Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Mr Speaker at Northumbria University

John Bercow  the Speaker of the House of Commons was at Northumbria University this evening to give a lecture entitled Parliament Beyond Westminster, at which he
 outlined his plans to reunite Parliament with the public  and to modernise, revive and reform the chamber. During the course of the evening I   asked  him whether he followed his wife Sally's ' tweets'; he said he did not, but vigorously defended her democratic right to do so. Good for him.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Monday, 27 September 2010

St Andrew's Church , Bolam

This picture shows a  window commemorating an incident on 1st May 1942 when a bomb from a German bomber punched a hole  through the wall of St Andrew's Church  in Bolam, Northumberland, but failed to explode; see here for further details of the air raid.
The Church dates back to Saxon times.  The tower is of the late Saxon period whilst the  interior is largely Norman  1180-1200.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Cycle Hire

The London Cycle Hire scheme, sponsored by Barclays Bank,  was set up this summer and 6,000 bicycles are  available for rental. It will eventually include 6,000 bikes and 400 docking stations such as those seen here near Trafalgar Square.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Beach defences South of Alnmouth

World War 2 coastal defences near Alnmouth, Northumberland. These cubic blocks were made of concrete and were intended to obstruct any German  enemy tanks that might land on the beach. Some 70 years later they have proved remarkably resilient, susceptible mainly to the shifting sands upon which they were built. These cubes generally came in two sizes, either 5 feet (1.5 m) or 3.5 feet (1.1 m).

Monday, 20 September 2010

Benin Bronzes

Some of the magnificent 16th / 17th C  bronzes from Benin City in Nigeria which were  looted by the British during the so-called 'Punitive Expedition' of 1897. They are now displayed in the British Museum which resists all claims from Nigeria to return them.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Causeway, Holy Island

Holy Island , in Northumberland,  is a tidal island which is cut off from the mainland twice a day at high tide. This picture was taken as the waters were receding from the causeway. The white structure that can be seen is a refuge for motorists who become  trapped by the tide. Despite the warning signs there are several occasions per year when motorists have to be rescued such as this: example

Monday, 13 September 2010

wild swan

a swan takes advantage as an ice cream van waits for the tide to recede and clear the causeway across to the tidal island of  Holy Island  in Northumberland.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Amanita muscaria

Red, fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), poisonous to humans, near Linhope Spout in Northumberland.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Thursday, 9 September 2010


spotted near St. Paul's in the City of London recently, about 300 miles south of Newcastle; a hedge fund manager too ashamed to show his face perhaps?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Benin Mask

Mask,  probably 16th century AD from  Benin, Nigeria.

Now to be seen in the British Museum, London, this mask was originally looted from the Oba's palace in Benin  1897, by  the British in  a “Punitive Expedition” when they attacked Benin City in a bid to control trade in the area. The British  deposed  the Oba (King) of Benin, burnt down his palace and looted the extenisve collection of Bronze and ivory objects from  the palace. The Museum resolutely refuses to return their superb collection of exquisite Benin artefacts to Nigeria.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Perhaps the abundance of wolves near St Pauls in the City of London recently was a visual metaphor for the avaricious hedge fund managers who work in dealing rooms nearby.

Monday, 6 September 2010


spotted near St. Paul's Cathedral recently, about 300 miles south of Newcastle upon Tyne

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Tynemouth Lifeguard remembered

Over 100 surfers and members of the RNLI took part in a moving ceremony  on Tynemouth Long Sands last Thursday to remember local lifeguard William Hogg who died a year ago whilst   taking part in a  charity swimming event. 

Friday, 3 September 2010


about 300 miles south of Newcastle , another picture from the Notting Hill Carnival

and a great one taken  by son Wes on a little Nikon Coolpix:

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

more Carnival

about 300 miles south of Newcastle upon Tyne the streets of Notting Hill were alive with the samba beat over the August Bank Holiday.
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