Thursday, February 24, 2011

It felt like a lovely Spring day today … brilliant sunshine with a
warm and gentle breeze. It was one of those days when it feels great
to be alive… or to paraphrase that: I feel great to be alive ~ so now
you know. :)

Mrs C and I spent part of the day visiting Wollaton Hall, a huge
Elizabethan mansion, set in a gorgeous park within Nottingham … one
of the must-see places to visit if you ever spend some time in the
area. We went on a brilliant guided tour of the house, around parts
of the house that have been recently opened to the public. For many
years, it’s been a rather boring natural history museum, with lots
of stuffed animals looking a bit worse for wear in the display cases.
Now they have set aside a few rooms to give visitors an idea of how
the wealthy owners used to live. However, you’d see lots more by
visiting Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth, both of which have fabulous

I’ve taken a few photos of the house, which I’ll add to my Flickr
site in the next few days. Here are a few of my photos of
Chatsworth, taken a few years ago ....,
and a few of Hardwick also ...

In the past week or so, I’ve been busy doing various bits and bobs
with websites & blogsites, and learning a bit more on how to use my
new camera. Mrs C and I spend most evenings televising ~ “catching
up” on our usual mix of documentaries, crime drama and comedy,
and watching DVDs also. We have finished watching the last series
of “Lost”, and are rapidly coming to the end of the 5th series of
“The L Word”, which is a steamy drama about a group of lesbian
women in LA ... very good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Delicious home-made tomato soup


Tomato soup made from whole tomatoes, onion, potato, tomato puree,
veg stock, a bay leaf, garlic, and seasoning. Easy to make and
really yummy. For the full recipe, please email me ~ my address is
at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Photo-blogs and photo-editing horrors

There are some truly inspirational photo-blogs around, and one of the
best I've found is called Inphoto dot org, set up by Donncha O Caoimh,
an Irishman. He's taken some wonderful photos, as you will see if you
click on the link I've set up to his site in my side-bar. The view of
the cathedral in Cork, bathed in evening sunlight is fabulous. Donncha
declares at the top of his blog that "there are no photoshopped images
here". Hooray!

I much prefer taking portrait shots of people in natural light, as I
find flash tends to blot out some natural features, as the light can be
too harsh. I dislike Gimp or Photoshop being used to enhance people's
looks, & the colours in landscape shots. All too often I see shots of
people with flawless facial skin (looking like mannequins) and really
gaudy unnatural-looking landscapes. I think that these photos look
awful and yet photography magazines are full of them. Am I in a
minority in saying this?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Morning has broken

Last Monday morning, I got up early and drove over to Colwick Park
lakeside, which is on the southern side of Nottingham just by the
River Trent. There are three lakes in the area, which are gravel
ponds basically. The weather forecast was for a sharp frost
overnight and a misty start to an otherwise sunny day … so it was
bitterly cold when I arrived at 7am (about 40 minutes before
sunrise), and the sky was just getting light.

It was my first ever visit to this side of the park. I set off down
a muddy track on the northerly side of the lake, and within a few
minutes spotted my first good view ...


Here are a couple more of my photos there ...



I’ve put a few more photos of the sunrise on my Flickr site, if you wish to
have a look.

A bit later I drove over to the Beeston Canal and Marina, to
photograph the early morning light and the boats there. I was on
my way to visit a clock repairer who I've known for donkeys years.
... the old bracket was damaged before Xmas while I was taking it
down to redecorate our dining area ~ or to put it another way:
I broke it. :) It’s amazing how much we missed having the clock
up on the wall, as if an old friend or family pet was no longer
around. It's that well-known condition: "empty wall syndrome",
where you continually look round to the wall, when a clock or
picture is no longer hanging there ... you end up feeling bereft.

The clock was in my parents' house for many years, one of several
clocks in their possession. After my mum died, we shared out the
clocks between us (two brothers and two sisters). I asked for this
one, which had been given to my mum and dad by two close friends
of theirs.

You can see a photo of the clock on the wall, which I took at one
of our family gatherings last summer. After that I've posted a
photo of one of the boats at Beeston Canal.



Thursday, February 03, 2011

Nottingham Castle and Robin Hood

Here are a couple of the photos I took at Nottingham Castle this week,
including one of the legendary Robin Hood. For anyone expecting to see
a medieval castle, the present castle will be a disappointment to him/her
… the old castle became a ruin during the 1500s, and was eventually
pulled down. The Duke of Newcastle put up the more modern one as shown
below, but this was burned down by an angry mob in the 1830s. Eventually
it was refurbished and became Nottingham’s Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

There’s loads more info on the Castle and Robin Hood on Wikipedia, so
I won’t re-iterate it all here. As some of you will know, there’s
always been some county/city rivalry as to where Robin Hood was based …
it may be that South Yorkshire was the main area where he lived … who
knows? Anyway, a lot of Nottingham’s tourist industry is built around
this folklore, so who am I to question people’s strongly held beliefs? :)

I mentioned some time ago, that way back in the 1970s, the local Robin
Hood Society staged an exhibition in the Castle’s gatehouse. I was
very interested to see one item on display … a grubby-looking vest,
said to have been worn by Robin Hood. When I had a closer look, I
spotted a label just inside it, on which was written: “Made in Hong Kong”.

How remarkable, I thought … what a huge distance this vest had travelled
… perhaps one of the crusaders had brought it back from the Middle East?

Nottingham Castle …


Robin Hood himself …


I’ve put more pics on my Flickr site … I went round the castle grounds
for an hour and a half, along with other members of a photography group
I’ve joined. There was an icy cold gale blowing (which nearly blew me
off my feet at one point), so we all enjoyed a hot drink in the café
inside, afterwards.

Here are a few articles on Wikipedia for anyone interested ....