Charabanc's, Steam, and Art on a Bridge -
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Charabanc’s, Steam, and Art on a Bridge

I’ve recently started following my friend Tim Dobb’s blog.

I’m a big fan of his portraits and see he’s really enjoying his photography even more since he’s started using film again.

I clicked on his blog this evening and was quite amused to find a photograph of myself in action, photographing another fine local landscape photographer Tim Woods.

Tim Woods – Landscape Photography – Bridgend

I was actually photographing for an article destined for ‘The Gem’, on this particular occasion. The piece was about local artists, and a new annual event that was staged for the first time, last summer, on the new river walkway in Bridgend, aptly named – ‘Art on the Bridge’.

Pictured behind me in Tim’s photo, was a gentleman I’ve met on a couple of occasions, who goes by the name of Mike Stokes.
Mike is also a photographer, and I recently attended one of his lectures at Bridgend Camera Club, where he put on very interesting slide show, which showcased some fascinating old photographs of our home town, Bridgend.

Mike had managed to rescue some very old prints, and over many months has painstakingly, digitally scanned the photographs, and put together an entertaining and enlightening two-part lecture.

Mike, is an intriguing character and by his own admittance is a little on the eccentric side.

I noticed that Mike had commented on Tim’s gallery and I clicked on the link to follow his own personal blog, the strangely named Opobs –

And what a great blog it is. Extremely well written, and very funny. He covers anecdotes from his childhood, his working life, which includes his years spent working with teenagers in a care home in London and later on his job at the local crematorium.

It’s a heartwarming narrative and obviously a very personal insight into his life. I found it very moving and would have thought, difficult to write at times.

But, it’s done with humour, obvious intelligence and I found myself reading page after page. I only stopped after my eyes started to burn.

He’s also penned some great stories about Bridgend, and I really enjoyed reading about his love of old buses, and his coach trips with his grand mother.

Mike is also fanatical about vintage steam engines, and has an impressive personal collection of static steam engines. His knowledge in this area seems boundless, and his exploits in rescuing these old machines, and restoring them to their former glory is a fascinating read. (I’m a bit of a machine head myself).

If you’re from the local area, I’d highly recommend having a look at his blog.

If you’re not local but know anyone interested in vintage steam engines, please point them in Mikes direction, I’m positive they’ll thank you for it. Heres the link to his blog again.

I hope you enjoy his writing as much as I do.
Thanks for reading.

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