The Week …

This is a collection of images posted on over the previous week.  I first started submitting to Blip in late 2013, the central idea being that you take/publish a different image everyday (I ocassionally cheat a little 🙂 ).  It has now become something of a compulsive obsession but its main benefit is that it makes you constantly think about opportunities for taking photographs and a camera is always close to hand – this is no bad thing.  Over two years later I have now built up a photographic diary which, like many other ‘Blippers’, I would be very disappointed to lose.  The future of Blip has been in doubt for some time so the opportunity to support its survival through crowd-funding came almost as a relief.  It was therefore gratifying to see this posted from Blip Central on 2nd February:

We’ve got the money  …  We wanted to let you to know as soon as we could that the collection of money from pledges and donations via PayPal has just passed the target of £120,000. We offer a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped. Give yourselves a collective pat on the back for we can now go ahead and complete the purchase from the current owners.

The images show:  Our local drystone wall repairman – plenty of work in hand; the Tyne rising yet again; the Sandhoe water trough; the Pant (fountain) at Tanners Row, Hexham; Sue Dunne’s white dove; panels from Hexham Abbey (there are actually three); evidence that the sun can still shine on Allendale golf course.

... plenty of work to do - drystone wall repairs on the Beaufront Estate

The Tyne rising ... The horse trough ... The 1858 Pant ... White dove ... Hexham Abbey panels ... The third ...

Travel theme: Connections

As we travel, we make connections all the time. There is a connection with my previous post – when I climbed in the car and took this series of phone images the route was inevitably the one I use out of habit nearly every day.  

There is a connection with one of my followers who uncannily observed that this road would be “precarious if icy” – suddenly it is there the next morning, an Olympic, winter sports grade, skating surface.

When I arrive at my destination, there is the wind turbine with the sun rising over the hill behind – it has a connection to the National Grid although on a day like this, what’s the point.

Golf is all about connections – hands to club, club to ball, ball to hole….or ball to rough, never to be seen again.

There is the connection with another recent post – More notes from the Madhouse – you have to be slightly unhinged to play golf in these conditions, some might say at all.  Finally, to make one final connection – in answer to the question, Golf? What’s the story?……sorry Mark, I haven’t a clue 🙂

All images taken on a Samsung SII smartphone and then over-saturated in Photoshop 🙂

Captains’ Drive In – Allendale Golf Club

Saturday 6th April 2013 dawned a glorious sunny day giving rise to the first hint of Spring across the Northumbrian landscape.  This sudden and welcome change in the weather was perfectly timed for the Captains’ Drive In at Allendale Golf Club; under bright blue skies each new appointee took their turn at the first tee.  The new Gents Captain, Andy Gray, was first to launch a magnificent drive down the furthest reaches of Allendale’s first fairway, the aptly named 417 yard par 4, Long Reach.  As the applause from the gathered members subsided, this was followed by an equally imposing drive from the new Ladies Captain, Shirley Brown.

Traditionally this kick-off to the new season is followed by a friendly team match between Captain and Chairman but unfortunately the Drive In marked the end of the outdoor proceedings for the day.  Despite the presence of a warming sun and steadily rising temperatures, this was not sufficient to melt the deep snow which still covered much of the course.  As the two Captains walked down the first to retrieve their respective golf balls from the centre of the fairway, the galleries dispersed to the clubhouse with some disappointment.  A couple of members walked the far reaches of the course to inspect the depth of the problem – in the shaded hollows it was probably near twelve inches; there may have been no golf but they were rewarded with some spectacular views of the Allen Valley brush stroked with snow – there is no finer setting for the game of golf, conditions permitting.

The first monthly medal of the year, due to be played the following day, was also postponed awaiting the disappearance of the last of the melting snow.

The Power of WordPress and Twitter

On January 19th I published a piece on Golf Union Affiliation Fees – not something that will excite many but as a volunteer treasurer of a small golf club in the Northumberland hills, a subject dear to my heart.  All of my posts generate an automatic Tweet which I then used to target some influential individuals in the local and golfing press.  Within a week this had been picked up by the Newcastle Journal and this story was published on January 24th – Protests over a ‘tax’ too far.

This morning, 1st February, I was delighted to see this piece published by Al Dunsmuir of Golf Club Management – Cut Smaller Clubs’ Affiliation Fees.  In addition, I now understand that our local paper, the Hexham Courant, is also running the story this week.  The jury is still out on how successful this campaign might be but as an example of how quickly and effectively the lone voice in the wilderness can be broadcast to the world in short timescale, it takes some beating.

My only concern is that we might all be talking to an empty room – are the people we are trying to reach even in the same building.  All this puts me in mind of the story related to our 15th Hole – Perdition:

PerditionPerdition, a state of eternal punishment and damnation into which a sinful and impenitent person passes after death.  Get this hole wrong and you can experience the after-life, first hand.  There is a story of a recently deceased golfer who finds himself on the most beautiful course imaginable.  At the clubhouse there are rows and rows of shining irons and dazzling woods to choose from.  He happily surmises that a fortuitous mistake has been made by the recording angel and that he must be in heaven after all.  Then a caddie appears as if from nowhere.  A slight figure with narrow red eyes and an unfortunate body odour, he shuffles to the golfer’s side and whispers in his ear – “welcome to Perdition, there are no balls”.

Many thanks to David Coulter (Hexham Courant), Al Dunsmuir (Golf Club Management) and Tim Taylor (thewritestuff) for helping to get the message ‘out there’.

Great Golf Holes of the North

Well, it has appeared in today’s Newcastle Journal but the reproduction on newsprint is always disappointing.  The original shows quite a lot of detail through the mist and into Acomb on the other side of the Tyne Valley – most of this has disappeared.  Maybe I am too critical – here are the two versions for comparison:

Fine words Norman.  Actually the image above suffers some more by being scanned, so the comparison is not entirely valid.  Anyway, this is as nature/Photoshop intended:

In fairness to the Journal, the online version is almost identical apart from some injudicious tree felling:

Allendale Golf Club and the 17th next!