Category Archives: days out

What To Do With A Week Off

…Which is what I had the other week. And yes, it rained. Quite a bit, to my great disgust after the recent nice spell. And this week, it’s nice again.
Bah, and bah again.

Anyway, here’s my illustrated calendar of things went to and seen:

Fri 20th Evening

After finishing work, I went to see the Spitfire. Mainly because absolutely nobody fancied a drink with me. Not that that was particularly surprising, but still.
So here’s the pic:

Spitfire

Spitfire


To commemorate the 70th anniversary Battle of Britain hero pilots and crews, as we damned well ought to. They don’t get enough praise, if you ask me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I doff my hat of freedom to you.

Sat 21st
Off to the Horniman Museum down Forest Hill way, for a nose about. I’d never actually been here before, and although it’s hardly the Natural History (my personal favourite of the big museums in London), it’s was still a fun little trip.
Here’s what it looks like inside:

Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum


The one exhibit that utterly fascinated me was the music collection – lots and lots of instruments, old and new(-ish) on display side by side. Loved it. And, quite predictably, here’s the panoramic picture of it. (badly stitched – it was dark and I didn’t have a tripod, is my excuse for making a hash of it)
Music Collection

Music Collection

It also has a rather nice little garden, which I actually spent more time in than the museum, playing with a macro lens (a Nikon 60mm f/2.8, if you must know. Much as I’d like one of the 105mm VR ones, I don’t do enough macro work to justify it. Although I promptly went and used it at Kew the very next day)
Here’s a bee on some Lavander, just for the sheer gratuitousness of it.

A Full Bee. Presumably not called Eric, then.

A Full Bee. Presumably not called Eric, then.

Sun 22nd
I annually organise a Flickr trip to the delightful Kew Gardens once or twice a year, because it’s lovely there. I really must get round to joining sometime. There’s a set of pictures on Flickr, so you can look at them instead of here. See HERE for the set, and HERE for a few more. I like butterflies. And the trip to the pub afterwards, naturally.

I was quite proud of this one (which currently adorns my desktop as a background)

LFM-Kew Gardens 03

butterfly

Mon 23rd
Lazed around, processing photos from last few day’s outings, and spent far too long chattering to various people on Twitter. As you do.

Tues 24th
It’s off to the seaside! The sun’s out, and it’s nice and warm, so it’s off to the coast for a wander. Eastbourne was the train stop, and Beachy Head was the destination. A walk along the Seven Sisters (even if there is eight) was called for.
And what a lovely view. Well, once I’d hiked up the road route from the town, not realising there was a far quicker way from along the beach. Bah. Still, had plenty of time and the hard uphill hike was good for me. *Wheezes quite a lot*
There’s some photos HERE.
Taken at great risk, because it was blowing a BLOODY GALE up there. Good job it was sunny, if you’d needed a tripod it wouldn’t have lasted upright for 2 minutes.
Here’s another picture illustrating the chalk cliffs, and so you can see why it’s a favourite spot for people who feel suicidal.

A Big White Cliff. With Added Lighthouse.

A Big White Cliff. With Added Lighthouse.


I didn’t.

Wed 25th
Cathedral hopping time again, this time to Chester. The Cathedral Photos are HERE, but here’s the usual over the roof shot for you…

Chester Cathedral-03

Chester Cathedral.

It also has Rhinos all over the show at the moment in the Rhino Mania! To quote the website:
“Rhinos are some of the most endangered animals on earth. We have nine of our very own Black Rhinos in Chester Zoo. This event is helping support their relatives by fundraising for the Black Rhino Field Conservation Project in Kenya and Tanzania managed by the Zoo.”

Rhino Mania!

Rhino Mania!


I wish I’d known about this before I’d gone, or I’d have attempted more. Those are the ones I came across while looking at the city in general. There’s 62 stunning rhinos created by the regions artists, along with 116 mini school rhinos dotted all over.
Love them. Although not -quite- as much as the London Elephant parade, who I met an awful lot of very nice people through.
Good job, all those artists and schools.

Thurs 26th
Lunch with a friend, and a lazy wander in the British Museum
Complete with recycled artwork from South Africa.

A Thingy. And a bit of classical sculpture, too.

A Thingy. And a bit of classical sculpture, too.

Fri 27th
Lazy day. Doing chores. And stuff. And nattering on Twitter, yet again.

Sat 28th
A trip to Bexhill-on-Sea to see Antony Gormley’s Critical Mass at The De La Warr Pavillion.
The photos are HERE.
Here’s the inevitable panoramic image, complete with HENIOUS stitch error in the railings, and a load of people who wouldn’t stand still. *swears*

Critical Mass

Antony Gormley's Critical Mass

Sun 29th
Was going to go to Children’s Carnival at Notting Hill, but couldn’t be bothered, and watched the Grand Prix instead.
Mr. Vettel, just what the hell did you think you were doing, eh?

Mon 30th
Ooh, today’s going to be busy it’s the Notting Hill Carnival (pictures are HERE, since you ask and no, no bare boobies this year. Just a great deal of very well built ladies with rather prominent décolletage).
Who-hoo, as they say. Or at least any straight male would, anyway.
Here’s the gratuitous shot of a *cough* rather well built lady

Notting Hill Carnival 2010-01

Gratuitous Cleavage

And finally, the highlight of the season, the Great Summer Frolick!
I was lucky enough to be invited along to take pictures at the rehearsal beforehand too. Go me. This, not incidentaly, also saved me being late due to those lovely people at TfL closing Hampstead just before the start of the concert. (Faulty lifts, apparently)
Anyway, despite a slightly late start, a very good time was had by all, and The Frolick were marvellous.

As they describe themselves, they’re “Top of the Pops of London’s Baroque in modern innovative cabaret style,
with completely authentic sounds of original historical performance.”

For those of you who didn’t see the tweet, you can see a few pictures HERE.
Here’s one of them:

The Frolick

The Frolick


Wonderful stuff, and throughly recommended as an evening out. For a taster of them performing, there’s some videos HERE

Tues 27th
6:15am: alarm goes off. Back to reality, then.

Ho hum…

The Macro World

A rather nice little trip with the London Flickr Meetups mob to the lovely Kew Gardens was yesterday’s little outing, for a bit of macro mayhem.

I like Kew, and normally organise a trip there in the summer. ‘Organise’ very much in inverted commas, for this usually consists of ‘turn up at 11am, wander around until 5pm when we’re going to the pub’. I prefer informal, me 😉

It doesn’t seem -quite- the same without the Henry Moore Sculptures from a few years back (see Here, and Here, but I still enjoy a wander in the beautifully kept gardens, exploring the flowers and wildlife.

And in this case, the butterflies. There’s some info about it Here if you’d like to go too. The live ones are at the east end of the Prince of Wales conservatory. And some sculptures too.
Like this one:

A Bug. With Water Lillies

A Bug. With Water Lillies

For once, I was organised and came equipped with my lovely little Nikon 60mm Macro lens. Which, for once, I magaed to put to good use, and got some half-way respectable macros of the butterflies, in very-very-very close up (‘macro’ to you photo-y type people) mode. And a few other things, too.

You can go view them on Flickr Here.

And there’s a few bonus butterfly shots Here, as well.

Nice to see some new faces (Andrew – I was DEAD impressed with the Technica!), as well as the usual suspects.

Oh, and did I mention the new toy?

Nikon 16-35 f/4 *grins in a ‘now-I’m-borassic-but-happy’ way*
It does this sort of thing:

Temperate House

Temperate House. In Wiiiiiiddddddeeee view

Going Walkabout…

…which, rather regretfully for males of my certain age *cough*, did not involve a naked Jenny Agutter.

Back to the point. A little trip to Ely, to do a bit more of the ongoing ‘”let’s-take-photos-in-as-many-cathedrals-as-possible” project.

You might think this preoccupation a little strange for an ardent athiest. Think away. Done? Right then. I might not be approving of the purpose for which the things are built, but I can very much appreciate the craftsmanship and architecture splendour they inevitably contain. They are magnificent buildings, after all, and packed full of history, art, style and things of interest, not to mention stories galore.

So, the latest addition to the ‘done’ list was Ely. And what a place it is. A lovely little town, and a truely magnificent cathedral. Here’s a view of the unique Octagon ‘Lantern Tower':

Lantern Tower

Ely Cathedral's Unique Octagon Lantern Tower

This was constructed in 14th Century, and replaced the old central tower which collapsed – although thankfully no-one was injured when it did so.
The Lantern is 23 m (74 ft) wide and is 52 m (170 ft) high. From the floor to central roof boss ‘The Lantern’ is 43 m (142 ft) high. And looks it from underneath , I must say. (Click on Image to see it bigger on Flickr)

There is a fantastic roof as well, which you can see in this end-to-end panorama (Yes, it’s flawed – I’ll correct it when I get time -Click on Image to see it bigger).

Ely Cathedral Roof

Ely Cathedral Roof

And there’s the fascinating David Wynne sculpture too, titled “Mary Magdalene Recognises Jesus”

Mary Magdalene Recognises Jesus by David Wynne

David Wynne's "Mary Magdalene Recognises Jesus"

I was rather pleased with this one 😉

And, after all this, I also managed to stick to the ‘no-chocolate, crisps or junk food’ diet which I’m going to need for a long while to come.

Go me!

Cathedral Hopping


All right, so I’m a sad git who’s got nothing better to do than wander off on day trips to take photos of large ornate buildings that I don’t even believe in the general purpose of.

But whatever your thoughts on the church are (THE church? Sorry, I should say ‘religion in general’ and not be denominationist!), you can’t deny they are magnificent structures with fascinating things in and on them, and are always beautifully decorated. Like Chichester, here, with a detailed little bronze in front of the rather spectacular Chagal window.

(Mildly embarrassing admission: I forgot to take note of the sculpture’s artist, so please correct this so that he/she can be properly credited, ta!)


And there’s a nice garden round the back (The Bishop’s Garden), where you can get a nice leafy view of the spire. Unfortunately you can’t get up it, though, unlike Salisbury, which is a pity, but still.

And the Roman stuff at Fishbourne is rather good, too.

So where next?*

*Obviously not Winchester, Canterbury, Bristol, Clifton, Either Liverpool, Rochester, St. Albans, Southwark, Westminster, St.Paul’s, York, Either Norwich or Portsmouth. Trips to Chelmsford, St. Edmundsbury and Lincoln are in planning (as Lincoln’s a nice city, and deserves a weekend, I think!), and Durham won’t let you take pictures and is a way away for a day trip – like Truro. And will be going to Paris soon….

Your suggestions, then?
(Preferably ones that do not have the word ‘Off’ in them, please)

A Battle. At Battle, surprisingly enough…


Time for another day trip out of London, and this time it’s to watch the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. Lots of grown men demonstrating how to wack hell out of each other with sharp things attached to pieces of wood.

Or something like that, anyway.

Actually it was quite fascinating, having a Falconry display (that’s an Eagle Owl right there)


have-a-go-Archery, a Norman village, the music and poetry of the period, and plenty of hog roast 😉

And Sun! yes, it might have been misty and a bit damp first thing, but it was a really lovely day, in contrast to several recent events, and I throughly enjoyed myself.

Especially listening to the boos when Duke William rides past…

he he he


Duxford. In The Rain.


Oh look, it’s an airshow at Duxford – and the last one of the season. Yay! let’s go!

Another LPMG outing, ably organized by Tom to the windswept wilds of Norfolk to watch various aircraft buzzing around and entertaining the crowd.

Or so the theory goes…but as usual the British weather intervened rather severely, and nearly caused the whole thing to be called off. But the best thing about Duxford is there’s plenty to see indoors in the hangers and buildings, and so not all is lost…


even if it was packed to the rafters with people with cameras looking rather bedraggled!

In the end, however it did lighten up enough for some of the intrepid pilots to venture out, and the crowd was muchly pleased, one’s good self included.

And who can resist sentiments like this?

On the Beach


Saturday: Ooh look, it’s the sun! Head for the beach with lady friend to actually absorb some UV and…wait for it…go in the sea!

(OK, OK, I can hear the “well he needed a bath!” comments from here. Don’t labour the point, I don’t smell THAT bad. Or at least I hope not…)

Yes, it really was that warm, you didn’t have to shiver yourself dry under a dirty great towel as is usual for Brighton.

Although half of London seemed like they were decamping or the day down the railway line, judging by the packedness of it. I could almost have been convinced it was the rush hour, if people hadn’t been resplendent in shorts and flip-flops. Oh well, no accounting for taste.

Shame I missed the London walk with the London Flickr gang, but hey guys, these things have to be done, Sorry!

And at the end of the day, a really nice sunset too.


What more do you want?
“A proper summer” I hear you cry

No pleasing some people 😉

Being Unfaithful


Yes, I’ll admit it. I was unfaithful. To Flickr, not to…oh you know what I mean. Chance would be a fine thing, anyway. But that’s not the point.

Last Saturday saw my first outing with the London Photographic Meetup Group, on a jolly to Cambridge, home of one of the finest Universities in the world. Well, allegedly anyway – I didn’t even try getting in it it being (a) too poor (b) too common and (c) too thick anyway.


And a rather nice Botanic garden, which saw the majority of my attention during the gloriously sunny morning. Which in itself made a rather nice change from the usual “and then it started raining”.

Eee, it were nice. Sun, lovely gardens and planty-type things to take lots of pictures of, nice new people to discuss absurd technicalities with, and a nice cup of tea to boot.


Oh and did I mention pictures? Yes, thought I had. With such sun, who wouldn’t want to wander in the lush verdancy with camera in hand? I certainly did, forgoing the 11am pub stop and looking round the colleges as many others did.

I’ll save the colleges for a later date, I think. Another day out in the planning. Perhaps next time I’ll leave a suitable margin to get to the train station on time without having to pay an excess fare to get back on time (Sorry about that, Tyra!)


Although I did venture up and down the high street, with fisheye lens attached, and got that piccy there to the right, which came out much better than it looked in reality.

And then it was off to the 3pm pub stop, pausing only to sit with cold Guinness in hand watching people punting in the summery weather. Incompetently, too, although in fairness it’s not as easy as it looks. I know, I’ve tried it and came very close to falling in/loosing pole/crashing into the bank several times. And steering it is fun, too. Especially when there’s a crown of pissed students also trying punt around you in similarly uncoordinated fashion.

But I didn’t see anyone fall in. Which I was very disappointed with.

No fun, some people :)