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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Every Castle Needs A Cat

Thursday was my last night in Cardiff, and despite the rain, I went for a last look around the city centre.

I hadn't realised that Cardiff Castle was within walking distance of the hotel that I was staying in. So that was my first port of call.

Of course it was closed by the time I got there, so I walked some length of the wall facing the main road.

I was quite surprised to see this giant cat trying to escape from the grounds. Fortunately it was a stone one and wouldn't get very far. Especially with the busy road opposite.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Robin The Past

Whilst at the Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff, I just had to take a photo of the Robin Hood costume that featured in the 2014 adventure The Robot of Sherwood.

The story itself wasn't really memorable, but it did have a Nottingham link. Which is never a bad thing.

Friday, 29 January 2016


Well it's Friday and the last day of my course.

We finished at lunchtime, so I took a bus to Cardiff Bay to look at the Doctor Who Exhibition that's on there.

I wasn't on the bus long, when it pulled up outside, what can only be described as a aircraft hanger. A huge building with the "Doctor Who Experience" blazoned across it.

I went in and paid my entrance fee. I was told that the next tour starts shortly, so I went to their cafe and had some lunch. A peri peri chicken panini.

At half two, around twenty of us gathered at the entrance, where we were told that we would be going on a journey with the Doctor. We were also told, not to him or photograph it, as it would spoil it for others. "Spoilers" as River Song often stated.

The adventure lasted about thirty minutes, then we were let loose in the museum part. Two floors of sets, costumes, monsters and props. And permission to take as many photos as we liked.

Where to start. It was like being in a sweet shop. I remember visiting the one they used to have in Blackpool. And it was not as good as this. Very light and airy, with daylight balanced bulbs, so no colour casting on my photos.

Naturally the exhibits leant towards the new series, rather than the original, which I grew up with. Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker etc.

I spent a good couple of hours there, but was conscious of the three hour journey back home. I could have stayed there all day, looking and reading about everything.  Still it was a great conclusion to a busy week.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Castle Colours

Cardiff is of course famous for it's castle.

Sadly I didn't get to go inside, as it was closed by the time that I had got there. So I had a walk around some of the perimeter wall. Not all of it, as the castle takes up a lot of space and I didn't want to get lost. Besides which it was cold and raining.

Here's a shot of the Norman Keep, which has twelve sides and is the best example of a Keep in Wales.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Colours Of The Night

For a couple of years or so, Gail and I have been friends with a Welsh photographer called Robert.

Just on Facebook. We've never met or even spoken on the phone. We just comment on each others photos.

I sent Robert a message to say that I was coming to Cardiff, and wondered if he'd like to meet up sometime during the week. So this evening he popped into my hotel to say hello. We had a good chat about photography over dinner.

I said that I was planning to see the bay area of the city and to visit the Doctor Who exhibition that was situated there. Robert suggested he could take me tonight.

So after a short drive, we were down by the waterside. Boy was it cold.

Robert gave me a quick guided tour of the area. The various buildings and statues that are on offer in-between a short walk.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Morning Has Broken

I don't usually get up at 6.30am to go to work, but this week I have to, as there's some travelling involved in getting from my hotel to the office.

The only plus I can think of, is that I can get to see the sun come up. Sadly it didn't last very long and the storm clouds appeared and the rain set in for the rest of the day.

A typical day in Wales I believe.

Monday, 25 January 2016

My Station In Life

This week I'm on a training course in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.

I don't know how much free time I'll have for photography, but most of it will probably be night shots, as obviously I'll be training all day.

It is over a three hour journey by train, and although I arrived at lunchtime, I didn't get the opportunity of getting my camera out, as I had to get straight to the office.

After I had unpacked and had dinner in the hotel, I went for a nighttime stroll. I thought that I would start with the railway station itself, which was built in the 1930s, replacing the original Victorian one.

The pride of place goes of course to the 'Great Western Railway', or "God's Wonderful Railway", as trainspotters call it. Sadly the lines themselves are not as wonderful. I think they desperately need replacing, as whenever a train goes by the lines emit this deafening high pitched squeal. Apparently it's one of the busiest stations in the UK. So an upgrade can't come soon enough.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Dog Gone

This is Tag, our friend Marysia's cheeky fox terrier.

He came for the walk along the towpath at Beeston Marina, when I met up with Roberto Alborghetti for a chat and a bit of exercise in the Saturday morning sunshine.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Talking Italian

Italian artist and journalist Roberto Alborghetti has come to Beeston for a couple of days to catch up with some friends and to see the Ghost Bus again.

It's nearly a year since I first met Roberto, purely by chance, as I went to see the Ghost Bus show at Barton's, and ended up interviewing him for a magazine that I write for called The Beestonian.

It was good to see Roberto again. I had not seen him since we were in Tuscany in October.  I met up with him down near Beeston Marina, where he was being shown around by another friend called Marysia, and her dog Tag.

Of course photos were in order, and here is one of Roberto, proudly showing off the book he wrote about the current Pope. The first in a series I believe.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Bird Fever

Some nifty and artistic graffiti on the side of Hopkinson's, near the railway station.

I'm not exactly sure what the artist is saying. Possibly environmental, suggesting people are poisoning the seas, and mutant seagulls are waiting to eat what's floating in the water.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

How Now Brown Cow

Next door to Zaap is another restaurant called the Oaks. It's menu is geared towards meat, which is locally sourced, so too is the beer they serve.

And the link with Notts Wildlife Trust? Well they supply the logs for the restaurant's grill.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


I met up with some former work colleagues at lunch today. We do this occasionally, and tend to visit different pubs, cafes or restaurants each time.

Today's visit was to a new Thai restaurant called Zaap, situated in the new development what used to be the old Odeon cinema.

I quite enjoy Thai food, and sometimes have a really delicious take away from a local Thai place in Beeston.

Zaap have designed their restaurant to look like a street market in say Bangkok, and they have done a very good job. I was a little late for the meet up, due to work, so I didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked.

There's also so much to see, with so many things on display; hats, T shirts, number plates. All sorts of things. Just like a real market. In fact I probably missed quite a lot. Seating is interesting too, as you can sit in Tuk Tuks; the little street taxis that are so popular in Asian countries.

I will definitely be going again, as the Pad Thai I had was delicious. I have no idea what Zaap means though. For all I know, it might just be the surname of the owner.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

In Memory

Death seems to be on everyones lips at the moment, with the passing almost every couple of days of someone well known. Lemmy at Christmas, David Bowie last week and Glenn Frey from the Eagles yesterday.

But of course it is not only superstars that have to face the final curtain. The ordinary, the poor and the old have to face it too. Which brings me to sadly finding out today that Arthur, the father of a friend of mine, who passed away early this morning in hospital, at the age of 81.

I've known Russell and Arthur a number of years through being involved in amateur dramatics, and appearing in shows together. Of course the father and son duo were much better than me, as they had been involved in entertaining people for a long time. They had even made a film appearance together in Santa Claus The Movie, which starred Dudley Moore.

Arthur of course had other strings to his bow, which included painting and writing poetry. I'd not seen him for a while due to his illness and needing long term care. But I listen to Russell most Sunday afternoons, as he does an Internet based radio show, which features music from days gone by.

This isn't one of my photos. I've copied it from Russell's Facebook page, but I''m sure he won't mind, as hopefully it will bring some comfort to him and that he knows that I am thinking of him.

Monday, 18 January 2016


The new look entrance to the Victoria Centre. Nottingham's largest shopping centre.

The centre opened in the early 1970s on the site of a lovely old railway station that was shamefully pulled down. All that remains is the clock tower.

The 'Vicci centre' has recently gone through a large refit and revamp, but has controversially moved the iconic Emmet Clock to another part of the building. A quiet bit, where not many people see it.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

I've Lost Me Marbles

Had a go today of trying to shoot some marbles close up.

Not sure whether it works or not, but it looks quite colourful, and also some nice reflections in the gals.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A Dusting Of The White Stuff

The weather people have been informing us for a couple of weeks now that snow was on its way. But none had appeared. Possibly because it has been too warm, despite that it is supposed to be January.

But tonight it has finally happened. Only a slight dusting at the moment, but who knows what it is going to be like by the morning. Snowman building perhaps?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Ann And Thomas

A bit of a quiet day on the streets today, so I just spent my lunchtime walking and shooting from the hip, to see if I could get anything useable.

Wouldn't it be amusing if the two people entering the photo were really called Ann and Thomas!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Hazy Shade Of Winter

I'm not sure exactly what happened to this photo, but that's how it appeared, when I downloaded it into Lightroom.

It's quite a strange effect, like there's a very bad snowstorm happening, or a dense fog. But it's just been a normal, slightly cold day.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

The Italian Job

A great little Italian cafe called L'Oliva, opened in Beeston around a year ago. It has gone fro strength to strength, as owner Marco (left) has been given his licence to sell alcohol by the local council.

So to publicise this, he had a wine and beer tasting evening. Italian of course.

There were around six beers on off and were very nice too. Italy isn't really renowned for beer, so it was a surprise to find some on offer that I actually liked.

The evening turned out to be very popular with locals, and there were a few people there that I knew.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Doctor's Orders

Most of the junior doctors in the country went on strike today, over planned changes with their working conditions, including hours, which the medical staff believe will cause them to be overtired and could make some serious mistakes.

Besides demonstrations outside Nottingham's two hospitals, there was also one in the Old Market Square. I passed by just as they were setting up, so stopped to see if  I could get a decent photo for the blog.

There wen't very many signs and banners out at this point, but this one just about sums up everyone's thoughts on the matter.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Nowie Bowie

The world woke up today with the news that musician David Bowie had died, a few days after his 69th birthday.

I can't honestly say that I am a big fan of his music. Some songs are quite enjoyable to listen to, for example Changes, Let's Dance and Ashes to Ashes.

But my blog today isn't so much about the man, it's more about one of his assistants, who just happened to be my late brother Tony.  He's on the left of this photo, that one of his daughters sent me some years ago.

Tony was with him in the early 70s and apparently was on Bowie's first Ziggy Stardust tour of the States.

I had lost touch with Tony, but managed to reconnect with him just before he died. He may still be alive today, but he somehow got involved in that crazy fake religion, Scientology, and one of their 'rules' is that you can't take medicine.   So he didn't take his pills and sadly died 10 years ago.

So now they are reunited in that rock n roll land that's just said hello to Lemmy. You begin to wonder who's next.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Missing You Already

Believe it or not, it hasn't rained yet in Beeston today. In fact it has been quite a sunny day, albeit a cold one.  You could be mistaken in thinking it was say October, rather than January.

Managed to do a couple of jobs in the garden. Still a little wet to do any digging or jobs like that.  The weather people have forecast snow to arrive in the next day or so. In one way I look forward to this, for photographic reasons, but then I can't stand it, as it makes travelling difficult.  We will just have to see.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

And It's All Yellow

A simple window display highlighting the clearance sale at the Marks & Spencer outlet store at McArthur Glen Retail Park, near Mansfield.

I always call it McArthur Park, after the song from the 1960s, that Donna Summer covered in 1978

Friday, 8 January 2016

A Long Way From Home

After many battles with The Doctor, his assistants and UNIT, the Daleks finally fled the Earth and hurried back to their own world of Skaro.

All except this one, who somehow missed the bus. Or should that be spaceship?

So he's wandering around, looking for a friend to play with. But he's finding it difficult, as everyone is terrified of him, as they all think they will be EXTERMINATED.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Bee Bookaloola

The Beeman is feeling intellectual today, despite it constantly raining.

Sadly he hasn't been given an umbrella, so he has to read his book in the wet.

Hopefully the rain won't wash away the words of his novel, and he can still read. I just hope it isn't a library book!

I wonder what the title is?  With all the bad weather that we are currently experiencing, then it may be 'Ring of Bright Water', 'The Little Mermaid' or 'Moby Dick'.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016


One of my favourite forms of music is prog rock. The likes of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Genesis and Jethro Tull to name a few. Besides their long, often instrumental songs, their album covers always caught my eye. Bright illustrations by the likes of artist Roger Dean, with spaceships, strange creatures and storybook lands, that were often used by Yes for their sleeves.

Then of course there was Hipgnosis and their amazing Pink Floyd covers. Who can forget the burning man on Wish You Were Here, or the Dark Side of the Moon Prism.

So here's my contribution to the vast prog rock catalogue, that has existed since the early 1970s, with a cover of mine for local band Pentagon Island; named after a large roundabout on the A52, near one side the outskirts of Derby.

Like most prog albums, 'Both Sides of the River' is a concept. A post apocalyptic tale of two towns on each side of a contaminated river, who see their existence in quite different ways.  One side tries to make the best of this poisoned world that they now find themselves in, while the other is more aggressive, and dystopian in outlook.

Songs like 'Torchlight', 'Visions of the Past' and the title track explain how the population of each community deal with their circumstances, the life they used to have and the one that they have now.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Flushed With Success

Beeston based punk band The Despot Cleaners, recently asked me to sort out a photograph or two for their new EP, which would be called 'Flushed With Success'.

Their lead singer Ray Stray said that he didn't want the usual 'band shot', but still wanted to keep the toilet theme, as their first single featured a pile of dog mess on the cover, as the title was 'S*** Hits the Fan'.

A bit of a strange request, and a puzzling one too. So I spent a couple of lunchtimes walking around the streets, looking for inspiration. I was in luck, as I came across a pile of rubbish from a building renovation and low & behold, there was an old loo, peeking out from the waste.  Just the thing. And an old waste bin, just the thing for placing the title on.

Ray was delighted with the finished photograph and artwork. I can't say that I like their sort of music much. But I'm happy to see my work get a wider audience.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Night Light

Low Pavement at night and a mixture of restaurants, shops and offices.

I used the diorama art filter on my EM-1 to give the photo the toy town look.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Sunday Fun

Hope you don't mind a bit of nudity for a Sunday?

Don't worry, no need to complain, as this particular nude is made of stone.

I bumped into her at Bardill's Garden Centre, where she was on sale for £345. Hasten to add, I didn't buy her, just took her portrait instead.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Watt On Earth

This has been rusting away on the side of a bridge for years.

I  have no idea  how long it has been attached to the wall, but these days it seems to have a new use as an ash tray.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Photo Of The Year

The City Daily Photo theme for January is 'your best photo of the year'. So for my entry I'm going with this one that I took on 27th March.

It's probably not the best photo that I've taken during 2015, but it's one that has the most relevance for me for a number of reasons.

This is Barton's 'Ghost Bus'. An old rusted and decayed coach that was built in the 1950s and has spent the last 20 odd years in a farmers field. Only to be rescued and brought back to their garage in Chilwell.

I saw an advert for an event at Barton's that was featuring the bus, so I went along, as I had seen it before. But in the daytime, and wondered what it would look like in the dark. The event included a screening of a short film that had been created by Italian visual artist Roberto Alborghetti, and based on close up photos that Roberto had taken of the Ghost Bus.

After the show, I got to interview Roberto for the Beestonian magazine that I write for. In fact someone else was meant to be covering the event, but couldn't make it, so I did it instead. Serendipity I think they call it. Roberto was pleased with the article and I have been his friend ever since. I also made friends with Marysia, the organiser of the event.

To cut a long story short, this friendship resulted in Gail & I going to Tuscany in October with Marysia, her son and four other travelling companions. Besides seeing different parts of Italy, one of the aims was to get Tuscany twinned with Beeston. To help this along we met two mayors and Marysia presented them with a 'Beeston goody bag' which contained a copy of the Beestonian, a locally produced lace shawl, some postcard and a scale model of the Ghost Bus itself.

I'm not sure if any progress has been made with the twinning, but Gail and I both agree that we loved seeing Tuscany and plan to make many more visits to Italy.