Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

Bouncing Buskers

This photo of friends and musicians, Claudia Stark and Lisa Von H, totally encapsulates the atmosphere at The Phoenix Cultural Centre‘s Big Busk in Woking Town centre on Saturday. We had all come together to celebrate music, community and culture in Woking. It was hoped that we would also be celebrating the signing of the lease on Quake nightclub, to be renamed Fiery Bird, as the next phase in the Phoenix project. Sadly the lease deadline passed, once again, without any further word on the completion! Get Surrey posted that “the council said it is looking into the matter”. Neither this latest let-down or the freezing cold could stop us partying though! I’m so proud to be part of this project and to have been part of this brilliant, fun event too.


Fastest Food In The World!

Woking Peregrine Adult and Juvenile

Fastest Food In The World!

The Woking Peregrine Falcons have successfully raised five youngsters this year! It’s been amazing to watch their journey unfold on the live cameras situated by the nest box. This is only the second year nesting here for these adults, so to raise all five of their brood is really quite something! The juveniles have fledged and all five have been taking to skies over Woking Town to learn how to hunt at around 200mph. These are the fastest animals on Earth! At the moment the adults are leading their young on high speed chases, baiting them with fresh caught food and trying a few food passes in flight. The adult in this image has a pigeon for the juveniles. This is my entry for Wex Mondays this week as it was just the most incredible thing to watch.


The Martian

The Martian

The Martian

This Martian War Machine is one of a number of sculptures set around Woking and in Horsell Common, that celebrate the author H.G. Wells who lived in Woking at the time he wrote his famous novel The War Of The Worlds. It has been adapted so many times but in the original it is here, in my home town, that the Martians first land. They proceed to wipe out most of the area around where I live before heading up to London via Kingston and Richmond. I would love to one day see or hear a production that is actually set in its original location! Until then I decided to give the Martian sculpture a menacing and alien looking backdrop using various overlays of smoke and granite. This is my entry for the Fotospeed Challenge using an image photographed over the weekend. The sunshine really gave a boost to the metal workings of the sculpture! I created a few images of the machine, the second that I’m posting here was shot from directly under the sculpture.

Martian War Machines


Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement


Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement

The Last Post is a mass participation project that has seen communities across the UK playing the Last Post on a variety of different instruments to remember lives of World War One.  In Woking, our event was organised by Andy Mabbutt from The Phoenix Cultural Centre and hosted by Eddie Jones at The Trench Experience shop and Upcycling Centre.

The Trench Experience shop was the ideal setting for our event. The Charity was founded by Eddie Jones in 2005 and has just started work on a permanent base for the educational project, on land beside Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey. The site will be developed in real-time to the events of the First World War, leading up to a Victory Celebration in 2018. The charity has chosen The Artists Rifle Regiment to illustrate trench conditions. The Artists fought as a battalion and were in the thick of the fighting with the Royal Naval Division at Passchendaele and Ypres. I’m really excited about this open-air, living history museum!

Cllr Tony Branagan, the Mayor of Woking, opened the event and welcomed us all. We honoured the memory of the Artist’s Rifles with prose and poetry from Greg Freeman, of the Woking Writers Circle, and also from me. Wilfred Owen is one of the best known members of the Artist’s Rifles and his poetry was a huge inspiration to me from my school days. I felt it was fitting to read a number of his poems including, Beauty and Anthem For Doomed Youth, two of my favourites and incredibly moving pieces. I also read my recently penned homage to Blood Swept Lands.

Vic Cracknell took us on a journey through the music of the era which brought back memories for many of us, young and old. My Great Aunt Jo was always singing with us when we were children and I was probably one of the most vocal members of the audience during the sing-a-long when Vic launched into She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain! Voices rose all around the shop for It’s A Long Way To Tipperary and Pack Up Your Troubles. One of the most moving moments of the event came as Vic read an actual letter from the Grandfather he never met, back home to his family about having been wounded in action and losing an arm. It was full of reassurance to loved ones and gratitude for all the help he was receiving. Such an upbeat letter considering such dire circumstances!

A great achievement bringing several of Woking’s community groups together to put on such a successful and moving event!


NaBloPoMo and Travel Theme – Belonging at The Lovely Music Night

Andy Twyman

NaBloPoMo and Travel Theme – Belonging at The Lovely Music Night

Every month a Lovely Music Night is held at The Phoenix Cultural Centre in Woking. Tonight was that night and it was truly lovely! There’s such a feeling of belonging for both audience and musicians at these events. Thank you to Dave Lambert, Ciaron and Alan, Lisa Von H, Dave Salsbury, Dan Shears and The Velveteen Orchestra, Andy Twyman and Cardboard Carousel for the wonderful music!

All photos taken on Sony Xperia Z phone and processed with Google Photos App.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Faitrade at 20 in Woking

Woking Fairtrade team members, Becca Rowland, Margot Craig & Billie Anderson

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merchandise – Fairtrade

Last weekend the annual Food Festival was held in Woking Town Centre, providing the perfect backdrop to the local celebrations for Fairtrade at 20! One of my photos of the Fairtrade Big Banana Split taken during Fairtrade Fortnight this year was on display as a part of an exhibition held in WWF’s Living Planet Centre. It was also my pleasure to volunteer a small amount of my time to take some photographs for the Woking Team to use in the local press.

Do you know about the Fairtrade Foundation?

Who we are?

Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fairtrade Foundation.

Fairtrade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers. The international Fairtrade system represents the world’s largest and most recognised fair trade system.

We are a global organisation working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers.

Becca Rowland, Chair of Woking Fairtrade Action Network writes:

Woking Fairtrade celebrated 20 years of the Fairtrade MARK in the UK last Saturday with a photographic exhibition, food stalls and cake. The celebrations formed part of the Woking Food Festival which, for the first time, included a Fairtrade and Family Quarter centred on The Lightbox and WWF’s Living Planet Centre.

Called “Fairtrade at 20: The Power of You”, the exhibition consisted of images of farmers and producers, campaigners and consumers, and illustrated the history of the Fairtrade movement. The exhibition had been commissioned by the Fairtrade Foundation to draw attention to what has been achieved in the UK so that over 20 years Fairtrade has become mainstream. Worldwide Fairtrade is now the world’s leading ethical label and Fairtrade International reported this month that sales of Fairtrade certified products reached US$7.3 billion worldwide in 2013.

People visiting the Food Festival enjoyed the stalls in The Lightbox as well as the photo exhibition at WWF. The support in Woking is an indicator of just how much support there is for Fairtrade nationally. Fairtrade is such an easy way for people to make the world a fairer place and we’ll keep promoting it until all farmers are able to get a fair price for their hard work.

I’m so used to the Fairtrade MARK and purchasing products with this official stamp of approval, that I could hardly believe it had only existed for twenty years! Our local Waitrose Supermarket has many such products that we buy on a regular basis. Have a look for items like these pictured below in your local shops.

Fairtrade Produce

The Food Festival was hugely popular again this year and another local group, The Phoenix Cultural Centre, that I volunteer my photographic skills for, when possible, was on hand to provide music for the masses. It was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of these fantastic community projects!


Travel Theme: Pink

Travel theme: Pink

Travel Theme: Pink

This is Lisa Von H and as you can see she is definitely in the pink 🙂 Lisa is a local singer/songwriter who has been very involved with The Phoenix Cultural Centre in Woking. I’m looking forward to our monthly Lovely Music Night this Wednesday when Lisa will be performing along with Will B and Willow. The event is just two days before my birthday so it’s a great excuse to take along some cake 🙂 It might have to have pink icing!

Lisa is always very complimentary about my photography and I have to say I really love her emotive music and thoughtful lyrics. Do follow the link above to Soundcloud to listen to some of her work! My personal favourite at the moment is called Hello Moon 🙂

I took these photos of Lisa a couple of weeks ago at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) UK’s Living Planet Centre in Woking. The Phoenix Centre organised live and unplugged music for the Fairtrade Big Banana Split, a special event to highlight the campaign to MAKE BANANAS FAIR!

And now for something completely different – PINK BANANAS!

Pink bananas!