were sailed in on the high tide and left beached as the tide went out.  It was then a frantic exercise to either unload or load the vessel before the tide came in on its twice a day cycle.

The Romans built a road from Ravenglass, up through Eskdale, to link into their major highways they had built through Britain. They also built a Fort and Bath House “Glannoventa” at Ravenglass.

In 1875 a narrow gauge steam railway was built to carry minerals from the Cumbrian Fells.  Today that Railways is a major Tourist attraction now carrying visitors on a dramatically scenic ride through Eskdale.

A visit to Ravenglass is a step back in history……   all peaceful now, but once a centre of much activity.

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

18th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

All Calm on the Canal…..


Leawoods Pump House, Cromford Canal, Cromford, Derbyshire

All is calm on Cromford Canal as Spring slowly returns.  A tranquil location, but once a busy transport waterway.  The tall chimney is a landmark for miles arround. It is part of a steam powered water pump, constructed in 1849,  used to lift water from the River Derwent, which flows some 60ft beneath the canal, up and into the canal.  I am told that when it was in full steam it would lift 39,000 tons of water every 24 hours to keep the canal ‘topped up’

Once Covid restrictions are removed visitors will, once again, be able to see the mighty pump engine in action on special “In Steam” weekends.

If you are not a steam enthusiast, then a quiet walk along the Canal Towpath is a satisfying alternative at any season of the year.

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

16th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Not… A Bridge too Far

DOI_4011_00273bbb (1)-web1000x1500U-100

Connel Bridge, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

There are not that many Bridge in the UK that have Listed Status, being of historic importance…. but Connel Bridge is justifiably one of them. When it was built in 1903, its 524ft cantilever span was the second longest in Scotland.  Only the famous Forth Railway Bridge was bigger, both having been constructed by Arrol Bridge Builders..

Connel Bridge stands at the mouth of Loch Etive where it joins the Firth of Lorne. It is at  times a tempestuous location,  the water flowing out of Loch Etive meets the incoming tides, which together with the deep channels, create the Falls of Lora.

As for the Bridge itself, it has had a chequered history.  Originally built as a Railway Bridge for the Callander and Oban Railway, it carried a single track line. Later a narrow roadway was built alongside the rail line.  For a time cars were conveyed on a wagon…..  for a Toll of course..  The Railway closed in 1966 and the line removed and replaced by a single track road.  Today,  a one way traffic system is controlled via Traffic lights.

Progress has seen a many, much bigger, bridge constructions. But Connel Bridge with its unique highland backdrop and the turbulent waters below, has a special magic of its own.

Whatever metaphorical bridges you have to negotiate today….

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

18th February

(C) David Oakes 2021