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Friday, 28 February 2014

Wedding Belles

Gail & I are off to Birmingham for a bit of a weekend away. Well we won't be getting much further than the NEC, as we are are going to two shows there; the Wedding Show & The Photography Show.

Gail fancied having a look around. Not because she wants to get married again, but because a niece of hers is getting married sometime in the near future, and she has offered to give her some ideas.

So we went trawling around the different stalls that were selling all sorts of wedding gear, from invitations to venues. There was of course loads of wedding dresses on sale, and the highlight for me was the half hour catwalk show. So for thirty minutes I could pretend to be one of the photographers at say London Fashion week. Just a few seconds to try and bag the winning shot of each costume.

The official show photographer had of course nabbed the best spot; right in front of the end of the runway, so I stood a few feet away at the side of him. Not such a good spot for close-ups, as I kept getting the lights in the shot, but I'm pleased with this one, and don't think that it would look too out of place in the pages of fashion magazines.

Thursday, 27 February 2014


It's been a very sad day today for local theatre, as Nottingham County Council voted to cut all of its grant to the Nottingham Playhouse. This equates to about £94,000, or an average of 12p per person, per year.

What some of the councillors may not of grasped, is the huge amount of money it brings into the county through the shows it puts on and through tourism. The Playhouse also works in the community to promote the arts.

As I am off this week, I popped down this morning to join the demonstration before the council meeting took place. There must have been about 60, or 70 people there. Just ordinary theatre goers who don't want to see the quality of its shows diminished, as the theatre builds its own unique sets from scratch, rather than just using a touring companies' own. Also among the demonstrators, were the cast of the present production; The Threepenny Opera.

The press were of course there taking photos and interviewing the demonstrators. The two main directors of the Playhouse, Stephanie Sirr and Giles Croft were there to plead their case to the councillors. But sadly to no avail.

I don't know what this cut will eventually mean to the Playhouse. An undoubted rise in ticket prices for certain, and maybe not so many high quality shows. I hope it doesn't mean any redundancies, as I believe everyone who works there loves it.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Well we made it to Lincoln for the day to celebrate my birthday & our wedding anniversary.

It was quite a nice, relaxing day all round, as the sun came out now and again. But it stayed dry, and that was the main thing.

We parked up and had a stroll along the cobbled streets, looking in the different shops. Gail wanted to visit this particular shop that sold vintage clothes and bric a brac. There was quite a good selection of stuff on offer. I just wonder where it all comes from though, as there seems to be so much of it about these days, even though it might be between 40 and 70 years old. Also at what age does something stop being vintage?

We also stopped off here and there to do a spot of photography.  I like this abstract figures sculpture that fly over the River Witham as it cuts its way along the Waterside area. According to the information on the map that we picked up from the tourist office, the sculpture is called Empowerment. It was created in 2002 by artist Stephen Broadbent.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Be Seeing You

This time last year, Gail & I were wandering around an empty Portmeirion. We had booked a couple of days away there for a treat, as it was my 50th birthday and our 7th wedding anniversary.

Sadly we are not there this year, but tomorrow we will be spending the day in Lincoln, just to have a look round and take some photographs. Hope the weather is going to behave itself. It was very cold in North Wales last year, but it was really sunny, and we spent a lovely day in the Village.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Rock n Roll

The Navigation last night was buzzing with music.  These are the Outriders, a 1950s rock band, who were really very good. Eddie, on the right sounded an exceptional guitarist and really twanged those notes.

I can't say that I am particularly fond of 50s songs, but found my feet and hands tapping along to the tunes, some of which were familiar, but many were not. I found the film show of photos of 1950s Americana interesting, and sometimes amusing to see what appeared while the musicians played.

Gail and I went ostensibly to support Dave a neighbour of ours, who was playing with a mate, and had decided to call themselves The Tank Tops, after the same style jumper that they were both wearing.

They played a short set of well known covers by the likes of the Everley Brothers, Buddy Holly etc. After a couple of false starts, which Dave made a joke of, the duo got into their stride and entertained the audience for half an hour or so with their tunes.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Spring Is On Its Way

The amount of rain that we have been experiencing lately has reduced over the last few days. It was quite warm and sunny yesterday when I took a photo of this crocus in our local churchyard.

Today of course it is cold, overcast and very windy. So I have stayed in all day. Although tonight we are off to see our friend Dave perform in a gig at a local pub. So there will be a photo or two tomorrow.

But for now, please enjoy my photo and think that it's less than a month to go before the clocks go on an hour and the lighter nights, and hopefully warmer days are with us once again.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Trial And Error

I was in Smiths this morning skimming through the latest copy of Amateur Photographer. I rarely buy magazines these days, unless I think it's worth buying, as some of them are so expensive and probably end up in the recycling.

Anyway whilst browsing AP's pages, I came across an article called 'freelensing'.  Basically it's taking a photo without the lens being attached to the camera. So as it has been a sunny afternoon, I thought I'd give it a go.

For the photo above I used an old manual Carl Zeiss Jenna 28mm lens, set at F11 and to infinity. As the lens wasn't mounted to my OMD, I was able to wriggle it around, until I got something in focus. Well as near focus as you can get. There is also the problem of light leaks, but in this case it has made the sky a nice pink colour.

Photo number two was taken with a Nikon 24mm, also set to infinity and at F8. The same tree, but at a different angle. I can't say that they are the best pictures that I have ever taken, but they are certainly unique.

I will keep practicing with different lenses, to find one that works best. Will also see what it's like using the combo with a model. The magazine showed a couple of examples, which looked quite nice and soft.

Friday, 21 February 2014


They are certainly cracking on with the renovation of the railway station. The new roof has made the interior brighter and it casts some interesting shadows across the newly cleaned brickwork.

There's still a lot of work to do, and it will certainly be interesting to see what it looks like when it's finished. It seems ages since I walked into the booking office or used the platform, that I can't really remember what it looked like.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

University Challenge

Well the days are slowly staying a little lighter longer. Another month to go, then we can put the clocks on an hour andI'll be able to cycle home in daylight.

The light was rapidly disappearing by the time that I reached Highfields, but I stopped off and took a photo of the Trent Building lit up and with some shafts of golden colour in the lake.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Splash It All Over

A rare sunny day in Nottingham and the council had switched the water feature on in the Old Market Square, so a perfect combination for a bit of abstract art.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Tempest Fugit

Well the Emitt clock has completely disappeared and is now on it's way to Birmingham, and the seating area around it is also vanishing; brick by brick.

After I put up the previous photo of the clock sans faces, a friend of mine put a photo of the area on Facebook (thanks Jane), so I popped over at lunchtime to see what the area is like now.

It's quite sad to see, as it's been there for 40 years. Thousands of people have met under it's gaze, listened to the music and tossed money into the pool, whilst wishing for something nice.

I read somewhere that all the coins have amounted to over £250,000, and the money has gone to charity for some good work with dogs for the blind.

So where will the shoppers, friends and family all meet up with each other now? By the orange fencing, doesn't really have the same feeling to it as under the water clock.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Emergency Rations

Gail and I were invited to a party at the weekend. One of the staff at the hospital where Gail works was retiring and was of course celebrating the fact that she didn't have to work anymore.

Of course we took our cameras, just in case there was anything exciting to record. A bit of hospital scandal perhaps!

But no, it was a lovely, civilised affair. Full of laughter and dancing. And of course food. Talking of which, we were very impressed with these cupcakes and their medical themed icing. They didn't last long either, as they were delicious. I had one with a heart on it. Just for Valentine's!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Bathing Beauty

Gail & I spent an enjoyable afternoon near Cambridge, with professional photographer Andrew Appleton and top model Zara Watson.

We were part of a workshop that Andrew was running about an aspect of photography that we wanted to learn more about.

The workshop took place in a converted windmill.Sadly the sails were missing from the building, but strangely there was an abandoned swimming pool in the grounds, which made for a great location shoot.

I took these photos with my iPhone, as Andrew was the one taking the pictures, rather than the group. A shame, as I would have liked to have taken some photos of Zara in such an unusual building.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Thank Heavens For Little Girls

There were some mad antics in Beeston this morning, as two 'French waiters' were running amuck with the shoppers, handing out chocolates and I Love Beeston bags whilst having some banter with them.

It was all part of a business promotion to support the shopkeepers and traders whilst the ongoing tram works drag on.

I just happened to be in the right place at the right time again, as I bumped into a friend of mine called Kaylee and her dad, who were out looking for a new mobile phone. It was great to see Kaylee up and about again, as he has been rather poorly recently.

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Nose For Everything

My Valentine's card and gift this year from Gail.

At first I was a bit shocked at the size of the little guy's nose, and wondered if my wife was being a little too cheeky about the size of my snout.

She laughed and explained that it wasn't really meant to be me, but it's something that you keep your glasses on.

He certainly has the right kind of nose for a wine critic. Alas I'm more into real ales.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Always Judge A Book By Its Cover

I think nearly everyone on the planet has now heard of Brandon Stanton and his HONY Facebook page, which has now been turned into a book.

For those that don't know, during 2010 Brandon gave up his job as a bond trader, moved to New York with the idea of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers. Whilst taking their photo, he would ask them a simple question, like  "What's your favourite thing?" or "Do you have any regrets?"

I think at first he found it a little difficult, but as his fame spread, people are actually coming up to him and asking Brandon to take their photo. They might not be the best photos in the world, but they are honest and show the people in the raw.

The book contains 400 portraits of people, doing all sorts of things, in all parts of New York. Some are dressed strangely, or eccentrically. Some are just strange. I guess that's one of the beauties of living in a big city, strangeness is normal.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Flower Power

There's some evidence going around about how bad Coca Cola is for you and also what other uses around the house it has, besides drinking it.

But who would have thought have made these charming flowers out of an empty can?

I had lunch with some friends at a new place in town called Sobar. A eatery that doesn't serve any alcohol at all. It's owned by a charity for ex-alcoholics and is run by them. So the temptation isn't there if they only serve teas, coffees and of course Coke.

Each table had these as a decoration, and so they had to be photographed as my snap of the day.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Time Has Stopped

There has been some controversy over at the Victoria Centre, as of part of the plans to revamp the centre, the owners have thought about moving the famous and well loved Emett Clock. This has caused a bit of an outcry, as it has stood where it is since it was erected in 1973.

The Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator, to give it its proper name was built by eccentric artist Roland Emett, who was involved in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang film, and has been a favourite with local people since.

But the clock is on the move, not to another part of the shopping centre, but to Birmingham. Not for good fortunately, but only for a holiday for a year or so whilst the building is upgraded. It's also going to get a sprucing up. Something that hasn't happened to it for quite a while.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Fashion Parade

This bus seemed to have gone the wrong way and ended up in the Old Market Square.

But don't worry, the driver did know the way, as it is not one of Nottingham City Transport's buses, but  a special promotional vehicle belonging to budget fashion chain-store New Look.

I didn't see that many people board the bus to look at the latest clothing ranges, and I didn't go in myself, as I don't think they sell mens clothes.

I would love to have one of my photos printed and stuck on the side of a bus. How amazing would that be!

Sunday, 9 February 2014


The old Wilkinson's shop began to be demolished a few months ago after being empty for a year. But for some reason they stopped. But now they have started again and most of it has been removed. All that remains is some rubble and a load of timber planks.

One thing that taking down the store has done has let more light into the Last Post, a Wetherspoons public house that used to be a Royal Mail sorting office.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Spanish Eyes

Shopping in Beeston this morning, I came across this sprayed in white paint on some grass in the churchyard.

I know it must mean something to the tram construction workers. Where they need to dig yet another hole, or where some pipes are buried etc. But to me it means package holidays to Spain.

Package holidays were very popular during the 1960s and 70's, as it gave people the first chance of visiting a foreign country for a week, and of course Spain was the most popular country to visit, for a relatively cheap and cheerful holiday in the sun.

Up to then, most people went to the seaside for their holiday, and stayed in either a B&B or at a holiday camp belonging to Butlins or Pontins. With the continuing recession and people being short of money, the term 'staycation' has been coined, where people are now turning their back on holidays abroad, and taking their breaks in the UK once again.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Chop Suey

This old Chinese restaurant has been empty for years. I've eaten there once. Christmas 2002 I think it was, with the team I used to worked with. Afterwards we went bowling, which I found a bit boring and never seemed to end.

The food at the Pagoda wasn't bad as I remember. We went for the buffet selection and it was all served on a Lazy Susan, which had been placed in the middle of our table. So round and round Susan went, as we kept picking things from the dishes. I don't think we got that much prawn toast. And I love prawn toast.

Then one day it closed. A few years ago now. Big plans drawn up by Westfield's, the owners of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, to extend it to where the Pagoda and some other buildings stand. But then the recession set in and the plans were put on hold and everything went quiet. Lots of shops in the Broadmarsh are boarded up now and others empty. There isn't that much on offer for shoppers at the moment.

Then last year Westfield's quickly announced that they had sold the Broadmarsh to another company called Intu.  and a couple of weeks ago it was announced that the redevelopment was back on, but not to the huge scale that it once thought.

The scaffolding began to go up around the Pagoda a couple of days ago. So as I pass there every lunchtime on my way to the shops and the Old Market Square, I'll be able to keep a watch what happens to it and what sort of business it turns into.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

On The Fiddle

There was some lunchtime live music today at Fopp, in the form of folk singer Seth Lakeman.

Fopp is a local record store that is a real Aladdin's cave of music, films and books at sensible, and sometimes bargain prices. They sometimes invite musicians to play, but usually it is around 5pm, so I sadly  have to miss it, being still at work. So it was a treat to see and listen to some at lunchtime.

The shop was quite crowded, by both fans and the curious. Not forgetting the ordinary customers.

He was meant to start at 1pm, but arrived late, due to traffic problems. He apologised, took out his guitar and started to play. as you can see, he also plays the fiddle. I took this shot while he was playing a version of his song 'The Courier'.

Here's what it sounds like on his latest album 'Word of Mouth'.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

It's Your Round Next

I received an invitation the other day to see the re-launch of the Pitcher & Piano bar in the Lace Market.  It has just had nearly half a million pounds spent on it.

I've been in a few times before. In fact Gail & I went to a latex fashion show there a couple of years ago. In factor the stage area is in about the same place as this new showcase bar.

The place was heaving with people when we got there. No doubt attracted by the free bar! We both got a drink before taking some shots of the thirsty crowd.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pinky And Perky

The thing about walking along any street, anywhere, is that you never know who or what you might bump into.

Take today for instance, I never expected to come across a large pink elephant as I left work at lunchtime. I don't know what he was promoting, but he was only going up to parents with babies and small children. So perhaps it was for a new toy or sweet. Something like that.

He saw me with my camera and struck a bit of a pose. Well as best a person can dressed like that!

Monday, 3 February 2014


This is Natasha, one of the models that I shot today at a local studio.

She has a very nice smile don't you think. She actually works as a dental nurse during the day and likes to be in front of the camera in her spare time.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Dragon Dance

I know that I said that I wouldn't be putting any Chinese New Year photos on, but I couldn't resist showing you this one.

As you can see it is of some dragon dancers making their way to Broadgate Park along the High Road in Beeston. The dancers belong to the university's Chinese students & scholars group, and they were on their way to entertain the crowd.

When I took this photo, they were waiting for the traffic lights to change, and by a happy accident, they were standing outside the Dancing Dragon Chinese Restaurant!

Saturday, 1 February 2014


This morning Beeston celebrated the Chinese New Year, which this year's animal is the horse.

It is also the first time that it has been staged at Broadgate Park, as usually it takes place in the Square. But with the ongoing tram works, and now they have started updating the shopfronts there, it has become a bit of a no go zone for people.

It was nice that the sun decided to make a rare appearance too, as it has rained on an off all week. But it  was a bit breezy and cold.

There was the usual mixture of music and dancing. It does seem to be the same every year for some reason. So instead of showing you something similar to last February, here's a shot of a Asian baby all wrapped up against the cold.