Writer and photographer, part-time property investor and consultant.
If you like my words and images and they help you decide on where to go and what to do then please follow me, link to me or just leave a comment. Or if you would like me to write and photograph an article or review for you then please get in touch. I specialise in travel, scenic, event and documentary writing and photography
This blog is a collection of my opinions, reviews, photographs and thoughts on the places I visit, the events that I see, the things that we do as a family. I may also talk a bit about the images I create to illustrate my words. I will be adding lots more entries over the coming weeks so have a look in the menu on the sidebar for the latest.
And if you want to know more about me and what informs my writing and photography then read on a little…..
There’s a well-known, potential truism, that you can take the kid out of the council estate but you can’t take the council estate out of the kid. Well, for the better part of 20 years this kid virtually never got taken out of the council estate at all. Apart from the odd trip to Blackpool (and they were odd, believe me), Weston Super Mare or Llandudno if we wanted to go posh, I never really went anywhere because we simply didn’t have the money. Mostly, the only time my shiny Clark’s shoes (OK, when I was really young it was sandals with socks) travelled the land was pounding the cracked concrete on the way to school. And given my propensity for skiving they didn’t even do that as often as they should have.
This place was my life:
Even though from our twelfth floor flat I could see rather more of the world than most :
I just couldn’t get to it:
It felt like those cast iron, balcony bars with their peeling paint literally and figuratively defined my world. In fact, I can still feel the unusual texture of their paint when I wrapped my hands around them – shiny-smooth, slightly rubbery, strangely lumpen and delightfully pickable for a kid; that’s probably why they always looked so worn and shabby – I was repeatedly trying to beat my record for the biggest paint peeling.
But all I could do for years was just stare at the view through those bars without actually getting close to it or exploring the big city world that I could see. Sometimes the bars themselves used to sing and hum in the wind as if they too were just marking time on that 8ft by 4ft concrete balcony. Although eventually I grew tall enough to see over the bars rather than just through them those iron bars still bounded and defined my life completely. I knew there was a bigger world out there because I could see it and hear it. As a teenager I spent lots of angst-ridden summer evenings listening to music mixed with the beat of the city and the drum of the motorway whilst just watching the thousands of city lights slowly emerge from the hazy gloaming. When there was a summer heat, it always felt heavier and more stifling a hundred-odd feet up in the air and just added to the sense of confinement.
Eventually, though, like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank, I got hold of a small spoon and dug my way out of the flats and off that iron cage balcony, although my poster of choice was not Rita Hayworth but Halo Jones. Actually, I was lucky enough to get a place at university as a way out of the flats, off the estate and into the wider world; most kids from the estate weren’t so fortunate at the time.
Since then, despite an office based job, in my spare time I have taken every opportunity to be outside, to travel, to visit, to do. To broaden mine and my kids horizons in a way that mine weren’t for some 20 years or so. In their relatively short lives, my kids have been all over Britain, seen Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece, Austria, Switzeland and America; they have walked the streets of Pompeii and floated along the canals of Venice.
This was our last balcony view:
Sorrento Sunset – A Long Way from the Council Estate
In words and pictures this blog records, where I go, what I do and what I feel. And occasionally what I eat!
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do creating it.