I’ve started a new blog about Belgium – L’Empire des Lumières. It’s named after one of René Magritte’s most famous paintings.

The intention is to document bars, beer, sunsets, clouds, photographs, and the occasional nugget of information that might prove useful for visitors to this very peculiar and beguiling country. So far it’s mostly about Brussels, but there’s more to come.

Please click on the pic to be taken there.




  1. They are rather fab, you might want to tag them with a sig (to stop naughty people pilfering them without giving a credit.)

    If I might ask what camera are you using? (the metadata says iPad mini, f/2.4, 1/15 sec. ISO-500, but it seems much too sharp?)

    I was planning to dust off my little camera tomorrow, (an aquaintance is having their shop refurbished and it has uncovered some of the original 17C features and I’ve offered to take some photos for them before they get covered over again,) but having seen yours I might chance my arm and see what else is around to be photographed.

    • Thanks, good tip about the sig. I will look into watermarking via Acorn, unless you have any expert suggestions.

      Mostly I use a Canon Ixus, occasionally a Nikon Coolpix (both of which are compact and easy to carry around) but for bars & restaurants I use my iPad Mini, because it’s more discreet, and I can pretend to be reading or something. I also have a Panasonic Lumix, which is lovely, but I still haven’t got the hang of the controls. I must try harder, though, as it’s a smashing lens and gives beautiful results. More information on the “About” page of the blog.

      Yes, please show us some 17C features.

  2. Tagging, anything that lets you add a transparent layer and a bit of text will do. Acorn seems a bit pricey, there is something called Pixelmator at a third of the price. But I’ve never used either, if I need to do any photo manipulation (rare and mostly cropping or truing up), I use a programme (with a very silly name), called GIMP. It’s free, does most jobs, lots of tutorials available.

    The Lumix is very nice, I was only slightly envious and then I made the mistake of looking at all the extra lenses and now I’m very envious.

    (I combined that thought with the subject of previous post and discovered this:


    Not sure about the logic? of using the shoe as an anchor point, but it should be strong enough, given it’s designed to survive having a flash unit hanging off it.)

    Seventeenth century features? Hmmm…….. well a favour is a favour. I duly went over to see this discovery, (the offer of free beer, may have swayed me slightly). And it looked wrong, felt wrong and when the flash hit, it flared much more than I’d expect.

    Found an edge, lifted it very gently with a butter knife, 20C plywood! stained and hand painted with a fleur de lis pattern. It was very well executed and must have taken hours to do, so hats off to whoever did it, (and the beer was tasty).

    It was raining so there was only a chance for a quick stroll round the old part of the town, while pretty there isn’t much that is particularly interesting, it’s the sort of place where you need to look and look again until the interesting features, ‘float up’ out of the general scene.

    I’d need to do some research before going back, to find the good stuff.

    • I already have Acorn – I bought it last year to add fangs to a picture for the cover of my e-book of Suckers. Still find most of it quite baffling, but it’s easy to use for watermarking and, to my surprise, I quite like the look of the photographs with ©Anne Billson added – it’s not the eyesore I feared it would be.

      As for the Lumix cable release – WOW! I’ve been wanting something like that for ages, and had given up searching as there seemed to be nothing at all on the market. Thank you so much for drawing it my attention.

      Great 17th century plywood anecdote! Which town is this, BTW?

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