A visit to Blackpool Illuminations

It’s something of a tradition around this time of year – the night’s are closing in, the summer season is a fading memory and it’s time for a visit to Blackpool Illuminations.

The spectacular free light show along the promenade at Blackpool is great for photography and I normally try and make a couple of visits at least.  In fact I really do need to visit again this year as the weather wasn’t the best on this Blackpool Illumination trip. At least the bad weather provided some stormy light for a few photos before the lights came on, but the wind, rain and sea spray continued to make photography a challenge!

Here are a few photos from my visit. Hopefully I will be back again soon to catch the Festival of Light, when entertainers roam the promenade and the illuminated trams join in a procession along the sea front, later this month.

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Music and Poetry at St Ives September Festival

One of the highlights of the St Ives September Festival is the free lunchtime sessions that take place in Norway Square, which on the face of it is barely big enough to swing a cat!  Notwithstanding its small size, the sessions led by charismatic host Bob Devereux managed to attract a sizeable gathering of people, keen to sit and listen to the artists perform.

Some of the performances came from holiday making visitors to the town, others were there plugging a show taking place later in the week and some were St Ives veterans, such as Bob, who’s storytelling, (part poetry, part song) was particularly entertaining. In fact once you’ve heard ‘The Morris Room’ and ‘Queen of all the Gypsies’ they kind of stick with you!

Until next year here are a few photos from the 2019 sessions in Norway Square, St Ives…

PNE Women v Blackpool Ladies

PNE Women had enjoyed a good win in mid week but they looked a bit jaded against Blackpool on Sunday, going down to three nil defeat at home – all three goals came in a disappointing first half performance.

For much of the game Preston were pegged back in their own half, frequently dropping too deep. When PNE did manage to put together an attack the strikers were isolated and outnumbered. I know Phil Neville likes England’s Lionesses to play the ball out from the back, a tactic even the best players struggle with at times. Preston try and play this way   but the tactic tends to result in Preston giving the ball away far too often in their own half as Blackpool pressed them high up the pitch.

To be fair a few of PNE’s regular players were missing for this game, so hopefully this is just a blip before they push on again.  On the plus side, it was nice to see the younger players in the team doing well. They kept going till the end and put in a much better second half performance as a team.

A few photos here but a full set is available via this link on my Flickr page

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A walk around Preston

It wasn’t what you would call a great day for photography, grey and overcast in the main but I fancied a walk with the camera.

Preston has a lot happening right now in terms of development and it’s always nice to capture these types of changes for posterity.  The brutalist architectural gem that is Preston Bus Station is 50 years old and it is nearing the end of a refurbishment – always good for pics. Then there is the old market hall and car park which is being knocked down to make way for a new cinema and leisure complex. It looks like a bomb site at the moment but it lends itself to black and white shots.

Here are a few photos from a quick wander through the park and into the city with a camera I don’t use much these days (Fuji X-T1) and a 23mm lens.

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In Pictures: Churchill’s birthplace and a tourist hotspot

It is a World Heritage site after all so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised but I am. The number of foreign visitors is staggering, they arrive by the coach load and yet I’m guessing that many people from the UK have never visited. Anyway the thing is Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire is a tourist hotspot. 

Blenheim is famous, among other things, for being the birthplace of Winston Churchill and there is an excellent permanent display at the house telling the story of his life.  In the gift shop too, you can buy all sorts of Churchill souvenirs, including a book about the great man by one Boris Johnson!  No doubt we will continue to hear more Churchill influenced rhetoric from its deluded author. 

Churchill is buried a short walk away in the village of Bladon. We were stopping just around the corner from here at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Bladon Chains site.  

One benefit of staying on the Club site is the thirty percent discount on admission charges to Blenheim. Once you have purchased your admission ticket you can then upgrade it to an annual pass at no extra charge. That makes a return visit even more attractive.

A downside of its popularity is the painfully slow pace during the route through the house.  We didn’t bother with the iPhone-type audio guides, which may well be an interesting addition to the tour experience, but they did result in hundreds of people stood blocking the route like some sort of half human creatures, staring and tapping while gazing at the rooms and walls. 

Anyway, armed with our annual pass, we will return but probably at a quieter time of year when the visitor numbers have dropped off a bit.

Here are a few photos from our recent visit: 

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In Pictures: A home of learning since 1264

Not quite as grand as some of the other Oxford colleges (but it’s all relative!) and tucked away a little bit, Merton College is still worth a visit. Some of the dates are mind blowing. Merton College has been involved in education and research at the University of Oxford since 1264!

The College has approximately 300 undergraduates studying a wide range of subjects including mathematics, physics, history, literature and law. Well known Mertonians include JRR Tolkien, TS Elliot and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan.

As a visitor, there is a small charge to enter but you are free to wonder around the central areas of the college site and visit the impressive Chapel. The Chapel itself was built between the late 13th to mid 15th centuries and it served as a parish church.  Outdoors you can visit the oldest quadrangle in Oxford, which goes by the really quite funky name of the ‘Mob Quad’.  Sounds like a good name for a four piece band! It’s not a new name by any means; it was first used around 1797 and probably refers to the undergraduates who lived in this part of the college. 

A few pictures…

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Statues in the Merton Chapel

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A big organ!

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Inside the Chapel

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College Buildings

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Historic passageways

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The Fellows’ Quadrangle

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Double Arch Gateway

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The Chapel 

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Front Quadrangle view of The Chapel

 

In Pictures: One of the grandest colleges anywhere

The University of Oxford is steeped in history. One of its most famous colleges is Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlin), it was founded in 1458 and was designed to be one of the grandest in Oxford. Some famous alumni include Cardinal Wolsey of Henry VIII fame, Oscar Wilde and CS Lewis.

As you walk along the paths, go under the archways and enter the buildings, it’s easy to imagine you have stepped back in time or onto a film set. The worn stone steps could probably tell a story or two and there’s a certain romance about a visit here. The College is open to the public but there is an admission charge. This charge does includes an informative colour leaflet/guide book.

If you are visiting Oxford it is well worth spending a bit of time looking around this historic college. I hope these few pictures give you an idea of what you can expect to see.

Remembrance

The Cloisters

Steps with character

The Founder’s Tower

Around the Cloisters

Steps to The Hall

Roses in Summer

The Water Walks

CS Lewis 

Roof detail

Stunning Sepia toned stained glass Chapel windows 

Inside the Chapel with reredos screen at the far end

Chapel interior

Founder’s Tower

Inside the Dining Hall

Gates from the Water Walks

The New Building and Lawns

Summer flowers

David Wynne’s Statue

The President’s Lodgings