Christmas 2019

When my father died in 1985, the remnants of my family fractured and three years later I left home. I found myself living in the northern county of West Yorkshire, a place very different from my hometown of Cambridge. It was there that I spent one of the loneliest years of my life. I lived in a small terraced house in the Sandal district of Wakefield, and slept in a small room that backed on to the railway line. Thirty years later, I can still remember the feeling of lying in the dark, listening to the trains speeding down to London and wishing I was on one of them. Eventually I was.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Whilst I went north, unbeknown to me my mother went west. Hereford is a small cathedral city that lies about 16 miles east of the border with Wales. To me, it feels remote and isolated, but that’s only because I’ve spent so many years living in and around London. For my mother, she’s managed to create a happy life there over the last three decades. It was, however, many years before I was able to visit her there.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

My blood family now only really comprises my mother, my niece, and myself. Over the last five or six years we’ve spent Christmas together in Hereford. For the three of us, it’s sort of become traditional.

A tradition doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s been going on for generations. I think you can make your own traditions. What’s more important is how long you want it to continue, rather than how long it’s been going on. My mother is 86 now, but I’m hoping for many more Christmases together.

That’s what I wanted to talk about.

Christmas 2019 / Nunnington, Hereford / Fujifilm X100F

Five Happy Things We Did On Jane’s {Redacted}th Birthday Weekend

Two weeks ago it was my birthday weekend. This weekend it was Jane’s turn. Here’s what happened:

All photos Fujifilm X100T

1: Curry and playing games with friends. I’m officially the world’s worst Uno player, although it doesn’t help when everyone gangs up on you. But hey, I take it in good humour. Bastards.

2: Watercolours!

3: Chilling!

4: Sunday afternoon in the pub with friends, for the sole purpose of showing the kids how not to behave. Children’s education is so important.

5: Lots of walking with the dogs.

Coco’s recovering from an operation, so she’s wearing a très chic little French number she just threw on. This is far more fashionable than the usual cone of shame. Is cultural appropriation OK when it’s dogs doing it?

Four Happy Things I Did On My 53rd Birthday Weekend

1: Hung around with small humans and small animals

All photos taken with Fujifilm X100T

2: Got taken to Wagamamma. Other restaurants are available, but this is my favourite. I am unsophisticated.

3: Walked to the pub and back for Sunday lunch

4: Walked the dogs on an autumnal misty morning

All photos taken with Fujifilm X100T

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square, London

The International Monetary Fund is not known for being a hotbed of radical eco-warriors.

Nevertheless, in September 2019 they said the following:

The risk of catastrophic and irreversible disaster is rising, implying potentially infinite costs of unmitigated climate change, including, in the extreme, human extinction.

In the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, politician Michael Gove attempted to dismiss the negative economic forecasts. “People in this country have had enough of experts”, he famously said. These days, everybody considers themselves to be an expert. Whether it’s Brexit, Climate Change, or championship whist, the internet has allowed the democratisation of truth. Each of us is now entitled to our own version of the facts.

In my wayward youth when I was still smoking cigarettes, it was the evidence of Doctors rather than tobacco giants that convinced me to quit.

When CFCs were suspected of causing the hole in the ozone layer, I believed the scientists rather than the deodorant manufacturers.

I’m not an expert. I’m neither a scientist nor an academic. All I can do is put my trust in those that I find the most credible. Consequently, I’m going with the overwhelming majority of scientists who believe that immediate action on climate change is needed to avert serious consequences. This is in spite of what some bloke on Twitter says.

I broadly support the aims and methods of Extinction Rebellion. I support ‘using non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency’. And however unpopular they are in some quarters, I believe it’s having an impact.

And yes, they’ve caused a lot of inconvenience for many people. But in the future, if your grandchildren ask you why you’ve handed them such a mess, I don’t want you to have to tell them it was too inconvenient to do otherwise.

N.B. There’s a lot of photos here, but I spent two days with them and shot three rolls of film.
Extinction Rebellion, Trafalgar Square, London / Nikon F90X & Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 400 / Developed in D76 +1

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Nikon F100 Kodak Tmax 400

Baku At Night

When I was working in Baku back in July, I had only two hours in the day to look around.

This time I had only one hour at night.

The weather was comfortably cooler this visit, at around 25°C. The famous Baku wind helped keep things fresh. Baku is known as The City Of Winds, and in fact the name comes from the Original Persian for Bādkube, meaning ‘pounding winds’.

Baku sits on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, and although it was once a former soviet state, it has a distinctly European atmosphere. The city really comes alive at night, with bustling crowds, open-air cafes and restaurants, opera houses, singers, buskers, and groups of men drinking coffee and playing games.

This was the first time I’ve put the Fuji X100T through its paces at night. I think it acquitted itself quite well.

Baku At Night / Fuji X100T

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night

Baku At Night