‘This Is The Place’

The Fun Foto theme for this week is a particularly interesting one: ‘future nostalgic’. For this, we are invited to select an image from our archives that we knew when we captured it we would enjoy looking at again in the future.

So here is the very first time we laid eyes on the house where we have now lived for over nine years. This was back in October 2004. We followed the agent (pictured on the right) in our own car and turned the little corner off the ‘main’ road through the hamlet that we call Tranquility Base.

Madame ‘got it’ straight away. I just saw a tumbledown money pit. It turned out we were both right, but now neither of us would want to live anywhere else.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Future Nostalgic

Front Elevation

Our humble abode (aka ‘Brokedown Palace’).

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Outside Home

Autumn sunrise

The soft colours of an autumn sunrise over our fields fits the brief for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pastel/Soft Colours

The condemned staircase

This is a view of the staircase that was in our house just after we bought it.  Originally, it was boxed in, which made the room – which is north-facing – even darker. However, Madame (with no little relish, it must be said) took a jemmy to it and exposed the original. It had to go however, as it was dangerously rickety.

Nonetheless it is a set of steps to meet this week’s challenge theme and, particularly in monochrome, the strong diagonals make for an interesting image.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Steps

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

WordPress wants to see some images of sunrises and/or sunsets for their latest Weekly Photo Challenge.

I don’t have many sunrises, probably because that would involve getting up early. However, in the past I have posted a few sunsets (all the decent ones, it seems) under various threads, so here is a little compendium of a few of the better examples, beginning with the same view that I put up in response to last week’s ‘Favourite Place’ challenge:

More exotically, this was taken on a sunset cruise off Muscat, in Oman:

and this one in the game reserve on Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi – the giraffe enclosure, to be exact:

This, though, is probably the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever captured – just outside Beverley, in East Yorkshire:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Place

As Frank himself notes, after last week’s theme of ‘Time’ the only logical choice for this week is ‘Place’. Accordingly, he invites us to share an image of a favourite place (or places).

Well, they do say there’s no place like home, and I doubt that I’ll be the only one putting up a picture of their own place in response to this challenge.

No apologies though, because I don’t think that this is the worst view out of a back door you could ever find. We have two fields on the other side of that wall and these frost-laden trees form part of the boundary between them.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Place

Holding Up

Regular visitors to this blog may already know that our house was a major renovation project – which is why its working title is ‘Brokedown Palace’.

The first job our builders had to do was to stop the front wall from falling off. Eventually they worked their way round to the back, where they just had to stop it falling down.


Fortunately, they managed that too:

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Construction

Share Your World – 2016 Week 26

Being at a bit of a loose end, and with any inspiration for subject matter over at my other blog suffering extreme drought conditions, I thought I would, for the first time, play along with Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge, in which I get to answer a few questions that go a little way to lifting the veil on the enigma that is theonlyD800inthehameau.

What’s your most memorable airline flight?

I used to travel a huge amount when I was working. My record annual total was 168 individual flights in a single year. This was during the period when, as I used to explain it, I ‘lived in Scotland but worked in London for an American investment bank, covering companies in Europe and Australia’. So yes, I got around a bit.

Understandably, I have no recollection of most of the what must be well over 2,000 separate sectors that I’ve flown. One I’ll never forget, though, was  a  short hop in a small commuter plane from Lansing, Michigan (yes, really) into Chicago O’Hare.

This was entirely uneventful until we started our final approach, when suddenly the aircraft dropped sharply, jumperd back up and yawed wildly from side to side, as if a curious giant had picked it up and shaken it.

After we managed to land and change our underwear, the pilot explained that directly ahead of us in the queue had been a 747 and we had caught the full blast of its backdraught.


And that’s the only time I was ever in Lansing.

How many bones, if any, have you broken?

Just the one, and that was a humdrum greenstick fracture of the bottom joint of my right index finger.

This happened when I was about 15, and I feel rather sheepish in explaining that the damage was self-inflicted when I tapped my knuckles on the exceedingly thick skull of an exceptionally irritating boy a couple of years younger.

In a blatant breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, his name was Noble (can’t remember his first name: we didn’t go in for such familiarity at my school). Still, I got to wear a small cast for a couple of weeks. Nobody signed it, though.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?

Oscar Wilde: for matchless wit and aphoristic wisdom.

William Shakespeare: so, Will, about this Dark Lady…

Jerry Garcia: erudite guitar genius. Who maybe I could persuade to perform ‘Stella Blue’ to close the show.

Make a Currently List. What are you reading, watching, listening to, eating, needing, wanting and missing right now?

Reading: ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’.

For the past year or so, I’ve been working my way through The Guardian’s list of the 100 best books in the English language, or at least the ones I haven’t read before (about half of the total). In the process, I’ve trudged through some proper dross (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein) but also found some gems: ‘Sybil’ by Benjamin Disraeli and, most recently and best of all, Somerset Maugham’s ‘Of Human Bondage’

As for Harper Lee, I’m less than halfway, so I suppose you could say (spoiler alert) the jury’s still out.

Watching: Euro 2016. Because it’s football.

Listening To: at this precise moment, family conversation. Although the current ‘project’ is 1977 Grateful Dead.

Eating: Just had a couple of plain chocolate digestives with a cup of Earl Grey. Marvellous.

Needing: Inspiration. As you may have gathered.

Wanting: ditto.

Missing: My own bed. We’re currently visiting relatives in the UK, which is lovely, but it’s not a patch on this:


Bonus question. What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to in the week comng up?

Waking up in the morning. When you get to my age….




The Road To Brokedown Palace

This little turn-off from the rue that runs through the little hamlet we call Tranquility Base is probably my favourite stretch of road in the world. That’s our house – Brokedown Palace – at the end of it.

And that’s why.


Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Roads of any kind

Thursday Doors: Home (before and after)

This week we’re not just close to home; we’re at home. We bought what you could reasonably describe as a ‘doer-upper’ back in 2005. It was, as the agent’s particulars stated, in trés mauvais état – a very bad state.

This was the back door leading into what is now the kitchen:


Inside there was a tree growing out of the wall where the log-burning stove now sits. The whole interior has been effectively rubbed out and started again. We’ve also made a few changes to the exterior:

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Thursday Doors 21 January 2016