Spent the weekend with my mum in Devon doing the pre-Christmas thing. A number of observations.

1. As Jeremy Clarkson pointed out this weekend in the Sunday Times. Devon is in reality 4 light years away by car

2. The train puts you in very close proximity to your fellow man

3. There really is nothing worth eating on the trolley wheeled up and down the train

4. Jakes patience at being couped up in a crowded carriage runs out 30 miles short of Exeter.

5. Log fires are very cool

6. Chopping logs/splitting sticks is actually very therapeutic

7. It rains in Devon (a lot

8. Village halls the world over all smell the same. A bit like the inside of a new shoe.

9. Teasing cats keep children amused for hours

10. The staff at Avis Exeter are total stars. 


Big weekend. Paris work do then London with Jason and family




Amazing Venue

Top address from times gone by; Royal Overseas League, Hall of India, Over-Seas House, Park Place, St James’s Street. LONDON. This building is stunning, hidden away in a blind ally behind The Ritz. The interior is a joyous car crash of every decades attempts at 'improvements', lumped inside a grand town house built by James Gibbs in 1736. Worth a wander around simply to see the wood paneling and bronze typography in the The Hall of India & Pakistan.


Bad driving & cheap lager


786072-559140-thumbnail.jpgThe Fish was selling some of her seasonal tat bespoke glassware at a craft fair this weekend. Alice went along for support (and to eat cupcakes) Jake and myself decided to spend the day in France. We took Eurotunnel over and drove to Wissat to play on the beach. The first half of the day was marked out by some truly dreadful driving by me, luckily the roads were empty due to a massive on/off storm so no one saw what a burke I was. No hangover, not tired, no alcohol all day, still drove like a dork. After a fine lunch, (Jake tried scallops for the first time) We filled the car with an insanely large amount of very cheap lager and drove home.

I wouldn't go near own label gin, but 'Saint Omer' 12p a bottle lager, brought in France, feels so right. 



Army Museum


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Jake and myself spent remembrance Sunday at the strangely deserted Army museum in Chelsea. All a bit weird wondering around on your own. Lots to play with and models to look at. On the top floor is an amazing exhibition about the British in Afghanistan from 1860 onwards. worth the trip to see this alone.

Our solitude ended when we hit the kids zone on the ground floor and entered a cacophony of an under fives birthday party. Parents all looked locals, red cords and tweed for him and Borden for the women. Despite the noise this is a great (free and staffed) play area walking distance from the Kings Road.


The Hugo Boss shop in Sloane Square was a lot better than I expected. F1 cars hung on walls are hardly new but the Mclaren really is
stunning and more than made up for the rather unemotional range of clothes.



Journey to work


I have had a number of different commutes these last few years but my current journey each mourning is the best so far. Clapham Common to Russell Square. (by bike) Its fast and rather fun (you get to blast over Waterloo bridge and into the Kingsway tunnel, no cameras here -yet! but a few secrets in its far end. It also passes some cracking landmarks. So in a completely anoracky way I have started to photograph all the landmarks on this short trip. This is actually harder than it sounds as almost the whole distance is marked as a red route, which makes stopping to take pics a challenge. It will all be posted up on either Flickr or the new one Riya when complete. highlights here for the moment. The best view is as you roar over Waterloo bridge. Sun shimming off the glass buildings of the city on the way to work. the fantastic London Eye illuminated (red tonight) on the way home. As an added bonus to the unwary rider the route comes with a higher than average number of bendy buses and post office vans.


beautiful string



Going home tonight (on motor-bike) I followed a huge long piece of string lying in the road. I first saw it at Lambeth Bridge and it went all the way along Millbank past Tate Britain and on towards Vauxhaull bridge it was quite enchantingly odd.


Camp road sign


This sign on a footpath in Smithfield really made me smile. At first because it looked so camp and then when i saw a strong Matisse influence in the arms. Does make a change from laughing at 'Knobs bottom' road signs.


Really random event

Roman Centurion at cash point on Lavender Hill, the invasion's obviously running short of funds.



New enviroments

786072-514000-thumbnail.jpgWorking in a new office for the nest couple of months with a rather top view. The green rounded thing is the fantastic glass roof of the British Museum. Weird bit is its the same view as my old office at Passion just a bit closer to Center Point.

Alice is a teenager!

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Oh no! Alice moves into the uncharted world of being a teenager. This she appears to be taking in her stride by ramping up her efforts to empty my wallet. Alice had a birthday treat of an afternoon in Harrods with two of her friends. This was made bearable by me hiding in a cafe reading the Sunday papers while the girls over did the ice creams. They had a ball and apart from some questionable fluffy keyrings brought nothing, despite being in the shop from 12 untill 6pm! On Alices's actual birthday we all went out to a local Italian which provided me with further fascination as to Alices ability to only eat margarita pizza's and Jakes willingness to try anything.

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Saturday shopping

786072-509440-thumbnail.jpgAlice surpassed herself today, close to three hours split between Clare's Accessories and Matalan and she didn't buy a thing! Me? I spent the time drinking slightly more pints than is polite for a Saturday afternoon. -second week running (see below) - result!


Pubs & Clare's Accessories

786072-499170-thumbnail.jpg     786072-499175-thumbnail.jpg   An observation about town planning, there ain't enough branches of Clare's Accessories next to decent pubs. Alice and her friends wanted me to go shopping with them (i.e. bring my wallet) what could have been a grime couple of hours turned out just fine when I found The Goat (empty during the day, rammed at night) just round the corner from Claphams branch of teenage temptation CA. So while Alice got over excited with stick-on glitter, I got stuck into a book and a pint. As a way of hiding from household chores this is a winner, I shall be offering to take Alice shopping again.

The book was the freebie '20 years of the Independent' surprisingly good and thought provoking. Michael Fathers eyewitness account of the Tiananmen Square massacre and Martin Jacques comments in 1995 on Labours new leader Tony Blair stand out. The former because its amazing how fast we have 'forgiven' China its crimes. The latter because you could pretty much swop Blair for Cameron and run the same piece today.


Camden market

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The Fish and myself being suckers for punishment took five kids to Camden market on Saturday afternoon !

Its true, Londoners don't tend to go to Camden market other than those working the stalls. But I found that in amongst all the standard goth/iconic tshirts/noodle stalls that clutter up markets anywhere in Europe. Camden does have an energy about it that is quite refreshing.  The shear size of the place and mix of visitor nationalities make it a people watching hot spot. Once the Eurostar moves north of the river it can only grow further. Jake, Alice and her friends; Immi & Toni, simply saw it as a place to charge around eating pancakes, listening to loud music while trying on weird clothes, sort of like an 'indie-kid-theme-park'


A fur ball called Mr Scruff

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Mum's just got a new kitten called Srcuff, Alice & Jake rather taken by this little fur ball, shame they turn into such psychos later in life. There are more pictures here. Performing to type Alice got it to sleep on her, Jake played/teased it untill it scratched him. A month after these were taken I am told its much bigger and slightly madder.


Design Museum

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  Jake and myself spent Sunday afternoon male bonding at the F1 exhibition in the Design Museum. Large screens, lots of cars and a touch and feel section, All of which kept Jakes attention for ooh, 10 minutes. So while I got all anoraky studying old grand prix memorabilia,Like this. He was playing shadow puppets with Philip Worthingtons amazing (and slightly alarming) light box installations up stairs in the Design Mart. Both are worth a repeat visit, if only to see the Colin Chapman films again (If your not winning, you're not trying) The clothes of his JPS team define 1970's macho.

Colour overload


We went to the Colourscape art installation on Clapham Common  today. Bit weird, rather trippy colour overload, the pictures here, just about do it justice.  I did check out the guy ropes before we went in remembering the accident in County Durham this July. Turns out that was a rival unit called Dreamscape (!) The leaflet we were given skipped any mention of this event and confusingly mentioned " major incidents in its 35 year history.."  As at that time I thought it was the same people, I considered 'no major incidents' a bit of an understatement. I would have thought a more honest approach would have been to say something along the lines of. "unlike the Dreamscape unit used in County Durham etc ours hasn't killed anyone yet" - just a thought.


Better than Car Wars


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Coming in very late from work, whole house gone to bed, what do you do? bumble about and turn on the TV? But its always 'Car Wars/Police Stop/Action Cops/Rail Cop/Cheapest programming we could find inc' however much you get delight from watching the citizens of Reading championing chav values you are left with a feeling not unlike watching cheap porn.

But no fear, calming images of the most amazing web 2.0 style are to be found here and here. (and no its not porn, that's sooo old school web)

The first is an amazing 'how did they do that' live animation of Amazon's customers purchasing patterns

The other is just one of the most beautiful uses of photography and the web I have seen. Well apart from Flickr of course.

Final point about late arrivals, why has the Fish drunk all the cold beer?



Back on the river

68D70105.jpgWell, actually its a canal. This week has had something of a water theme. (see below) I am spending my day in a pleasant office where you get the rather unique distraction of ducks quacking outside your window.