Thursday, April 12, 2007


The cliffs of France viewed from Folkestone. May 21, 1973. Canon with 2,000mm lens.

Well, the days are wandering around not knowing what the hell to do with myself. For the first time ever, I'm genuinely puzzled by what the hell it's all about. What is all this for? What is the secret to all this? I've been driving a lot, and staring out at the sun going down, and the sun coming up, and the sun in between. How odd it all is. Planes still land every 90 seconds at Heathrow. The same pigeons wander around outside my house. Same old same old, but not. I no longer feel, as I did, that I'm made of dully burning metal. For the first couple of weeks that's what it was like; so much so that I felt that if you'd put me on a bed or a sofa I would have burned right through. But I'm not myself any more. Really not. And I'm so tired, all the time. And prone to fits of violent anger, and shaking, and I'm becoming used to my vision dissolving into a blur at the drop of a hat. I guess all these things are predictable, and things that one would expect. But that doesn't help. People have been completely lovely, and so wonderfully kind and caring. Thank you, all of you who wrote to me. I've not done very well at writing back. And I'm not doing too well at being sociable. But, as I say, the planes are still landing, and the pigeons still spreading their tails and courting each other with stately pavanes on the lawn outside, and I guess that's the way to go on, just looking at them all. Watching.

Here is a random selection of dad's photos: and a naive, heartfelt note to anyone out there who's come across this blog and decides to nick one or two to reproduce: pleeeeeease don't. Bless you.

Fox escapes from marksmen attempting to contain a rabies outbreak. Camberley Heath, Surrey, 1969.

A montage of all the boats passing down this stretch of the Thames in one hour. 2006.

"After 25 years as a gardener and maintenance man at Buckingham Palace, Charles Lyons knows all the birds in the area. Here he feeds sparrows on the pavement outside Buckingham Palace. June 11th 1974."

Oswald Mosley arrives at a meeting in East London's Dalston Road. August 1st 1962. Leica M2 35mm.

The leaning tower of Hackney: Northaird Road after a bungled demolition attempt.
November 3 1985. Canon with 85mm lens.

(from my dad's notes) "Infra-red picture taken from 42,000 feet over the English Channel. Camera plane was a Hawker Hunter, and the plane in the picture is a Sea Vixen. Both aircraft came from RN Yeovilton, Somerset. Hypersensitive infra-red plates were used in a "one-off" home-made camera. October 21 1966. 65mm super angulon lens on a 5x4"
One of the queen's corgis coming a cropper, 18th October 1983.

Dad being a daredevil, photographing the maintenance man at Salisbury Cathedral using a fisheye lens. He climbed that bloody spire. In a suit, of course. When this picture was published, people wrote in to say how brave the maintenance man was. Talk about the invisibility of the photographer!

That picture.

Full moon rising over St Pauls. Multiple exposure.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in Granada. March 24, 1966. Leica M2, 35mm. Apparently dad turned up at their beach house in his suit (of course) and was taken for the carpet fitter. Moore showed him where the problem was. Dad left, came back, knocked on the door and this time introduced himself properly.

Dad went to Paris with the Beatles in 1964...


Old Scrote said...

It is so good to have you back, dear Pluvialis. If you need anything at all, just ask.

Rurality said...

As a longtime lurker on your wonderful blog I'd like to say how sorry I was to hear about your Dad's passing.

Though it's been 18 years for me now I still remember those feelings exactly.

Beautiful photos. Hugs to you.

Acre said...

When I got back to the States last week, I finally sat down and looked at some of your father’s photographs online. Thank you for the link that lead me to them. I'd wanted to know who he was. I was surprised to realize that I’d known him, known his photos, that they were integral to how I’d seen things there in England for a very long time. What a tremendous loss. Though no more a loss than if the only thing he’d ever been was your dad. I’m so sorry.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Thanks for sharing these. And maybe the fox escaped because the marksman did not want to shoot the photographer?

Quills said...

Wow. Your father's photos are amazing. Thank you for sharing them.