Mid-December playground

Saturday 14th December 2019, 12.40pm (day 3,033)

December playground, 14/12/19

Grim and bleak seem to have been themes for a few days now, and with this particular mid-December being even grimmer and bleaker than is normal for the time of year, the theme is likely to continue. Is Limeside Park in Oldham a more welcoming place on a sunny day in May? Of course it is, but then again, so is everywhere.

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Car crash (remote)

Friday 13th December 2019, 10.15am (day 3,032)

Dead car on path, 13/12/19

A car crash in a remote, forgotten part of Europe that probably happened three and a half years ago seems an adequate metaphor for the way things panned out today. This is a good sixty feet below the road. Maybe the occupants got out, but I actually suspect not.

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Election Day in Newport

Thursday 12th December 2019, 11.35am (day 3,031)

Election day, 12/12/19

As I type this there are 23 minutes left of voting in the third General Election day to feature on this blog. On all of them I have been away from home — I was in Dundee in May 2015 and Siberia just over two years later in June 2017. I had to get out from the conference venue today, there was no way I could stay in the antiseptic air-con of the Celtic Manor all day. But the prospects offered by Newport and the River Usk were grim. A dark day. If you see anything about today as heralding a bright shining future of some kind, I admire your optimism.

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The dragon watches

Wednesday 11th December 2019, 3.15pm (day 3,030)

Celtic dragon, 11/12/19

2019 has had a number of interesting work trips, at least, but this is the last of the year; my second visit to the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) conference, which as it always is, is being held in the highly corporate Celtic Manor Hotel in Newport, south Wales. This hefty dragon sculpture stands somewhere in the complex, looking out over the M4, in case any passing motorists were tempted to wonder what country they were in. A sensation I am starting to sympathise with, in fact.

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Winter blossom

Tuesday 10th December 2019, 3.05pm (day 3,029)

Winter blossom, 10/12/19

Today was one of those grim December days where it never seems to get light at all. Ragged and shadowed though it is, this winter flowering cherry blossoms at this time each year in its little courtyard under this fire escape, and does its best to lighten the gloom.

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Chimneys on the graduation marquee

Monday 9th December 2019, 10.55am (day 3,028)

Graduation tent chimneys, 9/12/19

I made it onto campus today, at least. I like this shot of the ventilation chimneys outside the tents set up to suppor this week’s graduation ceremonies; look at the top-right third of the shot and see how it is disorted by the heat coming out of the main stack.

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The VCR provides the company

Sunday 8th December 2019, 8.15pm (day 3,027)

VCR, 8/12/19

I continue to suffer in the grip of some tropical virus brought back from Indonesia, and spent most of today in bed, so have to accept the very limited horizons on today’s shot. The 1990s technological relic that is the video cassette recorder in our bedroom still functions properly, which is good — but for how much longer? The movie was Pulp Fiction by the way.

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Lost ball (definitively so)

Saturday 7th December 2019, 2.25pm (day 3,026)

Lost ball, 7/12/19

OK, technically it’s not ‘lost’ but I would say this ball is pretty definitively out of action. You can imagine the sulky face on the eight-year old owner, however, as he tries grumpily to get Mum and Dad to acknowledge that if only he had a big enough stick all would be fine…

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Fire beast

Friday 6th December 2019, 5.15pm (day 3,025)

Fire beast, 6/12/19

One of those shots where you either see it the same way that I do, or you don’t. But look at it’s balefully glowing eye, its smouldering snout. It’s definitely there, and watching.

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Christmas wishes and Turing

Thursday 5th December 2019, 9.00am (day 3,024)

Wishes and Turing, 5/12/19

Did not feel a great deal more interested in engaging with the world today than I did yesterday, but was obliged to haul myself into Manchester in any case. The city seems to have definitively adopted Alan Turing (that’s him…) as one of its own, despite the fact that he only spent the very last portion of his truncated life here. But hey, there are many worse and less significant people to eulogise.

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