Archive for June, 2009

Blue Eyelids

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2009 by yammerman

The school has taken James away for his first weekend trip and Gillian and I are returned to those pre child days, so an imperative to go out was created.  We have rarely been to the cinema in nearly ten years but remember with great fondness our trips to the Phoenix in East Finchley; one of the oldest purpose built cinemas still operating in the UK.

I didn’t even look at what was on a main stream cinema but headed straight to Chapter – an oasis of an art centre in a Cardiff still trying to lose its provincial nature and gain some capital city sophistication. The only film of interest was Mexican called “Blue Eyelids” which was described as an awkward romance which seemed appropriate for a return to coupledom after a long absence.


Ernesto Contreras’s debut film has won a few awards and while slow in pace at times, its weakness is its strength. A woman wins a trip for two in a work lottery but has no friends or family to go with her. In desperation she invites a man she meets in a café who claims to have known her at school. He too seems to have slipped through the cracks of life and seems to echo her solitude. With minimal dialogue and subtle mood the film conveys the awkwardness of the early moments in a relationship. I really enjoyed the unfolding of the tale and it reminded me why independent cinema is such a wonderful haven from the bloated Hollywood blockbuster.

A rather lovely little film I thought and I enjoyed eating out in the bohemian atmosphere of Chapter’s cafe.  We had stroll to Thompson’s Park before the film only to bump in a fellow Albert Primary parent who was also using his child free evening for a night out on the town.  What a small town Cardiff must be.  There was a face carved into a tree in the park  which I captured on an Olympus Epic II


As a glimpse into the post James 24/7 future, the evening was rather pleasant but on our return  his absence was palpable and we’re clearly going to miss the little bugger when he  finally escapes our clutches.

The Waverley at Penarth Pier

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2009 by yammerman

Just a quick post

My evening stroll to the pier coincided with the arrival of the oldest operating paddle steamer in the world “The Waverley” built in 1946 and run by Waverley Excursions at various places around the country. It seems to be here in South Wales for most of June.

 It’s a wonderful sight and I’ve always meant to have trip but it as yet remains on my to do list. Still it provided a great photo opportunity between the summer showers.

  For the technically minded I captured these  with a Nikon D300 using a Nikon 35-70mm f2.8 and a Nikon 55-200mm VR.

Holiday Snaps From the Algarve

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2009 by yammerman

I increased my carbon foot print recently with a trip to the Algarve and compounded my sin by ending up with a four wheel drive. I now know what “wagon” means in Hertz speak. Twas windy and rainy when we left South Wales and sunny and bright when we landed in Faro We reached the villa to find we had exchanged a garden in the rain for one bathed in sunshine and in full bloom. Must be a sign of age but for the first time I really enjoyed the warmth of the sun and don’t mention it to David Icke but it was almost lizard like.

 We did no off roading but I feel a 4X4 makes all the difference when driving back and forth to the “supermarche” plus you get to look down on fellow holiday makers in their Fiat Punto’s. This was the first time we’d just lounged by the pool and read apart from the now traditional trip to Henry the Navigator’s fort down at Sagres.

 Downloaded “Dark Was the Night” a compilation of an alternative songs as a sound track for this trip. On reflection the dreary burblings of these pale faced tortured souls was not the most appropriate choice. In the end Vashti Bunyan was much more the thing on bright mornings in the Algarve.

 I read the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver a wonderful read about a missionary family experiencing pre and post colonial life in the Congo. As a companion to Tim Butchers – Blood River it really worked for me.  Some brilliant passages possibly not aimed at a middle aged geezer but I appreciated them all the same.

I moved on to David Peace’s “1974” which came as a surprise as I’d been annoyed so much by “The Damned Untied” that I didn’t finish it. I raced through it and while  it does evoke some part of the 70’s very well the unremitting misery of its characters just tells us where the authors head is at….staring into an abyss I’m guessing. There are no good folk in these books(not much humour either) the world is a veil of tears peopled by unremitting scum bags. You really wouldn’t want to spend any time in Mr Peace’s universe as it is some what one dimensional. To get the gist put a bag over your head and get someone to punch you hard repeatedly.  For me times seem far nastier now (Thanks Mrs T!) than back then but I was of course sweet sixteen in ’74 and unspeakably naive.

And finally I read a series of essay’s by Tony Judt reappraising the 20th Century. I am a historian by education and it was a pleasure to discover something of the times I’ve lived through but shaming I knew so little.The Middle East question, Nixon,Kissinger,France,Belgium,Rumania etc all come under his spot light and very informative it was too. My back of a fag packet understanding of Marxism was somewhat tested by this tome. My brain’s memory has a half life of about a week so what has stuck is limited and why I could never be hung from a lamppost as an intellectual. I do remember Tony Blair’s Britain being described as “an inauthentic country led by inauthentic leader” which is a tad harsh but for the rest he was very good.

On our return to Cardiff the pilot needed two goes to get us down due to low cloud and unusually the UK passengers applauded as we bounced down the runway. There was nothing inauthentic about the Welsh drizzle that  greeted our exit onto the tarmac.

 Oh and here are the snaps.

























Woodcraft at Sully Island

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2009 by yammerman

I wanted to post something to allay the suspicion that I have been doing nothing. I could have inflicted you with holiday photo’s and I still might.

James is a member of Woodcraft Folk which seems like a more touchy feely version of the Cubs. Last night we went to Sully Island and looked in the rock pools. When the tide goes out you can walk out to the island but be careful to watch that tide. With the second highest tidal reach in the world when that water comes back into the Bristol  Channel it surrounds the island in a rush of  turbulant water. The wise move is to settle for being trapped on the island till the next tide. There  are warning signs about the dangers of attempting to make a last minute dash as many who have tried didn’t make it.

The beaches this far up the channel are quite muddy which may account for the rather less than crystal clear rock pools but nontheless there is life. So here are the pics shot digitally with a Nikon 60mm macro lens except the last three which are the rather brilliant and rather plastic Nikon 18-55mm.

On the way back we bumped into a photographer taking pictures of a rotting hull with a Hasselblad 503 with Ilford FP4 B&W. He managed to stay calm as a load of children ruined his shots. I took him by surprise with questions about his choice of developer and he seemed a far more methodical soul than my goodself.

A very pleasant evening if a tad muddy at times.