Category Archives: Yorkshire

The bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil

Click to embiggenThe chances are, you’ll never have heard of it. If, though, you ever drive over to the east coast of Yorkshire from the Manchester area (or vice versa, I suppose), take a tip from me. Leave the M1 for a while onto the little-travelled B1217. It’s a pleasant relief to take country roads for a short stretch between the hellpit of the M1, and the hugely horrible A64.

The meandering B road passes an Edwardian mansion, Lotherton Hall, and bends through the village of  Saxton. Past the Crooked Billet pub, the narrow road lopes onto rising farmland. Through tall hedges you will glimpse cornfields and copses in this particularly English landscape. Shortly after the hedges give up the ghost, you’ll see something of an anomaly on your left. A big old holly bush squats by the road, dark and gloomy and alien-looking. You can park nearby.

If you then peer behind the old holly, you’ll find an ancient, weather-worn gothic cross. No one knows who first put the cross here – it lay in a ditch for centuries before being righted again. On its base, amongst flowers both dried and fresh, you’ll see a recently added date – March 28, 1461. The anonymous inscriber got the date wrong: it should be the 29th. The 29th of March in that year of turmoil during the Wars of the Roses was a Sunday – Palm Sunday, in fact.

Click to embiggenOn that snow-driven day, perhaps the most significant day of the entire struggle for the throne between Edward and Henry, 100,000 men met at this place to hack, stab, slice, suffocate, bludgeon and trample each other to death. This was by far the most murderous battle ever fought on British soil, yet most of you will never have heard of it. A hundredth of the entire British population died in the blood-stained snow between dawn and dusk that day; almost 30,000 men –  three times the number of casualties than on the first day of The Somme.

This was a horrific, bloody brawl. Imagine, if you can, the driving, stinging blizzard; the deafening racket of clashing arms and armour, the pleading of men, the screaming and howled obscenities; the stench of puke and shit and trampled entrails. If you fall, you’re dead in seconds, the life crushed out of you by the sheer weight of men jammed into this meat-mincer. If hell has ever been upon the earth, this was it. The death toll was so great, and bodies piled up so much, that occasional pauses were called in the fighting in order to drag corpses of the way.

Click to embiggenThe Lancastrians began to push the Yorkists back, and the core of the fighting drifted into a vale now called Bloody Meadow. If you walk up the lane a little from the cross, you’ll see the bowl of this small valley before you. The slaughter, unremitting, continued late into the afternoon. The Yorkists, led by Edward, the son of Richard, 3rd Duke of York , were outnumbered and outfought. They became ever more desperate as they gave way, inch by bloody inch, across the field. Then, up what is now the B1217, marched an army bearing aloft banners that displayed a white boar. These were the men of the Duke of Norfolk, whose fresh reinforcements pelted into the Lancastrians’ flank. The Lancastrians were stopped in their tracks, faltered, and began to give ground, tripping over the corpses of their own dead. The beleaguered Lancastrians bent, broke and ran like buggery. Then the rout began. If the battle was vicious, the rout added a whole new level of brutality.

Click to embiggenFar more men died in the rout than in the battle. Bridges in the path of the fleeing Lancastrians shattered under the weight of armed men, plunging many to a freezing death in the icy water. Thousands were caught and mutilated, for it had been agreed in the parley before the battle that no quarter would be given, no mercy shown. Part-hidden, in a naked stand of ash trees, was the grim Bridge of Bodies, built of Lancastrian dead to form a dam, the rushing waters streaming with crimson grume. Panicked, hysterical men scrambled across the River Cock over the carcases of the fallen. From Tadcaster to Towton, the fields were strewn with corpses and body parts. The fleeing men made easy targets for horsemen, and foot soldiers killed many who had dropped their weapons and thrown off their helmets to breathe more freely. And all the while, the blizzard raged.

In 1996 a mass grave of more than 40 bodies was discovered at Towton Hall. It delivered the bones of some of the soldiers who had fought and died at Towton. The skeletons showed evidence of terrible wounds – there were some with at least 20 head injuries. They all died horribly.

“The thing that shook us was that these people had been butchered. Perhaps the most spectacular ones are where people have had part of their head sliced off, or their head cut in half. There’s much evidence of mutilation. That noses and ears were hacked off.” – Dr Alan Ogden, a palaeo-pathologist.

Click to embiggenWhen you know the history of this place – the significant battle that took place here to decide the fate of the English throne, the awful toll it took, the hellish things that happened to thousands of men, you can’t simply stroll amongst the corn and enjoy the sun. The terrible deaths of those thousands haunt your thoughts. There are ghosts here.

“Walk in the margin of the corn as it is ruffled by the blustering wind. Above, the thick mauve, mordant clouds curdle and thud like bruises, bowling patches of sunlight across the rise and fall of the land. In the distance is a single stunted tree, flattened by the south wind. It marks the corner of this sombre, elegiac place.  It would be impossible to walk here and not feel the dread underfoot – the echo of desperate events vibrating just behind the hearing. This is a sad, sad, dumbly eloquent deathscape.” – A. A. Gill, 2008

YSP Tweetup 2018 – Saturday 21st July

Nah then, sexpots. The Sixth YSP Tweetup will take place on Saturday 21st July 2018 at (colour me surprised) Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Come and meet a fat old wombat and his beautiful consort for art, countryside, sexy rabbits, picnics, shiny balls and sociability. And if that isn’t enough to get your sap rising, you will also be able to meet our SPECIAL GUESTS, all the way over from Canadiadiadia, Aven @avensarah & Mark @alliterative. Woo, and a healthy does of hoo, eh? Here’s a few things you might want to know about #YSPtweetup2018.

2011 pics - click to enlargeSun Where is YSP?

YSP is just off the M1 at junction 38. The best postcode for your satnav is WF4 4JX. The 96 bus comes directly to YSP from Barnsley or Wakefield. Visit for bus timetables. The last bus from YSP to Wakefield is at 4:30pm, and to Barnsley at 5:30pm.

Sun What time are we meeting?

2012 pics - click to enlargeAround 10:30-11 near the main car park, by the entrance to the main building. If it’s chucking it down, you could always pop inside. Some folk won’t arrive till noon, so don’t worry about being on time. Check the map below, and look for a fat, beardy bloke either near the entrance or picnic area.

2013 pics - click to enlargeSun What’s the car parking like?

Admission to YSP (a charity) is free. The parking fees keep the place going. Car Parking is £10 for the day. You can pay online in advance (or up to a week after your visit), or use the machine that takes cards or cash and asks for your car registration number. Motorbikes are free. The car park is HUGE and everyone will fit in.

2014 pics - click to enlarge - I totally photoshopped @realaqua in, cos she took the photoSun What about food, Wombie?

Bring picnic food & drink, for we will PICNIC, BABY! And I want to taste your goodies, obv. Alternatively, there’s both a restaurant and a café. Tap water is always available free.

Sun What if it rains?

We’ll get wet.

Sun Will you sign my boobs?

Damn yes.

2015 pics - click to enlargeSun Sorry, I meant books. If I bring your books, will you sign those?

Oh books. Oh … yeah, OK then, bring them along. If you want to order a signed book that I can bring on the day, DM me.

Sun Is there anything else?

As usual, dogs and kids are more than welcome – it’d be nice to keep up the tradition of kids climbing on that sculpture that no-one’s supposed to climb on. YSP like dogs to be kept on a lead, please, to keep the wandering wildlife safe. Otherwise, the agenda is mostly the having of fun. We usually manage that without much effort. We don’t have to stick together the whole day, of course, but I hope we can at least get a big team photo of the whole company as on previous occasions.

YSP map - click to enlargeSun How about a map of YSP?

Here you go. Click it to see a much larger version.

And CLICK HERE to visit the YSP site – there’s more information there than you could possibly need.

YSP Tweetup 2017

IMG_20150620_124703960Nah then, sexpots. The Sixth Annual Wombat Anniversary YSP Tweetup will take place on Saturday 24th June 2017 at (colour me surprised) Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Come and meet a fat old wombat and his beautiful consort for art, countryside, sexy rabbits, picnics, shiny balls and sociability. Here’s a few things to know.

Where is YSP?

YSP is just off the M1 junction 38. The best postcode for your Sat Nav is WF4 4JX. The 96 bus comes directly to YSP from Barnsley and Wakefield. Visit for bus timetables.

"Look, some nature!"What time are we meeting?

Meet between 10 and 10:30 near the main car park, by the entrance to the main building (check the map down below). If it’s chucking it down, you could always pop inside.

What’s the car parking like?

Admission to YSP (a charity) is free. The parking fees keep the place going. Car Parking is £8. You pay by machine that takes cards or cash, and asks for your car registration number (or you can pay online up to a week after). Motorbikes are free. The car park is HUGE and everyone will fit in.

What about food, Wombie?

Bring picnic food & drink, for we will PICNIC BABY! And I want to taste your goodies, obv. Alternatively, there’s both a restaurant and a café. Tap water is always available free.

DoodlesWill you sign my boobs?

Damn yes.

Sorry, I meant books. If I bring your books, will you sign those?

Oh books. Oh … yeah, OK then, bring them along.

Is there anything else?

As usual, dogs and kids are more than welcome – it’d be nice to keep up the tradition of kids climbing on that sculpture that no-one’s supposed to climb on. Otherwise, the agenda is mostly the having of fun! We usually manage that without trying. We don’t have to stick together the whole day, of course, but I hope we can at least get a big team photo of the whole company as on previous occasions.

ysp-annotated22How about a map of YSP?

Here you go. Click it to see a much larger version.

And CLICK HERE to visit the YSP site – there’s more information there than you could possibly need.

Bring kids, dogs, cake and especially cake

It’s only just occurred to me that it’s quite close to #YSPtweetup 2014, and what have I done in preparation? A lot of sod all, that’s what. It’s about time I extracted my digit and started winding up the arrangements.


For this year’s Wombat Wedding Anniversary hoopla we will once again be at the delightful Yorkshire Sculpture Park for picnics, walks, art and having a lot of fun together. The date to mark in red in your diary is Saturday 21st June.

As usual, bring food, chums, OHs, smiles, kids and canine companions. We’ll follow the usual plan: meet up around ten (although it usually takes at least half an hour to get the gang moving – honestly, you lot are as nippy as the Titanic sometimes), then stroll down to the picnic area for food, chat, and watching the kids. After we’ve all eaten each other’s food, we’ll “do” the park – lakes, woods, artworks, and climbing on that sculpture that you’re not supposed to climb on.

basdriver map


An offer of a lift: @basdriver is driving up to YSP from Cardiff and is kindly offering lifts to anyone near his route (click on the map on the left to see it large), which is roughly Cardiff-> Cheltenham-> Birmingham-> Nottingham-> Sheffield-> Wakefield). Contact him if you want to take him up on his lovely offer. Nice chap.

And if you can offer a lift to anyone who might want to go but has no transport, then let me know and I’ll put out a call on here.



YSP mapOK, here’s a map (click it to big it) and some bullet points. Gotta love bullet points.

  • YSP is just off the M1 junction 38.
  • Meet between 10 and 10:30 near the main car park, by the entrance to the main building. If it’s stair-rodding, you could always pop inside.
  • Car Parking is £8 for all day, payable at a machine that takes cards or cash, and asks for your car reg. number. The Car Park is HUGE and everyone will fit in.
  • Bring picnic food & drink OR buy stuff in the cafés there. Tap water is available free.
  • If you have any of my books you want signing, bring them along. I’ll also be available to sign boobs *eyebrow waggle*
  • We don’t have to stick together the whole day, but I hope we can at least get a big team photo of the whole company like before.
  • Official hashtags – either #YSPtweetup or #YSPtweetup2014.

Check the YSP website to see what they’ve got on at the moment, and ask me if you have any questions. Finally, clicky these links to see my blogs of previous #YSPtweetups: 2011, 2012, 2013.

#YSPtweetup2014 advance notice

z-0vanishedhippoYes, I know, it’s very advanced notice, but I have already had half a dozen people asking about this year’s Wombat Wedding Anniversary get together. Once again we’ll be at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for picnics, walks and art. The date to mark in red in your diary is Saturday 21st June. As usual, bring food, chums, OHs, kids and all manner of canine companions.

I have a passing fancy this year to finally remember to get everyone to do the Mass Paperbag Trick. And maybe get everyone to bring their ukulele so that we can have a YSP Ukulele Orchestra rendition of Ilkley Moor Bar T’at. We’ll see. More in a few months.

Click here to see previous #YSPtweetup blogs: 2011, 2012, 2013.

#YSPtweetup 2013, the official video

Roll up, roll up!

Twitter assembled

Come one, come all to the third YSP tweetup, once again celebrating Wombat’s Wedding Anniversary. Yes, once again we’ll be having a get together at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, this year on the anniversary itself, Sunday 23rd June. Firstly, let me just give a hat-tip to @nyncompoop, whose original idea it was to gather at YSP. Follow announcements on Twitter by using the hashtag #YSPtweetup.

Daaaaaave!As before, bring pickernick food, bring chums, bring husbands, wives, kids, lovers and all the dogs you can shake a stick at. I shall also expect many anniversary hugs. We’ll have a picnic lunch before launching our Twitter army around the park, appreciating art, talking bollocks, making good conversation, photographing every single sodding thing we see, and generally farting about. Liquorice ice cream is served in the café, so that’s always a good winding down point at the end of the afternoon, after all the leg-ache.

I can’t promise that Dave will hog the camera once more. Jim's LeapI can’t promise that Jim will leap from a mighty height again, suspended only by his umbrella. I can, however, promise an afternoon packed with good friends and a good time. If you’ve been before, you’ll know the happy times to be had. If you haven’t been before, come along and discover what fun it is.

Paper bags

Last year, lots of us brought paper bags so that we could pleasure @TheFlossieTP (what better reason?) with an attempt at a Mass Paper Bag Trick (a la Eric Morecambe). Only we forgot.

So let’s try it again this year! Bring along your paper bags, and we’ll have a (likely shambolic) go at giving Floss a cheap thrill. She’s anybody’s for a paper bag. Here’s the trick performed by the originators. Instruction will be given if for any reason you *don’t* know how to do it.

Parking at YSP

It’s a big old car park. Parking is £7.50 per car for all day parking, and the machines take both cash & cards. Motorbikes are free.


Big chairsBuses and trains

By train
Wakefield Westgate is the nearest main line station, around seven miles from YSP. A taxi from the station costs approximately £12. London King’s Cross to Wakefield takes approximately 2 hours. For times and fares visit
By bus
Buses run between Wakefield Bus Station and Barnsley Interchange via West Bretton. Buses stop and depart directly outside the YSP Centre. The current provider is Tates Travel, number 96. For the latest timetable visit (the first bus friom Wakefield on a Sunday is 12:39, getting to YSP at 12:56. The last bus leaves YSP at 15:58, getting to Wakefield at 16:25).


Windy wallTimes

YSP opens at 10am, and we’ll meet up outside the YSP Centre (see the map below) , then move down to the Picnic area (also on the map) where there are several tables. Let’s hope for a fine day, but if anyone can remember an undercover place to eat at YSP, please do jog my memory.

When the spirit moves us, we can wander off to explore the park, either en masse or as smaller groups. And take ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS!



To find YSP, leave the M1 at J38 and follow the signs. Click the map below to see a much larger version.



Blogs of previous #YSPtweetups





imagesTitus Salt alighted from his conveyance at Crow Nest Park and stretched out his long frame in relief. He breathed deeply of the fresh air, pleased to have left behind him the stench of the city for another day. George Weerth had the right of it when he had said “If anyone wants to feel how a poor sinner is tormented in Purgatory, let him travel to Bradford.”

Salt’s hound, a huge black beast the colour of his own hair, lolloped up to him and rested her big head against his leg in greeting. He ruffled the dog’s ear, and gave her his newspaper to carry before striding towards the big front door of the mansion. He slowed down as he felt the cramp in his calves after a day on his feet.

“Come, Kanute!” he called to the dog, which happily trailed in his wake as he entered the large front door.

“Hello, the house!” he called, before remembering that his wife was away this day, taking their daughter Fanny to visit relatives in Harrogate. He laid down his hat and topcoat for the maid to find and clean later and ambled to his study.

He was delighted to find that the maid had already lit a fire in the grate. Kanute padded over to the rug on her great paws and sat before the warmth, dropping the soggy newspaper on the floor. A stuffed owl on the mantlepiece looked down on the dog disapprovingly.

The flames flickered merrily, their glow brightening the darkening room, their warm reflections dancing from the clutter of objects filling every corner. A telescope, a globe, inkwells on the desk, shelves groaning with books and geological samples, plants and stuffed birds – all the accoutrements that a successful gentleman might be expected to gather to him in Victoria’s proud and prosperous realm.

Salt scratched Kanute’s head, and the heavy tail thumped against the floor. He crossed to his desk and sat down. He opened a drawer and withdrew a rolled paper. He unrolled it across the desk, weighing it at either side with inkstand and blotter. He peered closely at the paper, lowering his head.

Hmmm. He twirled his greying beard between his fingers. Cheerful though the firelight was, the rich dark oak-paneled walls drank too much of the radiance before it reached him.

He returned to the fireplace and lighted a spill, carrying the flame back to the desk where he lit the Argand oil lamp. A soft yellow glow illumined the desk, driven by best colza oil. He sat down and looked again.

A section of the Aire Valley lay depicted before him. The area he had chosen for his new mill was fully three miles from Bradford’s throttling stench. Surely people would work better in the clean air than in the centre of that stinking, breath-clogging hellhole.

He peered again at the map, trying to ascertain the exact boundary of the land that he had purchased. It was still too gloomy, and he sighed wearily.

“Though God Himself demand it, I cannot stand again,” he thought.

He took up a heavy brass hand-bell and shook it vigorously, dispatching a loud summons through the house.

Shortly, the door opened and a maid entered. She was dressed in her working attire of dark ankle-length dress protected by a white pinafore. Her red hair was tied back, and her only adornment was a necklace from which depended a small silver skull. When he had first seen the necklace it had seemed to Salt a peculiar piece of jewellery for a young woman, but he was not one to hold harmless affectations against a person.

Kanute’s tail thumped rhythmically against the rug as the maid entered. Kanute liked the maid. Indeed, Salt liked her too. She performed her duties well.

Parlour_MaidOK“You rang, sir?”

“Eileanora, yes,” he replied, “Would you please light the candles? My legs seem to have decided to withdraw their labour.”

“Yes, sir.” Eileanora bobbed a quick curtsey and crossed to the fireplace, where she lit the several wicks of a candelabrum set on the mantlepiece in front of a mirror.

“Thank you,” Salt said, “Perhaps you could also bring a pot of tea? And perhaps a dish of those delicious comfits from Harrogate?”

“Sir,” she curtsied, and left the room. Salt turned his attention back to his plans. Perhaps if he could persuade Lady Rosse to sell him her land to the west, he might consider further building.

His train of thought was interrupted by Eileanora’s knock at the door. For goodness sake, she had only just left.

“Yes?” he enquired, a little sharply.

The maid bobbed into the room once more.

“Begging your pardon, sir, but there are some gentlemen to see you.”

“Who are they? Do they have cards?”

“No, sir. I did ask, but they wouldn’t tell me who they were. Shall I fetch the groom, sir?”

Salt sighed deeply. He’d better go and see what they wanted. Perhaps they were workers looking for a job. He stood up with a groan.

“Very well, Eileanora, you can—”

The door behind the maid crashed open, sending her flying across the room. She sprawled across the floor by Kanute, who jumped up, barking loudly.

Three men burst into the study with a clattering of boots on the wooden floor. Kanute barked even more deafeningly.

“Shut that fucking dog up!” barked the ruffian at the front, brandishing a pair of pistols. The two with him each bore a knife and a club. Thieves! Desperate ones, too, if they had the nerve to break into a gentleman’s house.

“There’s no—” began Salt.

“Shut it!” ordered the one with the pistols. Salt took this as a sign that he was the leader of the trio. One of the others moved over towards Eileanora and pointed his knife at her.

“You shut that cur up now or I’ll bash its brains in!” he snarled. The maid got to her feet, stroked Kanute, and spoke quietly to the dog. The barking ceased, though the dog sat alertly, watching carefully.

“There is very little money in the house,” explained Salt.

“We don’t want your money,” spat the leader. He wore a brown jacket and trousers, neither of them displaying the threadbare appearance that one might expect of a ruffian thief. In fact, he did not have the appearance of a member of the working class at all.

“What do you want?” asked Salt.

“Well,” said the man to the left, “I wouldn’t mind availing myself of the maid service.” He leered at the demure servant. She looked down at her feet, avoiding his gaze.

“Watch your manners,” ordered the leader, and his henchman took a step back, chastened.

“Well now, Mr. Mayor,” began the head ???ruffian, lowering his pistols, “You have been ruffling a few feathers lately. Very important feathers. For example, with all this claptrap that you’ve been trying to push through the council, trying to force a by-law to compel factory owners to use these expensive Smoke Burners.”

“It would significantly improve the health of—”

“Bollocks it would,” interrupted the intruder, “There’s nowt wrong with a bit of smoke. Exercises the lungs, it does.”

“I disagree,” Salt argued. The leader of these men, at least, seemed quite articulate. Perhaps he would be open to reasoned argument.

“Might you be a medical man then, Mr. Salt?” enquired the intruder.

“I am not, as you must know. But I see all the cholera in the city. What causes that, pray, if not for filth, for grime, and a lack of clean air?”

“Lustful living,” said the man, “Lustful urges and the drinking of cheap alcohol. That’s my honest view, sir, but my honest view is not what matters. What matters is the view of my employers.”

“I am no supporter of lustful living. I am no supporter of any sin, Mister..?”

“Chuff off. You don’t need to know my name.”

“Very well,” Salt replied calmly, raising his hands to mollify the man. He’d been getting somewhere then, he was sure, but had put a foot wrong by asking the man’s name. He should try to take this gently.

“I can see that you are a reasoning man,” he began. “Come and look here, at these plans.”

He beckoned the man over to his desk, where the Aire Valley map was spread out. The ruffian approached, pistols held loosely at his sides now.

GenaImageSourcerdixmill2Salt indicated the area below the River Aire.

“This is about three miles west of the city, along the Aire,” he explained, “Mill workers here would have unsoiled air and clean living, and that, I maintain, can benefit not only the workers, but we owners, too. A happy worker is a good worker.”

“According to my superior, who is paying me a great deal of money to visit you today, a happy worker is nothing of the sort. A happy worker is a worker who then imagines he has a right to that happiness. And once a worker has one right, he’ll want others. Higher pay, more expensive housing, costly doctoring. Once the lower class gets a foothold, there’ll be no stopping them.”

The man’s voice rose as he espoused thoughts obviously dearly held by himself as well as by his mysterious superior.

“I have evidence to the contrary,” continued Salt, “From my own woollen mills. I have fitted the Rodda Smoke Burners. I therefore have a healthier workforce. They are sick less often, for a start.”

“And it cost you a packet, didn’t it? These burners are expensive things. You might be able to afford such doings, but others cannot. You just desire to drive others out of business so that you can obtain their mills for yourself and grow your empire. I know greed, and I see right through your fancy words, Mr. Salt!”

“But I….” Salt paused, unsure of how to proceed in the face of this man’s rising anger, then continued, trying to keep his voice calm.

“Look, what would you say if I told you that I will soon build a new mill in this place.” He swept his hand across the map, “Out in the countryside, where I can properly test my hypothesis. Perhaps even houses, with running water on tap from the river? What would you say then?”

“I’d say that you’ve signed your own death certificate, Mr. Mayor.”

The man’s lip curled, and he pushed Salt back down into the desk chair. He raised a pistol and pressed the barrel against Salt’s forehead. Salt stared up wide-eyed at the anger in the man’s twisted face and prepared to meet his God.

A narrow beam of pale blue light shone out of the man’s left eye, and the eyeball melted. The beginning of a scream was cut off as the light swept through the face, slicing away the top of the man’s head.

As the body of his assailant fell away and the pistols clattered to the floor, the figure of Eileanora was revealed to Salt. She stood erect, a determined look on her face. Her right arm was outstretched, and in her hand was a bizarre device from which emerged the thin beam of blue light.

Her left hand gripped the throat of one of the henchmen, and as Salt gazed on aghast, a simple twist of her wrist dispatched him from this life. His corpse fell to the floor. Kanute yipped approvingly.

The thin blue light swept inexorably across the room and sliced into the third man’s chest. He too fell lifeless, tumbling like one of Fanny’s rag dolls.

Eileanora touched her skull necklace with her left forefinger and spoke.

“Hey, it’s Tabby. I’m done here. Extraction, please.”

She shimmered, then simply disappeared, her maid’s uniform falling still warm to the floor as it was left behind.

The #YSPtweetup Bench Dance

YSP Tweetup – Best Wedding Anniversary Ever?

Knackered but eating liquorice ice cream

Well, it was a cracking day, wasn’t it? The weather behaved beautifully, Dave behaved beautifully, and the kids….. well they had fun too. Sorry we got there a bit later than planned, making some of you hang around the exciting car park. This was due to circumstances.

There’s a shedload of pics here, not all mine, so if I’ve used one of yours that you’d rather wasn’t here, let me know. Think I’ll let the pictures tell the story.





Me and Austin had a fascinating visit to “Australia – a nundred miles away” from the picnic site. He was particularly taken by the masked man and what had happened to his underpants…..





… and the racing man, who he thought would slip over in the mud.






283646_2904900080512_1434071103_nI ate SO much stuff, but how could I resist? Samosas (five second rule applies), cornbread, millionaire’s shortbread (my favourite), strawberries and champagne (thank you Andrea).



“And then Wombat ate it OFF THE FLOOR! EEEWWW!”




new DSCF7091I love the happy faces in this pic: I think Matt must have just told the best joke in the world cos Lou and Dawbes are peeing themselves.












Dave has a pork pie, while Otherdave reaches for his FNP 45 USG Bitone.





MEN are here! Men who have proper rucksacks and tattoos and stuff.




new DSCF7079


The pickernick table. Rob & Aud are obviously seated ‘below the salt’ (look it up) with the sprogs.



600846_2904871799805_707109447_nThirty-third Anniversary stuff. It’s quite remarkable that me and Maeve have been married longer than some of you have been alive. Sweet Baby Jeebus, but we’re old.  I have to say, though, that I’m still besotted by this woman even after 33 years. 205233_2904883720103_848592219_nThanks to everyone who came and helped us celebrate (you know, proper heartfelt thanks, not just hey-its-a-word thanks), and particular hug-and-a-bottom-feel thanks to ‘Manda for the flowery goodness, and Andrea for the champers.


Entertaining The Kids. And Dave.



Uncle Johnny entertains the kids with tales of tigers disembowelling zebras, and games about strangling.






Cat and Nell, either best buddies, superhero and sidekick, or evil mastermind and minion. Only they can decide.





AwGxpeICQAAwY-K.jpg large


I fell in love with Dave (and a little bit with his owner, but don’t tell her that). Speaking of which, have a few more Dave pics while I have them to hand….





“Can’t… quite… reach… the… itch…..”






Dave plays “Spot The Difference”.






The canine appreciation of Antony Gormley’s work.




Turning The Titanic

556531_2904955281892_1733744533_nSorry, that was Cat’s way of describing getting the group moving after nomming. It’s not easy to think up interesting titles, you know. This pic by Mel is one of my favourites, showing the herd flocking South.



A nice sit down. The kids, I have to say, were wonderful, and really added to the fun of the day.


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Sexy rabbit, just cos I like to take every opportunity to look at a nice arse.





David reckons this looks like I’ve just beamed down from the Enterprise, and he’s not wrong. I did enjoy that crystal cave thingy.




Team photo by Steve’s camera, minus a few who had got lost by walking past a sign that said “Do Not Go Past This Sign”.

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new6I’m pretty sure this is what made my arse ache so much on the Sunday, sitting-down-dancing on the Snow Patrol benches. No bugger rubbed my buttocks better either Sad smile


new10I like this photo of the do-not-climb-on-this-sculpture simply because of the way the kids are positioned. It’s like an album cover.





Proper photographers with proper cameras, making mine seem most inadequate. Their penises are probably bigger than mine too.




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Peep-oh! Look, there’s Ted!





Jim’s Leap









Showing us all how to behave responsibly in the presence of children, Jim discovers that the properties of an umbrella as a parachute are greatly over-rated by cartoons. Click this sentence to hear his song about this foolhardy leap of faith.


Around The Lake



Artistically posed by accident. Well played, gang.






What’s in the box, Will?









Rob is very proud of his bumbershoot.







Mel decides to…. well I’m not sure, actually. Maybe he found a lovely ladybird or maybe a wounded tiny bird.






Uncle Johnny in charge at the stepping stones.







Waterfally falllingdownhousey shot. Just because.







Awwwww! “Chums”





And finally – bring on the wall! Dave loves it inside this Goldsworthy sculpture. He got all excited, bless him.



Thank You

I’m not going to name you all individually, cos I’d be bound to forget someone and then you’d be upset, but I really do appreciate everybody who came on 23rd June. I appreciate the effort it took, especially following days of rainy deluge. You made it a right special day, ta. Special thanks to Jim, for his Wombat song. That’s right, click just there to hear it.