Wednesday, 29 January 2014


I have to admit to having always been scared of Glasgow. As I grew up, I had heard many not so nice stories about the place. Less than ten years ago even, I still had an element of reserve as I drove through the city on route further north to 'the nice parts'.
Since then, I have seen snippets of interest coming from the city. The regeneration; the coming Commonwealth Games; the interesting design both old and new.
After a number of people had said I should visit, I felt it was time for a reappraisal. I had just such an opportunity at the weekend, and combined a trip to the Celtic Connections festival with a chance to see the city. Armed with my little G12 just for ease, I explored. Taking in The Merchant City, The Lighthouse, Argyll Arcade, Central Station, Riverside, the 'Smartie Tube', The Hydro, the 'Armadillo', the Riverside Museum and many places in between, it was such a tiny bit of the city.

I'm so glad!  What a fascinating place for the style, architecture and design as well as finding the locals to be very friendly. Never again will I just associate Glasgow as the land of the Rab C Nesbitt types. I have a new view of the city which is much better. Here is a little taster of how I saw it:

(By clicking on the first image above, all of the images will come up as a slide show.)

Enjoy - I did!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Which Way to Go?

There are times when it is difficult to know which way to go. There are too many routes to choose.
That is the time to go on a breathing and thinking-space walk.

Armed with camera plus 400mm, a bag of jelly babies for the sugar boost and a willing four-legged photographer's assistant, I went off for one such walk in my favourite place yesterday afternoon, even if it was rather chilly.
The deer were creeping through the trees, the buzzard 'keeing' overhead, the small birds singing, and every now and then the sun put in an appearance...

...sometimes it is just the right medicine!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tour de France 2014 - Countdown 1

Almost every day I negotiate this particular patch of road as I take mutt for her daily walk.
I negotiate the traffic, using the Pelican crossing, mutt dutifully waiting with me for the bleeps (as she has been trained to do). We then both have to negotiate the potholes that appear with serious regularity in this over-used used patch of road at the bottom of our High Street.

It was just three months ago that we learned with some interest (and excitement) that the 2014 Tour de France will be passing over this very spot on Monday 7th July.
Nearly 200 of the worlds elite cyclists will be negotiating the right-angled turn from the High Street into George Street (right to left in this image).

However, I feel there will need to be just a tad of time and investment given to this spot before then (and indeed, others along the route) if we are to avoid any embarrassing pile ups which are not of the cyclists making.
I have every confidence it will be done.

There are only six months to go!

I will be covering this event. Contact me (using the link at the side) for details.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Turning New Leaves

A New Year gives a chance to turn new leaves.

What better way to signify it, than to find the fresh green of Arum maculatum, or Lords and Ladies, pushing up through the leaf litter today.
Whilst we can't deny it has been wet and windy of late, it has actually been very mild for the time of year, which in turn has brought on this early growth. This time last year, it was very cold and we had to wait for weeks into February before anything was as advanced as this.

I will enjoy it whilst I can as no doubt in a few days, the weather will once again turn another leaf, be it physically or metaphorically.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Christine Entrered Without Knocking...

Yesterday I was awoken in the morning, by a booming and shuddering within the whole room. I knew that Storm Christine was in progress, and indeed, for most of the night, we had listened to the wind and the rain battering the south-west corner of our sea-facing cottage here in West Cork. What I hadn't expected was to feel the full force of the gusts quite like I did. Himself had had to leave in the early hours - motorbiking (!!) it to Cork to catch an early plane back to the UK, and in his haste, it seems he didn't quite secure the back door. Christine saw her opportunity, and entered without knocking. I don't know quite how long she was doing her whirling dervish act around the rooms but mutt was in a state of quivering shock by the time I raced downstairs to politely ask her to leave. She did so with one last decisive howl as I pushed the gaping door firmly shut whilst standing in a squelching puddle on the door mat.

Good morning and welcome to Monday 6th January 2014!

We have had on-off gales (mostly on) for the whole time we have been here, which is to to be expected, seeing as it is Winter. However, this time they have done their worst either on the far north-west and west coasts, or as this latest, Storm Christine, hitting Irelend square-on the south-west corner. The tidal surge was apparent when I looked down to the strand, some 400m below, where waves were washing over the road and reaching high up the soft muddy cliffs, sending drifts of salt-laden mist inland.  Watch Video  Gulls were battling to stay around the land/sea margins as the wind continued unabated. I soon saw on line reports that coastal areas had suffered, including Tragumna, which is on our usual route into town. Garda had closed the road and so there was little chance of trundling along with my camera...

What? I'm a photographer! You didn't expect me not to go out with my camera?
Rather than go too far afield, I just trundled locally, using the car as my protection - for what little use it was! Salt still sprayed and foam still blew up from the boiling sea, finding its way in through the open window. I rattled off some pictures, constantly having to clean the lens - the kit is now in cleaning progress.
The selection here are none of the impressive sea-meets-man images that have swamped the media. Instead, a snapshot of how storm, light and nature interact.

The Stags
(Hard to believe we sail between these rocks with Colin Barnes at Cork Whale Watch)

Typically as we approach our penultimate day of this break, the weather is set to improve, although Christine is still trailing her windy skirts behind her.