Saturday 9 December 2023

London meanderings.

I've done many, many of these over the years; sometimes to do with a writing idea, or sketching but often just curiosity over how my native city changes constantly. 

Usually I find a room at the once incredibly cheap, St Atan's, hotel in Bloomsbury but even that modest place has become unaffordable. This time I found a generously low-priced Air B and B room on the boarders of Islington and booked it immediately, partly as the owner said it could share the secret of how to make white Marmite.

Taking a place in North London - more my childhood area rather than Eastwards which has been the case for several years due to for writing scenarios - I was excited to find a whole vast area I had forgotten, or possibly never visited in any depth. Canonbury was as I had imagined - full of elegant Georgian houses, little gated parks and rows of boutiques, but I'd never heard of the New River Walkway, something I noted in the flat's very excellent 'off the beaten track' London guide books. What an oasis of calm and biodiversity within London's sprawl - willow trees and a wandering path following a man-made river originally fabricated to provide drinking water to the area.   


                                                            Early morning, Canonbury

                                                               The new river walkway

Madness of Camden - but not as mad as Oxford St

a Hampstead back lane, and pub

I walked for hours with no plan, as I do, through the West End, on to Regents park with its joggers, dog walkers and groups of well-dressed Sunday strollers; and up to Camden - a mad tapestry of colour and sound, busier than I had ever seen it - and onto Hampstead, an epicentre of chique and spare cash. I did all the charity shops which were incredible! window shopped, drank tea when the cold became too intense and finished off a perfect day with a concert of experimental jazz in a church before returning to my lovely B and B room - which the kindly guy had upgraded to the whole flat as he was away, the only downside being that I never did get to learn of the white Marmite. Next time.

Sunday 3 December 2023

Read this, and then tell a friend to read it...

I haven't read a fat tome for a while, being rather occupied with many other things, but having the chance of more free time while away in the UK I entered a bookshop and had a quick browse - dangerous place. There were about forty books I wanted to buy immediately... I was about to turn and head for the Oxfam I had noted over the road as I had begun to feel overloaded with spendism - not a word? is now - when I noted the volume pictured below and felt compelled to buy it. I'm very glad I did.

I started reading in a café a few minutes later, and couldn't stop. It's a horrifying, fascinating, enlightened read; written in a playful but certainly not irritating way, with masses of factual, scientific stuff which I will have to read at least three times to remotely understand; a book written with real passion and humility, as if the author, even though a doctor himself, was learning so much as he wrote and researched; plunging into a dark and secretive world of non-food, pushed by huge companies with only one objective in mind: money.


Thursday 23 November 2023

Sheffield wanderings

London is my usual go-to wandering place but as I was visiting my lovely brother and his lovely family I spent a few days exploring somewhere composed of large hills and stone buildings.

They live on one of the seven hills of Sheffield, an hour and half walk into the city itself. The tram was an easy option but being now a dweller in flatter countryside I wanted to experience the calf-aching inclines. 

The views were inspiring: rows of brick and slate roofed dwellings, autumnal trees, and distant moorland hilltops. I sketched, ate scones and drank tea in various cafés, and enjoyed chats with folks about their gardens and or dogs.

The city centre itself I found less fascinating as many of the shops have been sucked in to the black hole - or rather glittering, white, Christmas bauble-infested nightmare that is Meadowhall. But I did buy some walking boots in an outdoor pursuits (what a lovely phrase) shop which were 80% off thanks to another consumer madness trap - Black Friday, even though it was Wednesday.

Some snaps of my meanderings.

                                                        V steep footpath towards town

don't miss the other sign - Battersea Cod's home...

Monday 6 November 2023

Done and not far off dusted...

So, it happened, the Kickstarter for Londonia to audiobook achieved its goal, or rather we did; the amount was realised with some last minute help from wonderful friends and family. Now the packing up of the rewards starts, and then the real project begins with recording, editing and adding of music/soundscape  which will take some time. 

I'm taking a computer break as much as possible for a while as I've been staring at a screen far more than I should have been in these last few weeks resulting in some unwanted bodily protests.... So next blog, in a while... cheerio.

Thanks to all of you who supported and helped me through this interesting but at some points very stressful and self-doubting escapade. It'll be worth it. The audiobook will be extraordinary!

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Another glimpse into 2073

Madame Caruso, a wealthy dame from the Cincture, sits in her drawing room with time on her hands and antique Ikea items to find.

Sunday 29 October 2023

Friday 27 October 2023

6 days to go...

Not to the end of the world, and nothing important on a scale of events going in the world on as I write, but, in our little household, fairly important. 
The end of our Kickstarter crowd funder is looming, along with a more ramped up polite request for money . . . we've come a long way, the sum now over 2,400 but there's still a fair bit to find. It's been a lot of work and still will be with all the 'rewards' to prepare and post such as the hand-stitched CD covers - and making up of CDs and bigger artworks. But it will all be worth it, and I know the end result will be an audible treat packed with drama, mystery and humour surrounded by a rich tapestry of sounds and music, and, of course, the marvellous voice talents of Steven. 

Below, an extract of myself reading the part of the story where Hoxton, our heroine, visits the rather creepy, Bert-the-Swagger, in search of 'antique' 2020s smart phones for her pampered Cincture clients.

                                                    My Londonia style CD covers.