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Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Scribe

This is Andy Barrett, the man responsible for writing the plays that I perform in now and again. As I have been mentioning recently, today we were all up at Beauvale Priory giving guided tours and describing what life was like there as a monk around 500 years ago. We had quite a lot of visitors throughout the day, and Geoff and I did three tours altogether. I think that everyone enjoyed themselves and learnt a bit of history in the process.

Andy is dressed the way he is because he had to stand in for one of the actors who couldn't take part in the end. Andy is playing Dr London, an Oxford doctor who was given the task of closing the priory by Henry the Eighth.

It makes me wonder if we would still have the monasteries around today and that our religious history would be different if the king was not such a bloodthirsty tyrant and had happily settled down with his first wife; Catherine of Aragon.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Pulchra Vallis

Today, I and a few others have been up at Beauvale Priory, doing last minute rehearsals for tomorrow's open day, which is part of the Eastwood Arts Festival. It was lovely and sunny, and I felt quite hot in my monks robes, even though I was only wearing T shirt and shorts underneath. The rehearsals didn't go too badly, although I think the swig of beer that Geoff and I had at lunch didn't help. The half of Blue Monkey Evolution beer I drank was very tasty and went well with my egg and cress sandwiches!

I took this shot from the narrow lane that runs by the side of the farm. Ideally, I would have liked to have shot it with a longer lens, but It does show the location of the ruins in relation to being almost surrounded by trees, which perhaps 500 years ago it was.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Flying The Flag

This is Andy, whom I wake up with every morning when I have to get up for work. Don't worry, Gail's not left me. Andy is actually a radio presenter on BBC Radio Nottingham and does the weekday breakfast show. He, and many other presenters were broadcasting live from the Old Market Square, which has now been taken over by the beach. I chatted to him for a short while, as he is a Facebook buddy and asked him if he follows my blog. He says he does sometimes. You need to do it everyday Andy!

The flags that Andy are holding have been specially designed for Nottingham. There was a competition some time ago for local people to come up with an idea that represents the region's personality. One is presently flying about the castle, and another sometimes over the Council House.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Flying Ambulance

I've seen helicopters take off an land quite a few times as I've cycled along University Boulevard, but this is the first time that I have managed to capture one stationary. They use a sports field as a sort of heliport, which is good for this air ambulance, as the Queen's Medical Centre is only a short drive away, so the patient could be getting the care they need in only a few minutes. I'm not entirely sure why this particular helicopter belonging to Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland is there, as Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire have their own. But maybe they share the same ground.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Black And White

'Black and white' is this weeks headbanger theme, and comes from the the fishing guy himself; Tom. Personally I like to see photos in monochrome, as colour sometimes distracts from what the photographer is showing you. Colour obviously has its place. Fashion for one thing. How many ladies want to see a greyish dress in the pages of a magazine? They want to see the hue of the material, the trim and how it fits in with accessories. Unless it's Chanel of course, as their clothes are always black and white. But the great photographers always shot in black and white, and usually with a Leica. I always shoot in colour, alas not with a Leica and then convert the picture in iPhoto. That way you can see if it will work in monochrome, and have still have a colour version too.

My contribution this week is a close-up of the flying chairs ride, that I showed you yesterday. I think it works very well as a silhouette, as the colour version doesn't. Todays blog picture is part of the bar area of the Malt Cross where Gail and I had a very tasty meal last night. Another shot that looks good in black and white.

Please remember to go and have a look at the rest of the team member's contributions, and enjoy this little musical interlude which features some very good black and white photography.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

The 'Nottingham Riviera' has returned to the Old Market Square for the summer. This is the third year that it has made an appearance. Today was the first time that I got to see it, as I had to go to Manchester yesterday. There are a lot of the same things like the tons of sand, the rides and the cafe. The Titanic bouncy slide is new. I met Gail tonight after work, and after a pub meal, we had a look around and took some pictures.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A Walk Will Do You Good

There is nothing like a stroll in the country. A tramp through farmers fields, over stiles and along wooded paths. Blue skies, green trees and yellow fields are all you need for a great photograph. And to help you with your adventure, a series of metal guides, showing you the right way to go.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Knowing Your Wheat From Your Chaff

Another rehearsal today at Beauvale Priory. And for once the weather didn't let us down. It was wonderfully sunny. The rehearsal didn't go too badly, although my poor braincell (I have only the one) hasn't managed to remember all the words yet. I have 6 days left before the event takes place, so hopefully I will be able to memorise a few more by then.
As usual I had my camera with me, and took some more photos of the fields, trees etc. Here's some ears of wheat ripening in the warm sunshine.

Saturday, 23 July 2011


Now that summer has arrived, a lot of narrowboats have started appearing on the canal. Some I have seen before, as I can remember their names, but some like Snowbow here are new. I'm always curious to know how the owners decided on the particular name that they have given their craft. If I owned one, I think I would call it Dreamchaser, while Gail might go for something with 'angel' in the title. What would you call yours?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Ceiling Art

Believe it or not this painting is on the ceiling of a pub. I noticed it the other day when I went out for lunch with a co-worker from the office. The Roundhouse, as the name implies is a round tower. It used to belong to the old General Hospital, which was knocked down many years ago. But some bits of it still remain. The Roundhouse being one of them. It serves excellent and very tasty food and has a few real ales on tap, which is always the mark of a good pub.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Cow And Gate

A few months ago I showed you a photo of a model sheep tied outside a furniture shop in Hockley. Well walking past it today, I saw that he had been replaced by this cow. Yours for £300. Which is I think more than you would have to pay for a real one. I'm not sure how suitable a cow would be as a pet, but at least it would make a good lawnmower, and you would always have fresh milk on tap. Or should that be teat?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Little Romance

It's my turn this week to provide the Headbanger Challenge. After some thought, I've gone for that wonderful subject of romance. I think just about everybody likes a bit of love in their life, no matter what their age. For a touch of romance last year, I took Gail away to London for Valentine's weekend. We went up in the London Eye, a walk along the Thames and a trip to the theatre to see Dreamboats and Petticoats, a love story set in the 1950s.
My photo shows a couple who are in love and are not afraid to show it in public. It reminds me of the famous photo by Robert Doisneau. Only mine wasn't posed!

Love was in the air on Monday, as the Council House was being used as wedding venue. Alas I missed them coming out of the council building by mere minutes. But I did manage to capture the white Rolls Royce wedding car, as the happy couple were being driven off to their reception.

Don't forget to pop over and see how the gang have interpreted my theme, and enjoy this musical interlude.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Chef's Special

Earlier this evening I went along to my local Waterstones bookshop, as well known TV chef Rick Stein was signing copies of his new book about Spanish cooking, which accompanies his new series on BBC2. When I got there, there was loads of people waiting to have their books autographed. The queue had stretched around the corner of the building. I hoped that I would bump into my friend Phil, who I know is a devotee of the culinary master. But I had missed him. You can read about Phil's experience on his foodie blog
Due to Rick's popularity, one of the store assistants that was organising things, said that just had a couple of minutes to take my photo. So I quickly rattled a few shots off. How I wish that I had a 'press card'.

Monday, 18 July 2011

I Talk To The Trees

When I had finished up at the farm, I took the long winding country lane back to the main road. There are walls and hedges on both sides of the lane, but every so often there is a gap, due to there being a gate into the fields. Also the lane is quite high up, so you get a good view of the vista below. Here's the classic tree in a cornfield shot, which I am sure that practically every photographer has taken at one time or another.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My Little Red Rooster

Beauvale Priory is situated in the middle of a working farm. So there are a number of turkeys, ducks, chickens and a peacock roaming around freely. Which is good to see and how farm animals should be treated, rather than cooped up in sheds, which is completely unnatural. To me factory farming is disgusting and should be outlawed immediately.
While Geoff and I were there, the turkeys started following us around, as they were looking for some scraps of food. They stated pecking at Geoff's script and took a keen interest in my camera bag, as I had knelt down to take some pictures of the wildlife. Alas neither were very tasty, so they all went looking elsewhere. Here's a close up of Rooster Cogburn on the hunt for food.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Back To The Past

I was up at Beauvale Priory again today, as I am reprising my role of Thomas Leyghton, one of the Carthusian monks that lived there 500 years ago for the third time. It is not a play this time, but I, and another 'monk' will be escorting visitors around the priory and telling them what life was like for these silent order of monks. I met Geoff, who is playing Prior Woodcock, and we went through the script a few times, just to see what it is going to be like and the route that we will be going. Several other people will be giving tours too, playing different characters of course. It is all part of the Eastwood Festival and will be happening for one day only on July 31.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Lincoln Imp

Today I left the stately hotel and took a drive into Lincoln. I have not been to the city in years. I think my last visit was in 1988. It feels quite a buoyant city with the cathedral, the castle and all the old shops. In many ways I think it is a more appealing city for visitors than Nottingham is. It feels like the council has done more to make the city a tourist destination, with the new waterfront area, with its cinema, bars and attractions. I went inside the cathedral, but you have to pay to look round. As I didn't have a great deal of time, I spent a short time inside. I took this photo of the colour from the stained glass windows that appeared on the floor, which was caused by the sun's rays. For those that don't know, Lincoln Cathedral was used as Westminster Abbey in the film the DaVinci Code. I've not seen the film yet, so when I do, I should be able to spot some familiar sights

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Little Time Away

Branston Hall, like many other stately homes in England, was built for the lord of the manor. But as time went on, some of these grand houses fell into disrepair. Many were sadly demolished, but the lucky few, like this one was bought, restored and turned into either a private house, a spa or in this case a hotel.
This is the back of the hotel, which stands in 88 acres of land. I've tweaked the picture a bit to hopefully give it a bit more atmosphere.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Above And Below The Waterline

My old sparing partner Stewart has picked this week's Headbanger Challenge. And what a challenge. Without having a special camera or submarine, how do you manage to take a photograph of being underwater without getting your camera wet? Well the answer is, go to a special aquarium. And this one in my header is very special, as it is inside a shopping centre in Dubai. Yes really! So you can go and buy your new clothes and see some strange exotic fish, including sharks at the same time.

Less exotic, but just as photogenic are these swans and their babies on the boating lake at Highfields. Disappointed ones as well, as they thought I had some bread with me when I stopped and got my camera out. Sorry. Maybe next time.

For more photos that might sink or swim, pop over to the rest of the gang and see how they have interpreted the theme. Links above.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Talk To The Trees

Another lovely cycle ride through Highfields this afternoon on the way home. The sun was shining and not too many people about now that the university has broken up for the summer. Always on the look out for something to snap with my Nikon. One of the photos I took was of these sunlit trees near the boating lake.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bespoke Tailoring

Here's another one of the unique wicker art works for flowers that have sprung up across the city. Thanks to Dave for the link on yesterday's photo, but I was planning to do that myself tonight, as I realised that I should have researched the photo before I put it on. Then I wouldn't have sounded so dense and not even knowing what's going on in my own city.
One of the drawbacks of late night blogging I think!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Fashionable Flowers

A number of unusual wicker structures for flowers have appeared across the city recently. They all have a fashion theme. So far I've seen a jacket, a ring, a handbag and this high heel shoe, which aptly has been put next to a women's shoe shop. I will see about snapping them all and try to find out how many there are in the set. I couldn't see any information on the shoe to explain what it is all about and who made it.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

H2 Oh No

There was a terrific rainstorm yesterday afternoon, complete with thunder, lightning and hailstones. It was still raining at 6pm, when I was planning to leave work. It was raining so much a man in a rowing boat went past the office!
Anyway the rain eventually ceased and I was able to cycle home. When I got to the university and Highfields, I noticed that there was this gigantic puddle where some cars are able to park. Fortunately no vehicles were there, so I stopped and took some photos of the reflections in the water.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Speaking in Tongues

This Canada goose doesn't seem to like the idea of me taking his photo, as he has stuck his tongue out at me. And I just thought it was the rich and famous that didn't like the paparazzi. How wrong I am!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Green Moth

Yes my title does sound like one of those comic book heroes. Man bitten by bug, learns to fly and catches baddies with unusual superpowers. Alas nothing so exciting, although I was rather excited at seeing this insect asleep on the back door yesterday morning. I've never seen a moth or butterfly with such pale colouring. It didn't even fly off when I unlocked and opened the door.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Everyday In Every Way

One of our three Stateside Headbangers; Sandy, has come up with this weeks theme. She's gone for 'everyday'. Now this is a theme and a half and no mistake. There are lots of things that happen every day, and plenty of things that people do day in and day out. Whether it is basic stuff like eating and sleeping, talking to one's husband or wife, or reading a novel. Personally I blog every day, much to the annoyance of Gail sometimes! And of course to produce a daily photo blog one must of course keep taking photos. So my Headbanger photo this week is of my Nikon D90. One of the three cameras that I use every day to take that wonderful, but very elusive photograph.

Today's elusive photograph is of a bunch of flowers that Gail received from a friend yesterday. It's not her Birthday, but she is recovering from a small operation that she had to have last week. Gail is slowly recovering every day, but has good and bad days. We both hope that she will be back to normal soon and can start doing some things that she can't do at the moment.

Don't forget to see how the rest of the team have viewed the theme. And enjoy this vintage song from the 1950s by the late Buddy Holly.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Beware The Lion's Mouth

Here's a different shot of the gatehouse to the castle. This lion waterspout is busy tonight, as we are having our first real rainstorm for a couple of weeks. While I am writing this, Marmalade has just come in and rubbed her wet coat up against my legs. The price of love eh!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dig This

There is some demolition work going on at the Queen's Medical Centre at the moment. They are presently knocking down the nurses quarters, that have been there since the hospital was built in the early 1970s. They will be replaced by a new car park, as the old multi storey one had to be demolished as it was crumbling away and in danger of falling down. They have just about all gone now, and so I thought I would take a shot of this bulldozer standing over the ruins of the destroyed buildings like some victorious Roman gladiator.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Saved For Another Time

Here is a pile of discarded placards from Thursday's demonstration. I expect that they will be stored somewhere, ready for another demonstration against the government and it's plans to make people work longer and for less pension. It wouldn't be so bad if all the politicians announced that they would be doing the same. But of course they won't. They'll still expect to receive thousands of pounds for doing very little.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Power Tower

You may think that I took this photo somewhere in the countryside, as the church tower looks like it belongs in an English village. But you'd be wrong. This is St Nicholas' Church and is in the middle of Nottingham. Just a short walk from the Broad Marsh Centre. It was built in 1678, after the original one was destroyed during the English Civil War. It's only a small church, and I've never been inside, so I don't know if there are anything of interest like statues or unusual gravestones. There are a number of gravestones surrounding the church. Many though were lost when they built Maid Marian Way in the late 1960s.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Holy Smokes Batman

Well I just had to do it. Last night a pal of mine called Lewis and I went to investigate the exciting events currently taking place at Wollaton Park. As many of you know, they are shooting scenes for the new Batman movie at the hall, or now known as Bruce Wayne's gaff. There wasn't a great deal happening that we could see, but everywhere is sealed off, so we couldn't get any closer than the main entrance that was being used by everyone. Various passers by stopped for a while and then walked away. Cars slowed down as they got closer. The people inside then realised that they couldn't see anything and so drove off. It was amusing that a security guard put up an umbrella to try and stop me taking any photos. He just reminded me of the Penguin. Alas we didn't see any of the stars like Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman or Michael Caine, even though we hung around until gone 10:30. But I did take a couple of snaps; one of the vehicles they were using, and a speeding van belonging to Gotham City Movers.
Tomorrow is the last day of filming, then the park is reopened once again to the public. Apparently the city council has received close on a million pounds for the exclusive use of the park. Hopefully it will be used wisely to improve things in the grounds, the reopening of the industrial museum would be good and more facilities or exhibits in the hall itself.