Spring at Lower Smite Farm

This gallery contains 14 photos.

After a mundane shopping trip today it was a pleasure to detour via the HQ of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust at Hindlip on the way home and spend some time just enjoying the garden and surrounding reserve area.  The cowslip … Continue reading

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In the garden

Spring is well under way. The daffs and crocuses are done, grape hyacinths are hanging on in there  and anemones (a few) in fine fettle.

Tadpoles wriggle in the rather neglected pond…

Best of all, though, for a Yorkshire lass, the first rhubarb was ready to pull today…

…so that’s breakfast sorted!

This is my first post completely done on the new S7 phone – pictures, video and writing the post – so please forgive any glitches!

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Still here…

Well, that’s embarrassing. 1st March already and my first post of 2017… Ashamed of myself! Here are a few suitably random pics just to show that I haven’t hibernated the whole time since I last posted!

Magical garden

We saw the Magic Lantern festival..

Auld lang syne

Held a Burns supper…

Ready...

Ready for Burns supper…

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Had a birthday (not counting any more)

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Had a great day in Oxford at the Bodleian and Ashmolean…

Robin

Got out and about…

Reflected

..with canalside walks…

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…frosty finds along the way…

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Coming back into Droitwich…

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Work days at Lower Smite Farm – here’s spring trying to arrive in the garden!

Standing guard

Surprising who you come across on those Worcestershire wanders….

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A Hidden Gem

I wrote about this place earlier in the year, and eventually got around to doing a slideshow. Sign of age, repeating myself, I guess, but it bears a re-visit! Enjoy a quiet meander through this local gem…

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Photobooks

Online versions of a few of my photobooks.

A Norfolk Collection

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2016 holiday with friends.

A Grand Day Out

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A pleasant Gloucestershire mooch

The Grand Tour 2012

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A 3-week driving tour, mainly Germany; a Lutheran homage, UNESCO sites and more.

Voiron 2012-13

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Droitwich’s twin town

NYC

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From our 2011 coast-to-coast trip across the USA.

 

 

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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.

Cheers!

Cheers!

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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