Articles by Lita Doolan

Piercing Blue

Saddle up, up and away!James Sadler, a science technician at Oxford University took the first hot air balloon from Christ Church and the second from the Botanic Garden.James Sadler was the son of James Sadler senior, an Oxford pastry cook, and his wife Elizabeth.James Sadler began experimenting with small gas-filled balloons while working as a laboratory technician in the University’s chemistry laboratory.On 12 November 1784, Sadler’s second flight (this time from the Botanic Garden,... continue reading

Local Botanic Garden

Oxford's Botanic Garden was founded in 1621 with a mission "To promote the furtherance of learning and to glorify nature".The oldest tree in the Garden is an English Yew planted in 1645.Although at the time they were not planted for their medicinal properties, yew trees now provide the raw material for two important cancer drugs, paclitaxel (taxol) and docetaxel (taxotere).The magic of trees can be enjoyed in many images and also from the fact that the oldest species in the garden also offers... continue reading

Non fiction snaps

As a child school trips always made me buy a kodak film with 26 exposures to load into an instamatic camera and then plan each portrait well.Sometimes the exposures had been completely been used up before we had got on the bus.The power of friendships we shared as classmates made us want to capture the coolest people laughing or making silly faces or showing off their new jacket.Using a digital camera whilst walking through London the need to get a shot perfect, so as not to waste the film,... continue reading

Old monastery makes new medicine

It is fascinating to enjoy the history of plants.There is an original London Plane tree in the Botanic Garden of Oxford that gave rise to the common tree species that line many of London's roads today.By shedding it's bark continually this species is not affected by the pollution of the road traffic.Other plants that linger in the gardens of old churches are often the remains of the monasteries that once stood on the site.Henry VIII famously dissolved many of the monasteries.The ones that... continue reading

Big (and small) Ben

Walking past Houses of Parliament at night the history of all the politicians that made an impact on history hangs in the air.No matter what time of day it is a scuffle to get past the photographers stood opposite Westminster Abbey with their cameras facing Big Ben.Even with Downing Street, The Changing of the Guards and the Abbey just a minute away I always find the biggest crowd gathered near Big Ben for the iconic London photo.The memorabilia around London tourist shops make more... continue reading

Bloom!

Summer blossom is peaking in our Botanic Garden that was once a Physic Garden serving the old Hospital that lay across the road from it, here in Oxford.The need to capture this explosion of colour everywhere means a lot of folk are loading up their iphones with images even as they spend quality time with their families beside the river.It feels worth taking the time out from our time outside as all too soon the petals fall and perish. continue reading

Hair Today

Spotting antiques from a junk shop is one way to make a mint and I continue to sharpen skills watching the Antiques Roadshow.I feel a long way from putting my money where my mouth is and investing in some bonafide silverwear, but tonights show made me think how we age photographs.I know a friend who recruits visual artists on the basis of how well they can age a photograph or sketch.Whilst Hogarth's etchings may be a give away, there is a blurred line within centuries that are identified with... continue reading

How to ruin a photo album

Flipping through faded photographs of holidays, (Kodak variety) I spotted how part of every trip for me is to 'go' to the ruins.I celebrate the past in my new destination even if it is not labelled or clear if the statues are native to the country or an import.How much of a continent can be explained by it's ruins is something I question, as this is the past and the country is a new place.When I got to the famous old treasures of Knossos in Crete, I had picked a bad day it was closed but... continue reading

A picture of theatre is worth a dictionary

With a midnight deadline (tonight!) I am rustling together the 50 words for a Fringe brochure listing, that will best describe my show (a drama set in Famagusta, Cyprus examining divisions when two ex pat brits cannot cross to the South after being part of an anti fracking protest).In brackets there I have already used 26 words and not even told you where you can see it!Once I had found the right artist, it took two days to create the image to describe the showbut finding the right words to... continue reading

Look down to move up

A pal runs a yacht hire company that has done nothing but thrive.He has a sun tan all year round and lives on a diet of ice cream cones.It feels like he was born in a bed of roses and I wish him well.Everyone knows someone like that even if it is from reading about someone luck struck in the Sunday newspapers.I asked him about resources and he said that wealth is all about what you know.I don't think he meant education in an academic sense but the assets we are surrounded by.He... continue reading

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