Dec 17: photo of the month

2017-12-10 08.54.48I got a new phone towards the end of last year and I’m really pleased with the photos I’m getting with it. You’ve still got the disadvantage of a single fixed focus lens of course but as long as you’re looking for a shot with a dominant foreground or one that asks for a good depth of focus it does a great job.

This is one of the first photos I took with it and it’s a classic point and shoot to capture the moment. It was early morning after a snowfall and I had to hang around a bit whilst the Co-Op cooked another batch of croissants. Serendipity again.

My new phone’s a Sony Xperia and this shot was taken at 1/50th f2. You can almost feel how cold the morning was …


2017: best year for some time

DSC06909-2I’m not saying that recent years have not been good, they’ve all been good or even excellent, just that 2017 seems to have been exceptionally so. Anyway this is my 5th year end review and I’ll change the format.

It’s been a year of three thirds (aren’t they all?).

The first third of the year (Jan-Apr) was dominated by politics, specifically my campaign to be reelected for the third time to the County Council. With hindsight it wasn’t a big ask but I left nothing to chance and worked very hard just to make sure. As it was I secured just 55% of the vote and, as the Cambridge Evening News said, crushed the opposition.

The middle third (May -Aug) was quieter. We had a week in Portugal ( to wind down from the election and a short break in Southwold ( then I had a Charles Rennie Mackintosh weekend in Glasgow ( I had a reunion lunch with three friends from infants school days and was fortunate to pick up a little extra work in Spain. But generally it was a quiet middle of the year.

The final third (Sep-Dec) started with my birthday, the big 7 (see picture above), and then extended through an epic holiday trip to Hong Kong ( and Australia (, the birth of grandson number 1 in November, and a wedding which involved us staying in Gladstone’s Library ( in Hawarden in December.

Looking back at the year in total I am surprised again that my generation seems to be surviving. I attended the funeral of neighbour Jean Davidson in January and read of the death in 2016 of Colin Sprakes, a contemporary at Churchill, but otherwise it seems that we just soldier on. For that I am truly thankful.

On a personal level I’ve not managed to shake off the kilo I put on during Xmas 2016 and have exercised less but nonetheless find myself in good enough shape and comfortable running longer distances. My only problem at the moment is an ectopic tooth which looks likely to need surgery early in 2018.

Juni and I have continued to enjoy meals in excellent restaurants including Costume Bistro in Porto, Realmente in Queluz and Churrasqueira in Braga (all in Portugal),  the Sibton White Horse in Sibton, Suffolk and Number 16 in Glasgow and Petition, Sauma and the Boatshed in Perth (WA). We’ve also stayed in several super hotels including three Pousadas in Portugal and the Lindrum in Melbourne.

And finally … this is how I signed off 2015 and 2016.

‘It has been a very good year and I feel blessed. With so much trouble and uncertainty in the world I seem to have found a place which is especially rewarding. I can but hope that my life continues that way’

Don’t see any reason to say anything different again this year.



Nov 17: photo of the month

DSC09228I could do with posting a few more pieces about life in general because this is the third monthly photo in a row which doesn’t say much for the variety of my life!

November seems to have been rather over supplied by wine and beer photos with no special events. Here’s the best of the wine photos taken with my Sony A56 DSLR 1/80th sec at f6.3 with a focal length of 210mm. I’m getting better at setting up these shots to keep the background out of focus. There’s been no post processing.

Oct 17: photo of the month

DSC08701Lots of candidates for this month  with some epic (by my standards) pictures from my stay in Australia and some good ones too following my return. But this one gets the nod because I reckon it’s technically good (would benefit a little from cropping in) and I guess I got it by doing what the professionals would do: taking lots of shots and trusting to serendipity that some will come out pretty good.

It was taken at Surfers’ Beach at Kalbarri, Western Australia with my Sony A56 DSLR. My telephoto was at 280mm with a 1/640th exposure time at f8 and ISO100.

Sep 17: photo of the month

DSC06918This may not be the best photo of the month, there’s a bunch of good candidates from my visit to Hong Kong and the start of my vacation in Australia of course, but it’s of a type and it’s a memory of a great event.

The type is my liking for handheld available light photographs. And the event was my 70th birthday party. It was a dinner so it was nighttime and the subject is a pavlova.

The photo was taken with my Sony alpha 58 DSLR, 1/40th and f6.3 with an ISO setting of 1600. There’s been no post processing beyond a light crop to get rid of some of the clutter in the foreground.