Lots of happy bikers at the GBMCC London Christmas lunch 2016. It's been a great year for GBMCC, including hosting the GLME 2016 Ascension bike camp in Salisbury in May . A record of 99 bookings for the Christmas lunch, with 50 going on to the RVT where Charlie Hides was the entertainer, others went on to the Leather Social at Comptons.
Hires version of my montage available on the GBMCC site shortly.
The morning after the neighbours’ noisy all-night party to celebrate the end of exams, the smokers had been drinking outside despite the freezing December air, inured by the lager, not noticing in the dark the dilapidated surroundings and wonky table. The music has been closed down but still neither the pigeons nor the mice have eaten the remnants of the students’ pizza. Stamped-out fag-ends on the floor. More cans and glasses than chairs: this is the reality of a “Patio garden in Fulham”.
Compare and contrast After the party
Really good show of Christmas illuminations in Keswick making it what we might like to think of as a "typical" Christmas shopping scene; not only are the shop windows featuring Christmas displays, some of them animated, many of the shops and inns are featiring illuminated Christmas trees as well as the lights strung across the street and the Merry Christmas feature across the entrace to Market Square. The decorations continue in streets well beyond the square. Seems popular: today, market day in Keswick, the town was thronged with visitors, many shopping.
Luminous light on the mist of Lake Windermere, the water still in the freezing November calm..Dawn is late on the water as the sun rises over the high horizon of the surrounding fells.
Great to enjoy my lunch from one of the few independent English bakers still producing good traditional English bread, cakes and confectionery. Just down a side street off Market Square and the Church of St. John the Baptist, Halls Quality Bakers in Cirencester turns out an excellent Chelsea Bun, hand-formed from a tasty sweet dough, spicy and with just the right amount of fruit... I know artisan bakers who sell Chelsea Buns in Shepherds Bush but I believe Chelsea Buns are now actually extinct in Chelsea!
Update from a reader: Stop off at St. George's bakery in Staunton they make lovely Chelsea buns!
Other suggestions welcome!
An excellent concert - a heavyweight programme given top level performances. When you open a score and see that it starts with two bass clarinets and then the bass tuba comes in at only bar nine you know to expect an exceptionally large orchestra on stage. Richard Strauss’ Alpine Symphony gives an impression of an alpine mountain hike which starts in the pre-dawn, ascends the mountains wandering through meadow, forest and pasture (these programme points are all itemised quite precisely in the score) before reaching the summit with a huge and expansive view. Strauss’ orchestral textures are dense but Antonio Pappano’s reading showcased Strauss’ effects and impressions without loosing the overall theme and thrill of a day out in the mountains. Crossing the glacier was spiky and perilous, the apparition scary and the vision mysterious. Even the organ solo suggesting passing a village church on the last leg of the homeward hike was given due prominence. A full respectful silence from the audience as the music faded in to the night, followed by an enthusiastic reception.
New bikes, helmets, leathers and all the other kit for riding a motorcycle ... a biker feast at the NEC. A smattering of old street and race bikes looking relatively agricultural compared to next year’s menu-driven monsters. Yes, bikes have menus and nudge buttons too, that’s great, making options available to the rider.
Lines of flints embedded in the White Chalk cliffs between Ovingdean and Rottingdean in East Sussex. The cliffs tower up to 30 m. in height above the sea at high water, dwarfing even a seven-storey block of flats at Rottingdean.
The chalk is formed of the fossilised remains of small molluscs and microscopic marine algae which accumulated at the bottom of the sea in the late Cretaceous period.
The Ovingdean Cliffs include layers of solid flint material as well as the flint nodules so typical of Sussex architecture. Flints are rock which has been hardened by a chemical change; flints contain fossils, including marine coral or leafy materials. Despite their ubiquity in Sussex and Kent, the geological origin of flints is still disputed.
The concrete at the foot of the cliffs, part of the Undercliff Walkway, is the latest attempt to reduce erosion from the sea.
It’s been a long while: this exhibition is the welcome return to The Camera Club's Gallery 1885 of the exhibition of the Male Figure Group with their 11th Male Nudes photographic exhibition. The evident comfortableness of the models with the photographers must surely be because the majority of the images shown were made at the relaxed studio of The Camera Club in Kennington, south-east London.
The quality of the photographs shown is excellent, nearly forty interesting and varied images despite the well-known challenge of creating a new style within the bare-all, in-yer-face format of the Male Nude.
Beaujolais 2016 still ripening in the second week of September on sparsely-fruited and rather straggly-looking vines near Fleurie church. This year’s harvest at Fleurie looks to be disappointing in volume as well as relatively late because of the hailstorms earlier this year. An enjoyable short stay in the region enjoying a couple of gourmet dinners with wines from Clos de la Tour 2013, Les Moriers 2012 and a taste of the Beaujolais Blanc, Château Pizay 2014. A Michelin-listed restaurant is not the place to make detailed notes but it was remarkable how much difference there was between the two wines of successive years and from the same village, ie the same Appellation Contrôlée. Always fun to travel in an area where the road signposts read like wine lists but particularly enjoyable to revisit Fleurie village as I had pitched tent for a night halt on a motorbike trip back in 1983 or 4, in what was then the municipal camping.