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Friday, 22 July 2016

Seaside Special

The Nottingham beach has returned to the Old Market Square for the summer, and today was the opening ceremony.

I was quite fortunate to be around to see it, as I had been busy at work, and wasn't sure at what time I would get my lunch break, let alone at what time it was the opening was to take place. A good case of Serendipity.

My main aim today was to test out a vintage Pentacom 30mm f3.5 lens that I'd bought yesterday from a charity shop for a few pounds, so was looking for somewhere to try it out.  And what better than Nottingham's own seaside.

Here's the sheriff and lord mayor of Nottingham posing for a photo that will be appearing in tomorrow's Post newspaper.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Strange Coincidence?

I'm not really a believer in coincidence, but I came across something strange yesterday.

Whilst at Farnstock, I came across a folk singer, with a touch of punk called Paul Carbuncle. I've not heard of him before, but wouldn't mind again, as his songs were quite amusing. Especially the one about squirrels.

Anyway, when I got home, I logged on, and popped my SD card in, ready to start downloading the photos that I had just taken. While my Mac wad doing this, I caught up with Twitter and Facebook. On Twitter I came across a Tweet from someone that I follow, and guess what; they had mentioned Paul Carbuncle, as some of his songs were being played on a local folk radio station.

Then on Facebook, there was a comment from someone called Helene on the secret Beestonian magazine group page that I am a member of, as that's the local magazine that I write for. She mentioned that she has just met Matt, the chief writer and was keen to write for the magazine herself. She had written a bit about herself and had put in a link to her blog. So naturally I went to have a look, and yes, the first entry that appeared was about Paul, as Helene had seen him perform at recent Oxjam event, and had enjoyed his performance.

Now that is quite odd, don't you think? Three incidences concerning a perfect stranger. As Harry Hill used to say; "What are the chances of that happening?".

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Sky's The Limit

I spent several hours today in Farnsfield, taking photos at their Farnstock event at a local school. The eleventh one, held in the Nottinghamshire village.

It was well attended, and there was plenty to see and do. Pottery making, silent disco, eating, or just listening to musicians that were playing all afternoon.

It was the first time that I had been to the event, but I was asked to take the official photographs by one of the organisers, as he likes my style of photography.

I've yet to start going through and editing them. A bit of a daunting job, when I've taken over 700. It's going to take me a while to whittle them down to send the best ones off.

The weather has been a bit mixed all day. Cloudy. A little bit of rain and then some sunshine. When I was driving home through some of Nottingham's countryside, the sun had come fully out and was dazzling with its brightness, after being so dull for most of the day. 

Passing some fields, I noticed how light they were compared to the cloudy sky. So I just had to stop and take some photos. Luckily there was a pull in nearby, so I was able to get out of my car and take a couple of shots. I was quite lucky, in that the moon was in the right place to be included in the picture too.

Friday, 15 July 2016

A Fond Farewell

Social media has all kinds of uses for me. From keeping in touch with friends, to finding out what's going on in the area. Sometimes you come across something that can be upsetting, for whatever reason. And that's exactly what happened to me a couple of days ago.

I was reading some Tweets on Twitter, when I came across a message about a Douglas McDonald and that it was his funeral on Friday. Now strangely enough I know a Douglas McDonald, a photographer, so I sent the author a message, asking them about this man that shares the same name as this friend of mine.

I got a reply, and they mentioned a link to where there was a photo of him. So I went to have a look. And yes, sadly it was 'my' Douglas. I was also saddened, as I realised that I couldn't go to his funeral, as a couple of people in my team at work were on holiday. So that would just leave me to keep everything moving.

I met Douglas several years ago through photography. He often went to book signings and theatre shows, to take photos of the authors, celebrities and stars that visited Nottingham. And I would be there too. Unlike me, he got paid for his photography, as he worked for the local newspapers, and did some freelancing. But it was good to see him and his Nikon every so often. I sometimes used to call him Donald, rather than Douglas. But I guess he would be used to that, and didn't seem to mind.

I also used to see him sat at a table in Beeston Library most Saturday's, diary open, colour coding events that he had put in. More book signings, events and shows. We would spend a good hour or so chatting about celebrities that we had photographed, or were coming to town soon. We both enjoyed the music of Kate Rusby, and would see each other at her Christmas shows that she put on at the Playhouse. He would also show me the photos that he managed to get printed in the Nottingham Post, on their readers page. Photos of flowers, animals etc. Things that he'd noticed on his travels. Just like me with this blog. He had a chuckle sometimes, as they would use one of his photos, that wasn't even taken locally, but he had sent it in anyway. He also used to write quizzes for the local WEA (Workers' Education Association) branch that he belonged to. And the odd reference book would be on the table as well.

Despite using a digital camera, he didn't seem that confident with technology. Especially mobile phones. He was interested in Twitter, but didn't know how to get it installed on his phone. So I told him how to do it. He finally managed it, but didn't Tweet very often. Unlike me, who Tweets 50 times a day. He often asked who I was following, and wondered who the person with the most followers was. I suggested it was Lady Gaga or Madonna.

So this morning many of his friends and family said a fond farewell to him at Bramcote Crematorium. But I couldn't be there. Going to the library in Beeston won't be the same now, as I'll never see Douglas sitting there again going through his diary, or reading a book or the local paper.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Flower Power

I quite like this delicate little plant with its very pale purple flowers, that I came across in the grounds of the castle.

I think it is a member of the geranium family. But I'm no Percy Thrower, so not entirely sure that I am right.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Wishful Thinking

Gail and I went on a bit of a ten day road trip around Devon and Cornwall a few weeks ago, but I haven't got around to editing many of my photos yet, due to other commitments. So I have two weeks missing from the blog. But hope to start filling in the missing days from tomorrow.

So I thought I would make a bit of a start tonight, with a street scene from St Ives in Cornwall. With it's quaint little streets, and of course the harbour and beaches, meant that I took an awful lot of photos. Gail did too.

One of the highlights was to see our dear friends Stewart & Julie renew their wedding vows after ten years of marriage. Stewart is a photographer and blogger like me, while Julie's main passion is textiles.

A few months we received our invitation to join them in St Ives for their celebration, and as both gail and I have never visited the west country, we jumped at the chance.
It was a lovely sunny day, and everything seemed to go perfectly, right down to the pub meal afterwards.

Wish we were back there, as it's a fabulous place.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Field Study

Here's the wicker version of Robin Hood, which stands in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Arrested By The Rain

A friend at work told me today, that there would be some live archeology work going on at the castle today.

So being a fan of Time Team, I decided to pop up and take a look. Sadly there wasn't any activity at the dig. Possibly because it was lunchtime. Anyway there was no sign of life, so I took a walk up to the castle itself to see some more of the artworks on display.

There are two main exhibitions on at the moment, one of digital works by Gordon Cheung, and well drawn etching by famed painter Evelyn Gibbs.

I then went outside and noticed how dark and misty it was getting. There's a storm brewing. How right I was, as the heavens opened, and so I dived inside the castle again, as I didn't have a coat with me, as it was very warm.

Not missing a photo opportunity, I snapped this couple who were doing the same thing. They make nice silhouettes I think. The rain then stopped a bit, so I made my way down to the entrance, but had to stop there, as the clouds hadn't quite finished emptying their contents.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Carnival Atmosphere

It was carnival time in Beeston today  I wasn't sure whether it was going to take place, as it had been raining since the early hours, and as a lot of it would be taking place at Broadgate Park, I wondered whether it would be cancelled, as the park might resemble Glastonbury.

But by lunchtime, the rain had stopped, but sadly no sun, and the carnival went ahead. There were lots of stalls on the park, then at 1pm, the carnival procession started at one end of the town and slowly made its way along the High Road until it reached Broadgate Park, where everyone dispersed into their own individual groups and went their separate ways.

I of course spent most of the time snapping away at the action. I was also taking photos for various groups that I'm involved with, or know that were appearing at the carnival.
Here's a few shots that I took during the day. The top one is one of the cast from the Beeston Musical Theatre Group that are putting on 'The Wedding Singer' later in the year. Then we have 'Mrs Mango' the mascot of Trent Barton buses, a stuffed toy for sale and finally, Stan Heptinstall, who was our mayor last year, who looked happy, as he had just won a couple of prizes in a tombola.

Friday, 8 July 2016


There was a health and fitness fair in the Old Market Square today.

Some interesting stalls. I actually chose a small tub of fruit over a cream cake from one of the healthy eating stalls, which I thought was remarkable of me, as I love cake.

Then I saw these three ladies dressed as the Tooth Fairy, a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, as they were promoting looking after your teeth So I just had to take a photo of them for the blog. They must have been friends, as they seemed to be enjoying the experience of dressing up and becoming another character.

I am always hopeful that I come across 'characters' when I visit such events, as taking photos of stalls isn't usually very exciting.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A Monk In Time

My pal at work who I meet up with at lunchtimes for a bit of photography bought an Olympus EM-1 yesterday, as he hasn't really got on with the camera that he bought earlier in the year, and it has affected his enthusiasm for taking pictures.

So he made the momentous and expensive decision to go and buy the model of camera that I use. He's been impressed with the camera's features and the customer service that Olympus provide, so he wanted to join the club. He's also pleased that I can offer help and advice on settings etc, as I've had mine almost since it came out.

So this lunchtime we decided to visit the castle, so that he could take some photos and I could give him a bit of training on how to get the best out of the camera.  Whilst we were walking around the grounds, we came across this 'monk' who was telling some visitors a tale about the history of the castle and its involvement in religion.

A good subject to photograph, as the actor was quite expressive and didn't mind being photographed. So we both took some photos, me with my 45mm lens and my pal with his 12-40mm. He was pleased with the results and the camera appears to have sparked his interest in photography again, which is brilliant.

He's not entirely sure what he is going to do with his other camera yet. He may trade it in, so he can buy some more lenses, or simply keep it for now, or pass it to his son.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

I'm In His Sights

Most times that I cycle home through Highfields, I see this swan all on their lonesome. There are other swans on the lake, but he never seems to want to play with them in the water. Preferring to be alone, or just sitting with the odd duck or moorhen.

I don't know why he prefers his own company, and recently I have started to feel sorry for him, as I know what it is like to be alone.  So I have been buying some bags of wild bird seed for his tea.

He seems to enjoy it, and soon gobbles up the pile that I pour out of the bag. I know not to feed him bread, as it isn't very good for them, so I have been popping to the pound shop, and buying the largest bag that I could find, which usually lasts for two or three visits.

I think he has got used to my visits now, as tonight he started to waddle up to me as I was getting off my bike. He also gets quite eager to sample the goodies that I bring, as sometimes he tries to peck at the open bag as I'm pouring the contents out.

I took this photo with a vintage lens. A Hanimex 35mm f2.8, which I bought from a charity shop at the weekend. As it was sunny today, I thought I would give it a go. I wanted to get a different angle, so tried one pointing upwards. I had to guess whether I had the shot fully in focus, as I couldn't use the viewfinder. Instead I had to make do with the EM-1's back screen.

Not a bad effort, if I say so myself. There's also some interesting shaped bokeh, which makes for something different.

Monday, 4 July 2016

It's A Great Life On The Buses

Well I've now found the time to start blogging again. After coming back from Cornwall and catching up with things at home, I can hopefully get going with the blog again, and even write about the days that Gail and I were away on our road trip around what Thomas Hardy called Wessex.

Today's story also deals with the past, in the form of a trolleybus that has been missing from the streets of Nottingham since 1 July 1966, when it was taken out of service, as this method of transport had been phased out.

To commemorate this fact, a number of vintage buses were on display in the Old Market Square today, as all this happened 50 years ago. An AEC Regent belonging to West Bridgford UDC, An Atlantean city bus from the 1970s and one from the South Notts Bus Company were all parked up for everyone to see.

But the trolleybus was getting the most interest, as a lot of people had never seen one in the flesh so to speak. Even me. Especially the one that took that final trip all those years ago.

It has been subject to a lot of restoration work, as it wasn't in very good condition when it was sold off. But now it looks brand new, even though they haven't really bothered that much with the driver's cab. It all looks so primitive, compared to today's state of the art buses and coaches.

Ding, ding. All aboard!

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.