Tuesday, 28 February 2017

February 28th, 2017 - Photo 59 of 365

Wormsley Park
This rather understated entrance is in fact an entrance to Wormsley Park, home to the Getty family, and, for the cricket lovers out there, home to one of the most picturesque grounds in the country apparently. Over the last 18 years I must have driven past this entrance hundreds of times, as it is on my out to the M40. During the 4 years or so that I lived in Buckingham it was also on my way home. And yet I have actually never been inside. One of my ambitions over the next year or two is to go and watch a game of cricket there...

Monday, 27 February 2017

February 27th, 2017 - Photo 58 of 365

Storm Doris
Sadly Storm Doris left its mark in Mum's back garden by destroying the greenhouse, which was put up shortly after Dad died, It was on a back holiday I seem to recall. The whole family was there, so it was a joint effort, or perhaps more a case of how many idiots does it take to put up a greenhouse... Mum loved it and grew lots of stuff in there such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillies etc so it was really well used. 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

February 26th, 2017 - Photo 57 of 365

I seem to be collecting clocks from Mum's house. This one, now in its new home on my kitchen, is the second I have brought back and there is still another one to come. This clock was a fairly recent purchase by Mum after the last one in her kitchen finally packed up a couple of years or so ago. Having some of these gentle reminders from her house are certainly comforting and also give me a nice positive feeling. I hope you are impressed by the time on the clock, which shows how early I was up and about doing things on a Sunday morning!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

February 25th, 2017 - Photo 56 of 365

Street Lights
Walking the dog tonight I noticed this street with mixed street lights. The LED light in the foreground with the more traditional orange light behind it. I have no idea why they are mixed together, but I know that I very much prefer the traditional lights. Whilst I am sure there are very good energy efficient reasons for the LED lights, the orange lights give out a soft warm light, whereas the LED lights are more harsh and pretty soulless for me.

Friday, 24 February 2017

February 24th, 2017 - Photo 55 of 365

This ticket to see Hazel O'Connor at Milton Keynes arrived in the post today. Exciting times as not only am I going to see her live for the first time, but Hazel has very kindly agreed to be in my new bowel cancer fundraising book. I will be meeting and photographing her before the gig, so it should be a fascinating evening...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

February 23rd, 2017 - Photo 54 of 365

Storm Doris
Storm Doris battered the UK today, and even in the relative shelter of the Thames Valley we were subjected to some very strong winds. Driving to collect Storm from the vets this afternoon, I was held up for a while by a fallen tree on the A321 between Henley and Wargrave. Even at home I am counting the cost of the winds as one of my flower pots got blown over in the wind and smashed! 😃 Thankfully the plant inside it has survived and will be repotted...

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

February 22nd, 2017 - Photo 53 of 365

Record Mirror December 13th 1980
Going through some of my old music papers I came across this issue of Record Mirror from the week of John Lennon's death. I can still remember the day it happened, as I actually caught my school bus from a different bus stop that morning to the usual one I normally used. This was from the era when Record Mirror was still a music paper, before it became a glossy magazine. During my teenage years I used to buy all the music papers, so I would also have the NME, Melody Maker and Sounds! 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

February 21st, 2017 - Photo 52 of 365

Maidenhead Bridge
Today was a crazy day at work, but I did manage to stop for 30 seconds in Maidenhead to get this photo of the bridge there crossing the Thames. This was rather appropriate as today was my birthday, and the first one without Mum. It was therefore a little bittersweet... I have been doing ok with the grieving process, mainly by putting the sad feelings and memories of 2016 away to a place where they rarely surface. Of course this also means that my many happy memories of Mum are also buried at the moment. Being a birthday it was impossible not to have thoughts about Mum today, but I managed to keep happy thoughts foremost in my mind, especially when I had an occasional sad moment. Maidenhead is my home town, born there (Taplow), raised there and the family home remains there, at least for a little while longer. As children we spent many happy Sunday lunchtimes at Maidenhead Rowing Club, just the other side of the bridge. Maidenhead will always hold so many special memories, which I am always reminded of whenever I drive through.

Monday, 20 February 2017

February 20th, 2017 - Photo 51 of 365

Outside Fleet
Today's photo wasn't the one that I had planned. So instead of doing a photo for the new fundraising book, I ended up stopping in a lane outside Fleet to photograph this scene. Another unseasonably mild February day makes everything just so much nicer. The dogs didn't need their coats on all the time, and I even had the office door open at work and the heat off after lunch. Even the disappointment of the photo not happening wasn't quite as bad as it might have been. The photo will be rescheduled, and I hope Steve 'Smiley' Barnard enjoyed a nice family day at the seaside 😁

Sunday, 19 February 2017

February 19th, 2017 - Photo 50 of 365

I Want Your Chew
With the welcome arrival of some mild weather, Storm and Prince enjoyed some fresh air today. After 8 weeks of chemo, Storm has responded well so far, and she has now entered a 6 month maintenance phase, whereby she has the treatment for her cancer reduced from weekly to once a fortnight. She is much more like her old self at the moment and is full of mischief. Here she has her eyes on Prince's chew ready to pounce on it at the first opportunity...

Saturday, 18 February 2017

February 18th, 2017 - Photo 49 of 365

In The Press
I came across two copies of The Maidenhead Advertiser today in my stuff at Mum's house. They were both dated December 19th 1985, and at first I couldn't work out why I would have kept them. Then at the bottom of page 17 I found this little article on The Majority, our legendary band named after a song by The Alarm. This article proves that we played Live Aid! What it doesn't say is that the gig at the Five Horseshoes was the highest grossing gig there of 1985, well in terms of bar takings anyway... We got our fee based on the amount taken behind the bar, so we went away with £20 that night! Coming up for 32 years ago, it surely must be time for a reunion?

Friday, 17 February 2017

February 17th, 2017 - Photo 48 of 365

My Very First Music Machine
Sorting through some stuff at my Mum's, I came across my very first cassette player that I was given as a present by my parents in around 1978 I guess. The first cassette I bought was Parallel Lines by Blondie. Quite apt really seeing as I am now asking the people who I meet for the new bowel cancer fundraising bought, what the first record they bought was. I am not really a hoarder, and can happily consign stuff to the hi-fi bin in the sky. However I might just have to hold onto this... 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

February 16th, 2017 - Photo 47 of 365

Signed David Essex Photographs
I have three signed David Essex photographs to sell to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. I approached David to be in my new fundraising book, which he unfortunately wasn't able to do.  It would have been great to have got him on board, however he very kindly sent the photos to help the fundraising effort which stands at over £3000 through sales of Lives & Times. For those who don't know, my Mum passed away last August after a 4 years battle with bowel cancer.

The photos are 6" x 4" and I am selling them individually. In fact I am already down to two photos as one has already been sold to an incredibly generous buyer. I am not stipulating a price and I am open to offers. If interested please contact me via email, or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

I took the photo using Mum's record case as the backdrop. Came out rather good!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

February 15th, 2017 - Photo 46 of 365

Emptying The Shed
The process of emptying the garden shed started today at Mum's after I had finished my work deliveries. To be fair although this picture might present a rather chaotic state, that is just the way I load things. Mum was extremely tidy and she left the shed in perfect order, so there is very little sorting to do. However why she kept thousands of tiny plastic plant pots I am not sure, so I have consigned them to the rubbish bin...

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

February 14th, 2017 - Photo 45 of 365

Turville Heath
My travels today took me out into the sticks and along one of my favourite stretches of road at Turville Heath. It's not usually the most practical route in the van with it being narrow in places and plenty of blind bends, but the payback for that is this wonderful stretch of straight road where everything opens out. To be fair it looks absolutely glorious in summer with the leaves on the trees, but it was still a fine sight on a cold and grey February afternoon.

Monday, 13 February 2017

February 13th, 2017 - Photo 44 of 365

Mum's LP Collection
With the ongoing process of clearing Mum's house, I came across Mum's LP collection in amongst all my old vinyls. Mum loved all the old classics and there are records by Glenn Miller, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and Jack Jones to name but a few. I must admit that as a very young boy I would endlessly play the Dean Martin album on her record player, so I might even give a few of them a spin.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

February 12th, 2017 - Photo 43 of 365

My 50th Birthday Present
This wonderful print was a long time coming. I first saw it when I went to the annual Mike Peters / Alarm Gathering in Llandudno back in January 2015. I decided that it would be a nice treat for myself for my 50th birthday last February. I ordered one with the arrangement being I would collect it at a gig in Oxford last May. Well the family decided they wanted to give it to me, which was lovely of course. Unfortunately it took a little longer than I realised for me to get hold of it, but I finally picked it up in North Wales last week one year on. A long wait but well worth it, and it is now up on the bedroom wall...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

February 11th, 2017 - Photo 42 of 365

The Shergold Ladies
I had the absolute pleasure today meeting Gina and Esmeé Shergold in Bournemouth for a chapter in my forthcoming fundraising book for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Gina tragically lost her husband Steve to this wretched disease in 2015.

We spoke at length about Steve, and also about Gina's life with him and her life since he passed away. Little Esmeé was great fun and the challenge was getting her to pose for a photo for the book. Gina was quite happy to resort to bribery and for this a packet of crisps came in very handy. I got some lovely photos to use for the chapter in the book, but this one with the crisps, as we bribed Esmee, is one I really like as it shows that special loving connection between mother and daughter.

Friday, 10 February 2017

February 10th, 2017 - Photo 41 of 365

John Coghlan's Quo at SUB89 in Reading
I saw John Coghlan's Quo play in Reading tonight. They put on a fantastic show playing songs mainly from the classic 1970s period when John was drummer in Status Quo and the band was at its peak. It's a great way of seeing the songs up close and personal, and these guys can really play! The only downside was the early start time of 7.30, which was down to the venue imposing a 10.00 curfew. Go and see them if you get the chance...

Thursday, 9 February 2017

February 9th, 2017 - Photo 40 of 365

Night Of A Thousand Candles
I resurrected my old turntable last year, and through the wonders of modern technology I am able to plug it through my TV sound system giving me a cracking good sound. Many of my old records I have since got on CD or downloaded, but you can't beat a bit of vinyl. I'm not sure where I stand of the sound quality debate between vinyl and digital, but holding the record and being able to read the notes on the sleeve, well there is only one winner... 

It's great fun going through my old collection, so the record on the turntable today is Nights Of A Thousand Candles by The Men They Couldn't Hang. It's one of my records that I don't have in any other format and I probably haven't played it in over 25 years. Cracking LP and it was really nice meeting drummer Jon Odgers and his partner Jillian Mclaren last weekend at The Gathering 25 in North Wales, which is a celebration of the music of Mike Peters and The Alarm.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

February 8th, 2017 - Photo 39 of 365

Cobstone Mill
One of my favourite sights whilst driving for work is Cobstone Mill, famous for being the windmill in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Looking down on the village of Turville, where a lot of the Midsomer Murder episodes are filmed, it strikes an impressive feature in the Chiltern Valley skyline. The best views are from the village below, but today I passed it on the top road by its entrance, which has restricted views. As I was in the van I had to be quick, as I had stopped and blocked the narrow lane. 

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

February 7th, 2017 - Photo 38 of 365

Jeanette with the bowel cancer tie
Today's photo had to be one taken one from my meeting with Paralympic gold medallist, Jeanette Chippington at Eton Dorney Lake. She has kindly agreed to be in the forthcoming charity book that I am doing to raise funds for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Jeanette lives in Maidenhead and in fact went to the same school that both my mum and sister did. She was very generous with her time giving me lots of material for the chapter in the book, which I am writing in memory of my Mum who lost her 4 year battle with bowel cancer last August. We will be meeting again sometime soon as we both agreed that a photo of her holding her gold medal from Rio 2016 would be a perfect finishing touch for the piece I am writing about her, and she also wants to buy a copy of my current fundraising book, Lives & Times, which is very kind and supportive of her. She was really nice and I really enjoyed the time I spent with her, which I am sure will come across in the chapter in the book. The new book should be coming  out sometime in 2018 hopefully, but if you can't wait that long why not get a copy of Lives & Times...

Monday, 6 February 2017

February 6th, 2017 - Photo 37 of 365

Snowdrops in Mum's garden
The snowdrops are out in Mum's garden. She so loved all her flowers and the snowdrops are always the first flowers through each year. This year they are looking pretty damn fine which is quite apt I think, and I know she would have especially loved this photo. Maybe they are being a given helping hand from someone somewhere... I think I will be digging up a few bulbs to take to my house now that we have accepted an offer on the house.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

February 5th, 2017 - Photo 36 of 365

Keeping an eye on me!
Having been away for a couple days, Storm is keeping a watchful eye on me tonight making sure I am not going to leave her again. I had a wonderful weekend away in North Wales watching Mike Peters and The Alarm, but I am also very pleased to be back home with the dogs...

February 4th, 2017 - Photo 35 of 365

Mike Peters at The Gathering
I have just returned from my annual trip to see Mike Peters and The Alarm at The Gathering in Llandudno, North Wales. This was Gathering 25 and my 17th one on the bounce. As ever it was a fantastic weekend with concerts on both the Friday and Saturday nights. There's a new (maybe 2) album coming in 2017 so there was plenty of new material played and it was sounding superb, so exciting times. I got this shot of Mike when he performed a few songs on a little podium at the back of the arena.

On a personal level it was an amazing weekend. I finally have made efforts to come out of my shell and make friendships at an event where I have spent many years keeping to myself just enjoying the music. Everyone was so kind and incredibly supportive of the bowel cancer fundraising book. Over £100 was raised in sales on this weekend alone. It really was quite staggering just how many people I had never met wanted to buy and support the book. In fact over the last year the support I have had from Alarm fans over Mum's illness and her passing has been wonderful and a great help. This continued right through the weekend and I feel it will have played a big part in my healing process for sure. Many new friendships were cemented over the weekend and I look forward to seeing everyone again next year if not sooner...

February 3rd, 2017 - Photo 34 of 365

Kevin Sheedy
I continued with the photographic trail for my new bowel cancer fundraising book, when I met ex Everton and Republic of Ireland footballer Kevin Sheedy at the Everton training ground. Kevin is currently in charge of the Under 18 side. He has successfully beaten bowel cancer and is an ambassador for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. You will be able to read all about my experience of meeting him when the forthcoming book is published.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

February 2nd, 2017 - Photo 33 of 365

Packing for the weekend
After a manic day of worrying as to whether the van would be repaired in time, taking and picking up Storm to the vets for her chemo, and rushing around in my car getting my work deliveries done, I have finally got around tonight to packing for my weekend in Llandudno for Mike Peters, The Alarm and The Gathering 25. Having said that the fun is still not quite finished as I have the small matter of a 300 mile drive tomorrow. I will leave Reading and deliver to Northampton and then Liverpool. If time and circumstances permit I hope to meet Kevin Sheedy for my forthcoming bowel cancer fundraising book. So a busy day and I will hopefully arrive in Llandudno late afternoon.

I am taking my brand new Lives & Times rugby shirt with me, so anyone who has kindly bought the book will be able to recognise me. My Alarm camo jacket will also be making its first appearance at the gigs...

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February 1st, 2017 - Photo 32 of 365

Book orders for my weekend watching The Alarm in Llandudno
This weekend I make my annual pilgrimage to Llandudno to see a weekend of Mike Peters and The Alarm at The Gathering. It's one of favourite times of the year, and this year promises to be no different. Since I published the Lives & Times charity book in November 2015, one of the most supportive groups has been fans of The Alarm. I have sold an awful lot of books to this great bunch of people. This weekend I have been staggered by the continued interest and as you can see I have plenty of books to deliver over the weekend. Over the last 12 months I have made a lot of new friends on social media, and over the weekend I will finally get to meet many of them in person. Can't wait...

All proceeds from the book are donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. Mum lost her four year battle with bowl cancer last August. The book is not just raising funds for the charity, but also helping to raise awareness about this awful illness.