Month: December 2019

Looking back on 2019

In memory of Olive Walker, Tony McGregor, Rudi Van Dijk, Pam Price and Graham Armstrong.

2019 is having its last gasp and frankly I think I am glad it is almost done and dusted. It has been quite an eventful year and not all of it was good. 

In my life the most significant event happened when my mother passed away on 1 October.  I returned to South Africa in February to see her for what I knew would be the last time, and in October I returned to attend her memorial service.

It is hard to know how I feel about her death, there are just so many memories, regrets and guilt that it is easier to not deal with it. 

South Africa on the other hand had changed for the worst. Eskom continues to ruin the economy and at one point imposed rolling load shedding right up to stage 6. The concept of maintenance was forgotten once again and they are counting the costs of listening to bean counters, corrupt suits, cadres and consultants. The exchange rate on 23/12 is £1 = RZA18.54. 

On the political scene the UK held a General Election in November and Boris Johnson is the new PM and hopefully will make sure Brexit happens. It is however hard to know where politics will go in the UK, over here an election can put a different party in power whereas in SA an election just changes percentages. 2020 will be crunch time for this country, although we thought that October 2019 would be crunch time too. 

The weather did wreak havoc in the country with widespread rain and floods, Tewkesbury having 3 flood scares in 2 months. At this moment both the Severn and Avon are running high and there is a lot of water about.

(1500 x 655)

I did quite a few day trips of note this year, with Oxford being visited 3 times as well as visits to Stratford-upon-Avon and Great Malvern. Evesham is still a favoured destination and of course I passed through London on my way to South Africa. 

Oxford was an experience though and I may head back there in the new year to see a few places that I missed.

(1500 x 529)

I also want to visit Didcot Railway Centre next year and am going to have to return to London to renew my passport in February or March. 

Celebrity, politician and other noteworthy deaths for 2019 include: Jan-Michael Vincent, Albert Finney, Peter Mayhew, René Auberjonois, James Ingram, Ken Kerchevel, Niki Lauda, Grumpy Cat, Doris Day, Rutger Hauer, Peter Fonda, Robert Mugabe, Jacques Chirac, Chester Williams, James Small, Clive James, Denis Earp,  and Marie Fredriksson. A more complete list is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2019

It was a bad day for aircraft builder Boeing too as the loss of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302  on 10/03/2019 caused the safety of the 737 MAX 8 aircraft to be brought to the spotlight and as at the end of the year it was still grounded. Too many people lost their lives because of this aircraft and confidence in flying took quite a bump. Confidence in America has nose dived too and we all know why that is.

The closure of Reefsteamers is a major shock though, and it came hot on the heels of the 100th birthday of Susan, the only 12AR in the world.

Greta Thunberg has also had her fair share of publicity, and it is difficult to know whether there is an ulterior motive behind her or not.  She certainly has admirers and detractors in her camp but even if she turns out to be a hoax hopefully enough people will realise that our climate is changing and not for the better. A number of animals have gone extinct and we all know who to blame for that.

We certainly live in interesting times, and our Western lifestyles are probably going to bring about our own downfall. At the rate things are going we are heading for a global catastrophe, and the end result of that will not be a good one. Hopefully saner minds will prevail, but somehow I doubt it. 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a peaceful and prosperous 2020, we are now back in the 20’s and that hasn’t happened in ages. 

DRW. 2019-2020. Created 29/12/2019.


Christmas Day in pics

On Christmas Day we had spectacular weather after weeks of cloud and rain and misery. Granted, it was about 7 degrees, but the sun was shining and the wind had stopped and I grabbed my camera and headed out to take some pics. Town was deserted. 

Fortunately the current crop of floods are abating somewhat. On Saturday I had gone walkies and took a look at the water levels around us and things were not looking too good. This is the Severn looking towards the Mythe water works. 

(1500 x 435)

The pano above was taken on Saturday and is looking towards Bredon Hill across the waters from the Avon/Severn confluence.  Fortunately that water is subsiding and hopefully will remain low. As an aside, just think how fertile that soil must be.  Back in Town I headed towards the Abbey because it is always spectacular. Alas, the floods have cut off parts in that area too.  The area where the small white building is is the cricket pitch and the only game that can be there now is water polo. Howzat?

A few steps away is the parking lot for the Abbey and you can get some wonderful shots of it from this area.

The Abbey was unaffected by the 2007 floods, but you can bet that in its almost 900 years of existence it has seen a lot of water surrounding it.  There is a really huge tree in it’s grounds too that is a definite favourite of mine.  It must be really old and who knows how much it has seen.  I believe it is a Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica f. purpurea) and they have a typical lifespan of 150–200 years, though sometimes up to 300 years.

I went into the Abbey and had a quick walk around. The Christmas service was starting at 10.30 till 12.00 but I had a full bladder and no reading glasses so did not stay for it. But while I was there the choir was singing and the organ was making sweet thunderous music. Light was streaming into the east facing windows and it was very special. The pews were filling quite quickly too and on my way back home I saw lots of people heading towards it to attend the service.

Behind the High Altar was a nativity scene and the light was shining on it and it was very apt for a Christmas Day. Unfortunately I cropped the image badly and could not replicate the shot from other positions. 

Leaving the warmth and solidity of that ancient church I headed along the Mill Avon towards town. The deep shadows and bright patches made photography difficult, but there was a peaceful air about this part of the river.

The old mill and Victoria Gardens were under water once again, and the boats moored alongside were riding at pavement level. One boat caught my eye, the name board proclaiming it to be “Thunderchild” and immediately I thought about Jeff Waynes War of the World’s

“Thunderchild”

The Invaders must have seen them
As across the coast they filed
Standing firm between them
There lay Thunder Child.

I would have that piece of music going around inside my head for the rest of the day. In one of the alleys I came across this magnificent gate and that really wrapped up my photography for the day and I turned my bows towards home.

Break had a nice display of vintage toys and I paused for a pic…  Children are really the ones who enjoy the season the most, but alas Christmas has lost the magic and has become a commercialised monstrosity. 

Apart from food Christmas was done and dusted for another year. You can bet that Boxing day will be in its last throes and they will be putting out the Valentines Days goodies, although in South Africa it is more about “Back to School” instead,  and we all know how kids enjoy that too… NOT!

DRW © 2019-2020. Created 26/12/2019.  
Thunder Child lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, Songwriters: Jeff Wayne / Gary Osbourne.

The Musings Advent Calendar 2019

Yes it is that time of year again and we count down the days to Christmas with our all new Musings Advent Calendar 2019 (May contain apples and is made in a factory containing nuts). Newest image is at the top. The public art in the images for 12, 11 and 10 December were photographed in Bristol.

and finally… 25 December 2019

24 December 2019

23 December 2019

22 December 2019

21 December 2019

20 December 2019

19 December 2019

18 December 2019

17 December 2019

16 December 2019

(1500 x 731)

15 December 2019

14 December 2019

13 December 2019

12 December 2019

11 December 2019

10 December 2019

09 December 2019

08 December 2019

07 December 2019

06 December 2019

05 December 2019

04 December 2019

03 December 2019

02 December 2019

1 December 2019

 

DRW © 2019. Created 1-25 Dec 2019