Monday, 6 July 2015

A Year in Pictures – 29 to 30 June and 1 to 5 July 2015 – Another Week Goes By

On Monday 29 June my brother and I went to The Royal College of Physicians for an evening of lectures about The Great Plague of 1665. It was the beginning of what became, for the most part, a week of exceptionally bright and hot weather. Lurking in the shade I caught this shot of the College, a wonderful Modernist building designed by Denys Lasdun (1914–2001) and now listed Grade I.

Tuesday 30 June saw my wife and I having an alfresco supper with friends by the canal at the foot of Horsenden Hill (in what used to be known as Middlesex). Another beautiful evening.

On Wednesday 1 July I sneaked up on one of the four sword stands at St Olave Hart Street, each of which was set up by the parish in the 18th century in honour of a different Lord Mayor of London. The stands are all topped by crowns and bear the Royal Arms of the time, along with the family arms of the dedicatee, the arms of his livery company and the arms of the City.

On Thursday 2 July I went to St Mary-at-Hill, the church closest to the starting point of The Great Fire of London in 1666. There was a short service of Evening Prayer followed by a talk on aspects of human rights by the former Tory Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, who traced the golden thread of rights law in England from Magna Carta until the present day and outlined some of the challenges of maintaining a robust framework of such law amid the pressures of the age of instant communication and soundbite politics. On the way to Bank Station afterwards, I spied three men making their way down the west side of the Walkie-Talkie, cleaning the windows in the rosy light. Two are clearly visible in the photograph, while the other is mainly hidden by the elegant ribs that extend outwards from both flanks of this perplexing building.

On Friday 3 July, on the way home from French class, I again made the short deviation from my route that brought me face-to-face with one of my favourite trees, the mighty oak that stands just inside Marble Hill Park. It was around the moment at which British citizens had been requested to observe a period of silence to honour those killed in the shooting of over 30 tourists in the Tunisian resort of Sousse. The last time I had contemplated this tree I was thinking of the sudden death of a much-loved and respected local pharmacist. Maybe trees, with their sometimes unfathomably long lives, are natural objects to seek out when we need a broader vision or a sense of stability or even eternity.

On Saturday 4 July, my wife and I attended our fourth wedding of the year, at St Stephen's Church East Twickenham, itself very close to Marble Hill Park. The church was built in the 1870s and above its chancel arch is this large Celtic cross cared in stone, another object I have contemplated over the years and reminiscent in shape and arrangement of a Hindu or Buddhist mandala, a circle typically divided into four quadrants and representing the Universe.

On Sunday 5 July we entertained two friends from church to lunch. They both brought beautiful bunches of flowers for my wife. Here is a detail of one the bouquets: stocks, whose perfume is of the luxurious variety. The weather was bright again today, but much cooler after the thunderstorms that had begun the weekend.

Monday, 29 June 2015

A Year in Pictures – 22 to 28 June 2015 – Cornwall, London and Twickenham

Here's a collection of photos from the last few days to bring everything up to date (but not for long!)

22 June – The pleasure of pitch and putt in Padstow.

23 June – Time to return to London, but not before a stop in Padstow and a last look at the harbour.

24 June – Back to work and this is the view from my office.

25 June – The Walkie-Talkie is still trying to convince me that it is a really beautiful building.

26 June – a stroll by the River Thames at Twickenham.

27 June – London W1A 1AA

28 June – a little vase we have at home. Refined pottery it isn't, but I love the colours.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A Year in Pictures – 21 June 2015 – Dinas Head

On Sunday, 21 June my friends and I ventured westwards on a long walk from the house where we were staying in North Cornwall to Trevose Head. We followed the line of the coast, dipping down from the cliffs to walk on the sands at Harlyn Bay and Mother Ivey's Bay. The weather was bright and sunny but there was a fresh chilly breeze to keep us cool as we kept up a steady pace for several miles.

We finally sat down when we reached the grassy slope just below the lighthouse at Trevose Head, where we had some sandwiches and looked westwards across a short stretch of sea to Dinas Head.

We made our way home by a slightly shorter route that took us more inland at points and through the campsite above Mother Ivey's Bay. There I bought a small packet of clotted cream fudge (produce of the Chough Bakery in Padstow). After nearly a week there are still a couple of cubes of this voluptuous confection left.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

A Year in Pictures – 20 June 2015 – A Modest Experiment

On the evening of 19 June, my wife and I left for a long weekend in Cornwall. On 20 June we went for the particular walk along the cliffs that always forms part of our stay at our friends' house on the north coast.

In some idle moments after we had returned to the house and before we went out for dinner (where I had one of the best fish pies I have ever tasted), I experimented a bit with some close-up photography. Here is part of a curtain cord. I have turned the image black and white and then tinted the highlights and shadows in different colours to produce what is called "split toning". I am very drawn to this approach with some images and I hope you like it.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Year in Pictures – 14 and 15 June 2015 – Memory Lane and Seething Lane

Two leafy scenes for you.

For the first nine years of my life, my family lived in Ealing. My paternal grandparents lived just up the road from us in the house where my father had spent most of his own childhood. I found myself in the area on Sunday 14 June, as the jazz band I play in occasionally took part in a fund-raising event for a church in another part of Ealing. When we had finished playing and I had loaded my percussion instruments back in the car, I decided to take a short detour to our old road before driving the few miles home.

I walked the length of it, from the shops at one end, past my grandparents' house and on to the house which my parents had rented at the far end. Walking past our old house  followed the bend of the road round into the lane that ran behind our old place. It was on the stretch of the lane that you see here that my father taught me to ride a bicycle; here that I and my early friends played in relative safety from cars when we craved a bit more space than our modest gardens allowed.

Meanwhile, in the churchyard of St Olave Hart Street, the new plants introduced some months ago are taking hold nicely, as you can see from this photograph taken in the early evening of Monday, 15 June before I left work to catch the train home.