Fearless

Hmmmm a little teaser there.  Last week we went to Liverpool.  Were we fearless? Well that was never put to the test to be honest, though Julie did have her first Brazilian churrascaria meal, and she was a little nervous at first. But we got through it and she actually enjoyed it I think.  Even though we had the Sauvignon Blanc rather than a Malbec. To hell with convention I say… maybe that was part of being fearless? But I digress, just for a change. If you know the song Fearless you will know it ends with the sounds of a football crowd singing “you’ll never walk alone”, a song entrenched in the traditions of Liverpool FC. So there you have it. Fearless.

The main reason for going was that we had tickets to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition. But we threw in a tour round Liverpool, a trip on the ferry ‘cross the Mersey, the Cavern Quarter with some obscure beat combo, and finally to Crosby for Another Place.  Though on the way to Crosby we did, at Julie’s request insistence, pull in both Goodison Park and Anfield stadium.

And I can only recommend the city. It is really clean, wide open spaces, beautiful architecture, both old and new, and lots of places to eat that do not need a prior waxing.

I took a few photographs, but will only trouble you with a handful to cover the highlights of the trip.  There are a lot more…

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The Liver building is everywhere. Or here, there, and everywhere as this popular beat combo from the ’60s would say.

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The combination of the old and the new is evident throughout the city.

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Not just soldiers, but horses were also made of terracotta, and live horses (well dead by the end of the process obviously) were also buried along with the emperor. those chariots were not going to pull themselves, after all.

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Each figure has a different face. So although the bodies came from the same moulds, the faces were personalised.

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Just chilling outside the Cavern Pub, across the way from the Cavern Club.

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The Beatles Story is a really good exhibition. Photography is allowed, and I am sure I am not breaking any rules posting images?  I am sure a friendly Scouse lawyer with a great sense of humour will let me know if I am…

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I had to smile at this mural outside Everton’s ground – “No ball games allowed”.  Not going to win many cups that way guys!

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There should be a prize for who can spot the most men on the beach, but to be honest I have nothing to give you. Many go for the long exposure, silky water approach. But I felt real water matched the cold isolation a bit better. Added to which I swear the wind would have blown the tripod over!

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Now when I was a lad we didn’t let a bit of cold and wind and rain stop us. We just carried on.  Youth of today can’t take it. Even put t-shirts on some of the iron men!  If you ask me they would have been better off with a pair of underpants!

So there we go. Hopefully the rut will be upon us shortly, so expect an obscure title as I have already used the deer lyrics…

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Magic visions stirring

Well magic might be a slight exaggeration. Maybe majestic is better. So you could treat magic as an abbreviation with a spelling error? Happy with that?  Do you know where the lyric comes from?

You see, the problem is that Pink Floyd were not big on lyrics about deer. And I am determined to maintain the lyric theme in the hope that Roger Waters might one day search me out and invite me to take photographs at his concerts.  Maybe it is more that I have set off down a blind alley of PF lyrics as post titles and I cannot get off the wheel. I am a stuck hamster.

The deer rut is coming, and I am hoping to get it captured this year, since I missed it last year. So expect some obscure and meaningless lyrics to come.  In preparation I went for a walk around the grounds of Wayne Manor to check if the deer are ready.

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They are certainly looking ready.  The velvet is all gone, the antlers are looking sharp, and there is evidence on the lawns where the deer have been digging. I saw a little play fighting, but mainly they were pretty relaxed. However, the small groups led to some interesting arrays of antlers.

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On the way out of the park I was met by some fallow deer on the path, looking relaxed in the dappled sunlight.  But now I have a question… do the fallow deer rut as well, or is this territorial female ownership an aspect of Red Deer only? Google will let me know I am sure.  UPDATE: Yes they do…

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Winding, finding places to go. And then one day – hooray!

Yes it is a Pink Floyd lyric, but where from? As a clue – this is not Roger Waters, but Syd Barrett, so that dates it a bit.

But leave the lyric, I am excited. Finally, after a lot of failures, and trying more than one location, I have managed to get a kingfisher! Up till now I have considered the kingfisher to be a mythical creature along with dragons and unicorns – but less fiery and less horny. Well I say that, but I guess a kingfisher’s private life is its own. This week has finally laid that belief to rest, and I have first hand evidence they really do exist.

This little beauty was perched exactly where it was told to – outside the Delta hide at Attenborough Nature Reserve, then flew off about 20 feet to the middle of the lake to fish and came back to the perch.  I say fish, but it actually caught a newt, so is that fishing? Newting? Newting’s first law of fishing?  So it played around the perch for about 15 minutes and then went, not to return again over the next two hours before I gave up and left.  Just goes to show how much luck was involved in getting the timing right. Oh, and one thing I have learned is that when they move they move quickly, and 1/800 second is not a fast enough shutter speed, so excuse the blur on the diver.  Please click on each image to see it bigger in Flickr…

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There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

Well that is my excuse anyway. Last week we went up to the caravan for the day to see daughter and grandchildren at the beach.  It was not a choice, it was a command from my granddaughter. She has to have a photo of something she did over the summer holiday, and decided I was to take it of her surfing.  Well, any excuse to get to the coast, and to watch the young ones having fun.

All in all a perfect photo opportunity and subject for a blog post you would think. So why has it taken me more than a week to remember?

Of course, the decision then is which photo to pick.  Enjoying the surf? Focused on keeping the water out of eyes and mouth?  Wiped out?  How about all three?

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If I were a swan I’d be gone…

I seem to be pillaging this one song for lyrics at the moment. It is a gentle melodic song, but it is totally coincidental rather than a deliberate shooting plan. Promise. Just wait till you see what I have planned for “one of these days” though…

But the topic is swans. I am beginning to give up on Attenborough in terms of kingfisher sighting, so I tried somewhere new this week.  And I actually saw four of them and grabbed a couple of shots. However, it was perching a long way away, and even with my long lens it was very small so I am not sharing. However, the location was really peaceful and quiet – apart for a 15 minute period when I was captured in conversation by a passing walker who had taken a detour. “Never knew this was here. Nice isn’t it? I am not disturbing anything am I? I am walking to lose some weight. What birds have you seen? My mate would love this place.” I used it as a training exercise in becoming a saint.

In the absence of being in the right place for the kingfishers I was treated to a group of swans (flock? Army? Any idea?) who sailed up the river. One of them broke away and started to preen itself.  I was caught by the reflection in the water, and when I focused in I was even more pleased to notice how the swan was isolated by the dark background. So, swans it is, and hopefully kingfishers next time – though I do have an itching to drive to Snowdonia for a day and go back to the Fairy Glen. We will see. But in the meantime – a swan with strategically located feathers…

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If I were a train, I’d be late

Last week we went up to our caravan near Scarborough for a week. Took a few watery shots, some of which have made it to Instagram, some not…yet.  Speaking of which, shameless self promotion (but nobody else is going to do it), please feel free to follow @dbsilverfox.  Back to the plot… in addition we went for the day to Pickering.  Well not strictly true – we went for the day to Thornton-le-Dale, but we managed to choose the day when the “show” was on, so parking was a nightmare. So T-l-D is on the back-burner, and we drove on to Pickering.  Pickering is the southern terminus of the North York Moors Railway line, running steam and diesel engines. One of the stops on the route to Whitby is Goathland, and I never realised, but not only is Goathland famous for being the village of Aidensfield from “Heartbeat”, but the railway station is also the one used in the Harry Potter series as Hogsmeade station.

So now you know.

We waited 20 minutes for the next train to arrive, expecting steam, and smoke, and atmosphere. Julie, my wife, even stood on the bridge hoping to get sooty-faced (don’t ask).  When it arrived it was a diesel!  However the rolling stock (a technical term used by geeks to mean carriages) was nicely restored, so all was not lost. And Julie had a clean face.

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I wandered down the platform towards the signal box, and pointed my lens through the window to take the signal and points levers, when I heard a voice behind me. “Would you like to see inside?”  Initially sarcasm came to the fore and I started to point out the purpose behind having a window was to enable just that, but I am older and more restrained…sometimes… so I just nodded and said “Yes please”. “I’ll go get the key” he said. Sorry for not being able to type in a Yorkshire accent but you can imagine it I hope?  I called Julie over so she could see as well, and we went inside. After I had pulled the lever to change the signal, and had the full workings and colour coding of the levers explained, Julie’s head began to explode and she left me to it.  When the restoration is completed the signal box will be used for training volunteers, and each level will also have a number plaque to identify the points or signal it is controlling.

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I promise to try not to be so educational next time, and don’t forget to click on the image to see it bigger in Flickr.

Till next time…

Ginger, ginger you’re a witch.

A fairly obscure lyric, but I have refereced the song before.  Maybe witch is a slight exaggeration, but this morning I went out to the city centre to finish off the Hoodwinked Trail and the hunt for the Robins.  On the way back to the car there was a lot of noise coming from the location of the Brian Clough statue – it was Pagan Pride. Who knew there was such a thing?  I took a couple of photos from the periphery of the crowd, and I was going to put them on instagram, but then dithered with the possible consequences.

Of course I would tag the images with #PaganPride, and then I thought, what if the people in the photo saw them and did not approve?  What if they were a bank manager and did not want people to know about their beliefs?  Then I thought; if you want to keep yourself below the radar you do not walk through the city centre wearing a sorting hat or a dismembered raven on your head, do you?  I am still deciding whether to share on instagram, but I feel safe on my blog, because hardly anyone reads it anyway 🙂

I will post again shortly with some more robins from the hoodwinked trail, but in the meantime…

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And whilst I am posting on street photography, I did manage to combine street photography and wildlife – though I am not convinced it was still alive, and I was not going to wait around to see if it got a parking ticket.

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