In at Number 11: George Wombwell Biography – The Real Wombwells (Vol III)

At last the project is complete! The third and final part has just been published. It went straight into the Top 100 Best Sellers of Circus Books at No. 11!

In addition, the covers of all three volumes have been updated to the one above. Look out for the distinctive red covers and the subtitles ( volumes I to III, Events at Warwick, The Greatest Showman and The Real Wombwells)

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In paperback:

Kindle ebook:

This volume also contains many previously unpublished images from the Wombwell Collection and a menagerie events calendar between 1800 and the late 19th century. It is a major addition to the genealogical map of menageries families in the UK and beyond.

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Alto Montecatini, Tuscany, Italy 2019

Standing above the Tuscan town of Montecatini Terme, Alto is reached by Fenicular railway in this spa town. €5 single and €7 return journey, gets you a bumpy but pleasant ride up the steep hill to the top of the hill. Just why you would want a single ticket is puzzling, since the track down is more suitable for BMX bikes rther than pedestrian traffic.

It is then a short walk from the small terminal to the town’s centre. Bristling with tourists and open air cafes. this delightful urnabisation retains the magic of Tuscany’s rural past. It was very hot (31C) the day I ventured around the town, discovering narrow streets and wide vistas over the town of Montecatini Terme. Many of the homes appear not to be inhabited, bing boared up or completely deserted. They are, maybe, holidy homes, but there are a few working hotels dotted around the ouskirts of the town and they can be approached by car if required.

Whilst I was visiting, a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition was tking place in the old fort above the town and at the top of the central square. Worth a look, for those interested in Leonardo’s scientific experiments with machines. Some of his contraptions have been recreated in the gounds of the fort.

The fenicular runs from 09.30 to 00.00, but be warned, it closes from one and a half hours for lunch, so timing id important if you need to be back in Montecatini Terme during that period, which starts at

This trip may not be suitable for the infirm without assistance.

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Finally, a New Book has hits the Streets!

Oofty-Goofty, born and bred in a secret wind-swept location above the industrial towns of West Yorkshire, is given the task of implementing a new plant in the heart of Paris, the city of light. On his first visit to Paris, he meets the beautiful French girl Anna, and is instantly drawn into her cultured world. Their partnership is continuously tested when they uncover an ancient society that would stop at nothing to maintain its secrets.
Back in Yorkshire, Brexit is rapidly becoming a reality and jobs are becoming a concern for Oofty-Goofty’s bosses. His patriotism is severely tested as they negotiate their way through the ancient ruins under the streets of Paris, around the magnificent cathedral of Notre-Dame.

This is Book One in the Sacred Slab Trilogy.

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Published today in Kindle Format

Published in Paperback Format

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RSPB Bempton Cliffs: A Magic Morning

I went to Bempton Cliffs at the weekend and even though it was cold and overcast the visit was not wasted. The North sea blew a cold wind and the mist eventually came inland. However, I managed to get there before the mist appeared. This is a magicsl place for seabirds. Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Gannets co-exist on the edge of the land. 400 ft of shear rocks are home from March to October every year to at least 250,000 seabirds. nesting looks,a nd is, precarious. Competition for space is palpable and each bird fights for its own space for breeding. There were few Puffins there, but the other seabirds made up for that. there was even a Kestral flying along the cliff tops. probably looking for an easy meal!

RSPB Bempton Cliffs, Post Code: YO15 1JF

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Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes

My first group of Spoonbills this year. There’s something ‘African’ about these splendid birds. Eight flew in to NWT Cley Marshes yesterday. Maybe we will get hundreds in the future. Also a sitting avocet posed for a photograph.

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RSPB Lakenheath: Greylags and others…

Spent a day at Lakenheath in the Mere Hide. All peaceful, feeding Great Crested Grebe and restless Reed Warblers, until this lot of Greylag families flew in. The noisiest of flyers. Three families in all. The Coots scrambled away, they’d seen it all before. Greylag parents and offspring spent the rest of their day bathing, sometimes upside down in the mere.

RSPB Lakenheath Fen, Station Rd, Lakenheath, Brandon, Thetford, Suffolk. IP27 9AD. Grid ref: TL724865

Visitor centre with refreshments.

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RSPB Frampton Marshes Lincolnshire

Went to this reserve to see a Black Winger Pratincole, which did not appear for me! Still, it’s a wonderful reserve for waders. Out today was a Spoonbill and these very distressed Avocets. One of their chicks had wandered onto the path. Hope it found its way back OK, but I fear the worse.

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More from RSPB Frampton Marshes, June 2019

Alas I missed the Black-Winger Pratincole, which had decided to move on by the time and date I arrived at this favourite reserve. However, an unsuspecting Great Crested Grebe came within snapping distance and this ‘mistake’ pleased me. Ghostly photograph!

GCG and Godwits/Knots in flight.

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RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk, England

A delightful reserve, teeming with wildlife at this time of year. The staff are particularly friendly and very helpful. The reserve visitor centre is based on a traditional wooden hide. Charming. I visited particularly to see the Swallowtail Butterflies and was well rewarded even though the weather was inclement. Such a large butterfly. Alas, not close enough for a photograph. The Meadow walk is excellent and after sitting for about 45 minutes, two Chinese Water Deer appeared from the tall grass. Further round, by the river Yare, Marsh Harriers were feeding, and many swallows were busying themselves on the abundant insect life. You would not know there’s a crisis in insect life going here! Well worth a day or two out of your holidays. Just a few miles off the A47 via country roads. Come by boat too!

Bee on Cow Parsley, Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle on Dog Rose, Hover Fly on Poppy, Painted Lady Red Admiral butterflies and solo poppy.

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, Low Road, Strumpshaw, Norwich NR13 4HS Grid ref TG341065

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Just got around to publishing the original essay and accompanying documentation, regarding the Half Moon Photography Workshop (HMPW) – Camerawork magazine. Published by this exciting photography co-operative during the 1970s and 80s it provides an insight into photography during the decades.

Camerawork and the Half Moon Photography Workshop
is now the subject of a forthcoming exhibition at Four Corners, Bethnal Green, which is currently developing an archive of the early years of the HMPW and Four Corners, with financial assistance from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Essay is HERE

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