Friday, September 29, 2006

Almost Back

Pixie and I have just returned from taking part in an international queueing (or standing-in-line) contest; Gatwick Airport was the clear winner although Pier 19, New York, made a brave bid for the crown at the end.

In the next few days I hope to catch up with all the blogs I've missed reading over the past few weeks and edit any links (Kilroy 60, for one) that need updating. Service may soon return to normal.

To be going on with, have a lighthouse at sunrise.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not Gone Yet

Another mission in life - inventing spurious psychological disorders. This one is WUSS (Waking Up Song Syndrome). A couple of days ago I woke up with the words and music of 'Delaney's Donkey' running through my brain, a song made popular by my Mum's favourite, Val Doonican. I couldn’t shake it off, despite the fact that it has a very high loathsome quotient, up there with the 'Birdy Song' and anything by Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley.

By mid morning I'd lost it, thanks to extreme immersion in alternative activities. Then today, it happened again. This time it was 'Chattanooga Choo Choo'; in fact it still is. It's just run through between my ears, three minutes down but pulling hard, a trail of dense, acrid smoke and a whiff of engine oil. Luckily I like Glen Miller otherwise I'd be in deep trouble.

What if I wake up tomorrow with an attack of 'Heartbreak Hotel'?

OK, gone now.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Glowing Lamp & Two Elizabethans

I became a touch bored while working the other day so I decided to take some close-up photographs of light bulbs, as you do. For a while it was quite rewarding. Fade up a little, click, fade down a little, click, the afternoon drifted by. But then it began to pall. There's only so much fun you can have with a lamp.

Peter and I had a BAO today - that's a boy's day out without the morning. We went over to the tithe barn I featured the other day and then into the nearby church. There's a seventeenth-century memorial there that I've tried photographing before but with limited success. Today, with Peter showing me some clever tricks with a remote flash, the results were more like what I'm looking for.

You may think it's a strange subject, two effigies of long-dead Elizabethans, but I find these images fascinating. The hands, in particular, draw me. Given the choice between an afternoon photographing ancient tombs and one photographing people, there would be no contest - sorry, people.

Disappearing again for a couple of weeks. See you in October, if you're still hanging in there

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Storage for Tenths

Thought I'd prove that I'm still here although very quiet on the creative front and very busy on the life-in-general side. I'm expecting normal service to be resumed at the beginning of November, maybe sooner if the work/play load moderates a little.

A few weeks ago I visited the tithe barn at Leigh in Worcestershire. It is the longest in Britain and the largest built with cruck beams. The image above is of one of the two wagon entrances. It was constructed in the fourteenth century so it's a touch on the old side.

Its purpose was to store the tenth of the crop that was assigned to the church; this could form the major part of the priest's income or be taken by a secular authority, such as a college or member of the gentry, who then paid, often poorly, for a curate to manage the spiritual affairs of the parish. Whichever method was used, those who actually had to toil to fill this barn were not the beneficiaries, accept in a vague, 'you'll get yours in the next life' sort of way.

Being in Worcestershire, apples played a big part in the local economy and its by-product, cider, a big part in the life of the labourers. Athough drinking from a tankard was encouraged, just lying on your back under the tap was also a recognised method of attaining the required state of inebriation and brain cell zapping.

I waited a long time for the sun to come round to the orthogonal position. It was pleasant, the faint smell of farmyard wafting in the breeze and the distant sound of life in the modern world muted by centuries old oak. A pint of cider would have wiled away the minutes as would a Cornish pasty or a copy of the Times. I had none of these so I just sat and mused, or, for much of the time, just sat.

See you soon - be good.