What would you do?

Today I did something I’ve never done before.  I went in to a supermarket and bought a meal deal – chicken wrap, crisps + water, and gave it to this person.


But how many times do you walk past someone like this.  I know I do all the time, but today was different and I really felt like I wanted to do something helpful.  We all have times when life is cruel and hard on us.  Many times some people are so wrapped up in their own lives that we forget that others are suffering too.

Often people ask ‘Can you spare some change, love?’ or words to that effect, and many just walk on by, wrapped up their own lives and not giving a thought about someone just fighting to survive the day.

I made the decision to get the food for this person, and went into the supermarket and got a meal deal just for her.  I came back out, went up and handed it to her, saying “I think you look like you need this more than me” and she thanked me and off I walked.

It was a small gesture, I could tell she’d had a tough time since she was clearly not new to the streets, her skin looked grubby, her teeth in a sorry state, and I wondered just how does someone cope in a real homeless situation.  Her head hung in her arms, I could tell she probably felt beaten by the world – the world can be a cruel place.

I also thought that in the past I have walked past homeless people thinking why don’t they just get a job and sort themselves out, but its easy to say or think those thoughts, but I bet her reality doesn’t make such a thing as easy as that sounds.

She had a cup in front of her, hoping people would give her money.  I am skeptical of that because the common view of a lot of people is that it might just go on a bottle of whisky or drugs.  But by giving her food and water today, I know that that will help her to at least not be hungry.

The line in ‘Parklife’ by Blur suddenly came to me after having given her food which is:

‘I feed the pigeons, I sometimes feed the sparrows too It gives me a sense of enormous well-being And then I’m happy for the rest of the day safe in the knowledge there will always be a bit of my heart devoted to it’

Now obviously she’s no pigeon or Sparrow, but by helping another fellow person I felt I was just doing something human.  A little bit of kindness goes along way, and I encourage others to think twice about walking by, and maybe give someone a helping hand.

Life is very tough for some people, and I believe that we are all able to do things in our lives to improve our own lives.  Sometimes though, a helping hand is required, maybe to restore our belief in ourselves, maybe just to say everything is going to be alright, maybe just to show someone that there is a place for us all in this world.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, I do believe that you should never give up!  Life finds a way, but sometimes an extra helping hand does help…

What would you have done?  Please comment below…

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V1 Bomber Val Ygot

It is amazing and disturbing all the things that went on between ’39-’45  Things worked out well for the allies but there was heavy cost on both sides.  I’ve learnt a lot about WW2 over the years and seeing a V1 bomb still on the ramp aimed at London is a chilling sight.


The Firing Control Bunker stands next to it, where the German Officer would have overseen the bombs take off releasing the V1 by electrical contact.  There are no working parts inside the bunker now, just the empty concrete shell.  This particular site at Val Ygot was immediately bombed before it ever got used.  However, there were 117 sites like Val Ygot and some were used to devastating effect.  In 1944 between mid Jun – August approximately 3000 V1s reached London killing 6000 people and wounding 3 times as many.  The total number of ‘doodlebugs’ launched was 9521 and at its height, about 100 were launched per day across the launch sites. Some V1’s didn’t go far accidentally landing in France killing or wounding civilians.


This ‘Amagnetic’ Building was built without any ferrous metal to avoid confusing the compass withing the bombs.  It was in here that the compass would be adjusted for direction and the flights altitude would be set and autopilot engaged.  Once ready, the V1 would be sealed so there were no changes before getting to the launch pad.

The evidence remains all around the area that the site was rendered unusable from allied bombing with big craters still in the ground and destroyed buildings still visible.


It seems so strange that in a wood that stands today so quiet and peaceful, such an evil thing lurked within and was primed to take so many lives miles away.  The noise of WW2 is over thankfully, and the woods are peaceful once more, but the memory of the horror of those days lives on, let us not forget…

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It’s Only Water…

In the western world, I think that a lot of us do take water for granted because usually it is there on tap for us 24/7.  We enjoy the luxury of water sprinklers, and fountains as water features, and are lucky to have enough water in our country.


We are very lucky to have water available to us all the time, and although we grumble if there is a hose pipe ban, we still have enough to drink, cook with, for use in heating and many other ways.

Other countries are not so lucky, Africa being the obvious thought that comes to mind, and having been to Egypt last year, I felt the very dry heat that just draws water from you very fast.  Visiting the pyramids was awesome but I went through 3 bottles of water in about 45 minutes!!  However, I was able to buy that water and so it wasn’t a problem to me.


So I’ve often wondered if anything can be done to help the hot parts of the world.  Can drought be dealt with in a such a way that people who need water can actually get it.  Could a pipeline for instance be built from a country with plenty of water to irrigate the thirst of desert areas?  They build huge pipelines for oil after all!

However, I read an interesting idea the other day that is actually quite inspiring, as if often the case it makes me wonder why has no one thought of it before?

Egyptian scientists have found a way to use waste water to irrigate the land and create a new forest using fast growing eucalyptus trees which as the report suggest grow four times faster than pine trees!  If you are interested, here is the link to the report I found http://inhabitat.com/egyptian-researchers-discover-a-way-to-grow-forests-in-the-desert-with-sewage/



I think the idea is potentially very helpful, but are there deserts on the world for a reason?  Do they help the world in some way we are not aware?  What about the eco system of a desert.  If the deserts are taken over by forests as could happen, what would that mean for our planet?  Could a forest be encouraged to grow in this new way across say, the Sahara Desert?  There are a lot of questions that need to be answered I think that shouldn’t be ignored.  On the face of it though, I think the idea the scientists have implemented sounds great, if it could help people in places such as Ethiopia then it really could be a winner, lets hope for a better quality of life, and water for everybody in the future…

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Boats, Harbours and Relaxation

Water is generally accepted as being a relaxing feature.  If it is calm, running slowly past, or as part of a pond, lake or harbour then this can be very true.    If its tranquility and peaceful nature appeals then you may enjoy a French town called ‘Honfleur’ in Normandy.


I think that this idyllic harbour has a lot going for it.  Boats on water create a lovely view, covered seating provides shelter from the weather so you can comfortably eat and drink outside admiring the view and there are lots of little shops to buy exciting things in.

As I walked around the harbour the smell of French food being served by the local cafes was welcome and pleasant, the occasional cry from the seagulls above reminded me I was at the coast and the whole atmosphere was very relaxed, but there was a great buzz in the air.  For me it was an excitement at finding such a gem, a combination of the weather, others enjoying the harbour, the general hustle and bustle of life, and from my experience, friendly folk.

There are many great harbours though, one such place that is always a personal favourite is Portscatho in Cornwall.


There is the lugger (jetty) in the picture that people jump into the sea at high tide.  The harbour where people keep their boats mostly during the summer months.  The village is friendly with a great pub ‘The Plume of Feathers’ where I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed good food and a pint or two!

The two pictures above are very different, one is a town, the other is a village, but both have friendly people, a great atmosphere, and feel welcoming.  If I had a boat, I can imagine this is the sort of place I would come down to, and when the water has risen at high tide take it out and enjoy some sailing or fishing…



If you get the chance to go to Clovelly, Devon though I thoroughly recommend it.  If you stay in the town, and take a walk down at night under a moonlit sky, the view can be breathtaking.  The sound of the water lapping at the shore, or the ropes pinging the masts if there is a little wind I find incredibly relaxing.  It helps that this particular place is a 16th century harbour and steeped in history, it just oozes character and even if just have an afternoon to visit and have a Devonshire cream tea, it is well worth it!

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Food and location

One of my favourite things is to eat good food!  If you know me, you know I enjoy quantity too, but actually its the quality that is most important.  When I’m at home I don’t pretend to be a master chef (ok I do pretend!) but aside from producing meals that others politely tell me they enjoy, I prefer to go out to eat.  I will eat almost anything and want to impress how good the food was here, I do eat meat and so if you are reading this and don’t for whatever reason, then please don’t be offended…

Recently, I was in France and had a tasty meal in the town of Caen which was good, but in my experience if you drive away from the big towns and cities and find a nice quiet rural restaurant, you can find a really superb meal waiting to be served.  I discovered this when I went to Sainte Marie Du Mont, in Normandy, France.  There was a lovely restaurant with welcoming staff, and a relaxed friendly atmosphere (and no I’m not on commission!)


I’ve always found french food very tasty, there are many famous Chefs that are household names over here in England such as  the Roux brothers and Raymond Blanc.  However, this quaint little gem delivered good quality food, at affordable prices and tasted great.  The starter for me was a slightly nostalgic affair since it was ‘Delice du Perigord’ (Delights from the Perigord region of france) and I’d enjoyed a family holiday in that region years ago.  I thought the plate looked amazing with pan-seared duck liver, foie gras, and smoked duck breast, and tasted so good!


I was happy that the starter was a decent size too since I always get disappointed if its gourmet food and half a tomato on a lettuce leaf turns up!  As you might expect, the foie gras (goose pate) is rich, but as a delicacy was fantastic.

The main course didn’t let me down either, I always enjoy a steak and this one was  8oz char grilled and was ‘melt in your mouth’ juicy and tender, just how I like it, with fries, and the perfect amount of peppercorn sauce.  In my book it scores very highly, especially as it’s something I wouldn’t normally cook at home, so its a pleasure to enjoy when out.


For the dessert I quite often go for something heavy, with sauce but for a change I opted for something a lot lighter, a creme brulee, and I could tell it was freshly made.  It was light, creamy and had a beautifully glazed melted sugary top which cracked apart with the spoon allowing for the lovely crunch as the spoon cracks the top and you eat it.  Served with ice cream and a ginger flavoured biscuit, really good.


After the meal I looked around me and saw the village was a place where the Tour de France had come through a week or so ago and so bicycles were everywhere!  A really nice friendly little village and I recommend it thoroughly.



There is a Sunrise!

From the title you might imagine I am not a ‘morning person’! And you would not be wrong.  However every now again I see the light filtering through the curtains and notice in the morning that just maybe, I might be missing something.

Indeed it is an irony that I don’t do mornings as I am a photographer and as such I know I am missing out on a great part of the day.  I’m not sure therefore if it was guilt for all the mornings I’ve missed or a flash of sudden inspiration but the other day I actually got up for the sunrise, and I didn’t regret a thing.


As the sun began to rise I stood on a pontoon on a lake, (Horseshoe Lake, Yateley, Hampshire,UK) and saw the first rays of light begin to appear.  The light is much more yellow than evening light and felt fresh and new, as a new day should.  My tiredness melted away and I enjoyed the spectacle unfold before me.  Feeling inspired I saw the light was a magical thing all around me and the boat ahead of me looked so awesome:


I love boats and water at the best of times, the way they look can look so photogenic and the lighting here was a beautiful moment.  Feeling so inspired I stopped looking into the light and lay down on the pontoon and looked at the front of the boat to get the view of it fully lit buy the newly rising sun and managed to get this shot:


The lighting allowed for a beautiful reflection not just of the boat but of the sky aswell.  I thought it was a truly a beautiful sight.  So I appreciate the morning I got up out of bed, it was an early start, but I don’t regret it one bit.  I do still regret all the days since I made that sacrifice that I have not got up and missed some more great light, but that one morning shows me that there really is something I am missing and really should get up out of bed!!  One day I will do it again….