Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The winter solstice is now galloping towards us. The brooms and rakes have been stored away, the boats slumber at their moorings and Pershore Abbey stands proud in the distance, ready to burst forth with choral offerings in the festive season.
Now I'm going out to give myself a good kicking for writing such codswallop!
Monday, November 28, 2005
The newspapers of the popular press (and some of their classier competitors) have been stirring up the populace with talk of the impending arrival of the most severe winter in living history. As if to give some credibililty to their Jeremiahesque posturing, light snow arrived in the Vale of Evesham this afternoon, dissuading me from venturing forth on my bicycle. Senility may be just around the corner but it has not yet arrived.
It's a sad reflection on our society that in many parts of the country, if you don't secure something, it will disappear. This shadowy device was in place to deter the light-fingered from removing a bird table from outside a shop in Evesham. If the reports in the local paper week-by-week of thefts, burglaries and break-ins in the Vale of Evesham are any guide, it was a wise move.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
The attractive town of Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria has any number of shops selling the sort of objects that are visually stimulating but functionally moribund - scented candles, crystal balls, aromatherapeutic oils, throws and other non-essentials. However on the corner of the market place, shining like a beacon in the night, is a shop whose stock is quite the opposite. It addresses every sense (including hearing as I can't resist crunching a humbug) with its wealth of colour, taste and suckability.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Over one of our occasional fry-ups at Sugar & Spice in Pershore this morning, Peter and I fell to discussing the way that, given a bit of sun and the approach of the midwinter solstice, the 'magic hour' seems to last all day.
Possibly this pair of pictures I took in Arnside, Lancashire, yesterday, illustrate the point. Both were taken at about one-o'clock. What they don't show is the biting north wind sweeping across this arm of Morecombe Bay down from the mountains of the Lake District. Not photography for wimps.
Friday, November 25, 2005
I've been unable to access my journal for the last few days so I've got a bit of a backlog (or is it a backblog?). Here's another entry for this week.
I wish I'd got there first.
Mon and I decided to go out for a seven mile walk in the fog earlier in the week - not sure if the decision was an example of bravado or senility, only time will tell. As we laboured up the hill from Settle to Catrigg Force, we passed a copse enshrouded in mist. A single leaf held on against all odds, reluctant to join its fallen comrades and meet its end.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The fog didn't lift from the Vale of Evesham today so the only answer was to make for the hills. Up on the Malverns we were treated to yet another day of glorious sunshine. In the church yard at Great Malvern, autumn was hanging on, adding a touch of rusty warmth to the sombre setting.
Friday, November 18, 2005
This motor cruiser at Wyre Lock, basking in the glorious sun skipping across the meadow from Pershore, doesn't look like it has any intention of a trip out on to the river this side of Christmas.
Still it would probably be a warmer mode of transport than cycling. Despite the sunshine, today brought a timely reminder of how chill the winter can be. Since I last cycled nine days ago, I've brought the full winter kit of topcoat, bodywarmer, gloves, scarf and warm socks into service. Not for me the smooth look of lycra - too much fat, too much dignity.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
I've just returned from Leyton in east London where I've been earning a crust (granary, made by a French baker in Tewkesbury) working on yet another poker programme. The normal start time for these events is early afternoon which gives me a bit of time to kill in the mornings. Yesterday I drove out to Chipping Ongar. The combination of a church spire, flag and backlighting sun proved interesting but it is yet another image which cries out for a third element. Unfortunately there are not many spare pelicans in Essex.
Poker tournaments are open-ended and I finished work this morning at 03.30. I drove off through a deserted London and out onto empty roads, enchanted by moonlight and the glistening of a hard frost.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
In my 'Theme of the Month' this month I'm exploring images depicting 'fives'. It seems to be accepted that groups of things work better in odd numbers than even. Even when you've put a pair of candlesticks on the mantlepiece above your fire (assuming you have one) it is difficult to resist adding a clock, an ornament or a picture in the middle to 'balance it out'.
I feel the same about this group of pelicans I photographed at Lake Hume on the Victoria - New South Wales border back in April. I ought to 'photoshop' another one in by the lump of wood in the middle distance, just to achieve that pictoral satisfaction!
I have the same dilemma with another picture taken that day. Do I add another pelican, another daughter or another wife?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
As I cycled into Evesham this morning along this well-puddled track, I started thinking about the Victorian artist Benjamin Williams Leader.
Yes, I know, there are a lot more obvious things I could have thought about - why am I splashing along this path instead of using the road? Shall I treat myself to a muffin when I get to Evesham? What am I going to have for lunch? What should we do to promote world peace? Nevertheless I settled on this relatively unknown Worcester-born artist.
Leader specialised in paintings with water in them, getting his inspiration from the sea, lakes, rivers, streams or just rutted tracks. In later life he made a fine living selling pictures of rustic dwellings and rustic people in water-sodden landscapes, developing this niche and exploiting it for all it was worth. It appears that nouveau-riche Victorian businessmen liked nothing more than a depiction of under-nourished agricultural labourers and bedraggled country wenches wallowing in mud to surmount their mantlepieces. No doubt there are still folks who would pay for that sort of entertainment.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
I've always been fascinated by railway signals and can never resist an opportunity to photograph them. This particular example is at Mount Victoria station on the Sydney to Lithgow line as it drops down out of the Blue Mountains. I shot this on a visit to Australia in April this year.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sport has never interested me and never will. At school the gym was a well of misery where my shortcomings could be exposed and ridiculed (quick, get a psychiatrist!). However there was one area where I did shine and that was basketball. I was well-built (still am) and six foot tall by the time I was fourteen. Although the game is in theory not a contact sport, it would be fair to say I had a presence which could be a deterrent. I was also a pretty good shot.
Many years later, having topped out at 6' 3", I was working at Wembley on a basketball match involving the Harlem Globetrotters. I had to go and fix a monitor and found it surrounded by players. It is the only time in my life that I have felt small - it was a surreal experience.
Friday, November 04, 2005
I came across these pebbles on a beach on the Isle of Sheppey. It is a pleasant stretch of shingle with views across the muddy Thames Estuary to the North Kent coast. Unfortunately close by is the worst, most offensive seaside development I have ever seen and I've seen most of the coast of the British Isles in my lifetime. Much of the land it is built on was reclaimed from the sea - would that it would return.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
If a film-maker is looking for a cliché for Merrie England, a red Routemaster bus immediately leaps to mind, totally ignoring the fact that the majority of buses in the United Kingdom were green. Still they are fairly photogenic and the colour works well on a damp day.