48 hours in York

The historic city of York is a popular tourist spot. Visitors descend on the City from all around the world.

Some come to learn about the city’s Roman and Viking past. Others come to marvel at the magnificent York Minster and to wander the narrow streets, including the famous Shambles area. It’s easy to imagine you have stepped back in time and the tourists love it. You can even book on one of the numerous ghost tours if you want to experience a bit more spooky history or visit the York Dungeons for the gory historic details.

One of the great things about York is that it is a compact city and you can easily make your way around it on foot. We were staying about 15 minute walk away, along the river or alternatively along the fortified walls into the city centre.

Among the highlights on our short stay in the city were the Minster, though it does seem a bit on the expensive side at £20 admission for two, though the tickets are valid for a year.

A different, but better value option for those on a budget, might be the National Railway Museum which is free, though a suggested £5 donation is encouraged.  I’m no train buff but I would rank this as one of the best value visitor attractions in the country. It’s huge and you could easily spend all day looking around if you wanted.

York is also blessed with numerous eating establishments and pubs, many with charming historic features. At weekend it appeared to be a popular destination for hen and stag parties and the numbers of people in the city noticeably swelled with visitors.

Here are a few photos from York…


The Golden Fleece – York’s most haunted pub


One of the many attractive places to eat




On the city walls


The Shambles


York Minster


York Railway Station


The Chapter House, York Minster


Sarcophagus, York Minster


National Railway Museum


National Railway Museum


Jude in black and white

My last blog post focused on our grandson, Alexander’s visit over Easter. This time I’m turning the camera on our other grandson Jude.

Jude is exactly six months younger than Alexander so he isn’t walking yet but he does do an amazingly fast bum shuffle! It’s hard to believe that come school age, they will both be in the same year.

These black and white photos were all taken on the Fuji X-T2 with 50mm lens.



Alexander’s Easter visit

It’s always a great day when we see the grandchildren and on Easter Monday we had the pleasure of spending some time with Alexander, who was experiencing his first visit to Avenham Park in Preston.

Avenham Park is the traditional gathering place on an Easter Monday as scores of Children arrive to roll their easter eggs down the grassy slopes of the park.

Alexander is a bit young for chocolate yet but he enjoyed throwing the easter egg and  taking in the atmosphere. He also had a good run around, oh to have his energy! After an hour or so he’d seen enough and it was back to our house for another play and a rest. Here are a five black and white pictures from the visit.



48 hours in Buxton

The Derbyshire Peak District is a favourite among those that like the great outdoors.   We  stopped on the outskirts of Buxton at Grin Low and Buxton Country Park. Buxton itself is a spa town famous, among other things, for its bottled water.  It’s a great place to spend a couple of days.

Buxton owes a lot to the Devonshire/Cavendish family, owners of the nearby Chatsworth estate. Everywhere you go in the town you can see their influence. The fifth Duke of Devonshire had the idea to create a town to rival Bath – Buxton even has its own curved Georgian terrace, which is currently being converted to a luxury hotel.

One of the highlights of our stay was a visit to an old book shop. I know, doesn’t sound particularly exciting does it? This however, is a book shop that is made for exploring and it has become a popular destination among bibliophiles. They have 40,000 books across five floors with plenty of curiosities along the way.

Another favourite spot for me, photographically speaking was Grin Low and Buxton country park. Here there are plenty of walks and views including, Solomon’s Tower which features in a couple of photos below.

There is also plenty of architecture of interest in Buxton from the Devonshire dome to an unusual Victorian Postbox.

Here are a few photos from Buxton…


The Devonshire Dome on the University Campus


Solomon’s Tower


The Old Hotel housed the captive Mary Queen of Scots


Inside Scrivener’s book shop


On the moors


Victorian Postbox

Clown puppet inside Scrivener's Book Shop in Buxton

Clown puppet inside Scrivener’s Book Shop in Buxton

Loving the new Fuji XF50mm f2 lens

On the face of it, the Fuji XF50mm lens is a bit of a odd focal length, a sort of portrait lens ‘lite’.  The acknowledged ‘true’ portrait lens in the Fuji line-up is the 56mm f1.2 but I liked the sound of this new 50mm lens. Compact, weather proof and fast focussing. I also thought it would be ideal for those indoor portraits of the grandchildren where space can be a bit limited.

At first I found it took a while before I started to ‘see’ at 50mm but now it’s hardly ever off my camera. I’m really starting to love this lens. The sharpness and speed of autofocus don’t disappoint plus it can focus incredibly close too.

Up until now my usual choice of lens for these types of pictures has been the brilliant 50-140mm f2.8 lens and this is still a lens I will use for events, it’s a cracking lens. When it comes to photographing portraits of children though, I think the 50mm may well be the first choice in future. It’s an absolute gem.

Here are a few examples from the XF50mm f2 lens: