Thursday, 20 October 2016

Building 59

I've passed this house many times and wondered about the exterior 'decoration'. This time I stopped the car ready to knock at their door and see if they wanted to have a little discussion on the pros and cons of hunting . . . but then . . . decided not to.              

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The south of France

It's not all lavender, pastis, strings of onions and sun-faded ochre houses . . .


Me and the lad went out for an afternoon of photo-reportage to smallish town that shall remain nameless in case someone recognises their drying underpants.


As with many towns where industry has mostly ceased an air of tristesse invades the streets, abandoned shops and overgrown gardens. There were highlights of melancholic beauty and some surprisingly artistic graffiti although I'm not sure about the 'smiley Hitler' and the hastily scrawled 'Le Pen' et FN that covered a lot of walls in an abandoned housing estate.


Pausing our street-wandering we found a newly-started up café-bar and enjoyed a cup of citrus-flavoured (odd but nice) earl grey tea and admired the Dali-inspired artworks.
This town, along with others, and actually including our own, need places like this - art cafés, places to expose work, music bars, etc, and to re-invent themselves if they are to survive economic downturn, and the general 'crise financier' that we are in and will remain in as far as I can see.

Refreshed, we continued dallying and photoing, climbing over barricades into semi-demolished housing estates, visiting the main church and exploring a little further into the outskirts of the town where there seems to have been a phase of corrugated iron dwelling-cladding.





Monday, 17 October 2016


Love the lyrics, music, especially the Bontempi piano, or whatever it is at the beginning, the video styling and well everything really. Great band and great 'up-cyclers' apparently they made their last album (Sick Octave) for around 12,000 using eBay finds and learning to weld bits together to make instruments.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ezra (our son) had always said he would never be an artist or a musician - both his parents being these things. A scientist perhaps . . . but as time has slid along, as it does, it's become evident that he is both a talented musician and artist and really not scientist material - ha!
All those years of hot-glue guns, fiddling about with electronics, pouring over maps, origami, board-game making, endless music listening and table tapping slowly developed into banjo, drum kit, and paper cuts, self portraits . . . and now an art foundation in preparation for entry into 'beaux arts' or perhaps music study, or both.


Imaginary half- submerged and broken space vessels. A study in cardboard, paint and tin foil by Ezra on his foundation course.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

In praise of lentils

I was trying to find the clip of when the cooker explodes and Neil scrapes up the remaining lentils - "Still be able to get some portions together, man," or similar wonderful script.
Anyway, this extract is great too.

But seriously folks, lentils are just the best thing on the planet  . . . man. Incredibly cheap, full of vitamins, protein, folic acid, and great fibre. I've no idea of the figures but if everyone would deign to eat more of these and far less meat . . . well, less land destruction, cow gas, health issues, etc, etc.

Recently I discovered you don't even have to soak them, just boil them up, add them to other veg, a scrap of bacon or fish, or even on their own with a dollop of butter and garlic.
They were a staple of the French diet (as in many other countries) once and I have seen them re-appearing increasingly on menues that embrace vegetables and beans as an alternative to meat. Right, off to try making lentil and tomato pâté.

Friday, 7 October 2016

ten years have got behind you

no one told you when to run . . . a great and poignant lyric from Time - Pink Floyd.
It's true, time does just melt away - hours, minutes, days, months and years. How to remember all the things that did happen, all the greats, goods and downright miserables - photographs, films, blogs, etc, and diaries.
I used to keep a little diary of the days back around the time of Dark Side of the Moon. I found one when clearing out some stuff the other day - tragically boring with mention of platform shoes, Mud and other groups, and occasionally, a reference to some mild groping that might have been going on in my fledgling love life. Then the habit stopped when I went off to art foundation and never really got taken up again until our son was born on a fouly (if that's a word) dank day in January 1998. Something so utterly monumental (and painful) had to be recorded, along with all the following baby's days, weeks and months of life. And so it continued; the diary habit stuck and a day doesn't pass when I don't dutifully fill in a page, pen sliding across paper sometimes as I head towards sleep.


The first journals were a mix of exercise books, funky handmade things and extra special tomes like the silk-covered one in the photo above, bought at my request when Ezra was born.

In the last few years I have discovered the page-a-week type diary, which although are uniformly dull in appearance, make sense when trying to store all these capturings of the past.
So, what are they like my diaries? Probably like most other people's diaries - a list of daily happenings with occasional excited scrawls at the top of the page: Ezra got a 19 in music, short story accepted for publication, finally understand how to make pastry, been bloody raining for four days non-stop, etc.
In fact the weather thing becomes an important element in later diaries (little sketch of sun/cloud/hail, whatever) along with information: when the first fire of the year was lit or when it was first possible to swim without a limb falling off; when pomegranates were ready for jam-making or when the broad beans were sowed.
However pedestrian the descriptions of each day the fascinating thing is I can open any page of any year and suddenly that day comes back to you, wholly or partially depending how mind-numbingly boring or incredibly exciting those hours had been.
I'm going upstairs now to unearth one from the attic . . . back in a mo.

Here we are: Saturday 24th March 2012: picture of the sun with estimated temperature of 12 in the morning to 25 in the afternoon. 'Ate on terrace, no fire and the start of the one euro train from Limoux to Carcassonne (an event worth noting!)
'Woke horribly early, went downstairs and tried to sleep with the dogs but Satie (runty dog) snored. Dozed till 6.30, tea, writing, exercises, brek. Loads of jobs, Mark to work, Kim and Chris (friends staying) up at 9.00. Lot of morning chatting which was nice. They left at 2.00ish, Mark and Ezra went to Carcassonne on new 1 euro train, I did writing, jobs, emptied water butts, weeded, cleaned back of house, phoned Mum. Boys back at 6.30. Writing, bath, Ezra bed, two episodes of Queer as Folk, USA version - brilliant, bed 11.00.'
So, not incredible, but I can remember that day quite clearly and doubt if I ever would have recalled our friends staying in March of that year if I hadn't written about it.
Of course our son will eventually have to decide what to do with all theses millions of badly written pages, but until then, I'll keep a diary, every day.