December 28, 2014 · 1:30 am
Trawling back over thousands of photos (there are lots of shamefully clumsy ones and I don’t inflict them all on family, friends or even blog readers) reminds me what a privileged life we lead.
Blue Mountains National Park, NSW, Australia
We’ve spent time in eleven countries. It was nearly twelve, but Scotland decided not to secede.
We’ve spent time with old friends and made some lovely new ones.
We’ve eaten some great meals, seen some wonderful cities, enjoyed books and films and plays and I’ve even written a couple myself.
So it took me a while to decide what the focus should be for this round-up post. I’ve put it off for weeks, being in holiday mode. In the end I decided to keep it simple, posting a collection of shots of places that have given us so much pleasure in 2014.
Many thanks to the people whose visits, comments and encouragement have kept me blogging, and may 2015 bring you all you could hope for. Continue reading →
December 14, 2014 · 8:30 am
We’re entering ‘Year in Review’ mode, so it’s time to publish photos that didn’t quite fit into any other stories.
Behind the town of Zaandam is the area known as De Gouw, ‘The Shire’. It’s not large and there’s not a lot there. I can see why shires appealed to J.R.R.Tolkien.
Landscape photography suits me well. Unlike friends and relatives, birds and bikes, landscapes stay relatively still while you fiddle with the camera settings. I’m coming to appreciate Dutch scenery more and more. There are no spectacular snow-capped mountains, towering waterfalls or breathtaking desert canyons. Instead everything in little Nederland is on a small and manageable scale.
The English word ‘landscape’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘landschap’. Remember that! Now you can say you learned something by visiting this blog. Continue reading →
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December 10, 2014 · 9:03 pm
I was rather pleased with this early morning shot.
The balcony is our favourite part of our apartment, overlooking the Schinkel, Amsterdam’s busy working canal.
Taking the photo above reminded me of how extraordinarily different the Schinkel looks depending on the time of day, the season, the activity and the light. Continue reading →
December 2, 2014 · 3:37 pm
Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. Photo: Wikicommons.
The Netherlands’ favourite topic of dinner party/water cooler conversation around December 5th is “Is Zwarte Piet racisme?” (Is Black Pete racism?)
It took me some time to make up my mind on this one. Continue reading →
December 1, 2014 · 10:44 am
I believe it’s called a ‘shelfie’ when an author takes photos of his own books. Technically this feat should be performed in a bookstore, ideally in front of a major display in the shop window. I’m in the wrong country for doing that, so I had to put my advance copies on my own shelf.
I’m hoping people will judge my new books by their covers, because these ones look terrific, and they’ve been released into stores and online today.
Thanks, Terry Denton, for the fabulous illustrations. And thanks, Random House, for rejacketting and republishing these collections. They were originally published in 2008 and sold respectably then. But in this throw-away, disposable, short-attention-span world, any author should be delighted when his books get a rerun.
For those who can’t nip into a bookstore in Australia to buy hard copies, they are available online or as downloads. You can find them with a click HERE and HERE. Cheapskates can even read a sample story for free.
Excellent Christmas presents for 5-10 year olds!
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