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Posted on 1st January, 2013


Of The Week


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This 'Picture Of The Week' blog entry is for one image (each week) that will have, or has had, some significance in my little world. I'm aiming to follow two general rules (which I'll break as and when I need to):

1. Topical.

2. A human subject.


Please note that the 'Picture Of The Week' blog is special in that it will always appear as the latest blog entry.

(All other blog entries gradually move down the list as new blogs are added in front of them).



Exuberance being shown, at the annual Christmas meal at Northampton's Street Church, on 22nd December.This is probably the last image I will add to the 'Picture Of The Week' page, as the end of a year seems a logical end point. The task has become a little bit distracting to be honest, in that I've been on the look out for a quick image each week, at the expense of doing a smaller number of more serious shoots through the year.


Apart from that, I think it's time to re-appraise my website. As such, I'll be spending time shortly working out what the current site has achieved, and whether I can make changes that will get better value (in terms of recognition, of course) for the effort I put into it. Keep your eyes peeled!


In the meantime though, this image was taken at Northampton's Street Church, on Sunday 22nd December, at the annual Christmas meal. This particular year's event was of special significance for me, in that it was partly funded by the efforts of my wife Pauline, who raised the money via a craft event she held in early November.


It was also of note however, as a result of the expressions of joy and exuberance on the faces of most of those present. Ie: the homeless, and those in temporary accomodation, within Northampton. These people suffer much hardship throughout the year, even though organisations such as Street Church and the Open Door Reachout team do all they can to help them. On this special occasion though, the appreciation they showed in knowing that someone actually does care for them, seemed to be bigger than ever.



The Stony Stratford Mummers, entertaining the crowd at the Dickens of a Christmas event at Olney, on 8th December.This image was taken at the annual Dickens of a Christmas fair, held at Olney, this year on 8th December. Just like the Northampton Frost Fair, it's a typical Christmas market of dozens of craft and speciality stalls selling things that are supposedly relevant to the time of year. As usual though, the link is sometimes tenuous. What helps to make it special however, is that local residents give their support by dressing up in Victorian attire to serve at the stalls, or, sing carols for instance.


Again like the Northampton version, music provided the attraction and relief from the veiled sales onslaught. In this particular case though, the main attraction for me was better than the norm, as it wasn't a brass band playing carols. It was in the form of The Stony Stratford Mummers in fact. This small group played out short dramas (which were interesting), whilst at the same time accompanied themselves with what sounded to me like traditional shanties (which were great). It was a shame that I came across them part way into their set, as I'd have liked to see / hear more. However, I'll see if I can catch up with them at some other event, as they're certainly worth the effort.



Conducting the Low Blow Brass Ensemble group of the Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust, at the town's Frost Fair on 1st December.Sunday 1st December saw the annual Northampton Frost Fair, held in the Market Square. This is a typical Christmas sales event, featuring plenty of stalls selling crafts, gifts etc. They were virtually all of no interest to me I should say (except one, noted later), but definitely of interest was the musical entertainment on offer.


Unfortunately, that music was little more than background fill-in whilst I trudged around the endless stalls with my wife. Extricating myself from the boredom however, I did catch a full set from the Low Blow Brass Ensemble section of Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT). I was impressed by their competence and professionalism, and their performance gave me a bit of an idea. Several years ago, I made an attempt at learning to play the saxophone, but for various reasons, it lasted just 6 months. Even so, the hope of picking it up again has stayed with me, and I'm now wondering if I could knock on their door once we're living in the town, to re-invigorate my interest. I hope so, as I love the sound of the instrument.


Anyway, onto that stall of interest, and surprise surprise, it was one selling beer. Northampton's Frog Island Brewery to be precise. Frog Island appeared to be in danger quite recently, but luckily has been saved by a change of ownership. Naturally, I had to offer my token support towards their long-term health, and what better way than by buying a set of 3 brews: Natterjack, Fire-Bellied Toad, and Croak and Stagger, all bottle-conditioned. So, all the best for 2014, Frog Island!



Barry, at Northampton's Street Church on 24th November.I took this pic at Northampton's Street Church, on 24th November. Street Church is held every Sunday, at the Salvation Army premises in Althorp Street. It offers support for those in Northampton who are literally homeless, or without their own home. Food and clothing are provided, as is general spiritual guidance. However, everyone is welcome, whether religiously inclined or not.


In recent months, I've been doing 'case-studies' of individuals at Street Church. On this occasion though, I thought it was time for another more general shoot, and, to see how well a few of those I've already done case-studies on are coping. Whilst doing so however, I got talking to someone I'd not seen before. He was telling me that his Christmas meal last year was a tin of beans, heated by a candle in his makeshift shelter near the old Argos store in the town. When I hear stories like that, I really want to do a case-study of the person, to help raise awareness of their plight. Time will tell if he agrees.


However, one of those previous case-studies I did catch up with is the fellow in the pic, Barry. When I did his case-study, things were starting to look up for him, and he'd got reasonable hopes of a continuing improvement in his lot. Unfortunately though, things don't go smoothly for people in his situation, and there are always knock-backs to dent the hopes and the self-esteem.


In Barry's case, the reality-check came in the form of a fall, in which he broke several ribs. As such, he's now in constant pain, with little being possible other than tablets to give minor relief. As with many like Barry though, there's an acceptance that these things will happen, but there's still a resiliance and spirit that's been honed over many years of discomfort. He'll keep battling therefore, and I really wish him well.



Thai fruit-carving being demonstrated at a Thai cultural evening, held at Castlethorpe Village Hall on November 16th.This pic was taken at a Thai cultural evening, held at Castlethorpe Village Hall on November 16th. The main theme of the evening was a Thai meal of course, with the inevitable Thai green curry taking centre stage. I don't know how authentic much of the remaining food was to be honest, but I was very surprised to see lots and lots of fruit (including strawberries and grapes) as the sweets.


There was one pleasing revelation amongst this fruit however, in the form of persimmons (sometimes referred to imprecisely as sharon fruits), which I'd never tasted before. Most pleasing though, was the beer on offer. So many of these sorts of event would supply rubbish keg knattzen pizz such as Fosters and Stella Artois etc. But not in this case, as real ales from Milton Keynes micro-brewery Concrete Cow took centre stage. And pretty good they were too, much as it pains me to admit that anything decent comes out of that town.


Apart from the food and drink, we were also treated to a traditional Thai dance performance, and, as shown in the image itself, examples of fruit-carving. I'm not sure what the purpose of this activity is, other than decoration perhaps, but there's no doubt that it takes plenty of skill, and, as visible in the image, some impressive-looking specimens result.


Overall then, an interesting evening.



A member of the Wolverton Town Band playing at the Remembrance Day service, at the town's Market Square on November 10th.Not just a pretty face, but a pretty good musician too is this young lady, who obviously knew I was snapping her. She's a member of the Wolverton Town Band, which played hymns at the Remembrance Day service in the Market Square at Wolverton, on Sunday 10th.


It was a freezing day, but there was intense sunlight, causing strong contrasts in the lighting. Not an easy day then to hold a heavy 70-200mm lens steady, or to find an angle that didn't result in lens flare.


As to be expected, it was a moving occasion: perhaps needless to say though, not a very productive day photo-wise.



Northampton Borough councillor Roger Conroy, speaking at the AGM of Tools for Self Reliance (Northampton), on 7th November.I've been including a few references to Conservative MP for Northampton North, Michael Ellis, recently. Therefore, I thought it was about time I tried to even out the imbalance a bit, so this image shows Roger Conroy, a Liberal Democrat borough councillor, and former mayor of Northampton.


Councillor Conroy was speaking on 7th November at the AGM of Tools for Self Reliance (Northampton), after accepting an invitation to become a trustee there. 'Tools' is a charity that provides meaningful volunteering opportunities for people with various disabilities. The volunteers re-furbish old tools, which are donated to charitable projects in Africa, Romania and Northamptonshire. In addition, they renovate and sell old bicycles, as a constructive alternative to relying purely on donations.


The AGM itself was a welcome change from those of other organisations I've attended, as there was minimal time spent on formalities. Even that was more than balanced out by very interesting short talks from friends of the organisation, describing their activities and the ways in which 'Tools' has helped them. Overall, a pleasant evening.



Attendees at the free monthly Manna Langar meal, at the Open Door Centre in Kettering Road, Northampton, on 1st November.This image was taken on 1st November at the free community meal, called Manna Langar, held at the Open Door Centre, on Kettering Road in Northampton. It takes place on the first Friday of each month, and as it's aim is to promote community cohesion, and mutual understanding and tolerance, everyone is invited.


On this particular Friday, the Northampton North MP Michael Ellis popped in to find out more about what goes on. The image shows him in the background with Councillor Ifty Choudary. (Councillor Choudary organises the event jointly with the Open Door Centre itself, and it also depends heavily on the gererous help of many volunteers).


In the foreground are two of the regular attendees, in boisterous mood after having enjoyed the superb meal. Apart from the wonderful food though, it's a great way to meet others in a relaxed and welcoming environment, so why not come along next time?



Members of the audience at the Diwali celebrations in the Market Square, Northampton, on 26th October.I realise that I'm slipping again in taking / putting up my picture of the week, but if it's not house-hunting, it's failing PC's that are giving problems at the moment. Anyway, I think that my PC situation is now stable, so this is my next offering.


It's taken at the Diwali celebrations in the Market Square in Northampton, on 26th October. I couldn't get a decent pic of the event proceedings themselves, as I'd got too-short a focal lens zoom lens with me, and, I was crowded out at the side of the stage.


This was particularly disappointing at one point, as the Northampton North MP, Michael Ellis, was displaying great timing and rhythm as he entered into the spirit of the event by circling round during the garba dance. It would have made a great pic, if only for his political opponents!


However, the crowd itself gave some possibilities, and I grabbed this shot which I thought had interesting characters, and some intrigue.



Bonnie and Phil, with guests, after their wedding at Bletchley Register Office, on Monday 14th.This happy couple is Bonnie and Phil, after their wedding at Bletchley Register Office on Monday 14th.


Bonnie is a crafting friend of my wife Pauline, whilst hubby Phil is both a heritage steam railway fan, and a real-ale fan. So much of a real-ale fan is Phil in fact, that he bought two casks of beer from Aylesbury Vale Brewery, for consumption at the celebration do.


Both Bonnie and Phil are former train drivers, and although Bonnie is now office-bound, Phil is luckily retired. Let's hope that Bonnie can soon join him in that respect too, and that they have a great life together.



The final 2013 public day of trains at the Northampton Society of Model Engineers, on 6th October. This gent is a member of the Northampton Society of Model Engineers, and he's pictured at the Society's Delapre Park site on London Road on 6th October, the final day of public train services for 2013.


Alongside him is his fantastically-detailed model GWR steam locomotive, 7819 Hinton Manor. Hinton Manor was one of many superb replica steam locos in use on the day, from 3.5" upto 7.25" gauge.


It was an amazingly-successful occasion, well-aided by warm autumn sunshine. Over 2500 tickets were sold, which bodes well for a record 2014 season.



My wife Pauline locking her Bradville Allotments shed on September 29th, the very last time she went to the allotment before quitting her membership the day after.This photograph is of my wife Pauline locking up her shed at Bradville Allotments, in Milton Keynes. It may appear to be even more trivial than most events I've featured in these weekly images, but it has plenty of significance for me.


Firstly, because it highlights the dictatorial approach taken by Bradville Parish Council, who own the land. Their plan is to get rid of plot-holders from the allotment, ethnic-cleansing style, unless they are residents of the parish. They are doing this by forcing such people to vacate their plot within 2 years. As it turns out of course, that doesn't particularly matter to my wife, as we are seeking to wave goodbye (with 2 fingers) to the town of Milton Keynes shortly, and my wife would have given up the plot anyway.


Which brings me to the second reason the pic has significance, as it shows my wife locking her shed not on any mundane occasion, but for the very last time. This was on September 29th, the final day she attended the allotment before she pulled the plug on her membership the day after.


So, Bradville Parish Council, good riddance!



Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, speaking at the 3rd anniversary of Brookside Hall in Northampton, on 22nd September.This image was taken on 22nd September at Brookside Hall, Billings Brook Road, Northampton. The occasion was the 3rd anniversary of the hall, which mainly serves the local community of the Lings district, but also hosts events for a wider catchment.


Because it was the 3rd anniversary, local dignitaries were present, in addition to those from the Brookside Hall Community Association itself. Amongst those VIP's were Northampton North MP Michael Ellis (standing), beyond him Leader of Northampton Borough Council David Mackintosh, Mayoress Lisa Marriott, and finally Mayor Les Marriott.


The pull-up display features KORT (Kashmir Orphans Relief Trust), which originated in order to provide help to those children orphaned in the South Asia earthquake of 8th October 2005. In addition to that ongoing aim, KORT has now expanded to provide educational facilities for all children, and, housing for the wider community, etc.



Helen, our Open House guide to the magnificent restored and renovated art deco theatre in Northampton, now known as the Jesus Centre.This image was taken at the fantastic listed building, the restored and renovated 1930's art deco theatre in Abington Street, Northampton.


As it's owned by the Jesus Army, the building is known as the Jesus Centre. However, it's used for many events and activities, not all related to religion. (Just as an aside, I found out recently that the Jesus Army organisation started life in Northampton).


The lady sitting there comfortably is Helen, who was our very helpful and knowledgeable guide on a tour around the building, as part of the Northampton Open House event on September 14th.


I visited the theatre as one of 4 destinations on the day. The others were:

1. the Playhouse Theatre, a quirky, intimate, well-hidden gem of dramatic art in Clare Street,

2. the grade 2 listed New Testament Church of God in College Street, another wonderfully-restored and renovated building that features an original pipe organ, and

3. the massive, beatifully-decorated All Saints Church, just off the Drapery.


I'd also hoped to visit at least BBC Radio Northampton, Church's Shoe Factory, and Charles Rennie Macintosh's House, but all required pre-booking, and I was about 2 months late in trying to do so. Oh well, next year perhaps. Even so, it was an enlightening eye-opener of a day, and a great sampler of the varied history of Northampton.



Alastair Cook, captain of the England cricket team, at the Bucks County Show on 29th August.Much as I regret superceding the image of the 'sold' sign outside our house, time moves on as I struggle to get weekly pics onto this website in a more timely manner. However, I should be able to catch up shortly.


For this week's shot, I have to say thankyou to one of the stewards at the Bucks County Show, held near Aylesbury on Thursday 29th August. The reason is that I wouldn't have known without being tipped off at the time, but I was within 22 yards of this handsome fellow, Alastair Cook, captain of the England cricket team. 'Do you want to get a picture of Alastair Cook?' the steward asked, and knowing that Alastair Cook must have been someone special to have been asked such a question, I immediately said 'yes' of course.


It's very rare for me to take photographs of people without their consent, but assuming he must be so used to being on camera, I made an exception in Alastair's case and grabbed a few pics. However, he did look a bit uncomfortable, so I then made my exit at the speed of a fast bowler. Strangely, considering the haste in which I got the few images, they were amongst the best of the day.


Apart from the large number of poor-quality pics I took, another disappointment was that I missed a similar opportunity to shoot another celebrity who was there, co-host of the Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollywood. (I won't describe him as a 'celebrity chef', as I don't [yet] see him as an arrogant, obnoxious, egotistical self-publicist. But I admit I'd still take his photograph even if I did).



A 'sold' sign outside our house in Milton Keynes. Yipee!This is the image I never thought I'd get to see, and the one which gives me the most pleasure of all that I've taken in recent memory. It's of our house with a 'sold' sign outside, and is the best indication I've had that we will finally escape the soul-less, sterile town of Milton Keynes.


Although estate agents aren't the most loveable of people, we must acknowledge the fact that Taylors sold (STC of course) at full asking price, on the very 1st day our house was available.


However, selling our house is also the reason why I'm not getting weekly pictures onto my website as soon as I ought to be. This is because we're now spending all our time looking for a suitable house in Northampton, before the potential buyer of ours decides they can wait no longer.


Looking for a house should be an exciting time some people say, but I'm finding it tedious and demoralsing. The reason for this is because there are few houses available in Northampton that fit the bill in terms of price / location / style. What bugs me most I think is that Northampton seems to be full of bungalows, and, chalet-style houses, neither of which appeals to me.


Even so, we've found a couple of houses we could probably live with, but we'll continue to look for the ideal for a while yet. So, you residents of the northern / eastern districts of Kingsthorpe, Abington, Weston Favell, Abington Vale and Rushmere, please get your house on the market asap!



Traveller girls at Lee Gap Travellers' Fair, West Ardsley, on 24th August.I know I'm late posting this picture of the week. However, the reason may be obvious when I post the next one, which I hope will be in a few days time. This one's of three nice young ladies taken at Lee Gap Travellers' Fair, held on 24th August at West Ardsley, near Dewsbury.


I was told about the Lee Gap event by a traveller when I was at Appleby Horse Fair in early June. However, Lee Gap appears to be a very small fair in comparison to Appleby. Photographically therefore, as the only destination on a trip from the South Midlands, it's probably not worth the long journey. This is especially so when there are closer fairs at Barnet, Stow on the Wold and Kenilworth, of equal stature I believe. Even so, as part of a few days break in Yorkshire, which included several attractions, it was well worth experiencing.


I'd normally get in a bit closer to the subjects to cut out the background, but I wanted in this case to show the contrast betwen the macho horese-trading environment, and the attractive fillies. They're great characters are these traveller girls, and even when surrounded by horse muck, they'll stick to their bling!



Sunlit Bolton Abbey, against the shadowy hills of Wharfedale, on 22 August.Not the usual type of image that I'd admit to taking, but I liked the way that the sun picked out Bolton Abbey, near Skipton in Yorkshire, against the darker background hills of Wharfedale on 22 August. Apparently, Bolton Abbey is a misnomer, really being Bolton Priory, but is more-commonly known as the former.


I walked to Bolton Abbey from it's local railway station on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. However, that line was just one of several I spent time at as part of a short break, which was planned around a visit to the Settle-Carlisle route. The aim was to see the steam-hauled 'Fellsman' special train at Kirkby Stephen, as it travelled the Settle-Carlisle line on one of its regular 'summer' Wednesday jaunts. Good for me, but not for passengers on this day, a line-blockage at Langwathby (nearer Carlisle), resulted in the train having to wait for 2 hours at Kirkby Stephen.


Whilst the Fellsman waited though, I made my way to the site of the former Kirkby Stephen East station, which is now the base for the Stainmore Railway, another of the many wonderful heritage railways that luckily survive in the UK. 'Lucky' is not the best word to be honest, as these railways exist purely as a result of the graft and dedication of loyal volunteers, and if I hadn't featured a preserved railway in my previous picture of the week, it would have been an image dedicated to the Stainmore Railway here. Next time I visit I hope.



Brush Traction diesel No 31108 arrives at Wansford (Nene Valley Railway) on 10th August, pulling broken-down saddle tank No 22 and its train.This is the saddest sight possible for a fan of steam trains. It's of a soul-less Brush Traction diesel pulling a broken-down steam engine (and its train), into Wansford station on the Nene Vally Railway, on 10th August. The train was the first journey of the day out from Wansford, hauled by saddle-tank No 22, and reached Peterborough without problem it seems. It couldn't start it's return journey however, and the diesel was scrambled from the shed at Wansford to retrieve it.


It was a double-blow, as I was travelling on the 2nd journey of the day, which unfortunately ended up being pulled by the Brush type 2 (BR type 31).


All's well that ends well however, as we were told by the guard on our approach back to Wansford that No 22 was back in business. As your ticket covers as much travel on the day as you want, I therefore decided to do another round trip, and No 22 performed without fault I'm pleased to say. Long may it continue to do so.



A solid black emptiness accurately reflects our feelings after we had to have our pet cat Topsy put to sleep on 3rd August.This 'image' is intentionally a pure black nothingness, because it acurately reflects my last week. The reason for that is because we had to have our pet cat Topsy put to sleep on 3rd August. It was a devastating decision to have to make, and one which will probably haunt me for the rest of my own life.


I don't give a damn if I sound like a sentimental old fool, but I'll make it clear that she was a wonderful friend of ours for over 14 years, and we'll miss her for ever more.


We love you, and we hope you can rest in peace, dearest Topsy.



Beer-drinking mates at the Birmingham Beer Bash, on 26th July.This image shows 3 of my boozing mates at the Birmingham Beer Bash, at The Bond in Fazeley Street, on 26th July. The bash offered not just cask ales, but craft (whatever that means), and keg beers.


To me unfortunately, the bash came over as a pure money-making operation, rather than an event for beer enthusiasts organised by enthusiasts: it was expensive to get in, the entry fee covered only one of the 2 daily sessions, it was not possible to trade in unused tokens, and, it was not possible to return the glass at the end for a refund. In addition, it gave great prominence to some expensive, poncy dining sessions put together by so-called 'chefs' (a term I refuse to use, as they're cooks as far as I'm concerned).


It was not only the above that I disliked though, but also the principle of having keg beers on sale. What particularly annoys me about this offering is one of it's supposed benefits that I heard on the day: the fact that keg beer travels better than cask. Well, it's absoluty true that keg beer travels better than cask beer. But what was one of the big reasons back in the 1970's I wonder, that Watney and Courage etc were using to justify the closure of hundreds of smaller regional breweries, and to swamp the UK with centrally-'brewed', uniform, bland, sterile keg beer? Wasn't it that keg travels better than cask, I ask knowingly?


I wouldn't mind so much if the keg attack was being directed at the typical lager-lout and cider-cretin, and others of a similar ilk, who will drink any old crap that they see heavily promoted on TV. Unfortunately though, I don't see that being the case at all. To me, the Birmingham Beer Bash was a bigger threat to all the brilliant work that CAMRA has done over 40-odd years in bringing back variety to UK beer drinkers, and promoting local demand for local products.


Overall then, it was an interesting day, but not one I'll be repeating.




Taruwona, a singer / musician from Zimbabwe, with her mbira instrument, after her performance at Art in Action on 18 July.This is a singer called Taruwona, from Zimbabwe, at the end of her performance at Art in Action, on Thursday 18th July. She is showing her audience her instrument, called a mbira, which has a wonderful sound.


Art in Action itself is an annual celebration of (virtually) all things artistic, held at Waterperry House, Wheatley, Oxfordshire. I say 'virtually', because there is only a token acknowlegement by its organisers for photography, which is at least as much of an art as things that are given great prominence, such as painting, scultpure, glass-blowing etc.


Having said that, the one shining beacon on the photography side more than made up for the lack of general support from the art establishment. This beacon was in the form of a brilliant photographer called Nick Fleming, who specialises in people pictures in India: without any doubt, a wonderful inspiration.



The Dixie Strollers, a trad jazz band of 6 YOUNG people, playing at Bournville Village Green, as part of the Birmingham International Jazz & Blues Festival, on 13 July 2013. A great sight for trad jazz fans is this: a 6-piece, composed entirely of YOUNG people.


The Dixie Strollers they are, and they performed at Bournville Village Green on Saturday 13th, as part of the Birmingahm International Jazz & Blues Festival. They're slick, accomplished, confident, experienced, etc, etc. Ie: they're damn good!


Keep an ear to the ground for them, as they'll be going far.



Visitors enjoying a great curry at the monthly Manna Langar, in Northampton.This eclectic mix of people were amongst many at Northampton's Manna Langar on Friday 5th.


Manna Langar is a free monthly meal, held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (on Kettering Road), on the first Friday of each month. The event helps to boost community spirit, and encourages dialogue and interaction within the local community, all sections of which are invited.


The food is usually dhal, together with a superb curry (both meat and veggie options), and is prepared in a way that does not conflict with special requirements such as Kosher and Halal etc.


It's a great joint-initiative between the church, and local councillor / businessman Ifty Choudary, helped by many volunteers and sponsors. Long may it continue I say, as I don't think I've tasted a better curry anywhere. Come along and give it a try: just turn up on the day, at 12.30.



At Silverstone on Monday 1st July, salvaging discarded items for use by Northampton's homeless.After the British Grand Prix at Silverstone has ended, spectators who've camped there abandon ship en masse, almost Marie Celeste style. This can leave rich pickings for the Reachout Ecumenical Outreach Team that I go out with occasionally, who are always on the look out for items that will help Northampton's homeless.


As the weather had been fine over the weekend, most things that people had brought with them were still in good enough condition to take home with them. Even so, on Monday 1st July, we rescued tents, beds, folding chairs, BBQ's, food, and even a fridge!


We assume that this jacket belonged to a spectator, and not to one of the racing car drivers.



Voices & Saxophones being broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, from St Paul's Church, Knightbridge, on Monday 17th June.I'm cheating a little with this image, as it's not from the latest week: it's from the preveious week in fact. However, as I didn't venture out to take photos in the current week, it's going to have to do.


It was taken on Monday 17th June, at St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge, London. The occasion was the live broadcast of a BBC Radio 3 programme called Voices & Saxophones, and it was the saxophones that appealed to me when I received the BBC email about the broadcast.


As it turned out, little of the singing or the music were really to my taste, but it was a fascinating experience, and one that I'd be happy to repeat.



Tony Howes, star of 'Emmerdale' and 'Doctors', at the Stoke Bruerne Canal Gala on 16 June 2013.This is Tony Howes, children's entertainer and star of 'Emmerdale' and 'Doctors'. He appeared at the Stoke Bruerne Canal Gala weekend on Saturday 15 / Sunday 16 June.


It was a busy weekend, with boat trips, canal craft demonstrations, theatre and drama, live music, and, a real ale festival, etc etc.


Although Saturday's weather was mixed, Sunday was a warm, sunny day with only a minute interruption from rain.






















Shoeing a horse at the Appleby Horse Fair, Monday June 10th.This image was taken at the Appleby Horse Fair, on Monday 10th June. Although the fair theoretically continues until the Wednesday, it in effect ends on the Sunday night. Therefore, I arrived just as most travellers were leaving the sites.


As it turned out, for the type of images I take (ie mainly people), it was no real hardship, as there were still plenty of traveller families making the most of the warm weather. I found the participants to be really friendly and welcoming, and very much willing to be photographed.


As well as buying and selling horses, the fair is an opportunity for travellers to meet up with friends and relations that they see just once or twice a year. Therefore, even though the buying and selling activity has reduced over the years, the event seems to have an assured future.



Tutor Mary, with end results of the first of 4 felting workshops at Brookside Hall, Northampton.I visit Brookside Hall in Northampton occasionally, and this instance was during a workshop teaching the art of felting, on 5th June.


Although the craft uses basic materials, the combination of wool interacting with water and soap, together with rubbing and rolling of the workpiece, results in some attractive end results. Here they are displayed by the very versatile tutor, Mary Nichol.



A competitor at the Bedford Kite Festival, on May 26th, trying to get his kite in the air.This image shows a competitor at the Bedford Kite Festival, on Sunday 26th May, fighting an unsuccessful battle to get his kite in the air. 


There was little wind, which meant that the larger kites wouldn't play ball. However, it did mean that it was great weather for the crowd.


Can it ever be ideal conditions for both at the same time I wonder?  



Ethan, one of my 2 step-grandsons, born on Wednesday 22nd May 2013.This is Ethan, who is one of my 2 step-grandsons.


He was born on Wednesday 22nd May, and joins 5 year old brother Aidan.


This photograph was taken when Ethan was about 24 hours old, at hospital in Chelmsford.



Don Bosco Musikanten band, at the Bedford:Bamberg Spring Fest, May 10th 2013.Not that I'm alcoholic, but this week's image also relates to the demon drink.


Bedford is twinned with the German town of Bamberg, and they pooled their resources to present the Bedford:Bamberg Spring Fest, held at Bedford's elegant, Neo-classical Harpur Suite on 10/11 May.


It shows the Don Bosco Musikanten band. The band pulled its weight both musically and drinks-wise, as even its female members were downing pints of the many genuine German beers that were available.


It was a brilliant, imaginative event, for which both towns deserve great credit.



Dusty Penny porter, from Flipside Brewery, and, Coalville Pale Ale, from Long Lane Brewery.Another non-human subject, but this is surely the best alternative. I visited Lamport Hall with my wife on Sunday 5th for a craft fair. However, there was little of interest to me, apart from some bottle-conditioned real ale being sold by Long Lane Brewery of Coalville.


Strangely, one of the beers they were selling was from what I would have assumed to be a competitor, Flipside Brewery of Colwick, Nottingham. Both were great however, and I'll keep an eye out for their other offerings at beer festivals.


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