The story behind the picture…

Swarkestone Pavilion

The pavilion was built in 1632 and is often referred to locally as ‘the folly’. John Smythson is thought to have been the architect. His father, Robert Smythson, designed Hardwick Hall for Bess of Hardwick. The inspiration is clear to see, as the pavilion frontage presents a scaled-down version of Hardwick Hall. It is managed by the Landmark Trust and can be rented as a holiday let, however be warned that once inside it is rather small. A trip to the bathroom (in one of the towers) involves crossing the roof from one side to the other, and the many sightings of “ghosts” are usually no more than a lady in her nightie on her way to the loo!

St. Michaels, Melbourne

The magnificent cathedral-like interior of St Michael's parish church seems rather grand for a small place like Melbourne, until you appreciate that it was a royal church built circa 1125 by King Henry 1st. It was given by Henry to the Bishops of Carlisle, who used it as a retreat from time to time to escape their troubled Scottish border regions. Today, St Michael's survives as one of the finest Norman parish churches in the country.

This picture is actually three images combined. Three different exposures were taken in order to capture detail in both the highlights (the stained glass windows) and the darker, shadowy areas.

Lancaster Bomber

The City of Lincoln WWII Bomber, seen here in all her restored splendour, flying low over a Donington Park Circuit, classic motors meeting…and completely stealing the show.

The glorious sound of those four, Rolls Royce Merlin engines, with between them, forty eight ‘on song’ cylinders. An absolute stirring joy to the thousands of ‘petrol head’ race fans below.

PA474 is the UK’s sole surviving flying Lancaster and is maintained by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. One other exists in Canada. Elsewhere, fourteen are still in one piece but are non-flyers. It has been suggested that this bomber looks a little too pristine, too shiny, and that a little bit more of a distressed, ‘shot at’ look would be more realistic. It reminds me of a newly finished model Airfix kit, thrown from a bedroom window!


Canary Wharf (The Colour of Money)

Canary Wharf and its Manhattan-like skyline: motorists heading for the Blackwall tunnel along the A102 will recognise this sight, seen from the south side of the river Thames. The face of London's much derided and troubled financial centre is very photogenic, and is now once again on the up. Building started in the late 1980's when the area was redeveloped after the old West India docks closed. Some of the tallest buildings in the UK can be seen here.

I have previously photographed the wharf from this position near to the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Stadium), although it has never before looked so colourful. The setting sun, under an approaching dark cloud, provided some very nice lighting conditions before the inevitable cloudburst caused me to get back on my bike and head for cover.

On a previous occasion, I became aware of a small dog watching me out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to say hello, I realised that it was actually a fox. Sitting back on its haunches and patiently waiting for a treat, he lost interest when he saw I was holding a camera, and not a kebab!

Swarkestone Bridge

This river bridge was rebuilt in 1796-7 to replace an earlier structure that had been washed away by floods. At one time, this was the Midlands' main crossing point of the River Trent. It is part of the ancient and famous 14th century causeway that runs across the flood plain to Stanton-by-Bridge nearly a mile away to the south, making it the longest stone bridge in England.

It was here in 1745 that Bonny Prince Charlie and his followers gave up their long march from Scotland to London. Was it the psychological effect of the river’s north/south divide that made them turn back…was it the beer in the Crewe & Harpur Inn…or had they just run out of ‘neaps and tatties’?

Bedford Bus Cyprus

British vehicles from the 1950’s & 60’s can still to be found in Cyprus. This 1960 Bedford bus looks to be in good condition…apart from a missing wheel and crumpled wing. A restoration project for someone?

Cyprus was granted independence in the same year that our bus was built, yet British vehicles and motorcycles continued to be popular there (as did driving on the left hand side of the road). The dry warm air, low rainfall and no road salt all mean that there is often little sign of rust, so these vehicles become long-lived classics. Not so many British motorcycles can be found on the island these days, BSAs, AJSs & Matchless single cylinder machines were all very popular at one time. I think that most are now back in the UK, having been snapped up by collectors.








The Cradle

Designed by Frank Gehry and inspired by Newton’s Cradle, this sculpture can be seen on the car park wall of Santa Monica Place shopping mall, California.  It is a series of stainless steel spheres of various diameters suspended by individual wire cables and locked in place by neighbouring spheres. Hanging directly above the pavement below, and described by the people who created it at Ball-Nouges Studios as being like a ‘big banana hammock’…(as worn by unashamed men on the beach!). Others see The Cradle as a large scale self-organising structure (probably a better description). It would be interesting to see how much it moved in the event of a Los Angeles earthquake.

We spotted it, like most people, whilst driving by. A few days later I went back and waited across the road for someone to walk into the picture, to give it a sense of scale and perhaps make it a little more interesting. I am grateful to the lady on the bicycle who did just that.

Pool Cottage, Melbourne

The fine façade to Pool Cottage was built in 1839. It was deliberately designed to enhance the views from Melbourne Hall and looks pretty indeed, close to the pool side. The work was commissioned by Lord Melbourne while he was Prime Minister. A few years later when he was no longer in office, work continued with a comprehensive remodelling of the entire Pool.

It would be intriguing to know what Lord Melbourne would make of 'The Pool' today, as with its mature trees, flora and fauna it now looks completely natural. Today, Pool Cottage is a highly regarded residential care home.

Salisbury Cathedral Font

Installed in 2008 and designed by William Pye, this beautiful contemporary feature situated in the middle of arguably England's finest Cathedral, looks truly majestic. With its symmetry, grace and elegance, the font steals the show.

Those Medieval builders would be furious. You will find yourself staring into it, at it, and wanting to touch it. Not to mention the reflections. Be prepared for a lengthy stroll around to observe them all. I loved it. This image is another HDR type, three hand held shots combined to make the one.



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