Every Monday night a select band of fellows gather round a table in our local pub. We euphemistically call it 'Camera Club', which isn't a club and we rarely talk about cameras. In fact we want to call it something else, because we know that when we say "We're going to Camera Club" everyone thinks we dress up in doubtful raincoats and club together to hire a dodgy modelfrom Leicester. No, each week in strict rotation one of us will nominate a subject which we attempt to shoot during the week, and the next Monday we will present our results to each other. Our presentations are obviously anointed with comforting libations, and always end in us roundly abusing each other. It is stimulating, thought provoking, and great fun.
We're probably in our third year now (nobody can quite remember) and have done everything from books to boats. And once, when half of us had failed to turn up, absence. The winner was one of those cardboard holders for two dozen eggs. With one taken out. Anyway, last night it was bridges, and Saturday saw Youngest Boy and I talking about these devastating floods as we stood next to the Great Ouse at Great Barford in Bedfordshire (top), and Sunday saw all of us belting around the countryside in wintry sunlight looking at all our local contenders. The nearest bridge to my home is the next one down, where I always stop to see the water level of the River Welland, hoping to catch a glimpse of a heron. Then another county boundary bridge between Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, next to the old Ashley station (how appropriate) and finally Medbourne with its classical English pose for the camera. Thence back up to our village and me setting to fire to the kitchen again for Sunday lunch.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph