Saturday, 17 February 2018

Ambitions...

Pita Taufatofua, the Tongan athlete known for his bare-chested entrance at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, managed to avoid coming last in the 15km cross-country skiing race. That’s quite a feat, considering that he first saw snow just two years ago. I can applaud his ambitions: “Finish before they turn the lights off. That’s number one. Don’t ski into a tree. That’s number two”…

Friday, 16 February 2018

Another school shooting...

The aftermath of the school shooting in Florida is proceeding along predictable lines. “We need to pray”, said Paul Ryan, Republican speaker of the House of Representatives. What? Pray that God will consider gun control, since no American politician seems able to confront the power and influence of America’s gun lobby?

According to today’s Guardian, questions are now being asked about how Nikolas Cruz, a teenager known widely in his community as a “troubled kid”, who had received sporadic treatment for mental health problems and was expelled from Stoneman Douglas school for violence, had an obsession with firearms and delighted in shooting animals, could so easily buy a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. He could buy a rifle, legally, but, aged 19, was too young to buy beer…

Another shot of Helmsley licensed today...

Leighton Moss...

Collected my camera yesterday - all fixed and sensor cleaned - and celebrated with a bag of pic ’n’ mix and a flying visit to the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss, near Carnforth. The light was gorgeous, making a teal look tropical and a pintail like it had been painted in oils.

Licensed this shot of Helmsley today (lots of similar pix on Alamy; maybe the two kids playing in the beck helped it to sell)...


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Rag & bone man...

Saw something this morning which I probably haven’t seen for thirty years: a rag & bone man, with horse and cart, making sedate progress through the back-streets of Otley. I’m having another morning writing in the library, before driving to Kendal, where my camera - ‘as new’, I’m hoping - is now ready to collect…

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Library...

Had a Wetherspoons breakfast, while reading all my Valentine’s cards. In Otley library now, availing myself of warmth, mains electricity and free wifi. Not silence, though; a few feet away there’s a load of kids being taught circus skills: stilts, juggling, diabolo, hoola hoop, etc. I’m sharing a table. On my right is a man who’s talking to himself, and chuckling, and looking at me, and leafing through a pile of newspapers without reading them. He is, as my dad used to say, “not quite right”. On my left is an elderly couple who are attempting to choose a dishwasher by looking at back issues of Which magazine. He is making copious notes, comparing the various models; she just looks bored. She might be happier to join in with the kids... spinning plates and playing games.

I don't sell many pictures of churches, but this one was licensed today: the Saxon church of St Peter and St Paul, Albury, Surrey Hills...

Monday, 12 February 2018

Café society...

According to this article in the Guardian, I’m not the only one who searches out sources of free wifi. Lots of freelancers prefer to work in cafés rather than at home (the ambient noise helps them to concentrate, apparently, and no doubt the coffee tastes better than ‘instant’). But the backlash has begun, with some cafés turning off the wifi and becoming ‘laptop-free’.

I try to behave myself… not going online for hours while still nursing a cold mug of tea. And I certainly don’t try to hog a table at lunchtime. For those who want to get the café vibe, even when they’re at home, an app offers a variety of background noises, from ‘morning murmer’ to ‘Texas teahouse’…

Licensed this shot of the old hall at Brockhampton, complete with gatehouse and moat...

What is...

Another quote from Krishnamurti, from my email in-tray this morning. "Like most people, you have ideals, have you not? And the ideal is not real, not factual; it is what should be, it is something in the future. Now, what I say is this: forget the ideal, and be aware of what you are. Do not pursue what should be, but understand what is. The understanding of what you actually are is far more important than the pursuit of what you should be. Why? Because, in understanding what you are, there begins a spontaneous process of transformation; whereas, in becoming what you think you should be, there is no change at all, but only a continuation of the same old thing in a different form"...

Licensed this pic of the East Banqueting House, Chipping Campden...