Saturday, 31 December 2011

Work in progress 2

Still not finished - what next ?

Friday, 30 December 2011

My dream trampoline

Six month ago I stretched a canvas across the old trampoline and primed it on one side.
Despite my best intentions to make a large oil painting, I left it to the elements and watched it slowly deteriorate.

Recently, I took the canvas off the frame, cut it into 4 pieces and re-stretched them on four 30"by 36" frames. The result is a dreamlike, ghostly and intriguing set of images on the side that hadn't been exposed to the light.

Will try this again and try some blue pigment on the hidden side of the canvas.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Brawn to run

Went for diner with some old friends last night at Brawn, in Columbia Road - definitely worth a trip.

I'd recommend the mixed selection of charcuterie to start 

and choose something light for main course so that you can have the panna cotta with griottines for desert.

Had not had Griottine cherries before - Griottines® are made using a very special type of Morello cherry, the Oblachinska cherry found only in the Balkans. To conserve the unique flavour and physical characteristics of the fruit, the first maceration of the cherries in liqueur takes place within six hours of picking. After rigorous sorting, grading and de-stoning, the Morello cherries are then steeped in different liqueurs for successive macerations based on age-old know-how and secrets. The last maceration provides the final touch of Kirsch which is the hallmark of Griottines, or as a wonderfully harmonious alternative, Cointreau.

Look out for the tables and chairs and the very expensive cutlery ...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Birds, tweets, poplars and screw valves

Amanda and I went on a guided bird spotting walk of the Leg of Mutton reservoir in Barnes this morning.
It didn't take long before Amanda started tweeting ...


On the path we found dog food on newspaper - a new offering from the local fish and chip shop, extending its product range ...

A dissimulation of bird enthusiasts 

 Ringed necked parakeets were the most common sighting

The most interesting part of the walk was the description of the bi-annual topping up of the reservoir. 
The reservoir sits alongside the Thames - in 1850 or so the local water company built a pipe from the Thames to the reservoir and underneath the mound, where this local committee member is standing, is an ancient screw valve. 
When it is a spring high tide, they open the cover and insert the large cast iron key - this requires 37.5 turns to open the valve, which has to be operated by two persons - no talking is allowed to ensure they count accurately. The water, including many fish, flows into the reservoir for around 3 hours and is then shut again. They repeat this for 5 consecutive days and raise the level by around one metre.

see for more history of the site

The green parakeets nest in the holes in the massive hybrid black poplars.

These black poplars are over 200 years old and are regularly pollarded to extend their life and ensure they continue to be nesting sites for Tawny Owls, Parakeets, Egyptian Geese and Magpies.

Feather on the end of a branch - denotes the end of the winter and the start of longer days - or is it a secret sign to denote a urgent message pick up ...

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Work in progress 1

Needs something else ....

Monday, 26 December 2011

Sunday, 25 December 2011


- we had some improvements to the Thames's flood defences sponsored by the nearby London Wetland Centre.

There are still three spare spaces so I ordered some green, black and white fablon and planned a Christmas art project ...

 Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of fablon required so had to resort to eldest son's mastery of photoshop.

I hope your Christmas lunch came out better than this ...

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Turkey with all the trimmings

Another Xmas ritual - a trip to Smithfield market to buy the turkey with my youngest son Jack, followed by lunch at St John
This year, we started at our new favourite coffee bar, St Ali - the slayer expresso machine (handmade in Seattle) is in the background of the photo of Jack.

 Somewhere along the line, Amanda muscled in on the lunch - hence the 3 deserts.