The Lake District – June 2014

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How often do you meet somebody that you consider to be a good friend, then realise that you haven’t seen each other for months, or even years? It’s something that’s all too easy to let happen, especially if you are away a lot.

Sometimes, the people that live closest are the ones we end up seeing less, as it can feel like there’s no need to organise a particular date to meet up, as you can do so anytime. With friends that live further away, we are forced to make a conscious effort with, and so the friendships often can grow a lot stronger as a result.

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A group of my pals from down South and I had been talking for ages about making the effort to go away for a week together, rather than just sort-of falling into seeing each other for particular social events (the last twice had been down to weddings!). With Grace having moved over from the US, we booked a cottage for a week – somewhere near Penrith, in the Lake District. I say ‘somewhere’, because it really was in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, both Hannah and Matt, and Paul and Charlotte had cars, as the nearest shop was a half hour-ish drive away.

The place itself was a nice, renovated old… farmhouse of some description.

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This was the dog from next door. He was French, and had a name that I can’t remember or pronounce, but that sounded something like ‘EE-YES!’

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There was also a trampoline in the back garden.

More on that in a following post…

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The surrounding scenery was beautiful, as one might expect from the Lake District.

See that hill in the background? Well, it’s a lot higher than it looks. I know this because for some reason, it seemed like a great idea to climb it at midnight after some beverages, in the pitch black. The girls disagreed, and so the men amongst us went on an adventure.

It would have worked out fine, had we followed the path. Cutting through the field at what felt like an upward 85 degree angle was probably not the wisest decision, especially when we had to come back down. Not only did I find out exactly how unfit I am, rip my jeans on barbed wire, get soaked to the bone, and lose the bottle of cider (a tragedy), but I also got stung all the way up my legs by nettles.

There was definitely a sense of achievement afterwards however.

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Do holidays in the Lake District mean that we are now officially old?

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Old or not, I’m fine with it. One of the highlights was trawling the various delis in Penrith to find a selection of fancy cheeses, chutneys, meats, and wine. We then spread these out in an impressive platter.

You can’t go wrong with a cheese night.

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One not-so-amusing thing about the Lake District is the number of properties owned by the National Trust. Whilst entry to the trails and parks they own were free, you had to pay £5 to park there – with no other options available. It felt like a bit of a sham, especially as there was no need for a gift shop at the bottom of a woodland trail.

We were unimpressed.

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but that didn’t spoil things.

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For the most part, the weather was nice… which meant we could explore round about where we were staying.

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even though a journey of 2 miles felt like it was really closer to 5.

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and of course, we always managed to find our way to somewhere for a bit of a rest…

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June 2014 – Lake District
Lomo LC-A – expired 35mm film

say hello: ~@stephenemm or ~Google+

Samoans – ABC, Glasgow – 26th July 2014

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The other night I got to head over to Glasgow’s ABC to hang out with an old friend – Chris Rouse. His band Samoans were supporting the new venture from the previous members of Lostprophets – No Devotion.

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I don’t really take pictures of gigs that often anymore, so it was cool to be back lurking about the side of the stage again.

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The Leica M8 is all that I had with me, and it’s a fairly different experience to shoot live with a rangefinder. First of all, you need to be a lot more calm and deliberate about everything. Manual focussing in the dark? Say no more.

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The shutter of the M8 feels a million times better than any SLR I’ve ever used though, and has a bizarrely calming effect during a gig, which can often feel a bit frantic.

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say hello: ~@stephenemm or ~Google+

Iona

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Recently, me, Grace, and a couple of friends visited the island of Iona.

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It was part of a ‘three island’ trip – travelling through the Isle of Mull (where the infamous Balamory was filmed), Staffa, and Iona.

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Here’s a ship called dignity.

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The island is known as a symbolic home of Christianity in the West, with a long history… stretching back to round about 536AD.

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Iona is a beautifully peaceful place, and I wish we could have spent more time there. It feels like you could spend months without time really passing at all, and it’s no surprise that it’s been the source of inspiration for many artists.

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The inhabitants of the island had to face the constant fear of invasion throughout a tumultuous history. On a number of occasions the Vikings landed, killing indiscriminately, and pillaging the valuables from the monastery that were kept there. In 806AD, 68 monks were massacred at what is now known as “Martyr’s Bay”.

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The stories of the viking raids really resonated with some part of me. To isolate yourself from society in such a place, to dedicate yourself to spirituality in such a way, only to then spend every day wondering whether then would be when you would spot those terrible Viking ships on the horizon…

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Today the Monastery is still used – home to the Iona Community. Not just your standard congregation, the group are well known for their commitment to peace and social justice. If you’ve ever read anything about protesters outside of the Faslane nuclear weapons base, then the Iona Community were probably involved.

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I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live somewhere like Iona.

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say hello: ~@stephenemm or ~Google+