Brian Micklethwait's Blog
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- Sunny Croydon
- Bridge in Germany with houses on it
- A day in BMdotcom heaven (5): My belated photo-tribute to Kumar Sangakkara
- Quota Shard with quota cranes
- There’s a spiral staircase inside the Testicle
- Dernbach decisive again
- Windows in bright light
- When welfare means lavatories
- Another place to photo London’s Big Things from
- Crane with roof attached
- Another fine day at the Oval (4): Scoreboards old and new
- Street dogs
- Keeping their distance
- Millenium Bridge with boats
- Asian wedding photoshoot
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This and that
Today I was in Croydon. Not for long, but I was in Croydon. While in Croydon I took photos.
Like this one, of No. 1 Croydon:
And like this one, of a buildlng which was being modified, but whose name I did not catch:
Why was I in Croydon? I had my reason. More tomorrow, or some day, or maybe never. I promise nothing.
So I did something I haven’t done recently. I went to BLDGBLOG, and right at the bottom of this posting, which consists of a collection of weird photos that aren’t quite photos but are something else somewhat similar, I found this classic bridge:
But that isn’t the picture at BLDGBLOG. I went looking for another, and found it here.
I like bridges, and I especially like bridges with buildings on them, buildings which don’t match, like the bridge is just a street rather than a single unified structure all designed and built at one time.
I also very much like the look of the picture at the top of this posting. which, for reasons I do not understand, is entitled “Critical Engineering Summer Intensives”, but which ought to be entitled “When Roof Clutter Catches Fire”.
Sangakkara, having had time off to go and win the Caribbean Premier League with his team out there, has been back playing for Surrey in recent days, with his usual huge distinction He made the highest score of the match in Surrey’s win against Warwickshire in the County Championship, and he made that match winning 130 not out against Northants, to get Surrey to the semi-finals of this year’s 50 overs tournament.
The best time for this photo-tribute to the great man would have been just after I took all the photos. But now feels like the second best time for it. Very late is not good, but it is a lot better than never.
The first lot of pictures are of Sanga scoring his 166, of him becoming increasingly tired while doing this, and of him walking off after getting out to first ball of the final over of the Surrey innings.
Several of these shots are of – ho ho – shots. One shot should be particularly noted. This is the so-called “ramp” shot, which is when the batsman scoops the ball right over where his head would have been, straight behind the wicketkeeper or thereabouts, hopefully for a boundary. Sanga did at least one of these last September, as you can see (2.2). And he did another, even more spectacularly, when he ramped a six in the last over of that one wicket victory over Northants. (Very short YouTube video of that here.)
I also particularly like the shot of Samit Patel of Notts congratulating Sanga (3.2), as he walks back to the pavilion.
And the second lot of photos are of what Sanga did after this great innings. He fielded (4.1). And oh look, who is that doing exercises in the foreground? That would be Jade Dernbach.
After the game had concluded with a narrow Surrey win, Sanga was given a Man of the Match medal (4.2), and a Man of the Match bottle of Champagne (4.4). Surrey commentator Mark Church interviewed Sanga (5.2). And then (5.3 to 6.4) Sanga mingled with us punters, and had his photo taken by lots of us including by a very happy me, who by then was but a few feet away from him:
Note in particular the Bald Bloke, with a very battered old-school looking camera, whom I managed to include in a couple of my shots (5.3 and 6.1). Maybe I am in some of his shots.
Finally, a bone weary Sanga decides that he really has done enough mingling, and he makes his bone weary way up the steps to the Surrey dressing room (6.3). But then, he gets ambushed yet again by an admirer, a kid (6.4), and he obliges with one last photo, before making his final exit.
Yes, I know, I show recognisable faces here. But a public sports ground is a very public place, and you don’t go there unless you are willing for your face to be included in photos and TV coverage of the event. Plus, if you place yourself right next to a Celeb, then you become fair photographic game, same as the Celeb himself is. Well, those are my rules.
Taken from the top of my block of flats, in April:
The cranes, of course, are quite close. The Shard is way over on the other side of the River. I’m not sure what the building is.
I think it’s the colours that made me pick this one to show here. The near white of all the solid objects, and the dark grey of the sky.
Or to give it its official name, City Hall.
I took this photo of City Hall in April of this year, from the other side of the river, outside the Tower of London:
Until this evening, I thought of this photo merely as the most flattering photo I have taken of this mostly rather ungainly, and frankly, frequently rather dirty looking building.
But, I just noticed that quite aside from it being such a flattering view of this edifice, my photo reveals that there is a spiral staircase in there. I’m right. Look closely, and you’ll see it too.
And here, by way of further proof, is a very artistic type photo of this same staircase, taken by Aaron Yeoman. You have to scroll down quite a lot at the end of that link to reach this photo, so if you want quickly to see it bigger, click on this instead:
If you are outside a building, this is the kind of thing you only see at dusk, when natural light and artificial light are in a state of approximate equality. You wouldn’t be able to see that staircase in the bright light of the day, because you wouldn’t be able to see the lights inside the building.
Plus, with me, you need to allow a few months for me to realise. My camera sees far more than I do, and I discover new stuff in my old photos months and often years later.
So far as I can work out, from looking at the what you can visit bit of the City Hall website, regular members of the mere public are not allowed to go up this staircase to the top. But you never really know about things like this until you actually go there, and ask. Next time I’m there, I might drop in and do exactly that.
My blogging time this evening was totally bent out of shape by – surprise, surprise – a game of cricket. This went on for longer than I expected, and it seeed and sawed hither and thither. Sangakkara scored a brilliant hundred. Jade Dernbach also did important things for Surrey. And Surrey won. It was like I was there!
Sangakkara’s brilliance is well explained in this report of the game. But Dernbach deserves a bit more immortalising than his performance might otherwise get. First off, he took three top order Northants wickets, including those of Levi and Duckett, both dangerous, for small scores. And just as in that game in 2015 against Notts, the penultimate over that Dernbach bowled, and the contrast between it and the penultimate over of the Surrey innings, also involving Dernbach, proved crucial.
In the penultimate over of the Northants innings, Dernbach conceded just two runs, after the over before that one had gone for eighteen. And he got the wicket of his opposite number – the Northants number eleven, Azharullah – with the last ball of that penultimate over, thus ending a troublesome last wicket stand, and denying Kleinveldt one final over of tumultuous hitting, because thanks to Dernbach getting Azharullah there was no final over. Kleinveldt might have got a century, and Northants might have got three hundred. As it was, Kleinveldt had to be content with 76, and Northants with 276.
But whereas Northants had scored two off their last two overs, with one wicket left at the beginning of the second last over, Surrey, also with only one wicket standing, found themselves needing twenty four off the last two overs to win the game. Dernbach was batting alongside Sanga, and thanks in no small part to Dernbach, Surrey did win. Dernbach scored eight, including a much needed boundary during that penultimate over, and the rest of his runs in singles of the sort that got the strike back to Sanga. And Sanga did the necessary slogging and won the game for Surrey with an amazing six during the last over and a four off the last ball of the match. But Dernbach’s support was vital. He played a few shots and did not get out.
Here is a not very dramatic picture I took of Dernbach at the Oval, at the game I attended last month, just after he had taken three top order Gloucester wickets in that game:
And here is a rather better picture that I took, during that game in 2015, of a picture someone else took of him, along with the Shard and a crane and a gasometer:
Perhaps one reason Dernbach played so very well in this evening’s game is that he is now, what with being quite old, a one-day specialist. If Surrey had lost this game, I’m pretty sure that that would have been the end of his season, because Surrey would have been knocked out of this fifty overs tournament, and have already been knocked out of the twenty overs tournament.
Here are three pictures, on the left below. On the right below are the pictures that explain the real pictures. On the left: artistic impression. On the right: what’s going on that enabled me to photo the artistic impression.
Top, in Victoria Street. I have never noticed this particular effect (left) before, but in the bright sunlight the other day, I did.
In the middle is a way to decorate a wall of windows that I’m not sure I like the look of, except in photos. On the right there, we see that the building in question is next to The Monument.
The photo on the right, bottom, I took out of a train window, as I journeyed towards the Horniman Museum. No rotating needed. Good shot. Photoing out of a train window works well in bright light, so long as you get no reflections.
Note the big things - Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Walkie-Talkie, lurking behind the blue building, on the left as we look.
Another example of bright colours in modern architecture, which is a trend I am noticing quite a lot.
As with photo 2, I’m not sure I like the building, but I do like the photo.
I continue to hoover up White Van pictures whenever an interesting one presents itself. And this one, that I encountered yesterday evening in Victoria Street, is surely a classic of the genre:
What I enjoy so much about this van is how this enterprise clearly started out in a state of in-your-face honesty. Yeah, we do lavs. Our boss is Dave. Workplaces need lavs. You got a problem with that? Everyone needs to piss and/or shit every now and again.
But then, as business expanded, the euphemisms crept in. Changing the website was too complicated, but the surrounding verbiage got more polite and decorous. That’s my take, anyway. Have you ever seen the word “welfare” used like that? I haven’t. “Welfare Vans” sounds a bit like something laid on by the Japanese Army during the war, providing you-know-what to the soldiery, and for which they still refuse to apologise to the women thus made use of.
Go to www.davlav.com and it’s all explained:
These self-contained welfare vans offer independent diesel heating, washing, toilet and kitchen/eating facilities. Also included are auxiliary power microwave, hand wash and water boiler. Our welfare vehicles offer superior standards and are completely mobile, providing staff with all the facilities required by current employment law. All parts comply with the new legislation for Whole Vehicle Type Approval.
I might have guessed there’d be government regulations involved.
Recently a friend told me that you can see the Big Things of London from the grounds outside the Horniman Museum. The place is a walk away from Forest Hill station, so today, I checked this out. You can. I did. Picture:
Somewhere on the www there must be a complete list of all such places. But every list of these places that I have ever seen excludes at least one Big Thing watching place that I personally know of.
I could go on, but the last few postings here have been rather complicated, so I am keeping this one simple.
The category list includes “Bridges” because away to the right, you can see the tops of Tower Bridge.
When I took this photo, about ten days ago (on the same day I took all these), …:
… I thought that all I was doing was enjoying the dark clouds in the background and the brightly lit buildings in the foreground, an effect I am very fond of. And the crane.
However, when I took this photo …:
… I remember being intrigued by that other crane. Not just the bright red crane, looking so cute against the bright blue sky (like in the first picture here). No, I mean the crane that has appeared from out of the roof of the building, the sort of crane that reaches out beyond the roof it resides on, or in this case in, and allows men in a box to lower themselves down the building and clean its window.
The crane with a sort of random frame on the top of it. What is that? So I photoed the puzzle, and looked at it when I got home.
Here it is in close-up:
The frame on top is a bit of the roof, permanently attached to the crane. When the crane is working, it wears that bit of the roof like a long hat. When the crane is resting, that hat turns into the perfect thing to fill the hole in the roof, the hole from which the crane emerged.
Here, by way of contrast, is the corresponding close-up of the picture at the top of this posting, of what the roof looks like when the crane based inside it is resting:
When the crane is doing stuff, there’s no way that the roof can avoid looking cluttered. But when the crane is resting, the aesthetic proprieties are restored. The crane disappears inside, and flattens the roof.
The thing is, this roof is not flat. Flat roofs are considered invisible, which they are, from the ground. Flat roofs have lots of similar cranes resting on them, and they just sit there, cluttering up the roof. Which is fine. That’s the rule, for flat roofs.
But for a roof that is at an angle, which thereby becomes visible from the ground, then aesthetics apply. Clutter cannot be allowed. When clutter is not active, it must somehow be smoothed out, decluttered, tidied up.
And look what I just found. Here is a picture which I took back in April of the same crane as is discussed above, but before it got its hat attached to it, and looking like a regular crane of this sort:
Note how the light is completely different again.
I think that it was because I had already registered the existence of this crane, looking as all other cranes of this sort look, that I was so intrigued and puzzled by its hat. I suppose I thought that there might be some kind of closure for the roof, when the crane was not busy. But I did not foresee that the closure would be attached be attached to the crane.
Proof that the day that Darren and I saw Surrey beat Gloucester was a great day out is that I have already done three postings about that day here, and have hardly scratched the surface of how much fun I (for only one) had, on that day.
Posting (1) about that day concerned vans. Posting (2) was about cricket, and in particular about the emerging cricket superstar that is Jason Roy. Posting (3) was about the Oval’s contrasting architectural Big Things, and about seeing (or not seeing) London’s biggest Big Things from one of the Ovals Big Things.
The final test match between England and Pakistan is now under way, at the very same Oval that I have been going on about. (England are getting stuffed, as I write this. Go here to be sure.) So it is appropriate that this posting takes us, those of us who are interested, back to cricket, and in particular to the photoing of a cricket scoreboard. Sporting scoreboards make for great photos, packed with memory-triggering information. Not just obvious things like the score of a particular game, but, as the years pass, forgotten names, and forgotten moments in remembered games.
I didn’t take many pictures of the old scoreboard that day, the one way off to the right of the Pavilion (as you look at it), but here is one of the pictures I did take of it, along with a lot of other stuff all around it:
You can’t really see the scoreboard there, unless you look rather carefully, so here is a close-up:
This looks to me rather like an eighties style computer screen, the sort that started you off with cryptic messages like: “A:>“. Such old screens often had orange letters or numbers on a black background. No doubt there have been suggestions that this scoreboard be replaced by something more twenty first century, but no doubt also, the old fogeys of the Surrey County Cricket Club drew the line at such vandalism. Cricket is, after all, a game typically played before an audience made up mostly of oldies. And as you can see from my pictures, this audience is too sparse for cricket people to be able to ignore the tastes of those who do show up.
I can remember scoreboards far more primitive even than this, where you hung the numbers on hooks. I even helped to operate such a scoreboard occasionally, when Englefield Green played nearby teams like Egham, Staines and so on, on … Englefield Green. Because yes, there really was an actual Englefield Green. There still is.
All that that old scoreboard showed was, as I recall, total runs scored, wickets down, batsman number this, this much, batsman number that, this much. And, if the other side had already batted, the other side’s total. Batsmen would not have been identified with numbers like 58 or 59, i.e. with the numbers on the backs of their shirts, because they wore no such shirts. Their number would be their place in the batting order, which is actually far more informative about the state of the game. If, say, there are seven wickets down, and batsmen 8 and 9 are batting, both with smallish scores, that’s one sort of game. But if batsmen 3 is still in with a decent score to his number, that’s a much better prospect for the batting side. “59” doesn’t tell you anything about whether the guy can bat or not.
Here is a much newer scoreboard, to be seen on the other side of the ground from the old scoreboard:
Here we learn who batsmen 58 and 59 actually are. Yes, they are the Curran brothers. They came together at the fall of the sixth Surrey wicket, and a lot depended upon them.
T(om) Curran is about twenty, and S(am) Curran is eighteen. On the day I took these photos, the Currans came together with the Surrey innings struggling for adequacy. There had been a flurry of wickets. More wickets now and not many more runs, and Gloucester would probably chase down the Surrey total easily. More runs now, and more wickets not so quickly surrendered, and Gloucester would have a fight on their hands.
For a while, the Currans “rebuilt” the innings, in other words scored rather slowly. But then the younger Curran (S(am)) stepped on the gas. Soon, this Curran partnership had become a …:
… and then, seemingly in no time at all. S(am) Curran had brought up his personal …:
… and the partnership was looking like this:
S(am) Curran got out soon after that, and was duly thanked by the scoreboard:
We can see the Surrey total on the old scoreboard …:
... the Surrey total being just about the only thing that the old scoreboard did tell us, during the interval. That’s the thing about old-school scoreboards. When they’ve nothing to tell you, they are unable to tell you anything else instead.
Surrey had done well. Although there had been no outstanding innings in the manner of Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 166 back in September 2015, Surrey had actually made more in their first innings this time around. Besides S(am) Curran’s fifty, there were also substantial scores from Davies and from Burns, and it all added up. The stand-out moment of the innings, the sort they call a “champagne moment” on Test Match Special, was when Surrey captain Gareth Batty hit a ferocious six that went smack into the middle of the new scoreboard. With no apparent harm done to it at all. Which was impressive on both counts.
Gloucester made a bad start:
That’s twice I’ve watched Surrey in a 50 overs game, and twice I have seen Jade Dernbach do decisive things.
There followed a promising stand, but it ended too soon, for Gloucester’s purposes:
I will end with a burst of horizontality. Darren was kind enough to say that he especially liked the posting I did after our previous Oval expedition which featured lots of adverts piled up in horizontal slices.
Here, which I hope Darren will also like, is another pile of horizontal slices, this time of Gloucester’s last six wickets falling in a rather humiliating heep, and the time at which each wicket fell:
As you can see, Surrey won easily in the end, with Batty again distinguishing himself with five wickets. Story of the day: Surrey got in a bit of a mess, but recovered. Gloucester got in a bit of a mess, never recovered and instead crumbled. If you’re there, your team winning narrowly may be better, but winning easily is pretty good also.
I often wonder how dogs feel about being owned by people who sleep out in the streets. Fine, presumably, provided they aren’t starved or otherwise tortured. But, do they love the outdoorsness of it? Or are they frustrated by what I suspect is the lack of exercise? It’s one thing to be in the open air but stuck still on a pavement, quite another to be hurtling about chasing sticks in a park, sniffing the bottoms of other dogs and behaving like a loon, the way dogs seem to like most.
Although intrigued by their lifestyle, I seldom photo such dogs-in-the-street, because they are usually lying next to their owners. Whereas I would like to photo the scene, I don’t want to get involved in one, on account of photoing perhaps being objected to.
However, here are a couple of street dogs I have been noticing recently, outside my nearest Sainsbury’s. What is odd about them is that there is no street person to be seen, although there is plenty of street person clobber. I’m guessing the dogs are attached to the trolley:
My first photo of these dogs didn’t have enough context. I photoed only the dogs, and you couldn’t see that there was no person near them. That photo makes the point rather better.
Indeed. Photoed by me yesterday, inside the original bit of Tate Modern:
Actually, if you look carefully, you see that these people aren’t exactly the same distances apart. The ones further away are a bit further apart. Which only adds to the effect.
More fundamentally, my picture shows people, but no Art. The contrast, between the bigness of these buildings - Tate Modern, Tate Modern Extension - and the almost complete absence of Modern Art in most of these huge spaces, is truly bizarre. Modern Art dwarfed by Architectural Modernity, you might say. There are these pokey little collections of stuff in medium sized spaces, off the big main spaces, and I looked in on one of these shows. I thought it was downright pathetic. Not offensive or nasty, you understand. Just feeble and totally underwhelming. It looked like a few giant toys, that someone had forgotten to tidy up, lying about in a giant nursery. And I don’t think it was just me. I heard others commenting along similarly underwhelmed lines.
The only popular enthusiasm that I observed was being expressed for the view from the top of the new Extension building. London is as fascinating and variegated to gaze out upon as Modern Art, to judge by the stuff I saw, is dreary and banal.
Yesterday here featured a photo (of a photographer photoing a new marriage) which all happened on the Millennium Bridge. Today’s photo is of the Millennium Bridge, with three boats all within a few yards of it, as seen from the viewing gallery at the top of the new Tate Modern Extension:
Although I promise nothing, I hope to show more snaps snapped from this most excellent vantage point here, in the nearish future.
One day, I will collect together all the photos I have from over the years, of … this kind of thing:
I love it when Asians get married and have a photoshoot to celebrate, in London. Quite when and where they get married, I don’t know, but this is definitely a Thing that they love to do. I took the above photo this afternoon. On a bridge. With a Big albeit Ancient Thing in the background. Weird reflections.
And because they are making such a spectacle of themselves, and doing it so very delightfully, I feel it’s okay to put my photo of one of these photoshoots here.