Crosspool view

Just because I stumbled across it on my Flickr and felt like posting it.

The light was awful, the editing is equally bad; it’s far, far from being a great photo. But I was struck by the fact that despite living here for 17 years, walking these same streets day in, day out, one quick flight with the Mavic and I saw a view of the place that I had never ever seen before.

I love that it gives the impression that the A57 is some near-Parisian tree-lined boulevard, and that my childhood suburb is perched on a cliff overlooking the City Centre. Neither of these things are true, of course, but looking at this here, they could be.

There are currently no plans for a return visit to Sheffield in the foreseeable future, so any vernal version of this shot will have to wait.

If you want to see more aerial views of suburbia (and more) from our visit last September, you can find them in my Sheffield 2017 Flickr album.

Kaiser

My brother’s dog died yesterday. It was very sudden and completely unexpected, but at least it was peaceful. We’re obviously all very sad, especially the kids who were really looking forward to seeing the dogs and rest of the family in a couple of months time.

Kaiser was a lot of dog: 55kg of prime Rottweiler – potentially terrifying. But once you got to know him, it was clear that he was just a gentle giant: loving, patient, kind, good-natured.

However, for me, Kaiser wasn’t just a big softie. He was the dog that changed my view on the whole species.
I had several bad experiences with dogs when I was younger: indeed, I can still show you the scars. And when I see people backing away from the beagle when we’re out walking, I completely understand where they are coming from, even though I know that she wouldn’t harm a fly.

I used to feel that way too.

Kaiser’s gentle nature made the difference for me. It’s almost like he was a willing, knowing ambassador for dogkind. He had such obvious power, but with it, such restraint and understanding. A great example of how it’s the training, care and management of potentially dangerous breeds that makes all the difference, rather than the breed itself.

Kaiser was much-loved and doted-upon, not just by my brother and his wife, but also my Mum. Having the dogs visit was the highlight of her day when she had cancer. And Kaiser doted on her as well.

Looking back through photos on Facebook and on the family Whatsapp group, it’s clear that my brother and his wife gave Kaiser a great life. Just in the last couple of months, he was running free on beaches, through the snow, in the woodlands. Not bad. Not bad at all. If you were a dog, you’d want to be a Kaiser.

He will be sorely missed over here in Cape Town, as well as back home in Sheffield.

Snowy football

My brother sent me a photo, which I think came from the Sheffield Star newspaper, possibly more specifically from their correspondent here. It’s from last weekend’s Championship match at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane, in which Sheffield United played Nottingham Forest.
The weather wasn’t great. The match finished 0-0.

But the photo needed some playing with in Lightroom, in my humble opinion. (See here for details of why I appropriate other people’s photography).

When I saw it, it reminded me of a dramatic painting, so obviously I made it into a dramatic painting.

Make it bigger by clicking here.

The blizzard conditions are obviously what makes this photo so eye-catching, but it’s the juxtaposition of that chaos with the stability of the horizontal touchline in the foreground that I really like. It’s almost cinematic.

I’m not an artist, but if I was, I think I’d like to paint something this good.

In the meantime, I’ll just have to content myself by attempting to make artwork out of other people’s photos.

Quota sun… rise

Ja. Not mine, obviously. And not here either. The dawn chorus currently starts at about 4:40am in Cape Town at the moment, about an hour ahead of official sunrise. So you’ll hopefully forgive me for being in bed at that time.

Fortunately, there are others who (albeit with a later start) are willing to go out and get that shot of the sunrise. Like this one of Higger Tor in in the Peak District.

The rocks you see are millstone grit. They’re coarse-grained sandstones of Carboniferous age and were used to make… wait for it… millstones(!) for use in the local water mills (and they gave the National Park its logo).
If you’re into your geology, there’s loads to learn right here. These dark rocks give the name to the “Dark Peak”, whereas the “White Peak” further south in the Park is characterised by its light-coloured limestone geology.

Now you know.

This photo was taken less than 15km from my family home in Sheffield. But I would still not have got up in time to take it.

Honourable mention

I, like you, was left reeling at the lack of any blog post on here yesterday. And while the so-called experts blamed football and beer, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on Chez 6000 over the weekend.

However, having said that, there was obviously some football involved, and it would be remiss of me not to mention Leon Clarke’s remarkable performance for United, as he beat Hull City 4-1.

There it is a red and white and I won’t mention the fact that the second mention of his name is ever so slightly misaligned with the others if you won’t.

I know. Once you see it… eish.

Anyway, everyone was very happy for Leon, including one Keith Edwards who was working for a local radio station at the match:

Keith was the last United player to score four goals in a game – against Gillingham in August 1983. But being a big United fan, I’m sure Keith was delighted to see his long-standing record repeated.

Of course, the last time that United scored 4 goals in a game was… er… this one. Leon got two that day as well.