Friday, 25 November 2011


...the 5th of November...I know, it's hard trying to remember a day 2 weeks ago.
It would be even harder if you were a fish.

I really love Guy Fawkes night. I don't terribly approve of what Mr Fawkes was up to with all that gunpowder business in 1605, however I really am grateful to him for sorting out a night of fire & fun for us in this day an age when fire & fun aren't usually quite so related. It's the perfect fusion of being out in the chilly air whilst being blasted with the most intense heat from the bonfire. I've grown up living opposite a communal garden which holds a bonfire night every year & I've always been a keen bean when it comes to general involvement on the occasion. With slicing bread rolls for hot dogs & chopping oranges for mulled year I even helped with the sausage purchasing. Now that was a big deal. Every year I invite a few chums & we have quite a merry time waving around sparklers & drinking hot yummy wine (they even commend my excellent bread roll slicing & orange chopping, instantly securing them an invite for the next year...I'm a sucker for flattery when it comes to my knife skills)

The other ideal thing about this Fawkes stuff is the fire. I am in complete awe of fire...I could stare at it for hours, constantly being amazed by it's intricate colours, shapes, sparks & the wonder of burning wood. I have no interest in making conversation when I'm near a fire - my mind goes off into another world which my camera helps me to capture. I edge closer & closer until I realise I'm almost close enough to join hands with Guy Fawkes who's straw body is being engrossed by flames. I have a tendency to let my personal safely fall by the wayside in these situations, even after all that health & safely stuff no one can ever forget after school days when even sitting on a chair in the classroom was a health hazzard. Haven't you heard the story of the boy who rocked backwards & died? What would be teacher say if they saw me getting so friendly with a bonfire?! Finally good sense & serious over-heating prevented anything too dramatic from occurring this bonfire night.

 Never still, never the same...constantly wonderful.

 Fire! Fire! Let me feel the fire!

Friday, 18 November 2011


I've got a bit of a 'thing' about the pavement. I call it a 'thing' because I'm not quite sure how to describe my pavement fascination. An indescribable obsession perhaps. I just love it.

Whenever I'm walking along on this beloved gray business I can't help my eyes from fixating down, darting around at the pavement in all it's gritty, grimy glory. A piece of chewing gum! A cigarette butt! How exciting! My 'penny tales' are the result of this - I am constantly finding them & enjoy to blog about my copper street successes. I'm currently keeping them all in a bag, waiting until January to take it to one of those Sainsburys money converters. I'm sure I'll have AT LEAST £1 to thank the pavement for. Recently in fact I've been on a bit of a 5p spree...I've found rather a number of the last few weeks.

Thank you pavement & careless pavement walkers.

It's not only pennies that I pick up & this is where the tale gets a little stranger & perhaps even a little worrying. I'll pick up quite frankly anything I spot which 'may' be 'useful' one day. Today, for example, it was a hair clip, a plaster (still tightly sealed in it's packet I'd like to point out), a 5p, three 1p's & a Nero loyalty card with 3 stamps. All 'may' & most probably will be 'useful' one day, right? Particularly the sealed plaster, what with all my looking down on busy streets - bound to cause some cuts & scrapes. So earlier, on my way home from a life drawing class, I came across a broken commode (a chair which is also a loo, in case you didn't know) on the pavement & almost took it home with me. How convenient it would be to sit in front on the tv & never have to get up to use the facilities during Downtown Abbey! Despite this, I think you may be pleased to know that I didn't take the commode home - I made the rational decision that if I start with something like that, it'll be a slippery slope until I return home with a bag load of cigarette butts which could be 'useful' in an art project or something one day...

So with all my pavement fascination I discovered something rather incredible in Durham - there are little coloured balls everywhere! Green ones, orange ones, yellow ones...covering the streets. It was most strange. I mentioned it to a few friends of mine who hadn't notice this phenomenon yet, but after a few days they too discovered the ball situation. With these friends on board I set about creating a 'Green Ball Appreciation Society' (GBAS). There wasn't much to the society to be honest - simply an appreciation of their presence & sadly the other two members gradually lost interest in the cause, being snatched up by the Pimms Society instead. Poor green balls.

Whatever though, my camera & I will forever appreciate them, thank you very much. We'll give them the credit they deserve.


When I get down on the pavement to photograph these fellas I've certainly received some odd looks...can that girl REALLY be photographing something half the size of a pea?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


When I cruised up to max & relax in Durham for a few days there were a few things on my agenda. Durham-y type things - go to the indoor market & buy something VERY practical (eg. an egg timer or tired wrapping paper which had been there since 1920), walk along a cobbled street in inappropriate shoes, have coffee in a little independent shop & be called 'pet' by the staff, eat a jacket potato with tuna & colesaw (I feel this is Durham-y, although I don't suppose it's the typical student lunch choice, but definitely for an elderly Durham local. I want to be associated with the elderly Durham locals) & most imporantantly - chill out in the Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral is amazing. It's page has 3,352 visits, 822 likes & 158 people are 'talking about it' (whatever that means) on facebook & it has 682 followers on Twitter. Now that's what I call a serious virtual world celebrity. AND it's even better in the real world. Seriously. When I lived in Durham I'd often go to the daily Evensong service. I found it very therapeutic & de-stressing to sit in such an awe inspiring place & take time out from rushing here & there along cobbled streets in inappropriate shoes. Another of my favourite Cathedral related pastimes was to sit in a little booth in the Theology library & look incredibly studious, feeling like I was at Hogwarts. I hope I did in fact give the impression of being incredibly studious as the other students did - feverishly flicking through Bible commentaries & philosophical literature - because I was usually in fact doing something incredibly non-studious like drawing of an owl or naked lady.

So yes, on my recent visit, a Cathedral service was essential. I went to 'Sung Eucharist' on Sunday morning...a relatively short sermon & lots of singing. Stand up, sing a hymn, sit down, sing another hymn, kneel, pray take communion - all that kind of business. After the service I lit a candle & spent a further half hour sitting in the calm reading a book. Now this is no ordinary book - it's 'The Breathing Book'. A very usful book. 
Half an hour in the Cathedral learning how to breathe. Ideal. 

In an almost meditative state I floated down to the river & watched the rowers, birds & an sweet earderly couple who'd almost certainly had jacket potatoes with tuna & colesaw for lunch.

Reflecting in the Cathedral to reflections in the water. I got so excited with the incredible reflections in the river my camera just couldn't get enough. Surreal & strange colours & shapes - just my kind of thing.
 A surreal reflective self-portrait...

Friday, 4 November 2011


Freaky business. Who doesn't love a bit of freaky business? Halloween is ideal for freaky business.

Halloween is also ideal for dressing up. I really love dressing up...back in the day it was the fun & freedom of experiencing the new world a princess dress had to offer. Dressing up was also 'the thing' at 18th birthday parties - 'animal theme' here, 'childhood alter-ego' there - always an excuse to keep those boring LBD's in the cupboard. Then there was art school. At art school the boundaries between 'dressing up' & just 'dressing' were somewhat confused - one girl wore a clown outfit during the day, while others floated around in extraordinarily outlandish attire. I noticed my own outfit choices getting stranger over the time I was there until my staple 'bright patterned socks tucked into green leggings sticking out of little black & green pointed boots' was established. Teaming the socks & leggings with an 'I'm Not Normal' tshirt (an apt logo, I'll admit), I'd always whack on a colourful beret & carry a bit gold kisch owl-shaped handbag called Marmaduke stuffed with paintbrushes & pots of ink.

I love it when parties have a really exciting theme...a recent one of 'Party in a Pear Tree' (a play on the families surname 'Partridge') to which I went as an extremely brightly coloured bird. I stripped up lots of silk material I bought from 'A-Z textiles' in Shepherds Bush & made an outfit (which I interestingly doubled it's use to dress as a jelly fish on another occasion. Jelly fish/bird...who knew eh?)

So anyway, back to Halloween - where this freaky tale began. I popped up to Durham for Halloween for a party at the 'Peth' (the name we gave the house I lived in last year in Durham. It's peth-tastic & quite frankly peth-fect. It has a wood-burning stove) on Monday night. On Monday afternoon the 'Peth Pets' (us Peth dwelling folk, of course) hung black & purple material from the ceiling, covered the furniture with plastic spiders & signs on the wall - 'THE PETH : Where your nightmares come true'.
While Peth pet Rachel used duck tape to write 'Durham Asylum' on the window, Peth pet Ettie & I manically whipped up a big batch of shortbread dough & set about rolling it out & using a bat-shaped cutter to make treats for our party guest. We gave the bats eyes which infact looked more like boobs on their little bodies...bats with boobs...why not?

EAT MY BISCUITS OR I MAY EAT YOU (yes, this is me. Dressed as a mummy. Standard.)

 And I even found an OWL!