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Thursday’s are our most exotic day of the week as we escape from the confines of the Calder Valley in order to go over to Huddersfield to do the shopping for Dawn’s parents who’re both in the ‘at risk category due to their age – although neither of them act it!

I managed to get a bit of work done first before we got in the cars – a novel act in itself at the moment. When one considers the fact we’re normally cooped up at home it almost feels rebellious, although we do have a very good reason for doing what we do. This is very much an essential journey and one we make the most of. I still can’t get used to having a clear run up the bypass to Ainley Top under the M62 before entering the outskirts of Huddersfield with nary another car in sight. It really is quite surreal. En-route we called in at the ACoRP office at Huddersfield station so that Dawn could check on the vacant office and make sure everything was OK. Compared to last Thursday Huddersfield town centre seemed even more deserted. You could have dumped a herd of elephants in the square outside the station as the only occupants were a sad circle of traffic cones blocking one entrance to the concourse and one lonely member of station staff who’d nipped out for a fag.

We shopped at Sainsbury’s which was busier than last week. The queue was still well organised but it stretched far enough around the car park that were had to queue for 10 mins – hardly anything to complain about. There was no shortage of stuff to buy – unless you were after bog roll. What on earth are people doing with the stuff? Mummifying their kids with it? Whilst Dawn shopped for her parents I picked up the things we needed. It was all pretty painless, if still a bit surreal, but it’s surprising how quickly the odd becomes the norm.

Driving over to Dawn’s parents we were surprised just how windy the weather had got with gusts touching gale force. Because of it we didn’t hang around as it was unfair to leave Dee parents being buffeted by the wind so after exchanging shopping backs and having a chat at a distance over the garden gate we left and drove home. Our route back is different in that we pass over the M62, where we stopped just long enough for me to grab a shot of the (lack of) traffic. Wagons were still ferrying important goods East and West, but nowhere near in the same volume and car traffic was minimal.


Battling our way through the winds we headed back to home and our life in lockdown, with the car parked up for another week. It’s no wonder that air quality is improving (especially in the cities) when you consider how many vehicles are off the roads at the moment. I’ll be very interested to see some of the numbers that’ll be crunched by the end of all this.

Hunkering down for a few more hours work Dee was busy at her makeshift workstation in the living room whilst I managed to get more old pictures scanned upstairs and dispose of yet another set. I’ve now finished albums that take the archive up to August 1991. Whilst we were dropping food off to John and Norah I asked John to dig me another one out of their loft where I have much of my archive in safe storage. So now I’m going right back to the beginning to scan the very first slides I took, way back in August 1989. In retrospect I wish I’d transferred to tranny film earlier, but then I only bought my first SLR camera the year before. My next door neighbour in London was selling his old Pentax ME super which I snapped up, and it’s on that these first pictures were taken before I bought my first Nikon a year later.

Back in 1989 I often used to spend weekends with Nancy, an old friend from Southport who lived in Peterborough. I’d travel up from London and we’d spend the weekend exploring the areas pubs and sights. Nancy shared my interest in railways and one weekend in August we drove over to the Rutland Railway Museum where I shot with my first roll of slide film. Here’s the picture which is numbered 0001 in my database!

0001. Coal products No 6. 0-6-0. Rutland Railway Museum. 13.8.1989.+crop

Who knew then that I’d end up making my living as a photographer? Certainly not me when I look at this picture. I had a hell of a lot to learn – but then I was doing this for fun. If I’d known then how much the railways would change I’d have been a little more diligent in what I was recording. Still, isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? At least I have some fantastic memories captured on film going back over 30 years and this current crisis is giving me the time to finally dig these pictures out of the archive – some for the very first time – like this scene which now really is history…

0023. Signalbox. Addiscombe. 02.09.1989.crop

This is a picture of the signalbox at Addiscombe on the outskirts of South London, taken on the 2nd September 1991. It was the end of a branch line from London Bridge that was opened by the Mid-Kent railway in 1864. The railway gradually declines throughout the years with train services cut back, especially when this signalbox was burnt down by vandals in 1996. The whole line closed in 1997, only to be reborn as part of the Croydon tram network a few years later. Had I any idea what was going to happen when I took this. Did I heck as like. I’m just glad that I passed through there on a whim…