"The time has come" the walrus said...

That time of year has come around again...the time of excitement, apprehension, a butterfly filled stomach, nervousness and delight. It is time to head to the mountains. This summer has been a wonderful one (I know it is November, but I work one a bi-seasonal basis: winter and not) and I can take to the hills with me many beautiful moments and memories. Beaches, surfing, strolling, evening sunshine, sleeping in tents, breakfast on gas stoves, farms, ice cream, road trips, bridges, bike rides, English monsoons, living with the best friends and more than I would care to share so as not seem like I am showing off about how incredibly lucky I am feeling right now. I think it is healthy not to get unnecessarily stuck in unwanted mud. When it is time to keep your feet and head still, I believe it will be clear. But until then...I am going to keep getting excited about the next thing. 


Not mine

When Mum left Surrey last year, the gentleman who lived opposite kindly gave her a camera to pass on to me as he longer had a use for it. As a camera hoarder I gratefully received the thoughtful gift and added it to my much loved collection. The pattern of my photo taken is somewhat sporadic, taking out different cameras each day. So when I picked up a set of photos at the beginning of the week, I nearly turned quickly on my heal ready to shout obscenities at the kodak staff for giving be the wrong prints. Then I stumbled across familiar scenes and remembered the gift and realised that there had already been a film in the camera. It is a bizarre and slightly intrusive feeling owning the images of someone else. Having said that, I intend to pop them in an envelope along with an overdue 'thank you' note so they land in the lap of their rightful owner. I think I am more thank ok with the ill-fated birds not being mine, but I would quite like the dog.


Happy 100th Birthday...

...Bristol Brownies! Cycling home from work this evening I suddenly found myself amongst a mass of mustard and then realised that Bristol Brownies were celebrating their 100th Birthday in the Wills Memorial Building. Once I had realised who I was surrounded by (thanks to the beautiful, giant, hand-crafted sugar paper and glitter birthday card displayed for all passers-by to see) I then acknowledged the somewhat highly evolved uniform these energetic and excitable youths were wearing. Long gone are the cotton culottes, branded belts, stuffy shirts and pressed sashes. In their place are vivid synthetic fleeces, bubble writing logo t-shirts and boot cut trousers. With the fast ageing kids of today looking like mini twenty-somethings (get me my slippers and arm chair) I had pretty much forgotten the existence of the Guiding world. Growing up on a campsite that was born out of the Scouts, this organisation was very much prominent in my childhood and I guess I associate it with that period in time when kids were kids who climbed trees, made dens and wore clashing clothes. It was refreshing to see this organisation still going and parents making time in their children's busy schedules to partake in wholesome activities which teach morality, kindness and hardwork.


Big love for October

I think October is my favourite month. Maybe that is a tall order, but it is most definitely one of the best. The scenery looks like 80's tinted photographs of my childhood...not exactly sepia, but tones are softer than reality and everything looks like it does under early morning sun. When you step outside in the morning a gentle chill sweeps over you reminding you to dig out your mittens for tomorrow as you remember how frosty your hands got cycling to work yesterday morning. Frosty...not yet freezing, otherwise you would go back inside and find them. But the cycle ride in is fine without them. More than fine in fact as your breather is very nearly visible and extra caution is noted as your wheels spin over the burnt orange carpet created from the layers of fallen leaves. As much as I am quietly excited and looking forward to returning to the mountains for the winter, I am very much enjoying this colourful, calm time of the year. It only happens once and passes quicker than I would wish which means it must be appreciated and absorbed before it is starts to give way to November and mornings demanding the wearing of mittens.



Having finished my rather suspicious scarf a little while ago, I went straight in for the bobble hat. Edition 1 could have been used as a watermelon warmer it was so large. Edition 2 had unwanted holes in it. Edition 3 was the winner. The bobble may be a little on large side and it may by slightly too long (if however, I ever end up with a headful of dreadlocks, there is room to accommodate them), but I think there is a place for it in my life. Aurelia reminded me of a beautiful book of hers By Hand which features the guerilla knitting artwork of Robyn Love. This is definitely something to aim for.


Le Clic

Meet my new friend...Monsieur Clic. He has recently been residing in the St Peters Hospice shop until I snapped him up for a mere euro. Well....its was actually a pound, but same same. I think we are going to have a lot of fun together. Tomorrow I'm going to feed him a nice plate of slide film, take him out to play and let the relationship blossom. I will keep you updated on how our love is going/ growing/ not going. Hopefully not the last one. 



I got a disposable camera developed today which contained many forgotten about happy good times. There were photos of melon smiles, bear hugs, mountains, feet dangling over water, much missed friends, road trips and a man with a perm and fancy waistcoat. And a few of the inside of my bag. I am starting to worry about all the other hidden away times that are stored inside my head but are only brought forward and remembered when triggered by a specific symbol. What if something incredible happens which is swept to the corner by a higher density of other less amazing occurrences? I guess it's that age-old debate of quality vs quantity. One amazing memory may take up the same amount of space as six less brilliant memories. But maybe what we value at the time isn't the true value. Maybe hindsight and time allows us to re-evaluate and re-order our experiences. Like in The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. If you haven't read it, I would strongly recommend it. It is one of those books you read and tell people about but keep your copy for yourself on your bookshelf as you know that at some point in the future, you will want/ need to re-read it.


Bike shelf

Pretty cool. Have a look here.  Functional and aesthetically pleasing. Simple and practical. I wonder how long it will be before you see this beauty in Ikea.


Real bad guys

When I was 12 years old and pretty much living in an ice-rink, I took part in my first National Team challenge which saw Teams of over-energetic youngsters skate their (our) little socks off in order to win a super-shiny medal to proudly hang up at home. This debut saw 12 of us appear from the inside of a giant 1920's car made of mdf with wooden splurge guns in hand. There was also feather bowers, spats, braces and badly drawn eyeliner moustaches. The early morning Sunday rehearsals definitely ruined my love for the film, Bugsy Malone, but 14 years on I am ready to curl up and watch it again. Although now I am older than all the actors, a sense of inadequacy and some what lack of accomplishment is present as opposed to young aspiration and inspiration.


Bike show

Bristol cycle festival started last weekend and was seen in by the opening of the Bicycle Exhibition initiated by Boneshaker at howies...so on my day off I went back to my place of work for a beer and a good look around some brilliant bike artwork. The walls are still full of all these treasures so go along and have a look. Above you can see some of the hand sewn cycle caps by Jen Harrison, a pinboard of work from the guys at Boneshaker and collection of images from 45rpm. Come and have a peek abce howies on Queens Rd, Bristol.


Slapton sands

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of staying with a very great friend in the middle of nowhere in Devon. It was super good. Her house was the most wonderful homely space I have ever been lucky enough to spend time in. We slept in the summer house which looked straight out on to the richest green field with sheep happily munching away. We went to Slapton sands in the evening and drank ginger beer on the pebbles. We ate homegrown vegetables for dinner and fresh-from-the-chicken eggs for breakfast. We went surfing. We had an indulgent picnic. We laughed. And the sun kissed all of our cheeks. 


Forgotten now found

Here are some excerpts from my "Bad Photo" album. To be honest, I had forgotten I had it...it was an album created at uni for all the 'bad' photos to go into. But it seems that they aren't as bad as I thought they were when I condemned them. They must just not have been right for the purpose they were taken for. Now I don't have to take photos for a purpose or to fulfill a brief. I just take them because I want to. Of what I want. When I want. Can you tell I am an only child?


Winter woolies

The mornings are get chillier and the evenings getting shorter. Its the time of year when we start to rummage for big cosy jumpers, not leaving the house without a coat and feel less guilty about staying indoors infront of the TV at night. It is also the time of year when I go on a bit of a knitting rampage, convinced I can knit myself a whole new wardrobe and save the world in my determined mission. More realistic in my achievements this year, I have given myself one scarf to polish up rusty skills before attempting the hat. Having spent the passed few evenings clicking the points of my needles and redecorating my bedroom with wool, I feel I have gotten to a level of competence where I am now comfortable to take on the challenge of creating a piece of headwear. Maybe not to Philip Treacy's standards. But it will hopefully keep my head warm and my dark nights in more interesting. 



Whilst browsing the bookshelf at work last week I came across this beauty. Not only is it an absolute treat to look at, but it is surprisingly educational in it;s content. Initially picked up and flicked through in jest, it quickly became apparent that the term 'housewife' described a completely different role in 1963 (the year it was published) than it does nowadays. This book features an array of everyday crisis solutions: quick party canapes, how to re-grout tiles, treating poisoned patients, fixing a broken pipe, how to love animals, making a dress and how to make your home a loving, welcoming one. Im pretty sure if there was an equivalent now it would focus more on personal grooming and the use of a microwave and mobile phone to delegate all household problems to others.



Have a look at Peach magazine. It is laid out beautifully in a very obsessive graphic designer fashion, but features some brilliant imagery of the girls ripping it up. I can't comment on the text content as unfortunately I don't speak Dutch. But I'm sure that it is just as brilliant.


Childhood dreams

Last night I watched a documentary on Christopher Wheeldon; one of the youngest and most successful choreographers of contemporary ballet. The Bolshoi Ballet (one of the oldest and most traditional companys) invited him to create a new piece for them. He takes two of his closest dancers/ friends with him to document the experience who prove to be more useful in the creative process than he planned. The way in which Wheeldon works as an artist is highly organic and exploratative, whereas the dancers he is working with are used to being taught predesigned sequences from previously established pieces. This is made evident right from the start and causes quite a ripple amongst the company and within Wheeldon's creative process.

Watching this documentary was a pleasure as well as inspiring. Not least because my childhood dream was to be a Prima Ballerina, but also to see that even the most successful, high-profile artists are often challenged by their own routine and processes and still have to adapt to ever-evolving situations. Just because you are a national star or prodigy, does not mean that performing and creating at the same pace and in the same way will hold your success status. Being successful is about constant challenge and development.

Having my memory stirred by remembering my childhood dream resulted in a late night trawl through youtube to find footage of a German TV series aired in the late 80's called  Anna. My life after the discovery of this series was changed forever. Mainly with my questionable fashion taste being based on that of Anna's. Actually, it probably still has a glimpse of influence still now. Despite the original being as badly dubbed as The Moomins and the German version now only available, I can still remember nearly ever word. Especially from this scene...one which was recreated hundreds of times in my living room with the sofas pushed back and the carpet rolled up. Which I am off to do right now. Enjoy. 


Corrine Day

Corrine Day passed away on August 27th. Although much controversy surrounded her work, you cannot deny the atmosphere of her images draw you in and take you away to the etherial place suggested in their mood. Beautiful. May she forevermore lay in peace. In her own etherial place. 


Open spaces please

Michael Foucault was spot on with his theory of 'the other'...the idea that to know what/ who you are, you must know what/ who you are not. It is through this process of elimination that we are able to work out who we are and what we are made up of. I believe it to be unhealthy to live with regrets, but instead feel that it is more beneficial to acknowledge and observe our conclusions about the effectiveness or the decisions we have made. This summer I have realised a number of things:

I thrive on space and dislike being in restricted environments

A good cup of tea and slice of cake in the afternoon is more enjoyable than pint number 6 at midnight

City centres on a Friday and Saturday night resemble my image of the hellish end of purgatory

The ocean is a decent substitute for the mountains

Waking up in a tent is bliss

Farms and parks in the city comfort me, yet also confuse me

Keeping a blog is self-indulgent and somewhat similar to considering your diary entries in the hope that someone 'accidentally' stumbles across it

Chai tea is on par with earl grey

All of these realisations stand correct for the time being, yet I know that they will shift and alter and dissolve with time. But for now I am planning as many escapes away as possible to places with real roaming trees, rolling hills and crisp, crashing waves.


"Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man that a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living  spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day  to have a new and different sun.


The joy of reading

I have just finished reading The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett in which he writes as if he were the Queen who has just discovered the joy of reading. In this short yet thought-provoking novel, the Queen becomes wholly absorbed in the supposedly self-indulgent pleasure of reading and finds herself understanding her surroundings and subjects in a much more sensitive manner than her previously less-literate self. Those working close to her object to her new found pastime, seeing it as selfish and inappropriate due to its idol nature and lack of visible positive change to those in contact with the Queen. After a while her time spent reading evolves into time spent writing as she feels that this is a healthy compromise for all affected by her leisure pursuits. Writing, she considers, is an act of doing as opposed to just being and therefore less selfish as something physically happens out of the action. Fictitious as it is, the notion that reading or allowing yourself to be completely absorbed in an interest is selfish and disconnecting from ones surroundings is a sad one. I have always valued time spent on personal pleasures, such as reading, valuable and rewarding. There is a very fine line between selfish and looking after yourself but understand the line of selfishness to be crossed when other people are negatively affected by the action in question. It is 1.30am on a Saturday night and I have just spent the last two hours reading myself, instead of joining good friends in town. I am sure they have not lost out by my absence and I feel I have not missed out as I have enjoyed my "old-before-my-time" night with book and mug of peppermint tea in hand.



Everyday I think about him, I miss him, I love him. Not just because it is today. Five years doesn't heal. It just quietens. But that dull ringing is always there.


Stratus/ Cumulus/ Cumulonimbus/ Rain

On Monday I started my mini adventure to Herefordshire to help create and make a mess at the Big Chill festival. This excursion was one full of big hills, rich green fields, ducks, biscuits, tea, wet feet, clouds, rain, sunshine and lots of fresh air. I'm not usually one for grand landscape photos but I couldn't help but want to show off the stunning sights of our homeland. Often it is easy to get absorbed by the notion that you have to travel faraway and spend lots of money and time to witness natural sights of wonder that take hold of your attention. But there is so much to be seen and appreciated at home I am beginning to find it hard to want to spend my time away.



So...here is the talented Holly Black who was my inspiration to bruise and batter my limbs through the circus art form of static trapeze. Having taken part in many sports and physical activities throughout my time, the act of movement, stretching and hanging from a suspended piece of apparatus is one which gives a feeling of complete skeletal and muscular freedom and release. It is rare to find yourself static yet suspended, being affected by gravity yet not grounded.


Wonderful things

Today has been a good day. I awoke to some welcome sun rays peeking through the slats of my blinds. My morning was one full of positivity and promising up coming opportunities. Then came two serious looking cyclists nearing the top of Park Street. One was of significant great age and looked like he was flagging at the last stretch. So, his younger more spritely companion gently positioned his hand on his back and cycled that bit stronger in order to aid his friend all the way to the very top without having to let aged bones and weathered muscles stop him. Next came a self-indulgent hour of yoga, followed by a welcomed mug of tea with a dearly missed friend. Now it is soothing sounds from Bon Iver, a perfectly ripe, ruby coloured plum, feelings of flittery excitement and the prospect of a chilled pint surrounded by the evenings warmth and good friends.


Big Chill excitement

Following a surprise phone call with a long-lost friend, Sarah Parker, the opportunity of assisting with the creation of something quite wonderful was presented to me. Sarah is going to be bringing to life the space within the maze of the Ziggurat of Flavour at this years Big Chill festival. The giant black and white pyramid which has been imagined and realised by Bompas and Parr the Jellymongers, is going to be brimming with confusing optical illusions, weird and wacky patterns and depth-defying compositions. Being asked to help with this brilliant project is extremely exciting as I sure the days of installation will be filled with much hard graft, tears, tantrums, giggles, smiles and achievements. Look out for the giant jelly at the top of the hill!


St Pauls Carnival

Just over two weeks ago (when it was still nearing tropical temperatures and the sky was crystal clear blue) St Pauls carnival took over the streets of our neighbourhood. The original Notting Hill carnival, celebrates the Afrikan Caribbean culture present within Bristol and has grown to become an annual street festival since 1967 when the first party took place. The weekend was a wonderful one full of colour, drum beats, bass beats, red stripe, bbq chicken and rice, dancing, sun kissed faces and laughs. I found this beautiful old film in my Mum's garage when I was last home and came to the conclusion that probably had similar age as myself. Not expecting much from it, I popped it in my camera and took it out with me whilst dancing on the streets. Admittedly, the results were most definitely under-exposed, grainy and blemished, but with a little time and love from Adobe Bridge they have gained a little light and colour.


Testing out the rat race

Being involved in the early morning commuter scramble at first made me feel like I was part of some cool kids gang. One that I always observed at school, aware of their presence but never to be part of it. This one never promised to be a fun, healthy one, but a sense of solidarity and belonging looked likely to begin with.

I started my commute at 8am and by 8.31am I had boarded my train to London Paddington. It was at this point a reclined back into my lonesome traveller state as the members of this gang were not ones to be envied. Straight faced, silent suits; hamsters at home on the wheel; ladies shuffling at high speed in their power-dressing, feet crippling stilettos. How are you supposed to run or cycle or jump in this ridiculously restricting items of clothing? Each day should bring an unknown adventure (not always life changing, but something to take note of none the less) to ensure that one precious day is never photocopied and repeatedly distributed. I will not give into this gang warfare. I will have an adventure today.



Without a doubt one of my favourite things to munch on. Anytime of day. Broccoli (from the Italian plural broccolo) is first thought to have evolved some 2,000 years ago from a cabbage in Europe. Those poor Americans across the big bath tub weren't privileged enough to experience its wonder until the 1920's. It is full of vitamins, strong in anti-cancer activity, helps fight damaged skin helps protect your heart. Who wants to join the my Broccoli Appreciation Society?


Cheryl Genius

Cheryl Dunn is a New York based photographer and film maker who has shot recent advertising campaigns for WESC. The images shown above are from the 'Coney Island' collection. As much as I love her photographs, I am also in love with Genius on i-tunes at the moment. I think this is a reflection of the minor anxiety I am suffering at the moment and inability to make decisions or stick to plans. Genius allows you to choose one short length of sound that you enjoy, and from that one sample of your likes, it creates a whole field of equally as enjoyable sounds. Maybe it is just because I am being a bit lazy and can't even be bothered to scroll own to find what I am looking for. Maybe this is a sign to be more proactive. 



   Blue, here is a shell for you
   Inside you'll HEAR a sigh
   A foggy lullaby
   There is your song from me


Summer Solstice

21st June. Midsummer solstice. Longest day of the year. At 11.30pm last night, my housemates and I decided to jump in the car and head to Stonehenge to witness first hand what exactly goes on during the night before the longest day of the year and when the the rope barriers are removed from around the circle of stones. I imagined a lot of drugs, dreadlocks, Druid dress, drumming, pagan rituals and chanting. There was drumming and I did spot a couple of older gentlemen with feathers in their hair, but the atmosphere of this once spiritual ritual was similar to that of a rather rubbish festival. The site was sprawling with Security in high-vis vests, sniffer dogs, burger vans, metal fencing and people passed out at your feet. One group of girls stumbled past at 1am looking like they had walked straight out of Topshop and had only ended up there because they had heard that this was the non-festival festival to be seen at. We were planning on staying to watch the sunrise, but by 2am we had had enough of the contradictory atmosphere, so headed back and were in bed, drifting off to sleep, just as the sun was starting to wake up. 



Early this morning I was full of positive intentions of completing as many tasks that I have put off for too long. First on the list was to recover some cushions. As good as my intentions were, I seemed to have misplaced my patience which resulted in a broken/tangled/knotted bobbin compartment in my sewing machine. I have left it in the corner of my room with the hope that the Fix-it Fairy will come and sort it out when I am turned the other way.


Tea please

Today I have drunk 4 cups of tea already and it has only just passed midday. I have a lot of time for tea. Especially the good stuff...loose leaves which give you 6 cups of tea, each infusion letting you see them slowly transform from their dried state back into their original open form. I also love meeting people with a passion and last week I had the pleasure of meeting Kate from Lahloo Tea, a Bristol based company which specialises in artisan teas from tiny little farms in China, India and Africa. As much as I thought I loved tea, Kate's knowledge and love for the subject is inspirational. One (of many interesting facts) that I learnt was that all 'tea' (white tea, green tea, black tea) comes from the same bush. Much like grapes to wine, the type of tea that is harvested is dependent upon the age of the leaf, the soil and the climate. The younger the tea leaf, the more delicate the flavour and the lower in caffeine. Right, I'm off to have cup number 5...a darjeeling I think.