Thursday, 31 December 2015
December 31st and the last day of 2015, and it's ending on a disappointing note. Owing to me having a bad cough and cold, I am having to stay in tonight, rather than being out taking photos.
If I wasn't ill, then I would be taking photos of The Disco Prophets, as they bring in the new year at the Pitcher & Piano, with their infectious 1970s classic disco songs. But instead I have to stay in the warm.
So here's a bokehlicious photo of the Christmas tree lights in the Old Market Square. They are taking you on a journey into 2016. A new year and new photo opportunities. So it gives me a good opportunity of wishing all my visitors a wonderful new year.
Saturday, 26 December 2015
He isn't actually, but I wish he was. As who wouldn't mind having a Minion for a family member?
This is of course Tim, who is one of the cheekiest and the funniest of the Minions.
This Tim is actually an 8gb USB stick, that was a Christmas present from one of Gail's relatives.
My dear wifey bought me a number of presents including some new trainers, a keyboard for my iPad and a giant tub of Liquorice Allsorts.
I hope you have all had a good Christmas too.
Friday, 25 December 2015
Thursday, 24 December 2015
Christmas Eve, and all the food should have been bought, presents wrapped and carrots left out for Rudolph.
Wondering what to put on today, I thought I would bokehrise, if there is such a word some of the lights that we have hung up around the front of the house.
Hope Santa drops off plenty of pressies for you all, and have a great night.
Wednesday, 23 December 2015
The present buying people have been busy tonight, as it's the last Wednesday for late night shopping in Nottingham.
I decided to go for a wander with my camera after work, to see if I could find anything of interest to take a photo of, as there are usually events happening to entice the shoppers in.
The Victoria Centre has recently undergone a multi million pound makeover, so I wandered over to see what it looked like in the dark and whether there would be many decorations lit up round it.
They've done a good job on the entrance area. Very bright now after the dull concrete of the original. The area was heaving with people, all vying for those last minute gifts.
Tuesday, 22 December 2015
In the run up to Christmas, lots of companies are doing all sorts of promotions to encourage customers to buy their products for presents.
A cosmetics company called Soap and Glory were in the Viccy Centre showing off their make up to the passing shoppers.
What attracted me to the stand was this pink painted Vespa. I expect any Mods seeing this will be horrified, as its one of the icons of their movement. They usually have loads of mirrors on them and sometimes a RAF roundel stuck somewhere. Have a look at the film Quadrophenia to see how the Italian scooter should look.
Sunday, 20 December 2015
This is a friend of mine called Russell. We met several years ago when we were both involved in amateur dramatics. Although he is a lot better at it than I am. He's even been in a film; Santa Claus - The Movie, where he played one of the toymakers. His dad was in it too.
Besides having a normal day job, Russell earns a bit extra organising karaoke nights. He came to Beeston tonight to one of our pubs, so Gail and I popped along to see him in action.
The pub was very busy, with only being a week until Christmas. Russell was going through his gigantic CD collection when we entered. As well as acting, Russell has quite a good singing voice, and I snapped him here whilst he was in full flow.
Russell also does a Sunday afternoon (4-6pm) radio show on Acacia Radio called The Golden Years. He plays all sorts of music, old and new. Eurovision songs and even old editions of Captain Kremen.
The radio is Internet based, so here's a link, should you wish to tune in sometime: http://acaciaradioaw.weebly.com
Saturday, 19 December 2015
I met up with some of the other writers that contribute to The Beestonian magazine that I am involved with.
We all got together at a local pub to celebrate Christmas and how successful the local, almost monthly magazine has become this year.
I usually get an article plus some photos in every month. The latest issue contains my report on the trip to Tuscany that we went on in October.
Whilst we were chatting and drinking, a load of people piled into the White Lion, all dressed up, some in fancy costumes, all with a Christmas theme.
There were a couple of guys dressed as turkeys, a Christmas cake, some Santa's, Joseph and the star of Bethlehem.
But I was drawn to this guy in his bespoke snowman suit. He looks a bit of a joker, with his toothy grin and Christmas stocking.
Friday, 18 December 2015
Beeston High Road is usually bustling with shoppers, but after about 4pm things tend to die down a little, especially after the 5.30 rush to get home.
I took this at around 6.30, and as you can see the street is empty. Not even any traffic driving past.
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Beeston's famous Beeman statue. He's usually has his photo taken in the daytime, especially when people pose with him. Children particularly enjoy this.
Well my version was taken at night, with only the Christmas decorations, street lights and shop windows to provide any light.
He was wearing a Santa hat for a short while, before it sadly got stolen. A case of no ho ho then.
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
It's not everyday that you get sent a Christmas card from your pets.
But Gail & I got one today from Oscar & Marmalade.
It was quite clever of them to choose, buy, write and post this card to us. I bet Marmalade chose it, as the cat in the stocking has the same colouring as our ginger one. Besides which, Oscar being so big, I don't think he would fit!
I bet the mischievous pair are now wondering what treats they will be getting for presents. We will probably get the a few packets of luxury meat and possibly some new toys to play with. Although they do seem to like playing with bits of string that they come across.
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Monday, 14 December 2015
Nothing exciting happening in town today, so I had another go at 'shooting from the hip', the action of just randomly taking shots without knowing where you are pointing the camera.
Of course there were many flops; out of focus, nothing of interest, or just plain rubbish. I think this one is ok though. The woman staring into space whilst having lunch, whilst Mary looks on, possibly praying for her soul.
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Saturday, 12 December 2015
Here's a couple of shots from yesterday's visit to Wollaton Hall. Some still life photos from the room where we had our cups of tea and a bowl of turnips in the Tudor kitchen.
Friday, 11 December 2015
There was a special late night opening of Wollaton Hall tonight, It was Christmas themed, and there was the opportunity of visiting the Tudor kitchen, something that only happens on special occasions.
Some of the rooms had been done up with various Christmas decorations, but not as many as I would have expected. Santa was there of course, with his elves.
During our tour, we stopped off for a cup of tea. A blend that was called Christmas Cheer. A blend of black tea and spices. It certainly warmed me up before we went back outside and took some photos of the hall that had been lit up for the occasion.
Thursday, 10 December 2015
Now I know that the Christmas market and fairground rides are very colourful, but I wanted to see what they would be like in sepia.
This shot for example looks quite Victorian with the snow covered roof of the gift stall, to the dominance of the helter skelter.
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
I had the pleasure of meeting character actor Simon Fisher-Becker tonight at the Five Leaves Bookshop in the city centre.
He called in to give a talk about his life so far and to promote the first volume of his autobiography; "My Dalek Has a Puncture".
The intimate setting of the bookshop was just right for Simon to chat about how he was bullied at school, his working life in HR before becoming an actor, the plays and shows that he had been in and the good fortune that he has had since landing the part of Dorium Maldovar, the blue alien in Doctor Who.
He was also in the first Harry Potter film, albeit briefly, as most of the film ended up on the cutting room floor. In fact he joked that his screen credit was on longer than he was.
But it's not all been glitz and glamour, as he was badly attacked one night back in 2009, while he was at a petrol station. Sadly this has left him with some disabilities. But ironically enough, if he hadn't been injured, he wouldn't have got the part of Dorium, as he would have had a role in a panto, and therefore unavailable.
Isn't like strange sometimes...
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Here's another shot of the Lakeside Arts Centre at night.
The cutout shapes are of Peter Pan, as there's a show about him that being staged at the moment. It's not a pantomime as such, and it's aimed squarely at youngsters.
Monday, 7 December 2015
Someone somewhere in Nottingham's city centre is walking about with a cold right hand, as this sheepskin glove has lost it's owner.
Some kind soul had found it and hung it up on the railings of St Mary's Church, in the hope that the owner will realise where they had lost it and return to the scene of the crime, in a manner of speaking.
Sunday, 6 December 2015
You may have recently seen the tv ad for Warburton's giant crumpets which stars the Muppets.Which incidentally is a mini masterpiece, straight down to the adapted Muppet Show song.
I was food shopping yesterday morning in Beeston and came across them in one store that I visited.
As I enjoy eating crumpets anyway, especially with lots of butter in them, so I just had to buy a packet or two.
And yes, they are giant, although as you can see in my photo, they are not as thick as the regular sized ones, but still just as tasty. And so of course I popped two in the toaster, and spread lots of butter on whilst they were piping hot.
Saturday, 5 December 2015
Well not Santa exactly, but Toni, Beeston's famous sales lady that can be heard calling out the latest bargains outside Beeston's well known greengrocers Hallams.
Toni always enjoys getting into the spirit of different events and dresses up accordingly. She's a real character and really livens up the weekly shop.
Friday, 4 December 2015
I paid a visit to Bar Esquina today, which is inside the Alea casino in town.
I wasn't there to gamble, just to see a friend.
Not being a gambler, it's not a place that I go to. There is also a Marco Pierre White restaurant in the building too, which I have dined in, when I went to someone's birthday party.
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Tonight our MPs decide on whether the UK will join in with the bombing of Syria.
I'm not going to go into the yes/no discussion here, just to tell you the there has been a very large 'no' demonstration this evening in the city centre.
People of all ages collected by the Brian Clough statue and some people take about why it is not a good idea to drop even more bombs on the already war torn country.
They then marched around the immediate vicinity waving their placards and shouting "Don't bomb Syria".
It was a peaceful rally. In fact I didn't see any police hanging about. Plenty of people with cameras though; there to capture the moment, just like me.
Tuesday, 1 December 2015
On occasions I will participate in with the City Daily Photo contest. This month's theme is shop window.
Quite oddly enough, yesterday I wrote about a local charity shop window that had been decorated in a Christmas theme, complete with small Dickensian figures.
So I thought I would show a couple more; a paperboy and musician, who seems to have lost the rest of his band.
Monday, 30 November 2015
I've never really been a great fan of Christmas. Especially these days, when shops start filling their shelves with cards etc from about the end of August. Far too early.The summer isn't even over yet.
One of the things I do like however, is seeing how the smaller shops decorate their windows. Using their initiative, as they haven't the budgets like the big stores have.
A local charity shop called Treetops has done a lovely job when I saw it on Saturday morning, as part of my weekly shopping trip to Beeston.
They have taken the Victorian theme and dressed some mannequins in old fashioned clothes. Which looks nice, but I was more taken by some tiny Dickensian figures and a snowy townscape.
So cycling home tonight, I thought I would have a look at whether the window display was lit up in any way, so I could take a photo or two, without the glare of the glass. And here's the result. I think the golden balls of bokeh are reflection from the Sainsbury's sign opposite.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
It's been a fairly horrible damp day, made worse by several showers this afternoon.
So sadly this had an effect on the audience that attended the switching on of the Christmas lights in Beeston.
I popped down earlier, as there was a couple of bands on, including the dynamic duo of Emma Bladon-Jones and Christine Palethope appearing as Paper Doves.
The lights themselves were the same as last year, so I was looking for something new to shoot. Whilst walking around Broadgate Park after the lights had been switched on, I noticed that the stall that was selling sweets had some packets hanging like decorations, and behind are some of the bokehed lights on the Christmas tree.
Friday, 27 November 2015
I've been rather busy at work today. So when I got home, Gail suggested that we have fish and chips for dinner. Our end of the working week treat, even though we have only done three days this week.
The big story today is of course "Black Friday". The day when there are meant to be so many special offers on as a way to tempt people into parting with their money. I had a cursory look, but nothing caught my eye. I think it is just an excuse for shops to get rid of their old stock, or stuff that isn't selling very well.
But the only real black Friday that I have any interest in, is having a pint of beer with my dinner. Tonight's was very nice, from a brewer that I'd not come across before, but will certainly be buying some more.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
I went to a book launch tonight at I think Nottingham's only independent bookshop called Five Leaves.
The tome called "More Raw Material" has been compiled and published by local poet Neil Fulwood and David Sillitoe, son of late Nottingham author Alan Sillitoe. It is an anthology of poetry and writing by some fifty authors including TV writer and producer Henry Normal, who helped to write The Royale Family, Gavin & Stacey and Alan Partridge.
Five Leaves is quite a small shop, but it was packed with people who had come to hear some of the writers read some of their work. David himself read a couple of his dad's poems.
I bought a copy of the book, which also includes some of David's photos and got it signed. Something to thumb through on these cold winter nights. It might also inspire me to take up the pen and do a bit myself.
Monday, 23 November 2015
Gail and I visited the cinema last night to see Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple. The story followed his life from the early 80s up to the launch of the first iMac in 1998.
It was quite an interesting film, seeing what Jobs was supposed to be really like; egocentric, rude and never admitting he was wrong.
Michael Fassbender played the part well. Kate Winslet was completely unrecognisable as his PA Joanna. Complete with East European accent.
It was the first time we had been to the Showcase since it's had a refit. Now everyone has their own individual leather recliner, rather than the old group seating, which had been around since the cinema opened during the 1980s. They've also added the words "de Lux" to their name.
When we came out, I danced driving down the road to the Nissan garage. Not to look at getting a new car, but to see their showroom. As you can see from my photo, they have a four storey building and I've wanted to see it since it was built.
I'm not sure how they get the cars up there; whether they use a lift or ramps. Although there doesn't seem to be enough room to have ramps, like you have in a multi storey car park. Maybe one day I'll take a look inside.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
Although it has been cold and grey, a trip to the local garden centre called Bardills was called for, as Gail wanted to buy a Christmas tree with roots for the garden.
The first thing that we did whilst there was to have some lunch in their cafe. It was busy, but we found somewhere to sit and ate our meal.
We then had a walk around and looked at the various rooted trees that they had for sale. After examining a number of trees, we elected and paid for one. We then took it to the car and loaded it in. The tree fitted ok, as it is only about three feet tall. While we were paying for it, one of the assistants had popped it a black bin liner, so that it would get damaged or damage anything.
We then had a look inside. And yes, Christmas had arrived, with Santa's dotted everywhere, an animated reindeer and a display of polar bears and eskimos. I've never seen eskimo figures before, and I thought that this little fellow whose just about to throw a snowball cute and amusing.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Who could resist this cute little fellow that I spotted in the window of a local shop.
He's been well crafted, right down to his little knitted acorn.
With that little smile on his face, it looks like he is going to look forward to eating it.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
The Lakeside Arts Theatre in Highfields has a new logo on it's building. Up to now it has just been a blank roof, which can look like an upturned boat at some angles.
The logo only appeared a day or so ago, so I thought I would take a photo of it on my way home, with the arts centre lit up in the darkness.
Monday, 16 November 2015
There was a vigil in the city centre tonight for the people that lost their lives in Paris last week.
When I arrived at around 6pm, around 200 people had gathered around the Brian Clough statue. I think that they would have used the Old Market Square, but it is out of use at the moment, as workmen are putting together the kiosks, stands and decorations for the Christmas festivities, which begins later this week.
There were many tea lights and candles lit in their memory. Two girls, possibly art students had designed a candle holder in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, which I thought was rather clever and very effective.
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Besides organising the day long music festival that took place last month in Beeston, the Oxjam team put on a classical music evening last night at our local parish church.
There was a varied programme of artists including a flute player, a couple of guitarists and the University of Nottingham's String orchestra.
One of the performers I know quite well is harpist Christine Palethorpe, as she plays with another of my musical friends; Emma Bladon-Jones. They perform as a double act called Paper Doves and play folk and popular tunes.
The church was full and everyone seemed to enjoy the music that was on offer. Although being classical music, there was no dancing or cheering, just some polite clapping at the end of each piece of music.
I was there taking photos, but felt quite conspicuous of walking around the church with my camera in my hand. It feels OK at gigs, but for some reason it feels out of place with classical music. Fortunately I had my super zoom lens with me, so could get close, without being close.
Saturday, 14 November 2015
Monday, 9 November 2015
I came across the bargain of the year today in Sainsbury's. A brand new DVD release of all 32 episodes of the classic puppet adventure series from the 1960s, complete with postcards for the amazing price of £12.
It only came out last month to coincide with the programmes' 50th anniversary and seems to retail at around £40. So a very good saving, especially as it only really cost me £2, as I had a £10 gift voucher that I used.
Thunderbirds has always been one of my favourite shows growing up, and I think Parker the Cockney chauffeur to Lady Penelope was always my favourite character, with his "Yus me lady". This is possibly because my dad was also a chauffeur and a Londoner to boot.
I'm not sure whether Gail is looking forward to watching the five Tracy brothers rescuing people from dangerous situations from their secret island in the sea, even though all the special effects etc were hand made, rather than computer generated.
Sunday, 8 November 2015
Today is of course Remembrance Sunday. The day when everyone thinks about all the soldiers, sailors and airmen that have died for our freedom. The poppy being the emblem for this event.
I'd like to think about the people left at home. Those that have lost a husband, a wife, a family member or a best friend. People who will have to live without their loved one.
So this single rose which I came across in Radicofani, Italy is for them. The rose, the symbol of love.
Sunday, 1 November 2015
As it's the first of the month, I thought I would participate in the theme day, which this month is 'ephemeral'.
According to the dictionary, ephemeral means something that doesn't last for a very long time.
Well this meal that I devoured at Restaurant Anna in Piancastagnaio, a small hilltop village in Tuscany didn't last very long. It was delicious. It was actually part of a five course lunch that we sat down to.
The restaurant was packed. There was hardly a seat to be had. Mainly families; mums, dad, children and associated relations. One old lady there was celebrating her birthday, and one of the waitresses bought out a cake, to a chorus of 'happy birthday'.
Friday, 30 October 2015
Since getting back from Italy, my sniffles seem to have developed into a fully blown cough, which not surprisingly is annoying Gail.
I'm beginning to feel like the creature in the photo, that I came across whilst walking across the city centre. I think it was to the entrance to a bar or night club, as there was a padlocked gate between me and 'it'.
I don't know what the party goers will think of it, as they queue up for a Halloween drink and a dance.
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Well we've safely arrived Tuscany. The eight of us touched down at Pisa, after flying Ryanair from East Midlands Airport.
Our first stop on our eight day tour is Florence, or Firenze as they say in Italian. We are here for two days and there's lots to see, such as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Work began on the cathedral in 1294, and it took 142 years to build. Everything by hand of course. No cranes, bulldozers or trucks back then. Just men and horses.
It's a very big building and has recently been cleaned. It certainly glowed in the moonlight as we walked by it on the way to dinner.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Sorry for the low quality and blurred image. Definitely not up to my usual standard, but I quickly had to grab my camera, as Gail called me into the living room.
You see we are currently in the middle of packing for our week long trip to Tuscany in Italy which starts tomorrow, and Oscar had this idea of wanting to come with us. He thought by trying to climb into one of our suitcases we wouldn't notice. But he is quite a big fellow, and would certainly have made the suitcase overweight.
Better luck next time Oscar!
Monday, 19 October 2015
The Broadmarsh Shopping Centre was built around 40 years ago and so is getting a little run down, especially with all the boarded up shops dotted around the two floors.
But plans are afoot for it to be dragged into the 21st century. There have actually been plans for it for years, but nothing has happened up to now.
While the frontage of the centre may look enticing, the rear part of the building less so. It has been completely neglected. I can't even remember when it was last used. If it ever was. It certainly doesn't help that it's in an area that people don't really walk near. Only perhaps photographers, people up to no good and the homeless.
Still it makes a good urban decay subject, with lines, lines everywhere.
Sunday, 18 October 2015
As part of the redevelopment of Beeston Square, they've recently put up some scaffolding on the roof of a single storey block of shops in the Square, so they can do some work up there, without the fear of falling off.
Whilst taking photos in Beeston Square at lunchtime yesterday, I noticed a couple of workmen had paused from what they were doing to listen to the band playing below.
One of the workmen was smoking one of these e-cigarettes that so many people are using these days, and suddenly, like a dragon or steam train, a big white cloud of smoke appeared from his mouth. I had my big lens on, so I was able to get a decent shot of him and his puff of white smoke.
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Today has been Oxjam Day. Over twelve hours of music across Beeston, at different places including cafes, pubs and the former Barton's bus depot.
There has been in the regions of seventy bands, singers and musicians playing to raise money for Oxfam.
I managed to see quite a few through the day. One of the highlights was watching The Jar Family at Barton's. Unfortunately I couldn't watch the whole of the gig, as I had to pop over to another venue to catch The Madeline Rust.
This has been the third time that the Jar Family have done Oxjam in Beeston, and the audience enjoyed themselves, with dancing and cheering along to the band's infectious style of music. Industrial folk they call it. So I thought this sepia tinged photo would complement it.