Tag Archives: 48

Watching the match

Saturday 25th August 2018, 3.30pm (day 2,557)

Hyde fans, 25/8/18

My summer holidays reach their conclusion this weekend. The one remaining day, Sunday, is my 49th birthday, so today also marks the end of the 7th year of this blog. So now you know how many days there are in 7 years (with two February 29ths). We came back from Berlin in the morning, but there was no point hanging around doing nothing for the rest of this Saturday so I did what I — and many thousands of people up and down the country — often do in such circumstances, and went to watch a football match. Today’s venue, Ewen Fields, home of Hyde United FC, also brings up a milestone as I make it that this is the 50th football ground to feature on here. But the picture is generic, if you like — I just like the image of the different people on here all doing their thing.

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The Garden of Exile

Friday 24th August 2018, 11.50am (day 2,556)

Garden of Exile, 24/8/18

The building which houses the Jewish Museum in Berlin is one of the most brilliant pieces of architecture I have ever experienced. Even if it were empty of exhibits — and at the moment, due to a renovation, it nearly is — it would make you think. There are these great vertical voids throughout the building, including the ‘Holocaust Tower’, a vast blank space illuminated only by a sliver of light coming in through the top. Another is covered with these metal sculpted faces, representing the innocent dead, that you must walk across in order to traverse the space. Then there is this garden, the ‘Garden of Exile’ — its plants placed high up on these stone pillars. Walking around it, other people appear and disappear randomly from view. This is architecture of genius, and well worth visiting. Though don’t expect to come out of it feeling any happier about the world — except, perhaps, that it has been built in Berlin. That fact alone gives me some hope.

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By the wall

Thursday 23rd August 2018, 12.20pm (day 2,555)

East Side Gallery, 23/9/18Some parts of the old Berlin Wall remain in the city. Probably they could have been demolished back in 1990 but the authorities realised — correctly — that they were valuable as memorials and/or tourist attractions. Or, as in the case of the East Side Gallery, which runs beside the Spree for about a kilometer near the Ostbahnhof, an art installation; this long line of concrete has been decorated by a range of murals, including this one of Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, who seems to disdain the busker beside him, playing as he is on a load of old water pipes, or something.

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It’s the Wurst

Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 5.50pm (day 2,554)

Wurst stand, 22/8/18

The next burst of summer holiday is taking place in Berlin, where Clare and I travelled today. We didn’t arrive until late afternoon and I feel I managed to do little, photographically, with the various opportunities offered: a few stereotypical shots of the Brandenburg Gate, which everyone snaps (our hotel is only a few minutes’ walk away). But this sausage stand nearby did capture the attention. As anyone who’s been to Germany knows, if you want a roadside sausage, this is the world epicentre. And that German word always gives scope for some dreadful pun or other.

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Hopegill Head in the clouds

Tuesday 21st August 2018, 12.40pm (day 2,553)

Hopegill Head clouds, 21/8/18

I’m still off work and have no intention of going back for a few days yet, so time for another Lake District walk. Rather dull, grey weather did limit the photo opportunities, but with this shot, of the fell known as Hopegill Head, seen from the north, there was a rare moment of faint sunlight which caught the clouds and the green fellside below.

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On the edge of the woods

Monday 20th August 2018, 10.30am (day 2,552)

Out of the woods, 20//8/18

No commentary on this shot other than to say I like it for somehow symbolising the road that out of darkness leads up into the light. Or something like that.

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The birds seek more

Sunday 19th August 2018, 1.25pm (day 2,551)

Geese revenge, 19/8/18

Two days of total indolence are in progress for me, this being the first. I avoided the temptation to present a photo of this afternoon’s football result (Brighton & Hove Albion 3, Manchester United 2 — oh yes oh yes) and so this one will do. The woman in beige maybe regrets encouraging the geese to visit her for a snack.

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The Hand of Stoke

Saturday 18th August 2018, 12.15pm (day 2,550)

Hand of Stoke, 18/8/18

Finding myself on Stoke-on-Trent railway station for half an hour today, and time therefore to ponder this sculpture: not so much why is it there at all (for there should be more public art if you ask me), but why tuck it down the very far end of platform 2 where hardly anyone ever goes?

The blue post may seem an intrusion but I like it. The photo becomes a study of the various lines going both across and down.

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Braye Beach (and farewell to the Channel Islands)

Friday 17th August 2018, 10.35am (day 2,549)

Braye beach, 17/8/18

Yesterday’s rather sombre subject matter was matched by the Thursday weather on Alderney, but the sun returned today to brighten up our last day in the Channel Islands: we had breakfast here, lunch in Guernsey and dinner at home, in Hebden Bridge. The general family consensus was that we could take or leave Guernsey, but the smaller islands we visited, Sark and Alderney, do tempt one into fantasies of retiring from the world to island life. It’s places like Braye beach — almost empty on a glorious August morning — that particularly encourage this.

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Lager Sylt entrance (lest we forget)

Thursday 16th August 2018, 2.30pm (day 2,548)

Lager Sylt gates, 16/8/18

Unlike the other Channel Islands, Alderney was completely evacuated in June 1940, eight days before the Germans arrived to occupy it for the next five years. Because of the lack of a civilian population, they pretty much did what they liked here, fortifying the island to an immense degree (to the extent that the Alderney garrison did not surrender until 16th May 1945, a whole week after VE Day). The labour that this required was undertaken mostly by Russian POWs, who were housed in four camps, or lager, each named after German North Sea islands. Lager Sylt was the camp for Jews, run by the SS, and along with nearby Lager Nordeney was thus the only concentration camp — so far — to have been built on British soil. 400 graves of prisoners have been identified on Alderney but many more are estimated to have died here. The only remaining sign of any of the camps are these old concrete gate posts, on the edge of the airport, and the small plaque affixed thereon, fading text declaring that this was the entrance to Lager Sylt.

World War 2 too often gets treated as some big nostalgia kick. But it’s worth remembering that all those years, all that effort and suffering and hardship, was fought for poor bastards like those prisoners, to stop this kind of thing ever happening again.  As time passes and the ruins moulder away, there’s a risk that some people are forgetting this.

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