The first half of December threw some interesting weather at us, with a week of snow, freezing temperatures, and with the thaw a dense fog which gave the place a very eerie look indeed.
The second half was really the busy half – it seemed to go in a blur. There was the work Christmas meal followed swiftly by a night out with friends after which I visited my local pub which had a nasty fire back in November. It’s still not open and at the beginning of the month they had been hoping to have it open by Christmas Eve but the snow put paid to the work starting on time. I went in for a look around with my friend who runs it. So sad to see all the damage, but she had a nice little setup with a couple of comfy chairs so we had a couple of drinks there before heading home.
The following weekend saw me out and about again for a pre-Christmas drink with a group of friends. We visited several places in town and I do believe there is video footage of me singing karaoke but I believe it has been kept from the internet to protect the ears of the world.
One disappointment that night was the 80s bar in town. Well we thought it was an 80s bar. It’s called 80s. The sandwich board style sign outside read “Live Bands, 80s Music, Guest DJs” (though with apostrophes I am not prepared to reproduce here). So we were surprised, on a Friday night, to find that there was no 80s music playing. We asked the barman first, who said it would be on ‘later’ (it was already almost midnight). I then cornered the owner/manager to say that we’d all paid to get in and had been expecting 80s music and he said “there’s nothing I can do about it, that’s just the name of the club”, before disappearing rapidly through the fire escape door. Well if it’s your club then you CAN do something about it – a refund would have been nice.
Still, the Christmas spirit hadn’t been diminished and we went elsewhere. A couple of days later my daughter and I went over to Portsmouth on a special hovercraft charter into Gunwharf Quays and did some serious shopping. We were absolutely frozen by the time we got home but it was a good day and we managed to get most of the things we wanted.
The main photographic event of the second half of December was the quarterly a Day In the Life Of … (DILO) event. Every solstice and equinox the members of this Flickr group take photos of their day and post them to the group. Some collections really are of their day to day lives and that makes a fascinating snapshot of the world four times a year as there are members from every continent.
There is a theme set every time, but we try to keep it to a subject that is accessible to all – so a Christmas theme is definitely out. However, this time the theme was ‘Celebrations’ which can encompass many things. My friend Duncan and I headed out to see what festive things we could capture. First of all we went to Cowes and were quite surprised to see that the decorations in the street and in the shops were quite subdued. I’m not sure if it is because there has been, in recent years, this habit of throwing things out and buying new each year. Perhaps everyone decided not to buy many decorations this year (although the domestic outdoor lights were still very much in evidence on the journey there). With a few exceptions it certainly seemed a little lacklustre.
After having made the trek from the seafront, through the main shopping street and up along to the floating bridge at the river’s mouth, we were really feeling the cold so paid a visit to Corrie’s Cabin – the best chip shop on the Isle of Wight in my opinion. I don’t remember it having an indoor sit-down area before but perhaps I’d never wanted to sit down indoors for chips until that day. A big plate of cheesy chips and a pot of tea and we felt human again. By this time the light was going and as we walked back to the car, the town did seem a little more festive as the lights in shop windows and the large tree by the Vectis prettied up the place.
Phase two of the DILO day was spent in Newport. Before we’d set off for Cowes we had a coffee in Newport and were trying to decide where to go. I said “how about we go to Cowes while it’s daylight and then we can come back to Newport for the dark light”. I knew what I meant! When you are a photographer everything is light. Even the dark!
I popped home quickly for my tripod and first of all wanted to photograph the tree that’s on top of the fire station every year. Once again the photos weren’t good so I’ll have to give it another go next year. It did make an eerie appearance in one of my fog photos earlier in the month however.
We then wandered around town but again the street decorations were poor and there were still a lot of people bustling around doing their last minute shopping. I was very glad I had only my fresh food left to buy. I had a go at capturing some traffic trails with varying degrees of success and some of the better window displays. Eventually we ran out of town and lights and decided to call it a day.
And then, of course, came Christmas. My daughter and I spent a quiet day as planned and it was a little different this year as my brother and his family now live on the mainland so we didn’t have the morning visit to them. Dinner was timed to coincide with Doctor Who as usual and all the rushing about had paid off. The next day it was out for drinks with friends and then to the mainland to visit my brother (and IKEA!). My friend’s birthday (awkwardly on the 30th but this year a 1950s themed party which was great fun) was followed by a quiet but fun New Year’s Eve and December (and 2010) was done.
There are plans for another outing to photograph Lawrence Lee’s stained glass windows in January, so if you’ve been missing them your wait will soon be over.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2010, and thanks for reading.