A Different Perspective

IMG_3563I’d not intended to be quiet for so long (again), but my technology has been letting me down a little bit, and denying me access to the WordPress sites, for some mysterious reason.  Not only have I been kept out of my own page, I’ve had only sporadic access to the blogs I read regularly.  I’ve missed you!

So here, in this possibly temporary window of opportunity is a little symphony of trumpets.  It’s the moss and lichen on the wall outside, and it fascinates me.  Are there little people under there spying on me?  Or are they playing music I’m not attuned to hear?  Or is it a Rogers-esque ventilation system a la Pompidou Centre?

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Juxtaposition – A Photo

IMG_3579I’ve not participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge for a while, but in the spirit of trying to re-establish some regularity with the blog, there’s no time like the present.

Here is a photo I took over the wall of Hill House in Helensburgh last November.  I like the way the shapes of the seed heads echo the shape of the gable end of the house, and the almost complementary colours, of those elements as well as the colour of the sandstone wall.

And yes, that is a Scottish sky.  Such brilliant blue is rare in these parts, but all the more appreciated when they do appear.  I never go out for a walk now without my camera.  I suppose it is a sort of measure of maturity that I can now see the beauty of this environment, while, when I was a teenager growing up here, I felt stifled by the town, in its small town-ness, and the great distance there seemed to be between me and anywhere interesting…….. that was before the world rediscovered Rennie Mackintosh, the National Trust for Scotland acquired the house and built a car park, and a steady stream of multilingual tourists made the pilgrimage to the top of the hill.  Then it was a slightly crumbling enigma, held together with string and sticky tape and in the hands of the Royal Institute of Architects of Scotland

Two Shots

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A number of the blogs I read regularly have been showcasing two photographs of the same thing; some have been trying different angles, others portrait versus landscape, or wide angle and close-up.  It makes for interesting viewing; it can challenge the ideas of what makes a good photograph.

The reluctant gardener had a go with her camera, not sure of these are weeds or nurtured plants; but they’re coming through the fence.

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Fresh…….Gooseberries

2013-07-19 11.45.59Gooseberries have had something of a fall from grace latterly, it seems.  Evidently commercial growers have abandoned their cultivation, presumably to switch to the now ubiquitous strawberry/raspberry/blueberry combination currently in all the fruit sections of supermarket shelves.

I can’t say that I had really noticed the lack of them, being rather partial to the red and blue variety of soft summer fruits, but when we saw them on sale at a local farm shop it reminded me of what a feature of childhood summers they had been.  Picking them, and eating them.  I was a reluctant picker, probably because they are too tart to be fun to eat raw, (in sharp contrast to the strawberries or raspberries, or my own particular favourite,  the baby garden peas; you know the drill ‘one for me, one for the basket…..’)

We bought half the available stock.  I’ve not seen one of these cardboard baskets for years either, possibly because most of my food shopping is generally confined to large supermarkets in north London, so it was all slightly nostalgic.  It took two of us about 25 minutes sitting in the sunshine to top and tail the hoard.  They’re in the freezer now, pending a couple of spare hours in which to make some jam.

Are they going the way of the ‘rare breeds’?  It would be a pity.  We need a plan to keep up their production…….. Some fringe nutritionist needs to tell the Daily Mail they’re a super fruit……..

A View of the World

I’m having a little bit of a haitus, so think of this as a bit like the test card…… one evening beside the Thames by Waterloo Bridge…..IMG_2978

Curves – A Photo

IMG_2968I don’t really need an excuse to post a photograph of French cheese, do I?  Any reason will do, and this is the shot I thought of when I saw the prompt ‘Curves’ for this week’s photography challenge.

I took it in January in the middle of a snow storm, when even on a dark Sunday morning with 5 inches of snow on the ground the market holder still made it into Paris for us to buy some before catching the train back to London in the afternoon.  In fact it was the presence of the market in the street that gave me confidence that the trains might be operating, as otherwise there was a thick white blanket over everything suggesting the possibility of complete transport breakdown.

The St Marcellin was delicious.

Fleeting – A Photo

IMG_1947_edited-1Here’s one that was but a brief moment, albeit one that was long enough for me to see the bird and for it still to be there by the time I had found my camera.

I don’t know what kind of bird it is, other than a very wet one.  It had been pouring with rain; there are still drops hanging to the underside of the railing, but the sky had started to clear.  I had been doing what I normally do at Cove Park: staring out of the window every time I raised my head from my desk, watching the weather, and the clouds rolling in and back, and the changing light and shadows on the hills opposite.

I have hundreds of photographs of this view in varying lights, at different time of the day and in different seasons, but this is the only time I caught a little bird visiting for long enough to pose for a photo.

Give Me a Sign!

Just behave.  OK?

Just behave. OK?

Once you start looking, the world is full of signs, information, exhortations and prohibitions.  Usually my eye would just skim over them as part of the noise in the city that it’s simply easier to filter out.  I was fascinated by the number of different demands that were affixed to the gates of this otherwise very modest building site in Southwark.  Especially odd, when you take a moment to think about it, is the ambition to improve the ‘image of construction’.  Really?  Like this?

Later that week, with my temporarily heightened awareness of signs, I saw this one on the Regent’s Canal

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Now this one is interesting for the fact that the words are essential to the comprehension of the instruction – the pictograms seem too capable of alternative interpretation: only people in pairs?  Only men’s cycles? Only adults with an appended child?  The evidence of the behaviour of most cyclists we encountered that day suggests that literacy is not well established in their community, so really, the sign-makers should reconsider the visible attributes that make a cycle ‘considerate’.  And perhaps an audible prompt to remind them of the ‘two tings’ concept?

In the Background – A Photo

2013-05-25 12.48.40-1We’ve had astonishingly awful weather this last week, but for a short while on Saturday it was sunny enough to sit on a bench in Leicester Square and contemplate the hoarding around the statue of William Shakespeare which stands in the middle.

Leicester Square, for all its fame, and its central location attracting hoards of visitors has, in the last 10 years or so, by my reckoning, spent at least 5 years being dug up and titivated more than once.  And now it is evidently the turn of the statue.  Promised completion is Spring 2013, bit peering through the little windows in the hoarding, the project looks some distance from completion, so they must be timing it by reference to the weather rather than the calendar.

In the meantime, to divert our attention away from the absence of the statue, they have surrounded it with mirrors, reflecting the world back at us, and places our own images alongside selected Shakespearean quotations.  We chose to see ourselves alongside All the World’s a stage….. of course.

A Means of Escape

IMG_0072This photo is from the rather dusty archives, but I remember exactly where and when it was taken.  Mexico, Progresso to be precise, November 1994.

It was my first trip to Mexico, and after a few hectic days in Mexico City we had flown to Merida, where we hired a car with the intention of driving across the Yucatan peninsular, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean.  This was the first day of having the car, and we took a day trip north out of Merida, to the coast at Progresso.  It still bore some of the scars of hurricane damage from a couple of years before, but there were wide sandy beaches and the ocean, and the first lunch, of grilled fish, we had really enjoyed  since arriving in the country.

This was the moment I really felt like I was on holiday, that I had escaped from normal life for a while.  It helped that the sun was shining, and that we had, with no planning whatsoever, hired the perfect little red car; a car so distinctive, and so unlike the usual anodyne hire car, that just seeing it in a photo reminds me of a whole holiday.  And look, it was still shiny.  By the time we had completed our trip, it was covered in dust, but had been the envy of many of the people,  we had encountered along the way, especially tourists on group coach trips denied our ability to escape from the crowds.

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