Apple Day at Hanbury Hall

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Yep, pretty much what it says. We wandered over to Hanbury Hall, a pleasant local National Trust property, the other Sunday, to find it was Apple Day, entailing all sorts from creating apple boats in the orchard to sales of … Continue reading

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Take a break…

Spare 3 minutes  from a busy life and relax…

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Random Acts of Kindness in the Great Wen

Earlier this week our photographic group of four took a photo-trip to London, combining this with taking a look at the exhibition Strength for Life at St Martin-in-the-Fields as Pam, one of our number, had a winning portrait on show.

Memories of Rajasthan by Pam Turner

Memories of Rajasthan by Pam Turner

Pam and exhibition poster

Pam and exhibition poster








This achieved, we headed off past the church courtyard, taking pictures as we went. We were concentrating on street photography. Stewart and I are mere hobbits from the Shire, and mercifully unused to life in the big city since stopping work.  I know enough, though, not to anticipate much interaction with people as we wandered the streets, given the recent sarcastic reactions to some poor misguided soul’s attempt to launch Tube Chat badges and my own past experience of London.  My assumptions were about to be tested.

Just behind the courtyard is Maggi Hambling’s sculpture A Conversation with Oscar Wilde, and I grabbed a shot of this with a Big Issue seller who was standing chatting with another man behind ‘Oscar’. As I took this shot (and some of the others were also busy snapping) I saw him look across at us.

Big Issue Conversation

Big Issue Conversation

I wondered if he was about to object to the photography, as some people do, and on occasion quite agressively, but he just looked over at us, then at the water bottle perched on the sculpture and said: “That’s not mine, someone’s left it here. You won’t be wanting that in your shots, will you?” He then kindly picked it up, tucked it out of sight and promptly returned to his conversation with another chap.

Back to the conversation

Back to the other conversation

Thank you again for your thoughtful act.

We then nipped into the nearest McD’s, gourmets that we are, for some sustenance and I went to hold the only tables that would take the four of us together, while the others queued for food.

Brief stop in McDo's

Brief stop in McDo’s

At the next table were two young men, the one, I think perhaps central European, from the accent. I checked with them that the tables were in fact free, and the young man opposite said yes. As he did so, he reached across to move the food bags and general debris left by the previous people on to the table between us, to get it out of my way as I deposited bags, camera and stick. We started to chat, as he was interested in the retro-styled Fuji I’d popped on to the table.

As the others were heading over then, I started to gather up the rubbish he’d already kindly moved, intending to pop it into the bag and take it away, only for him to stop me, gather it up himself, take it to the bin and even come back with a serviette and wipe over the table.

The others joined us, we chatted very briefly, and the two young men went on their way, without my being quick enough to ask for or grab a photo. Thank you for your thoughtful act, whoever you are, young man in McDonald’s on Monday! 

Our long afternoon in Camden was very fruitful – more of that another time, photographically speaking. Husband and I parted company from the other two in the early evening, as we were heading back via different stations. Being diabetic, Stew needed something reasonably substantial  despite the earlier burgery delight and had to eat before we left London as he was due for a fasting blood test the next day, but not until quite late. I found, rather randomly via Google, a Spanish restaurant not too far from Euston, and we hailed a cab to get there in good time.

Drive-by shooting

Drive-by shooting

We hit a diversion, and as we got near, the cabbie seemed a bit hesitant; I confirmed the address to him, and after a short hunt he admitted he couldn’t find the restaurant. I said not to worry, as it was a random pick, and to just find somewhere suitable to set us down where we could get a bite; as I said it, I saw a tapas bar and restaurant and said there would do fine. I passed notes over for the fare, almost £13 by now, only to have the proffered money refused on the grounds he hadn’t taken us where we wanted!

I said to take a tenner, then, but he just waved us off very kindly and wished us a pleasant evening. At this point, I was so taken aback, I half expected to find we were in totally the wrong area of London as he was so apologetic – but not so! I was also too bemused and tired to think to get our cab’s number, so this thank you is also not going to reach the recipient,, but nonetheless I say:-

Thank you,  Mr Cabbie,  for an act of warmth,  very contrary to the negative caricature image of the London cab driver: the human value of the kindness far surpasses its monetary value.



We went into Providores tapas bar, as it turned out to be, and had an excellent meal before heading back to Euston and onward to Worcestershire, basking in a glow of pleasure from a lovely day with friends, masses of enjoyable street photography, a tasty supper, and the added highlights of three very sweet and random acts of kindness from total strangers.

Thank you all three four gentlemen (I completely forgot to mention the kind hoodie-clad lad on the train who gave me his seat, apologies!), for restoring an often shaken faith in human nature and incidentally, confounding the stereotype of the uncaring London urbanite. I did thank you on the day, and I know you won’t actually read this, so my real thanks now must be to pass on the kindnesses to others in future. I promise I will do so, and exhort anyone who does read this to do the same – please ‘pay it forward’ by doing small acts of kindness that can have impact beyond your anticipation. 



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Curious Rhinoceros

Zooniverse has some brilliant citizen science projects to join in. Here’s a wonderful spot by a participant in one of the projects…  Curious Rhinoceros.
Why not take a look at Zooniverse too and sign up? You can do as much or little as you want, whenever you have a few moments to spare…


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A pleasant Sunday afternoon

We attended a concert this afternoon in the charming setting of the Bournville Friends’ Meeting House. The model village of Bournville is on old stamping grounds for my husband, but I’d not actually been into the Meeting House before, so that was an added bonus. (Apologies for the slightly jaunty angle of the phone snap!)

Friends' Meeting House, Bournville

Friends’ Meeting House, Bournville

The concert was the splendid idea of Elisabeth Al-Khalifa, who organised it as both a celebration for her 70th birthday and as a fund-raiser for Freedom from Torture, who provide support and direct clinical services to survivors of torture who arrive in the UK. Donations were invited at the concert  and for anyone reading this who might wish to support a worthy cause, there is a JustGiving page. Oh, and happy Birthday, Elisabeth!

(Update: some £800 was raised on the day and almost £1500 in total – a splendid effort by Elisabeth and supporters.) 

The guest performers were Magda Nasidlak, pianist and teacher at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and Judith le Breuilly, a third-year Vocal Studies Scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (talented daughter of a friend and former colleague of mine, hence the invitation).

The programme ranged from Handel (Lascia ch’io pianga) to Britten (Ca’ the Yowes) and John Ireland (The Darkened Valley) to Chopin (Ballade no 3), via a trio of Cabaret Songs by William Bolcom (Over the Piano, The Song of Black Max, Amor) which were the discovery of the day for us; reading up on them, I can’t quite work out how I have completely missed them over the years… Bildungslücke.

I’m sorry not to be able to post any of the actual performances; you missed a treat! I hope the links above give a flavour of what we enjoyed.

The concert ended fittlingly with a piano duet from Magda and her pupil, our hostess Elisabeth, who returned to learning the instrument after a 40-year break. They chose the Schubert Fantasia in F minor to finish the afternoon off in fine style.

Our sweetly pleasant afternoon contrasts starkly with the bitter experiences of those served by the charity supported.

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Autumn has begun

On such a pleasant, warm day it’s hard to credit that the summer is officially over but the first signs of autumn were there to see at Lower Smite Farm (HQ of  Worcestershire Wildlife Trust) today.

I didn’t have the camera with me, trying to catch up on the backlog of pictures for processing, but couldn’t resist a few phone snaps in this tranquil location…


Not a mighty oak.yet


One red leaf





Pears on their way







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A Norfolk Collection

Finally got round to finishing the myriad photos taken on our short break with friends in North Norfolk and with the incentive of a voucher that ran out at midnight tonight, I managed to put together a photobook of a slightly motley collection, with all of two hours to spare! I always intend to be organised and have lots of time to do these things, but….

We toured some of the stately homes in the Cromer area and ventured on to the Broads in a somewhat unlikely Mississippi paddle boat!

If you’re interested, do take a peek.

vintage-style boat, Abatros


Brancaster veteran

Brancaster veteran

Painting of fishermen

Sheringham mural

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9 Reasons to Look Up in Yorkshire

Looking up in God’s Own County… 😉

Heritage Calling

You may think you know a place well, but if you take the opportunity to look up, you may be surprised at what you discover.

To celebrate Yorkshire Day (1st August), Emma Sharpe, Assistant Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas, gives us her pick of 9 reasons to look up in Yorkshire.

1. Leeds’ Abandoned Skywalk

Bank House Leeds

Grade II listed Bank House in Leeds is an architecturally adventurous example of the Bank of England’s 1960s building program. It has an interesting feature which even residents of Leeds who pass the centrally located building every day could easily overlook. What appear to be balconies on the first floor are actually remnants of a visionary 1960s plan to connect the whole city via a network of elevated walkways. These walkways would allow pedestrians to float high above the chaos of the cars below as they made their way unencumbered about the city.

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Edward the Confessor: A Visitor to Worcester?

An interesting bit of detection…

Worcester Cathedral Library and Archive Blog

While listening to a lecture by Professor Simon Keyes of Cambridge, the leading authority on Anglo-Saxon charters, a passing reference to a charter from Worcester witnessed by Edward the Confessor caught my attention. It has always been said that the Anglo-Saxon king Edward the Confessor (reigned 1042-1066), unlike many later English rulers, never travelled as far north as Worcester. I feel this single charter written and witnessed in Worcester establishes that he did visit Worcester and the Cathedral at least once during his reign.

DSC00434 Portrait of Edward the Confessor,’History of England’ (1767). Image copyright the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (UK).

The evidence that Edward visited Worcester is based on a charter[1] dating from 1058. This charter, a grant of land in Norton, Worcestershire is to Dodda, a prominent thegn and landholder of the bishop of Worcester, Ealdred.  This charter is witnessed by Edward the Confessor.  After the…

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Let’s Do Shakespeare! REVIEW

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on Droitwich Mail Art:
The second Droitwich Mail Art exhibition is opened! The theme was to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare’s death, but also his plays, characters, life in Tudor times, theatre, tragedy and comedy. The response from…

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