April Fool

What better time for returning to my long-lost blog than April Fool’s Day? I stopped blogging in early 2015 and didn’t come back for a long time. When I did start taking an interest earlier this year, I couldn’t get access to the mechanical gubbins that lets you write a post or get beneath the hood. I thought about starting a new blog, but it seemed such a waste to throw away all the work I’ve put into this one.

Then a remarkably quick response from the WordPress help forum solved the problem – I was logging in with the wrong username. Hence the relationship of this post to its title.

You will be pleased to know that I’ve removed the advertising from this blog, because I’m not prepared to inflict on you, dear readers, something I loathe. It will take a while to relearn everything and make some necessary changes. Looking back at an old blog is sort of comforting in a way, like reading an old diary, but there are things you wince at.

That’s all for now. I want to get my April Fool post in on time.

william mcgonagall as performance poet


Thin End of the Wedge

Or, my way of sliding back into blogging on a daily basis. I blame the Guardian and its comment section, cif. I spend all the time frittering away my deathless prose on idle posts, instead of focusing the energy on Beautiful Railway Bridge.

Some photos, while I try to work out where to go from here. These are from Campbeltown.

And this little Dutch barge is from Tarbert.

These last two are from Keswick, in the Lake District, where I went for a few days in July. I lived there in the 1980s, and the visit was part walk down memory lane, part meeting an old friend from Seattle, who was visiting the UK.

I despair of taking a good photo in the Lake District. It’s been so blighted by the picturesque that all paths lead to views out of which an enterprising postcard company has already sucked the life. Wordsworth and his cronies have much to answer for. These are the best I could do.

Thanks for visiting in such numbers, even while I’ve posted nothing new. I will do better.

Here We Go Again

Do I dare to eat a peach? CropI renewed the domain subscription for Beautiful Railway Bridge today. I’d been putting if off till the last minute – the lights would have gone out tomorrow – for several reasons. One is irritation at being being bombarded with reminders by WordPress when I knew the deadline and didn’t want to think about it until absolutely necessary. And part of the reason for not wanting to think about it was a reluctance to question whether writing a blog is worth the effort.

Yes, I get a great deal of pleasure from making a good blog post. But there’s always the fight with the worst broadband service in Britain, the faff of putting in all the links, and the maintenance involved in making over a thousand posts accessible and easy to find. And most of all there’s the self-imposed guilt when I don’t post on a daily basis.

The maintenance thingy is a shambles. And the images are scattered between this and an unused blog, when I really want them all in one place. It will take literally years to get everything sorted out, but that’s me in perfectionist mode – it might be better to ignore the trait as much as possible. Knowing where everything is probably matters only to me.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I’m still here and attempting once more to post every day. Ish.

Whither Beautiful Railway Bridge?

In the spirit of the first ever Monty Python (see the whole wonderful episode below) I have been pondering shallowly on where I can take Beautiful Railway Bridge.

After such long absence it’s hard to get traction again, particularly since I’ve always relied on arbitrariness, serendipity, and the kindness of strangers. So the idea is to make Beautiful Railway Bridge a bit more structured, with regular features as well as improvisation. Not sure where I’m going yet, but photography has to be one of the main girders. I’m resurrecting the Daily Photo Challenge as a way of getting started, even though it can be a rod for my own back. Finding new subjects, or new ways of looking at old ones, in a one horse town is definitely a challenge.

Next up are this morning’s photos.


I’m in them, just like the Ancient Mariner:

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
‘Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, no breath no motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Passing time, not engaged with life, bored, unhappy, no energy, becalmed on another oppressive summer, wishing I were anywhere else but here, and too distracted to even imagine an alternative. Summer is when the Black Dog comes calling and finds me in. The Doldrums.

Hence the disordered condition of Beautiful Railway Bridge. No posts since June 9, maintenance backed all the way up the wazoo, and no sense of what it’s all for. Except to stop me running amok. Needless to say, well behind on replying to comments and reading other blogs.

Ditto all the other bits of social media in which I dip a toe – Google+, KILTR, Facebook, Twitter. I’ve lost the plot, don’t know what they’re for, and really can’t be bothered. More than that, their blandishments are starting to piss me off.

That’s the bad news. Good news is that tomorrow’s the Solstice, when the days start getting shorter and I can look forward to the possibility of change. Autumn reinvigorates me.

To celebrate, I will relaunch Beautiful Railway Bridge in hopefully a more structured and consistent way, beginning with a daily photo challenge to get me out and about. And I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that your blogs and comments are a lifeline.

Beautiful Railway Bridge: 2012 In Review

Winged MonkeysMany thanks to the WordPress Flying Helper Monkeys for putting our yearly statistics together. (Dubya, is that you?) All year round they bang away on their typewriters, just to keep the code flowing so we can enjoy a seamless blogging experience. We don’t ask for the complete works of Shakespeare, and they don’t supply it, but they and the Orwellian Happiness Engineers keep the WordPress ship afloat.

I’m probably a customer service representative’s worst nightmare – impatient, ungrateful, quick to assume it must be the fault of WordPress, and profoundly ignorant of the cause of a problem.

Well, I’m often wrong.

One of my resolutions was to show a bit of humility in 2013. That was it. Normal service will now be resumed.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 45,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Beautiful Railway Bridge’s Top 12 Blogs of 2012

2012 Blog Award Flag 1600

It’s that time of year again when everyone makes lists. Unfair to stop at 10, and even 12 leaves out blogs I visit regularly. But I had to stop somewhere, and 12 fits in with 2012, opening up the possibility of 13 in 2013, and so on. Until I run out of room on the flag. I left out some excellent blogs that only publish sporadically, some that are no longer active, and some for which there is no room this year. As you might expect, my list has a lot of photography and art blogs. In alphabetical order.

biblioklept: As the title suggests, a compendious collection of art, writing, music and film clips, all of it surprising and unexpected. A reflection of the written word in different genres.

Chicquero: An art, design, fashion, and photography blog, with stunning photos.

ciapannaphoto: An Italian photography blog, mostly street photography, which catches scenes and moments to perfection.

Expressions of my life – An evolution of art: An American painter’s personal blog, detailing the work in progress, the painter’s thoughts and poetry, even the music he plays while painting.

Fear No Weebles: Madame Weebles is funny, fearless, and thoroughly opinionated. Splendid rants.

GingerFightBack: Inspired and hilarious comic characters from a founder member of the Ginger Resistance. He’ll photoshop a ginger wig on you at the drop of a hat.

Leanne Cole Photography: Tutorials in digital manipulation. If that sounds dry, it’s not, because she illustrates them with her own superb photos of the Melbourne area and gives you the background story to each shot. I visit to gawp, since I don’t have any of this new-fangled software, but you’ll learn something if you do.

northierthanthou: Thoughtful essays from a native of Alaska, complete with photos of a land most of us can only imagine.

Ooggetuige: Brilliant portrait photography in this Dutch blog. He brings out the character of his subjects to such an extent that they look right back and say, “Who are you looking at?”

The Accidental Cootchie Mama: Warm, sly, engaging stories from the American South, some made up, some real. Always worth reading.

The Bookhound: Prolific, thoughtful book reviews from a dog-loving librarian.

WISIWIS (What I See Is What I Shoot): Photography blog from Moscow. Daily life in the street as lived by ordinary Russians.

Thanks for all the good stuff!