On holiday in Budapest one torrentially rainy day in August in 2010, that happened also to be my birthday, we made our soggy way across town between museums and passed a water feature set into an area of grass and shrubs beside a main road. Lodged amongst some rocks in the stream was this lonely glass tree; a birthday present from the city to me?! We brought it home and it’s now part of the Christmas set.
“Now did you know that this Christmas Pudding recipe is the one that was used by your Great Great Grandmother who was the Housekeeper to the Earl of Enniskillen?…” Well yes, Mum we did because you’ve told us every Christmas since I can remember. But now she’s gone this creaking family tale isn’t wheeled out any more, and I miss it, and her. But we still use the recipe, it’s in my Mum’s neat handwriting, Continue reading
When our boys were little, but old enough to get the sense of what Christmas was about, much of the pleasure of December was enjoying their anticipation of this seasonal brilliance, and part of that included making Christmassy stuff – like baked dough tree decorations; oh, fond memories, even of the sticky and painty mess! Continue reading
Sometime in the late summer or autumn of 2015 my friend Carolyn Black who runs Flow projects, began a fascinating project called Story of Objects, collecting stories and images or videos from people about objects they owned that had personal significance. I began a number of stories to send her but I didn’t manage to complete them for various reasons and at the moment Carolyn’s focus has moved onto making her own artwork.
However, amongst the stories her project inspired me to write were a handful about some of the things I get out of the loft every year at Christmas, many of which trigger fond memories, so last year, 2016, in early Continue reading
One of those Facebook ‘challenges’ that I was invited to participate in:
“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people, no explanation. Challenge someone new each day”
I don’t often get involved in social-media capers unless they are photography-based but I followed through with this one and really enjoyed it – it seemed like a very pleasing way to provide some much needed creative motivation to seven consecutive days and refreshed my looking and seeing faculties. Continue reading
All that back-breaking weeding, arm-aching watering, and knee-bruising picking at the allotment, grubbing around in humid hedgerows, hot hours in the kitchen, followed by jam-jar crises and freezer-space-anxiety, finally has its (not always healthy but thoroughly delicious) rewards; in summer – blackcurrants, gooseberries, elderflowers, redcurrants, jostaberries and raspberries for fruit salads, jams, jellies, syrups, bottling, sorbets and sauces; and now the autumn harvest of apples and blackberries, beans, potatoes and squash (in gloriously varied shapes and colours) for soups and stews, crumbles and cakes, puddings and pickling, dips and drying, stuffing and baking – and making of wine!
Such a delectable array of colours, shapes and textures it seemed worth preserving the produce and process in pictures – and when I start to grumble about the work next year they can server as a reminder that the effort is worthwhile.
Setting off on a job to photograph Weston-super-Mare’s Enterprise Zone recently, the car began emitting bad sounds and demanded immediate attention from our Motorman in Avonmouth. Now Avonmouth is somewhere that’s always looked pretty dismal in my view and I’ve had no cause to explore it before but with time to kill there while waiting for the repair I wandered about the streets near the station to see if I could find any endearing qualities. Continue reading
Placescape – Caerwent and Lower Wye area
Living on the far left hand margin of the West of England is pretty good in terms of places to visit for a non-urban day out; within a 35 – 40 minute drive we can be amongst sand dunes at Berrow, leaning into the wind on the craggy heights of Brean Down above the Severn, looking down Cheddar Gorge from the top of the Mendips, wandering in the lush pastures of the Chew Valley, paddling in a stream in a wooded, flowery valley on the Cotswold Way, or admiring wading birds in the Severn wetlands at Slimbridge.
These are very roughly south, east and north of home but, within the same time scale, if we go west we can be in another country, and a different world, Wales. We can see the Black Mountains across the Severn from outside our village Co-op and for me they are always alluring. Continue reading
You still have time to catch some of the work mentioned below (dates listed) but too late to see the Hogarth exhibition I saw last week at the City Museum in Bristol – a shame if you missed it as the satirical work (eg The Harlot’s Progress, ‘O the Roast Beef of Old England’ – The Gate of Calais) is entertaining, scathing and still holds some relevance today; but Continue reading
This isn’t a topic I generally publicise but I am a bit of a bird lover; not a twitcher or even a proper birdwatcher (there are whole groups of birds I’ve yet to distinguish one from t’other) and I make no serious attempts to photograph them – I don’t have the long lenses and neither do I usually have the patience – I simply enjoy the sight and presence of birds; they’re the most readily visible wildlife for many of us, their various habits are intriguing to watch and I do like bird shapes, the Continue reading