yet another year started for me with the london parade, or at least the preparations for it. as you can see it was pretty wet at times.
despite some of the pictures here, this is slowly becoming a london event,
no longer entirely dominated by US school marching bands and cheerleaders.
more london boroughs are now taking part, and also a more varied selection
of other groups.
the couple of days after the new year i managed to persuade my elder son to get on my folding bike and take a couple of rides with me around the local scenery. like the M25, though we didn't actually get to ride on that, rather on some of the wasteland around it, parts of which are literally a dumping ground.
we also took a ride along by the thames to shepperton lock, then back on
an even more watery route through some of the many gravel pits in the area.
like the world, the borough i live in is two thirds covered by water.
weather forecasts generally seem to be overly pessimistic now, so i set out to get a bit of exercise on the brompton one bright sunny morning despite the warnings of rain later, cycling through a remnant of the middlesex countryside into buckinhamshire.
for once the forecast was precisely correct, and i turned back as a front
of cloude moved across and covered the sky, arriving home in time to eat
my sandwiches, a late lunch as rain began to fall.
apparently 70% of the french people support their government's proposed stand against the wearing of religious symbols, in particular the hijab,in schools and other state services. there are good reasons for the strong anti-clericalism there, and the wish to completely separate the state and religion, but for many of us it seems a step too far.
i've always been in favour of a rational school uniform - simple plain
jeans, tee shirts, jumpers - as a sensible alternative to either the fashion
parade or the ridiculous blazers and badges here. but lets allow berets,
baseball caps, headscarfs, turbans or any other headgear of choice or conviction.
meanwhile, away from the french embassy in trafalgar square, pensioners were massing to complain about council tax. it was a smallish demonstration that got massive media coverage - the opposite way round to most i attend. even publishing the details of it in advance didn't manage to get attendance near the figures the media hyped.
of course council tax should go. it should never have come in the first place. the fairest system we've had to date was without doubt the rates, which were better linked to the ability to pay. thatcher got rid of these as being unfair to rich widows, and we've yet to recover from this blunder (and others too numerous.)
local sales taxes, local income tax and perhaps a reduced property tax
based on market value, not to mention taxes on tourists and increased business
taxes could all be a part of a fairer solution.
the new year was celebrated in westminster on 25 jan, with speeches in trafalgar square, fireworks in leicester square and immense crowding in and around soho's chinatown, especially where the police sealed off some of the streets.
fortunately the speeches were short, and the main point of most was to say 'hung hei fat choi', with various degrees of ethnic feel.
also on the 25th, was a parade commemorating the execution of king charles 1, who went from st james palace to the banqueting house in whitehall to be beheaded on 30 jan 1649.
it was a rather mournful procession, drab and silent, in complete contrast to the lively scenes a few yards to the north.
its an event that brings out the republican in me!
some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.
this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at
and you can read what I think about photography at