Friday, 15 December 2017

December 15th, 2017 - Photo 349 of 365

Zac Purchase
Just when I thought it wasn't possible for anyone to come up with a new way to wear the bowel cancer tie, Zac Purchase-Hill came up with the eye patch idea. Zac, a former GB rower, won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, and silver in London four years later. I met him, and his wife Fliss, at their fitness studio in Marlow today for another chapter in the forthcoming bowel cancer fundraising book. They were really nice, and great to have them on board.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

December 14th, 2017 - Photo 348 of 365

New Model Army
This is the photo I took of New Model Army at The Forum in London tonight as I was packing up my camera. The band had very kindly organised a photo pass for me to get a photo for my forthcoming bowel cancer fundraising book. It was another amazing experience, and a massive thank you to those who made this possible tonight. A blinding gig too!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

December 13th, 2017 - Photo 347 of 365

Cosy Night In
So as my brother sets off to spend Christmas and the New Year in Australia catching up with many friends, watching cricket, and drinking plenty of beer, Prince and myself are already in the zone of spending plenty of cosy nights in. Prince, as you can see, is particularly fond of the gas fire on his new comfy cushion. He is doing very well, and the physiotherapist who he enjoys seeing each week is very pleased with his progress.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

December 12th, 2017 - Photo 346 of 365

Sub Zero at Work
Today I had planned to go to the famous Cliveden Estate situated just outside Maidenhead on my work travels. However the snow over the weekend had closed it yesterday, and unfortunately for me today it still opened late, and after I had gone past, so that will have to wait for another day hopefully.

I arrived at work at 7.00 in the dark, and the temperature was -4.5C, and it barely made it above freezing all day. I took this photo at lunchtime looking across the fields. A lovely scene, but still bitterly cold, and the frost was still really hard in the shade. I had popped in to my folks grave earlier, and that was rock solid too, so no chance of planting the daffodil bulbs.

Monday, 11 December 2017

December 11th, 2017 - Photo 345 of 365

Maidenhead Railway Bridge
I stopped off by the river in Maidenhead today to photograph the railway bridge, complete with its new overhead electric cables. The bridge has two arches that span The Thames, and they are the widest and flattest in the world. Each span is 128 feet wide, and just 24 feet high. The bridge was built in 1838, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and still carries trains on the main line in and out of London Paddington to this day. The arches are also famous for their sounding echos, so if you stand underneath them you get an amazing echo bouncing back at you - something we used to enjoy doing as children...

Sunday, 10 December 2017

December 10th, 2017 - Photo 344 of 365

In The Snow
Prince isn't exactly a fan of the snow, but he had to go out into the garden a few times today to do his business... With his bad spine I had to be careful not to allow his back legs to slip, so I had to carry him over the path, and then set him down on the grass. The bad weather, and putting Prince first, has meant I have had to abandon plans to go to see one of my favourite bands, Skinny Lister, in concert in London tonight, but there will be other opportunities, so c'est la vie...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

December 9th, 2017 - Photo 343 of 365

My Favourite Tree
This is my favourite tree, not that I have an obsession with them 😊 I see it every weekday morning as I drive into work. At this time of the year I can go past it just as the sun is rising as was the case here, or indeed in pitch black if I am just a few minutes earlier. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

December 8th, 2017 - Photo 342 of 365

Wintery Weather
To be fair what amounted to a brief wintry shower is pretty pathetic when you see some of the bad weather around the country today. However it did make for an interesting photo, as I took this in the van before it went out on its morning run. I am not a great fan of snow. It's ok to look at for a short time, but it's no good from a work point of view. Thankfully it doesn't happen too often in the Thames Valley.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

December 7th, 2017 - Photo 341 of 365

Six Strings
My acoustic guitar, which has seen little action over the last couple of months, caught my attention tonight. It's time to get back onto the songwriting, and hopefully come up with something I can then hopefully record and release to raise some funds for Beating Bowel Cancer. I've had plenty of ideas musically, but lyrics have been harder to come by. Maybe with a little down time over Christmas I can see if the creative juices flow. I love taking photos of musical instruments 😊

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

December 6th, 2017 - Photo 340 of 365

Christmas Lights in Henley
The Christmas lights are up in Henley, and 7.00 in the morning is a good time to take them with the streets deserted. Missing some snow of course to really make a festive photo. I was going to take a few photos, but that pesky vehicle you can see with its lights on came and parked next to the tree to spoil that idea. I took a similar picture a few years ago, which appeared in my first charity book. On that occasion I used my proper camera and a tripod, and it certainly makes a difference when you have the time to set up and compose a photo sometimes.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

December 5th, 2017 - Photo 339 of 365

Winter at Worplesdon
What a difference 24 hours makes. Today my excitement is unloading a lorry full of bubble wrap, whereas yesterday I was at the beautiful Worplesdon Place just outside Guildford. Having last been there in the summer while Storm was having chemo, this time I was back there to do a photo for the new fundraising book. It's still a beautiful setting at this late stage of autumn. I had a while to kill before the photo, so I was able to do a bit of people watching, and it was amazing how many couples were meeting there for dates on a Monday afternoon..

Monday, 4 December 2017

December 4th, 2017 - Photo 338 of 365

Prince with Nicola Bryant
When it comes to meeting people for the new bowel cancer charity book, Prince was determined not to be left out today, and he had a lovely time meeting Nicola Bryant. For both myself and Prince this was our first experience of meeting a real life Dr Who companion, and Nicola kindly brought some treats along for Prince too. We spent as much time talking about dogs as we did on Nicola's time as Peri in Dr Who during the 1980s.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

December 3rd, 2017 - Photo 337 of 365

Xmas Tree
Very unusually for me I have my Christmas Tree up already. It usually goes up just before Christmas Day, but with my brother living with me now, and his impending flight to OZ, it has gone up early this year. I don't have enough room for a full size tree, so having always liked Mum's mini silver one in her hall each year, I got myself a similar one a couple of years ago. Mum's silver tree now resides with my sister, and I think the big green tree from Mum's must be in my loft. So next up will be getting my Christmas music back on the iPod...

Saturday, 2 December 2017

December 2nd, 2017 - Photo 336 of 365

Carl Hester with Valegro
I met up with two gold medalists yesterday. Carl Hester MBE won gold at London 2012, and Valegro ridden by Charlotte Dujardin OBE won two golds in London, followed by gold at Rio four years later. Valegro was quite happy to wear the bowel cancer tie. It was a great meeting for the book, as Carl has had a scare with bowel cancer, so it was great to get him on board. Carl's stables in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside were stunning, and as well as Valegro, I got to see his other Olympic medal winning horses, Uthopia and Nip Tick, who are also stabled there. Quite an experience, and one that Mum would have loved of course.

Friday, 1 December 2017

December 1st, 2017 - Photo 335 of 365

Book Photo Time
I have hardly used my main Lumix G6 camera during this 365 photo challenge. However, today it is going to get an outing as I am going to Gloucestershire to meet Olympic gold medal equestrian rider Carl Hester at his stables. Any photo involving horses has the obvious connection to Mum, so it is also slightly sad, as how great would it have been for her to come along on this one...

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November 30th, 2017 - Photo 334 of 365

Sunrise
I took this photo just after 7.00am this morning when I got to work. The sun was just rising, and for the first time as we head towards winter I noticed that many trees are now without leaves. So this made for an almost silhouette type effect, and the black and white effect enhances that I think. The fact that it was also bitterly cold brought the sense of winter much closer. Roll on spring! 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

November 29th, 2017 - Photo 333 of 365

Back in the Van
Prince made a happy, and welcome return to the van today after 3 weeks due to his spinal problem. The problem in the van is that he quite naturally likes to step down off the seat before getting out. So today he had his seat belt connector attached, which worked perfectly, and is much safer for him in any case. I'm also getting a block constructed to fill in the foot well in front of the passenger seat for extra protection for him. So normal service is slowly being resumed...

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

November 28th, 2017 - Photo 332 of 365

Supplies for Prince
Prince had his second round of physio today, and the good news is that he is already making good progress. On the way back we stopped off at Pets At Home to pick up a car seat belt for him, and also his course of steroids which he will begin tomorrow. It's going to be a long road ahead for Prince, but he has adapted really well to coping, not just with his injury, but also the big changes to his life over the last few weeks.  

Monday, 27 November 2017

November 27th, 2017 - Photo 331 of 365

Making Bags
Heat sealing machines have been a part of the business as far back as I can remember. As a teenager I would spend many evenings attaching handles to bags as a way of earning extra pocket money. These days the machines are mainly used to make small runs of special sized bags. This particular machine must be over 30 years old, as I have been working in the business for 33 years now, and the machine must pre-date me! 😊 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

November 26th, 2017 - Photo 330 of 365

Chrysanthemum
So here is my latest addition to the garden, and its another attempt at a chrysanthemum. All my previous efforts in recent years have failed. I have no idea what I am doing wrong, but the following year they do not come back. So in true good financial sense I got this one for just £1 at the garden centre yesterday, as they are now on their way out. Fingers and everything crossed I get it right this year..

Saturday, 25 November 2017

November 25th, 2017 - Photo 329 of 365

Travel in Comfort
Prince has a duvet and a large cushion in my car at the moment. The back seats are down, so he has plenty of room to stretch out which is much better for his spine. Of course typically he is more interested in trying to get into the front seat! He has now been on complete rest for a couple of weeks, and it has been a week and a half since me and Prince began to sleep downstairs in the living room with stairs now a complete no no for him. Huge change for Princey Boy, but he has been such a good boy...

Friday, 24 November 2017

November 24th, 2017 - Photo 328 of 365

New Light
When I had my recent electric certificate done at work I took the opportunity to have an extra light installed to shine down on my bench. It comes in very handy at this time of the year when the light goes so early. So I crouched down on my knees to take this photo from one end of the bench. Let there be light! πŸ˜‰

Thursday, 23 November 2017

November 23rd, 2017 - Photo 327 of 365

Creativity
Today's photo was put together using Corel's PaintShop Pro X9 software. It's the time of year when I am trying to get some more interest generated in Lives & Times as a potential Christmas gift. Since the book was published a couple of years ago the support for it has been amazing, and it has raised around £3400 for Beating Bowel Cancer. One set of people who have been most supportive are fans of The Alarm, who have bought the book in large numbers. So I created this photo featuring photos of Eddie Macdonald and Mike Peters from the original line-up, who both feature in Lives & Times, with their copies of the book.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

November 22nd, 2017 - Photo 326 of 365

Autumn Views
Today has been lovely and mild for the time of year, but also the light began to fade really early this afternoon. This is the scene at work at about 3.00 with most cars having their lights on. The trees are now beginning to lose their golden leaves, and winter is just around the corner now. I am not looking forward to the next 3-4 months of cold weather. Oh well we can all get a blast of sunshine tonight watching The Ashes from Australia! Sadly I won't get there this time around..

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

November 21st, 2017 - Photo 325 of 365

Fitzpatrick The Supervet
Today Prince went back to Fitzpatrick Referrals Animal Hospital, home to the Supervet, just outside Guildford - this time to be assessed by the physio. Although he was very anxious in reception he really liked the physiotherapist. He had some laser treatment on his spine which is a bit like ultra sound, and we have some exercises for him to start doing. The big decision is still whether to put him through surgery with the potential benefits and  risks, or to go with physio, a course of steroids, and a long period of rest. Whatever the decision I think Prince will be getting used to this place, and I might even learn where the poorly marked speed humps are eventually! After his rather eventful day Prince is now sound asleep x

Monday, 20 November 2017

November 20th, 2017 - Photo 324 of 365

Views of Doncaster
I must admit that when I started doing the new bowel cancer book I never thought that it would take me to Doncaster to enjoy this quite magnificent view of the town from Cusworth Hall. It was a couple of weeks ago that I met Andrew White, and he gave me an excellent guide as to all the buildings on view. Of course all will be revealed in the book... πŸ˜‰

Sunday, 19 November 2017

November 19th, 2017 - Photo 323 of 365

Water Bowel
Having just completed the seven day black and white photo challenge, I now use another one for this 365 challenge. Yesterday we stocked up on new supplies for Prince to make things as comfortable, and as easy as possible for him. So this water bowl fits into a raised holder which will make it easier for him to drink without putting pressure on his spine.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

November 18th, 2017 - Photo 322 of 365

Watching Arsenal Beat Spurs
Prince has immediately taken to his new large cushion. This is especially good for his bad spine as not only is it comfy, but allows him to stretch out which is much better for him. You can also see his new raised food and drinking bowls on the left hand side, which will help his back too. So Prince had the perfect ringside seat to watch Arsenal beat Spurs 2-0. Saturdays don't get much better than this... GOONERS!! 😊

Friday, 17 November 2017

November 17th, 2017 - Photo 321 of 365

Selective Colour
I had a bit of fun with selective colouring with this photo, once again taken at Hambleden Mill. Even without editing the "DANGER" sign stands out quite dramatically, but when you remove all the colour apart from the red on the sign, and add some vibrancy to it, the resulting effect on the image is impressive.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

November 16th, 2017 - Photo 320 of 365

Hambleden Mill
Hambleden Mill is one of my favourite local scenes just a mile or so from work. The old water mill dates back to the Domesday Book, but was converted into flats during the 1950s. To see it from the this (river) side you can walk onto the weir. There are some wonderful paintings of it, and my personal favourite is one by local artist Howard Birchmore, which was on display at Henley Regatta a couple of years ago. Sadly I couldn't afford to buy it at the time..

November 15th, 2017 - Photo 319 of 365

Prince's Spinal Problem
Yesterday was a very difficult day. Prince has been having difficulty with his back legs recently, so he spent the day at Fitzpatrick's -the Supervets - where he had an MRI scan. The devastating result is he has five slipped discs! There is no way of knowing how long this has been going on or what has caused it. He has been such a brave boy not displaying any signs of discomfort.

We had hoped that it was a single disc, in which case he would probably have had an operation there and then. However the road ahead is now very tricky. An operation is still possible, although it is high risk in that the best case scenario is to stabalise the condition, and give him a quality of life, although he will be a different dog in terms of what he could do post op. However there is also a real possibility that the operation might not be successful, and the condition is made worst. Also due to the state of his spine there is a high chance that he could still have problems with the other discs in the future. The other option is not to have the operation, and for him to have complete rest, a course of steroids, and physiotherapy. This would hopefully stabilize things for a while, but over time his condition will deteriorate. The bottom line is that neither option will be a total cure. The vets are waiting for some test results to see if there is any infection around the discs, so we have maybe a week to decide what to do. I might well have not got all this information quite right, but it was a lot to take on board at the end of a very traumatic day.

So things like going up and down stairs are now out. He is on complete rest, and has to be lifted in and out of the car. The crate is his new resting place, and this will be a challenge as he has never been crated in his nine years. Going to try and get him used to it over the coming days. And although not in this photo, the living room is also my new bedroom as I will be sleeping on a mattress next to him for the foreseeable future. He was a very good boy last night sleeping with me on the mattress, but he did spend a little bit of time in the crate.

So uncertain times ahead, and lots of change. There will no doubt be huge impact on life over the coming days, weeks and months. Some things in the diary might not now happen, but for the time being it's a day at a time, and above all putting Prince first...

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

November 14th, 2017 - Photo 318 of 365

Autumn Scene
I always enjoy going down this driveway as the leaves create a kind of archway that you must drive through. It looks especially attractive during autumn. This was a favourite place of Storm's for a pit stop, as she could carefully choose her spot! Prince couldn't give two hoots - he just gets out of the van and does his business 😊It's also pretty close to where the folks are buried, so whenever I go here I try to go there too which is always nice for the soul.

Monday, 13 November 2017

November 13th, 2017 - Photo 317 of 365

The Vapors in London
Although I wasn't doing any bowel cancer book photography, and I only had my phone camera with me, I couldn't resist taking a few photos watching The Vapors at 229 The Venue in London on Friday night, and this particular photo is one of the best ones I reckon.

The band are back together after a 35 year break! When I met lead singer Dave Fenton at the beginning of 2015 for the Lives & Times charity book there was no hint of any reunion. This was the second time I have seen them, and they are getting better and better. Of course they are best remembered for 'Turning Japanese', but their two stand out tracks for me are 'News At Ten' and 'Letter From Hiro'. In fact on Friday night these were performed back to back, so I was blown away. I am now looking forward to seeing them in London next March. And I also have to meet guitarist, and top TV director,  Ed Bazalgette for my new bowel cancer fundraising book.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

November 12th, 2017 - Photo 316 of 365

Paddington Station
Paddington Station on a Friday night. It was towards the end of the rush hour, so maybe not quite as many people there as there would be at the peak. It's something that always fascinates me how so many people's journeys begin from the same place at the same time. You can look at anyone in the photo, and wonder what their story is...

Friday, 10 November 2017

November 11th, 2017 - Photo 315 of 365

Iconic Sign
The London Underground sign outside tube stations in the capital, is perhaps one of the most iconic sights around the capital. This particular one is outside Regent's Park Station on the Bakerloo Line, and last night I used it for the first time ever when I went to see The Vapors play live at the 229 The Venue in Great Portland Street. The station is right on the Euston Road, and I took the photo as I walked back towards it after the concert beginning my journey home.

November 10th, 2017 - Photo 314 of 365

Pullingshill Wood
Very close to work, not far from Bockmer End is Pullingshill Wood. I don't go this way very often with its narrow windy road, but I did so today, and it looks pretty stunning at this time of the year. Apparently the wood was used in World War One for training the troops in trench warfare. How on earth anything as beautiful as this could have prepared anyone for the real-life horrors of the trenches I have no idea...

Thursday, 9 November 2017

November 9th, 2017 - Photo 313 of 365

R2D2 Suitcases
You sometimes see the strangest things, and today on my work travels I caught sight of these two discarded R2D2 suitcases! What a fabulous bit of Star Wars merchandise. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

November 8th, 2017 - Photo 312 of 365

Darfield Churchyard
Over the years, especially going back 20 years or so, my regular work trips up the M1 were either to Leeds or Hull, and so it was rare for me to deviate off the motorway. I rarely go up north for work these days, but this week I spent an hour in Darfield, which is a small village just outside Barnsley. If you look closely in the photo that figure is Ian McMillan, the writer, poet and broadcaster who I was meeting for the new bowel cancer charity book. I was just giving Prince I quick pit stop in the beautiful churchyard before our meeting. The church dates back to the 11th century, and Ian was a fountain of knowledge about the village, having lived there all his life, and was a fascinating man to meet, and talk to.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November 7th, 2017 - Photo 311 of 365

Vinyl
There is something quite special, and magical about an independent record shop selling vinyl. You have to hunt through the records in search of what you want, and even then you still might not find it. I remember first coming up to London record shopping in 1980, and a day simply wasn't long enough to get round a fraction of the shops. I used to love collecting rare records, and still have a few of them up in the loft. This photo was taken in Sister Ray, which is a store in the heart of Soho, and I was there on bowel cancer book business this afternoon. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

November 6th, 2017 - Photo 310 of 365

Cusworth Hall Museum
I was at Cusworth Hall Museum today, which is located just outside Doncaster, and the Grade I listed building enjoys stunning views across the town. It was the most glorious autumn day, and I was on book photo duty covering 400 miles to get a couple of photos done for the new bowel cancer charity book.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

November 5th, 2017 - Photo 309 of 365

Reflections
I always like seeing still waters and the mirrored reflections that you can sometimes see. This man made lake at work is a relatively new addition to the farm, but it gave up a great photo to me...

Saturday, 4 November 2017

November 4th, 2017 - Photo 308 of 365

Back Garden View
The moon always looks stunning when there is a bit of cloud cover around. I got a fairly good photo tonight with my camera, especially as it was hand held. I really must get my tripod out, and go for it properly. However I had to be quick tonight with the fireworks, and making sure Prince was ok.

Friday, 3 November 2017

November 3rd, 2017 - Photo 307 of 365

Pea Souper
This morning's fog wasn't a true pea souper, but by our own standards this was probably as thick a fog as we have had for a few years. I took this photo in Henley, and you could not see across the River Thames to the opposite bank. The worst fog I can ever remember was when Mum attempted to drive us from Maidenhead to Wokingham when we were very young, and she had to turn back. And no, I am not going to speculate as to her driving skills back then πŸ˜‰

Thursday, 2 November 2017

November 2nd, 2017 - Photo 306 of 365

Black & White
There appears to be a black and white photo challenge doing the rounds at the moment. I am not doing it, but if I were to, then this would be today's photo. I spent the day making large polythene bags on the bench at work from this roll of film...

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

November 1st, 2017 - Photo 305 of 365

Noel & Prince
Prince had a special treat today as Noel came along for our lunchtime walk in the fields at work in Medmenham, so there was definitely an extra bounce in his step. The continuing mild weather made it absolutely lovely, and not even a close shave with two snappy dogs off their leads could spoil it. 

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October 31st, 2017 - Photo 304 of 365

Pop Memorabilia
I must admit that I have never been a huge collector of pop memorabilia. Ididn't keep old concert tickets, and as a teeneager I was much more into collecting rare records. My fundraising book exploits have awakened my interest slightly, as some of the things I get along the way are certainly great reminders of some amazing experiences. From the Amy Macdonald gig last night I came away with my photo pass, and a complimentary ticket, which was pretty special.

October 30th, 2017 - Photo 303 of 365

Amy Macdonald in Guildford
This is the only photo I took with my phone camera last night watching Amy Macdonald in Guildford.. I was very fortunate to have been given a photo pass to photograph Amy for my new bowel cancer fundraising book, so I do also have almost 150 photos on my camera to sort through to choose for the book 😊 However this photo taken kneeling down on the floor gives a good idea just what a great position photographers can get at live events. The concert was outstanding with Amy performing a stripped back set of her songs. It was a brilliant evening.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

October 29th, 2017 - Photo 302 of 365

James Stevenson in Oxford
This photo of James Stevenson very nearly made it into the new bowel cancer fundraising book I am  currently putting together. The recent gig in Oxford was the last date of The Alarm's autumn UK tour. I met up with James just before the band's soundcheck, and I took quite a few photos of him before having a chat for the chapter in the book. I especially liked this particular photo outside the dressing room, as it is the kind of shot that most people would never get the opportunity to take. It was interesting to chat to him about a career as a guitarist that now spans over 40 years. He was an absolute gent! 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

October 28th, 2017 - Photo 301 of 365

Half Moon
To get a decent photo of the moon I really needed to use a tripod with my camera, but on this occasion I took the photo by hand. I did juse my camera as opposed to my phone camera. I still need to invest in a decent telephoto lens for the camera, but that will have to wait a while. This picture was taken right outside my front door, and the half moon was very low in the night sky, so it was only just visible above the house at the bottom of the road.

Friday, 27 October 2017

October 27th, 2017 - Photo 300 of 365

St Luke's Church in Maidenhead
Once again we were blessed with the most amazing weather today for the end of October, with stunning blue skies, and pretty pleasant temperatures after a rather chilly start. I was in Maidenhead this morning, and couldn't resist taking a photo of St Luke's Church. It is not far from where our business was based before we moved out to Medmenham. It's got a pretty impressive spire!