The First Proper Weekend of the Year – January 2017

Friday night: a drink or two on the way home from work at the newish neighbourhood; a small venue ideal for the January nights when not many people are venturing out. Bexley Redhouse Pale going down very well at 4.2% and not overburdened with novelty hops or any of the other look-at-me extremes of many small brewery offerings.

Saturday: the return of the weekend routine – taking daughter to singing and dancing. Peering at the pavement in Blackheath.

The Christmas tree down; decorations put back in the loft.

A quick walk into Greenwich and a purchase from Casbah Records (Gil Scott-Heron’s Winter in America); a couple of photos taken but nothing to write home about. A look at the dismal public realm of the new Creekside developments, and a gawp at Deptford Creek.

Sunday – the first swim of the year at Charlton Lido; brilliant as ever.

All I know about January in my 42nd year: we just have to get through it, and take what we can from it with low expectations. There is some blue sky.


Between Christmas and New Year 2017


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A gentle tour of the north east between Christmas and New Year, not dashing about quite as manically as in some previous years.

Back to Newcastle (after a quick wander around on Christmas Eve) on Boxing Day for the sales and a look at Fenwick’s windows (best I can remember – animatronics have come on since the days when all the characters seemed to be based on the classic cobblers’ shop window model).

A look at the Tyne as the sun was going down:

A wander around Ouseburn on a sharp, bright morning.

A trip to the Angel of the North under cold blue skies:

A brief walk round Durham:

Then back to Newcastle, and genuine, real snow, the like of which we’d not seen for a long time.

A good break before heading back to London and a New Year’s weekend of playing guitar with the band.

Grainger Market, Newcastle-upon-Tyne – Christmas Eve 2017


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The Grainger Market in Newcastle, winding down for Christmas. I hadn’t been in for 10+ years: nice to see a good mixture of old-fashioned, practical shops mixed with some newer borderline-hipster offerings; deeply depressing to see the foodbank and be reminded of where we are as a country at the end of 2017.

London skyline views: east and west from Greenwich Park


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Two shots taken late afternoon from Greenwich Park, before the sunset really started.

Both pictures were taken on my new Fuji Xt20 which arrived on Saturday. My first impressions from the weekend’s shooting are very positive indeed: I’ve loved my XT-10 but this is quicker to focus, quicker to start up, and the files are – as you’d expect from 24mp vs 16mp – bigger and richer. I’m quite excited by the possibilities.

Here’s a bonus shot of Deptford Creek taken with it on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday diversions; October 21st 2017


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Flowers outside the florists in Blackheath village, autumn 2017

Across to Blackheath Village first thing Saturday for a haircut. Nice autumn light shining on the display outside the florists by the station.

Over to Charlton Park next on Charlton Champion duties to photograph the official opening of the new skatepark, built by Greenwich Council and funded by developers taking over the old skatepark site in Woolwich (amid much inevitable controversy).

Full set of skatepark pics at The Charlton Champion.

I’ll definitely be back there soon to take more photos; the light wasn’t ideal (sudden brightness between downpours as Storm Brian passed over), and a longer lens would be better  – I had assumed that my 14mm would be ideal for capturing the whole skate bowl scene but, as always seems to happen when I use a wide angle lens, it was quickly abandoned for the 35mm. Next time I’ll take the 60mm for more portraits.

The evening was spent playing guitar with Ronnie Ripple & The RipChords at Genesis cinema in Mile End; a fun gig performing after a screening of Back to the Future. I really should have used it as an excuse to face down my 30 year fear of playing the intro and solo for Johnny B Goode, though. Hopefully there’ll be another chance there soon.