Tourism

Umbrella Brella Brella

Umbrellas make unusual street art. But art is art. And Mary Poppins 2 is on the horizon, so it’s topical. This street is in Cherbourg, a small port in Normandy, not so far from the beaches that the allies stormed on D-Day. Mrs P and I visited on a day trip from Poole, one of the English ports from whence the D-Day troops departed. Our ferry across the channel was a far more relaxed and comfortable affair that the troops enjoyed in 1945. Our greeting at the other end of the cruise was a lot more cordial too. Ferry employees shooting off instructions is considerably more preferable than German soldiers shooting machine guns.

 

 

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Photography

Adios Adobe

I discovered about six months ago that my Adobe Creative Cloud Photography subscription was a 12 month contract. And not a rolling monthly deal, as I had assumed. My contract renews on August 28th. Or it would have. But I ignored the  offer of 3 months free to encourage me to sign up for another year, and cancelled my subscription. I love Lightroom, but I really don’t need to pay for it anymore. Because these days, I do most of my work on my iPad. So adios Adobe. Sort of. And hola, Adobe. Lightroom is free on the iPad. There is a premium version available – on a rolling monthly deal for £4.49 – but I don’t need the premium features. Free suits my needs and budget. Continue reading

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Photography

Fuji 23mm f2.0

I’ve had a Goldilocks moment with my new Fuji X-T20. I bought it with a new prime lens, the weather resistant 23mm f2.0. I’ve had a few prime lenses from the Fuji XF range over the last five years. The 60mm f2.4 was a nice portrait lens, but it was an unnecessary extravagance considering how little I used it. For practical everyday use, the field of view was too narrow. So I sold it. Same goes for my 35mm f1.4. Bit too narrow, but less so and it’s a bright lens so I kept it. Continue reading

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Photography

Fuji X-T20 First Impressions

I have no unboxing video for you. I don’t get the fad for unboxing videos. I know what a box looks like. I know how to open a box. Can we just see the product, por favor? I’ve also no intention of producing a series of tutorial videos. They’ve already been done, and done better than I could do. If you’re interested in learning how to get started with an X-T20, I highly recommend watching the relevant videos on Omar Gonzalez’ YouTube channel. I watched a few just before my camera arrived, and they were a very helpful introduction.

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brexit

Emotive Subjects

Whenever someone utters the word ’emotive subject’, you can safely wager that what they really mean to say is ‘everyone just calm down, please’. Or ‘this topic is probably best avoided’. The subject will often be about money, religion or politics. Or a rage inducing mix of all three. Brexit is an emotive subject. Exceedlingly so. Partly because of the money angle – we’re going to be poorer. And almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, now agrees on that point. But Brexit is emotive beyond the financial implications it will have upon our lives.

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railway

Three Years

It is a fine week for anniversaries. On Wednesday, I marked ten years of marriage. And today marks three years since I started my job on the railway. It’s been a good three years. Don’t get me wrong, if they stop paying me, I’ll stop turning up. But as far as jobs go, it’s a good one. It could, however, have been my fourth anniversary. Or fifth. Or sixth. I had three unsuccessful attempts at gainful employment in various roles with London Underground before striking gold with a proper Train Operating Company. Continue reading

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Celebrations

Ten Years

The older one gets, the more one’s calendar seems to fill up with memorable dates. But today’s is special. Ten years ago today, on the 08/08/08, the Beijing Olympics opened with a lavish ceremony. Oh, and Mrs P and I got hitched. A less lavish ceremony in Milwaukee. But just as fabulous. And I bet we’re in better shape than a lot of that Olympic infrastructure. Congratulations to us. And here’s to another decade of happiness. And another after that. And so on.

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railway

End of the Line

When Mrs P and I decide to go to London, we catch the train. For us it is free, so there’s not really a decision to make regarding mode of transport. It’s a comfotable way to go, and quick – we’re in the capital in about an hour and fifty minutes. The end of the line for us is Waterloo station, the country’s busiest in terms of passengers entering and exiting. Nearly a hundred million of them every year. We’re doing our bit to try and heave the station over the line into nine digit territory. Continue reading

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Photography

#TBT Notting Hill Rainival

It rained for a couple of days at the beginning of the week. Quite heavily in places. This was the first serious rainfall we’ve seen in weeks. But we have returned to Mexican Weather conditions. Hot and sunny – at least in the south of the country. As is the norm, it’s grim up north. For those that gripe about the heat that they should be enjoying, here’s a photographic reminder of our British summers normally roll. The Notting Hill carnival of 2014, which was riot of colour, noise and smells. And rain. Lots of rain.

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Art

Canaffiti

Inspired by my trip to Stratford upon Avon, I’ve decided that I should probably invigorate the quality of my writing by making up some brand new words. Canaffiti is high quality urban graffiti found along waterways in British cities. London’s canals have become very hip. Besides long standing locations like Camden Lock with its trendy market, new restaurants and bars are Continue reading

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Tourism

Cream Tea Tacvba

We enjoyed a cultural weeked away, did Mrs P and I. There was something very Mexican and something very English in it for both of us. First stop, Shepherds Bush Empire to watch one of Mrs P’s favourite Mexican bands, Cafe Tacuba. Shepherds Bush is a part of west London that has yet to be gentrified, although the flashy new Westfield shopping mall is perhaps a first step in that direction. I quite like Shepherds Bush. It’s like a lot of the London I remember from my childhood. Edgy, alive and full of character.

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Photography

My New Toy

I couldn’t help myself. My head had been turned by the new entry level Fuji XT100, and my plotting started. I thought I could save a bit of money having a body only model brought back from the US at Christmas. But this plan had four key drawbacks. A body only model left me a lens short if Mrs P wanted to use my old Fuji X-M1. The savings from buying the camera in the US weren’t so grand. I’d have to wait till just past Christmas. And this wasn’t really the camera that I wanted.

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brexit

EU Ref2

If there is to be a second referendum on membership of the EU, as I hope there will be, then prepare for controversy galore. The original question on the ballot paper – This or Not This – may have been vague, but it was simple and the campaigning straightforward. I can think of a number of significant and unavoidable differences next time round that will rustle a few feathers.  The most obvious complication being caused by a potential third choice on the menu – May’s eventual deal with the EU, when and if that ever comes. Remain, Leave Hard or Leave Deal.

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brexit

The People’s Vote

In 2016, the UK held a referendum on our membership of the EU. Problem number one: the question was vague. It was a this or not this binary option. At no point was a choice offered on the wide spectrum of possibilities encompassed by the not this option. But that’s not to say that the various Leave campaigns failed to provide opinions on what they believed would happen. They were often contradictory, regularly disreputable and sometimes just downright untruthful. But a picture was painted, even if the result did rather resemble a Rorschach test. A test that elicited visions of joy and prosperity from 17 million participants, and doom and gloom from the other 16 million people who took part.

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Politics

Britanistan

The year got off to a terrible start for UKIP, the country’s official party for racists and bigots, when their leader’s (inappropriately young) girlfriend got him the sack with some slightly KKKesque comments about the quality and colour that Meghan Markle would be bringing to the Royal Family. Then they elected a new leader who has himself gone full-on white supremicist batshit crazy. Could things get worse?

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