An elderly lady, the keeper of the keys, well into her eighties, walks back to her cottage after kindly opening an old rural church in County Clare for me so I could take photographs.
I first visited Ireland in 1977 and visited again 31 years later. It was like chalk and cheese; never have I seen a country change so quickly. Much of the west of Ireland was in a world of its own in the 1970s. For example, I can remember spending an evening in a rural pub where my girlfriend and myself where the only non-locals. The two perfectly competent bar staff couldn't have been any older than fourteen. They told me they were brothers and their parents, who owned the pub, were down the road for a night out at another bar. They even turned people away because they were underage! When I asked if there was any food they told me sorry, we don't serve food, then reappeared five minutes later with a cheese sandwich which was "on the house if you have another Guinness."
Nowadays the pub is likely to be a bistro with a perfectly competent adult chef, or a wine bar with Porsches and Mercedes in the car park whose owners work at Google or Microsoft and haven't been to mass since childhood. I suspect the kind lady in this photograph wouldn't have been entirely comfortable with the newer Ireland.
The no longer existing Sydney Monorail, photographed two years prior to its demise. Described by the ever droll and sadly no longer with us Australian writer Clive James as running ".......from the middle of downtown Sydney, to the middle of downtown Sydney, after circumnavigating the middle of downtown Sydney."
Captured somewhere in the North-West Highlands. I lay down on my stomach to get the shot. Meanwhile I could hear the low growl of a truck in the distance, slowly ascending the hill. I had misjudged the sound to distance ratio badly. After firing off a few frames I nonchalantly got to my feet just in time to see the truck suddenly appearing over the brow of the hill. Had it been seconds later I wouldn't be writing this.
Captured on a street in Valletta. A woman takes a photograph of another woman's bag. I take a photograph of the woman taking a photograph of another woman's bag and a guy in the distance watches me taking a photograph of a woman taking a photograph of another woman's bag. And I also take a photograph of a guy in the distance watching me take a photograph of a woman taking a photograph of another woman's bag. A loop of observers.
Every time I walked past this guy he was fast asleep and snoring while minding his shop, despite all the hustle and bustle of the medina in Marrakech. I got the feeling his sixth sense would wake him up pretty quickly if customers, especially tourists, started looking at his wares. I'm not even sure what it is he's selling.
Straw hats are an uncommon sight in Morocco. This guy was working unloading the fishing boats in the harbour at Essaouira and stood out from his peers. He also has a very photogenic demeanour. A little pensive, a little doleful, perhaps.
This jovial fellow is Fernandel. He was a native of Marseille and a much-loved comic actor. He seems to have had a liking for cafés because I saw this same signed portrait in several cafés around the city. All were recommended by Fernandel.