Friday 30 June 2023

Friday Photo #47

Last Monday, a year on from our first get together in Edinburgh, a handful of bloggers descended on the fine city of York for 48 hours of food, conversation and laughter. And what a complete joy it was. Alyson, C, Charity Chic (+ Mrs CC), John Medd (+ Mrs M) and I were all present and correct once again, while Martin, who was unable to attend this time round, was sorely missed. Recollections to follow, I've no doubt.

Aside from shots of the participants, I took virtually no photos in York, so here's one I submitted to the BlogCon'23 WhatsApp group while en route to our rendezvous, taken while standing on Peterborough railway station, with a ticket for my destination.

Be Bop Deluxe - Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape

Friday 23 June 2023

Friday Photo #46

A few weeks ago (here) I shared a photo taken beneath the Queensboro Bridge on Roosevelt Island. My cousin had bagged that particular day off work and joined me on my travels up and over the  Roosevelt Island Tramway and later for a bracing (read, bloody freezing!) ride on the East River Ferry, under the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn Navy Yard. After a revitalizing coffee and outrageously good doughnut in the Brooklyn Roasting Company on Flushing Avenue, we wandered up to Fort Greene, then back to the river via the iconic Dumbo neighbourhood. The plan was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the apartment, but when we got to the bridge we found it closed because of a potential jumper in the middle. Multiple choppers hovered directly overhead, police boats patrolled the waters below, ambulances stood ready at each end and the crowd of people waiting to cross quickly became a huge goggling throng. Rather than just standing there, we ambled off through Brooklyn Bridge Park and on to Brooklyn Heights, before looking back some time later to see traffic and people moving across the bridge once again. The potential suicide had thankfully been successfully talked down. Darkness had fallen by the time we eventually walked across the bridge ourselves, the myriad lights of Lower Manhattan's skyscrapers guiding us home.   

Big Audio Dynamite - City Lights 

Friday 16 June 2023

Friday Photo #45

It strikes me that I haven't posted any old family photos in this series for a while. To compensate, here's a real favourite of mine from 1961. There's absolutely nothing that I don't like about this shot. The swan stretching in anticipation, Mum delicately proffering a piece of bread and me craning forward to get a better look at the situation. The whole scene is brilliantly captured by Dad. I'm not certain of the location, but I'd put money on it being somewhere in the vicinity of Wanstead Flats.

Can - Sing Swan Song

Friday 9 June 2023

Friday Photo #44

Almost exactly a year ago, I was the first of our merry band to roll into Edinburgh for BlogCon '22, allowing me almost a full day to explore the city before festivities formally commenced. I spent the time wandering both hither and thither in an enjoyably aimless fashion, climbing endless steps, stumbling over tricky cobbles and generally gawping at the sheer majesty of the place. Following an enjoyable dustcutter (™ John Medd) at The World's End on the corner of St Mary's Street, I veered off the Royal Mile and found myself outside a restaurant called Makars Gourmet Mash Company. I was intrigued enough to suggest it as a lunch destination to my comrades-in-blog the following day, but alas it was fully booked.

Finding myself back in Edinburgh on Springsteen business last week, I resolved to have another bash at getting into Makars for lunch and this time I was successful. The Makars premise is very straightforward. Choose from one of nine varieties of mashed potato (chilli, smoky, cheesy, horseradish etc), then one of ten toppings (wild boar, chicken, haggis, lamb etc) four of which are vegetarian or vegan, throw in the obligatory neeps, douse in lashings of delicious gravy and presto. How can a meal so apparently simple be so bloody tasty? I don't know, but believe me it was. I had the veggie haggis by the way, but my mate had the real thing and concurred completely with my thumbs-up assessment of the sumptuous repast.

A little later, while consulting my friend Mr Google, I was briefly elated to discover that there was a branch of Makars considerably closer to my own neck of the woods, on Shaftsbury Avenue in London. My joy was short-lived however, as further research revealed that in spite of wall to wall outstanding reviews, the London branch closed down earlier this year.  

Cornell Campbell - Mash You Down

Friday 2 June 2023

Friday Photo #43

It's a trip that's been in the books since last September, but a succession of irritating health hiccups in recent weeks had me thinking that perhaps I was destined not to make it back to E Street this time around. In the event, however, I managed to make it to both the Amsterdam and Edinburgh Springsteen shows as planned, largely thanks to a good pal who organised flights, accommodation and concert tickets and got me to the airport on time, in spite of my befuddled head. As I'd been so distracted of late, I wasn't sure if the usual emotional trigger points of a Springsteen concert would effect me in quite the same way, but in the event tears were already rolling down my cheeks at 7.30 as he walked onto the stage to greet the Amsterdam crowd and I remained moist of eye for much of the remainder of the gig. I'm aware that there isn't necessarily a huge Bruce fanbase around these parts, so I won't go into chapter and verse, but it was a show structured around love, loss and the passing of time, universal themes one and all. To paraphrase the great man '...when you're young it's all tomorrows and hellos, but as the years go by there are more yesterdays and goodbyes....' If that makes the concert sound a sombre experience, it wasn't. There were plenty of lighter moments too, not least when Bruce missed his step and face-planted the stage three songs in, before scrambling to his feet, grinning from ear to ear and offering an embarrassed '...goodnight everybody...'. 

I've flown through Amsterdam several times over the years, but this was the first time I'd ever left the airport. What an beautiful, welcoming city it is. I hope I get back there someday.

American Music Club - Hello Amsterdam

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