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Monday, 30 September 2013


One of the advantages of a flyover closed to traffic, is that you can walk about and see what life is like from upon high.

This shot shows part of the Dunkirk roundabout. To the left is one of the car parks belonging to the hospital, whilst to the right is land where the former fire station once stood, before moving to Beeston.

The road ahead is one of the major routes into the city centre. It eventually joins onto Castle Boulevard, which leads to the castle and Broad Marsh.

Not much traffic about, but then I did take it at about 3am, yesterday morning.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bridging The Gap

For the last few months engineers have been building a giant steel bridge at the side of the Queens Medical Centre hospital. It has been designed to go over the very busy A52 and will carry the new tramline from the city centre to Beeston, which as I've been showing you lately, is a bit of a bombsite at the moment.

As Gail works at the hospital, she was told when the bridge was going to be moved. Of course the press got to know too, so there has been a bit of a buzz around the event which happened last night between 8pam and 6am this morning.

We both wanted to see the event, but sadly, it clashed with a long standing dinner invitation, and we couldn't let Rupert and Kay down, especially as they are the Disco Prophets.

So we stopped off enroute to see what was happening. A small audience had started to gather, but the A52 was still open. So we left and went off to Sherwood, where the Disco Prophets live.

We Returned to Dunkirk and the QMC and were shocked and disappointed that the bridge had been moved into place, but hadn't been lowered into position yet. All the engineers were looking at the position of the bridge in relation to its final resting place. Minute adjustments kept taking place.

The bridge had been transported on two giant remotely controlled platforms, each one having 96 wheels. Which you clearly need with the structure weighing in at a mighty 1000 tonnes.

The bridge had been raised on some sort of elevator contraption, which blocks of metal were slotted in as the lifting device (one at each corner) pushed the bridge up the 19 metres to meet the supports.

It was strange not seeing any cars going over the Dunkirk flyover. Instead people were walking, cycling and playing on the busy dual carriageway. Gail and I had a walk up to the top ourselves. Certainly got a different perspective of the surrounding area.

We stayed out till gone 3am. The bridge had finally been lowered into position. And the construction crew posed for a team photograph.

The giant loaders were then driven away very slowly. They looked like one of the vehicles that appeared in Thunderbirds. It seemed odd seeing them being driven like a radio controlled car, rather than a man sitting in a cab. I suppose it is done for safety. Just in case the load topples over or something.

I'm not an advocate of the tram for various reasons, but I have to admire the technical skills in building and placing the bridge. They just have to paint it now. Just to make it a little more pleasing to look at. Rather than the dull grey that it is at the moment.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

It's A Dog's Life

We popped over to Arnot Hill Park today to shoot some publicity photographs for the Carlton Male Voice Choir.

Being a private shoot, I won't be putting any photos on here. So instead here's a photo of a spaniel that is enjoying a spot of sunbathing, whilst comfortably sprawled out on his mistresses' legs.

We stopped and chatted to the owner, who told us that she had started to get cramp, as he had been laid like that for some time, and she didn't want to move as he looked so relaxed.

Oh what us pet owners do for our animals.

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Mixed Bag

It certainly has been an unusual day photography wise. The second Great Notts Show started today in the Old Market Square. I went down at lunchtime to see what was on offer. There were a lot of food stalls and people selling goods of all descriptions. Many I have seen in the Square before.

I noticed that there was a big marquee, so I popped my head in to see what was going on inside. It had been set up for cooking demonstrations. And there getting ready for his talk on making sausages, was well known and award winning local butcher Johnny Pusztai. I knew who it was, as I had read my friend Phil's food blog the other day, and he had written about meeting Johnny in his shop in Sherwood. Here's a WEBLINK to Phil's site, so you can read all about it yourself.

Almost every day I look in the window of a camera shop to see if they are selling any second hand Olympus lenses. On my way there, I saw some people doing all sorts of strange things in the name of art. The group were called Little Wolf Parade. One of the less bizarre 'acts' was this girl who would keep your secret for 10p.

It had been a very warm and sunny day today, so cycling home I decided to ride through Highfields and see if I could get a shot of the sunset over the lake.  I quite like the cloud formation, which almost looks like a giant bird flying through the sky.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

My Sweetheart

There's a new sweetsop opened in Beeston recently and I popped in the other day to see what was on offer; especially as they were only charging 59p for 100 grams.

It was a real pick n mix affair, where you collect a bowl and a scoop at the door and then walk around looking at all the treats on offer in compartments. I selected a number of different sweets. Just one or two, so I could get a good selection. White mice, bon bons, chocolate drops and then I came across some coated heart shaped candies.

Of course I had to select a couple for my special sweetheart Gail. When I got home I said that I had bought her a treat, and handed over the small white bag of sweets. She quickly started eating them, and so decided to take a photo of the last heart before Gail popped it into her mouth to join the rest of the sweeties.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Last Bus To Ilkeston

A vintage bus from circa 1965 painted in the old Midland General bus company colours.
The company doesn't exist anymore, so the only way to see such vehicles is at transport shows. I took this at the recent heritage day event at the old Barton's bus depot.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Day And Night

I did some market research tonight about mortgages and the location was the top floor of the Britannia Hotel on Maid Marian Way.

I arrived there at around 6pm, and finished just after 7.30, and you can tell that the nights are really drawing in now, as you can see the lights of the building glowing in the dark.

Shame about the bit of reflection in the bottom picture. I tried to block all the light out from the room, but it was quite difficult, as there were no curtains available, only a picture frame.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Arm Wrestling

Thought I would put on an abstract photo today. One from the ongoing demolition works in Beeston.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Battlefield

The battle is over for now. Bombs and bullets have been fired from both sides. Casualties have been reported and medical aid has been arranged.

The mist of spent weaponry drifts across cratered land. The smell of death and churned earth hangs heavy in the air.

Men sit in silence. Shocked at what they have witnessed and have to deal with since it began.

The opening lines of a new war novel perhaps, or a photo of one of the battles in Syria?

Well no. The writing is my own and the photo is actually of the tram works along University Boulevard. The 'smoke' is actually water, misted to keep the dust at bay.

The land does look like a bomb site though with holes everywhere, piles of earth and fencing by the mile. While Beeston itself has been compared to Beirut on many occasions now.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Sign Of The Times

This is possibly the biggest sign that I have ever seen. It went up earlier this week in the town where I live.

As I have written before, Beeston is presently undergoing some extensive construction work to build a new tramline. This has caused a lot of controversy, as many people think it is a waste of money. Especially as it is costing an enormous amount, some £570 million. Others have lost their homes, many, many trees have been cut down, and the shopkeepers on Chilwell High Road are worried about their livelihoods, as footfall along there has dropped off as the road has been cut off from traffic whilst it is being dug up.

Fortunately these shopkeepers are getting some compensation. Whether or not it is enough remains to be seen, especially as the road is remaining closed for probably another year.

So back to this giant sign. It has been fixed to the side of the former fire station, and the idea is that anyone seeing the sign (and who can miss it) will instantly head off in either direction and spend their money.

I hope it does have the desired effect, but I fear that many people are now starting to avoid the town, as I think there are less people about on a Saturday morning when I go shopping.

As you can probably gather, I'm not a fan of the idea and campaigned against it some years ago, but sadly to no avail.So we'll just have to see if it ends up a success or not.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Caged Beauty

We have had the decorator in this week. He has been busy in the hallway and front room. And at 80 years old, still surprisingly spritely. He finished the hall today and so Gail and I have been replacing some of the things that were in there, like the radiator cover and mirror etc.

Sometime ago Gail had bought this cabinet to house a very big candle, and was eager to place it in the hallway. Alas, she hasn't yet found a candle that she likes or is big enough, and so decided to put one of her large Betty Boop collectable figures in there instead.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Iron Giant

I've been going to London a few times this year, and every time I have tried to take a decent photograph of this statue which stands (or sits) outside the British Library.

It is of Sir Isaac Newton and was designed by Eduardo Paolozzi in 1995.

The statue is actually made of bronze and is based on a print by William Blake.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Read All About It

For a few weeks now I have been sending in some event photos to our local free newspaper. And they have been happy to print them.  I was very excited to see that one of my photos had made the front page of this week's issue, with another three on one of the inside pages, which were to do with the Festivals of Light show last week.

I am always delighted to see any of my photos in print, as you never know who may see it and might want me to do some photography for them.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Flying Lady

I came across a 'fake' Rolls Royce and Bentley wedding cars the other day, that were parked outside Beeston's church.

Chatting to one of the chauffeurs, he said that one was built on a Ford chassis, while the other had been constructed around a London taxi.

There haven't been that many weddings at the church this year, possibly due to the tramworks that are going on at present.

The route of the tram is going right past the church, so scenes like this one of wedding vehicles waiting for the new Mr and Mrs are sadly numbered, as I think they are actually metaphysically parked on a tramline.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Comedy On Four Wheels

Another shot of one of Bartons' vintage buses, on show during the heritage weekend.

This one was advertising a forthcoming comedy show at the former bus garage.

The title 'Tram-a-geddon' refers to the carnage that Beeston and Chilwell is currently experiencing as roads are closed or dug up, traffic cones everywhere, and long delays to traffic whilst they are building the new tramline.

The money raised through ticket sales will be going to Oxfam, through the Oxjam banner.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

All Is Safely Gathered In

I spent some time today collecting apples, blackberries, plums and rhubarb from our garden, and was pleasantly surprised how much I managed to harvest, considering that I don't really do anything to look after them.

The blackberry bushes just appeared and so I've just let them find their own way amongst the other bushes. The rhubarb just seems to spring up every year without fail, the apple tree is probably about 25 years old, but is a special variety as it doesn't grow very tall or wide. My late father bought it from an advert in a newspaper, and so it has been moved around a few times. The plum tree is a new addition to the garden, and only in its second year, so I was amazed that actually produced any fruit, especially as we had a fairly poor spring.

There is a rhubarb and blackberry crumble cooking in the oven as I am writing this. The apples and plums will probably be eaten raw, as Gail and I will take some to work to eat during the day. And very tasty I expect them to be.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

History On The Move

It's the national Heritage Open Day today, where buildings open their doors to the public that are usually shut.

So I popped along to the old Barton's bus depot, which has now become a bit of a museum to the bus company and they also stage events like concerts and art works.

It was quite interesting seeing the vehicles again, as I have visited the former depot quite a few times before. But I noticed one or two new vehicles in the collection, like this old fire engine above.

The towing vehicle above looks like it used to be a former army or RAF vehicle, especially with those big tyres.

Here's a couple of commercial vehicles; a tractor for pulling trailers and another recovery vehicle. A lot bigger than the previous tow truck, probably designed for rescuing double deckers.

There were also a few cars on show like this Ford Escort from the late 1960s with Bartons' Robin Hood logo on the front in flag form.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Festivals Of Light

The Festivals of Light is an annual entertainment put on by local dancers and entertainers.

They usually put on a parade first, but it was missing this year. Still there was plenty of things going on to keep the lunchtime audience amused. Like this scene of people dressed in newspaper suits being followed by dancers dressed as pigs carrying giant knives and forks for some reason.

After work some dancers appeared in rather skimpy costumes, but they had to put on those plastic ponchos that people tend to wear on water rides at theme parks, due to a shower of rain, which sadly meant less people stood to watch the show.

Some giant puppets also made a reappearance from lunchtime, like this orange one that must have been at least 10 foot tall.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Here's Looking At You Kid

A trip to IKEA at Kimberley today to look at some new furniture for the house.

During the long walk around the massive store, past bedrooms, living and kitchens, we ended up in lighting.

Now I was beginning to get a bit distracted, as I don't like shopping at the best of times, but to spend a couple of hours in a hot, windowless building was beginning to annoy me.

For some reason, someone had picked up this soft fabric doll from somewhere and plonked it down randomly on a shelf. So of course I had to take a photo!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ooh Heck!

No, this isn't one of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who, but a Jacob Epstein statue called Lucifer, and was cast in bronze in 1945.

Lucifer was an angel and after questioning the power of God, was banished to Hell.

This fine piece of art is on show at Birmingham's main museum.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Well the bulldozers have moved in to knock down one of Beeston's most well loved stores, Wilkinson's; or Wilko's as is affectionately known as.

The shop actually closed in April last year, and has stood empty ever since. Even though it could have remained open for at least a year.

I reported the closure at the time, and here is the LINK to the story.

Below is how the store looked before the death knell was finally rung.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Out Of The Blue

A trip to Birmingham today for a meeting. Afterwards I took a walk to the famous Selfridges building at the Bullring.

I've took the building a few times now, but this is the first time I've taken it using my OMD and the dramatic tone art filter.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

TV Does A&E

My local hospital, and the one where Gail works has been the subject of a television programme for Sky News.

For the last 24 hours, a couple of reporters have been doing live broadcasts from the QMC Hospital's Accident & Emergency department. Following the patients as they arrive after receiving all sorts of different injuries. Besides all the usual cuts and bruises, one woman was kicked in the face by a horse. I've always thought horses were evil creatures and then a man appeared from a wedding party who had cut his hand somehow while cutting the wedding cake. Could he not tell the difference?

We had to go into Nottingham today, so on our travels back, we stopped off at the hospital to see if we could see any of the filming going on. Alas not, but I did capture the mobile studio, which was parked near the entrance.

Construction work is continuing on the new tram line which includes a bridge through the hospital. Unfortunately it means the destruction of another bridge which links the main hospital block with the newer Treatment Centre.

I've never really studied this bridge before, as it's something that you think is going to be there forever, so as it's probably only got a few days of life left, I thought that I would do some close up shots. I think the outside has quite a sci fi look to it; like it is one of those airlock tubes that connect spaceships with space stations

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Well Then, How Does Your Garden Grow?

I visited a local allotment on Wollaton Road this afternoon, as they were having an open day. I've only been there once, and that was only a fleeting visit a couple of years ago, so this time I was determined to see what was on offer.

It's a pretty big allotment too. And I was surprised how big, with long grassed pathways dividing plots. There were a few stalls, including bric a brac, face painting and gardening tips. There was also refreshments on offer, and I bought a couple of big slices of home made chocolate cake, which I polished off at home, as I bought Gail a chunk too.

I spent a fascinating hour or so slowly walking around and looking for things to photograph.  Firstly I had a go at taking a micro-shot of a bee collecting nectar on a sunflower. Then I came across this neglected plot and rotting shed. I'm surprised that no one had taken it on, as allotments are more popular than ever as people try to grow their own food, rather then pay ever rising shop prices.

I also couldn't resist taking a shot of Mr and Mrs Scarecrow, standing guard over the rhubarb, onions and other vegetables that are growing in the fertile soil.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Sauve, Smart And Deadly

Nottingham has always had a strong input in the entertainment industry, either through films that were made here like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning or TV shows like Boon. And actors that have made a name for themselves like Samantha Morton or the late Richard Beckinsale. Then there is Shane Meadows, who has made many movies that were filmed here, such as This Is England.

One local actor who you may not know that well is White Dolemite. His real name is a secret for some reason, but he specialises in violent thrillers that often depict revenge when he has to face the Yakuza and other gangs who have wronged him in some way. He has also done a couple of horror films with zombies, and some raunchy sex movies.  He always wears his trademark eyepatch and often wears sharp suits and Cuban heels.

I caught up with White this evening as he made a special guest appearance at the City Gallery where he opened an exhibition showing a number of posters of his movies. I was surprised that he has made so many films after seeing them all together on the gallery walls.

We chatted for a while and I got him to pose alongside some of the artwork. For such a screen icon, he was a real down to Earth guy, who just loved a cigarette and a beer like everyone else.

The 'X rated man' exhibition is worth seeing, and to see such collectable posters up close is amazing. It's really the sort of show that London galleries put on, that somehow makes it feel elitist, whereas at the City Gallery, you feel quite comfortable and normal, just like White himself.

To get an idea of what a typical White Dolemite film is like, here's the trailer for his latest cinematic masterpiece. Please be warned that even though it's only a trailer, blood and graphic violence are seen. So if you are of a nervous disposition, or a bit squeamish, then please don't watch.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Calm Reflection

The rowing boats on the lake at Highfields. Quietly resting after a busy day being rowed around.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Music Makes The World Go Round

As you can imagine, being a very keen photographer and practically shooting every day for the past seven years or so, I have built up quite a very large collection of images.  So many in fact, that my Mac's hard drive is now almost full.

So to make some space, I have been partially deleting lots and exporting others to an external hard drive.  It's a long job, but one that desperately needs doing.

As I have been working away through the many folders, I came across this photo that I took last year of  Geordie band The Jar Family. They were playing in Beeston Square as part of the Oxfam music festival, which aims to raise money for Oxfam.

It's quite fortuate me coming across the photo, as it's just been announced by my friends at Oxjam that they will be playing in Beeston again this year, along with about 50 other acts scattered across various pubs, cafes in Beeston and Chilwell, and of course in Beeston Square.