Tuesday, 30 March 2010

DoodleWander1 (Redux)

Following in the footsteps of Thom and Wombat, or 'Thombat' as they shall now be known, I set out on a wander of my own, a 9.6ish miler taking in Edwinstowe, Ollerton and Rufford. I walked. I photographed. I popped into a Tesco for assorted groceries. Behold the manifold shiny images wot came out of the magic takeypicturebox. Shock and awe, ladies and gentlemen. Shock and awe...

1) The route

2) Road sign budget cuts around the village

3) Passing by the tracks at Thoresby Colliery

4) Ramshackle

5) The Graffiti Express

6) Church in Ollerton

7) Ah, the oddly unnecessary Union Jack signage addition. A tongue-in-cheek caption about a 'potentially racist car wash' ("we don't wash your mucky foreign cars 'ere, mate") which provoked some debate as to how the BNP have indeed stolen the flag, and anyone using it randomly out-of-place like this seems to be tarred with the racist brush. In conclusion: A new BNP flag is called for – a crisp, white flag with a picture of a steaming turd in the centre.

8) Ker-splash! Finally, a car bombs through the ford at Rufford, egged on by small children, after booooos for the overly cautious previous stream-crossers

9) Rufford Country Park

10) Daffs in Edwinstowe

11) Back into Edwinstowe. That Chinese takeaway used to be Wok This Way. They changed it. For shame.

Friday, 26 March 2010

A Vertical Wander

It doesn't happen very often, but everything came together nicely today. A Friday, good weather, manageable workload, well-behaved children and a compatible schedule... so my lovely wife met me at work, at lunchtime. After showing the boys off for slightly too long, we took them into town to get some lunch.

We weren't especially hungry, and as as we walked into town, the looming shape of the ferris wheel above Market Square gave us a much better idea of what to do. After the briefest of queues (it is term time) we were on our way, upwards. The Boy loved it, he was totally without fear (in the tiny wind-rocked gondola), and Helen gripped the baby as if he was the only thing that would save her from a terrible, plunging, death.

A city might seem chaotic at ground level, but it is only from the air that we can truly appreciate how organic and thrown-together it truly is. New buildings wedged between older ones, walls and windows now only visible from private courtyards, and endless alleys and snickets. The exotic gridded cities of the new world seem almost impossible here.

image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Black pudding & chips

This is the first #wander tweeted by Wombat, following Thom’s fine example. I wandered down into the nearest town… 01 market That’s the market sign. The second item is a black pudding, which should give you a clue as to where I was wandering. Or you could just look at the tag for this post.

02 Respect the past and look to the future The motto here translates roughly to “Respect the past and look to the future”, which is the motto of the Royal Grammar School in Worcester. Oddly, this is on a bank. Nearby, was this -

03 1874 “1874” proclaims this rather nice window on what used to be the Co-op bank building, and now houses Swinton Insurance. Not sure of the meaning of “Union Club”, and a quick Google search has discovered nothing.

04 Church

The church, from whose churchyard I took the previous shot, looking impressively solid. I waited ages for the wind to take the flag out enough to see the cross of St. George, and took about a dozen photographs in the process, but this was the best one of the lot. Sometimes you just have to bow your head to fate and give in.



05 commerce This proud young lady wearing what looks like a designer scarf apparently represents Commerce, and can be found on the plinth of a statue of Robert Peel near the church. Not that I often consider the gender of abstract nouns, but I never thought of Commerce as being female.




 06 tiles Some interesting tiles on an otherwise completely ordinary red-brick building. Odd decision to place them there.

07 escape

I call this piece “Escape”, although I haven’t the faintest idea what’s meant to be going on. Twitter opinion was that this was a creepy demon child and I should leg it forthwith out of what wa obviously Satan’s Garden. There then followed some amusing by-play about Satan gardening in his spare time, but I’ll not bore you with it here.



08 memorial

The memorial by the Royal Fusiliers Museum, which I didn’t bother to go in because they charge a fair whack for entry. Museums, like Art Galleries, should be free and ask for contributions to provide funds. Speaking of Art Galleries, the next photograph is of a window in the gallery across the road from the Fusiliers Museum. I can identify the anvil and the weaving shuttles, but why are they torturing the poor ram?

 09a window Not sure what’s growing in the bottom right hand corner, either.

 09 the cruel sister I adore this painting – The Cruel Sister by John Faed. Which of the ladies do you think is the Cruel Sister of the title? As I write this, there’s a better image here.

Lunchtime – I seem to have quite the choice here -

10 menu Tony and Tony use different fonts for their signs, and given how particular food outlets are about their font-usage, Twitter opinion was that they were not related. However, they probably unite to make Mr. Second Base’s life a misery. There was also some gossip about whether Second Base, given the suggestive name, might be an establishment of quite a different nature altogether. The chippy, though, was closed :-(

11 pies But luckily here’s Mrs. Ogden to the rescue, with her butifull meat & tater pies.

 12 saint This is St. Wilfride, and he can be found outside the Catholic Church. Thanks to the delightful @rosamundi (follow her on Twitter for laughs and thrills and spills), I can point you to this page of information, where St. Wilfrid appears to have a weirdly-shaped head.

 13 bank Extreme flower-pressing, again found on a bank. What is it with banks and unusual decorations on their buildings? 13 market square And finally, here’s the memorial in the triangle on Market Street, atop which an angel is waving I-have-no-idea-what.

This #wander malarkey is great fun, and the feedback has been dead encouraging, so I’ll definitely be doing it again. Meanwhile, the next time you go into town try looking up instead of straight ahead, and you might see something interesting. Maybe you’ll even have a #wander, eh?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Another Wander

I did another #wander with my camera.

I'm not particularly happy with these pics - not just because the light wasn't great - but because I felt far too self-conscious taking, and tweeting them. My first wander had been a spontaneous walk, born out of a need to clear my head. It just happened to to take me past all my favourite places in Nottingham.

Today was different. I'd sort of promised myself and others that I would repeat the relative success of the first one. Big problem: I'd already visited all my favourite, photogenic places.

Last week I started a wander, but cancelled it, citing poor weather and unreliable Twitter. They were both true. but my heart wasn't really in it - I didn't feel confident jumping up and down on Twitter, shouting "look at me, look at the pictures what I took!" when I didn't really have anything good to photograph. I was cross with myself all week.

So I made myself go out today. I took a similar route to last time, but focused differently - and there were lots of interesting things to see. I could do that route again tomorrow and still find 10 great things to show you. In fact, I really need to stop being so fucking precious about it really.

Finally, the #wander hashtag isn't just for me. Go out, go for a walk and take pictures - and tweet them. There is so much to see and share.

A very, very old doorway A 250 year old spelling mistake Robin Hood - Terrorist or hero image image image image image image image image The wrong lion

Friday, 5 March 2010

My wander. Part 1

Leaving the studio one Friday lunchtime I decided to go for a walk and clear the artworking cobwebs from my head.

"I'm going for a wander" I tweeted (I tweet too much).

"Where are you wandering?" replied a surprising number of my followers.

So I wandered. I walked until my feet found old routes I had taken years ago, the routes I had taken home when I was a student. I wandered to places I used to find interesting, but had forgotten about.

I went to look at, photograph, and tweet about some of the places that made Nottingham interesting for me when I arrived 16 years ago.

My phone pinged with Twitter notifications throughout, lazy radio DJs in Spain, bored Canadian donut operatives and an increasingly worried guy who lived 10 metres from one of my photographs - they, and quite a few others, all took interest and asked me about the places I was re-visiting.

My wander pointed out two very obvious things to me. Firstly, it is very easy to forget what makes a place special. Secondly, it is a lot of fun to re-discover local gems and share them with friends. - however ephemeral they are.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Cheesecake Shop!

This is a #wander around Loughborough that I took when Wombette Minor was being interviewed at the University. And here I’ll make a quick ‘by the way’ for any American readers – Loughborough is pronounced “Luff-burrer”, not “Lowg Bo Ro”.

Dscf0243 One of the first things we spotted was that there seems to be a large (or at least ‘noticeable’) Chinese community in Loughborough, as evidenced by, well, the large number of Chinese people we passed, as well as various establishments like the Yi Ming chinese supermarket here. Dscf0244

“Oo, look at the interestingly shaped and coloured buildings yonder, behind Sainsbury’s!”

Loughborough has a healthy number of fascinating independent small shops, such as this second-hand bookshop – Dscf0247

Dscf0249 - in amongst the usual chain stores, like this big old Costa on the corner just opposite the town hall.

The Sock

Dscf0251This odd statue, over on the right there, appears to be a bloke sitting on a bollard, wearing nothing but a strategic leaf (a sycamore, I believe, for all you tree fans out there) and a sock, of which he seems to be extremely proud. Later Googling found that this is indeed “The Sock”, created by the sculptress Shona Kinloch, having been commissioned by Charnwood Borough Council "to provide an attractive feature and focus of public interest". His sock, apparently, is symbolic of Loughborough's hosiery industry, and the rest of the sculpture contains images from the town's history.

And now here’s a big old shot of the Market Place, looking lovely in the Spring sunshine…Dscf0250

Dscf0252… and a closer look at the Town Hall flags.

Further up a little way past the flags and the naked chappie with one sock, we came across The Reel Cinema (see what they did there?), which impressed Cat because (a) it looked like a cinema from fifty years ago, and (b) the names of the films currently showing had obviously been put up there by the highly technical method of a bloke climbing a ladder with some adhesive lettering. In light of (a), lets try looking at the cinema in sepia, shall we?


Yes, that works! JUST like the Fifties!

Dscf0254Just above this time warp, we found Cat’s favourite shop of all. I don’t think I need to tell you anything other than the name of this shop for you to be able to judge its attractiveness and wow factor – yes, its…

The Cheesecake Shop!

Dscf0262Meanwhile, down at the other end of town, this corner seemed to encompass the place – the white building being a combination of a Chinese Medicine Centre and, of all things, a stationers. Next door sits “The Cheese Cottage”, and emporium of a wide variety of said comestible. Past the cheesy vendors and we’re into Church Gate, which leads unsurprisingly to the parish church. But more of that anon, for what is this delightful establishment?Dscf0271 Oh yes indeed! Handmade chocolates, and a chocolate cafĂ©, where you can sit and enjoy all sorts of hot drinks accompanied by chocolates made to order. Mmmmm. But on to the church, which sat very prettily amongst budding trees.Dscf0263 In a month or so, when the trees are in leaf, and the cherry and apples amongst them are full of blossom, I’ll bet it will be a lovely sight. As it was, we found a large number of these harbingers of Spring:Dscf0268I’m sure if I tried I could come up with a snappy title all about birth and death, but to be honest with you I just can’t be arsed tonight.

Here’s a summing up: