Sunday, August 19, 2012

Guess who has a new camera phone?

I have upgraded my phone contract this month and am now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy SIII. I couldn't be more delighted, particularly over the quality of the photographs and video film I am now able to make.

I know I have been conspicuous by my absence this month on blogger so I thought I would do a quick burst update using some of the great (and "still learning") photos I have taken.

Let me know what you think!

Liverpool West Derby Labour Party Summer Gala Picnic at the beautiful Lowlands, a beautiful Grade II-listed mansion house set in a rare Victorian city woodland garden and home to the West Derby Community Association.Well worth a visit if you have never been - picnic or no picnic.
A big thank you to Stephen Twigg MP and the team for inviting me, we had a great time and raised lots of money on the raffle!

The fourth of anniversary of the murder of Michael Causer was commemorated at an event in Liverpool on August 2nd 2012. Around 100 people came to pay tribute to Michael and to other victims of hate crime in the North West. As well as remembering Michael, a teenage boy killed in 2008 in Huyton for being gay, we remembered Jonny Delaney, a teenage boy killed in 2003 in Ellesmere Port for being a gypsy, Anthony Walker, a teenage boy killed in 2005 in Huyton for being black, Sophie Lancaster, a teenage girl killed in 2007 in Bacup for being a Goth, Albert Kennedy, a teenage boy killed in 1989 in Manchester for being gay and Gary Skelly, a child-like 53 year old killed in 2011 in Liverpool for being disabled. There were tears as we rededicated ourselves to fighting prejudice and recognising difference with the theme that the human race is one big family.
A big thank you to the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, the Mayoral lead for Community Safety, the Mayoral lead for Looked After Children and the Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Merseyside for accepting my invitation and giving their support, along with other councillors, residents and organisations, including the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Sahir house, Venture Housing Associations and community members of the LGBT network. We were also humbled to be joined by Albert, Sophie and Anthony's family. Those who think that equality has been achieved and all this focus on equality and diversity is misplaced should think again as these terrible stories show.

The Michael Causer Foundation, chaired by Gerry Proctor and set up by Michael's parents, Marrie and Mike, is dedicated to supporting young people in particular who find themselves with housing needs as a result of their sexuality - perhaps their parents have thrown them out for being gay. 

Liverpool Pride 2012 began with a very wet march through Liverpool city centre and down to the Pier Head. It absolutely did rain on our parade, but undaunted we put our best foot forward and were rewarded by the cheers and applause of thousands of people who lined the streets, despite the downpour. I dried off sitting on the Labour LGBT stall before the sun finally came out and I sat with friends enjoying listening to music and marvelling at everyone's costumes as they strolled past. The theme this year was "nautical but nice" with sailor boys and girls in abundance. Great fun - and we recruited quite a lot of new members to the party too. A big thanks to everyone who came down to support us, gay or straight or simply flamboyant, couples and families enjoying a great day.

I have just enjoyed a lovely, relaxing family holiday in Cornwall - and if you think I have caught the sun, then I can tell you this is where it happened. The most beautiful beach in the world, Marazion, overlooking St Michael's Mount. We ate the most enormous Cornish Pasties for lunch. I asked for the "medium" ones shown on the menu. The serving assistant said "They are "large" you know" and I replied "Well then it should say so on the menu surely?" She replied saying "We do have "large" as well but you have to pre-order those". I was somewhat bemused, but who cares, they tasted fantastic. Worth every penny, pasty tax or not. While I sat in the sun reading "Started early, took my dog" by Kate Atkinson (my recommended holiday reading), the others walked over to the island. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the tiny trail of people, walking across the causeway to the left of the island as the tide went out.

We enjoyed another beach day, at Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, which was celebrating the fantastic work of the RNLI with a fun day. There were staged rescues throughout the day along with a sand sculpture competition.

This was my favourite, depicting a sun bathing beauty, it was about 5 feet long and extremely authentic. The hair is made from seaweed and the bikini from tiny stones and pebbles.

There were lots of sculptures relating to the Olympics with this representation of the stadium, complete with hand drawn flags of the nations; a torch held by an arm with an anchor tattoo, and the podium showing the three prize medal positions.

These voluntary entries amply demonstrated the passion that the country has had for the London 2012 games.

Huge plaudits are due to Tony Blair, David Beckham, Tessa Jowell, and Lord Coe who I prefer to remember as an Olympic champion, rather than that Tory bloke that used to represent a Cornish constituency - and everyone else who had a hand in bringing the games so successfully to London for 2012.

I watched the whole thing, avidly, as always, rediscovering a passion for cycling, rowing, sailing, diving, shooting, athletics... you get the idea.  After months of reading whinges on my Twitter feed from naysayers, banging on about the commercialisation of the games and the ineptitude of G4S, it was great to see everyone get behind our athletes when it mattered. And what a contrast with the prima donna footballers who have no real idea of sportsmanship at all. 
Rant over, you have heard it all from a million others.

On one of the less sunny days we took the kids to Flambards, a theme park at Helston where I took lots of photographs of rides and people having a great time. I particularly like this picture as the colours are so clear and the composition is great. I took one photograph of Joel as he sat in a "log" moving up the flume hill. He waved from 200 yards away - and on my photo, if you blow it up, you can clearly see his face and recognise him. The power of 2012 technology is amazing.

Roger, my step-father came to stay for the weekend and today we made our first visit to the Liverpool Festival Gardens. It did rain a bit but we spent that time under the awning at the bus cafe, drinking coffee and chatting to one of the Liverpool City Council Parks Officers who is helping me and the members of the Park Forum to improve and develop Newsham Park in Fairfield. Like me he is mad about parks and had come to see how the "opposition" are doing. It was a happy coincidence and we enjoyed a catch-up. (More of our work there later, watch this space.) Roger and I had a good look at the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden and strolled around some of the woodland paths. Our only criticism is that the water in some of the lakes and ponds needs some work, it is very green, probably a product of its shallow depths. Despite the weather the place was heaving with visitors. 

This afternoon after a carvery with Colin, we went over to the Tate to see the Turner, Monet and Twombly Impressionist exhibition. I couldn't take any photos of the paintings of course but I did take this interesting picture from the window of the second floor sculpture gallery later. Don't you just love the Liverpool water front? 

We weren't hugely "impressed" with Twombly but loved the other works. Roger and Mum went to Monet's garden at Giverny some years ago and he had seen some of the paintings - or others in the set, before. He said it was a delight to see them again. I have only seen Monet's work in general collections before, not in an exhibition of his work. I do have a lily in my yarden, given to me by a friend, who claimed it was taken from a cutting from Giverny, but I have no idea whether that is true. I have always loved water lilies, it is a family story oft told by my Dad that when I was tiny I tried to catch some in my fishing net in Sutton Park. The exhibition is on until the end of October so there is plenty of time for you to go. Even if like us, you are not hugely keen on Twombly, there is no doubting the wonderful work of Turner, with his incredible aptitude for portraying light, or Monet's wonderful colours. Well worth a visit!

In other news, I have reduced the asking price for the house, do please check it out on Rightmove, and make me an offer, go on, you know you want to!

And I am working flat out, night and day, to get everything ready for the reconsecration service at Deane Road Cemetery next month.

Don't forget, you can click on any photograph to see an enlarged version. 

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