November 2017

It is now less than a month to Christmas. 2017 has been another really busy year and I am not really sure where it all disappeared to. But disappear it did. This year has been the first time in the six years since I left New Zealand (on my two year holiday) that I have not been back for a visit.  Mum did come to see us, which was fabulous, but that meant I missed out on seeing my two grand children.  I need to make sure that I return in 2018.

I have not taken a walking trip this year either, not even a couple of sneaky days away, again highly unusual, and another symptom of my busyness. I am going to try and squeeze a weekend away on my own in before the end of the year. Take some photos and do a little bit of walking.  My long term goal to walk the south west coast path have been thwarted, but there is no one to blame but myself, though at least I did visit the path a few times in 2017.

Though we have been busy, a lot of that busyness has been doing fun things, and we have been out and about for numerous walks and other activities. I have no cause for complaint, I just want to do too much I guess. Most of those activities over the year have been written about.

I generally take a camera most places I go, the ‘little’ Canon G16 is in my backpack most days, and if it isn’t, I at least have my phone with me the rest of the time. So, this post may be the start of a regular end of month wrap-up post of the random images I take that do not fit in to another narrative.

The only thread that remotely links even a small number of these images together is ‘Autumn’. I love autumn in the UK far more than in Auckland. Here, even in London, we get much more colour in the trees, and the dead fall on the ground. So I will start with some of those.

Most weekday mornings I walk from Green Park Station, down through Green Park, across the Mall and through St James Park to the office. I have really enjoyed watching the trees turn, it has been a beautiful experience and the walk is a good start to most days.

A couple of weeks ago, Eleanor and I walked to, and then through the recently opened ‘Walthamstow Wetlands’, Europe’s largest urban wetland area.  It is not the best time of year for urban wildlife; and the place was pretty crowded with other visitors, so we kinda just walked through from the Ferry Rd entry to the Copper Mill Lane entry, where I took this picture.

There were piles of leaves all along the end of the Copper Mill Lane, so I stopped to take a few photos of the brightly coloured leaves, drying and dying on the ground. The rich array of coloured leaves, all from the same type of tree is a constant reminder of how  amazing the natural world is.  I also tried a little bit of ‘Intentional Camera Movement’ photography to get this blurry, splash of colour, painterly affect.

On Saturday we went to Tate Modern to see the Modigliani exhibition, as members we got to  enter the exhibition an hour before the ‘public’. It was really good, I am not overly familiar with his work, but I particularly liked his early portraits. There was no photography allowed in the exhibition. However, I did quickly snap this picture outside, a scene I really liked, and one I am going to go back to to try and get a better image.

Along with this one of the wonderful silver birches outside.

El and I went separate ways after walking to Liverpool St Station. I was on a mission to a record fair at Spitalfields (unfulfilled), though I did find this wonderful light sculpture around Broadgate.

And this old shop front, which I surprised myself by never having seen before!

There are a couple of posts coming from two short photo missions I have made in Epping Forest over the past couple of weeks, and that will be a wrap of November 2017!

I had to go to Berlin to see the autumn.

Wednesday 02 November 2016 – Berlin, Germany.

The Tiergarten in November. Wow, what amazing colours! I have been waiting, fruitlessly, for the trees to turn in Epping Forest, but they have been remarkably stubborn this year and it does not look I am going to get a display before I leave on my trip to India and New Zealand this week. Berlin’s Tiergarten certainly made up for, if not exceeded, what I will miss.

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I have been here once before. Way back in 1987, when Germany, as a single nation did not exist. It was the autumn then to, and there is a photo of me in an album buried in a box somewhere of me throwing leaves in the air. I enjoyed Berlin then, and I did again this time, though this was a work visit; and a very busy one too.

I came over with my boss to attend ICEF, a very large language school expo. We had a small booth, in one of the worse spots and were hoping to generate some leads, if not sales, for the school management software he has developed. The conference is very sales focused so I was sort of expecting to be fairly quiet as the schools were selling themselves and were not there to buy systems. 4000+ people attend this event, so there is a big audience.

We left London on Sunday morning, I had a really early start, having to drive the 90km to Gatwick in fog to get there for 6:30am. I was surprised that we actually left as it was a bit of a pea-souper.

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At least it was fine in Berlin.

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We went straight to the expo centre at the Intercontinental Hotel to set up the booth, once done we attended a ‘first timers’ lunch on the 14th floor of the hotel. We were very near the Tiergarten, I took a couple of photos out of the window. Not realising that this was as close as I was going to get for the next three days.

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We were busy, really busy. Unexpectedly busy. Pleasantly busy. There was a lot of interest in the system which was great news for the company. I had sort of expected to be able to take a break each day and go for a walk outside, but we were busy from 9:00 am till 6:30 each night, and then it was a quick trip back to the hotel we were staying in for a shower and change and then back to the conference centre for ‘networking’. We left the first two nights at 1:00 am, we ‘networked’ a lot.

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This was as much outside as I had for the first three days, the road between hotel and centre.img_5017

On the final day, Tuesday we did have a brief respite, but it was raining, so the closest I got again was a photo out the window of the 14th floor again.

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I did not go out for the final party on Tuesday, electing to have a quiet night in on my own. My boss and I are sharing a room, and I have not spent three full days with someone who was not El since I was travelling with Benne in Sri Lanka in 2013. I needed the space – plus the Arsenal were playing a Champions League game and I had a pretty good stream 🙂

The main reason I did not go out was I wanted to get up early and go for a walk before we had to go to the airport to fly back home. I am so glad I did….

I only had 45 minutes, so it was a short walk. The streets near the hotel were a bit sterile, the shops were the same brands as in London, and Barcelona and Copenhagen, everywhere really. There was none of that solid Germanic architecture I remembered I was a wee bit disappointed to be honest.

The Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church still has the bullet holes in it from the Second World War, when it was mostly ruined by allied bombs, the remains stand as a memorial.

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I walked round the perimeter of the zoo, most of which was in this wonderful park, with its wonderful autumn display. I took quite a few photos, none of which do any justice to the park.

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The park crosses the Lanswehr Canal, and has a number of small lakes/ponds in it. There were some reflections but I did not really manage to capture them. The light was a bit low as well, but I was sans tripod unfortunately.

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I definitely need to go back, I wanted to see some of the Berlin I remembered from the 80s. Going back in the autumn seems like the right thing to do.

I arrived back in London mid-afternoon, tomorrow I am off again, this time to India. I am very nervous about it all now. It has been a while since I have travelled somewhere ‘exotic’. I hope I am up for it all. I am also going to miss El and awful lot!