Muerte e Impuestos…

… which translates from Spanish as “Death and Taxes”, which is in itself a paraphrase of Christopher Bullock’s line from the The Cobbler of Preston written in 1716:

“’Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes”.

 

Well all I can say is that Bullock had never been to Spain or he’d have added solicitors and notaries to the quote. By now regular readers will be well and truly confused. Well I shall try and explain.

 

Cóbdar is a small village of 140 situated in the Sierra de los Filabres in the Spanish province of Andalusia.

 

Nearly forty years ago my partner’s father moved to Spain, initially to Mallorca, but later he moved to the small Andalusian village of Cóbdar in the Sierra de los Filabres where he happily lived for about twenty four years before succumbing to old age just a few weeks ago. For my partner the news of his passing produced both visceral grief and a great sense of relief. The grief being a natural expression of sadness at loosing a parent and the relief that the anxieties of his predicament regarding Brexit were over and that he was able to pass away in his own home with his partner by his side. The feelings of grief were nothing compared to depths of despondency that ensued when trying to navigate the murky waters of the Spanish legal system. The long and the short of it is that in Spain everything bureaucratic in nature requires the use of umpteen solicitors, legions of notaries and of course taxation like you would not believe. Spanish solicitors charge like a wounded bull, being a Spanish notary is a licence to print money and the government has a tax for just about every eventuality. Just when you feel that navigated the system in it’s entirety then you find out that if your inheritance includes any property – no matter how small a share – then you have to write a Spanish will, whether you are resident or not, so you can inflict the whole process on your descendants. A Spanish inheritance is the gift that keeps on taking. It is not surprising that nearly 40% of Spanish inheritances are passed over.

 

Cóbdar is laid out more formally than other villages in the region. Although small and isolated it continues to be a working village.

 

Brooke and Helen walking along Río de los Molinos in Cobdar. Cóbdar is situated at the base of a mountain that is quarried for marble. The marble gleams white in the sunlight and can be seen in the background of the picture.

 

Helen taking a break in the shade under an olive tree. Cobdar, Spain.

 

The Rabit man’s house on the edge of the Andalusian village of Cobdar.

 

Every time I think of the situation I have the mental image of Basil Fawlty erupting in rage and frustration.

Recovery Mode

Frida doing post surgery recovery.

This is Frida. I wouldn’t say we own her, more like she deigns to live with us. Anyway she had surgery to remove a lump last week, and she is now taking recovery very seriously. The lump turned out to be benign 😊👌.

 

Frida doing post surgery recovery.

Messing About In Boats.

“What?” cried the Rat, open-mouthed: “Never been in a—you never—well I—what have you been doing, then?””Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing—”

“Look ahead, Rat!” cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

“—about in boats—or with boats,” the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. Look here! If you’ve really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?”

Wind In The Willows, Chapter 1 by Kenneth Grahame

2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival Hobart
The MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival is held every two years and Hobart’s historic waterfront comes alive with the colour and excitement of Australia’s rich maritime culture and history.
2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival Hobart
There were hundreds of wooden boats, from magnificent tall ships to classic sailboats, rugged working boats to superbly detailed models.
Madoc, Hobart
The Madoc is a Fenwick Williams “Annie”. The MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival is the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere .
2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival Hobart
2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival Hobart
Hop The Wag
Hop The Wag is an old English saying which means to play truant.
The Black Pearl
Captain Jack Sparrow has docked and gone walkabout at 2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart.
Hanging From The Yard Arm
Hanging From The Yard Arm. The captain of the Lahara deals with pirates very seriously as pirate Ted found out.
Tasmanian Gilbert & Sulivan Society
The Tasmanian Gilbert and Sulivan Society get all swash buckling at The Elizabeth Street Pier.
Tasmanian Gilbert & Sulivan Society
A Member of the Tasmanian Gilbert & Sulivan Society at the Elizabeth Street Jetty.
Ride the prancing ponies
The much-loved 1880 Steam Carousel was whirling all weekend in the Princes Wharf Forecourt.
Single-oar sculling
Single-oar sculling is the process of propelling a watercraft by moving a single, stern-mounted oar from side to side while changing the angle of the blade so as to generate forward thrust on both strokes.

50!

Roy and Beryl Amyes taking Paul to be Christened 26th May 1963. Bromley, Kent, England

On Saturday 6th April 1963 I was born in Bromley, Kent, England. Fifty years later on 6th April 2013 in York Western Australia I’m celebrating my birthday. All in all looking at the two photos here I don’t think I’ve changed that much!

Paul and Frida, his faithful canine companion, out on Mt Brown in York, Western Australia on the morning of his 50th birthday.

I must say I don’t take “selfies” very often, but this morning I thought I would as it is not every day you turn 50 and I wanted to mark the occasion somehow.I’d left the house to take Frida (aka the puppy piranha) for her morning run and I’d put my Panasonic LX5 in my pocket. When the creative urge struck I thought this’ll be a piece of cake – birthday or otherwise – as I’ll just put the camera in self-portrait mode and snap away. On checking the LCD screen I saw that the shots were a dismal failure – the sky was over exposed and I was under exposed. Thankfully over the course of my fifty years I have learnt a photographic trick or two so I put the camera in manual and set a shutter and aperture combination to under expose the general scene by 2 stops. I then activated the pop up flash and set it to under expose by 1/2 a stop. The icing on the cake was getting Frida to sit with me while I took the shot. On getting home the image was fed through Lightroom and I played around with newly re-launched Nik Software Collection to make my visage suitably aged and distressed looking.

A New Arrival

Here at the global headquarters of Paul Amyes Photography – cough- life has become very hectic with the arrival of Frida our new Bull Terrier pup.

Who’s a gorgeous girl?

We got her from KUPALA BULL TERRIERS in Queensland and  she has a better pedigree than the Queen Elizabeth II. We’ve had her now for 3 weeks and she has quickly made herself at home.

Caught Napping

Why Do We Take Photographs?

Recently things have made me question why I take photos. Despite our protestations that we take photos to make art the real reason is not so grand. When I first picked up a camera to take pictures in my own right I had no idea that photography was even considered as an art form. When I was eighteen and about to go travelling with my girlfriend and my parents gave me a Kodak Instamatic to take with me. So my first reason to take pictures was to record the things I’d see and be able to show them to people who could not be there. When I returned home and got the films developed and printed I was both thrilled and disappointed at the same time. Thrilled because of the experiences I was able to share and disappointed because they could have been so much better. This prompted me to buy a succession of better cameras and learn a lot more about photography, but my primary focus (excuse the pun) was to document the things that I felt were important. This is by no means unique to me and it is the reason why the majority of the world’s photographs are taken.

“Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees”

Paul Strand

A photograph is a memory in physical form (if it is printed that is). Memories can be fleeting, my earliest ones are very indistinct ghostly impressions in my thoughts. Other memories such as my wedding day are more concrete and fully formed and consistent. Memories can be happy refuges where we can enter a contented almost blissful state when we allow ourselves to revel in them. Other memories are darker and more sinister and they are often repressed as it is too painful to dwell on them only for them to surface at inopportune times. Photos are aides-mémoires, we take them to supplement our view and experiences of the world and share them with others. Gerry Badger in his book The Genius Of Photography describes how the picture itself instantly becomes the subject of memory and provides the certainty that something actually existed. A photograph is capable of transporting back in time or to a far-flung location or establishing contact with someone long since dead. We can experience events that we never lived through, I can vividly recall the Normandy D-Day landings in 1944 even though I was not even born then thanks to the visceral photos of Robert Capa. Photography creates and shapes stories, it helps defines the morals and context of the world we live in. I have in my possession photos of family members whom I have never met, in fact some were only a faint memory for my parents and grandparents. From the photos I can learn about them and discover things that we have in common although we are separated by time and geography. The photos provide me a context for my life and a point of reference.

By all means continue to make photographic art, but do not forget to take record shots of your life and the lives of those who are nearest and dearest to you. Also let others take photographs of you doing what you enjoy and being with who you love as these photos are far more important than any art we may create, they will form part of your families collective memory and allow both you and them to live on.

My great great grandmother with her dog
My step grandfather Ted and his dog Bess. Rochdale, Lancashire, England
My Mother with her Chow Kim
Me aged 7 with my dog Kipper at Headcorn in Kent.
Me aged 16 with Digby. Chichester, West Sussex, UK.
My mother with her Staffy Florence, Chichester, West Sussex, UK 1995
Me and my Staffy Jacko. 1995, Thornlie, Western Australia.
Me and Rosie, Guilderton, Western Australia.

 

My partner Helen and me with Frida our Bull Terrier. York, Western Australia.