Thursday, 31 May 2012


Out and about in London on Tuesday, early for an appointment and not enjoying the heat on the street, I headed for the air-conditioned splendour of The Conran Shop, but veered off at the last minute, tempted by the dappled shade of a massive London Plane in the church gardens on the opposite side of the road.  It was beautiful; cool, quiet and peaceful, an infinitely better choice, and a perfect sanctuary.

I know the gardens well, I've walked through them many times, but never stopped to sit and stare, so I did just that; except I sat and let my camera do the staring!  There were probably half a dozen people, dotted here and there; three students sitting on the grass under a tree, idly picking at the daisies, an office worker or two, a boy with a backpack, and me.  All of us just sitting, and being, and enjoying the moment; at least that's the way it felt.  And then it was time to leave.  Twenty minutes well spent, a smile on my face and another photo challenge completed.

The picture shows the side aspect of St Marylebone Parish Church, London, on Tuesday 29th May 2012, approached from the church gardens in Marylebone High Street.

To see the rest of my Twenty Minutes in St Marylebone Parish Church Gardens photos, click on the link.

To read about the history of St Marylebone Parish Church, click on the link.

To find out about my photo challenge see my blog dated Thursday 26th April 2012.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Queen Arrives.

Queen Mary 2 arrived early yesterday and I was out with my camera in time to catch a shot of her sailing by, looking lovely in the morning haze.  Some thirty minutes later, I looked out to see that Queen Victoria had also arrived, so there were two Queens in port; an event indeed.

The picture shows RMS Queen Mary 2 arriving in the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 06:07 on Tuesday 22nd May 2012.

By mid afternoon, the beautifully cool morning had turned into the hottest day of the year and I was beginning to question my resolve to be outside (in full sun) to watch the two Queens leave.  But as soon as I heard their whistles blow, I was out like a shot, clutching my camera and clinging to the shadows.

It takes a while for two big ships to leave, so I decided to apply my photo challenge rules to the proceedings and headed up to my 3rd floor and out on to the balcony, where I found a cool corner to perch and take pictures.  It was glorious; Queen Victoria sailed away, the Hythe Pier Train rattled by, an isle of Wight fast cat sped off, a yacht tacked to and fro, the tide turned, there were tug boats and motor launches, another Isle of Wight fast cat, and finally Queen Mary 2 pulled away and readied herself to leave; and then my time was up.

To see my Twenty Minutes on Southampton Water photos, click on the link.

To read about my photo challenge, see my blog dated Thursday 26th April 2012.

To find out where RMS Queen Mary 2 is now, click on the bridge web cam link.

To find out where MS Queen Victoria is now, click on the bridge web cam link.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Queen Elizabeth.

My photo challenge continues (see my blog dated Tuesday 1st May 2012) and on a choppy ten minute trip across Southampton Water on the Hythe Ferry yesterday, I planted myself on deck, determined to stay put for long enough to hold my camera steady and grab a few shots of this and that.

The outlook was overcast and misty, it was cold and windy and I had to hang on, but the ten minutes passed in a twinkling, it was exhilarating, and I loved it.  There were a handful of roll-on-roll-off cargo vessels in dock, a few tugs, a sailing ship, the tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious (the largest wooden ship afloat), a yacht, and three cruise ships; Oriana, Adonia, and Queen Elizabeth.  I love to see all the ships, especially close-up from the ferry, they're so BIG.  But for me a Queen is always an event and Queen Elizabeth just stole the show.

The picture shows MS Queen Elizabeth, alongside in the Port of Southampton, Hampshire, at 13:52 on Friday 18th May 2012.  To see the rest of my Ten Minutes on the Hythe Ferry photos, click on the link below.

To find out where MS Queen Elizabeth is now, click on the bridge web cam link below.

To read more about the largest wooden ship afloat, click on the SV Tenacious link below.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I love scented flowers and I love blue flowers, and a blue scented flower is a winner all round as far as I'm concerned, so you can understand why I love bluebells.  You can keep white bells and I don't much care for the pink, but those bluebells, they're a sensation.  I think it's the powdery blue against the bright green that I find so appealing, the fragile drooping heads, and the promise of that sweet scent.  And I've seen so many this year; there are clumps in the village hedgerows, drifts by the roadside and carpets through the New Forest.

The picture shows a drift of bluebells, close-up, on a village roadside in Hythe, Hampshire, on Sunday 6th May 2012 at 13:58.  I did have a concern that I might be photographing Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica), rather than the native British variety (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), but it seems that the difference is in the pollen colour; creamy-white for the British and blue for the Spanish; and I'm happy to report that my bluebells have the British creamy-white pollen.

To read more about the British bluebell, click on the Natural History Museum Endangered Species link, below.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


My photo challenge continues (see my blog dated Thursday 26 April 2012) and on a trip to London yesterday, I parked myself on a bench in Grosvenor Square for twenty minutes and happily snapped away at anything that caught my fancy.  I particularly like this picture of the eagle through the trees; it's a bronze sculpture of the American Bald Eagle, by Dame Elizabeth Frink - a monument to the American Eagle Squadron pilots of World War II.

I'm certainly enjoying the challenge and refine the rules as I go; I now include taking photos from any fixed position (not just from the inside of a parked car), and I've relaxed the time constraint to allow a ten minute segment.  This is largely due to the fact that on my way through Manchester Square I spotted an empty bench in front of the Wallace Collection and couldn't resist sitting on it and taking out my camera, even though I had a scant ten minutes to spare!

I found another ten minutes later in the day, at Waterloo Station; I'd arrived in good time for my 16:05 train, so found a seat in the quiet carriage and whipped out my camera to rattle off a few more shots.

To see the rest of my Twenty Minutes in Grosvenor Square photos, click on the link below.

To see the photos of my Ten Minutes in Manchester Square, click on the link below.

To see the photos of my Ten Minutes in Waterloo Station, click on the link below.