Author Archives: Nick

Too hot

Hello all, Nick here again while Frances heads back home to Shetland today.

It’s too hot. I’m not a fan of temperatures in excess of 20C at the best of times. We are on our third day of this heatwave and it sucks all the energy out of me. Even Danny doesn’t know where to put himself.

I was reminded on Facebook that it’s exactly 6 years now since I visited Frances in Shetland – that was my first time on the archipelago, and I had a lovely time. I even got to ride one of her Icelandic horses!

You might have seen my photos from that trip when I posted about it back in 2013.

Anyway I’m stuck indoors today working on an edit for some portrait shots a friend of mine took last week. So I thought I’d share some of my more unusual images with you, just for something different.

I’ve been wandering around London with my camera photographing some of the more unorthodox, possibly overlooked architecture of late. One of my favourite new buildings is the Switch House extension to the Tate Modern museum. It’s an odd shape, a bit like a twisted pyramid made of bricks, and has to be seen to be appreciated.

The Barbican estate, on the other side of the Thames, is a grade 2 listed estate in the Brutalist style. I know not everyone likes this bold architecture, but I’m a huge fan, and I like to think that I might be able to convert some people to its charms by showing it through my eyes in this way.

One of London’s most famous landmarks is of course St Paul’s Cathedral and with the Millennium Bridge spanning the Thames directly south of the cathedral, the following is a much photographed view. I’ve added my own twist to it however, with the blur of people walking across the bridge looking like ghosts:

Finally, one cold January evening I met some friends by the Houses of Parliament for some night time photography by the river. That was a very cold, but very enjoyable evening, trying to find new angles on something that gets photographed thousands of times a day.

Anyway, sorry there are no animal photos today. In order to photograph any of them I’d need to go into the garden, and in this weather it’s just not something I’m prepared to contemplate! But suffice to say they are all well, we are still getting two eggs a day from Helga and Cinnamon, and they all pass on their best wishes to Frances’s fan club.

Thanks again to Frances for allowing me to share the stuff that interests me here on her blog. Please do remember to stop by and check out my own site if you like what you see here – most of my photography is for sale as prints there. For now, that’s all from me, and see you again soon!

A walk in Watford

It’s Nick here again today, as Frances is at a funeral.

I’ve been scratching my head over what to write about today, however I decided I’d take photos with my phone while out walking Danny this morning. It’s not until you get a dog that you discover so many interesting places to walk near your home, and I was surprised at just how much there is near us, so I wanted to share this with you.

First up, we’ve known about this field for ages; it’s home to loads of skylarks (which is a good thing as these poor birds are in decline across the country due to changes in farming methods). I know you can’t see any in this photo, but it’s the first taste of rural scenery on the walk after I cross the busy road near our house

There’s a footpath alongside this field that leads to the Ebury Way – a converted railway line that now acts as a footpath from Watford to Rickmansworth (I mentioned this in a previous post). The connecting path heads through some trees, then up some steps to the Ebury Way:

If you turn left at the top of the steps, the path crosses the river Colne, with beautiful views downstream

It looks particularly nice when there’s a layer of mist hanging around – this is from a few years ago:

Further along the Ebury Way there are sites of interest that you can go and visit, such as Lairage Land. A Lairage is an area of land set aside for resting cattle en route to market, and the one in Watford is now a nature reserve. I didn’t visit it today, but it’s only a short walk from the footpath.

The path crosses a road leading to a farm, which is where I leave the Ebury Way on my morning walk and head into the meadow where the footpath runs alongside a lake, which is often teeming with terns, herons, geese and grebes.

The path then crosses the river Colne again, next to Hamper Mill, and old mill that is often used as a filming location.

We cross the road into the large, former golf course that is now Oxhey Playing Fields, a wide open space where Danny can run free with all his friends

It has plenty of woodland too, and Danny loves to pose on the felled trees

After a good three mile walk, and a quick drink, he loves to cool off by rolling around in long grass for a good scratch

So there you have it: Watford, not quite as bad as you might expect!

Thanks again to Frances for letting me share this with you. See you all again soon!

Off the wall

Hello everyone. Nick here, standing in while Frances heads South for a few days. I’m afraid I don’t have cute animal photos to share today, but instead will tell you about an exhibition I held recently.

My agent, Emma, lives in Oxfordshire and had decided to open up her front room as an art gallery for Oxfordshire Artweeks. She got in touch about exhibiting some of my photos too, so I had a selection printed and mounted, with some of them framed, and put them up for sale in the exhibition.

The green photo on the wall is an aerial photo I took in Iceland in 2013. It’s been very popular on my various social media sites and I sold it during the exhibition.

The house looked amazing with art from various artists all over every available space. Screen printed landscapes competed with abstract giclee prints and perspex art and there might have been the occasional photograph too.

Apart from the hung artwork, there was a rack full of unframed art that visitors could browse through at their leisure.

Hidden in this rack was a sunset photo I took on Lewis and Harris that sold on the second day. You might recognise it if you’ve been paying attention!

I’ve been taking a lot of black and white photographs of London’s modern and probably less famous architecture of late, and it was these photographs that made Emma interested in exhibiting my work at the exhibition in the first place. Above the mantelpiece was a photo of a car park behind Oxford street

And in the corner by a green pineapple lamp was ‘Weft’, a photo of an office building that recently appeared behind King’s Cross Station

We are hoping to have more exhibitions in the future. I really enjoyed talking to people about my work, and seeing how much people seemed to like it. And to thank you for reading this far, here’s a photo of Danny relaxing to keep you happy!


Shaggy Dog Story

Hello all, as Frances heads to hospital for her epidural steroid injection, it’s Nick here again to tell you about an auspicious day for Danny.

This is his “What do I care?” face.

We started the day with a walk, as usual, though the weather was more spring like than it has been this year.

Danny didn’t suspect a thing – too busy chasing imaginary squirrels to care about anything of this earth.

This last photo is of the Ebury Way – a dismantled railway line that provides a footpath from Watford to Rickmansworth. Away from all roads, it crosses three rivers (the Colne, Gade and Chess), a canal (the Grand Union) and the Metropolitan Railway. They are extending the Met Line so that it runs directly into the centre of Watford, and the new track runs very close to the Ebury way. They make sure you don’t accidentally stray onto the new works with what seems like an unnecessary number of “Keep Out!” signs:

On the way back home, we passed the site of what was possibly a failed reconciliation between former lovers:

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, Danny’s special day. It was time for his haircut! You’ve see the ‘before’ photos, now check out the ‘after’!

What a smart boy!

A new arrival

(Nick here, guest blogging while Frances is in Norway)

As I mentioned last week, poor Rosie, our chicken, had to be put down recently leaving her friend Cinnamon alone. However in our hunt for a new companion for Cinnamon we were put in touch with a man near St Albans who had a whole flock that he was downsizing, so we went to collect one from him. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Helga:

Why ‘Helga’? Well, as a light Sussex, her markings make her look like she’s wearing her own lopapeysa, so it had to be an Icelandic name. Our son, Joe, suggested Helga, and as I know three other people called Helga on Facebook, thought it might be a bit odd. So we considered various other names, including Henný, which IS a genuine name in Iceland, but that seemed far too obvious, so agreed that Helga was the way to go after all. (My three Helga friends were all amused by this).

Helga is a little less tame than Cinnamon, who has been kept as a pet since hatching. The breed is also known for being harder to catch than most other chickens, so we are prepared for some comical running around the garden after she’s had some free-ranging time. When we first got her, she was confined to her temporary quarters while we tried to get Cinnamon used to having her around

The look on Cinnamon’s face when she first met Helga was priceless. She stood stock still, and wouldn’t take her eyes off this suspicious new interloper. However after being introduced to each other like this each day this past week, they are now happy to wander around the garden together, even partaking of some brief communal preening at one point. And I think Helga is already getting a little protective of her new friend, as after I had picked Cinnamon up for a short stroke, Helga gave me a light peck on my hand as I set her down again, as if to say “leave my buddy alone, you!”

Anyway, please give Helga a warm welcome. She is already settled enough to lay every day, so we are now back to our complement of two eggs a day, meaning we can probably offer some to our neighbours again to keep them sweet.

Frances will be back with you tomorrow – many thanks to her for allowing me to spam you with my photos. I hope you’ve enjoyed the week, I’ve enjoyed your comments here and on Facebook. So for now, from me, Helga, Cinnamon, Archie, Fergus and the rest of the menagerie, bye!