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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Lucky That I'm A Pisces


Will this rain ever stop, and we get some sunshine and a proper summer, like it's meant to be? I feel that I'm turning into a fish, every time that I get wet. Which has been quite often this week.

It's rained practically every day for a over a week or so now, and there seems to be no let up to it. We are going away next week, so I hope the weather improves for our road trip down south.

There was a particularly heavy downpour at about half seven tonight. A real monsoon. Thunder and lightning too. Here's a bit of a grab shot that I took from the porch, which shows the heavy raindrops and a grate that just can't cope with the sudden influx of water.

Apparently there have been several reports on Facebook of localised flooding across many parts of Beeston. Which is expected, considering the amount of rain that fell in the space of about thirty minutes. It's a good job that we live on a slight hill, otherwise we may have experienced it too.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Abba-dabba-doo


We've not been to the Concert Hall in a while, but for a treat, I booked a couple of tickets to see the opening night of Mamma Mia, which is showing for the next couple of weeks.

It was of course a full house, to see what is now one of the worlds best loved musicals. The storyline is quite a simple one, a twenty year old girl who lives on a Greek island with her mother is about to get married. But one problem, she doesn't know who her dad is. There are three possible contenders, who have all been former lovers of her mum. So she invites them all to her wedding, in the hope that she can find out which man is her real father. This story is weaved around a number of Abba's most famous songs, culminating in of course the title track; Mamma Mia.

The stage setting was simple, but very effective. It was of course very colourful. Like you were watching it live in Technicolor. I could feel that the audience were dying to get up and dance and sing along to the tunes, just like they did a few weeks ago, when we went to see the Abba tribute band at Mansfield. But the audience were very well behaved, and just clapped along to some of the more lively Ulvaeus and Andersson tunes. I have always been an Abba fan, so knew a lot of the lyrics, which I quietly sang to Gail at opportune moments.

I thought there was something missing though. I couldn't really work out what it was, until Gail said that she really enjoyed it, but would have liked to have been closer to the stage. Then it clicked. it was a lack of connection with the artists. Being so far away, I couldn't really make out the actors' faces. The sound level was great, the singing and dancing top notch. I just couldn't see the cast moving their mouths at all. Nobody's fault of course, except mine maybe, being shortsighted. Perhaps I need to take a pair of binoculars next time.



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Pretty In Pink


It looks like the Left Lion got a nice bit of attention from this girl, who was wearing some very brightly coloured clothes, as she is caressing his front paws.

Pink appears to be her favourite colour today. It's just a shame that she couldn't find a matching laptop case, as the black one she is carrying just looks so boring for her.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

We Paid The Ferryman


For a treat, I bought us tickets to see the legendary Bryan Ferry at an open air concert that took place at Burghley House, a stately home, near Stamford in Lincolnshire.

We have never been to an outdoor concert before, so wasn't sure what to expect. But we packed a picnic, got a couple of foldable garden chairs and a blanket and headed off. The weather has certainly changed for the worst, so we also took waterproofs and umbrellas, just in case we got caught in the middle of a downpour, because there would be nowhere to hide from it. This weekend also sees the annual 'Download' rock festival at Castle Donington, and we've seen photos on Facebook of the rain there, and the field looks like a swamp. In fact I saw one video, and a river appeared to be running past some tents.

We also had no idea of how many people would be turning up. Whether it would be a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand. We've watched concerts like Glastonbury on the TV, where the area just seemed to be awash with humanity. We parked up and made our way to the concert area. There must have been a couple of thousand people, sitting having their picnics, chatting or just waiting for Bryan to come on. There was a warm up act on when we arrived. A female singer and guitarist, but I've not been able to find out what her name is. I've certainly never seen her before, or recognised any of the songs she played.

We were quite some way away from the stage, and there was one of those big video screens to one side, but it was partially blocked by a large marquee, which the sound and lighting people were using. So I said to Gail, that I would take a walk to the front of the stage, to see what it was like. I made my way through slowly and made it to the stage area. I was getting some evil stares from people, who thought I was somehow gatecrashing into their own area. So I got some photos and went back to our pitch. I wondered what people would be like when Bryan came on.

When he did, I had another wander down to the stage area. There were some fencing around the front of the stage was, which were there to cordon off the stacks of speakers. The 'official' photographers were there, as well as the video people doing the live feed to the screen. I noticed that there was a gap in the fence, so snuck though and crouched alongside a tower of speakers, so the security man who was stood there didn't see me, and kept taking photos of the Roxy Music frontman. I stayed for a while before finding my way back to Gail, as it was getting dark, and I didn't want to have too much difficulty in finding her.

Last year I bought an Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 lens. It was very expensive, but I haven't really used it very much. In fact I don't think that I have used it at all this year. I took a couple of lenses with me, but these two photos were taken with this lens. I was considering selling it, but I might keep it now. The rain also kept off, so we both had a wonderful time. We left a song before Bryan had finished, as I thought it would be very difficult getting out, and may take a long time, with so many cars parked. So we drove away to the sounds of Do the Strand.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Harry's Last Stand


I met a wonderful and inspirational 93 year old man tonight in the form of author and political commentator Harry Leslie Smith.

He was in Beeston to talk about his long and varied life, and how he worries about the sort of country Britain has become, and how it may end up.

Harry was born in Barnsley and experienced grinding poverty at an early age. Sadly his sister died because their parents couldn't afford any treatment. This was long before the creation of the NHS, where everyone can get treatment for free.

During 1941, Harry joined the RAF, and when the war was over, he fell in love and married a German girl from Hamburg. This was the basis for his book 'Love amongst the Ruins'.  But it is his most recent book 'Harry's Last Stand' that he has become well known for. That and his Twitter postings, where he makes sensible observations and comments about what's happening in the country. The latest being about the forthcoming Euro election.

He received a well deserved standing ovation when the night was over and I think the the whole audience of over a hundred wanted to say hello and have a selfie with him.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

"Look, I'm Sure The Castle Is Around Here Somewhere?"


"Yes ladies, it's right behind you!"

I was out for a photography stroll with a workmate at lunchtime today, as he wanted to have a go with my Olympus EM-1, as he is thinking of getting one. He currently uses a Fuji X-10, but he says that he's not happy with it.

So we had spent some time in the Old Market Square, where he took various pictures and had a feel of how the camera feels in his hands. He was quite impressed. We had made our way to the castle area of town, when I saw these two ladies, standing with possibly the biggest map of Nottingham that I've ever seen. I know the city centre is quite big, but I don't think you would need a map that big to see where all the streets and attractions are. It is hardly London or New York.

Fortunately I had been given my camera back by the time we got to the castle, so I was able to capture this scene for today's blog post.

I wonder if they ever found what they were looking for?

Monday, 6 June 2016

Peace And Love


A glorious and sunny evening cycle ride home through Highfields.

Plenty of rowing boats still being enjoyed on the lake. The ice cream van still selling doing a roaring trade from hot students and visitors. Joggers still running, even with the bright sun shining down on them.

Getting towards the other end, I came across two female Asian students posing for photographs being taken by another Asian student. Not with a camera, but with a mobile phone.

So I thought that I would have a go myself. They found it amusing that I would want to take their picture. But we did a little photoshoot, and showed them the results. Which they seemed pleased with.

The girl with the handbag gave me her email address, so that I could send them on to her. Which I have done, as I think it is important to provide photos to people that you have taken their picture of.

I bet when they receive them, they will be excitedly emailing them home to their friends and relations, saying how great things are going in Nottingham and at the university, even if our studies are difficult.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

You're Not Going Anywhere


A grand day, so I drove over to Wollaton Park to see the annual car show, that happens on the first weekend of June.

As it was such a lovely day, there seemed to be a thousand cars to look at, both old and new.  Some quite common like the Mini, to some really rare and valuable vehicles, that would set you back many thousands of pounds.

But me being me, I wanted to find something unusual to take. So what about a Dalek, strapped to an old American pick up truck? Now that's different. I have no idea about the what and why's, but it makes for an interesting photo, especially with Wayne Manor in the background.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Blue Beetle


Coming home from shopping in Beeston, I saw this vintage Volkswagen Beetle parked up on a road that I use to get home. It's quite a nice cornflower blue colour, and dates from 1970.

The bodywork seemed to be in good condition. So it has either been well looked after, or has had some restoration work done on it. Either way, it was nice to see it being driven around.

My dad had one when I was younger. A black one it was, and to give it a bit of identity, he got some thin strips of gold tape and put it around the doors. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but I do remember it beginning to peel after a while.  He then sold it and got a white Renault 5.

I hope to see a lot more old cars tomorrow, as it's the annual vintage car show at Wollaton Park. Just hope the weather keeps dry and sunny.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Yorkshire Lass


We went over to Mansfield tonight, to see folk singer Kate Rusby, who was appearing at the town's Palace Theatre.

We've seen her a number of times now & she never disappoints. She only has a small band with her, two guitarists; one being her husband Damien O'Kane an accordion player, and someone on a double bass. I was surprised with the introduction of a Moog keyboard. But it was used sparingly by the bass player.

Gail & I love her songs and brand of humour. She always tells little stories about the songs, where she found them, their history, and how good it is to live in Yorkshire, especially Barnsley, as that's where she comes from.

She's not singing in this shot, but telling one of her stories, hence the amusing expression. She was saying that in 2017, will mark her 25th anniversary of being a professional singer. And long may she continue.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Bows And Arrows


The Old Market Square has been transformed into an arena for archery, as there will be a tournament taking place at the weekend.

They have been busy installing the seating, podiums etc over the last few days.

As the area has been completely sealed off, people are either having to walk round, or take a shortcut across the entrance to the Council House. Being such a busy area, this shortcut has got quite crowded as people have crossed on the stairs, which are quite narrow.

I won't be going to see the action, as I have been to see a couple of these things at Wollaton Park, and t's not that exciting to watch. Besides which they were free to go in. This one you have to pay.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Cheers


I don't know what Tintin is celebrating, but Snowy looks like he can't wait to have some of that champagne.

This rather cute model is in the window of a shop near the castle that sells a lot of the boy detective merchandise, created of course by Herge.

I just hope he drank the fizzy wine after he had ridden his motorbike, and not before.




Monday, 23 May 2016

Reach For The Sky


Walking across town after the book launch yesterday, I came across this big machine not far from the castle.

It looks very similar to the one that I saw near the Victoria Centre the other month. I believe it is used for pumping cement into areas where people can't normally get, such as possibly behind these two buildings.

Be interesting to see the machine in action, or even the guy who has to climb all the way up to the cab, high in the sky.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Easily Read


Rough Trade is more well known as a music store. They also sell various books, so it was a good setting for the UK launch of The Third Script book; a volume of short stories from writers in the UK, Tasmania and Iran.

My friend Matt has a story in it called Tom's Eyes. It's a true story about a terrifying adventure he had some time ago, when he went to live abroad.  Some of the other writes are in the photo, together with some others who read extracts from a couple of the Iranian and Tasmanian stories, as obviously they couldn't be there in person.

Also in the photo at the very back is screenwriter William Ivory, well known for the film 'Made in Dagenham', which was about a strike at Fords in the late 1960s over equal pay for women. And also at the back is none other than our very own official Robin Hood, who spoke for about five minutes about how good it was to live in Nottingham.

One of my favourite local bands The Madeline Rush played three new songs, acoustically this time. Which were of course very good. I bet they should a lot more grungier with their guitars plugged into their amps.