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Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Touch Of Green

I popped along to Wollaton Park this afternoon to see a traction engine and vehicle show. But I didn't go in, as I thought the entrance fee was too expensive for what it was. I don't mind paying a fair amount, but what they were asking was a tad too much. So instead I went for a walk around the park and hall, as they were free. On the way back to my car, I took some photos of the many trees in the park, as they were all bursting with green in the sunshine.

Friday, 29 April 2011

The Big Day

Well it's finally taken place, after weeks of preparation and the unfortunate hype, the wedding of the century took place earlier today. Although I class myself as a romantic, I didn't watch all of it, but Gail was transfixed and was snapping away with her camera. She moaned now and then when either the SD card was full or the battery died, as she didn't want to miss the special bits; especially when Kate and William kissed for the first time on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Afterwards we went into Nottingham to collect her order from Marks and Spencer's and to see if there was anything still going on. Alas it was all quiet except for a few skateboarders and a group of Emo's messing about in the Old Market Square. Unfortunately we had missed some classic cars that were there earlier in the day. So missed possibly a good photo opportunity. Looking in the windows of some of the closed shops on Wheelergate, I spotted this slightly tacky advertising for a special offer that they were running, which they were shamelessly cashing in on the royal romance. I don't however think that Kate would be too happy with the arrangement, if it had happened in real life!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

He's Back

When I passed the entrance to Highfields this morning, I noticed that there were some workmen moving about the pedestal belonging to the bust of Jesse Boot, which was vandalised some time ago during a demonstration about student grants.
And yes, cycling home tonight, I saw that old Jesse was back, keeping guard over the university, which he paid for back in the 1920s.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Speed Demon

It's been my turn this week to pick the Headbanger theme. After much though I've gone for 'speed'. Now as quite a few of you who read my blog know, I enjoy looking at classic cars. When Gail and I recently went to Monte Carlo, I had a field day. Besides seeing some great examples on the roads, we paid a visit to Prince Albert's Motor Museum. I've mentioned it recently in some previous posts so I won't repeat it here. So my header this week is the iconic Ferrari badge. A simple logo that everyone understands and knows means speed, even if very few can actually afford to own one.

I was going to post a different car photo as well as my daily picture, but Gail and I received some very sad news today. Our next-door neighbour passed away early this morning after an illness. Brian was brilliant neighbour and a great friend. He recently found love again after losing his wife a few years ago. A shame that they have now been parted so soon. He was also a great artist and loved making his charcoal drawings of animals and flowers. Here's a shot that I took of him at our local library when he held an exhibition of some of his work.

So this post is for Brian. Joker, artist and friend. My street will be a little quieter without him.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wedding Fever

The country, if not the world appears to be gripped by the forthcoming event on Friday. Not everyone is so enamoured with the trip to Westminster Abbey. In fact a recent UK survey has suggested that at least half the population isn't that bothered, but it's great to have an extra days holiday.

Bunting and flags have been selling like hot cakes. Not forgetting the various items you can buy, from tasteful china cups to cheap, kitsch things that will probably end up in the bin after a week.

I met local poet, artist and activist Lord Biro at lunchtime, as he was putting the finishing touches to his latest, slightly surreal, but amusing display in an empty shop in the West End Arcade. His cartoons may not be to everyone's taste, but the idea of the Queen as Marge Simpson is worth a chuckle or two!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Hunt The Rabbit

Gail bought a couple of chocolate rabbits for Easter, rather than the traditional eggs. We shared one the other night, but the remaining one didn't like the idea of being gobbled up, so hopped off into the garden. I had the devil of a job trying to find him. I looked amongst all the plants that are now in flower, but couldn't see him anywhere. Under flowerpots, behind the garage. Nothing. So then I had a brainwave. He wears a little bell around his neck. So I stopped and listened. Ting-a-ling. There he was crouched down amongst the cornflowers.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Where's St George When You Need Him?

Although yesterday was St George's Day, I am posting a themed photo today. This dragon gargoyle is on the side of our local parish church. He doesn't look very happy clinging onto the stonework. Perhaps he has a fear of heights like I do.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Step This Way

I posted a similar shot of these steps to the Park Estate a couple of years ago, but I have just downloaded a 30 day trial copy of Lightroom 3, and so I thought I would see what effects it has to offer. I've tried to make this look like one of those photos that had been hand coloured, or taken with a very early colour film.

Lightroom seems quite easy to use, but I'm not sure whether I'll be buying a copy, as it is very expensive compared to say Photoshop Elements. And certainly very costly next to Picnik; which is of course free.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Trolley Good Show

There was a environmental and horticultural show in the Old Market Square yesterday. You could see the tented stalls in the distance on the previous post. Various organisations were there to talk to passers by about plants, recycling and gardening. I picked up a free packet of wildflower seeds, some leaflets about the gardens and buildings that are in the university grounds and voted on a children's art exhibition. I took a few photos, including this one of an old fashioned cart that had been done up for the occasion.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Two Little Ducks. Quack, Quack

The ducks have returned to the Old Market Square. I don't know if they are the same couple that arrived last year, but it's nice to see them in the water again. A few others were taking photos of them with various cameras and phones. Bizarrely enough I said yesterday that the water feature isn't always working, but today it was! Possibly because it was a hot day and there were lots of small children in the square wanting to keep cool. The gigantic English flag has once again been put up on the front of the Council House, ready for the St George's Day celebrations on Saturday.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Fountain Of Youth

This week's Headbanger Challenge is courtesy of Imac, and he has chosen fountains. There's nothing like watching water running out of a water feature. You can have huge cascades, or little trickles. All depending on your preference. My header this week is a real work of art and must have taken some thought in working out how to arrange all those bowls. Unfortunately it is not in Nottingham. The mountains might have given a clue to that. But it is in Monte Carlo. Not too far from where we stayed.

There is a fountain in the Old Market Square, which I am showing you as today's picture. It's not that exciting to look at and it is not always working, hence my treatment of it. There used to be two really big ones close to the Council House, but were removed when the square was rebuilt a few years ago. As a joke, people used to tip some washing up liquid in the water, and about 20 minutes later soap bubbles would be everywhere!

Don't forget to see what the others have come up with, except for Sandy, who is enjoying a holiday. Hope she's having a good time. Also enjoy this musical highlight from Dubai.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Ayes Have It

As I approached the castle this morning on my way in to work, I couldn't help but notice this banner draped over the castle wall. Yes to what though? I suppose I should have asked someone, but being quite shy, I'm not that comfortable in talking to complete strangers. As they all appeared to be students, I guess it was some kind of protest against the grants and university fees. Still it made a colourful scene.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Many people may know that this is the title of the book that the film Bladerunner was based on, but I thought it was apt for this resting R2-D2 who had been trundling around the exhibition halls of The Gadget Show. I don't think this is the original prop from Star Wars, rather a reproduction that helps to advertise a certain big electrical store. If someone wants to pay me, I'll tell you which one.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Gadgets and Gizmos

Gail and I attended the last day of the Gadget Show Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. The Gadget Show is a TV programme whose presenters are set various challenges which utilises the latest technology, either with computing, games or everyday electronics. It was very busy and Gail being a bit of a geek was in her element. We bought a few things. Gail purchased some old style handsets for her mobile phone. One you actually plug into the mobile, the other is linked by Bluetooth. I bought some animation software and a brilliant pair of secateurs, which make light work of cutting quite thick branches with very little effort. It wasn't a bad day, although I think Gail got more out of it than I did.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Full Of Bounce

I haven't written much about Marmalade lately. She's fine though, if you were asking. Plenty of eating, sleeping and watching the world go by from the safety of the living room window. Although she does like to have a wander around her neighbourhood, putting the other cats in their place.

As it was nice and sunny this afternoon, I pottered around in the garden with a spot of weeding and pruning. Our little cat sat and watched me working away. We have a small patio and a mini trampoline on it. Marmalade was overseeing things from it. I couldn't resist taking a photo of her on my iPhone. I used the Instagram app and posted this picture on my Facebook page. As the picture is quite small, I've enlarged it in Picnik.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Coach Trip

Nottingham attracts a large number of visitors every year from both home and abroad. I often see tourists going around in groups strolling round the castle grounds, having their photo taken standing next to the statue of Robin Hood or just walking around. A large gang arrived the other day from Germany. The coach they came on was parked near where I work, so I just had to take a photo or two, as it has a very distinctive look.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Plug In And Go

Another hopefully welcome return to Monaco today, as Nottingham is still very quiet, with nothing much happening for that photographic opportunity. Besides ArtMonaco being in full swing, outside the Grimaldi Centre was an exhibition of electric powered vehicles, that people could have a test drive in. Besides the rather quaint and eccentric designs on offer, a number of normal cars, like this Toyota had been converted to run on electricity, rather than petrol or diesel. Neither Gail or I asked for a go as we didn't have our driving licences with us and we would probably find driving on the right hand side of the road rather difficult.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Warm As Toast

Fire is this week's Headbanger theme courtesy of newbie Sandy. A wide topic that can cover many things, as I'm sure you'll find out if you visit the team's pages. So what am I going to put on? Well I have a few choices. I was going to show the photo above, as it is a literal view of the theme and one that I almost got published in my local paper. But no, I thought I would stretch my imagination a bit, and so here is a view of some members of the Sealed Knot, who are recreating one of the many battles that took place in England centuries ago. Don't worry, it is not a real cannon firing, but nevertheless it looks very effective.

Hope you also enjoy listening to Vangelis' well loved theme to the Chariots of Fire film.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tower Of Song

One of my favourite singers is Canadian born Leonard Cohen. His rich, deep, gravelly voice gets me right there. Not forgetting his poetry. Song like So Long Marianne, Hallelujah, and First We Take Manhattan. I actually didn't really know that much about him until an old neighbour of mine lent me some of his CDs in about 1992 after he said that he had seen Leonard in concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Don't worry, I gave them back!

I'm afraid that Gail doesn't share my appreciation of his style of singing. She somehow finds it depressing. So I have to have him on the turntable when she's not around and so I can sing along. All together now..

Monday, 11 April 2011

Well Chilled

Here's someone who's enjoying the recent spell of sunshine. Although from the look of him and the way he's dressed, I would think that he spends more time outdoors than in.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


It was a glorious sunny and warm day today. I spent most of it in the garden removing a couple of bushes that had died over the winter and a bit of a spring clean of the pond. There were quite a number of tiny tadpoles swimming about in the water , so I was quite careful with what I was doing as I didn't want to lose any.

Whilst walking up and down the drive I noticed the silhouette of the gates and my shadow together and thought it would make for an unusual posting. I hope you agree.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The Not So mini MINI

I was out and about with Gail this afternoon. Firstly we went over to see a friend of mine called Amy. She is also a keen photographer and has converted her garage into a studio. We were interested to know what she had done with the space and what equipment she had bought. It was a good space really and had bought some quality lights. Amy let me take a few photos of Gail posing, which won't be shown on here, as they are not brilliant and Gail would beat me up if I did!

Then Gail wanted to have a drive around in her MINI, as she hasn't really had the opportunity lately. So we went through the Park estate, and we looked at all the big houses. We then had a cruise down various roads, as Gail wanted to know where some led to. After a while, we ended up at our local Mini dealership. They were of course closed, but Gail was interested to know if there were any Countryman's on display in the forecourt. For those that don't know, the Countryman is a larger version of the MINI. It's like a small 4x4. There were a few to look at in different colours. I quite fancied the coffee coloured version, while Gail preferred the black one. Here is a photo of the Countryman, which the dealership are using for publicity purposes.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Blue And White

Back in Nottingham today for a sunny shot of the old Elite Cinema building. This building has had a chequered career since it opened. As the name suggests it started life as a cinema, then became a bingo hall. The nightclub chain Gatecrasher opened here a few years ago, and it almost burnt down in late 2009.

It's quite a fascinating structure with white tiles on the outside, and a number of figures close to the top of the building. I showed you a couple of shots previously in November 2006.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Baby, You Sure Don't Sing The Blues

I'm afraid that I am having to show you another photo from ArtMonaco 11, as I haven't been able to find anything worth taking in Nottingham so far this week, even though it has been sunny and warm. Maybe I should temporarily rename my blog!

Anyway for your enjoyment today is this fine sculpture of a baby, or could it be a young Buddha? I am not sure why the artist produced it in red, but it certainly would catch someone's eye, as they walked past it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Flying High

We are up in the clouds this week with Dave's Headbanger theme of flight. Emulating our feathered friends is something that most people dream about. Being able to take off and soar into the wide blue yonder, free and able to go anywhere. But alas the only way we can do this is by sitting in a plane and cruising through the upper atmosphere at 36,000 feet. Or sailing silently in an hot air balloon. Another way, which Gail and I did in the south of France was go by helicopter. We flew from Nice airport to the hotel in Monte Carlo. It was the third time that we have flown in one; the others being in Sydney and Dubai. My headbanger photo this week shows some of the coastline of Monaco as we flew over the sea to our hotel. It was included in the price of the holiday, which was fantastic.

Today's photo shows an example of the type of helicopter that we flew in. Our hotel was quite close to the heliport, but the noise of the bladed wonders did not annoy us. In fact it was quite fun watching or hearing them take off, or come into land.

Don't forget to fly over to the other bloggers' sites to see their interpretation of the theme, and do enjoy this great tune from the late 1960's.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The One And Only..

On Friday, we paid a visit to Art Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum; a modern piece of architecture situated on the coast. There was an entry fee, but thanks to Jilly for sending me a link to get some free tickets.
There was a lot of pieces of art on show. Sculptures, glassware, some photography and many paintings were being displayed by different galleries from across the world. I took quite a few photos of the art, but was also on the hunt for some interesting people shots. Fortunately I came across this young lady striking a pose next to a wonderful painting of screen goddess Marilyn Monroe.

Monday, 4 April 2011

He's Mine!

The Cafe de Paris in Casino Square is the place to see and to be seen. It attracts visitors and locals alike. There's nothing like sitting in the shade, having a drink and watching the world go by. And that's exactly what Gail and I did on Saturday, before our flight back home. We both had our cameras poised in case we saw someone or something interesting, whether it was a well dressed and obviously rich resident, or one of the amazing vehicles that seemed to pass by every few minutes.

I thought that this was a telling little scene, with the man's ladyfriend touching his back in a loving and tender way, without giving too much away.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Horace Was Here

For a bit of fun, Gail suggested that I take a shot or two of Horace; Gail's travelling companion and mascot who was enjoying the atmosphere of the Cafe de Paris. I bought Horace as a present for her some time ago, and to add to the collection of the cuddly bear that my wife has built up (with a little help from me). Gail likes to clip him to her handbag or knapsack when we are out on our travels, and takes photos of him in the different places that we visit.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Red Top Hot Shot

It was sadly our last day in Monte Carlo today. By the time that you are reading this, we'll be back home and dreading going back to work next week. So we decided to make the best of our time left in Monaco. After packing and checking out, we went for a stroll around a park that was opposite our hotel in the Fontvieille. It was a good sized park with lots of flowers and statues of all kinds. We then got a bus to Casino Square, and sat outside the Cafe de Paris and watched the world go by whilst drinking some vary tasty hot chocolate. There were lots of expensive motors parked up that were attracting a lot of attention. But when you've seen one Lamborghini...
I was very pleased to see a small number of classic cars do the loop around the square. They seemed to be part of a group that were doing a run along the South of France. So I was busy snapping away. So too were a number of other photographers, probably all tourists. Here's a rather splendid MG, whose driver had stopped for a minute outside the casino, so people could take pictures of his pride and joy.

Friday, 1 April 2011

A Shaggy Dog Story

Gail and I had the great pleasure of meeting Jilly today, who runs the Monte Carlo Daily Photo blog. Jilly came to pick us up at the hotel and then she took us on the route of the Monaco Grand Prix. We then stopped for a drink and a spot of people watching at the Cafe de Paris. Jilly had bought along a very scruffy, badly cared for dog, who she had just taken to the vet. The dog was abandoned outside her house last night, and as she looks after canine waifs and straifs, Jilly just had to take her in. Even though the poor dog had matted fur, scabby skin and bad eyes, he or she was so adorable and well behaved. The vet had given Jilly all sorts of pills and potions, which Gail and I hope will help "Lucky" to get better and be even cuter.