Saturday, 4 August 2018

No cam

About 45 years ago I bought a second-hand Olympus SLR camera and became hooked on taking photographs. That camera has long since gone to the great photographic museum in the sky (or, more accurately, is probably buried under a heap of rotting rubbish somewhere). Other cameras have come and gone, and although there have been spells of several months when I haven't even picked up a camera, I have still managed to take a fair few pictures.

It is about this time each year that I start to think about the illustrations for our calendar for the next year. Our kitchen calendar has, for many years, been a one-off specially produced using pictures that I have taken. It all started as a way or reminding ourselves what we had done and where we had been the previous year, although that has gone by the board and we simply select a dozen pictures from the many hundreds that I have on file. I select a long-list of about 30 and the Old Bat selects one of them for each month. I am graciously permitted to pick the cover illustration!

I haven't taken many pictures this year; it has been one of those hiatuses when I haven't picked up a camera. But I have earmarked a few pictures, and here are a couple of them.

The chateau at Chateaubriant reflected in the window of the bank opposite.

In Withdean Park, Brighton

Friday, 3 August 2018

Well, well, well

I notice that it is almost six months since I last stumbled into the bloggosphere. I have to admit that I thought it was probably rather longer than that, but who's counting? For some reason I simply lost interest.

Even without the compulsion to write something every day (and that compulsion disappeared over the horizon more than six months ago!) I don't seem to have had any more time than before simply to sit and twiddle my thumbs. Much of my time has, as ever, been taken up with matters concerning Brighton Lions Club. I am still treasurer and have, for the second year running, taken on the organisation of our annual fireworks display. Although the display takes place in November (gunpowder plot, Guy Fawkes and all that) planning obviously has to start well ahead - January, in fact! Fortunately, the actual pyrotechnic element is not part of my responsibility and almost everything that needs to be done, has been, although there are still a few odds and ends to tie up.

Another Lions activity that gave me something to do was Project Wenceslas. Let me say right at the start: this was not something that we in Brighton dreamed up. We borrowed the idea from Farnham Lions Club in Surrey, but they had no difficulty in letting us use the same name - and even their artwork!
The basis of the scheme is that every person in England over the age of 65 receives the Winter Fuel Payment, subject to certain conditions. This is paid at the rate of £200 (or £100 each for a household of two who both qualify) rising to £300 for more elderly people. Not everybody really needs the payment, and we asked those who received it but didn't need it to donate it to us. Our promise was that we would use it to reduce fuel poverty in the city.  Agencies like the Citizens Advice Bureau were able to refer clients to us and we would clear their outstanding accounts - or make a suitable reduction - from the donations we received.Needless to say, it was the treasurer who had the job of receiving the referrals and making the payments! Without going back to the accounts, I would say that we paid out some £8,000 last winter.