2020 Week 6 – Meeting Old Chums

The Fin Fest took place in the Knights Templar pub in London on Friday 7 February. It was a chance to meet friends, colleagues, from a long time ago, but I missed it. Because I was having a leisurely lunch with some of those friends and it took rather longer than we anticipated. One of our number is losing his hearing, so he didn’t want to go into the very noisy pub where he would not be able to understand a word said to him. I wasn’t that keen to go to the pub because it is owned by arch-Brexiter Mr Martin; and anyway it was very pleasant eating and drinking in the Natural Kitchen restaurant, although the bill turned out to be a bit of a stinger . . .

After lunch, some wine left on the table.
After a lunch, with wine remaining.
Looking up at the skyline on a street in London
Building Angles on New Fetter Lane
Angular buildings on New Fetter Lane in London
New Fetter Lane in London looking towards the Maugham Library
Glass building in London with sun reflecting star shape
Lego building
Musical director pointing at singers arranged on risers.
Shannon Express singers
A yellow sports car on a road into a rural village with church tower visible
Lotus Elise drives into Hatley St George
A church viewed from above
Hatley St George church
Church viewed from the end of the roof ridge
Hatley St George Church
BMW car bonnet with soap suds
BMW car bonnet with soap suds

2020 Week 5 – National Self-Harm

Two drone shots (using a Mavic Air), one of Gamlingay’s new churchyard and one of trees in Southill. Both views are a refreshing change from being on the ground.

And a “bug hotel” near the Gamlingay churchyard, followed by a bus shelter in St Neots. The latter has “Lest We Forget” on the perspex, along with poppies, but their existence the whole year round probably means that we have forgotten already . . .

And the UK-EU flag is an example of how we might well have forgotten: the combatants of the Second World War would have been proud to be part of a union of European nations, not desperate to leave as we did (nominally, at least) on 31 January 2020. An act of self-harm.

Close-up detail of Union Flag and EU flag against each other
End of membership
God's eye view of a new green graveyard on the edge of a village, some houses visible, the old Anglican church in the top left corner
New Graveyard
Trees viewed from above by drone
Southill Trees
A wooden structure containing tubes and reeds for insects to use as nests.
Architectural Bug Hotel
Silhouettes of people in a perspex bus shelter with red poppy designs on the perspex and Lest We Forget between
St Neots bus shelter in silhouette
Two valuable watches close-up in a leather pouch.
Omega and Rolex
Pebbles on a tile
Pattern of Pebbles

2020 Week 4 – Turbine to Bread

Turbine Tour: a school group wanted to see our wind turbine, the Gamlingay Community Turbine. The students were carrying out a project designing a turbine generator and I was able to provide them with the background to our turbine, for which I was the aviation adviser while the installation was planned.

It was also time for marmalade; this can be made only with Seville oranges, my expert tells me, so we have to take advantage of the supply from Spain at this time of the year. And sourdough bread . . . my expert is good at this as well.

Group of students below wind turbine.
Gamlingay Community Turbine
Marmalade in a pot with thermometer
Marmalade making
Loaves of break
Sourdough bread loaves

2020 Week 2 – Night and Turbine

The night shot is of the pub next to the church in our village. It is often the case, it seems, that the churchgoer can visit the pub after church; on the other hand there used to be a rule in devout communities that you couldn’t visit a pub unless you were a traveller, and a traveller was someone who had travelled at least three miles. So if a pub was at least three miles from any other habitation, every visitor was a “bona fide traveller” (see Playboy of the Western World by Synge).

Pub and church at night
Night pub with lights and church
wind turbine against sky
Turbine blurred

2020 Week 1 – Low Sun

A walk in Riverside Park in St Neots yielded some low-sun shots that I wasn’t expecting to be successful. I worked at the positioning of the bikers and skaters, but I was very pleasantly surprised at the dynamic range available from my new Fuji X-T30.

The pond shot is from Wimpole estate, a low reflection shot towards the Wimpole Folly.

Silhouetted boys on half-pipe

Scooters on the half-pipe in Riverside Park, St Neots.
Pond reflections
Wimpole Reflections

Week 42 – London

I had occasion this week to travel to London for a talk at the Royal Aeronautical Society– on UAVs (“drones”) – given by an academic who has studied the effects of this sort of warfare on its operators.  It was an interesting talk, but one which made me glad that I have never had anything to do with such operations, directly at any rate.

I managed to grab a few photos while I travelled; I started with the scene of food wagons arranged on the forecourt of this near-derelict London Club, the “In and Out”, as it was called by some.  I’m glad that it is being used for something, but it’s a real shame that such a grand building is so neglected, particularly given the lack of affordable housing available in the country and in the capital.  Of course, if this were split into affordable housing some “entrepreneur” would sublet it for vast profit.

Lights and fast food next to an old building in London
Good use of an ex-club

After the talk I wandered back to King’s Cross, but only after I had visited the monument Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.

Lights and monument at Hyde Park Corner
Night Monument

To get back to Piccadilly I used the subway where I found this small encampment. It provides the occupant with privacy and some comfort, perhaps, but it will not stop night revellers abusing the occupant; the comfort must be illusory . . .

A green tent in a subway passage.
Subway Tent

There is quite a contrast between the subway tent and the scene above ground; or with the scene at the recently-refurbished King’s Cross Square:

Lights and people at night at King's Cross station
King’s Cross Square

Week 41 – St Neots

I broke the valve stem off one of my bike tyres so visited St Neots for their bike shop (Broken Spoke).  While in St Neots I found the High Street closed off for a parade: the local Royal Air Force Air Cadets were being granted the Freedom of St Neots in a ceremony in the main square.  I had a look at the officials and the audience.

The audience and officials at a parade in the town square
Commander’s speech

The audience and officials at a parade in the town square
Being watched

On my way through town I noticed this couple on a bench; that could be me before too long . . .

Two elderly individuals take a rest on a bench in a town in England
The future

And here is a happy announcement, seen on the side of the road in the middle of the countryside:

A model of a stork announces the arrival of a baby on the side of the road
Happy Announcement

Week 40 – Polluting Traffic on our Street

You have about 2 minutes’ warning on our street when one of these highly powered polluters is approaching.  They whistle occasionally, but it’s the sound of the wheels, rubber covers barely effective at muting the trundle, that tells you a steam traction engine is not far away.  And although the smoke is probably much worse than most diesels on the road, the sight and sound of these machines are balm to the soul.

A steam traction engine approaches past a line of modern cars parked on the side of the street.
Gamlingay steam engine

Two men operate a steam traction engine
Gamlingay steam engine

Week 39 – A lucky find

I drive home on different routes, but sometimes I drive past Old Warden airfield, home of the Shuttleworth Collection.  Before I reached the gate I could see and hear an interesting engine which turned out to be that of a Hurricane – one of the three of the Collection.

Hurricane fighter taxying
Hurricane Mk 1 P3717

The Hurricane had been flying with this delightful machine, a DH89a Rapide. This venerable old lady has been around a good while and it’s amazing to me to consider calling it an airliner, so small and delicate is the machine, so limited its capacity for passengers.

Shuttleworth – DH89a Rapide

Biplane twin-engined airliner in pale blue
Shuttleworth – DH89a Rapide airliner