Maurice “Jim” Stewart oak tree on Clapham Common, London
I’m happy to report that Maurice’s oak tree is thriving on Clapham Common. It had suffered storm damage a few years ago but now looks to be in good leaf and developing the classic oak tree profile; it’s grown to more than 6m. height and the main trunk is well over 10cm. diameter.
This oak tree was planted as a memorial to our friend who passed away in 2012, aged 79 years. I was honoured to be one of those invited to the tree planting, having known Maurice as a friend and mentor since 1980, when he was based in Fitzwilliam Road, Clapham.
Sunset over a swan and some geese on the River Thames at Hammersmith Bridge, London. A high tide on this the last day of May. Lots of people out enjoying the show, having a good time whilst respecting the distancing guidelines.
Cygnets, baby coots, rowers, canoeists and even the Thames Clipper out on the water around Putney and Wimbledon
Photographic survey of the blue performance cars that I see on my lockdown walks around my neighbourhood, from a V8 and a V10 Audi R8, a classic MG to a sadly burnt out VW camper. Along the way, Porsche, Harbeth, Audi, and Mazda performance cars in variously subtle shades of blue.
Riviera ride out - last ride before lockdown
Enjoying roast pheasant with this Grand vin de Bordeaux (Saint Julien AOC, Médoc). Here are my tasting notes.
One of the most satisfying hikes in Madeira. Big views of dramatic cliffs and beach boulders being pounded by the raw Atlantic. Rounded coves like the Jurassic Coast in Dorset but this is volcanic rock. Butterflies & lizards as well as the dramatic topography.
The Brighton Philharmonic return with their New Year Viennese Gala. Varied as ever and not restricted to the music of the Strauss family of the 1860s and 1870s, Brighton’s own orchestra draws a near sell-out audience to Brighton Dome on New Year’s Eve. Conductor Stephen Bell mounted the podium with a hop, skip and a jump and bounced along in the programme.
The Brighton Philharmonic is growing in strength and confidence, it’s obviously not an international orchestra though a number of the individual players work at that level for their day job. A sparking Die Fledemaus overture opened the concert with glorious woodwind. Ailish Tynan, soprano, was in good voice for the first of several vocal pieces. The woodwind continued to delight, as did the precise xylophonist. Franz Lehár’s Gold and Silver Waltz rounded off the first part of the programme, the strings giving a credible swirl to the sumptuous main waltz tune even in the relatively austere architecture of the Brighton Dome.