I spent the weekend at Alton Towers – the theme park is closed for their winter maintenance, but we were at the Splash Landings Hotel which has an indoor water park attached.
“We” were British Naturism, running their 7th Alton Towers weekend (Friday evening through to Sunday lunchtime), although it’s the first one I’ve been to. It was pretty much sold out, with approaching 400 naturists staying.
Strangely, Alton Towers don’t allow their name to be used in advertising the event, and it can only be marketed to BN members – so they’re happy to take our money (what’s known as the buff pound) but not to be publicly associated with naturists. Would their regular clientele be completely freaked out?
The waterpark was great fun, with a couple of good water slides – one of them was long, fast and dark. A real blast!
As well as various activities (yoga, tai-chi, paper plane making, a portrait photography workshop (not by me) and evening musical entertainment) there was also a guided tour of the gardens. If you’ve been to the theme park but not seen the gardens, you’ve missed something – they’re really impressive. The tour was clothes-optional, but it was only about 7 degrees on Saturday. However, that didn’t stop some intrepid souls in stripping off. The lack of wind meant it didn’t feel as cold as if could have.
It was strange walking through empty car parks and a deserted theme park, and it was a shame we didn’t get to see more of the rides as photographing then could have been fun.
The highlight of the gardens for me were the conservatories – the sort of decaying building that I love photographing, and they work so well in my favourite punchy black and white.
Some photos from a trip to the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield – the national services memorial.
An interesting place, with several moving memorials. Worth a visit.
By the way, do please tell me if you think I’m overdoing the black and white. For some reason the photos from the new camera just seem to work really well – crisp and sharp and well suited to contrasty b&w.
I went to see Toyah in concert the other day, playing at The Fleece in Bristol. “Anthem” was the second album I ever bought, back in 1981, but I’ve never see her play live before. I was in two minds about whether to go but a couple of colleagues saw her last year and said she was really good – and they were right, it was an excellent show.
I took a some photos, just with the compact camera, some of which came out pretty well. I reckon I could have taken some pretty good shots with the SLR but venues don’t like you using them.
I also took some of one of the support acts (Alexa de Strange) as their guitarist was throwing some rock and roll shapes in front of me.
I’ve had a couple more films of panoramic pinhole photos processed.
These are from Clifton Suspension Bridge (pretty obviously), and a couple each from Hidcote and Abbey House Gardens.
Sunday was the last of this year’s clothes-optional day at Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury. Not the best of days, but at least it was reasonably warm. The gardens perhaps weren’t at their spring/summer peak but it was still good enough to get some decent shots, with some particularly good roses.
The photos are completely work safe!
I forgot to post these with the others – we also had a wander round the harbourside at Cumberland Basin and then went up to the Suspension Bridge and the Camera Obscura – something I’ve managed not to visit in the 17 years I’ve lived in Bristol. The Camera Obscura, not the Bridge. The Camera Obscura is for sale if you’ve got a couple of million quid to spare.
There may be some overlap with the harbourside shots I took in March, so apologies for that.
The last trip of the week off was to Hidcote in Gloucestershire. SWMBO had never been been, while I last went over 10 years ago – having been a few times as a child.
The lily pond is part of a family legend – from the time that The Brother managed to fall into it…
The “bathing pool” had great photographic potential, if I’d had a step-ladder. The water was gently rotating, and a long exposure of the whole pool would have worked wonderfully with the circular blur.
Considering we’ve been in our current house for 6 years or so, it’s amazing that we’ve never been to Blaise – it’s about 5 minutes away. Anyway, on Friday afternoon we went for a wander with our neighbour to see what elderberries and blackberries there were – quite a lot as it turned out.
There’s a whole lot more of the estate that we’ll have to go back and look at as we only really touched on one corner, including St Mary’s Church.
On Friday, we went to Jekka’s Herb Farm just outside Bristol. The business is generally mail-order only but they open up to the public on a few days each year – there was even a bus full of Dutch people on a garden tour.
We’ve been a few times in the past, and it’s an interesting place with a variety of photographic opportunities – and there are always plenty of bees around.