Tuesday, 15 November 2016



I moved to Lancashire permanently a bit over three years ago, technically I live in Cheshire but historically Warrington is in Lancashire, as my old friend Alan would often remind me, can only imagine his reaction when the County boundary changes came about some years ago.
Being born in London and living in the Sussex, Kent and Hampshire, and technically Dorset (more boundary changes) the North West is quite a contrast, both in the landscape and its people. I know there is always something new to see wherever you live, and I do still love walking the streets of London, but moving to the North West has given me so many opportunities to see new sights, and I am only105 minutes from London courtesy of Virgin Trains, also Manchester Airport is only 20 minutes which will be very handy when I fly to Hawaii for a month in February, but that will be a whole new story.

Rochdale Canal, Manchester
Talking of places to explore, you can't go far wrong with Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire, and if Hebden is a little touristy, take a walk up the hill to Heptonstall, gorgeous unspoilt village in Calderdale.
Hebden Bridge


Thursday, 3 November 2016

Lights on

4pm and the lights are on, and the heating, as it is a little bit chilly.  That time of year again, at least I will now be able to catch up with my Blog and website, find it very difficult in the summer if the weather is nice to sit on the PC.
Although the days are short, the winter is the time for exploring, as the undergrowth dies back and the trees lose their leaves, so abandoned tunnels can be got to and seen a lot better, the downside is the mud. By their nature disused tunnels are very damp places, especially in winter.
I have been to Glasgow four times this year, I am on a mission to photograph all the disused railway tunnels in the city, around twenty, and I have probably done half of them.

Kelvinside Station

Kelvinside Station from Balgray Tunnel

Kelvindale Tunnel

Temple Gasworks Tunnel

There are a lot of Kelvins in Glasgow, Kelvinhaugh, Kelvinside, Kelvingrove, Kelvindale to name a few, I am starting to learn my way around the city, having only really passed through in the car a couple of time and on the train a few times. The Kelvin river near Dawsholm, is a fascinating area, with the remains of at least five railway viaducts.

Dawsholm Branch Bridge over the Kelvin
I am now in my tenth month of taking the Immunotherapy Drug MPDL3280A or Atezolizumab as it is now known. Scans so far have been very positive, with a marked reduction in the size of the Tumours, and my consultant has even gone so far as to say that if the Cancer is cleared from my Lungs and Chest they may consider operating to remove the Tumour from my Kidney. This is of course amazing news. Next month will be three years since I was diagnosed, and around eight years since I contracted Cancer, only a year or two earlier and I quite possibly would have died by now, I really am so fortunate with the timing, that there is now treatment for Kidney Cancer that works.
The side effects have taken there toll, I had a break from treatment in August for around six weeks, I was really struggling, the various aches and pains were to numerous to mention and I suddenly felt like I had aged twenty years, and the lack of sleep was driving me mad. After the break it has been better , mainly with the sleep, it is problems with sore feet and ankles that are my main problem, I wish I lived in a Bungalow as walking down the stairs first thing in the morning is very difficult and painful, once out and about its not so bad, and I do try to continue walking a lot, although I suffer for it the next day.
The Deam


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Virgin Trains


Bury, Lancashire
Ok so not quite Virgin Trains, but these are some shots from a ride I had on the Footplate on the East Lancashire Railway the other month, many thanks to the Steve Leyland in the last shot and the rest of the crews.
Talking of Virgin, they are running a summer sale at the moment, so I have booked a few trips, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Birmingham, 4 trips for just over £100, so that will be plenty more photographs of the more seedy side of our Cities, actually the London trip is to go to The Maritime Museum, Imperial War Museum and HMS Belfast, places I have not been to for over 30 years. My Grandad served in the Royal Navy in both World Wars, my Uncle served in the late 1940s early 1950s and my Father was born in Portsmouth, so there has been a lot of Navy tradition in the family and thanks to some Facebook groups my interest has been rekindled.

HMS Duncan, Liverpool
Just to show its not all warfare.

MS Queen Elizabeth, Liverpool
And I can even find dereliction.
MV Sarsia, Birkenhead


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Not so Healthy Living

Its funny how things in life can change almost overnight, and especially anything to do with your health. We live on a very narrow tightrope with our health, something that many try and ignore and others completely disregard until its too late.
I am coming up to my 7 month of treatment, 9 sessions I think. It really has gone very well and I am incredibly lucky, it is obviously working, there is little sign of the Mets in my Lungs or the lump in my chest, and the Tumour on my Kidney is certainly a bit smaller and more importantly the density is changing which indicates the blood supply to it is changing. The side effects have really been very minor, certainly compared to what happens to some poor souls on something like IL2, but I am starting to notice them and they are disrupting my life. Over the first 5 months or so there did seem to be a set pattern, 1st week after treatment, no sleep, 2nd week very disturbed sleep, 3rd week sleep like a baby, but that has all changed. A month ago I was very positive, getting into quite a good routine, eating healthily and plenty of exercise, but the last couple of weeks have knocked me sideways, I am still exercising and eating sensibly, I haven't touched alcohol for over a month, but my sleep is almost non existent. I have tried cycling late in the evening to wear me out, I have tried relaxing and reading before I sleep, I have tried Herbal concoctions and Meditation, nothing has worked, my body feels exhausted but that's it, I can only liken it to standing on a crowded train, where you are desperate to sit down, but know you have two hours of standing. I have been getting bad tremors in my hands and feet, the hands are not a problem, often happens when I am out and about, disconcerting more than anything, but the feet come on with vengeance as soon as I lie down, a bit like Restless Leg, where you have this constant need to keep  twitching, making relaxing and sleep impossible.
Until you go lengthy periods without sleep you just don't realise how much it impacts on your life, on the face of it as a side effect it seems  very minor, but after a couple of weeks you realise you are only existing, which is no life at all.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Healthy Living

I am now in my 6 month of treatment, and I have to say it is going pretty well. The CT scans have shown a general reduction in the various tumours and lumps, to be honest I am awful at digesting information from specialists, I know I have a large Tumour on my remaining Kidney but the other various lumps and bumps I am a little vague about, maybe that is a good way to be, anyway, the treatment is obviously working and quite quickly as well. Side effects have been quite minimal, various strange feelings, tingling, flu symptoms and trouble sleeping, lack of sleep has been the biggest problem.
As the injections are 3 weekly, I was going through a cycle of getting no sleep the first week, a little the second week then sleeping like a log the third, just in time to have my next dose. So this is where the Healthy Living  comes in, I have now made a plan to actively sort my health out. I am now in my third week of this, 40 mile cycle each week, sensible eating, plenty of fish, salad and fruit, and plenty of reading to relax, rather than watching DVD's, and it is going well, I am starting to notice the difference with the exercise, not so much its getting easier, because it never dose, but more my attitude to it, much more positive and much more relaxed when on me bike, the furthest I have been is 21 miles, which is not really any big deal, but I felt pretty comfortable doing it, and it was on my MTB which is always a lot harder work. Apart from the obvious physical and mental benefits of exercise, I am now getting tired in a good way, so am sleeping a lot better.
In some ways I can be quite a strong character, and my attitude to the treatment is obviously helping, I am incredibly lucky to be still here, and I am  very lucky to have got onto this clinical trial, so I really don't have anything to moan about, a few sleepless nights and rough days is nothing compared to what many people have to go through.


Bridgewater Canal

Lymm Railway

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Getting my life back

At last my house is finished, bar a bit of snagging and putting photos up, it now feels like home and does look pretty good if I say so myself. It has been very hard work, and it most definitely will be the last serious bit of DIY I ever do. It has been very hard work, as always I had to complicate things and make them harder than they need be, like sanding the floors upstairs and the staircase, all this on top of starting my treatment in January, but its done now so all is good.

Talking of treatment, on the whole it has been going very well, I really am very lucky so I don't like to complain. There has been a marked reduction in the size of the tumours since January which is amazing to see a difference so soon, side effects have rather crept up on me, nothing major, just getting progressively worse, general aching, lack of energy, disturbed sleep and even a constant running nose, the poor sleeping has not been helped by the tremors that I get, especially in my feet, bit like restless leg, keeps you awake for hours. I also get strange feelings sometime, can't explain it, just a feeling that things are not right, bit shaky and wobbly on my feet, very odd sensation, with the amount of drugs that are being pumped into me there has to be some adverse reaction. Going to hospital every three weeks has given me a real aversion to having needles stuck in me, but as I say I am very lucky, lucky to still be alive, lucky to have been chosen for this trial and lucky that it seems to be working.
Motivation is a big problem and my level of fitness has suffered this past six months, so I have set myself a target of cycling forty miles a week, really not very difficult, just motivating myself to do it, three weeks in and all is going ok, will take some time to get back to decent fitness but I am determined to get there. I have been out on a few minor explores, mainly by train, I enjoy using the train as driving is not a lot of fun these days, and if you commit yourself to buying a ticket in advance you can't make any excuses on the day, so some day trips to Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, Blackpool, London, Glasgow and Edinburgh so far this year, again I do realise how lucky I am to be doing things like this, ok so its not Paris, New York, Rio etc but I still get a lot of enjoyment, and to be honest you could drop me and my camera almost anywhere in the world and I would enjoy it.





As you can see in the Edinburgh photos I don't really do the normal tourist thing, I much prefer the more seedy side of places, also there has to be a few disused railway tunnels, like Buchannan St in Glasgow

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Riding in the rain

As the title suggests, against my better judgement I went out for a ride this morning, I am pleased I went, and the exercise has to do me good, especially my Blood Pressure, but I got soaked through, the roads seemed to be flooded everywhere as well, so no escape. I can't be a fair weather rider, but if I got a bad chill I could get myself in a lot of trouble, hopefully better weather is on the way.
The local dogs home that I volunteer at has taken in a male German Shepherd and a 3 month old puppy, sadly they were abandoned and there has been no sign of the mother, I have been offered the puppy for fostering, I adore German Shepherds, and to be honest I would love to foster the fully grown male. Seriously I don't think either would be a good idea, neither is house trained, so they would probably wreck all the work I have done on my house, so we shall see, I am sure I will at some point take them home for at least a few days, and once the puppy has put on some weight she will soon be homed, as puppies never have to wait long to tug at some
one's heart strings.

Burn the Clocks, Brighton
Burn the Clocks in Brighton is an annual parade through The Lanes ending up on the beach at Mediera Drive with a Bonfire and Firework display, watched by thousands of people. It is a very Pagan event and I wouldn't begin to say I understand it, but it was a great evening and many thanks to Nikon for the invite.
A quick look back at my Sunflowers from last Summer, seems an age ago now, but they were very successful, one in the back garden reached over 12ft, unfortunately the world record is over 16ft, but still very impressive.

The above two photos are of the old railway from Whitby to Saltburn taken last month, it meant so much to get out on an old railway line with my camera, it has been a long time, and I keep thinking each one will be the last explore I can manage, but I not giving in yet. 



Tuesday, 26 January 2016

My house and other animals


Very little dog walking over the past four months or so, but I have fostered a couple, Ben was only for a week, just to give him a break from the kennels, but Spike ended up nearly six weeks. Spike had been adopted but after a month or so he was brought back because he had eating issues, what dog doesn't! So I took him in until we found a new permanent home. To be fair he does like to eat, whole packs of butter, my salad and even bean bags, but he was left in a garden for a long time, only been thrown scraps now and again, so hardly surprising. Spike is the most loyal and affectionate dog you could meet, he was so much fun, and once you keep everything away in cupboards, food really wasn't an issue.
New kitchen

Work on the house has ground to a halt at the moment, partly due to being in Yorkshire last week and also because I am bored with it. Once I have been to Clatterbridge tomorrow I am sure I will get on with it, it really wont take an awful lot to finish the upstairs and the stair case, which will only leave the lounge/diner, but I did decide to sand all the upstairs floors and staircase, so that just needs a final sand and sealing, which is one of the messiest jobs, hence why I am baulking at it, a week or two and it will be done. bit of wood work to paint, skirting to fit, finish the floors and I will just be left with the lounge, ok so the lounge is a big area, but I will have the end in sight. I can easily say this is the last lot of decorating I will ever do.

Six Months

Six months since I last posted, so much has happened, but at least I am still here.
Three very close friends and an uncle died within the space of a few weeks last Autumn, a difficult time to say the least.
My best friend Alan, who I had known for nearly 40 years passed away very suddenly, bless him, he left me his house in his will, sounds good, but it was a mixed blessing, either I sold up and moved back south, or updated the house and stayed in the North West. I have no desire to move south again, but the house was in awful condition, nothing had changed since Alan moved in, in the mid 1970s, I don't even think he had cleaned anything! I have completely gutted the house, emptying it of piles of rubbish that had accumulated over 40 odd years, central heating installed, re wired, new windows and doors, I am now half way through decorating, something that I loath, I have far more interesting things to do with my time, especially as I am on borrowed time, but it has to be done and will be well worth it in the end..

Some of the chaos
Despite all the work and upheaval, my health has been pretty good, apart from inflamed Tendons on both shoulders, so bad that I can now barely put a jacket on, but at least it has kept my mind of the cancer. Ah the cancer, that horrible word that is everywhere today! My cancer is slowly growing and I have now started a Clinical trial, which involves visiting Clatterbridge every three weeks to have Atezolizumab and another un pronounceable, injected into me, its all very civilised, comfy chair, good book, cup of tea and feet up while it is dripped into me over three hours or so, tomorrow will be my second dose, side effects so far have been very mild, bit of nausea and headache the first week then very flu like symptoms last week while I was in North Yorkshire, but that didn't stop me doing some old railway exploring, but yesterday my Blood Pressure shot up to 212/111, so I spent all day in A&E, no real reason was found, and today it was back to 140/80 which is normal for me, it scared the life out of me, as I live alone, I went to bed last night thinking I would have a stroke, and there would be know one around to notice, but lucky me, I woke this morning still in the land of the living.
Despite what the tourist board of Whitby says, near here at Kettleness is where Dracula landed

Kettleness Tunnel
The writing on the brickwork at Kettleness Tunnel, says " A curse on all who enter here" unfortunately the writer has put it on the wrong end of the tunnel, as walking this way in, you are going back to freedom and the real world, where as where the photo is taken, is on a ledge high up the cliff above the north sea with another tunnel behind the camera, so the only escape is either through one of the tunnels or jumping off the cliff!