A Step Back in Time: My First Guest Blogger – Peter Taylor


My last post was a collection of some of my favourite photos which I took on a recent visit to Ainsdale Beach, which is in Merseyside, close to Southport in the Northwest UK.

In that post I mentioned that Ainsdale was one of the places my Dad, Peter Taylor, most liked to visit when he was a child growing up in Manchester and today I am delighted to have him here with me reminiscing about those days.

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Peter Taylor – “I’ve always been interested in herpetology and the attraction of Ainsdale is that it is the home of Britain’s rarest toad, the natterjack, and rarest lizard, the sand lizard, both of which have a specialised habitat requirement – sand dunes.

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Ainsdale Dunes

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As a child, our annual holidays would be at Gronant, a small coastal village in Flintshire, North Wales. Gronant had, in those days, extensive sand dunes (which I believe now no longer exist) where natterjack toads and sand lizards thrived.  Gronant was a train journey of several hours from Manchester, whereas with Ainsdale, during the long summer days, I could cycle there and back in a day, with several hours to spare in which I could play around and so was able to visit with ease.

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Ainsdale had, and still has, extensive sand dunes which are now protected but weren’t in my early days, and there was a healthy population of natterjacks and sand lizards.

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This way to the natterjacks!

This way to the natterjacks!

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I used to catch natterjacks and take them home to Manchester, a practise that is now thankfully illegal!

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There were natterjack tadpoles in this pond

Natterjacks are the most vocal of the British amphibia and some people complain about their nocturnal mating calls!

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The red squirrels didn’t interest me all that much, mainly because in those days they were still relatively common and not considered threatened. The red squirrels now exist in the wooded area to the south of the reserve near Formby.

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Formby Squirrel Reserve

There were no motor ways in those days and far less traffic than is the case now. For most of the way I would cycle along the East Lancs Road which had a cycle lane making it pretty safe and I always went with a friend.”

 

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A Day At The Beach


I’ve recently been on a trip to the UK to visit my family. Now that I am back home I’m pretty busy with boring stuff like catching up with work I missed and don’t have much time for blogging. I am posting this in haste while the Daily Post Photo Challenge: On The Way is still current. This post is also my entry into this week’s Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.


I took these photos over the Bank Holiday weekend a couple of weeks ago. First Born and his wife had recently moved over to the UK from South Africa and they wanted to do some exploring, Archie (Last Born’s hyperactive dog) needed an outing and my Dad wanted to show us one of his old childhood haunts – as a child he would cycle from his home in Manchester to Ainsdale Beach – so we all piled into the vehicles and drove to the seaside. An hour or so into the journey someone shouted “there’s an elephant!” Wishful thinking I thought but sure enough, there was an elephant deep in the wilds of Merseyside! IMG_5920 As tempting as it was to turn off to have a look, we continued with our original plan. IMG_5222 IMG_5903   IMG_5853 IMG_5328 IMG_5498 IMG_5368 IMG_5387 IMG_5443 IMG_5867 Hopefully soon I will be up to date with my work and will have time for the more important stuff in life, like getting back in touch with the World of Blog. Until then, Happy Thursday.