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Do we stay or do we go?

If you, like me, you are sick to the back teeth of hearing the word Brexit I’m afraid this piece is not going to help much. But, but, but – yes. it’s worth the repetition – if we relent in our efforts to push back, then we can blame nobody but ourselves, for not trying to reverse what has transpired to be an uninformed, corrupted and consequently, bad decision.

One million of us joined together in London yesterday to protest against what we see as madness. I owe it to my grandchildren to try to protect their future. It would be hard to look them in the eye and say I did nothing.

That’s enough of the ‘why’ of it. Here are some pictures of how the day panned out from the people walking through London before the march until my crocky old bones could literally stand no longer a few hours later. I didn’t get to the end. Sorry.

As to whether we should stay or go… you have your own opinion – and long may that freedom of choice and democratic door be held open. I’m with Remain. That’s one thing. The damage to our democracy is quite another, and we have seen much evidence of that in the run-up to this debacle.

Sarah Vine wife of prominent Tory MP Michael Gove and Daily Mail columnist explained the lack of pro-Brexit supporters by saying…

“There are no leavers there because they would be lynched. These people are so convinced of their righteousness they cannot see anyone who disagrees with them as anything other than a monster. The rhetoric against people who voted to Leave characterises them as sub-human.”

Apart from this being a classic, if juvenile diversionary tactic for a failing argument i.e. imprinting your own failings onto the opposition by accusing them of being everything you are, you can see here this patently a lie. A lone pro-Brexit demonstrator is left utterly un-harried and certainly not lynched.
The people on this march were more likely to offer you a back rub and a cup of tea. Vine’s comment was absurd and she should apologise. Imagine if she became the “wife of the Prime Minister”. A lying right-wing Tory and a Daily Mail columnist. Heaven forfend!




Leonardo da Vinci in Birmingham​.

Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum, along with 11 other venues, is currently hosting an exhibition of the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

There are 12 works being exhibited in Birmingham, all from the Royal Collection, and 12 in each of the other venues, that is 144 works being shown across the country.

The event in Birmingham is free; no tickets required. Just show up.

I visited, with our daughter Kate,  mid-afternoon on Monday 25th Feb. There was no queue; contrary to Kate’s previous visit of a few days before when she waited for an hour and a half.

I’m not sure what I expected but I was surprised by what met my gaze. The images are wonderfully rendered drawings, sketches even. Acutely observed and flawlessly made in charcoal and sepia. In the main, they are light, airy and elegant. I suppose at over 500 years old the degradation in the medium is to be expected, and yet that seems to add to the evanescence of the pieces.

But, it’s the size which surprises the most. These images are not large; sketchbook sized at most. Why I was expecting anything else I don’t know, but the small scale – precision and elegance in miniature – was what hit me most.

You have to get close. For me that meant using the reading glasses part of my lenses, standing with my nose no more than a few inches from the glass covering the frames. I was nearer than I have ever been to the works of a master, and what a master. They drew me in and immersed me in their scant and elegant line form.

Would I go again? Yes. And would it be worth a 90-minute wait to see them? Yes – if I could stand for that long.

The image above is of the Head of St James in the Last Supper and architectural sketches. It dates from circa 1495.

Royal Collection Trust.  Copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.

Exhibition information

The Exhibition in Birmingham runs until  6 May 2019
Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm
Friday 10.30am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 10am – 5pm
Web information

Other Da Vinci works in the Royal collection are being exhibited at:

  • Ulster Museum, Belfast

  • Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

  • Derby Museum and Art Gallery

  • National Museum Cardiff

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

  • Leeds Art Gallery

  • Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

  • Manchester Art Gallery

  • Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

  • Southampton City Art Gallery

  • Sunderland Museums and Winter Gardens



A trip to Birmingham

I was in my home city of Birmingham for a couple of days mainly to see the Da Vinci exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – more on that to come.

Whilst there I shot some images in the glorious unseasonal sunshine. Freakish February weather.


Smallbrook Queensway from the cafe on the bridge. This was the speedway track of my misspent youth.


Barbers shop on the bridge.


At the rear of Selfridges.