Monday 1 April 2024

Why don't we do it in the road?

Welcome to April's Photo Challenge. I was looking for road crossings - zebras, pelicans, crosswalks. To say I was staggered by the response would be an understatement. A huge thank you to contributors old and new (this month I'm pleased to welcome a whole host of newbies) so without ado let's press the button and wait for the green man... 

Rol, take it away: "Hi John. So I drew a blank when I looked back through the files - no zebras or pelicans or Belishas in sight. Then I came to a wet Thursday evening football practice and, while I stood waiting for the lad to finish British Bulldogs Charge, I noticed this fella on the pavement. Best I can offer, I'm afraid. Take care, Rol." Perfect. He fits the bill and no mistake!

Tim's gone for a three pronged attack this month: "Hi John. Looked back through my phone pics and found a jettisoned flat pint waiting for a green light in Manchester."

"A rainy crossing viewed from the top deck of a bus in Clapham." You are the man on the Clapham omnibus, Tim!       

"And finally some Berlin street art requesting ‘more zebra crossings’." Thanks, Tim. You've understood the brief perfectly.

Talking about zebras - Ernie, what have you got for us? "Hi John, three offerings this month, two of which may be out of scope. The one I'm confident meets the brief is the first one. It's zebras crossing in the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa, and you mentioned both zebras and crossings in your message so it must be OK." Absolutely it is, Ernie. (And you may want to scroll down for more 'zebra action'.)

Ernie goes on: "I wasn't sure whether underpasses fitted the brief, if not then the other two are out. The first was taken from the towpath of the Hertford Union Canal, which is the easiest way to get across the A12 from where I live." Spot on. We're a broad church, Ernie. Underpasses certainly get the thumbs up.

"The second is the Woolwich Foot Tunnel. Obviously, the tunnel mostly goes under the Thames but it also passes under the westbound lane of the A117 in North Woolwich (unlike the Greenwich Foot Tunnel which doesn't go under any roads at all and which I therefore excluded). All the best." Thanks, Ernie. I see now that Photo Challenge was absolutely made for you!

David Cooper, our most travelled correspondent, for sure: "The sign for a pedestrian crossing in Australia. This pair was seen in Sydney." Thanks, Coops. A great spot.

C from Sun Dried Sparrows has an announcement to make: "Hi John, just back from an afternoon in Camden Town." Very tasteful, C. These Pride crossings are springing up all over the place.

Charity Chic is dodging the trains this month: "The level crossing on Grey Street, Broughty Ferry." Thanks, CC. I always get the jitters, quite irratonally, when I drive over these.

Say hello to newbie Andy, a.k.a. Mr. D. Andy is currently in Berlin where he snapped this rather lovely trio. I know the middle one is near the Reichstag and I particularly like 'the wave' in the last one. Welcome onboard, Mr. D - please come back next month.

Jo-Shreeve from Cornwall next. A 'home' and 'away' pair: " Nothing very exciting this time (I'll be the judge of that, Jo!) - St. Piran's Day Parade and a hotel in Majorca xx." As always, Jo, I love them. Thank you again for playing along.

Pete Zab: ''Hi John, here's my pic for April - taken in Sherwood on 3rd December 2023 - the only day it snowed this winter!" Thank you, Pete. I remember that day! 
Another newbie this month - my good friend Vaughan from Lincoln who was visiting Nottingham this weekend - "LED flashing Belisha beacons on this Daybrook zebra & a Union flag in the background." Thanks, Vaughan!

Alyson's been here from the very beginning of this project (January 2023) and for that I can't thank her enough. Here's a shot she took in Amsterdam some 10 years ago when she went over with her daughter -"It's a crossing in the grounds of the Rijksmuseum (home of the Dutch Masters). It was a very sunny holiday, I seem to remember."

Khayem has been patrolling the Cotswolds: "Slightly off the regular path from the Quays outlet centre to the Cathedral in Gloucester is this lovely Pride pedestrian crossing. I took a photo of it a couple of years ago and used it in one of my blog posts but I couldn’t find the original so I took a fresh photo in March 2024, this time from the opposite side of the road. To those that have pondered this question over the decades, I can exclusively reveal that somewhere over the rainbow is…Gloucester Academy of Music. Sadly, some bastard’s already nicked the pot of gold." Thanks, K - you & C were thinking along the same lines this month.

"About 30-odd miles away in South Gloucestershire sits the historic market town of Chipping Sodbury (or Sodding Chipbury, if you’re trying to find parking on a Friday night or Saturday morning). One of the main routes to the high street has not one but two sets of crossings, about 400 metres apart from each other, both adorned with Belisha beacons. I took a snap of one against a bleak skyline, with its strangely hypnotic and comforting light flashing periodically." Thanks, K. I think now would be as good a time as any to say thank you to one Leslie Hore-Belisha, without whom, this month's Photo Challenge may well have fallen on its arse.

Next up, Adam: "Road crossings and album covers. Top left, the most famous zebra crossing in the world with four Beatles (or three & an imposter, depending on your beliefs about Paul). Top right - Mick Jones and BAD 2 about to drink the Kool Aid and make some kind of hyperdelic crossing. Bottom left - Ian, Will, Les and Pete, crossing not visible but the Bunnymen always know where to cross the road. Bottom right - Don Letts as seen on the cover of Black Market Clash. 'Dread' doesn't need painted lines to tell him where to cross the road." Thanks, Adam. I half expected one of us to go down this path!

Time for The Swede: "Pausing for a photo opportunity while crossing a New York street is not something I'd usually recommend. It's a city whose impatient road users (not to mention fellow pedestrians) invariably have places to be and people to see - loiterers & slowcoaches are unlikely to be tolerated once the lights turn green. I took this shot looking north on Hudson Street, at the intersection of Duane, on a bright, crisp Sunday morning in March 2023, while the city that never sleeps was having a bit of a lie-in. A deserted series of usually bustling crosswalks stretch into the distance and the traffic signals shine red for no-one." Eerie stuff, thank you, TS.

Another newbie, Alan Dawson writer and local historian: "Taken on Goldsmith Street in Nottingham's (ever expanding) student quarter." It's a sentiment shared by many, I'm guessing.

A brace from California: Riggsby said he found this month's assignment one tough but managed to find these - including the crosswalk leading to his local Sushi restaurant. Thanks, Richard.

Remember we were talking about zebras earlier? My good friends Matthew & Samantha were recently in Cape Town and, lo and behold, found another real life zebra. Several, in fact. Very similar to Ernie's pic above, Sam said they 'cross' when they're resting. These are from Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. Matthew panned out.

And Sam zoomed in.

Just time to whizz through some of mine. From 2013 this is James (middle) and a very young Frozen Gin 'doing an Abbey Road' in Pickering, North Yorkshire.

More Belishas on the Mansfield Road in Nottingham.

A yellow Beetle in Los Angeles. From our road trip in 2022.

The first of two crossings made by Matthew. This one is in Newcastle not far from our digs when we hit the toon last year.

We have loads of scary school crossings in Nottingham manned by zombie childlike creatures who scare the shit out of me whenever I drive past them.

This is the pelican crossing at the top of my road.

Bloody Matthew again. This one's in Hollister, CA. I took this in 2022.

Taken a couple of days earlier in LA.

And finally, while zebras may be thin on the ground in America we did spot this elk just outside Grand Canyon. I'd never seen one before so was very excite to see this beautiful creature crossing the highway like it owned the place.

So there you have it. Thanks again to everyone who took part; I love curating your photographs. Keep 'em coming! See you next time. 

Postscript 2.4.24

I know I've already given some of you an early heads up regarding May's theme - 'Revolving Doors'. However, I suspect some of you (not all) are struggling. That being the case I'm gonna bring forward what would have been June's theme and run it jointly with the doors. 
So, May's theme will be 'Mannequins/Showroom Dummies' and/or 'Revolving Doors'. Either or both, I'll take whatever you've got. By 1st May, please! J x


  1. A fine selection. I like the elk and Adam's album covers.

    1. Thanks, Ernie. I'm guessing not even Adam will have many albums with elks on the cover...

  2. A great selection of photos John. Just want to add, I too get the irrational jitters when I traverse a railway crossing. You just never know... .

    1. Totally irrational; like most of the things that tend to buzz around my head for no reason.

  3. Greta set of pics John, another monthly triumph for the series. You've got me thinking now about elks and albums

  4. Fascinating selection as always, thanks John.

    I can help with the elk album...

    1. I too had a quick look and wished I hadn't! I did, however, like The Carpenters sleeve; as I said to Adam (above), I've always had a soft spot for them.

    2. We have the Kosheen album here on the shelves, I had forgotten it completely until this came up so time to dig it out again! I like the Carpenters sleeve too.

  5. Another excellent selection... though I may be playing my joker next month!

    1. Thank you, R.

      Not knowing what your joker is, has my announcement above increased or decreased the prospect of you playing it?

    2. Hmm... not sure. I will have think...

  6. I'm continually in awe of the brilliance and creativity that you curate every month, John. I seem to have been in sync with C this time around, not just the photo but in immediately (but belatedly) thinking of the Kosheeen album when you mentioned elks. Like me, they originally hail from Bristol, which of course is well known for its free roaming elks (?!)

    1. “They” being Kosheen not elks…!

    2. Are there not herds of them roaming wild in St. Paul's? You need to speak to the Council.