2020 has been a strange year for everyone. Taking a walk around Sheffield city centre on what is normally Mad Friday was especially strange this year. The streets were bare and the pubs and restaurants mostly were closed. What is normally a buzzing atmosphere of late night shoppers enjoying longer opening hours with Christmas markets and festive cheer, this year just felt like another rainy winter evening.
Understandably, every city across the UK and wider world are having similar holidays. Let’s hope 2021 brings about better things.
I enjoyed the Christmas lights nevertheless. If you want to sponsor a snowflake at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the link is below.
Amlwch Port is normally one of the quieter parts of Anglesey. However, on my recent visit, it was packed. It was a bank holiday weekend though and in general, the island was packed.
Sadly, the heritage centre and cafe was closed due to COVID. There are lots of walks around the port and along the coast with some interesting things to see along the way.
Some of the earliest records of ship movements from Amlwch are recorded in the Beaumaris Port account book for 1730. In the 18th & 19th century the port was used to transport copper from Parys mountain, which was the largest copper mine in the world.
I highly recommend the Port Chippy should you fancy some fish and chips.
It is claimed that, when the windmill was built in 1816, it was the tallest on the island.
I would be interested to know more about this house should anyone know. I have been visiting Anglesey for a number of years and I could not remember if this has always been derelict. Behind the wooden covers on the windows there is no glass and there is an outhouse in the back with some old rubbish in that looks like it has been there for some time. The house is in an incredible location overlooking the coast.
The Octel Bromine Works closed in 2004. The works was in operation for 50 years and produced bromine derived chemicals from sea water.
Bromine is used in agricultural chemicals, dyestuffs, insecticides, pharmaceuticals and chemical intermediates. However, from what I have read, some uses are being phased out for environmental reasons.
Skegness is the first of many British seaside towns that I intend to visit over the next year or so. I have not taken a holiday in my home country for many years. Even though there are some beautiful coastal areas, I usually like to travel overseas to spend my vacation time. However, as we can not travel at the moment, I decided to rediscover my own country and the many incredible and interesting places that it has to offer.
I decided on British seaside towns as they remind me of my childhood, but they are also something that is distinctly British. Most of us Brits have had fish and chips and ice cream during a day out at the coast. For me, the seaside represents nostalgia, family, being young and carefree. If you have seaside memories, please leave them in the comments as I would love to hear them. Anyway, a little bit about Skegness.
The name Skegness comes from the old Norse words ‘skegg’ meaning beard and ‘nes’ meaning a headland or promontory. The area is one of the places where the Vikings landed in the 9th century. The town developed as a harbour, trading in timber and other merchandise.
By the 1850s the village still had less than 400 inhabitants. Most residents worked as fishermen or farm labourers as the surrounding Lincolnshire land was some of the richest grazing lands in the country (and still is).
In the 19th century, the local gentry used to take their families to Skegness to indulge in the fashionable practice of sea-bathing during the summer months, but it was not until the railway reached Skegness in 1873, that working-class leisure trippers started to visit the town in large numbers.
Most of the land around Skegness belonged to the Earl of Scarbrough. He envisaged that the seaside would become a popular leisure pursuit and so he employed an architect to plan a model Victorian ‘watering place’ as they were known back then. A park, pier, shopping street, church, gardens and tree-lined streets promenades were all built in the late 1870s.
In 1881, a new pier was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. At the time, it was the fourth-longest in Britain. In 1919, the pier was damaged by the schooner Europa. It was repaired and survived until 1978 when another storm damaged a large part of it. The 1000 seat theatre survived but was burnt down in a fire in 1985. The modern pier was built in the 1990s, the deck was refurbished in the early 2000s, and further improvements were made in 2016–17.
In the 1920s and ’30s, Skegness was popular with caravan camps, but after the war, they expanded on a huge scale to make making the East Coast of England the most popular caravan coast in the country. In 1929, Billy Butlins opened a large amusement park by the pier and in 1935–6, he opened the Butlins Holiday Camp, boasting that it was the “largest hotel in the world”, containing around 20,000 beds.
Through the Edwardian years, Skegness continued to grow, attracting more and more visitors. In 1938, Parliament passed the Holidays with Pay Act. However, the implementation was delayed until the late 1940s due to the war. During the war years, Skegness suffered heavy bombing, it was also used to house the armed forces. In the late 1940s, the wartime damage was repaired and extra housing was constructed for the newly returned servicemen, and an industrial estate was built to attract year-round jobs.
In the 1950s, car ownership increased, which meant that visitors flocked to the coast under their own power instead of on the train. An improved road system was built to facilitate the increasing volume of motor vehicles.
There doesn’t seem to be much info regarding the 1960s onward, I presume it continued to develop as a seaside town. I do know that caravan ownership increased significantly in the area, If you visit today, you cannot miss the thousands of static caravans that are scattered across the landscape. I remember visiting Skegness in the 1980s as a child, usually for day trips as it was only a 2 or so hour drive from our home.
When I visited, in June of 2020, the UK was just emerging from the lockdown and many of the businesses were still closed. There were a few tourists about, nothing like the normal numbers that you would usually see in June. Hopefully, small seaside towns like Skegness can recover from the issued caused by Coronavirus, I believe many businesses are able to re-open with safety measures in place from the 4th of July 2020.
Thanks for reading. Please share your memories of Skegness in the comments.
Located along Route 66 near Oro Grande, Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is definitely one of those quirky roadside attractions that are uniquely American. Being from the UK, we just do not have places like this and these are the types of places as to why I love visiting the USA. The ranch was the home of Elmer Long who inherited his fathers bottle collection and just kept on collecting, creating wonderful sculptures from the many different bottles that he has acquired. Sadly Elmer passed away in 2019. As you walk amongst the bottles, you hear chimes and noises from the bottles and objects that make up the unique bottle trees. I love Elmer’s and have been twice, with another trip planned later in 2020, hopefully!
It is free to walk around the bottle tree ranch, there is a donation box where visitors can leave a contribution to keep the ranch open.
Below are just a few of the many photographs that I took at Elmer’s. Thanks for reading.
LuminoCity Festival is a festival of lights, held on Randalls Island, New York. The festival is a spectacular display of light art. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere like this, it was definitely an unusual experience and I highly recommend it. Just a few things to note before you go. Book tickets in advance on the website https://www.luminocityfestival.com/ , ticket prices vary. There is a shuttle bus that departs and returns from Manhattan, E 125th and 3rd Ave, but you can also get the M35 bus. However, if it is late at night, I would recommend the shuttle if you cannot take your own car. I would advise buying tickets beforehand, but we got a return ticket on the day as we did not feel comfortable getting the public bus late at night. There is parking available on the island, but it is $20 per car, OUCH!
This year (2019), the festival ran from November 23rd and is on until Jan 5th 2020. Entry is 4:00pm-11:00pm on selected days. Below are a few images that I took, along with a video.