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 14 – A trip to the City of London

I’m at an age where birthdays are less important than the indication that time is passing – way too quickly; but my wife treated me to a photographic expedition with lunch.  We travelled to the City of London to the address 20 Fenchurch Street, otherwise known as the Walkie Talkie.  She had booked a trip to the Sky Garden, on the 36th floor.  This is over 500ft above ground and gave us an excellent view of London, from Canary Wharf to our east, through the Shard and Strata Tower and the Thames to the smarter parts of London to our west, seeing both south and north banks of the Thames, along with many of the bridges.

London to the south of the river
Shard and lesser towers
A view south of London from 500ft up.
South of the Thames from 20 Fenchurch Street
People viewing the Thames form 500ft above ground
Thames from Sky Garden

It was a great place to be with a camera and I had my newly acquired Fujifilm X-T2.  Photographically the light was quite difficult: the glass of the building, the sun through the haze and the time of day contrived to make everything appear bluer than was natural.  I used Capture One Pro (from Phase One software) to adjust the colour tone so that it’s the sort of scene that I remember.  I didn’t adjust an image of 20 Fenchurch Street from street level, except to add one in monochrome:

A curved building soars towards the sky
The building at 20 Fenchurch Street, London
A curved building soars towards the sky
The building at 20 Fenchurch Street, London

After a great lunch in the Darwin Brasserie (for which we needed a bank loan), we walked to St Paul’s Cathedral, where some sort of wedding function was under way.  I think that this (very young) couple were using the venue for some romantic shots for their album; we saw no guests:

A young couple pose in wedding dress
Posing at St Paul’s Cathedral
A young couple poses for a photo
Posing at St Paul’s Cathedral
A young couple in wedding dress running towards a photographer.
A wedding photo on the run

We finally reached the South Bank of the Thames, to meet our son and his family; they posed reasonably willingly:

Parents with their two children next to the Thames
A young family and an ice cream.

My First Micro Pub

I don’t suppose that I had heard of the micro pub before I saw one in Ely over the weekend.  The Drayman’s Son was a small, comfortable place with excellent ciders (we tried Jonagold and Silly Ewe).  We’ll have to go back to check more of them, and to try the beers.

Drayman’s Son beers

The town of Ely, “Ship of the Fens” is a fine little place.  You can see the cathedral from miles away owing to the flatness of the surounding land and the elevation of the town.  Villages and towns developed on higher ground because much of the Fens, the lower elevations, was under water – until Dutch engineers finished off the job of draining the marshes from 1650 onwards.

Ely canal port

Finally, I caught a couple of mannekins at work this week.  One looked so lifelike that I thought it was a person.  I’ve spent a lot of my life strapped up like this . . .

aircrew protection
aircrew protection

2017 Week 10 – Flying and Punting

I did some flying, but I watched someone punting – very briefly.  Punting can be a spectator activity (I have fallen into the water before now), but not this time.

First the flying.  I had not flown for 3 weeks, so I managed to wangle a trip solo for me to practise my skills before resuming instruction on a student pilot.

Aircraft cockpit and sky
Waiting for clearance to takeoff
Aircraft wing and clouds with sun.
Sunlit wing
Aircraft cockpit instruments and sky
In the climb


I had a brief coffee break from work which I took in the local town.  There was a copy of the day’s Times there with just the sort of news from which we all need a rest, at times; I didn’t smooth the page – we all know what it says without needing all the letters of the sentence:

Coffee and newspaper
Coffee and Trump

We had a visit on our H-pad during the week.  I caught a reasonable shot of the crewman watching for something – before the aircraft departed.

Puma at Henlow
Puma at Henlow

At the weekend I wandered again into Cambridge for an hour or so, hoping to get some reasonable shots.  On the way I stopped at the church in the village of Hatley:

Punt and people on the river next to a church and buildings in Cambridge
Cambridge punter
King’s College Chapel