Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Dave has chosen this week's Headbanger Challenge. And being the first February 29th for four years, almost predictably then he has gone for 'leap'.
When I first saw the theme I instantly thought of frogs. Unfortunately it's too early in the year for the amphibians. We do get several in the garden, and for the past few years, our pond has been full of spawn and then tadpoles. It amazes me how they manage to climb out of the pond and hop away to all corners of the garden.
Another thought was of trying to get a shot of Marmalade leaping off the stair-rail and onto my desk. It always amazes me how he manages to tight-walk along the narrow ledge without falling off and tumbling down the stairs and ending up in a heap in the hallway! Fortunately it has not happened up to yet and his nine lives are still in tact.
So instead I've found this shot of a motorcyclist leaping in the air and almost over the Council House a couple of summers ago, when some stunt motorcyclists gave a demonstration in the Old Market Square. It's not something that I have ever fancied doing. In fact I don't even fancy riding a motorbike. I'm far too much of a coward to do such things, and I don't like travelling fast, unless I'm in an airliner going somewhere sunny.
Today's blog post is more like it. Sitting in a pub with a pint of real ale and reading the newspaper or chatting to friends etc. For some reason this guy reminds me of the author and playwright Alan Bennett. I don't know if it is the tweed jacket, the short back and sides or the glasses. Whoever he is, I'm sure that his at peace with the world.
For more leaping shots from the other Headbangers, please pop over to their pages and enjoy this piece of music from those heady, carefree days of the late 1960s.
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Here is the entry from last week's Headbanger Challenge. The theme was blue, and this old Volvo P1800 was just in the right place at the right time. It managed to bag me the silver. If you want to read more, then please have a look at the entry for last Wednesday, Feb 22.
Monday, 27 February 2012
The Occupy Nottingham camp, or Tent City, as it is known has been given orders to leave the Old Market Square by the city council within the next week. They have been there since October. Around 135 days ago. Which must be one of the longest protests of its kind still running. I don't know what effect it has had on tourism though, as people walk by this ramshackle camp that wouldn't look out of place in the middle of a forest or on a desert island.
For those that don't know, the group, and there are lots across the world are demonstrating against government cuts, the finance sector money blunders and the 1% of the worlds population that hold all the money and power. I don't know if it has done any good. The sceptic in me says no. But at least it has publicised the situation in the world. Not that things are likely to change anytime soon, unless there is a revolution across the globe. But that's not likely to happen, and the status quo will remain in place, with the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer.
I took this shot the other day, as I was amused to see this jug of daffodils. A touch of spring colour amongst the rag tag tents and general squalor.
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Whilst I was lunching with the ladies on Friday, I noticed this little scene being played out in the street. The two traffic wardens have obviously eyed up this Mini for a ticket, and the owner has just appeared as the ticket is being written out.
The fact that the owner is looking at her mobile phone must mean that she has gone over the time that she has paid for. Whether it is a few minutes or not, those boys in yellow clearly have another 'kill' on their hands and a fine for the driver. If she is only a couple of minutes late, I wouldn't think that they would be lenient, as parking fines are a big profitable business in the city centre, like most other places up and down the country. I don't know how much the council raked in last year, but I bet it was into millions of pounds.
Saturday, 25 February 2012
As some of my long time followers will know, tomorrow is my birthday and wedding anniversary. 49 and 6, if you were wondering. And that way round too, otherwise it would be mathematically impossible for either of us!
For a treat, we went to Jamie's Italian, which opened about six or seven months ago. The meal was free too, as at Christmas I won a raffle that was organised by the Paul Smith shops to raise money for the local Maggie's hospital, and one of the prizes was a meal at Jamie Oliver's restaurant.
Unfortunately Jamie wasn't in charge of the stove, but the chef they had employed did a lovely job of cooking the food that was on the menu. The restaurant was busy, and everyone was having a good time and tucking into their plates. The Liverpudlian waiter (Chris) we had serving us was very good. Just as a waiter should be. Attentive, but not imposing. He fully deserved the tip I gave him.
I would just like take this opportunity to wish my darling wife a happy anniversary and a big thank you for six wonderful years, full of up's and downs, good times and bad. And also for putting up with my blogging, which I know you see as a bit of an obsession. Mind you, I've had to put up with your handbags and cosmetics. So it works both ways!
Friday, 24 February 2012
Lunchtime food treat today with a couple of ladies from the office. We went to a new place that recently opened called Brown's. I mentioned on this blog a few weeks ago that some builders were converting an empty Victorian building into a new restaurant. Well today I sampled the result. I missed the actual opening, as I was away in Rye. So it has been a little while coming.
I'd also heard a few negative reviews from some co-workers who had been there before, who had said that the food wasn't very good or wasn't cooked properly. So I was a bit apprehensive in one respect, but was looking forward to seeing the inside, as I heard lots of favourable reports about the decor.
Well I can happily say that both my lunch and the surroundings were both delicious. I had some kiln smoked salmon pate on toast with some watercress, and for pudding I opted for a bowl of fruit with Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey. My compatriots had the same. Here's a photo of what a part of the brasserie looks like. I think it will be a favourite haunt of ours from now on. In fact we have already arranged a lunch next month already.
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Well, what a scorcher today. I couldn't believe how warm and sunny it was. And we're still in February. I wondered whether to go out without my coat at lunchtime. But decided to stay safe, and keep it on, but go without my jumper instead. There were quite a few people out in shirtsleeves etc. I don't know how long it will last though.
My walk today took me to the lace market area. And while I was walking through the grounds of St Mary's Church, I stumbled upon, to misquote Wordsworth, a host of golden crocuses. And a few purple ones too. So I just had to take a few photos from different angles, and trying not to tread on the soil or nearby gravestone.
I hope the good weather continues for as long as possible. Although the doom-mungers are worried about a drought this summer. Just hope it doesn't hit ice cream and real ale production.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
The cold weather must have got to Tom this week, as he has chosen 'blue' as the theme for this week's Headbanger Challenge.
Ah, I thought, a deceptively simple topic to interpret. But one that has many pitfalls. Will a photo of the sky or sea seem somewhat of a cliche? But then I'm happy to go with the flow. Of course I tried to but a bit of creative spin on it, and so I was going to use this photo of one of my shirts drying on the washing line in the sun. Yes, the sun. It actually paid us all a visit. And on a Sunday too! Whatever next? It might actually decide to stay for more than one day and the temperature might actually rise a bit, so I can put my scarf away.
But then today I was walking close to the Theatre Royal and I saw this classic car from the 1960s. A Volvo P1800, in blue no less. Many people will remember Roger Moore driving one when he played the Saint on TV. His of course was in white. So I've decided to go with this one, as I was just fated to see it. When I'm walking around town in my lunch hour, I have no set plan, other than firstly going to the Old Market Square; to see if there is anything going off there. Then it's just where my feet decide to take me. Sometimes I see something, sometimes I don't. On this occasion, and like yesterday, I did.
To see what the other members of the team have come up with, do pop over to their pages and have a look and possibly leave a message. Also enjoy this piece of music by Blue Rodeo and shot in glorious black and white.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I came across a camera crew at lunchtime doing some filming at a cafe near The Cornerhouse. Of course I asked what it was all about. Aparently it's students from the National Film School and they are making a short film about this young girl who scams people by making out that she has received some dreadful news and has no money to go to see them. So people in the cafe have a whip round and she collects the money and makes her escape.
When I was there, they were filming a chap lighting a cigarette standing outside the cafe, whilst the girl is sitting in the window. Not very exciting, but I'm sure it means something to the film makers.
Monday, 20 February 2012
I bought this die cast model van from the good old pound shop, for, yes you guessed it a quid. It's quite big too. Made for collectors, rather than for grubby little boys to roll around in the soil with. There were a couple of other vehicles in this Michelin collection, and I bought a black Peugeor 202 as well. I'm not sure how many there are in the set. But I am happy with just the two. Apparently they were made for a part-work of some kind. Probably in France, so might be quite rare in this country. Shame the magazine wasn't attached.
Sunday, 19 February 2012
Although it was quite sunny yesterday afternoon, it was also very windy. We have one of those child's windmill toys in the garden and it was whirling round that fast, that I'm sure it could have produced electricity if it was wired up to the National Grid!
Anyway, I saw a photo opportunity, as all the colours were merging into one, so I fired off a few shots. I think this was the most successful. I took it with the 50mm lens. For the technically minded amongst you, it was taken at f/18 at 1/30th second
Saturday, 18 February 2012
This is Newdigate House on Castle Gate. It was built in the late 17th century and is presently a very posh restaurant called World Service. But in the 1700's it was used as a prison. The prisoner was a Marshal Tallard who was defeated during one of the many wars with the French. He was housed there and became a model prisoner. He is best remembered for introducing celery into the country and teaching people how to grow roses.
Friday, 17 February 2012
Thursday, 16 February 2012
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
It's my turn this week to get the headbanging team to test out their photographic theme for the weekly challenge. I've gone for 'Let's Get Out of Here'. I'm not sure if it is a song title, but other than that I'm not quite sure where the idea came from.
My photo shows Oscar high tailing it out of the range of my Nikon as I was shooting his antics in the garden earlier this month. He's a very photogenic kitty and doesn't mind me taking his photo even in some of his most oddest of poses. Remember him hiding under the carpet from a couple of weeks back?
But even the most professional of models know when they have had enough and often flounce off the set or from the studio. Looks like Oscar maybe joining the ranks of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.
Do please pop along and see how the other musketeers have interpreted my idea, and enjoy this feline song.
Today's photo is the complete antithesis of beauty, namely in the form of dog muck. The City Council have just put up a series of posters highlighting the amount of money it costs to keep the streets clean of graffiti, litter etc. This is fair enough, but this particular poster has come in for a bit of criticism for its unpleasantness and how it might affect tourism. Treading in the stuff though might just have the same effect.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Monday, 13 February 2012
Sunday, 12 February 2012
Here's my Nikon brother, Stewart, taking aim with his camera at some cloud shapes in the sky. I couldn't resist in taking this photo, as I was amused at how he is holding his camera. Anyone would think it was a simple point and shoot, rather than a professional DSLR!
Please pop over to his blog "Photo's from the Mind's Eye" as he is presently showing some photos of his trip to Nottingham, the Light Night event and being in the company of Gail and I. You may also like to look at some of his older entries, as he has a great site, full of shots from his many holidays abroad, local flora and fauna and some artistic creations he has when so taken.
Saturday, 11 February 2012
Stewart and his DW popped round to our house this afternoon for a cup of tea and a chat. Whilst Gail and Julie stayed in and had a good old girlie chat, himself and I went for a walk along the local canal. With our cameras of course. The Nikon Brothers strike again!
Stewart was quite focussed on the steam coming out of the chimneys from the power station, and took quite a lot of shots. So expect to see one or two photos on his super blog later this week.
Amongst the photos that I took, here is one of the sun setting over the water and a canal boat owner looking on as the golden ball disappears from the sky for another twelve hours.
Friday, 10 February 2012
Tonight was the yearly extravaganza in Nottingham that is called Light Night. This year Stewart (iMac) and his wife Julie popped up from Grantham for the weekend. Besides coming to see us and the show, they were planning to see his son who lives here and is in a local band called Red Shoe Diaries who were playing at the Contemporary.
Light Night this year seemed a little subdued. I don't know if it was due to the financial restrictions that are still around, or the very, very cold weather. It was around minus 3 last night, and didn't everyone know it as scarves, hats, thick coats and gloves were abound.
We met up in the Old Market Square, as everyone does and then went for some food at a local hostelry before seeing what was on offer. Some artists were trying to project shapes and films onto the front of the Council House, but seem to be having a lot of trouble lining up the projector with the building. The visit to the castle was a bit more successful, as there were a couple of illuminated Daleks and a Tardis on show next to the statue of Robin Hood. They were drawing quite a crowd. Which just goes to show how popular Doctor Who is with everyone. Here are the Daleks looking menacing and waiting to exterminate Robin Hood. Maybe the Doctor will pop out of his ship and save our favourite outlaw.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
As I mentioned yesterday, I visited the Kelvingrove museum and art gallery primarily to see the AC/DC exhibition. But of course I had a good look round the many exhibits on show. And I was quite amazed that there was so much to look at. Apparently they have 8000 exhibits available. They even had a real Spitfire hanging from the ceiling. And the best part is that it is completely free to go in. Which is how all such buildings should be.
As you may remember, I posted a photo of a mummy last week as my Headbanger Challenge entry. Well here's a real one on display in their Egyptian corner. It is that of a female called Ankhesnefer, who died 2,500 years ago in Thebes. According to X rays, she was middle age when she died, but not of natural causes.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
A warm welcome back to Dave this week after his education sabbatical for the last few weeks. He's picked the theme for this week too - garden birds.
Now being extremely cold and with snow around, I've not seen that many of our feathered friends in our garden at the moment. Although we don't get that many these days anyway, mostly pigeons, magpies and sparrows. Although the number of sparrows has declined over the last few years. We have a hedge that was once teeming with sparrows, now it's virtually silent. So nothing really exciting to show you and a photo that might earn me the gold. So I was doing a bit of blue sky thinking, which was quite apt considering the subject, and thought that depending on where ones garden was would dictate what birds visited it. So looking through my photo archive I came across this super seagull who lives in Monte Carlo. I bet he's visited quite a few gardens in Monaco in search of some tasty snacks.
I do love the sound of seagulls, and when I hear their call I am instantly transported to the seaside. Sunny days sitting on the beach and eating an ice cream. A 99 of course, with an extra Flake. I have seen a few seagulls over at my local park, even though the sea is some 70 miles away from here. But they have travelled further in-land over the years in that constant search for food and a more varied diet than chips.
Don't forget to visit the rest of the gangs' pages to see what feathered friend they have decided to show you and enjoy this groovy tune from the late 1960s.
Music is also the subject of today's blog post. Whilst in Glasgow I read that there was a special exhibition of AC/DC memorabilia on at a local museum. The only location in the UK that would be showing it. So of course being a rocker at heart I just had to go. Gail was getting her nails done ready for the wedding, so I was able to go on my own and soak up the rocking atmosphere. There was plenty of artefacts on show including clothing, album covers, tour posters etc. Of course there was a poster up saying 'no photography', and of course I ignored it and took a few on the sly. Here's one of them, a gigantic 100 Dollar bill with Angus Young's grinning face. Angus of course was born in Glasgow and founder of the hard rockin band.
Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Here is my gold winning photo from last Wednesday's Headbanger Challenge. The theme was 'simply light' and picked by Stewart.
Do pop back tomorrow to see the entries for the new theme of 'garden birds', courtesy of Dave.
Monday, 6 February 2012
Although Scotland is famed for getting a lot of snow each year, Glasgow completely missed out on the fall that the rest of the UK had experienced over the weekend. Sure it was cold. But nothing too harsh to stop us walking around the city. We left last night and flew back to the East Midlands Airport. No problems with the landing, retrieving our cases etc and by 9pm we were back home, saying hello to Marmalade and Oscar and tucking into a big bowl of porridge each, as we were both quite hungry and wanted something warm and filling.
We bought some miniature bottles of liquor at Glasgow Airport's duty free shop. Gail wanted to try some Indian gin with Russian tonic water, as her sister had said how nice it was. They had a big bottle on sale for £16. But it was a bit too much to shell out on something that neither of us might like. But I spotted some sample bottles on offer at three for two. So we made a selection before boarding the plane.
So this morning we got our first proper look in the daylight at the amount of snow that had fallen over the last few days. I then had the idea of taking a photo of the miniature bottles of booze sitting in the snow, cooling down ready to drink. Cheers!
Sunday, 5 February 2012
Today we went for a stroll along the River Clyde. Once famous as a shipbuilding area, where the QE2 and the Royal Yacht Britannia were built. Alas that has all gone now. Instead new buildings are springing up and the area is being publicised for recreation and entertainment. There are still remnants of the former industry dotted about, like this giant crane that was built in the 1930s. There is another one further down the river called the Titan that has opened as a tourist attraction. Where you can climb 150 feet up to the top and look across the city. Alas we didn't have time to go and see it. Maybe on our next visit.
The other shape you can see is the Clyde Arc Bridge, that was opened six years ago. I think there's quite a good juxtaposition between the old and the new and straight lines and curves. Both feats of engineering and both parts of the history of the river.
Saturday, 4 February 2012
The wedding was taking place at the House for an Art Lover, a few miles from Glasgow. An art nouveau masterpiece that just yells Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We were really looking forward to the wedding in such an amazing venue, and I was hoping to get some great shots of the house etc, besides the bride and groom. Unfortunately it was tipping it down with rain, so this made going outside almost impossible. Especially as I was in my finery and under strict instructions to be on my best behaviour. So possibly getting my clothes dirty was not an option.
The wedding itself went very well, with no hitches or problems. Most of the men were in kilts. Gail teased me about wanting me to be in one. Maybe I should have, as some of the tartans I saw didn't look too bad. Not sure about a sporran though. Not really big enough to hold a camera! The bride of course looked great. I've not met either the bride or groom before. But they were lovely and very friendly.
We had a nice meal in the main room, then there was some dancing and merriment in the cafe area downstairs. I was surprised how big the space was, as there must have been about 80 of us altogether. I had a couple of pints of Scottish real ale, which was very tasty. I must see if I buy some here. I had a couple of dances with Gail. Although my dancing skills are about nil. Still she put up with it, and I didn't tread on her toes once!
We left at around midnight, after a roaring rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Which I thought was a bit strange, as it wasn't January the first. Here is a shot of the top of the wedding cake, and some very stylised renditions of the bride and groom.
Friday, 3 February 2012
It was a very dark and cold journey that Gail and I made this morning to the East Midlands Airport. We left home at a ridiculous hour and at minus 6*c to catch an early flight to Glasgow, as we are attending the wedding of one of Gails' nephews. We had thought about driving there, but it would take all day. And with the high price of fuel that it is at the moment, flying was a viable option. Also of course this meant more time to spend in Scotland's cultural capital.
Here is a shot of the sun coming up whilst we were airbourne. The flight itself only took about an hour, but was delayed as the ground staff were busy with de-icer and a scraper in an atempt to make the plane airworthy.
Glasgow seems to be a very cosmopolitan city with plenty of things to see and do. We are only here for three days. So we may have to come up again sometime to take in more of the sights.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Our Oscar is a right little scamp. He just loves to play about and entertain us with his antics. Running around the house and getting into all sorts of mischief. Nothing naughty though, which is a good thing. We sometimes have to tell him off though, especially when he tries to tease Marmalade, or steal his food.
Gail called me the other day to come quickly to the living room as Oscar was doing something very unusual. Somehow he had scrambled under the fireside rug and made himself a home. It's quite a big, heavy rug too, 100% wool.
As he looked such a comical sight, I just had to take a photo of him for posterity.
Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Another change this week as Stewart has chosen the Headbanger Challenge in place of Dave, who is busy being intelligent for a change, rather than messing around with a camera.
So what has Imac chosen for his theme this week? He's gone for 'simply light'.
My instant first though was that of a tub of margarine. But that's not a very exciting photo to show people and would never have got the gold. So instead I've gone for this rather unusual shot of a mummy that I came across in the junk shop at Rye.
Now my thinking for this photo is that the original body when embalmed, lost a lot of weight through the process of removing the person's insides and then the body was dried for about two months in a vat of salt. After it is just wrapped in bandages, it would be simply light. And of course being over four thousand years helps as well, as more decay can take place. Now mummy's are classic horror film characters, as they march around trying to kill people with their bandaged hands. The most famous being Boris Karloff's 1932 offering, which could be acknowledged as the first one. Influenced of course by the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922.
Please pop over to the other gang's pages to see how they have interpreted the theme, and enjoy this great piece of comedy music.
Today's blog is also influenced by the theme. In fact I was thinking of using it as the main photo. Another one taken in the junk shop. A lovely model of an early attempt at manned flight. It's a wonderful shade of red and would look great on a bookshelf with other aeroplane models, or on the desk of someone involved in the aviation industry.