Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Big Island

While in Hawaii I took a local flight from Maui to the Island of Hawaii or The Big Island as the locals know it.
Flying out of Kapalua, a tiny airstrip in the north of Maui and landing at Kona on the  west of The Big Island, I then rented a car and had a road trip to Hilo on the east side, a distance of around 76 miles via the direct route, I choose to follow Highway 19 around the north coast.
One of the big draws for going to the big Island was of course the......actually sorry to admit it wasn't the Volcanoes amazing as they are. The Hawaii Consolidated Railway was based around Hilo and among other routes it built a line up the coast from Hilo to Paauilo around 33 miles and 2 hours by train. The line was constructed just before the First World War, and at the time set a record for the most expensive piece of railway constructed, due to the terrain the line passed through, necessitating many trestle bridges of substantial size and several tunnels amongst other things. When the tragic Tsunami hit Hilo in 1946 almost all of the line was washed away and much of the route was then used to construct Highway 19.

Laupahoehoe Train Museum

Laupahoehoe Train Museum is a little way north of Hilo and based around the old Station Agents House. Was well worth the visit a lovely museum with loads of information on the route and a very knowledgeable guy running it. The top photo shows the museum building on the right and in the foreground the remains of the platform which is now right alongside Highway 19. 

Hilo Semi Roundhouse

The Semi Roundhouse in the photo was the main Locomotive shed for the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, and somehow it has survived, it is in private business use and is built from concrete, as with most concrete buildings of the period it is in a poor way so how much longer it will stay standing I don't know. People are aware of its historical importance and have come up with ideas to re use it, the owner seemed an approachable guy even if he was not impressed when I went inside, as he pointed out there is a lot of concrete that falls from the roof! So who knows what will happen, but I can add it to my list of Loco Sheds I have photographed. Yes I know I am a little strange, as my friends constantly remind me.

Lava from Kahaualea

Yes I did visit the Volcanoes and pretty amazing they were too, more about then next time.


Thursday, 13 April 2017


Kaopala Gulch

Well I survived 4 weeks on a Tropical Island. Temperature was around 26-28 most of the time with an odd day of tropical storm thrown in, not ideal for cycling especially as I am not very fit at the moment, but I managed around a 100 miles in total on my sisters ancient bike. She seems to have a habit of keeping things forever, she has a hockey stick from when she was at school and still reminds me that I pinched her Squash racket! 
When we were young my sister and I were very close, but over the years we have drifted apart, mainly because of her living in America for over 30 years, but also we are very different people. We did get on very well though, 4 weeks with someone is a long time., but we didn't fall out, we both have a big interest in photography and love dogs, which really helped.

Nakalele Point and Blowhole

We did go to some amazing places, one way my sister Pauline and myself have loads in common, is she will explore where she lives, walking long distances finding forgotten paths and hidden beaches and fantastic coastline. The above shots were taken on a walk, or should I say scramble over the rocks to the Nakalele Blowhole. There is a relatively easy tourist route from the road, but we went over the cliffs by an anything but easy trail, and boy was it worth it! The site and sound of the Pacific pounding the cliffs was quite incredible, I had to keep reminding  myself that we were over 2000 miles from the mainland, the Island of Hawaii are recognized as the most remote on the planet when it comes to distance alone.
Maui is really a very beautiful Island and has everything you would expect of a Tropical Island if you look hard enough, unfortunately a lot of it is like an American playground, vast hotel complexes and Golf courses and cars, lots of cars, mind you if you took away all the rental Mustang Convertibles the car population would be halved!

Sunsets and Whales are two of the biggest things you will see in Hawaii and we saw loads.

This is the view from Pauline's apartment, during the day even without Binoculars you could watch the Whales breaching. Pauline has two dogs so walking them in the evening as the sun set was a great way to end the day, you could see why the Islands are such a big draw for American vacationing,it is so peaceful and despite the Mustang Convertibles an incredibly friendly and relaxing place to visit, one advantage of the playground aspect in the north of Maui is the complete lack of litter, and the way the area is looked after, it does of course mean that the problems are pushed out of sight, Maui is no different from anywhere else, there are homeless people, true Hawaiians resentful of the American invasion, very little work and as always a big traffic problem.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Take a Break

Treatment day today and hooray I have been able to give it a miss, not totally brilliant as its because I feel really rough and my blood pressure is very high but the break will do me good, and the next dose in 3 weeks time I had already arranged to miss as I am going away. There is a guy at hospital that I talk to, he is in the same position as me and 12 years younger but he is still suffering, he said he overnight felt like he was an old man, aches and pains, fatigue and general lack of interest or energy for anything, it cheered me up a bit to realise it is not just me and also someone a lot younger.
A week ago I went to stay with some friends on the North York Moors, gorgeous part of the country. My mate had just bought himself a new Mini, so we spent the weekend in it exploring nearby sites, now I really don't do cars anymore, I wasted far to much time and money on cars when I was younger. First thing I did when I got home was take a trip to Warrington Mini and buy one that I had seen on line, and very nice it is too.

I don't do loads of miles these days and I don't particularly enjoy driving, but the Mini is a very well put together car, very responsive and tight to drive, so I am sure it will get me interested in driving again, despite the fact that I actually detest cars, or is it that I detest what cars have done to people and the countryside!
Despite buying the Mini, the first thing I did the next day was take a train down to Birmingham, doesn't matter how nice a car is, sitting with thousands of others on the M6 and then taking for  ever to drive into Birmingham, just to leave the car all day while you go off walking is not my idea of a good time.

Nr Dudley Port
Yup a walk along an old railway line was the purpose of my trip, this particular line ran from Bescot to Dudley via Wednesbury and Dudley Port, it was closed in the 1990s and technically mothballed, which in this country means abandoned to nature. Part of the route has had some of the undergrowth cut back to allow it to be assessed as a possible extension to the nearby Wolverhampton-Birmingham Tram route, hopefully this will come about, although it will take some years to complete.
As I mentioned at the top of this page I am going away, actually I am going to Hawaii in 4 days time for a month. When I am back in march there will be plenty to write about, so to quote the classic TV series 'The Prisoner'
'Be Seeing You'

Saturday, 7 January 2017


I used to say to my friend Alan, stop counting back the years to see how long ago certain events were, used to really depress me as there is nothing you can do to change anything, but it is obviously a symptom of getting older as I have to stop myself now.
People often say how brave and strong I am, I really don't feel either, I feel tired, so very tired, how ever hard I try it makes no difference, positive thinking, exercising, eating healthily, 8 hours sleep, none of it makes any difference, I have had enough of constantly hurting and struggling. The other week at Clatterbridge I was chatting to a guy 12 years younger than me on the same treatment, and he said he suddenly feels like an old man, he has a girlfriend 10 years younger, so it makes life very difficult, I don't have a younger girlfriend but life is difficult.
I am off to Hawaii in 4 weeks to stay with my sister, I am trying to word a message to get across to her exactly how I feel both mentally and physically, she can be quite opinionated and has a very annoying habit of assuming everyone thinks the same as she does I don't want her advice and herbal remedies and the Lord will save you ideas, I just want her friendship and companionship, the last thing I want is for us to fall out. Maybe it is me, I find I enjoy my own company more and more, everyone seems so stressed and angry it is easier to get on with yourself, maybe it is an opting out of society, I am lucky I am only responsible to myself, it has been a conscious decision and that is the way I wish it to remain.

Just before Christmas I got to see Rent in London at long last. Truly fabulous show, the St James is quite an intimate theatre, and the show suited it perfectly. Quite a few years ago I was dumped and almost the first thing my ex did was jet off to see Rent on Broadway, I was not amused! The show is loosely based around the opera La bohème, a mixture of joy and sadness not least that its writer Jonathan Larson didn't live to see it open on Broadway.
Christmas in hospital!
I did nearly spend another Christmas in hospital, I had my treatment on the 23rd and there was a complication and it looked like I was going to be kept in, but fortunately by the end of the day my blood had sorted itself out. The guys and girls at Clatterbridge were fabulous, general hospitals these days are not allowed to get into the spirit due to infection risks etc, but at Clatterbridge it was superb each department had their own theme, and Dorothy even had a little dog to walk around with, made  such a difference to what was a pretty awful day.

Boxing Day on the Mid-Hants railway with thanks to Emily. A gorgeous fresh day, perfect for having a ride behind a steam engine, and for once some photos of me!

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