Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Photo A Day 365

This year, 2014  is the third time I have done 365. I had a break last year, 2013, but did 2011 and 2012, and I have to say that this is probably the last time I'll do one of these! It's become a little addictive, almost, in a way, stressful. Don't get me wrong,  I have, overall, found it a very rewarding, and I would encourage anyone who has thought about doing it, to give it a go. Many people will ask, and indeed, have asked, why?! What do you take, just anything? What are you going to do with them all? What do you get out of it?

Well, for starters, it's an exercise in self - discipline. It would be so easy, when the going gets difficult, to just not bother. It's a good way to learn how to look around you, to see everything from sweeping landscapes to the most mundane objects and capture them in different ways. You can end up with something both very personal and accessible to others.
A project like this hones your technical skills too. Constant handling of cameras means the equipment is that much more familiar to you. Photo editing skills improve. And, not least, it forces you to face the issue of safely storing a huge amount of data! 

For me, it all started back, in 2010, when a few of my colleagues at work and I, tried just a month's worth of daily images. Though it has to be said, and I don't remember why now, but I missed the very first day! After that though, I never missed a day, always taking the shot, even if I couldn't post it up to Flickr. I found I quite enjoyed it, and I did 5 MONTHS in the end, a month on and a month off from April onwards, then straight into 2011 and 2012.

From the start, I decided not to go with any particular theme in mind. There would be the occasional series of related images like the "Things on my shelves" in 2011, or "Doorways" this year. As it happens, 2011 was an eventful and quite emotional year for me. I moved away from my secluded hilltop dwelling which I had inhabited for nearly 25 years, and The Lovely came into my life. Looking back, I think this project was a great help in keeping me stable, quite therapeutic. It is a superb record of a key year in my life, but at the time, all I was doing was "getting my shot of the day". It was only afterwards, when I looked back at the whole sequence that I could see it's real worth. And I think that has happened every year - I struggle to get through it at times, but at the end, I'm rather pleased with it all.

Technically, I wasn't always that worried about hitting a high standard of image quality in every shot. It seemed to me that an image was an image and that I got what I got. I used my DSLR, compact cameras, and even my phone. A few years ago, the cameras on most phones didn't produce the best of images, but I got to quite like the lo-fi approach, depending on the subject. I think sometimes we get a bit hung up on pure image quality and too often throw out an image by judging the quality over the content. Though, as I have already mentioned, your technical skills improve immensely over these years, so you end up with more and more technically good images.

But, what about the "What do you do with them all?" question?  Although it's all out there in Cyberland,  I must say that it feels like I'm not making the most of such a huge body of work. I am drawn towards producing photobooks. The cost will be quite high, but I think it's the only thing to do. I really feel that I should bring those digital, virtual images back into the real, analogue world. I work with photo archives, many of which are in the form of photo albums, some dating back to the very earliest days of photography. There is still something wonderful about the physicality of a photo album, or prints in general really. Producing and mounting 365 prints in an old fashioned album is pretty impractical, whereas, the photobook offers a little more flexibility in layout etc.

So what will I do this year, without this project? Well, find something different is the answer! I'm sure I will continue to take photos on most days. I may return to some kind of video project. In 2012, as well as doing the 365 photo, I also did a 3 SECONDS A DAY video challenge... But that's a whole different story.....

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Boxing Day Encounter

Boxing day dawned a lovely bright frosty day.  We were spending the holiday in Broxbourne, at The Lovely's parents place, and there had been much consuming of food and drink. I needed a good wander to stretch my legs and take some pics.  I was admiring the reflections in a pond along which a boardwalk ran. There was an old man, around 70 or so, walking a Golden Retriever, chatting to it as he went. I later found out that his name was Mr. Bufton, a retired secondary school teacher.  Hearing him chatting, I looked up, caught his eye and he approached. "Are you admiring our nice little lake?" He asked with an emphasis on the word " nice" which hinted to me that he didn't actually find it that nice at all.
"Just looking at the reflections here, " I said, waving my hand in the general direction.
" Ah, not from the council then?"
" No," says I, " From Wales."
"Well, you have lots of water there too then." 
" Oh yes, plenty of that!"
" Well, this used to be a fine meadow, full of flowers you know." I sensed a little anger and frustration in his tone,  " And look at these trees, here, and over there," he continued, waving his walking stick in various directions, " they're all dead or dying now."
Looking closer at the scene around me, I could see that many of the trees have their roots in the waterlogged ground and they are indeed dying.
"So, how do you think this happened then? " he quizzed. 
I was trying to formulate an answer, speculating that maybe this was the natural way of things, after all the place is in a river valley, next to a river, lots of water. However, just as I uttered my first syllables, he began to answer for me, pausing occasionally for the clattering trains to pass. 

The story was a complex tale of accident and incompetence involving all the authorities of the area - Lee Valley Park, the local council, the Railway the Rivers Authorities. It seemed that Mr. Bufton was not overly fond of the local council,or the Lee Valley Park Authorities. As the affected area filled up, it was referred to as the creation of "diverse habitat". But, the fact is that there are acres and acres of wetland habitat all through the Lee Valley, and what had once been on this site was probably far more important. Also, because this has just been allowed to happen, uncontrolled, every year the water encroaches more and more on the car park nearby.
As he talked, I prepared to take a photo, and when he paused I asked if that was ok. 
"You should take a photo of this dog of mine." he said, and I stood back a little trying to frame the shot.
" If you make a noise like biscuits, he'll smile for you," I was told, but was a little stumped as to what noise to make - what is the difference between the sound of a Digestive and a Custard Cream?! I made a vague clicking noise and the dog did seem to pose nicely.

"Of course I normally charge for that you know."
I laughed, but was answered with an almost stern expression, "No, really," he said, " this is the cleverest dog in Hertfordshire, been tested against five year olds." 
Now it was getting interesting.

"Oh?" says I, "....really?"
"Oh yes, he can do mathematics."
"Ah....." I muttered, wondering if this was all about to get rather embarrassing.  

Mr. Bufton looked around, and spotting another dog approaching told me that it might be distracting so we had to wait a moment, then the old man addressed the dog. "Mitch, find your voice" he said and the dog barked.
Then, with the dog watching him intently he held up three fingers and the dog barked three times. This was repeated with various numbers, then he asked me to just say a number between one and five and every time Mitch barked out the correct number. Then he did sums, addition and subtraction, but always ending up with an answer of no more than five. I was told that he could do a lot more when he has his "equipment", which, I gather consists of various cards that can be laid out on the ground in front of him. 
"Oh yes, we've done television, and they put him on the Internet and everything." Mr. Bufton said with a great deal of pride. " He can do some square roots too."
He asked Mitch a question to which the answer was evidently three, but I have to say that I have no idea about square roots. In fact my mathematical prowess probably only just exceeds that of the dog!
Suitably impressed, and with a couple of nice photos, I thought it was time to move on, I was expected back for lunch. As it turned out we were going the same way, so I we walked together a while. 
"Of course, you see this walking stick, I don't need it you know. Why do you think I carry it?" Mr. Bufton asked, but he answered for me again, "Well, vets bills are expensive you know and some dogs are so aggressive, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, they're the worst, and I use this stick to fend them off, damn things."
I nodded in agreement as we approached the spot where we part ways.
"And you'll notice I have a very long lead here," Indeed, I had noticed that he had one of those extendable, retractable leads, "Well, you see, Mitch is learning to fly...."
"Ah....I see..." I said scanning Mr. Bufton's expression for a clue as to whether he was having a laugh - seemed perfectly serious.

"This lead will stop him getting too high and getting caught in the trees. But there are quite a few people and other dogs around, " he said and then, addressing the dog, " so no flying for you today!"

Now I wondered - loon or master of deadpan humour? There was a glint in his eye that made me think the latter.

"Yes," I said, " a bit cold up there for flying today, and it'll only make all the other dogs jealous..."

At that point we said our goodbyes, but I was rather glad I’d taken the time to chat with Mr. Bufton and Mitch the Mathematical Mutt. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Not Very Christmassy Cards, Miss Lobb!

After declaring that I had found all I was going to find of Miss Lobbs collection, I found more!  A colleague pointed me in the direction of a cupboard, full of bits and pieces "to be sorted at some point", and luckily there were four more of the missing items. There is just one item still unaccounted for.
One of the new finds was the first item on the inventory, and I really thought it had been lost. It's an interesting "autograph album" from the 1840's. The sort of thing many respectable young ladies would have. It has various written contributions addressed to Miss Ind, the owner of the book, as well as some original drawings. However, what is most interesting is that inserted between pages throughout the volume, are leaves from various trees, and many (I haven't counted them yet) orange wrappers! We tend not to see them much these days, but most oranges, and some other fruit, used to come individually wrapped. I think you still get satsumas or clementines wrapped like that sometimes.  This is the sign of Miss Lobb at work! The leaves too, were almost certainly put there by her. Some of them are in the same place as the orange wrappers and they have left an impression indicating that they were put there at around the same time. The wrappers themselves are all of the same brand, though I have found one of a different kind in a seperate volume. Why she was so fascinated with these things we may never know, but they were mentioned in the original inventory of the bequest as part of the contents of a box containing "some thousands of loose items..cuttings, prints, drawings....  A variety of illustrations etc. from Christmas cards to paper wrappings of oranges".

Greetings cards feature quite heavily in this collection. Some appear in scrap books with used cards stuck down, sometimes with the names of senders written underneath. Most unusual though are the six trade catalogues, full of mint condition samples.  They are all Christmas and New Year cards from the 1880's. One, from 1881, containing aprox 250 designs by H.Rothe. Herman Rothe, had premises in Covent Garden, publishing Christmas cards from 1874 - 1890s. There is one from T.H. Dupuy & Sons of Paris containing about 230 designs, a volume from another French company – Bouvetier, Paris, some from G. Greinner & Son, London, and a couple of other volumes containing a mixture of British produced designs. Most of these volumes even still have the original trade price lists attached. It seems that Miss Lobb was an avid collector of such miscellanea. There are several receipts from antiquarian booksellers with her name on them - a couple at Kelmscott Manor and one I have found at the National Library. Though, why she would buy something like the rather nice, antique autograph album and then proceed to stuff it full of orange wrappers and use it as a flower press, is beyond me!

However what she has left us is a great insight into the Victorian era, and quite bizarre it is too. Some of the Christmas cards seem decidedly unseasonal to say the least......
Christmas torture??

Yes, this is a Christmas card, but I can't quite work out the sentiment it is meant to convey! There is another one similar to this which shows the butterfly caught in a spider's web...Really? Happy Christmas?

Was hunting for frogs with hook and line a winter pastime in the 1880's England? Strange imagery to convey a "Glad" or  "Joyful" Christmas!

As you can see, some of these have a somewhat ambiguous meanings. Personally I find them rather amusing and surreal, but I'm sure there are many who would find some of these anthropomorphic vegetables almost disturbing!

Its hard to tell if these kind of designs, and there are many, many more, were supposed to have any kind of meaning or message. They were probably simply meant to amuse, much like "nonsense" verse, and fantastical stories like Alice in Wonderland which were emerging at the end of the 19th century. 
I, for one, have always thought of the style of our Christmas icons as having originated with the Victorian era. These days, you can't buy a Christmas card that doesn't have the usual ingredients of snow, a christmas tree with presents, Santa, or the nativity and big shiny stars. But, although there are some snowy scenes, I haven't seen any Christmas trees, very few Santa figures and, perhaps most surprisingly, out of the several hundred designs in these catalogues (ranging 1879-1890 and five different companies) I have only seen four which specifically show the Nativity. Most are pastoral scenes with flowers, or seascapes, cherubs, strange vegetables, butterflies, birds (including many tropical species and the occasional dead Robin, yes, dead Robin!) and many child-like caricatures. 

Of course, these are catalogues, not all the designs contained therein would have sold well. Some may not have survived into the following year. Although feeding the Victorian love of novelty, and, indeed, being rather amusing to us now, in the development of Christmas icons, most of these were evolutionary dead ends.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Of Clowns & Donkeys

Ok, so I was showing my ignorance slightly, with my facetious comments about the Clown on a donkey image found in an old scrap book.  After just a little Googling I found that it seems this was quite a popular image.

Circuses were huge in the 19th and a large part of the 20th century. It was not unusual to see the donkey used in the clowning routines.  You can imagine watching the graceful, scantily clad ladies performing acrobatics on the back of fine, well dressed horses, galloping around the ring. Then, as the applause subsides at the end of their turn, the perfect parody - out comes a clown on a donkey!

Sometimes it would be the clown himself who would ride, sometimes a stooge. The description below describes a short film made of such an act at Hagenbeck's Circus in 1903. (I got this from IMDB. It is quoted from the Lubin Film Company catalogue of the time. I was a little surprised that an old fashioned, somewhat racist term had been left in. I don't want to cause offense, but I've left it in too. That's how the world was.)

"This is a funny one. A clown first enters with an apparently docile donkey. A colored man follows and is assisted by the clown to mount on the donkey's back. He thinks he can manage him but the donkey thinks not, and after vainly trying to throw him off backward and failing in this, he changes his tactics and pitches the coon over his head. The man tries to mount him again, but all to no purpose, and some ludicrous positions and actions are witnessed."


As a kid, I remember a few circuses. These would mostly have been in the late 1960's. The clowns I remember, did the ubiquitous disintegrating car act, threw copious amounts of custard pies and kicked each others behinds. But for me, like many generations before, it was all about the animals. I remember Lions, Tigers as well as chimps, elephants and horses performing all kinds of tricks.

I found this image in the HTV collection I am working on at work. This was taken around 1969-70, and I'm fairly certain that this was one of the acts I saw as a child.

We were even allowed to view all the animals after the show, something today's health and safety officers would have nightmares about. I distinctly remember the smell. The aroma of hay and straw, the musky smells of different beasts. We all reveled in the excitement of the low, resonant growls of Tigers as we passed so close, and the rattling of sometimes rather flimsy looking cages. We looked on wide eyed as we were told what happened to "one naughty little boy" who put his hand between the bars to pull a tigers tail!

Since the 1980's very few animals are to be seen in the circus, there are very few circuses at all in fact, particularly of the traveling kind.  There were of course many animal welfare issues, and I suspect there still are in some parts of the world, it was inevitable that things would change. I don't defend the cruelty and hardships, to both animal and human, but I am very glad that I can, in some small way remember what it was to experience this kind of spectacle.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Miss Lobbs Lost Stuff

After many, many months of searching through the dark corners of the Library, I think I have found all I am going to find of Miss Lobb's collection.  I have found all but 5 items on the list. My most recent find was this rather gorgeous Victorian, Mother of Pearl bound portrait album. I had seen this on the inventory and, in all honesty, given up on finding it.

It doesn't contain any photographs any more, though there are names, in pencil, written under all the placements inside. They are mostly celebrities of the day, including some Royals and various landed gentry.
The other things I have been looking at quite a bit lately are scrapbooks. It turns out that the majority of the Library's collection of Victorian Scrapbooks, came from Miss Lobb's bequest, and until now they have remained listed (if they are listed at all) as "source unknown".  Some of them were her's, others came from her Grandmother, possibly her mother, her Aunt and one has the name of her younger sister, Arabella, inscribed on it. Some of them seem to have been bought at jumble sales or auctions, she seems to have been a real hoarder, collecting all manner of cuttings, illustrations and postcards. The materials contained therein are quite surreal! Things like the quite scary looking clown on a donkey were actually mass produced. You could buy whole sheets of "Scraps" like this and one has to wonder which particular hallucinogens the artists designing these things were abusing!

Is there something I'm missing in this? Why is the clown on a donkey? He seems to look quite alarmed as well as alarming! Maybe there was context to this for people of the time, something now long lost. Who thought this up?! Did some low paid artist wander into the "scraps" studio and declare "I have it chaps! What we need is a clown on a Donkey!"
Still, none of it is any stranger than finding reality TV amusing!

This is just one of the pages reflecting, what seems to me, a strange obsession with vegetables! They appear with remarkable regularity. Turnips, potatoes, and particularly peas! Many of these things appear in other scrap books so I can't be sure if it's a general Victorian cultural thing or just the strangeness of the Lobb family!

Here I think we're seeing, Tony Robinson on the left in a Victorian incarnation of Baldric, Frankie Howerd in the middle, not sure about the one on the right, any suggestions?!

Anyway, now that I know the whereabouts of the collection, I can start looking at it all more closely and recording what I find. This may take some time. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Visit To Kelmscott 2- The Actual Visit

It was originally Kathleen's idea. A weekend away, visiting the place we had both been learning about. Having made contact with a few people at Kelmscott Manor, it was now going to be even more interesting, because we had arranged to meet to compare notes on Miss Lobb.

It was a long, but fairly pleasant drive. We stopped in Rhayader for lunch. I managed to snap my photo for the day as we passed the sheep market.

We had a quick look in a small shop pretending to be an antique shop. In times past the items these places sold would be referred to as bric-a-brac and the shops named accordingly. These days they all call themselves antique shops despite the fact that so much of their stock is pretty much old tat! Don't get me wrong, I love old tat, I just get annoyed at the ridiculously high prices they place on such things.  I have to admit to being slightly tempted by a vintage fireman's jacket, but in the end I didn't even ask the price. How good am I?!

We made our way through the ever changing landscape, with the rolling hills and valleys of Wales slowly giving way to the flat expanses of the Cotswolds. There was some occasionally temperamental guidance from the navigation app on my phone, but it was supplemented by some good old fashioned navigation from The Lovely. By early evening we had arrived at Lechlade, then it was just a few minutes to reach Kelmscott. 

The Plough Inn is a very welcoming little place. We settled into our room, The William Morris Room no less, and then sat outside for a welcome couple of pints. It was still quite warm for the start of October, so we made the most of it before venturing into the dining room for some good wine and a rather fine, filling meal, including some duck, the like of which I had never tasted! Having been on a bit of a diet lately, the mini banquet we consumed, along with the wine, was quite a shock to the system resulting in slightly impaired motor functions. 

Next morning, the weather changed dramatically, the temperature had dropped and it was now raining profusely. Still, that wasn't going to spoil anything, especially as I had a full cooked breakfast to feast upon. Then it was a quick dash through the rain to the Manor. On our arrival we were approached by a volunteer asking if we had visited before. I said that I had come to meet Sarah, to which her eyes opened wide, " Ahh, you're errr..." She seemed to struggle to find the words, then blurted "You're the Welsh!". Well, I thought, not all of them! But I answered, "Yes, that's us."

We were shown to the offices housed in some of the converted outbuildings, and here I could put faces to those who had been just email addresses until now. Here was Sarah, Kathy, and students Sophie And Thomas. I gave them an outline of what was in the collection, they were extremely keen to know more about Miss Lobb and I was keen to see what they had. 

They had recently been sent some material that had been found in a skip years ago. It included some paperwork including receipts and invoices, an interesting postcard written by Miss Lobb, and some photos I hadn't seen. I won't go into all the details here, all will be revealed in time!  

After we had been shown the new discoveries we went around the house itself. Of course, the rooms are all clean and conservation friendly now. No damp corners and dusty attics, no smell of fires burning in the hearths or the clutter of everyday life, but you still get a feel for the place and how it influenced and inspired the people who had lived there. It wasn't too difficult to imagine Jane Morris sitting writing letters in her room overlooking the garden as the the young May and Jenny clattered up the stairs to play in the attic, or Rossetti working in the Tapestry Room. There is still continuity in the place, those tapestries have been there almost since the place was built, William Morris' ancient four poster bed which he brought to the Manor, was the one in which he was born, and in which he died.  Then there are the paintings and drawings. It was great seeing Rossetti's painting, Blue Silk Dress, in the flesh, as it were. I wish I could take photographs in the house. I would love to record some of the little details - things like the various ornate window fittings, the old graffiti scratched into the stone around some of the windows, and the way shadows form as the light flows into the different spaces. 

By the time we had finished seeing the inside of the house, the rain had been banished. Clear skies took over as we sat for an obligatory cream tea before exploring the garden. The grounds are not huge and rambling as such. What makes it special for me are the spaces defined by the high walls, hedges, trees and of course, the building itself, which stands, observing, like a smiling old man who sits on the side of the road watching the world go by. If only it could talk. 

To complete the weekend, we had planned to create a Pre-Raphaelite inspired image starring The Lovely, doing her best moody muse look. Although there was some photoshop work done on our return, the basic elements were all shot at Kelmscott. I think it worked quite well.

A few more photo's can be found on my FlickrPhotostream

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Visit To Kelmscott

Well, so much for me writing more regularly! I'm not sure where all those tweeters and bloggers out there, find the time to consistently produce such prolific output!
Anyway, so I finally got to visit Kelmscott Manor. A very nice weekend spent with The Lovely, who, it has to be said, paid for our room and board at The Plough Inn, just down the road from the Manor. 
I have been working on a little research project which connects a collection at work, in the National Library, to Kelmscott. Before I go any further, I shall repeat, and possibly slightly enhance, a short blog I wrote for work outlining what I have found.


The Farmer, The Artist, The Princess And The Tzar

There is a small collection which first came to my attention last year, bequeathed to the Library by one Miss Mary Lobb. My attention was first drawn to some images of what appeared to be quite rich 19th Century tourists. One image was of two women looking out of a window, shot into the light, making it almost a complete sillouhette. 

The intimate, relaxed nature of this, and other images, made me curious. Was Miss Lobb, who’s bequest this was, the photographer?  
Well, as it turned out – no. She and her collection turned out to be far more interesting than anyone had previously realised. 

Miss Lobb in her younger days.

Mary Frances Vivian Lobb, was originally from Cornwall. During WW1 she joined the Land Army and was posted to Lechlade in Gloucestershire. She was a formidable character, and had very soon upset the local men, who wanted her removed from the farm. Close by was Kelmscott Manor, home to May Morris, the youngest daughter of designers and artists, William and Jane Morris. She took Miss Lobb on as a helping hand and they remained friends for the rest of their lives.
Digging deeper I found that the 17 items attributed to Lobb in the catalogue, were only a fraction of the bequest, which originally consisted of 98 items. Scrap books, photo albums and postcards, some from her family and some, clearly from Kelmscott Manor. There are several watercolours by May Morris, many designs and test pressings of illustrations, decorative borders and typefaces from the days of William Morris' Kelmscott Press. 
Most mysterious is the photo album which originally caught my attention. It took some time to work out, but it has been confirmed that it contains “snapshots”, from around 1895, of a gathering of Royal Families in Denmark. These include, Alexandra, Princess of Wales who probably took some of the photographs. Her sister Marie Feodrovna is shown with her husband Tsar Alexander III and children, Princess Xenia, one of the few Romanovs to survive the revolution, and Nicholas who would become the very last Russian Tsar.  How this album came to be in the possession of Miss Lobb, we might never know. 

Here we see Marie Feodrovna (formerly Princess Dagmar of Denmark), her sister Alexandra (soon to be Queen of Britain) both sitting on top of their niece Marie Georgievna of Greece.


I have continued to dig and delve into this collection, slowly finding all the items in the bequest and doing my best to see what is there altogether.  The above blog was spotted by a student from Oxford University who was doing their internship at Kelmscott Manor. She was very interested in what I had found, particularly as no one seems to know a huge amount about Miss Lobb herself beyond the scattered tales and anecdotes recorded by locals and visitors to Kelmscott. Miss Lobb is a much maligned character I think. However, as I've looked at her past, her family and the collection she left to the Library, I've become quite fond of her!  With the help of my Firstborn, who has grown into a fine genealogist also working at The National Library, we now know quite a bit about her family history. With what I've found in the collection, I can probably say more about Miss Lobb than anyone else. Who'd have thought it!
So, the next step was to talk to some people at Kelmscott, hence the visit. With a little luck, we are hoping to manage some kind of collaboration in the form of an exhition and general sharing of information. It will certainly mean another visit, which will be rather nice. But I get ahead of myself.... How did this visit go? What did I think of the place?   That might have to be the subject of my next posting....

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Chlorine...Vile Chlorine!

Haven't been out to take my photo for the day yet. I have however been swimming, in a swimming pool. This is something I haven't done for many years. I swam on holiday, but that was all outdoors and I've never been a fan of indoor pools. Chlorine, vile chlorine. Trying to write this, even with the correct glasses on, is still giving me grief - stingy eyes!   And, granddaughter no.1 knackered me as I tried to keep up with her. I have no idea which side of the family has porpoise in its blood, but there's no stopping her when she's in the water.

As a kid I was similar. When I was little we lived in Barry and had the massive outdoor pool at Cold Knap, now sadly gone. One of my favourite things to do there was to struggle down to the bottom of the deep end, which was, I think, a good 15 feet deep, and watch people diving in from the highest diving board. It was always amusing to see if swimming costumes were lost or displaced by the impact.  I think I jumped off the high board once, just the once. 

Photo from

The only indoor pool I remember fondly is the old Empire Pool in Cardiff, again now sadly gone. That was a fantastic building. Built in the 50's when Cardiff hosted the Commonwealth games. It was demolished in 1998 to make way for the stadium.

Photo: the people's collection Wales 

There was just something wonderful about being under that massive high ceiling. Everything echoed brilliantly, the noise of voices and water bouncing and blending into a unique sound in the vast space. It was built to take a huge audience, but I only remember the rows and rows of empty seats watching the proceedings.

Anyway, better stop now and rest my chlorinated eyes.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Let The Blogging Begin

Never been sure about blogging.  I hesitate to add my rambling piles of data to a digital world already awash with plenty of self-indulgent nonsense. Of course, there are those blogs and websites that have proved useful, educational or inspirational. I'm not sure mine will reflect any of those particular qualities!  Part of me thinks I should just pick up pen and paper and write, in the old fashion way. Wouldn't that be better?  Well, anyone who's seen my handwriting would probably agree that, no, it's not. There's no point pouring out endless scribble if that's all it remains - illegible scribble.  Also, I suspect that what I want to do most of the time is use photos as a starting point for my ramblings, so I'm rather interested in the multi-media aspect of this medium.

I've been thinking for some time that I should try to write more around the photos I take. Images, generally, should speak for themselves, but I find filling out the story with words can be interesting. I started trying to do this when I started a Photo-A-Day project at the start of this year. I think I got as far as May. Maybe it was a bit ambitious to take a photo a day and write something meaningful to go with every shot. I'll try something a little less intensive this time maybe.

In the past I have written diaries or journals but my resolve usually fizzles out, or is at least intermittent. Now, wherever I go I have some sort of communication device - phone or tablet. This should mean I write more...right?

We'll see.