Tim (my son) who is a coffee aficionado, bought me some ’38 Coffee’ whole beans for Christmas. I’d duped him into thinking I was getting a brand new professional Gaggia from Santa, and he kindly thought that I’d need some beans for the big day – and of course to make him a decent cup of Americano. I was lying, of course – a serious breach of ethics, and one of those conscience riddled challenges that we all face from time to time.Continue reading 38 Espresso – An After-Christmas Taste Treat!
Motivation and Inspiration
It’s encouraging to drive along a road and see some inspirational words on a wall. In Belfast, it makes a nice change from some of the darker, paramilitary or terrorist inspired murals. Ant when you are ‘getting on a bit’ like me, this wall on the Newtownards Road is particularly appropriate – a good incentive to keep going!
This area of Belfast is known as ‘Ballymacarrett’ – an ancient townland name, and the home of many of the old Belfast industries, most notably the famous Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Short Brothers aircraft factory, the Belfast Rope Works and the Scirocco Works.
The mural features everything that is good about East Belfast, its community and renown, including CS Lewis, born in East Belfast. Also included are a ballerina, Belfast City Hall, and a group of children playing in the street, a boy releasing a dove, symbolising peace.
The main text on the mural is:
You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.
The Bathrooms and the Board Room!
I’ve finally got around to uploading part three of my Templemore Avenue Baths Project. If you haven’t seen Part One and Two, you can find them here.
The Public Baths was more than just a swimming pool (or two!). The original idea of the baths was to provide hygiene for the people of East Belfast at a time when houses had no bathrooms. The old bathrooms are long out of use, but I was able to get a look at them. Continue reading Templemore Avenue Baths (Part 3)
Where have all the tourists gone?
I sat for an hour or so in Derry’s Guildhall Square, watching the people coming and going, drunks, locals, buskers, children, parents, tour guides and even the odd tourist… All manner of life passes through it.
In December 2019 I had my attention attracted (or ‘distracted’ since I was driving!) by the old Templemore Avenue Baths, – for there were no cars parked in fort of it – which is unusual, and that fact prompted me to actually get out of the car and make some photographs.
So,you can see the original post here:
So, when I discovered that one of my ‘Baby’s First Year’ mums worked at the Baths, needless to say I asked for quick look inside, and so with the help of David, Sam and Sharon, I got a great tour of the inside of the building, and just in time too, for the building just about to be stripped inside, and incorporated into a new state of the art leisure complex being built on the adjacent site. Here’s some (but not all) of the photos…
The Boiler Room was my starting point. in a lower floor below ground level, the machinery there is still working (for the community group who have been using the building) but no less interesting for that.
The Baths had two pools, and the small of the two has been disused for quite some time.
The larger pool is still in use at the time of writing. It features little changing cubicles along the sides of the pool – probably considered unhygienic by modern standards, but perfect for the period in which the structure was built. Thanks to David for removing the pool cover to let me see the water!
I sat in one of the cubicles to get a swimmer’s view of the pool…
The most interesting part of the building is the actual bathrooms themselves, and these will be in Part 3 – following in a day or two. I’ll post a link here.
Using a 35 year old Nikon Lens on a 1 year old Fujifilm Mirrorless Camera!
It’s rare to have open roads in Belfast on a Saturday, but today the roads were reasonably free of traffic – with people ‘self-isolating’ and ‘social distancing.’ But there was one traffic jam, and that was caused by the closure of an important route into and out of the city, the Sydenham By-Pass. This closure caused a stand-still traffic jam on the lower section of the Newtownards Road (Ballymacarret) – Just one single snarl up in the whole city and I was stuck in it.
As it happened I had a camera right beside me on the passenger seat of the car, so while the car was stationery, with the handbrake on and the engine stopped, I made a small number of exposures. Random images, of no relevance or importance.
Rainy Day Photography
Saturday 9th September 2019 – the morning was wet, for heavy rain has been lashing the British Isles, causing flooding. Thankfully Northern Ireland has been spared the worst effects, unlike parts of England, where flooding has ruined homes and even led to loss of life. It’s too wet to go out on the streets, but I had a sort of a back-up plan. In Belfast is an old Victorian Covered Market, ‘St George’s Market’ (built in the 1890s) – and I thought a visit might bring one or two photo opportunities.
I’m back at it again. Skulking round the wee dark alleys and passages of Belfast, waiting for an unsuspecting suspect to make a silhouette.
This was November 1st, a cold wet day in the city, and this passageway leads up to a carefully tended and maintained courtyard at the front of a restaurant and bar.
Silhouette- Church Lane, Belfast.
Fujifilm X-T30 F=18mm, f/2.8 @ 1/125th sec on ISO800. Shot using Acros Film Simulation
If you are fortunate enough to ever visit Belfast, Northern Ireland, you can get around the city easily and quickly on a ‘Belfast Bike.’ Download an app, pay a small fee, and borrow a bike! Take it from one side of the city to the other, and park it at the nearest bike-park! Easy!
A rack of public-access bicycles at Botanic Gardens, Belfast.
This is part of life in any city.
I captured this scene in a reasonably affluent part of Belfast, an area full of life and vibrancy where students from across the world mix with young professionals in coffee shops and bars. Where the streets are teeming with people enjoying friendship and a casual happy lifestyle. Where the side streets are student flats, posh detached homes and family terraces. And where a man lives on a pavement in a grubby sleeping bag.
If any picture can speak a thousand words, surely this one does. What does it tell you about the man on the ground? Why has he positioned himself there? What conversation is taking place between the man and the woman at the bank machine? She doesn’t look threatened – in fact they seem to be having a pleasant enough conversation. He’s sitting beside a ‘meal deal’ sign – would anyone go into the shop and spend some money on a ‘meal deal’ for him? Is that why he’s there?
I love photographs like this, not only documenting real life on the streets as it happens, but exciting the mind – raising questions; seemingly incongruous juxtapositions of objects and subjects, apparent conflicts of themes and interpretations.
Fujifilm X-T30, F=55mm, f/5 @ 1/125th sec on ISO400, shot in ACROS film simulation mode.