Tomatos That I Grow

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Gardeners Delght seedlngs sown on the 23-02-18 seed bought from Wilkos

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Image of the aluminium greenhouse where I grow my tomato’s the greenhouse is very old and I have been using it for about fifteen years

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I was preparing the tomato’s for the coming season and you can see I have got about half of the greenhouse planted out the seedling are in the background amongst the chaos I have created

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The tomato’s in this image have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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Notice the grape vine growing on the right hand side

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Close up of the tomato’s which have been planted in their grow pots for about two weeks

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The tomato variety shown in this image are my favourite Gardeners Delight which to grow very well and are not suspetable to many growing problems or diseases

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The tomatos look happy enough and seem to be growing well in their grow pots I always use grow bags as the base component for gowing them in

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Notice the grape vine which is a strawbery tasting type in the back ground its looking really healthy and the main thing it tastes great and there are no pips

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It normally takes about a week to get all the tomato plants into their grow pots and the other containers I use

The Blue Bell Hendon

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Notice the new houses on the right of the Blue Bell these where built in the 1970s and are privately owned

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The roof of The Blue Bell was once a beautiful tiled structure but over many years of neglect sadly it is now nothing like it was in its hey day notice the attic window and the chimney pots and the TV mast

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The Blue Bell was situated in Zion Street Hendon Sunderland which was a street in the Jewish quarter of Hendon

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The Blue Bell looks very sad in its derelict condition and was pulled down shortly after I took these images

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My white Berlingo van can be seen on the left of the image

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Holy Trinity church can be seen in the background the church was opened in 1719 for the growing population of Sunderland as the ship building industry grew

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The attic window of The Blue Bell I wonder what history it can tell us about the pub

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Close up of the Blue Bells attic window now sadly looking very delapitdated after the pub closed shortly after the Blue Bell was pulled down and made into a car park

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Notice the broken windows the drain pipes and the Sky antenna on the wall

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Close up of the broken windows and the drain pipes and the size of the bricks these were the old style a lot smaller than the ones used for building these days

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This was the main door of The Blue Bell the windows are now sadly boarded up with chip board

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Grass and weeds are now growing freely around The Blue Bells main door and on the pavement

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The licence sign of The Blue Bell sadly now looking rather tired and old

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The front of The Blue Bell you can see Holy Trinity Church clock tower on the right of the image

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Notice the broken windows and the curtains hanging out they look vey old

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There is even an original Sky mast next to the drain pipe

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Me and my father Billy Bell often had a drink in The Blue Bell on an afternoon

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The windows of the attic and the first floor are all broken now and the pub now looks a shadow of its former self

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The Zion Street sign looks tattered and weary now is as if to say I have had enough

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In this image you can see nearly all of the boarded up front of The Blue Bell

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The chimney and the attic window can be seen clearly in this image and notice the seagull perched on the attic window

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This image shows The Blue Bells rear extension in Moor Street not quite sure what the function of the extension was but it has been suggested that it could have been the pubs kitchen

Asparagus That I Grow

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This image is of an asparagus plantlet called Sweet Purple I purchased about a dozen of these plantlets of a guy called Keith Wheeler in May 2018
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The roots of the asparagus plantlets can be seen just before I repotted them into larger plant pots

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I use different size pots when transplanting the asparagus seedlings and always mix perlite with the compost I use for transplanting the asparagus

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These images of are of asparagus UC 157 F2 the one of the most popular varieties grown in the world and was developed in the early eighties

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A view of the asparagus plantlets ferns they are looking very healthy and green all these plantlets were grown from seed in my unheated conservatory

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More images of the asparagus plantlets after they had been repotted by me in the conservatory on the allotment

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Image of the ferns of asparagus Sweet Purple planlets which are about seven months old I grew the plantlets from seed in my unheated conservatory

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Sunday, 19 May 2019
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Gray Road Hendon

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This a bit of a blured image of the front room of 33 Gray Road in the image you can see a photograph of my late mam and dad celebrating their wedding anniversary also an image of my oldest daughter Lisa

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The fire side in the front room of 33 Gray Road when we were children this was a coal fire but in my mam and dads later life was replaced by an electric fire

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The famous green phone which all of my family hated but my dad loved

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The bay window was a typical type used in the mid seventies on property in Hendon and Sunderland

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Billy Bell my father better known as Hendons historian because of his slide shows and his knowledge of Hendon and Sunderlands history

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David Bell outside 33 Gray Road visiting his father Billy Bell at 33 Gray Road this was just after my Mam had died

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Notice my Berlingo van parked on Gray Road the new buildings on the left was once an old vicarage

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These houses were buitl in the late eighties and were typical of the houses built in Hendon and Sunderland at that time they where well built and looked good

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Image show the repairing of the gable end of the house after wind damage on a house in Gray Road Hendon

The Sportsmans Arms

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The Sportsman’s Arms now Known as the Scullery

The Sportsman’s Arms closed on the 05-02-2010 when it closed it was left empty for a few years until a plumbing business opened up a showroom and office in the premises the company owners decided as they were not using all of the building so decided to rent out the old lounge at the rear of the pub

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The Sportsmans Arms Silksworth was once one of the most important buildings in Silksworth

Images taken by Dave Bell

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I took these images from the bottom of High Newport Allotments in May 2010 when the Sportsman’s Arms sadly closed and ended one of the last places that was used and built for the miners and their families of Silksworth very little remains of the miners heritage in Silksworth nowadays

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The once proud sign of the Sportsman’s Arms now looks tired and weary

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Notice the boarded up windows and The Sportsmans Arms sign still swinging as if everything was ok image taken on a wet and windy very cold day

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Close up of the sign on the rear wall of The Sportsmans Arms which closed in May 2010 because of lost revenue caused by very few local people using the public house

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The Sportsmans Arms puplic house built for the miners of Silksworth in 1871 as Silksworth Colliery grew new houses were built for the miners and their families and not forgetting why The Sportsmans Arms built for the miners when they had finished their shifts and to socialise when not working

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Silksworth Colliery shaft was sunk in 1869 In 1871, according to the Census there were approx 800 people living in the Silksworth and Tunstall areas, the local area was mainly farmland and where most people worked on the land.

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Context : com_content.article
Title : Frank Tasker
Id : 48
CatId : 17

Frank Tasker

  • Category: Racing Pigeons
  • Published: Monday, 17 September 2018 21:41
  • Written by Administrator
  • Hits: 197

Frank & Ann Tasker
I don’t think that I would be exaggerating in the slightest if I was to state that there is not a pigeon fancier in the U.K. who hasn’t heard of the great Frank Tasker and his multi National winning family of super pigeons. The Tasker strain has been winning, not only for Frank, but for many other fanciers throughout the length and breadth of these islands for more than 30 years. Club, Federation, National and Combine races as well as Queens Cups have been won by those fanciers from Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland who have been fortunate to obtain these multi talented racers from this ever helpful master fancier. Frank Tasker has himself won hundreds of first prizes at club and Federation level at a number of locations in central and eastern England not to mention his Six outright National wins with the ultra competitive N.R.C.C., home to some of the best north road fanciers in the U.K.
This article is to be the first in a series on this great fancier as it would in all honesty take a book to do full justice to one of Britain’s greatest ever sprint / middle distance fanciers.

So where do I start this massive task? Let’s be conventional and start at the beginning! Frank was born on 29th July 1942 in Melton Mowbray and had his first pigeons as a seven year old and started racing to a converted chicken shed when he was 10 years old. His early career saw him working in his uncle’s butcher’s shop, a career that he was to see through until his early retirement in 1988. Whilst in Melton Mowbray Frank met the love of his life, Ann, and the couple soon moved to Market Rasen in Lincolnshire to set up their first family home. Further moves saw Frank and Ann move successively to Leamington Spa, Warwick and finally Radford Semele, a small village on the outskirts of Leamington, where they set up their own butchers business. It was also whilst at Radford Semele that Frank was first able to properly establish a loft of racers. At that time , the mid 1960s, the Somerset partnership of Reg and Myrtle Venner was setting the racing scene alight on both north and south roads with their fantastic team of all purpose racers. Frank, not one to miss an opportunity, soon got his hands on the Venner pigeons and started winning from the off. All racing at that time was done on the natural system but in 1976 Frank converted to widowhood flying and as a result he began his search for top class pigeons from the Continent, pigeons that had been born to this “new” way of flying.
These new introductions came via the French National winning loft of Claude Hetru. Frank being Frank, only the best would suffice and so direct children were purchased from the double National winning blue cock “Eole” along with others from brothers and sisters to Eole and also from Eole’s parents. Eole had won 1st National Poitiers 300 miles and 1st National Royan 400 miles and was, at that time, the only pigeon living that had recorded such a feat.

Once back in England the Hetrus started to take the opposition apart. One blue hen bred from the Hetrus went on to become one of the greatest stock hens to grace any loft in the U.K. or Europe for that matter. This was the incredible “Whitenose” hen which was responsible for literally hundreds of 1st prize winning pigeons at all levels of competition, both for Frank, and those fortunate to obtain some of her offspring. This writer had a direct daughter of this great hen and she was to become the mother of our loft breeding winner after winner and also breeders of winners from 60 – 486 miles. Two of her daughters produced two cocks to win 2nd Open WGNFC Thurso for other Welsh lofts. Frank gifted his good friend the late Arthur Beardsmore the full sister to this hen and she bred many top fliers for him including the famous JOAN’S Boy a winner of 12 x 1sts and RPRA award as a yearling.
As a direct result of the phenomenal initial success of his French imports, Frank subsequently carried out some research on the origins of the Hetru National winning pigeons and came up with the name of Mencke- Haelterman. This partnership seemed to be at the root of all the best pigeons that he had introduced. One pigeon in particular cropped up consistently and this was the legendary “Jonge Korte” bred and raced by the partnership of Hilaire Mencke and his nephew Paul Haelterman. The Jonge Korte was not only a champion racer, having won the equivalent of £12,000 between 1964- 1969, but also a super star when retired to the stock loft. Once again, Frank being the determined, single minded and persistent man that he is decided that he had to get more of the Mencke-Haelterman pigeons and so he set off to Belgium in an attempt to track down these Belgian masters. It was late in 1978 that Frank and Paul Haelterman first met up and a lasting friendship has endured for the past 32 years. During these years many top quality pigeons have moved between the two friends lofts in Belgium and England and just as importantly much sound advice has passed from the elderly Belgian to his English apprentice.
By the early 1980’s the Tasker – Haeltermans were burning the skies up whilst competing with the Warwickshire Fed and Upper Thames Fed in the sprint races. I do not intend to bore readers with a long list of the many club and Federation wins achieved during this time but will highlight some of the performances from the 1984 old bird season which are fairly representative of the performances achieved by the Tasker/ Haeltermans in the 1980’s as a whole.

Starting with the Taunton race at 112 miles the Tasker team took the first six positions in the club plus 9th & 11th Fed. Exmouth at 141 miles saw them take the first five prizes at both club and Fed level with 2,239 birds competing. Plymouth saw the team win the first six club prizes plus 1st,2nd 8th , 9th ,13th , 16th Fed 1,896 birds. Back to Exmouth once again and it was the same old story the first six club prizes and also the first six federation positions with 1,915 birds competing. The next Plymouth race saw the team in the first six prizes in both club and Fed plus 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th Fed from a field of 1,542 birds. By the time of the second Taunton race the team were obviously on the wane as they only managed the first six club prizes and a lowly 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 11th & 14th Fed with 2,000 birds away!!!!!
As a result of the extraordinary racing successes of his pigeons Frank was in great demand to sit on panels at pigeon “moots” throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles. Frank was usually accompanied on these panels by his long time friend the late great Arthur Beardsmore, along with Geoff Kirkland, Ron Green and for a short time Martin Young. It was at one of these talks held at Merthyr Tydfil in 1981 that I first met Frank and a lasting friendship was forged that has lasted for close on thirty years.
Some of the Champion pigeons in the Radford Semele lofts at this time were multiple first prize winners like Captain Paul [15 x 1sts]. This amazing Dark chequer widower not only won first prizes at club level with ease but also won 1st Fed with 1,896 birds;1,915 birds;2,093 birds and 2,114 birds competing not to mention nine other top ten finishes with entries in excess of 1,500.
Yet another top class racer was a light chequer cock named “Smartie” who’s wins were numerous but just as importantly to Frank he was a true character. Whilst living at Radford, Frank rescued an injured baby kestrel which had fallen from it’s nest . He nursed it back to health and often on sunny days spent most of the time tethered to a post on the lawn in front of the widowhood loft. Smartie’s party trick was to fly out of the loft and land on the lawn just outside the reach of Frank’s tame kestrel. He would then proceed to walk around the lawn out of harms way much to the obvious annoyance of the raptor!
Many other super pigeons were raced successfully but the true loft champion was a blue pied cock bred in 1983 and later named Champion Filmstar. This amazing racing machine won no less than 26 x 1sts plus 12 x 1st Fed and RPRA awards before being retired to the stock loft where he was to go on to breed winner after winner. Filmstar survived at Wainfleet until his twentieth year and left a legacy of top class children which also bred many winners. This truly great champion’s bloodlines can be found in the breeding of 1st NRCC; 1st NFC;1st MNFC;1st CSCFC; 1st London NRCombine;1st Up North Combine and 1st Welsh SENFC.- truly a once in a lifetime pigeon.
The lofts at Radford were set in a beautiful garden with rolling lawns and abundant flower beds, all tended to by Ann. Everything about the set up was immaculate and professional. A brick built stock loft was sited adjacent to the bungalow and this had room for no more than 20 pairs of stock. The main racing loft housing only 24 widowers was a 24ft x 6ft Kidby style loft that Frank had adapted to suit his needs for widowhood flying. It was split into three sections each of which had controlled ventilation and thermostatically controlled heating. See accompanying diagram for exact details of the set up. It was to this modest but exceptionally well designed loft that all the afore named champions raced.

Frank in earlier days
The young birds were housed in a separate loft to the rear of the widowhood loft and these lived a life of leisure being allowed an open loft to come and go as they pleased during the old bird season. They were only confined to the loft during the twice daily exercise periods of the widowhood cocks. Fed on a light high carbohydrate diet they used to range the countryside around the lofts from early morning til early evening. As yearlings they were housed in a separate loft to the older widowers and were brought on slowly as Frank took great pains to educate them on the widowhood system. The best of these yearlings were then transferred to the main loft if Frank thought them worthy of this “promotion