Last Thursday, late afternoon, this comforting scene was to be observed (and photoed) by me, on the other side of Victoria Street from me and a short walk from Buckingham Palace. Human beings, without muzzles on, enjoying each other’s company and drinking drinks:
Will normality ever fully return? I’ll believe what I see. But seeing that was definitely something.
Today I forced myself out, to post a letter which had to be posted, something I don’t think I’ve done in years.
My guess as to where there was a posting box, or whatever they are called, took me to the nearest post office that I am aware of, via Vincent Square, which I hoped would be looking good in the sunshine. It was:
That building is Vincent House, which sounds and looks like it might be important, but it’s just a block of flats.
And this is the middle of Vincent Square:
In earlier times, on a day like this, I would have gone a-wandering and a-photoing, but now, I’m afraid I feel the cold, and although delightfully sunny it was still cold. Also, all walks now take twice as long. So I posted that letter, and also did some shopping and then went straight back home. Shopping being another thing that has had to change recently. Big and occasionally has had to be replaced by less but more frequently, because there are limits to how much stuff I can now carry in anything resembling comfort, especially up my stairs.
Just before I went on this expedition, I got a phone call from one of the Marsden exercise experts. Apparently exercise is good for you. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Dined last night at this place. I photoed lots of photos, the four below showing the view that I later zoomed in on:
The day was warm, what with it being cloudless. But the evening got cold, ditto. Which, I fear, has somewhat prolonged the process of me recovering from my second Covid jab last week. Now have headache. So that will have to be it for today.
For the last few weeks, a strange glitch has been afflicting this blog, involving spacing. If I stick up just the one photo, stretching all the way across the width of the blog’s column of text, all is well. But if I stick up a gallery of photos, which is something I very much like doing, there has been a problem. Too much space was suddenly, ever since a recent software update or some such thing, created below the gallery. Any attempt I made to remove this space only resulted in further spatial havoc below, in the form of too much space between subsequent paragraphs of text.
But now, either because the guardians of this software have sorted this out, or because the technical curator of this blog, Michael Jennings, has sorted this out, things are back to how they were. Good. Very good. I attach great importance to how this blog looks. If it looks wrong, I hate that. It demoralises me and makes me want to ignore the damn thing rather than keep on updating it the way I actually do. This was especially so given that galleries look so very good when they are working properly.
Well, as I say, things have now reverted to their previous state of visual just-so-ness. And I will now celebrate, with yet another gallery:
The above gallery, however, is not a gallery of my photos, but rather a gallery of photos photoed by Michael Jennings, all, I believe, with his mobile phone. Not having got out much lately, I have found the photos Michael has photoed while taking exercise, and then stuck up on Facebook, reminding me of how my beloved London has been looking, to be a great source of comfort during the last few months. And I actually like photoing in his part of London more than I do in my own part. This may just be familiarity breeding something like contempt, but is still a definite thing with me.
I started out having in mind to pick just four photos, which makes a convenient gallery. Then I thought, make it nine. I ended up with twenty four. It would have been twenty five (also a convenient number), except that one of the ones I chose was a different shape, which might have complicated things, so I scrubbed that one from the gallery.
But you can still look at that one. Because none of this means that you need be confined only to my particular favourites. Go here and keep on right clicking to see all of them.
I have displayed my picks here in chronological order, the first of the above photos having been photoed in October of last year. The final photo (which is what you get to if you follow the second link in the previous paragraph), of the church, which I learned of today, and which is the only one done outside London, is something of a celebration, of the fact that Michael is now able to travel outside London without breaking any rules, or such is my understanding. (Plus, I like those unnatural trees (see also photo number 9)).
Patrick Crozier, the man I do recorded conversations with (see the previous post), is a particular fan of Viscount Alanbrooke, Churchill’s long suffering chief military adviser during WW2. So he’ll like that this church is where Alanbrooke is buried.
I could go all ironic and have a big old sneer at these little trinkets, but the truth is I entirely get it. Cute animals are … cute. I don’t buy things like this, if only because I have nowhere I could put them, and because I hate dusting. But I love to photo such things.
I am also fond of saying, on account of it being true, that we hate architectural styles that we feel threatened by, but later often fall in love with those same styles once they are in retreat.
Something very similar applies to animals. For most of human history, animals have been threats as well as sources of food, if only because they demanded scarce time and effort to be caught or killed, and scarce resources for them to be looked after. You no more loved most animals than you loved mountains (mountains being a similar story). But now? Well, put it this way. At present animals are still hunted a bit, and still imprisoned and then eaten a lot, but it won’t be that long before a majority of the animals on earth are our pets.
Ah happy days, of the sort I spend just wandering about in London, photoing whatever I see that seems amusing, in whatever seem like amusing ways:
But sadly, these photos were not photoed today or yesterday or some such very recent day. On no. They were photoed on March 3rd 2012, in other words just over nine years ago. Because of the cold and the effort (both of which I feel more now) and because of Lockdown (which can actually be ignored but I don’t like the ubiquitous propaganda and pressure I feel when I do that (also a function of getting old (oldies being more nervous of these sorts of vague atmospherics))), I am now doing very little of this kind of thing. I hoping that may change in the summer.
I was using a then very recently acquired camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ150. My more recent cameras, an FZ200 and an FZ300, having been very similar to that one. Basically, around five or more years ago, they stopped improving such cameras, and threw all their money at the cameras in mobile phones. If they manage to beef up the zoom on those, I might very well make my next “camera” my next mobile, and forget about getting any sort of better “camera”. Just like millions of others.
But back to those otters. As Singaporeans become more affluent and more inclined to welcome the otters into their midst, and less inclined to do things like kill them and eat them, instead treating them as sort of mobile urban sculptures, …:
In 2016, an otter family suddenly ran across the Singapore Marathon route, and Otter Working Group volunteers rushed to warn the runners of the otters’ presence, as well as also position themselves along the route to prevent the animals and runners from colliding.
… the otters themselves are, understandably, becoming less frightened of humans than they used to be. Evolution in action. The adventurous otter families, willing to explore human cities in search of new ecological niches, get selected for, and the more timid ones have a harder time of it.