The Tower of Babel.

During the London Design Festival in September I was wandering around the V & A when I came upon this wondrous exhibit. tower 1

The Tower of Babel is Barnaby Barford’s representation of London today. Barnaby photographed over 6,000 shops whilst making the tower.  The 3,000 that made the final installation the photographs were made into ceramic transfers and fired onto bone china. Video here.

At the bottom of the tower are the tiny shops hidden away in London, either derelict or serving the local community with their needs and then rising layer by layer through to the private art galleries and auction houses which sell products fiscally unreachable to all but a very few.

It is true we are a nation of shopkeepers, but it would seem we have become a nation of consumers, no longer happy to make do and mend, it would seem we need to shop, trying to reach fulfillment through retail rather like the biblical Tower of Babel’s attempt to reach heaven.   Then I found the most interesting part of this exhibition, one could purchase a shop, which led one down a very interesting conundrum. You see the more expensive the shop, the more expensive the piece.  Where do you fit in?  Does one buy a cheap and cheerful fried chicken shop tucked away at the bottom of the structure or stump up for a designer shop you know and love.  What do you want to be perched on your sideboard, showing your cultural capital to the world?  And where, financially, can you afford to stump up to?  It must have been an interesting conundrum to all those that played. tower 2

Some of course, would have just bought the best and some of a creative bent, but not much in the pocket may well have bought from the bottom of the tower, just wanting to own a piece.  But its all those shops in the middle that I find the most fascinating,  what led a person down that path, which emotional response directed you to choosing your piece?tower 4

And which piece would I love on the mantelpiece above the fire, I aspire to this because of its prettiness, Fortnum and Mason but in reality, affordability and loveliness, the Cookery Nook, and I love the basic honesty of the small independent fruit and vegetable shops that abound in London, to me, they epitomise the hopes and dreams of the average Londoner.


I seem to have found my knitting bug, I think it must be the need for warm jumpers that drives my fingers ever faster. bellerose

I fancied the idea of a throw it on jumper to go with jeans this time around and Bellerose by Martin Storey caught my eye, pattern in Rowan Loves Creative Worsted & Pure Wool Worsted. I’ve just warmed the colours slightly and chosen almond and granite with raspberry and Mustard, small changes that will suit my skin tone better.  I must say the back feels lovely and when I walked away to download the photographs and then came back, Pip our lurcher was found curled up it, I’m taking the soft squidgy  wool met with his approval.

The start of Christmas.

For one reason and another I’ve not really seen much of the bright lights of Christmas, so early evening we decided to take the train into Birmingham and let our hair down (so to speak) for a short while.  Birmingham German market 2015 12

We trundled aroundBirmingham German market 2015 11

just enjoying the sense of Christmas, the fun and laughter, sounds and scents slowly mingled their way into our very souls.  The fresh night air was so good, to feel the tingle of frost after the mugginess of indoors sharpened our senses and we loved it all so very, very much.Birmingham German market 2015 10

Santa surveys all the boys and girls, both young and old. Birmingham German market 2015 9

Pretty stars to ooh and ahh over. Birmingham German market 2015 8Birmingham German market 2015 7Birmingham German market 2015 4Birmingham German market 2015 5

A little playing with exposure – I wish I’d bought my tripod. Birmingham German market 2015 3

My very favourite treat from the market, I have to buy them every year, their marshmallow centre haunts me during the year. Birmingham German market 2015 2

Reindeers and Santas just waiting for lovely homes. Birmingham German market 2015 1

And the most adorable of sales assistant. Birmingham German market 2015 13

And charming side streets just wait to catch your eye. Birmingham German market 2015 6

My lovely hubby just enjoying the evening air. Birmingham German market 2015 14

And during our evening we realised we had not eaten since breakfast which was very light at that and headed to the nearest ‘good’ restaurant that we could find. Oh My Word, how lucky we were to find La Galleria  on Ethel Street.  You knew it was family run the minute you stepped through the door. I had the Filletto Alla Rossini, the fillet cooked blue was the most tender piece of meat I have ever eaten, combined with the richest of sauces and most flavoursome of duck pate it was indeed a thing of beauty.  With Amarone wine, antipasto, fresh bread from the wood fired oven and the waitress eager to ask the chefs if they would make our favourite dessert of Zabaione, which they did and was the best we have ever eaten, it was the most perfect of evenings. We will be catching the train back into Birmingham to come back here, it was that good, such a perfect evening, so glad we decided to throw caution to the wind and head off on a mini adventure.




Kenilworth Castle Bonfire Night.

I’ve at long last got around to downloading these to my computer. Hubby and I hauled my camera and tripod to the spot that I thought might be okay and then stood around in the cold for an hour – it was either that or walk from home, which is quite a long walk.  The trouble is once the fireworks start you don’t have the space to change position as people are surrounding you or the light to alter your settings – I must invest in a light that straps to my head so I can see what I am doing – or even to mess around with trying to alter the tripod to get a better shot, lest you mess up the shoot completely and fail to get anything.  Its just a question of going with what  you have.  It was my first time trying to capture more serious shots of fireworks, what do you think?

Richmond Park

I’ve been meaning to come back and blog about various excursions and activities over the last few weeks but because of various happenings beyond my control I haven’t had the time.  So if these blog posts seem a bit random and out of the usual time line of life, I must apologise, but if I don’t get them down soon(ish) it will be too late and the photos will never see the light of day, and I think that would be a shame.

Hubby and I went to Richmond Park, which was lovely it was such a beautiful day, to watch the deer rutting. Highlights were seeing so many stags in fine fettle, doe’s looking ever so pretty, the sight line carefully preserved to St Paul’s Cathedral and the Parakeets screeching their merry little heads off – we are definitely going back for the Parakeets alone once the leaves have dropped, I really want to try and photograph them in all their lime green glory. Richmond park 1 Richmond park 2 Richmond park 3 Richmond park 4 Richmond park 5 Richmond park 6 Richmond park 7 Richmond park 8 Richmond park 9 Richmond park 10 Richmond park 11 Richmond park 12 Richmond park 13 Richmond park 14 Richmond park 15 Richmond park 16 Richmond park 17

A good lunch.

After a mornings shopping for clothes for my gorgeous boy, or as we in the trade call it ‘being rinsed out’, it was time to take stock and feed before the final leg of operation ‘kit the boy out for winter’ commenced. When I remembered we were very close to a French bistro we had had excellent lunches in before that I was sure I wouldn’t need a reservation, Le Bistrot Pierre sure enough, although gone 2.p.m. and still packed to the rafters – always a good indication – we were swiftly shown to a table and looked after with just the right attentiveness. image

Claret and good bread with fine French butter swiftly appeared. image

Followed by delicious filleted sardines for me and robustly flavoured lip smackingly garlicky country pate for son no.1 image

We both chose the pork for our next course, a perfectly cooked loin of pork, best part of two inches thick balanced on a pile of sautéed Savoy cabbage and lardons which added a perfect salty note, with a brandy and course grain mustard sauce accompanied by roasted baby potatoes and freshly cooked seasonal veg. It was sublime. image

And to finish the most dreamy of creme caramels. image

The boy and I enjoyed every single mouthful. image

A perfect moment to remember and treasure.