#r2bcheerful1 – Summer

Yesterday I wrote about the Reasons to be Cheerful photography challenge and explained that I have started it now as I wanted to kick off with the word “Summer.” Well, apparently our summer officially ends this Thursday in Pennsylvania so here’s my image:

Summer to me is associated with days the beach, both as a kid and an adult. This image was taken in the summer at Cape May, New Jersey with my little Recesky plastic camera, a fun device I described in a prior post. I am not a sailor by any means, being the sort of guy that gets seasick when crossing a bridge, but I still loved the look of this beautiful little wooden sailing skiff pulled up on the sand.

A Reason to be Cheerful, for sure!


#r2bcheerful #r2bcheerful1

Are you up for the #r2bcheerful photo challenge?

This is going to be a long post, and is definitely my most ambitious communications with the world wide web to date!

By source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46754912 

This is a difficult Photographic Challenge. It is based on the lyrics of the 1979 song, “Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3” by Ian Dury and The Blockheads, and was the last single released by the original band line-up. I still love this song and I unearthed the 12” translucent green vinyl copy that I purchased 37 years ago for my daughter to play on her “new” record player very recently. What goes around comes around, I guess, sometimes literally!

Anyway, I wanted to launch this challenge for myself (and to anyone else who wants to participate) before the summer is over where I live. This is simply because that word is the first “reason” challenge of the song.

So, here we go:


  1. Be creative and have FUN.
  2. Images can be taken in any order.
  3. There are no more rules.

It would be nice if you would use hashtag #r2bcheerful and/or #r2bcheerful followed by the number to help people find your images. For example, if you have a picture of yellow socks use hashtag #r2bcheerful21 to help find images. Remember, cheerful has only one letter l.

At some point, assuming that others take this up, I will feature some of the entries on this blog, and on my current twitter, facebook, and pinterest accounts, as well as anything else I set up.

It will be really interesting to see if anyone can actually finish this challenge, as I think it is extremely tough. For that reason there is no order to the list – so go at it as you see fit. Also, I am quite happy to allow interpretation. For example, I realise most of us are never going to get an image of the Bolshoi Ballet, so get creative, play around with the words, create a pun, use your mind, just please explain it if it’s too existential…

Here’s the list in it’s full glory:

Why don’t you get back into bed? Why don’t you get back into bed?

Reasons to be cheerful, part 3...

  1. Summer (Some of*)
  2. Buddy Holly
  3. The working folly
  4. Good golly, Miss Molly
  5. Boats
  6. Hammersmith Palais
  7. The Bolshoi Ballet
  8. Jump back in the alley
  9. Nanny goats
  10. 18 wheeler Scammels,
  11. Dominecker camels
  12. All other mammals
  13. Equal votes
  14. Seeing Piccadilly,
  15. Fanny Smith and Willie
  16. Being rather silly
  17. Porridge oats
  18. A bit of grin and bear it
  19. A bit of come and share it
  20. Your welcome we can spare it
  21. Yellow socks
  22. Too short to be haughty,
  23. Too nutty to be naughty
  24. Going on forty
  25. No electric shocks
  26. The juice of a carrot
  27. The smile of a parrot
  28. A little drop of claret
  29. Anything that rocks
  30. Elvis
  31. Scotty
  32. The days when I ain’t spotty
  33. Sitting on a potty
  34. Curing smallpox
  35. Health service glasses
  36. Gigolos
  37. Brasses
  38. Round or skinny bottoms
  39. Take your mum to Paris (*Taking mum to Paris)
  40. Lighting up the chalice
  41. Wee Willie Harris
  42. Bantu Steven Biko
  43. Listening to Rico
  44. Harpo, Groucho, Chico
  45. Cheddar cheese and pickle
  46. A Vincent motorcycle
  47. Slap and tickle
  48. Woody Allen,
  49. Dali,
  50. Dimitri and Pasquale
  51. Balla, balla, balla
  52. Volare
  53. Something nice to study
  54. Phoning up a buddy
  55. Being in my nuddy
  56. Saying okey-dokey,
  57. Sing-a-long a Smokey
  58. Coming out of chokey
  59. John Coltrane’s soprano
  60. Adi Celentano
  61. Bonar Colleano
  62. Yes, yes, dear, dear
  63. Perhaps next year
  64. Or maybe even never
  65. In which case
  66. Reasons to be cheerful, part 3

Have fun and don’t forget to tag your work as #r2bcheerful and #r2bcheerful with item number added and pop back here once in a while!

Update (22-Jan-2017): since discovering the book Hallo Sausages: The Lyrics of Ian Dury,” edited by his daughter Jemima Dury, I have had to make a couple of corrections – as noted by the * above. The most surprising one to me was “Some of Buddy Holly” rather than “Summer, Buddy Holly.” Personally, I still think that Summer is a good reason to be cheerful so I’m keeping it in as an editorial error on my part – call it artistic interpretation is you like!


52 Week Challenge: week 37

WEEK 37: Portrait: Fashion – Avant-garde to commercial to traditional, and everything in between. The focus is the clothes this week.

I thought I be a little oblique for this one. Mens’ clothing is fairly boring, at least business attire, at any rate. Historically suspenders (braces, in UK English), neck ties and socks were about the only ways available to enliven that blue, black or grey suit. As we have moved over to belts, and dropped the ties the only thing left is socks.

So here’s a homage to the humble sock, something that can still be used as a fashion statement in the office!



52 Week Challenge: Week 36

WEEK 36: Artistic: Food – Take your food photography to the next level. It’s not lunch, it’s art.

I’m going to give myself a break on this one too! A few weeks back my daughter made some really cute fruit sushi which really was artistic. So here goes (again):



Poetic evolution

I don’t normally keep the drafts of my writing. Writing in a digital document means that usually I simply revise the text as I go along, re-reading and rewriting until I am happy with it. This has its disadvantages as once the original writing is gone then it cannot easily be recalled for reconsideration, or at least I cannot do that, but also the advantage that I don’t cling onto ideas or phrases that I discard. However, several months back I wrote the poem, More Dementor than Black Dog and I did keep the initial three drafts of my work.  

I would be interested to hear how other writers draft and redraft, in advance of any editing by a reviewer, especially in the digital age.

Draft #1

More like a Dementor than a Black Dog

Winston wrote of his Black Dog
How it would creep up on him
If he wasn’t busy creating; painting, writing, or laying bricks.
I think of a large lumbering Labrador but perhaps it was more,
To him perhaps akin to the Black Dog of folklore.

J.K gets much closer.
Her metaphor, more tragic
An encompassing weight that drops unannounced
In its cloak it clings like it needs to be fed
Music can work charms, although you have to choose wisely
For Dementors can feed on this too
And cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And get out the camera…

Draft #2

More like a Dementor than a Black Dog

Winnie’s black dog
would creep up on him
on moments of stillness.
No lumbering Labrador
but a silent lupine,
like the Black Dog of old lore
Cerebral creations:
painting, writing,
or laying bricks
would keep the beast at bay
when he sensed it nearby

J.K gets much closer.
A fearful vision,
of a hollow cloak
settling quietly
like a lead weight on your shoulders,
clinging, with a need to be fed
Music can work charms,
but choose your spell wisely
for Dementors can feed on this too
and cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And take out a pen…

Draft #3

More Dementor than a Black Dog

Winnie’s black dog
crept upon him
during moments of stillness.
No lumbering Labrador,
this stealthy lupine,
like the Black Dog of old lore
Cerebral defense:
painting, writing,
or laying bricks
would keep the beast at bay
at least for a time.

J.K gets much closer.
An apparition,
a billowing cloak
that settles quietly
becomes lead weight on your shoulders,
clinging, with a cry to be fed.
Music works for a spell
but choose your charms wisely.
For Dementors may feed on these too
to cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And take out a pen…

Please Click Here for the Final Version

Missing the Point

On Friday we went to see the original line up of Culture Club who are currently on their US tour and were visiting The Electric Factory in Philadelphia. The venue was new to us and we were very pleased with the fact that it was general admission standing only, just like my old student days back in London in the 1980s. With beer in hand we were fairly near the front and the gig was excellent. Boy George interacted really well with the audience and it really felt like an intimate “club gig”.

One thing that really pissed me off though was the huge overuse of cellphones during the gig. Not only did they cast a lot of light back to the audience but some idiots even used their flashed (totally pointless) not only for photos but also when video recording. Quite why anyone would go to a gig, especially one where you are so close to the stage, and then watch the whole show through their 5” phone screen is totally beyond my understanding. I am beginning to think that modern audiences are getting even more mindless. They may as well have stayed at home. Just to my left there were 5 or 6 of these clowns, as you can see. I am pretty sure that a couple of them filmed every song that was song and so therefore didn’t look directly at the stage even once during the performance.


I guess we’re slowly sinking into the abyss of not even wanting to experience reality when we can. How ironic it is that theses guys are missing the whole point of a “live” gig while concentrating on streaming it to Facebook.


How soon they grow up to fly the nest

Although it’s a few years away until my children will truly “fly the nest” today was the day when my youngest daughter literally flew away from me. She joined 31st Wing Civil Air Patrol earlier this year and today was her chance for her orientation flight. After an initial briefing by her instructor and a detailed walk around the Cessna 172P for pre-flight checks, the mist had finally lifted and she was ready to leave the ground. It was quite nerve wracking watching her taxi out and fly away, and I know the feeling too, as both I and my wife have flown single-engine planes when we were students a long time ago. In fact, as I told her on the way home, she’s the third generation of our family to do this as my father was in the Air Cadets in the UK as a teenager and also flew small planes.

When she landed she had a smile as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s from Alice in Wonderland. She had basic instruction and flew the plane for a while on her 45 minutes in the air. And at 14, she has now flown a plane in advance of sitting behind the wheel of a car.

I think she’s hooked!



52 week Challenge: Week 34

WEEK 34: Portrait: Child – Candid or posed, capture an image of a child. Try getting down on their level for a unique perspective.

OK I’m cheating on this one a bit, but there is a reason why. At my age I don’t have any friends with young children and I am surely not going to start poking around a school or someplace trying to get a picture of a child. I value my liberty too much for that. My daughters will always be my children and as two of them are still under 18 that means they are children, at least in the legal sense. So, here goes:



52 Week Challenge: Week 35

WEEK 35: Landscape: Nature up Close – Get up close and personal with nature in this natural beauty shot. Flowers, bees, bugs and spiders might all make great shots

One of the easier challenges, in my opinion. I have recent shots of a dragonfly or fungi that I could use but in the end I was persuaded by a friend to use the autumnal one below as it seems pertinent with the leaves starting to fall from the trees around us.

How short summer seems to have been…


(Oh, and yes, for those of you who have noticed, I have skipped week 34 temporarily. I’ll come back to it as soon as I can.)


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