Wednesday 31 March 2021

Cradley Heath

Today I ticked off another local station i haven't been to before (though passed through many times), Cradley Heath. I also walked up a rather steep hill to the church of St Peter which can be clearly seen from the railway line. There is a great view of the town and surrounding area from the graveyard. You can see my photos here.

Tuesday 30 March 2021

Cigarette Card Stars (3) : Paula DeCardo

"Paramount's lovely chorus girls are admired for their perfect figures and features. One of thge loveliest of them all is Paula De Cardo, a dark-haired young beauty who possesses also a considerable ability in acting for the screen. Her talents in this direction are well borne in mind, and it is more than likely Paula will be one of the stars of the future."

Unfortunately Paula never became one of the stars of the future. She was born in Chicago in 1916, the daughter of the well known dancing team Paul and Perla DeCardo. She made her film debut in 1932's Jewel Robbery, afterwards studying dancing in Paris to hone her skills. She appeared in dozens of films in the late 1930s though always in minor roles. She was also a highly respected ballerina in Los Angeles.

But she died young, at the age of 26 in 1942, her last film being 1940's "Good Old Schooldays".


Restrictions are being lifted (though in fact restrictions were no where near as strict as most believed) and this week I am going to have a number of railway adventures. I started yesterday with a trip to Bloxwich to the North of Walsall. It has two stations very close to each other so i was easily able to visit both, I was also able to take some decent photographs in the town in the bright sunshine. You can see my photos here.

Monday 29 March 2021

Even more Living 1973

A final selection of scans from the October 1973 edition of Living Magazine.

Saturday 27 March 2021

Adderley Park

When I was a kid I did most of my train spotting at Stechford. The station between Stechford and Birmingham New Street is Adderley Park and for some reason I never went there. Well that was finally rectified today. To be honest it isn't in the nicest of areas. However, the local parish church is quite nice, although locked away behind iron gates! You can see my photos here.

Friday 26 March 2021

Churches (97) : St Laurence, Church Stretton

The parish church of St Laurence in Church Stretton, Shropshire, dates from the 12th century. The Norman nave is a surviving part of the church from that period. The transepts were built in the 13th century in the Early English style. The upper stage of the tower and the chancel added in the 15th.

A vestry was added in 1831, the church was restored in the 1860s, 1882 and 1932. The church is mostlly built from rubble stone with an ashlar dressing.

Thursday 25 March 2021

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Cigarette Card Stars (2) : Joy Hodges

"Joy has appeared in a number of films, her latest being Universal's 'Service de Luxe' released by General Film Distributors Ltd. Every morning she takes a plunge into the El Mirador pool at Palm Springs, for she believes in swimming for the figure."

The mention of Service de Luxe dates the card to 1938, one of two films she appeared in that year. Joy was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1915. She made her screen debut in 1935 and appeared in a number of films in the late 1930s as either a singer or actor including appearing with Fred Astair in Follow the Fleet (1936). She also appeared in a number of Broadway musicals and made some TV appearances in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Her main claim to fame is helping Ronald Reagan become a movie star whom she knew in Des Moines when he was a sportscaster. When he later met her in Hollywood, she helped him get started in the acting game. Their friendship continued, and when Reagan was the President, she was a frequent guest at the White House. Joy died in 2003.

Sunday 21 March 2021

More Living in 1973

A few more scans from the October 1973 Living magazine i found in my Mum's loft last week.

Saturday 20 March 2021


This morning I headed up to Northfield, an area on the other side of the city i've been through (by car and train) but not stopped at before. The parish church is rather nice, one of the oldest churches in the city of Birmingham in fact. It also has a nice steep hill to climb to get to it as well! You can see my Northfield photos here.

Friday 19 March 2021

Churches (96) : Holy Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's church; he was baptised, married and buried here. The church dates from 1210CE and is built on the site of a Saxon monastery overlooking the river Avon, and was probably at the centre of the original town. A chancel was added to the church in 15th century. A clerestory and and North porch added afterwards (the latter about 1500CE).

The church originally had a wooden spire which was replaced in 1763. William Shakespeare was buried in the chancel after his funeral in 1616. Anne Hathaway was buried next to him in 1623.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Model Week : Birches Green upgrade

While most attention recently has been on the new Shard End N gauge layout, Birches Green has not been forgotten. When the layout was first built a few years ago it used a mixture of HOe/OO-9 and N gauge track. The latter is the correct gauge though out of scale of course. It was used mostly due to the fact I had lots of N gauge track available, the intention was to use it in the short term to save money and replace with HOe or OO-9 track later on. 

Although slightly later than originally intended that is now happening. The goods yard has been taken up and relaid with new track (the N gauge points have been reused), the layout will be slightly different to as it was before. All that leaves then is the carriage siding...

Tuesday 16 March 2021

Cigarette Card Stars (1) : Janet Shaw

This new series looks at some of the stars featured on Ardath cigarette cards from the 1930s.  

"Janet Shaw, whose real name is Ellen Claney, was given a film contract by Warner Bros. in 1938. She appeared in the film "The Sisters" and also in "Torchy Blane in Chinatown" with Glenda Farrell. Has golden hair, a delicate complexion and vivacious features."

So it says on the rear of the card. Born in Nebraska in 1919, she made her uncredited film debut in 1935's "She married her boss". She appeared in dozens of films in the late 1930s and 1940s when her career hit it's high, appearing in films such as Bela Lugosi's Night Monster (1942), Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and the Charlie Chan film Dark Alibi (1946). However, she was never able to break out of being a supporting actress and into stardom, but her list of films is certainly very impressive.

In the early 1950s she appeared in a number of early TV programmes, her last screen appearance being in City Detective in 1955. She died in 2001 in Nebraska.

Monday 15 March 2021

Living in 1973

While clearing junk from my Mum's loft yesterday I discovered an October 1973 copy of Living magazine. It was in reasonable condition considering it must have been up in the loft for a number of decades, even surviving a couple of burst pipes! Quite why the magazine was up there is a bit of a mystery as it was bought a few years before my parents bought the house, no doubt for some reason now lost to the mists of time the magazine was left up there. 

I am glad it survived as it offers a fascinating glimpse of life in the UK in the early 1970s. For the next few weeks let's enjoy some period adverts, styles and fashions. And truly get our 8p worth.

Sunday 14 March 2021

Five Ways & Edgbaston

I drive through Five Ways a few times every week when I am taking my wife to work, but yesterday morning I went there to walk in the early morning sunshine. Without heavy traffic it is actually not a bad place to walk around. I went down to Westbourne Road to photograph the fine church of St George. Next to the church is the South campus of Birmingham City University, a few times I came there to give web site training to armed forces personnel, that seems a long time ago now! You can see my photos here.

Friday 12 March 2021

Churches (95) : St Thomas, Kidsgrove

The church of St Thomas, in the Staffordshire town of Kidsgrove, was built in 1837 and said to have been designed by Mrs Kinnersley of Clough Hall. The church is made from red and blue brick. A chancel made from chisel dressed freestone was added in 1853.

The church has a four stage West tower and a nave with lancet windows.

Thursday 11 March 2021

Model Week : Bf109

The first model kit of the year, Project #093 a Bf109, is now nearly completed. It just needs a bit of varnish. The building went well as did the painting, another one done with acrylic paints which i am starting to like. 

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Apple & Unix : The early years

Since 2001 and the release of MacOSX, the operating system of Apple Macintosh computers has been Unix based but this was not the first time Apple developed and released a Unix for the Mac. 

In 1988 Apple released A/UX which was based on Unix System, it came with a version of the Apple Mac graphical user interface and ran on select Motorola 68K Macs. It was able to run Mac and X-Windows applications. Unix commands could be run via a dialog box which also allowed the user to select command line options in a user friendly way. The initial version of A/UX included the System 6 Finder with the Finder switching to System 7's with A/UX version 3.0.

Despite the positive reaction to A/UX from some quarters, A/UX was never a great success for Apple and today remains in obscurity. Apple thought A/UX could help them get the Mac into big business and the growing enterprise market. Apple finally dropped A/UX in 1995, the already announced v4.0 never seeing the light of day.

This wasn't the end of Apple's pre-MacOSX Unix efforts though. In 1994 they released the Macintosh Application Environment for Solaris and HP/UX. It could allow Macintosh applications to be run on Unix computers from Sun and HP. It again used a version of the Mac OS 7 Finder and special tools for importing and exporting to and from the Mac and X environments. MAE was discontinued in 1998. Thus ending Apple's involvement with Unix... well for the time being...

Screenshot from WinWorld

Tuesday 9 March 2021

Surrey Places (5) : Dorking

Dorking is a market town in the centre of the county. The town has Saxon origins, though there has been discovered evidence of human inhabitation in the area from Mesolithic, Palaeolithic and Roman times. In 1086 the town was known as Dorchinges and has origins from at least the eighth century.

After the Norman Conquest, Dorking was held by William the Conqueror. Dorking was granted to the first Earl of Surrey by William II and the town remained under the control of the Lord of the Manor during the Middle Ages. 

The parish church of St Martin dates from the 12th century, built on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The town is served by Dorking, Dorking West and Dorking Deepdene railway stations, the railways reaching the town in 1849.