THE NAKED PHOTO ALBUM
Right: Just up the road from the Dinton Folly is...well...Gibraltar.
Left: A charming little folly tower on the wooded grounds of Hartwell House hotel.
Left-of-centre: 'Garden Pathy'. This is the view through one of the windows of the folly tower.
Right-of-centre: The so-called Egyptian Spring on a country lane behind the hotel is a striking example of no known architectural style. Sticking some iffy looking hieroglyphs on a concrete bus shelter doesn't make it egyptian!
Right: Here I pose with a passing church. This is in the grounds of Hartwell House and was taken moments before I was asked what I thought I was doing.
Left: The church as it appeared in about 1900. Note the fence, which is still there.
Centre: The site today. Totally covered in trees, yet many gravestones remain, and the land is still consecrated.
Right: Geocaching is a sort of 'treasure hunting' hobby which uses the internet and GPS handsets to direct players to hidden 'caches' of trinkets. So there you go. You learn something new every day. Here I am, looking like Uncle Fester from The Addams Family again, which is sort of fitting.
Left: An artistic negative picture of a car I passed on the way to the church.
Centre: The key to get into this disused church is kept at the farm shop, a few hundred yards up the road towards Waddesdon. It's worth borrowing it if you can.
Right: In this strange, lonely spot, and with 28 Days Later still fresh in my mind (a 'post-apocolyptic' film) it was sobering to see this Landrover left on the path to the church, which can just be seen in the trees ahead.
What can I say that hasn't already been said? Other than you can click here to see a 607k silent AVI video of a roundabout I shot from the roof of the tower featured so heavily above. Or there's always: The Aylesbury with Bob & Curly page for the 18+ year-olds.
A couple of miles north of Buckingham is Stowe House, which is a famous public school with grounds managed by the National Trust. It's one of those places I try to visit regularly as it always leaves me with a feeling of well-being (not least because I sneak in over the wall - or more accurately, Ha-ha - and save myself some money.)
Left: The view of Ellesborough church from half way up Beacon Hill. David Jason lives somewhere around here. Lucky bugger.
Centre: This is the hill beyond Ellesborough as seen from the County Council Offices Tower in the middle of Aylesbury.
Right: A picture taken from the shade of one of the trees on top of Beacon hill. You can see the monument on top of Coombe hill in this shot. Chequers is visible from this point, as is a whole lot of heavy looking security equipment, as you can imagine. Foreigner governments may contact me for details. Have your chequebooks ready.
I took this shot of the water-tower in Mursley near sunset. I really love this structure and how it seems to look very different at different times of day. It can loom against a stormy sky as I drive past it, or seemingly hover on the horizon like some tripod visitor from another world.
From this angle you can see the concrete underside of the main tank, complete with radial spars and cross-bracing. Those may-or-may-not be the correct technical terms, but I like them anyway.
That's just the kinda guy I am.
In this shot the tower seems to take on a sinister air. Maybe it was all in my mind, but I could have sworn it was turning to follow me as I cycled past it, that unseasonably hot day in 2001... "The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million-to-one, he said..."
Across the field from the cycle-track I was following with Judith from Winslow to Milton Keynes I saw it. Alone. Proud. Defiant. Poetic. Isolated. Unobtainable. Lofty. Stark. Questioning. Lost. Stranded. Verbose.
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One day I reached Mursley ahead of schedule so had a few minutes to play with the tower and my new Fuji Finepix 6900 Zoom digital camera. Oh the joy of taking six mega-pixel TIFF files! The tingling pleasure of 17Mb uncompressed images! And the unparalleled pleasure of having no one say, "You need to get out more often", because I was out!
Six times optical zoom and some verdant flora of the English Countryside (plus some crappy bloody power-lines) give a great remote view of this enigmatic structure. People have told me that taking pictures of a water tower is a bit odd. The same people then put leaves in their mouth and set fire to them. So I guess oddness is all relative.
Not only is it a fine structure, it's old too. It was hit by an English bomber during W.W.II and, tragically, the crew were killed. Sorry to finish on a depressing note, but them's the facts. If you want to see it for yourself, It's a few miles south of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, on the outskirts of a village called Mursley.
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* Although, which specific member of the band has yet to be made clear.