Writing for people to read online is vastly different from writing for readers of a paper or even ebook page. You’ve probably scanned this first paragraph to see if there is anything interesting. Maybe you are already scrolling down and reading the sub headings to see if I am going to convey anything relevant. If you had bought a book; having flicked through it, read the cover blurb and spent your hard-earned cash on it you would probably start at page one and read on from there.
This B12 steam locomotive, 8572 was built in 1928 by Beyer Peacock for the LNER (London and North Eastern Railway). The original design, although modified by 1928, dated back to the GER (Great Eastern Railway) in 1908.
The fast and agile North American P51 Mustangs that ranged over Europe the last two years of the second world war probably played as larger part in Germanys defeat as the Spitfire and Hurricane did in the Battle of Britain. The Mustang was the first single engined long range fighter able to escort US army air force bombers all the way to Berlin and back. The Luftwaffe fighter pilots could no longer wait for the American fighters to turn back before attacking the unescorted bombers.
Many years ago, when the only things that were digital were your fingers or your watch, I won a photographic magazine’s cover girl competition. Not me personally you understand – one of my photographs.
A couple of weeks later an excited young photographer and his girlfriend, who just happened to be the scantily clad subject of the winning photograph, arrived at a posh Park Lane hotel for the prize giving. I don’t remember much about the event apart from one rather disparaging comment from the editor. ‘Your picture won because you were the only one who left space for the title.’ This was probably not the most tactful thing to say to an aspiring young photographer about his first competition win.
Taking better photographs depends on a lot of factors. I recently took part in a critique where a photographer put up a technically perfect but aesthetically boring picture of a nude. He commented that he had no concept or message when taking the picture but would like to do more ‘artistic’ work. I suggested that if he worked on having the former then the latter might naturally flow. Continue reading →
Weighing nearly 140 tons this clanking, steaming, smoking heavy goods locomotive spent its short working life hauling 1500 ton iron ore trains on Merseyside. Now it easily pulls a few coaches (about 160 tons) from Sheringham to Holt and back on the North Norfolk Railway.
Numbered 92203 this loco was bought for £3000 from British Railways by the artist David Shepherd who named her Black Prince. The preserved loco was used on several heritage railways and in 1982 pulled the heaviest ever steam hauled freight train in Britain (2178 tonnes). Not bad for an engine built in 1959 and retired in 1967.
I took this photograph of The statue of Musa Cälil, Tartar poet and resistance fighter, which stands outside the Kremlin in Kazan. There is an honour guard standing in front of the statue in the run up to Victory day (9th May 2017). Having never heard of Musa Calil I decided to do a little research.
Musa Calil (1906-1944) (Also transliterated as Musa Dzhalil)
Despite being executed by the Nazis in 1944 as leader of an underground organization Musa Calil (pronounced Jalil in English) was posthumously convicted as a traitor. His literary achievements as a Tatar poet were largely forgotten and his bravery as a resistance fighter in the Great Patriotic War (World War II) unknown until the 1950s Calil was born in the village of Mustafino in the Orenburg Oblast (province) 900 miles southwest of Moscow near the border with Kazakhstan. Post the 1919 revolution Russia was embroiled in a civil war. Orenburg was under the control of the White Movement (a loose coalition of forces opposed to Lenin’s Bolshevik form of socialism). Calil became a Bolshevik activist, rising through the ranks of the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth). By 1925 Calil was .an instructor with the Komsomol and had published his first poems. He was nineteen.
Kazan is the capital of the semi autonomous republic of Tatarstan in the Russian Federation.The Qolsarif Mosque is a relatively new addition to the Kremlin in the city. The mosque, one of the largest in Russia was completed in 2005 on the site of the original which was destroyed when Ivan the terrible conquered Kazan in the 16th century. It is named after Qol Sharif a religious leader, diplomat and poet who died defending Kazan from the Russian forces in 1552.
If you ask the average English speaking person to name a city where Asia meets Europe they will probably say Istanbul – if you mention Kazan the response is often, where? Standing on the banks of the Volga and astride the Kazanka river the thousand year old city of Kazan in Tatarstan was founded on the a junction of the northern silk road. Kazan is still a vibrant example of eastern and western cultures meeting and mixing in harmony; even the name means cooking pot or cauldron in the native Tatar language.