Saturday, 20 October 2018

Watery railings

The fractured reflections that seemingly still water can produce has been a frequent subject of my photography.The shot above shows the white painted railings of the road bridge over the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal near Slimbridge. A clear blue sky and the shadow under the bridge added colours that enhanced the broken regularity of the metalwork.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Sweet chestnuts

The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) was probably brought to Britain by the Romans, much earlier than the similar looking (but not closely related) horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) that was not grown in Western Europe until after 1600. Its seeds are edible by man and foraging animals and its wood was much used for fencing for which it was coppiced. In Herefordshire it is a commonly found woodland tree. This year's particularly hot and dry summer has more closely reflected the climate of Southern Europe where sweet chestnuts produce nuts of commercial size in great quantities annually, and consequently the British crop features plenty of larger nuts that are being collected for "roasting on an open fire".

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Westbury Court Gardens

It's understandable that ephemeral items such as clothes are subject to fashion but less comprehensible why that should be the case with gardens. They are, after all, much longer lasting, and a design can take decades to come to maturity. However, garden styles have come and gone and different fashions have prevailed at different times.

In 1712, of fifty eight Gloucestershire country houses illustrated in a book, twenty featured gardens that were variations of the Dutch water garden. Only one of those remains today, Westbury Court Gardens, and that is but a fragment of the original design.It is dominated by two long, straight "canals" and has a Tall Pavilion (1702-3) to allow the concept to be better seen from on high.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Chilean Flamingo

Unlike my previous post I can give the full name to the flamingos shown in this photograph. The are Chilean Flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis), one of the larger flamingos, with striking colouration. In the captive conditions in which I photographed them they appear to be very gregarious, closing ranks at all times. However, when I look at shots of the species taken in the wild they appear just as companiable.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Nikon P900

Friday, 12 October 2018


Flamingos count among the most striking of birds. Size, colour and shape combine to make them distinctive and noteworthy and consequently they are one of the few birds species that the layman can name. I recently photographed a few different kinds of flamingos in the Slimbridge WWT collection. Unfortunately I neglected to note the specifics so I can tell you no more about this particular flamingo!

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Nikon P900

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

St Andrew, Hampton Bishop

It is a characteristic of medieval churches throughout Europe that they are mainly constructed of local materials and that, consequently, though they share similar architectural features, they nonetheless differ from region to region. Herefordshire churches tend to feature a lot of Old Red Sandstone and timber framing. The example above has a stone tower extended upwards using the latter. However, porch at the church of St Andrew at Hampton Bishop appears to eschew the plentiful stone for a harder less red variety. And, in the carved vesica near the apex of the porch what appears to be terra cotta proclaims the symbol of the patron saint.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Monday, 8 October 2018

Victoria Place, Newport

Walking up the hill out of the centre of Newport, through unremarkable and past its best Victorian workers' housing, we came upon the surprise that is Victoria Place.This is two terraces of six houses that face each other across a short street. The builders levelled this site before building - there is the first surprise. Subsequent owners have treated both terraces as the unity they are and painted them with a single colour scheme - the second surprise. They date from 1844 and were built by Rennie Logan & Company, contractors for the Town Dock. Would that more such buildings were maintained with the sensitivity accorded to these rows.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Saturday, 6 October 2018

WW1 remembrance

Remembrance events for WW1 have been extensive over the past four years. Currently, in Herefordshire (and elsewhere for all I know) many businesses, settlements and churches feature a black metal silhouette of a Great War British soldier. The other day I came across another soldier's silhouette in the small cathedral in Newport, South Wales. The tower arch leading into the nave was filled by a large board with a profile cut from it. The edge of the profile was grooved and a string of LEDs had been placed there. This gave emphasis to the profile, and this remarkable and affecting  effect was achieved at a nominal cost.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Medieval armour and weapons

It isn't every day that you come across a stall selling helmets, swords, daggers, axes, shields, even full suits of armour that would suit the well-dressed soldier of the middle ages. But if you go to Tewkesbury's annual Medieval Festival looking for such things you'll find stalls a-plenty and will be spoilt for choice.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M1

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Europe's oldest castle doors

It is remarkable how well-made wooden doors can survive the ravages of weather, man and wood-boring beetles. During my travels I've come across several church doors that date from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and one that may be even earlier. Castle doors, of course, have more to contend with than zealous parish clerks pinning notices on them. Battering rams, cannon shot and more mean that not only do they have to be strongly made, they must also be ready for an onslaught at all times. The doors in today's photograph hung in Chepstow Castle's main gateway until 1962 when they were replaced by copies and the originals displayed under cover. Dendrochronology dates them no later than the 1190s, making them the oldest castle doors in Europe.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10