First Post

Frosty morning walk in Wimbledon Common and encountered this lone spindly tree on a heather heath.

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Spring is delayed.

Photo : Bare tree, Wimbledon Common, 1st March, 2018

Cold Siberian weather, with snow, blizzards and freezing rain gripped the whole of Britain over the last few days, foiling the start of Spring in the official calendar. The UK can hardly cope with a few inches of snow, since extreme weather like this only occurs about once in a few years and only for a few days, at most, a week.

Welsh encounter

This is John Hook, 81, from the Welsh town of Deri, in the Darran Valley. I met him walking his dog, a little pincer, along a path by a stream and we chatted. The Welsh are really friendly, like that. Maybe it’s just the older generation. He had worked as a coal miner in three collieries when he was younger, and also help started steel works in England. Now, retired, he stays outdoors as much as possible, walking and enjoying the countryside.

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In the 50-70s these valleys in South Wales were major producers of coal in Europe and there were numerous collieries providing employment to the local population for generations. The beautiful countryside where we met were completely blackened with the spoils, slag heaps and soot from the mines. These were all cleared and the land replanted or regenerated into public space. The last mine which closed here was in the early 80s as the industry collapsed.

 

 

InstantLondon : South Bank

The South Bank is a bustling riverside walk dotted with restaurants, cafes and street entertainment over the weekend.  There are great views of the City of London and also Tate Modern and The Eye landmarks.

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Bataclan remembered

Sting reopened the Bataclan in Paris, last evening, with the words “We will never forget them”. ¬†One year on, the gig venue has been completed renovated, after 90 people were massacred by terrorists on 13 November 2015, along with another 40 people, killed in three other sites that evening. Coincidentally, today also is Remembrance Sunday, when Britain pays respect to the war dead from WW1 and also subsequent world conflicts.

I wasn’t in Paris, but noticed this poster in the amazing art-deco interior of Brasserie Zedel, a lower ground French restaurant and bar constructed in the Grand Cafe style in London’s West End.

Birds of a feather

Today, we had the first frost in London, and the winter sun gives what little warmth to a flock of pigeons. The USA votes it’s 58th President today and the whole world is awaiting the results with bated breath.

InstantLondon : Brixton Buzz

Brixton is only about 5 miles from where I live, but the last time I was there was over 10 years ago I believe, attending a photography workshop at Photofusion. Today, I dropped by this South London photo-space to take a look at Kazuma Obara’s Silent Histories exhibition. The town has it’s famous attraction, the Brixton Academy, Ritzy and of course the multi-ethnic Brixton Market with its street stalls, fish, fruit and veg outlets, halal butchers, and trendy cafes.

 

Chinese Takeaway

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I haven’t shot in Chinatown for a while, and today was a great opportunity to bring a group of enthusiastic photographers from the City Academy Documentary class, as the sun was shining and the weather was warm. It always brings a smile to me to see tourists eyeing the strung up roast ducks and chickens in the restaurant fronts, as well as more weird and colourful delicacies like chicken feets, squids and offal hanging off steel rack displays. I even saw visitors smelling large spiky durians that cost as much as they weighed.

Boat Race Day

First raced in 1829, the 162th annual Boat Race between the rowing clubs of Oxford and Cambridge Universities was held today on a cold but sunny Easter Sunday, on the River Thames at Putney Bridge. I live close by, so a quick walk upriver got me there. The race was won by the Cambridge team, overtaking Oxford at Hammersmith Bridge.