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Header Photo

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tuesday Tidy-up

Here's my silver winning photo from last week's Headbanger Challenge - 'Surprise'. See last Wednesday for the explanation for the photo of Jamie's Italian Restaurant.

Do pop back tomorrow to see how the gang have defined the new theme for the challenge.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Whilst Gail was trying on some new boots yesterday at a shoe shop in Rye, I was mucking about a bit with my camera and this mirror in the shop. I don't like having my photo taken that much, let alone doing it myself. So I think this is the best you'll get.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


Besides being great for anything artistic, Rye also boasts quite a number of antique and curio shops. We went in a real Aladdin's cave this morning. Two floors absolutely brimming with all sorts of nic-nacs. Anything and everything was on shelves, in boxes, in cabinets and hanging from the ceiling. You wanted it, they probably had it somewhere. I took a number of photos of the things on sale and I thought I would share this one with you, as it's not everyday that you see a World War II gas mask hanging next to a toasting fork and a hurricane lamp.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Rye Time

We went on a driving adventure to East Sussex today, to the picturesque and historic coastal town of Rye. This is our third visit in as many years, as I have a very dear friend who lives there. Someone that I have known for forty years now. She is in relatively good health considering her senior years. She is very artistic and is involved in many groups there, as the town is full of painters, sculptors, potters and of course photographers. The guidebooks are full of photos of all the quaint cottages and very old timber-framed buildings. But not that many seem to have been taken at night. So I went out with my camera and tripod, to see what I could find. Here's a photo of the very old Mermaid pub, which of course is on Mermaid Street. Cobbled, very hilly, but full of charm.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Snapping The Snapper

Something a bit unusual happened to us today. We had our photograph taken by a professional photographer at his home in West Bridgford. David is a Facebook contact and he put a message on the other day about wanting people to come along to his new studio for a bit of testing. Fortunately I had booked today off, as we are planning to go to Rye for the weekend, but Gail wants to go tomorrow instead, as she's concerned about leaving Marmalade and Oscar alone for to long. So we popped along at lunchtime for a sitting. Or rather a standing as the case may be. David took some of me alone, and some of Gail on her own, then did a few of us together. His studio is an empty room with some lights. Simple, but effective. Something Gail and I are thinking of doing in the near future. At the end of the shoot, I asked David if I could take a shot of him for the blog. And here's the result.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Food Served Here

I am always saddened to see lovely old buildings empty and going to waste, when they have so much character to them. So I was very pleased to see work had begun a few weeks ago into converting a fine example of Victorian architecture near the Playhouse that had been seen boarded up for a couple of years. I went past today and it is almost finished. It is going to be a restaurant and is opening in early February. Unfortunately I won't be around to see them cut the ribbon, as Gail and I are off to Scotland then for a wedding. I hope they open during the daytime, so I can go on another ladies lunch with the girls from work. Just a shame the photo is spoiled by the builder's van. But I think you get a good idea of what a fine building it is.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Surprise, Surprise

Another Wednesday, another Headbanger Challenge. Due to some difficulties that Dave is experiencing, Kathy has come in at the last minute with 'surprise'. She was surprised too, at being asked to think of a topic on the spur of the moment. My header photo shows Jamie Oliver's restaurant in the city centre. Now there is a very good reason for showing this. Not for the obvious reason of having a top TV chef's eating house on your doorstep, but for the reason that I won a meal for two there at Christmas in a raffle.

Now I'm not generally a very lucky person. Never really have been. My bread always tends to fall butterside down. So I don't know what possessed me to buy some charity raffle tickets that were being sold at the Paul Smith shop next door. I don't know if it was the the wide selection of prizes on offer. The top being a weekend away for two in London, or the fact that it was for a good cause. The Maggie's Cancer Centre at the City Hospital. There were also some obscure prizes available, such as an encyclopaedia of Russian gangster tattoos. I'm glad that I didn't win that! The tickets were £2 each. So I bought two. There's not that many Paul Smith shops in England. I think most of them are in Japan. So I wondered if I might have a slightly better chance of winning. Not that I really expected to. But yippee, I had an email from a marketing person at the company after the draw date saying that I had won a dinner for two at Jamie's Italian. We have not gone yet, but might see if I can book it for Valentine's Day. Give Gail a treat.

Don't forget to visit my four friends' pages, to see how they have interpreted Kathy's theme. And also enjoy this piece of music

I heard on the news yesterday that there was going to be a solar radiation storm over the planet taking place sometime soon. It must have happened last night over Nottingham, as when I went out to work this morning, I was surprised to find this strange silver star in the garden. It wasn't glowing or anything. But it glistened a bit. I managed to find some old netting in the shed and wrapped it up. I then put it in the shed for safe keeping. It really is quite a lovely thing. and fell to the ground without breaking up. Maybe because it is quite heavy and solid. And oh how it sparkles. I don't think any photo can do it justice.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mine's A Pint

Here's another night shot of the Castle pub; one of our locals for the 'girlie' lunches with the folks from work which I indulge in, once in a while. Comment expected from Stewart!

The building itself was designed by Watson Fothergill, and stretches someway down the road, to the right. The building includes a printers and a new restaurant, quaintly called 'Fothergills'. I've not eaten there yet. But give me time!

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Touch Of Blue

Here's a dusk shot of the boating lake in Highfields and the well photographed Portland Building in the university, with its working clock tower. I love the little patches of blue still trying to seep through the dark clouds and the setting sun in the distance. My camera was set on a slow shutter speed to get the slightly blurred look of the blue.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Fruit Bomb

We popped over to Mansfield today, as we were having lunch with Gail's oldest friend Hilary and her husband. Oldest as in how long Gail has known her and nothing to do with the ladies' age. We went to a small restaurant, a 200 year old building that used to be a maltings. The restaurant is Michelin rated and the food was gorgeous and very well presented, as my photo of Gail's fruit Pavlova pudding shows. I had a banana and toffee with some ice cream. Very tasty, but alas not very photogenic.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Black Arts

I popped along to the Lakeside Arts Centre today to see an exhibition of some of L.S Lowry's early work, before he got into paining matchstalk men and matchstalk cats and dogs. There quite a few paintings of scenes around his home town of Salford and Manchester with no people in them at all, including some depicting derelict houses. It was dusk when I left the gallery, so I took various photos of the building and some of Highfields lake which is situated across the road.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Night Dancing

Here's the outside of the Castle pub and environs, including the statue of Robin Hood. I do like taking photos at night and converting them to monochrome. Besides looking nice, it also hides any noise. The wet pavement also adds to the atmosphere I think.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Ladies That Lunch

I was an adopted lady that lunches today, as I went for lunch at a local pub with five co-workers who just happen to be women. The pub isn't too far from the office, so we had plenty of time for a chat. I certainly wouldn't call it gossip, as I'm not that sort of guy!

Most of the interest appeared to be in some electronic cigarettes that two of them were using to help them stop smoking. Somehow water vapour comes out of the end which makes it look like real smoke. Apparently you can get various sorts of 'tobacco', including apple and menthol. The packet they come in serves as a battery charger too. An interesting device, which seemed to be cheaper than the real thing, which must be good for your wallet as well as your health.

Alas three of the gang had to go back to work earlier than the rest of us as they were on staggered breaks, so the sofa opposite me had become vacant. So I took this still life of the table we had used.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Lion In Winter

Today is of course Headbanger Wednesday, and it has been Tom's turn to chose the subject. He's gone for 'look at this (add your own word) animal. My word is 'famous'.

So what's famous about this stone lion you might think. Well in Nottingham, everyone knows the 'left lion'. There's even a magazine named after him. The left lion is famous for being the spot where everyone meets up before going to the pub or cinema etc. It's been like that since the 1920s when the square was first opened. Even I've met up with people there, including Gail down the years. You should see it at weekends and in the summer, there are so many people standing there, if feels like it's a bus stop! There is of course another identical one at the other side of the entrance to the Council House. But for some unknown reason it sadly doesn't get as much attention as the left one.

Please pop over and see how the rest of the gang are showing Tom's theme, and do enjoy this suitable piece of music.

Today has been a bit warmer, but dull. I was hoping to find another animal orientated photo for you today, but alas nothing came along. So as an antidote to this grim time of the year, here's a little spring lamb that I took last year. Something to remind you that the warmer weather is hopefully on it's way.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Frozen Greens

Another icy morning. So I took a shot of this frost sprinkled hedging in our garden.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Shadow Dancing

Although it has been very cold today, it was also very sunny. So I spent my lunchtime walking around looking for light and shadow shots. I noticed this one, as the sun was just shining between some tall buildings, so it just gave just a fairly narrow shaft of light. I waited to see if a suitable person would walk through the light in just the right spot. I'm quite happy with the shot, although there's always the idea that it could have been better. But I only have an hour for lunch, unlike famous photographers like Cartier-Bresson, who could spend their day walking around and waiting for as long as they like.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

From Russia With Love

Here's another shot of Gemma. This time doing a variation of the classic Christine Keeler pose. For those that don't know, or have forgotten, Christine Keeler was a showgirl and model in the early 1960s. She had an affair with both a Russian spy and a Government minister at the same time. One which caused a lot of problems for the Government as she was possibly passing secrets and cost the job of the war minister, a John Profumo. The story was made into a film called Scandal in 1989, of which there is a Nottingham connection, in that the court scenes were in fact filmed at the magistrates' courts in the Lace Market. What is now the Galleries of Justice.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Modelling The Future

I don't know how many of you have heard of, or actually use Groupon, but they are a company that email daily deals throughout the country. Each major city has it's own deal, but of course you are not limited to your own town's deal. So a few weeks ago I was scanning the deals and found an interesting one for Birmingham. A day's shooting in a photographic studio. Learning about lighting and taking photos of models. I asked Gail if she was interested. She said yes, and so today we drove over to the West Midlands and our adventure in a studio.

The drive over to Birmingham was uneventful until we got to Spaghetti Junction. We got lost a couple of times, as the roads changed quicker than the Sat Nav could direct us. But we got there around thirty minutes later than we would have liked. The studio was located in a building that used to possibly be a factory. We went up some very narrow metal stairs. I opened a door and almost sent a girl flying, as there was a make-up demonstration going on, and someone was sat right near the main door! I apologised and opened another door and went into the studio. The studio itself was one room, and above us a rock band was rehearsing, and the noise and vibration was deafening on occasions.

There was about fourteen of us in all. The photographer was a young trendy looking guy with gelled back hair. He took us trough the basis, and used himself as the model to start with, while we got used to using manual mode and the effects of the lights. After lunch the model called Gemma arrived with her mother. A pretty, seventeen year old who was just starting out on her modelling career. James the photographer selected a couple of outfits from the suitcase of clothes that Gemma had bought along. We then took it in turns to shoot her in different ways and with different lighting effects. Here's one that I took during the shoot.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Shell Sleep

Passing the window of a fancy bed shop on Castle Boulevard, I was amazed to see this very unusual style of bed. Definitely one for deep sea divers or Neptune and his wife. Imagine sleeping inside this oyster shaped bed and waking up and seeing the shell shaped headboard. Not sure how I would feel. I do know one woman who would love such a bed though. Her name is Pearl!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Belated Birthday Greetings

Gail's birthday was at the end of December. Unfortunately she didn't have a brilliant day as she wasn't very well, and we had to pay a visit to the hospital. So her birthday wasn't as good as I would have liked for her. And I do owe her a present or two, as she didn't really know what she wanted.

She's better now and back to normal. Thanks for asking. My local Marks and Spencer's was having a final clearance sale today. Prices had been really slashed to get rid of the stock. There wasn't that much left either. Roaming through the shelves of items that had been marked down, I came across two items that I thought would make great presents for my darling wife.

The little pink figure is actually a USB connector. I thought it would make a super little present as she loves pink and always needs some extra USB connections. The white box is a radio as you may have guessed. But not just any radio. It is a DAB one, that includes Iphone/iPod port and the ability to stream music wirelessly from a computer. The original price was expensive, but the store had knocked about 80% off, so it was too good an offer to refuse. I just hope it produces lifelike sound.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sands Of Time

Stewart has picked this weeks' Headbanger Challenge, and he's gone for 'photographing the photographers'. Now I have a number of such shots in my library, including one of myself. Something I am sure you don't want to see. So I have gone for this shot of an Asian lady posing for the camera. Whether the photographer is her husband or a very good friend, remains to be seen. It's an interesting pose, but I think I would have put the carrier bags down before striking a pose.

I've been struggling again to find subjects to photograph. At least the market and fair has now been taken away from the Old Market Square, so hopefully something new will appear before too long. I did come across this sandstone wall that has been eroded away through the weather, chemicals in the air and of course time itself. Somehow I think it looks like a piece of cake with a vanilla cream filling.

Please pop over to the gangs' pages and see how they have seen the theme and enjoy this bit of photographic related music.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tuesday Tidy-up

Here's last week's photo that I entered in the Headbanger Challenge. It was my choice too; new beginnings. A spider building his new home. Alas I didn't win. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. Come back Wednesday evening to see the entries.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Rock With Gok

Gail's been reading a book at the moment too. It's the autobiography of Gok Wan, the well know TV fashion guru. She is a big fan of his, and loves his shows on the television. I bumped into him once when I was in Birmingham for the day. He was filming one of his programmes, and I managed to say hello and get his autograph for Gail. My used rail ticket.
He had quite a hard teenage life as he was overweight and was bullied a lot at school. He then went to learn to be an actor, but found an interest in fashion, which was more suited to him.
The book was a Christmas present from me, and she's found it unputdownable. In fact while I am typing this entry, Gail's just handed the tome to me and said "completed". Three hundred and sixty pages in a little under three days.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Last Book What I Read

I've just finished reading the latest book by film director and well known food critic Michael Winner. It's more stories about his clashes with move stars and reviews (not always kind) for the Sunday Times of some of the best hotels and restaurants in the world. His most famous film is Death Wish, although he has made many since then, but none after about 1999. Although he did make some TV adverts for an insurance company a few years ago with the catch phrase "Calm down dear, it's only a commercial. He is often outspoken about things, which doesn't always go down well in certain quarters, but his books are a good read, and full of famous names that he has worked with. I follow his Twitter page, which is always amusing to read, just like his books.

Saturday, 7 January 2012


A photo from the archive, but only taken last month. I just happened to notice the little boy staring into space whilst I was waiting for the tram to go past, and so I quickly took a shot. Not sure if the reflections of the surrounding buildings help or hinder it.
You are most welcome to say yes or no. Also would it be better in monochrome, or is it OK in colour?

Friday, 6 January 2012

Stony Faces And Hard Fruit

Thanks to my new Tamron zoom lens I was able to get a decent close up of this frieze on the side of a old former factory situated on the quaintly named Hollowstone in the Lace Market. There's quite a lot going on in the picture. The man's face I believe to be that of the Green Man; a religious figure from Pagan times.This ties in with the display of fruit and nuts running down the sides. Although some of the nuts look more like hand grenades. I'm not sure what the three lions represent. Protection for the building perhaps, or part of the coat of arms of the architect or building owner.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Puddle Pattern

Hooray, a day without any rain. So I was able to give my camera an airing. I had a walk around the Lace Market. Alas nothing really new to see. Although I did bump into a former co-worker who had recently retired just before Christmas. She and her hubby had just been to a 'pensioner special' film screening at the Broadway cinema and were on their way home.
As there were plenty of puddles around today, I took this shot of some of the Victorian lace buildings reflected in the water. Although the wind has been strongly blowing all day long, fortunately there isn't too many ripples in the pool to disturb the view.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Wet And Windy

I have the honour this week of picking the Headbanger Challenge theme and I've gone for 'new beginnings'. Unashamedly influenced by the start of 2012. But I didn't want to go with new year itself, as it would have been a bit limiting and the gang may have just posted photos of the January page of their calendar or diary.

My version of new beginnings is of this spider undertaking the construction of its new web. It always amazes me how they manage to build their webs. All those fine lines of silk weaved into a uniform wheel shape that is relatively strong and only gets broken when idiots like me walk by and accidentally knock it apart. I wonder how it knows the correct shape to build? Why it doesn't decide to make a square or triangle for a change. Why a load of spiders don't get together and have a web building competition. See who can build the highest or longest. Or if they did one on top of another, like an apartment block. Would there be a fight as to who got the penthouse suite?

Don't forget to scuttle across to the other team members' pages and see what they have come up with for the theme, and enjoy this unusual, but catchy piece of music.

Today it only rained when I was leaving work, which makes a change. And just a gentle shower too, not like the monsoon we had yesterday. The wind is still around though. The amount of fallen twigs and branches along the cycle-track made it more like an obstacle race than a road. Cycling down near the castle, I decided to stop and take some photos of the coal black road reflecting the lights, with the North Star ride glowing in the distance. My first proper photo of 2012.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tuesday Tidy-up

Another terrible day weatherwise for photography. Almost continual rain all day and high winds. The perfect conditions for not taking your camera out unless it is waterproof. So I am posting my header photo from last week, which managed to get me the silver.

Talking of the Headbanger Challenge. Tomorrow is Wednesday and the date for the next challenge. So come back in 24 hours and see what the theme is going to be.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Another Day Over

It has been a fairly cold but sunny day today. And hooray, no rain. Which is surprising for a Bank Holiday. So I managed to have a potter about in the garden, pruning dead plants, planting some daffodil bulbs and replanting two bay trees that Gail bought a few weeks ago. So this meant that I took no photos again. This means that I am having to use another shot from Saturday night.
This one is of one of the many cafes that have sprung up along the high road in recent years. What surprises me is that they all seem to be thriving and that there are always lots of people milling around with cups of coffee and pieces of cake. You wouldn't think that there is a recession on, or that people are cutting back on unnecessary spending.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Man Of Stone

When we left the wine bar last night, I suggested that we have a little walk along the high road, so Gail could cool down a bit. It wasn't that cold and it had stopped raining, so we did. There weren't that many people about. So we just about had the area to ourselves. We looked in a few shop windows. I took a few photos, including this one of the Beeman; Beeston's icon.

After doing my last blog entry of 2011 I noticed that for some reason I didn't do an entry for the last day of May. I have no idea why, as I always try to create an entry for the day, even if I don't write it until the following day. I can't remember being ill or on holiday. So alas it is one short of the full 365. This year of course there will be 366 days to do. Let's hope I can find enough topics to blog about.