Christmas comes to Ellesmere

By Unknown on 00:06

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December 2nd 2010

With just over a week to go to the end of term and the college draped in a carpet of snow, members of the Ellesmere College Parents Society place their finishing touches to the many seasonal decorations throughout the college and in time for the various festivities including the afternoon's Christmas Fair, the proceeds of which go to aid a village in Africa.

A Christmas tree located on the main corridor and decked in the colours of the school announces the spirit of advent amidst the daily business of the school day.

In the evening, the first of three carol services, this one comprising visitors from the community including Old Ellesmerians with the singing led by a 60-strong choir under the direction of Roger Paul, Ellesmere's music director.

Remembering The Fallen

By Unknown on 11:52

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The average age of the British soldier is 19 years, scarcely more than the ages of the the head boy and girl of Ellesmere who, representing a new younger generation are seen here observing a moment's silence following the laying of the wreath on Remembrance Sunday in tribute to Old Ellesmerians who have fallen in the two World Wars.

ACN Event 2010

By Unknown on 00:08

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Aid To The Church In Need (ACN )  began their annual event on the 16 October with a morning mass

at Westminster Cathedral which was led Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro from The Sudan

while Fr Michael Shields, an American priest who has for the past 16 years been working in Magadan, a former gulag town in Siberia preached from the pulpit.

Before a capacity crowd in the Cathedral Hall, Bishop Eduardo would go on to speak of the growing tensions in the run-up to the referendum on the possible secession of South Sudan from the north.

while Fr Shields explained how his work was making a difference to survivors of the gulag. In the afternoon, John Pontifex the Charity's UK Head of Press and Information spoke of conditions faced by Christians in Pakistan

and holding the attention of a captivated audience

ACN's National Director, Neville Kyrke-Smith gave an account of the state of the church in the Ukraine

Question and Answer sessions followed both the morning and afternoon talks with the proceedings being brought to a conclusion around 4pm.

The day provided an inspirational and uplifting experience to the many who were privileged to hear the detailed accounts provided by what I can only describe as some of the best and most gifted speakers whom I have heard ever to gather under one roof in support of a worthy cause.  A definite date for the diary in 2011.

Open Day at Ellesmere

By Unknown on 12:08

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October 9 was Open Day at my alma mater. Ellesmere holds two Open Days each year, designed for prospective parents and pupils to take in the college. The bright sunshine that was forecast was nowhere to be seen which was just as well for shutterbugs.

Much was on show including the junior lab which in my day was the sixth form bar. That said, there's more fun to be had these days in SY12 9AB as I'm sure we're all aware.

There was a display of musical instruments in the upper section of the Lower School which proved too tempting for this gifted young man.

while the new Shooting Academy had it's first public exhibition. Here Tom Rylands is assisting a young shooter with high tech aids. Next summer, Ellesmere is presenting a team for the Ashburton Cup in Bisley for the first time in over twenty years.

And don't tour guides just start so young these days?

For all who attended the event, there were treats at three

Have a sunny October day everyone!!!

Garden Portrait

By Unknown on 10:44

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It's been raining somewhat heavily this morning, washing away the dust and grime from my car and along with it my morning run. Just at the downpour was beginning, I spotted that the earlier shower had highlighted a spider's web in the garden. Thus braving equipment to the elements I grabbed this shot before my 5D2 became too wet for comfort.

As with most of the pictures in my blog, you may supersize the image by clicking on it. For those who care about these things, the subject is a Garden Spider, also known as a Cross Spider because of the cross-shaped mark on its' abdomen with adult specimens seen between June to October in these isles.

Hope the day promises some dry spells so I can get in the third of my four runs this week or I won't be such a happy bunny. Mind you, I'm not always happy doing it either but that's another matter.

Y'all have a nice day now

Little Things

By Unknown on 19:46

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Hobbies come in various sizes. When I bought my first DSLR, it was precisely to capture images of my hobby. Those little things called watches. My first attempt at macro photography was a disaster. Notwithstanding it was back in my point n shoot days, I simply couldn't get the hang of going that close. Life is much easier with a specialized macro lens. I love my 100mm f2.8. It gets me up close without the need to overhang what I'm shooting and therefore throwing my own shadow or that of the lens onto the subject. This is probably my favourite macro picture

I love the way the light comes off the dial with its' brushed blue finish. This picture of the 42.2mm Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra  was taken at a distance of around 18 inches from the watch. Friends who are aware of my habits know that I rarely use a light tent. Terry ( diver 88 ) one of my buddies on my watch forum at isn't one for putting up a light tent either and his pictures are stunning. Hope you can drop in again and please do have a look at the forum when you have a moment. The guys will love to say hello.

Omega watches have been the apple of my eye in the world of horology. I like the history of the company too, especially in recent times. When the Swiss watch industry was almost decimated by the arrival of quartz technology back in the early 70s, Omega like many other brands nearly sunk without a trace. Then the bankers appointed the late Nicolas Hayek to turn things round. Something I have always remembered from an interview which Nicolas Hayek gave was his concern that jobs within the industry would be saved. Indeed Maria Mastrodonato who is universally regarded by watch enthusiasts as their favourite lady at Omega in Bienne wrote this to me back in June this year.

" This is really a sad day….If we are here at work it is all thanks to him even if our country is in a economic crises nobody lost his job !!!Mr Hayek was a real “big boss“ and the entire Swatch Group will miss him. "

Now there's a real hero in my books.

Nicolas G Hayek 19 February 1928 to 28 June 2010

Picture of the late Nicolas Hayek appears by courtesy of

Taking Aim At A UK First

By Unknown on 22:02

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I remember having great pleasure being a part of the Ellesmere College Shooting Team especially when we took in an afternoon's target practice in the Welsh hills at Llansilin, near Oswestry. Those were the days when the Ashburton Cup at Bisley was the primary focus of the Shooting Team which then comprised of members from the Combined Cadet Force. These days the college has a new team with its' sights on being awarded on both a national scale and in the international arena.

Beginning in the new term in September, my alma mater will showcase a shooting academy, the first ever to be based in a school in the United Kingdom. It will provide coaching and educational opportunities for talented marksmen and women, giving pupils from Ellesmere the chance to secure places with the national squad. To achieve this, Ellesmere's new Shooting Academy will be staffed by a team of three highly qualified marksmen. The shooting club at Ellesmere will continue to be run by Jim Quinlan, himself a keen marksman at international level. Jim is in the top picture honing the skills of an emerging talent.  Tom Rylands, a member of the Great Britain squad who is experienced at team selection and coaching of all age groups joins Jim. One of the key objectives of this new partnership is to put together a squad to contest the Ashburton Cup at Bisley. Augmenting this unique team is David Gregory, seen here standing at the right of Nick Pettingale. David who is active with the Crewe Rifle and Pistol Club holds a belief that a child's self confidence and self esteem is boosted by the opportunity to find a sport the child can do well in.

The shooting team in my day benefited from the close guidance of William Barnett and Andrew Thompson, two members of the teaching staff who devoted endless hours to the team. I recall Andrew one day after a shoot planing down the inside of the stock of my Lee-Enfield .303 because he felt the absence of play between the stock and the barrel was affecting my results. He was right. I can't help thinking what they'd give to see the inception of the Shooting Academy this September and all that it promises. Indeed I too can't wait to bear witness to what it can achieve because when the academy's new recruits and national squad hopefuls take aim, the sky as they say, is the limit.

Weekend Workout

By Unknown on 00:15

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I have a theory borne of observation and some experience that playtime with a young child can be more fun than working through one's subscription at the local gym.

I have nothing against gyms, local or otherwise, having paid my dues to one for some three years. That I only attended the establishment once is another matter altogether. Fun with kids on any day are a workout. Just ask any mum or dad you know or meet. I may take regular exercise but I am run off the pitch playing football with my Godson. That said, like any parent, I'll take that session of fun anytime to pedaling endlessly on a stationary bike or jogging on the road to nowhere on a treadmill in a gym. Having fun with kids presents some of the greatest of photo opportunities.

Like any parent though, I can tell you, it's a workout alright. But like any parent, I can testify too that there aren't many things that are greater fun.

Ellesmere College Flying High

By Unknown on 09:59

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At the kind invitation of Nick Pettingale its' Director of Development, I made only my fourth visit in over thirty years to Ellesmere College in June this year, the purpose of which was to assist in producing a stock of images for their prospectus and website. While I was thrilled at the prospect of returning, I wasn't quite sure what to expect of my old alma mater. Three decades had passed and if I recall correctly, three changes of principals though I was very encouraged by the speech Brendan Wignall the current headmaster, gave at the Old Ellesmerian London Dinner earlier in March that this was a new Ellesmere that I would find.

From the moment I drove into the main courtyard there seemed something quite different from the old school that I left in 1975. There was a buzz about the place, a life and energy that was present even though the sixth form was on study leave and a proportion of the boarders had begun their summer holidays. There were flowers in the new carpeted reception, lit trophy cabinets and leather bound chairs. In these days of private cellular communications, gone was the coin-operated payphone. It was much tidier and more welcoming.

The main corridor was lit with fresh and colourful pictures adorning the walls, promising that much more would be revealed during my two-day stay of the Ellesmere that was once hidden from my view.

Welcome to my humble blog. Over the coming days I hope you'll join me in my journey as I explored my old school while on assignment in the process of which, discovered the light of its' bright and promising future.