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Monday, 31 October 2011

Skywatch Monday

Gail and I met up for lunch today with Stewart (iMac) and his DW Julie, a few miles from Grantham where they live. After our meal, Stewart suggested we went to the part of Belton House where you could see some deer. So we drove over and went for a stroll. There were a number of deer standing around and Stewart took several photos of them. One of which might make an appearance tonight on his blog. I took some as well, but as my Nikon was fitted with a 18-105mm lens, they weren't as close as I would have liked. We had a further walk and we took some photos of the trees. Julie collected some pieces of bark. Her hobby is quilting and she wondered whether she could dye some material with the bark.

As it was starting to get dusk, the trees began to take on an eerie presence. I noticed that the church steeple in the distance looked a bit like a space rocket. So I took this shot with the fading light and the silhouettes of the trees framing the church.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

One Eyed Jack

Here's a slightly odd shot of the very friendly and loveable Oscar. He really enjoys cuddles and likes following me around the house and in the garden, as this fun shot shows. Admiral Nelson anyone? We are still wary about making Marmalade jealous and try to keep them apart as much as we can; especially at mealtimes. It's quite amusing sometimes with Marmalade in the living room and Oscar in the kitchen. I go in a see both of them separately. Sometimes it feels like I am in a Brian Rix farce!

Hopefully we can get them to be friends and do things in the future together. Although the other evening I think Oscar went to defend Marmalade as we both heard him possibly having a scrap with another cat down the road. Fortunately Marmalade managed to see off the other cat himself. But I think it is a start.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Invaders

I heard the sensational news today that some aliens have been spotted in Nottingham. Reports are sketchy about how they arrived, or where they landed. Some say it's just the one craft, but others say there's a fleet of them and have secluded themselves across the county, ready for a sudden surprise attack.

Always on the lookout for any exciting blogging story to relate to you all, I went out to see if I could find out whether any had landed in Beeston. I pondered that they would hide themselves away in quiet corners and places away from any people. So I went on an alien hunt, looking through the windows of empty shops, parks, those little tucked away places that people ignore. I wasn't having much luck, when suddenly I heard a rustling, and a strange breathing noise. No, it wasn't a dog with a blocked nose, but one of the alleged aliens. I froze, silently got my camera ready and managed to capture a couple of shots before it disappeared with a roar. One of them was a bit blurred, but the other as you can see has come out quite well. Certainly a strange looking creature. Featureless, but humanoid in shape. Unusual skin. Maybe it's a sort that sheds their skin like snakes do. Small too, but fast. Anyway, if you see any in your neck of the woods. Watch out!

Friday, 28 October 2011


There was quite a bit of rain during the night, which then turned into a very sunny day today. Whilst I was opening the garden gates, I noticed a lot of steam coming off Gail's MINI. The warm sun was evaporating the raindrops off her car. So I ran off a few shots. You can see the vapour rising close to the wing mirror. There also seems to be some coming off the hedge opposite.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Model Behaviour

I went to another of the bi-annual fashion shows under the Council House tonight. I was somewhat late as the traffic around town was horrendous. I don't know if there had been an accident or something, but vehicles were moving very slowly all the way into the city centre. A bit annoying, as I probably missed half of it. Still I managed to get this group shot, and realised that they had used the same models again.

The theme of the evening was Las Vegas, and they had a pretend gaming table, a male singer who sang in the style of Frank Sinatra and a close up magician. I bumped into Kevin 'the Hat' and we both did some tricks with the magician. He was quite amazing. One trick with a pack of cards completely stumped me. I know it's all sleight of hand, but it was still baffling to watch.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Should Have Gone To Specsavers!

Autumn, or Fall, as the Fishing Guy has called this week's Headbanger Challenge subject. The weather so far this week has been closer to summery rather than autumnal, with blue skies and warm sun. It is noticeably colder in the mornings though, and the sun takes just that little longer to show its face, but quicker to disappear. Of course Sunday brings the dreaded changing of the clocks and darkness at 4pm.

The leaves are rapidly turning that golden colour and starting to cover the ground. So that's an obvious choice for the theme. And so I didn't want to disappoint. I decided to show them still attached to the tree though and just on the turn, and just a few, rather than the whole tree. This oak is outside the castle. It is unfortunately not the one that Robin Hood hid in, as that is twenty odd miles away in Sherwood Forest. But it could be a seedling from that very tree though.

I did some more market research tonight. Another one where I was paid to taste and drink beer. Eight different types in all. Some were very nice and others were not so good. Still it's a few more quid for something or other. Probably something for my camera, rather than a DVD or CD.

As I was drinking, naturally and legally I couldn't drive, so Gail picked me up. While I was on my way to meet her I passed the Nottingham Evening Post building, and I was rather amused with the above billboard. You may be pleased to know that there is nothing wrong with our favourite outlaws' eyesight, he can still shoot a straight arrow, the headline actually refers to the lack of action by the local council on creating a new castle based tourist attraction for Robin Hood.

Do pop over and see how the others have interpreted the theme and enjoy the small musical interlude courtesy of the Stranglers and with one of their best songs

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ouch, I Bet That Hurts

Here's an example of an old gag. The pair of shoes trapped under something impossible to get out of routine. Another one is a pair of wellingtons sticking out from a pile of sand, or the fingers of a woollen glove just poking out from under a giant snowball.

I'm sure you've all seen examples, and may have even snapped one or two.

Of course it could be a solution for flat feet!

Monday, 24 October 2011

On The Peg

I saw this little information card on Friday at the fashion show in the Cornerhouse. I must admit, I have never come across the word 'upcycle' before. it must be one of the new trendy words that have appeared in the last couple of years. It seems a very good idea of using offcuts and reusing old clothes. Although I don't think it's such a new idea though, as I'm sure most women used to do a similar thing years ago, especially during the war years.

If you are interested at all in seeing what Rachel Tiplady's finished designs look like, here's a link to her blog page; The Peg Clothing.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Pick Me Up Before You Go Go

Here's one of the shots I was taking yesterday afternoon, before I got some welcoming attention from Oscar. It's of Mater the old pick up truck from the Pixar movie; Cars. I found him in a box of old toys at a local charity shop for 69p. Which I thought was quite a bargain, considering the price when new. It was in good condition too, with no bent wheels or scratched paintwork. Although as Mater is quite a beaten up truck anyway, it might not have made much difference.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

I was taking some photos in the garden this afternoon as it was so sunny, when Oscar came to see what I was doing. So of course I just had to take some snaps of him just being Oscar. As he such a cutie. We are both being careful not to make Marmalade jealous, even though Oscar just loves being petted.

Marmalade had gone walkabout, as it would have been good to get another shot of them sitting together. Still there's always tomorrow. Anyway Oscar had been giving one of his back legs a good lick, so just caught him at the right time, so it looks like he's giving me a joyous wave.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cheeky Stitches

Gail and I went to what we hoped would be a fashion show inside the Cornerhouse, as a new independent fashion gallery for textiles and creative clothing had just opened. I had gone straight there, as I didn't know exactly what time the show would start. Gail was coming along later as she had been out of town shopping.

Whilst waiting at the Cornerhouse for the show to begin, I felt the need to go to the loo. One of the drawbacks of the Cornerhouse is that there are no loos, except those in the restaurants etc. No seats either, so I had to go hunting for one in the Victoria Centre. Another calamity, they were just closing the centre down for the night, but one of the security guys said that there was one I could use at the nearby Hilton Hotel. And as you can probably guess, the show took place whilst I was otherwise occupied. Still we enjoyed looking at the products on offer, and I took a number of photos. Some of which may be contenders for the Headbanger Challenge. Including this one maybe, which is the logo for the shop.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

We Just Want To Have Fun

A pair of shop window mannequins are the subject for today's post. Purely because I have not taken anything over the past couple of days, and the cupboard is bare.

I was hoping to be able to show you a picture of Tony Iommi, the guitarist from Black Sabbath, as he was signing copies of his autobiography tonight at Waterstones bookshop. But there was quite a queue of rock fans who were waiting to say hello when I got there, and after a hard day's work, I didn't want to stand around for what might have been a couple of hours.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Glow In The Dark

Year three of the Headbanger Challenge starts today and it's my choice this time. I've gone for 'technology'. Now I bet you're wondering why I am showing you a photo of old swords, helmets and weapons of a long distant age. The simple reason is that they were the latest technology 700 years ago, albeit for war purposes. When you speak of technology to most people, they will instantly think of computers, electronics and mobile phones. But technology can mean anything. That Stone Age man who decided to carve a piece of rock into a round shape and invented the wheel was a technologist, even if nobody knew it at the time. He may have got a few grunts of appreciation from the rest of his tribe, as now he had invented a simpler way of carting dinosaur meat to their cave, rather than having to lug it home and end up with backache.

Don't forget to pop over to the rest of the gang and see how they have interpreted the theme. Links now under the Nottingham flag. And enjoy the music of Vangelis and the vision of Stanley Kubrick.

There's little technology involved in today's blog post. A shot of a candle glowing in a red vase, which I took on Sunday at the Flickr meet after walk drinks.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Strike A Pose

Spotted these two in the Old Market Square larking around with a camera. Maybe he was attempting to take a model shot of her, or they were just having a bit of fun together, as couples do sometimes. Personally though, I would have got her to put the bags down, as they may have got into the shot, and certainly spoil her pose..

Monday, 17 October 2011

Are You Lucky Enough To Be In The 1%?

A strange collection of tents appeared in the Old Market Square over the weekend. They are part of a worldwide peaceful demonstration against how things are presently in the financial world. How the one percent of rich people control the lives of the rest of us.

Apparently there are nearly 1000 such demonstrations taking place across the world at the present time. So far I do not think there has been any trouble between demonstrators and police. I actually saw them last night as I was meeting my Flickr buddies, and nearly took a photo of a guy delivering about 20 pizzas.

I will pop down tomorrow to see if they are still there or have been moved on. I hope their tents have been held down well as there has been a terrific storm tonight, with strong gusts of wind and driving rain.

Are there any camps set up where you live?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

After Dark

I met up with a number of Flickr buddies tonight and we went for a stroll around the city centre with tripods in one hand and camera in the other. It wasn't a bad night, fairly warmish with a cloudy sky. There was about nine of us in total, and we had a good chinwag whilst lining up our shots.

When we had had enough, we rested in a local hostelry, where we had further discussions over a pint or two. One of our number is leaving next month to live in Arizona with his girlfriend. Good luck Guy. I hope it all goes to plan

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Easy Rider

I popped into to the opening day of an exhibition today in Beeston which went by the rather unusual title of Carnival of Monsters. It is a two week arts festival being held at the former Barton's bus garage. There were quite a number of exhibits on show, including sculpture, painting and a little bit of photography. Something for almost everyone in fact. And nothing too outrageous.

I thought this motorbike made out of scrap metal and junk was very clever and well thought out. Gavin Darby the artist responsible has done a good job. It is the sort of artwork that would look good in a very large garden, where it can be appreciated and ages a little bit over time.

Friday, 14 October 2011

MINI Olympics

Next year London hosts the 2012 olympic games. It's not something I have any interest in whatsoever, but I was rather intrigued by the sight of two MINIs in the Old Market Square yesterday, together with some workmen who were building some sort of staging area. I popped along today and it was finished and a third MINI had appeared. A white one. There was of course lots of people milling about. They are special editions in red, white and blue with a Union Jack viper stripe on the bonnet and roof and the 2012 logo on the indicator light. There are some other special features and only 2012 will be built. There was some sort of competition to win tickets for London, which I didn't bother with. I did however pick up a window sticker for Gail's Cooper D.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Autumn Leaves

Well, 2011 is rapidly coming to an end. Although it is still strangely warm and sunny for this time of year, the trees are starting to shed their leaves and covering the ground in various shades of brown.
I took this abstract shot close to the statue of Robin Hood. There was quite a good blanket of them, glowing in the morning sun.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Light And Shade

Today is the second anniversary of the Headbanger Challenge. The weekly battle between three UK bloggers (Dave, iMac and me) and three from the States (Lanny, Sandy and Tom). But for personal reasons Sandy has now left, so one of Lanny's daughters is joining in this week. There is no voting this week either. It's just for fun.

If you like what you see, maybe you would care to consider joining? You just need a camera and a good imagination. A sense of humour helps as well! Why not dip your toes in and see what the water is like? We look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy the photos, although iMac & Tom, Lanny & Ebet and Dave and I are sharing photos for one week only. Normal battle resumes next week. Pop over and see what they have come up with. And enjoy this headbanging track from the rocktastic AC/DC.

As I looked out of my office window tonight, I noticed that there was a terrific ( if that's the right word) black cloud over the city centre. The sun was shining as well, and it really highlighted the skyline, especially across the Victoria Centre flats. Grabbing my camera, I managed to take a shot before the cloud obliterated the sun's rays.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Pretty In Pink

Here's an unusual sight, a former London Transport Routemaster bus sprayed pink. No more being driven down Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square and the Old Kent Road, as it now belongs to Superdrug; the discount store for all your health and beauty products and being used as a mobile promotions tool.
I think this poor old chap thought he was getting on a proper bus, but soon realised his mistake.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Rock Hard

About the only thing we bought yesterday at the show was this crazy cement mixer. It's not a real one of course, but it does have a special feature. The headlights glow in the dark through a solar panel in the cab roof.
I put it in the garden last night and when I came home tonight both headlights were aglow. Now I just have to find somewhere suitable to put it. Not sure whether it would look right, next to the fishpond.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Grand Day Out

Another day out for Gail and I, as today we went to the Grand Designs Live show at the NEC. We got some free tickets, so it seemed silly to waste them, and Birmingham is only an hours drive away.
For those that don't know, Grand Designs is a TV series which shows people designing and building their own houses, either from scratch or converting something that has already been built. Some of the finished houses look amazing, while others look somewhat odd and not something I would ever consider living in.
There was around 500 different traders and companies there, selling anything from American diner furniture to zebra print rugs and everything in between. Lots of people milling about looking, touching and buying things to make their homes look and feel better. My shot shows the last of the visitors leaving with their hands full of goodies.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

All The Fun of The Fair

I did something today which I haven't done since about 1975. I went to Goose Fair. It's an annual event in Nottingham and has taken place for the last 717 years. It used to be held in the Old Market Square, but moved to the Forest recreational ground in the 1920s when they rebuilt the Council House and redesigned the area.
I didn't go on any of the rides. For one thing I don't like being spun round quickly or tossed about. And another thing is they are quite expensive to go on. So I just walked around looking for something interesting to shoot. It was very noisy. With music blearing out all over the place. One tradition is eating a cup full of mushy peas. I resisted the temptation. But had some later, as Gail and I had fish and chips for dinner.
My photo shows another tradition of fairgrounds, and that is the dodgem cars. The only form of driving, albeit in a circle, where you are allowed to smash into one another. No points on your licence and loss of No Claims Discount.

Friday, 7 October 2011

In An Arabian Market

Alas Gail and I haven't popped over to Dubai for a holiday and this is a shot from a souk. It is actually in Nottingham and in the Old Market Square. It looks quite authentic, but I'm not sure how many of the traders actually originate from the Middle East. There are many different items on sale, from textiles and handbags to food and pottery, such as these in today's photo. Shukran.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Red On Black

Who is this little red man then. His he a dancer in a nightclub, a model for some new army camouflage gear, or does he work in a nuclear reactor?
Of course not. He is actually the 'don't walk' sign which you see every day at traffic lights and zebra crossings.

Is there anyone out there in Bloggerland fancy joining our weekly Headbanger Challenge? Imagination and sense of humour a bonus. If so just leave me a message and I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Memorable Moments

This weeks Headbanger theme, picked by Stewart (iMac) is 'memorable moment'. I've had quite a number of memorable moments through the years; meeting certain people, going to different places. There are of course sad memorable moments too. The funerals of my dear mum and dad for one. But there are gladly more happy memories than sad ones. One of the happiest is when I married my darling Gail in Australia back in 2006. As a wedding present, my family over there clubbed together and paid for us to go on a helicopter flight over Sydney and surrounding areas. It was the first time that we had both been in a whirly-bird. It was exciting and a new experience for the both of us. We have since been in one over Dubai and another in Monte Carlo. And then there was the balloon flight last week. So my header photo this week is an aerial view of Sydney Harbour. One memory I will remember for ever.

Today's blog post of one of the Nottingham Trent University's buildings taken on Sunday night during a Flickrmeet around the city centre. It reminds me of those old black and white films that they used to show on Saturday afternoons on BBC2. Films like Roman Holiday, The Third Man and Carry On Cabby. It was a good alternative to the sport that was shown on BBC1 and ITV. This was of course the days before satellite, cable and Freeview. Now there are a hundred channels pumping out repeats of old films and programmes that I remember from my childhood. Some with fondness, some with disappointment, as they are not as good as I thought they were.

Don't forget to see what the other gang members have come up with and enjoy this classic memorable song from Cats

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I Love Lomo

Lomo cameras were once thought of as cheap and cheerful plastic toy cameras from Eastern Europe. They weren't made very well, had poor lenses and gaps in the camera that used to let in light. This meant that any photos that were taken with such a camera, had a unique look to them. Which is one way of saying that they weren't very good. But a cult has grown up around them, and now a company has started remaking them. But alas they are no longer pocket money prices, with one particular model being about the same price of a beginner's DSLR. You can buy a simple model for about £39.

You can of course create a similar effect in any number of software packages. I don't know if the owner of this bag who was walking through the Old Market Square yesterday evening is a Lomo photographer, but it sure makes for an eye-catching item. Now I wonder if you can get the same in Panasonic or Nikon?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Black Marks

There are around a dozen of these information boards dotted across the city centre. They tell the story of Robin Hood in words and pictures. From his beginnings to his final days. This first one is close to the statue of Robin, which is near the castle. Passing it this morning on the way in to work, I noticed that it had been vandalised. Knowing how keen the council is on keeping the city tidy, I thought that I had better take a photo of it, before a workman comes along with some cleaner and removes the graffiti. And sure enough, passing it tonight, it had all been rubbed away, as though it never existed.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

MINI Marvel

As you may know Gail drives a MINI. She loves driving it and being in it. So she was quite excited at receiving an invitation from our local MINI dealership to see the new MINI Coupe that has just been launched. So we popped down to Sytner's on Lenton Lane yesterday afternoon to see what the new variation looked like.
We were both quite impressed with the design and styling. Gail was quite surprised at the size of the boot. She asked if a soft-top version was going to be made. The sales assistant said one was coming out in March next year. So guess where we will be going in six months time!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Musical Youth

Walking along Beeston High Road this morning, I was surprised to see one of my neighbours busking with another chap outside a bistro where Gail and I had a delicious meal last week. Dave (sans guitar) explained that they were doing it to raise money for charity. Macmillian's are a voluntary organisation that help people and families that are struggling with cancer. Yesterday was the annual coffee morning fundraising event that happens across the country. Someone at work bought in some cakes they had made and was selling them for 20p each. A bargain, and very tasty too.
Anyway I listened to their concert, had a chat with Dave, took a couple of photos, chucked some coins into their collecting bucket and continued with my shopping, all in glorious sunshine again. The first of October, and anyone would think it was the first of July.