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Welcome to my Website: People, Places, Plays and Pictures

Website upgrade : Having moved to spacious new premises [] this website is being upgraded with larger images and more of them.

New or recently updated pages:
Dec 2015 Questors lighting design pages reviewed and improved, with an example of Coarse Stage Management.
Jan 2016 Metamorphoses slideshow and decryption challenge added.
Feb 2016 12 more churches added to photographs of English Country Churches.
Images of Egypt: Improved slideshows for Abu Simbel, Abydos, Aswan, Dashur, Dendera, Edfu, Giza, Kom Ombo, Saqqara and Thebes
Mar 2016 Places: Images of Egypt, the English Lakes and Venice [more to come later]
Jan 2019 'Rogue Male': A hypothesis about the location of the subterranean hideout in Geoffrey Household's classical thriller
Oct 2020 The 2020-2024 Coronavirus Pandemic: A summary chart with notes about the progress of the pandemic in the UK.
Feb 2022 Over 400 new records added to the Family History Surname Datasets
Sep 2023 Flights of Fancy: Photos suggested by images from films and television

Education and Career
I studied Chemistry at the University of Nottingham from 1957 to 1963. The teaching staff in the Department of Chemistry were a very talented bunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed my years as an undergraduate and later as a post-graduate student. Many of their lectures were entertaining as well as informative; here is a collection of the more memorable bon mots and quotations. Alas, time has taken its toll and almost none of the staff from those days are still with us. In 1963 I moved to the Dyson Perrins Laboratory at the University of Oxford to undertake post-doctoral research before joining Glaxo Group Research in 1965. Many years later, in December 2005, the University of Nottingham awarded me the degree of Doctor of Science for my work on the discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents.

A Nile cruise in 1997 and more recent visits to Cairo, Giza, Saqqara, Dahshur, Dendara and Abydos stimulated an interest in ancient Egyptian history and culture. I am particularly interested in the New Kingdom, have visited several sites in Upper Egypt (Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu and Luxor). One of the most interesting of these was the ancient village of Deir El Medina in the foothills of the west bank at Luxor, home to the families of the skilled artists and workmen who carved out the royal tombs in the valley of the Kings. I recommend anyone with an interest in current work in the Luxor area to visit the Theban Mapping Project website which gives up-to-date information on work in the Valley of the Kings, including progress with the excavation of the tomb of the sons of Ramesses II.

Images of Egypt - a selection of photographs taken on our visits to that most fascinating of countries.

Family History Research
I am actively researching the histories of all lines of my family and, having pretty well exhausted the period covered by Civil Registration and the 1841-1891 Censuses, I am exploring Parish Registers. Many of my ancestors were farmers in Cheshire or lead miners in Derbyshire, both areas are well documented in one way or another and I am hopeful of getting back to 1700 or before on most branches without too much trouble. Visit my Family History Page where you will find my current research interests, summary family trees, links to several Family History Society sites, the Catley Database, datasets of events extracted from a variety of sources and brief biographies of selected individuals.

I have been privileged to visit interesting cities and beautiful countryside in Europe, the United States and Australia. Here is a selection of the thousands of photographs that I have collected over the years.

Wild Oat Books
I have written a couple of books published by Wild Oat Books:

The Questors Theatre, Ealing
The Questors, the UK's largest non-professional theatre, has comprehensive facilities for lighting and sound in two auditoria and for 25 years I spent many evenings and weekends working on the lighting and, occasionally, on the sound for shows. I was a lighting designer from 1997 until 2022 (qv lighting designs), doing two or three shows a year, which was great fun as I really enjoyed attending rehearsals and watching the production take shape before getting down to the actual task of designing and setting up the lighting. I always tried to see the shows in production - when I could get a seat, several have been 'sold out'.

And, of course, one of the joys of live theatre is that things can - and do - go wrong, for example Coarse Stage Management.

Treestumps often evolve into shapes suggestive of animals as they decay, here are some examples - and a puzzle for you to solve at the end of the slideshow.

There are plenty of good walks in and within 50 miles of London, but most are rather flat. In the early summer I used to escape to the Lake District to indulge myself on some real hills! And, of course, having a good pub lunch is all part of the enjoyment. Here is a small selection of my favourite pubs:

Cumbria: 'The Queens Head', Hawkshead [OS Map ref: SD 352 983]. Excellent food, ideal for dinner after a long day on the fells.
Cumbria: 'The Drunken Duck', near Hawkshead [OS Map ref: NY 351 013]. Signposted from the Clappersgate to Hawkshead road, the name itself is an attraction
    but the food is also very good. They have their own award winning micro-brewery.
Cumbria: 'The Britannia Inn', Elterwater Tel: 015394 372210 Fax: 015394 37311 Email: [OS Map ref: NY 328 048].
    An ideal lunch stop during walks in the Langdale valleys, on Loughrigg or by Elterwater/Skelwith Force.
Cumbria: 'The Kirkstyle Inn', Loweswater (Tel: 01900 85219, Email: [OS Map ref: NY 141 209].
    Very welcoming with good food and the excellent Loweswater Gold on tap.
Cumbria: 'The Woolpack Inn', near Eskdale [OS Map ref: NY 190 010]. Just the place to stop for lunch or a drink to recover from or prepare for the drive across the Hardknott Pass.
Cumbria: 'The Dog and Gun', 2 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5BT Excellent local beers and home-cooked food, including their famous goulash.
Cumbria: 'The Horse & Farrier Inn', Threlkeld near Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4SQ [Tel: 017687 79688]
    Four miles from Keswick along the Keswick railway footpath and a couple of miles from the Castlerigg Stone Circle.
    A good destination for a refreshing beer and a nourishing pub lunch.
Gloucestershire: 'The Red Lion Inn', Westbury on Severn (Tel/Fax: 01452-760-221) [OS Map ref: SO 717 140].
    Run by John and Liz Parry, their home cooked food is delicious. Comfortable rooms for B&B.

This document is © Chris Newall 2024. It is not for sale or general publication.

Author : Chris Newall
Last update : 29th June 2024