blog

.... the joke goes something like this - How many photographers does it take to change a light bulb ? The answer is 50 of course. One to change the bulb and forty-nine to say "I could have done that !!".

Which is true of course - but they didn't.

So on this 'blog', I'll be posting updates on places they didn't go to and pictures they didn't take. But I did. Hopefully you'll find some of it not unlike a light bulb ....

A link to all blog photos HERE.

Lincoln Steam Punk

25/08/2019

Sunday was spent at the annual Asylum Steampunk festival in Lincoln Castle - now in it's 11th year. The festival attracted about 100,000 visitors. Steampunk has been described as "nostalgia for what never was", and draws on influences from science fiction writer HG Wells to comic books.

Every year the costumes get more elaborate, the events get crazier and people come from further afield to visit the event. I met people from France, Germany and Estonia while walking around to admire the costumes - as well as the locals. Some of the costumes were very elaborate and must have taken an age to pull together, as well as the time spent applying the makeup that goes with it.

A great deal of fun and another event that is very inclusive and open to everybody no matter what age, gender or any other denomination. Certainly worth visiting and already looking forward to next years gathering.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

14/07/2019

Shot down the A21 on Sunday to Hastings for its annual 'Pirate Day' carnival. Always a good day out on what is normally a warm weekend. Hastings has earned the name ‘Pirate Capital of the World’ after smashing the world record for the most pirates in one place. and the event was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The whole town turns out in variations on the pirate theme - from the very young to not so young, from the fit to those who are a little less sure on their feet. It's one of the most inclusive and good natured festivals in the country. Everybody can join in. Event organiser Roger Crouch said: “We are so proud of the fact pirate day means so much to so many people. There is no discrimination. On that day you are a pirate!” There's a selection of pirate bands to listen to at the Stade on the sea front, which included 'The Captains Beard'. Sea Shanties on steroids !

This year sees the world record attempt to build the largest human image of a boat - or in the case of Hastings - a pirate ship. An estimated 6,000 people are needed to capture the record which is currently held by the UAE. Not sure they made it - but if not, everybody will be back for another attempt next year.

And I'll definitely be going back ....

Dungeness and Camber ....

06/07/2019

Dungeness: where the wild west meets the post-apocalyptic. A mecca for photographers and one of the reasons why today was spent snapping photographs of the old boats at Dungeness in Kent. One of the stranger landscapes along the South Coast. A surreal promontory of shingle, Dungeness lies on a headland on the south part of Romney Marsh. It is formed largely of a shingle beach in the form of a foreland, between New Romney, Lydd and Camber on Romney Marsh and shelters a large area of the low-lying land Romney Marsh. The desolate landscape has become one of the country’s most recognisable landmarks and has become an unlikely tourist hotspot attracting around a million visitors each year.

It has been said that Dungeness is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. The landscape certainly divides people – a broad, echoing flatness with the nuclear power stations on one side, the shingle dipping into the sea on the other and railway carriages turned into quaint and strange looking dwellings.

Dungeness appears quite often in music videos, album covers and adverts. It featured on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1981 album A Collection of Great Dance Songs. The BBC filmed episodes of Doctor Who in Dungeness during the 1970s. The 1981 fantasy film Time Bandits shot its "Time of Legends" sequence on the beach, and Dungeness was used to film a scene in Danny Boyle's Trance. The Prodigy's single "Invaders Must Die" video was filmed here and shows both the acoustic mirrors and the lighthouse.

Camber Sands is a fabulous stretch of unspoilt sandy beach. It features one of the purest and longest dune systems on the South Coast, and the only one to be found in East Sussex. Camber Sands is one of the region’s stand-out beaches as it’s one of the few to have a sandy beach, with many of its neighbours being stone and shingle beaches. It stretches on for almost 5 miles, with the most popular section being the western end, by the mouth of the River Rother. Further to the east, the sands start to make the transition into shingle.

Film enthusiasts will be interested to know that many different films and TV programmes have used Camber Sands as a location – often standing in for somewhere else in the world. Perhaps most famously the Carry On gang used the dunes as a backdrop in Carry On Follow That Camel.

History buffs will appreciate the fact that Second World War dramas Dunkirk (1958) and The Longest Day also used the beach.

A Day on the River ....

30/06/2019

A beautiful Summer's day in Essex. A perfect opportunity to go out on one of the old Thames barges moored at the quay in Maldon and take some photos. The boat was called HYDROGEN and was built in 1906. The days when Hydrogen carried her cargoes under sail in all weathers on the East Coast seem far from the balmy times enjoyed by her guests today. Built in 1906, she is the largest surviving wooden barge, a Coaster who’s fine lines and sturdy construction are a great example of the shipwright’s craft.

During WWII, Hydrogen was sent to the Clyde to work as a supply ship and around that time her engine was fitted. For the Queens Silver Jubilee, she joined the river Pageant as a motor barge, carrying a large golden lion on deck. Hydrogen finished in trade in 1976 and in the early 1980’s was bought by Bells Whisky and converted back to sail. Bells took her on an annual UK circumnavigation to promote their brands – so she became a regular visitor at many ports and became known as the “Whisky Barge”.

Many of the barges here have been lovingly restored by devoted owners and some are still in use commercially as charter vessels. The distinctive colour of the barge sails is due to a dressing of yellow ochre , cod oil (for waterproofing) and sea water.

The origins of the Thames sailing barge lie in the 17th and 18th centuries when flat-bottomed wooden craft evolved for use in the River Thames and its Kent neighbour the River Medway. They were used to lighter cargo from ships to the wharves along the banks of the rivers in the developing ports of London and Rochester.

In the past, Thames Barges would leave the Hythe carrying foodstuffs and bedding straw to London returning with cargos of horse manure for the district farms. Fishing vessels left their moorings by the bath wall in search of eels, place, sole, whelks and winkles in the estuary.

While Maldon sits proudly on a hill, the port is essentially at sea level. The Hythe, as the port is known, began life as a separate hamlet where the skyline is dominated by tower of St Mary’s Church.

Sunday in North Essex ....

16/06/2019

Time to go out and get some fresh air on a Summers Sunday in June - hoping that it won't pour down with rain. North Essex, poppy fields and views of the river from Harwich. It did rain, but there were plenty of poppies in the fields around the small village of Wrabness to take photos of. Wrabness houses a church dating from around 1100AD. The church's bell tower collapsed in the seventeenth century, and the bell moved temporarily to a wooden bell cage in the church yard. The bell cage remains to this day.

The largest enterprise and main employer at Wrabness was for many years (including the world wars) the Royal Navy Mine Depot, where thousands of mines were stored for laying in the North Sea. Men from the Depot won medals for defusing enemy mines and handling dangerous ammunition for the Navy at nearby Parkeston Quay. The site is today in civilian use and has been designated as a nature reserve. The reserve is an important wildlife site - owls, yellowhammers, whitethroats, turtle dove, song thrush, nightingales and bullfinches can be seen. There are also many wild plants such as corn mint, hairy buttercup, sea aster and ox-eye daisy.

In 2015 a conceptual holiday home was created by the artist Grayson Perry, working with FAT, and commissioned by the charity Living Architecture. It is known as "Julie’s House" or "A House for Essex", in homage to the "single mums in Dagenham, hairdressers in Colchester, and the landscape and history of Essex". The house is highly decorated incorporating rooftop ornaments, and overlooks the River Stour near the village.

Harwich has long been associated with the navy and the sea. Harwich is the likely launch point of the Mayflower which carried English Puritans to North America, and is the presumed birthplace of Mayflower captain Christopher Jones. The town's name means "military settlement", from Old English here-wic. In November 1918 the German U-Boat fleet surrendered to the Royal Navy in the harbour.

Day at the Tate ....

05/05/2019

Spent the day in London. Went to see the Don McCullin exhibition at the Tate - via way of the old Brompton Cemetery. Both were incredibly interesting - even if the subject matter at the Tate was a little dark at times. The cemetery was peaceful and had a very agreeable cafe attached. The Grade I listed Brompton Cemetery is the well-loved resting place of over 200,000 people, a haven for wildlife and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Nestled among the spectacular trees and undergrowth are over 35,000 gravestones and monuments. The cemetery is alive with the amazing stories of all the people buried there since the 1830s, including some well-known names like Emmeline Pankhurst and John Snow.

Link to the exhibition: Don McCullin at the Tate

Link to a video about the cemetery: Brompton Cemetery