Category Archives: General

Pigeon Air Patrol in London


If you live in a city and want to know more about the air quality in your area then get in touch with the Pigeon Air Patrol.

This innovative idea involves pigeons flying around (as they do) equipped with tiny little air monitoring backpacks devised by Plume Labs, which report on the quality of our air.
Pigeon air patrol

Pigeon air patrol 2

To sign up or find out more please visit the Pigeon Air Patrol website for London and Plume Labs for other cities.

Creativity on display at the People’s Climate March in London

An estimated 50,000 people marched through central London on a damp grey day before the beginning of the UN climate summit in Paris and here are some of the ways people chose to illustrate this crucial global issue.


Wonderfully mobile animal heads at the beginning of the march at Hyde Park CornerIMG_7467 IMG_7473 IMG_7474Polar bear topped ice floe by a CND supporterIMG_7481One of Greenpeace’s many polar bears was followed byIMG_7485 an icebound boat surrounded by more polar bears.IMG_7496IMG_7493

A vintage summer fair – Carter’s Steam Fair

Now that Dreamland in Margate has reopened, the vintage fun fair seems to be on the rise.

An earlier concept is Carter’s Steam Fair, started in 1977 by John & Anna Carter, who began collecting old fairground rides and restoring them before touring the country to share their enthusiasm.IMG_6492 IMG_6448 IMG_6452 IMG_6453 IMG_6456

Everything is lovingly restored, even the show people’s caravans.IMG_6458 IMG_6462 IMG_6467 IMG_6471

I’m not sure ladies still stand with the children at the coconut shy.IMG_6475 IMG_6478As you can see from these photos, there are rides for all ages. IMG_6480

I couldn’t end without including an image of the iconic fairground attendant – I’m sure we all remember them from our youth.IMG_6486Check their website for dates and also for information on fairground art classes.

Lunch at Paddock School Café in Roehampton

On my way back from visiting the Lawn Tennis Association for my Buro4 project, I stopped at the Paddock School Café as had noticed the sign on the way up from Barnes train station.


It looked cheerful and welcoming so I gave it a go. I now know that Paddock School is specifically for children with special educational needs and that the cafe helps them learn professional and life skills.

Not only do students take orders (Rory took mine), serve food and clear up, they also prepare the food, some of which is grown on-site (including the potatoes for that day’s leek & potato soup). Predictably enough I vote with my tastebuds – the home-made hummus was delicious as was the salad – people often get the dressing wrong but not here. Oh yes, the home-made (again) carrot cake , bought as a takeaway only lasted as far as the station platform.

Well, I strongly recommend a visit – I’m sorry I live so far away because I’d definitely become a regular otherwise. The “staff” were all so friendly – nothing beats a big smile and palpable excitement at the task in hand. And they’re getting an allotment soon – how exciting is that!

The glory of a good flint wall

Many of us are used to seeing flint used in buildings in the UK but have you really looked at the different construction? Here are two very different but equally beautiful ones seen in Norwich.

Flint wall  (4)

This wall was built towards the end of the 14th Century and is the only one I’ve seen where the flint has been shaped into blocks. You can hardly see any mortar.Flint wall  (6)

Now this one is an ornate version of the type more commonly found where the flint and mortar mix is visible. With yet others it’s a 50/50 mix.
Flint wall 2  (4)

Please let me know if you have pictures of any other examples.

The recent solar eclipse

Well, did any of you actually see anything when we had the solar eclipse on the 20th March? I was working from home that day and noticed that it got a bit darker for a while – that’s what low cloud will give you.

I did have Stargazing Live running on my laptop (click here to watch it on iPlayer)  so was able to see footage from the plane flying above the Faroe Islands which was pretty dramatic. Here are a few images from the BBC including the “diamond ring” below. You can see exactly why it’s called that.

The one below, taken in Cheshire, is more the kind of thing we’d have seen from the ground (can you see it right in the middle of the picture?) and reminds me of the one I saw and photographed in London in the 1990s (pre-digital camera). Eerie is the right word for it: it gets colder and the birds go quiet; I can imagine how terrifying it must have been before we humans discovered the science behind it.

This image above from the NASA Goddard space flight centre is really dramatic.

The whole event was really inspirational for me and has become another strand feeding into my visual vocabulary.

Extreme weather – an inspiration

14.09.19 Storm rain (2) I was stuck in a doorway during a powerful and dramatic storm, moved to photograph the rain and hail downpour for its sheer power and beauty. 14.09.19 Storm rain (3) 14.09.19 Storm rain (5)

It lasted for quite a long time and yes, I did wait till it was over before moving on, glad to have caught some of the force on camera.

Drawing: the core of all imagemaking?

09.6.10 playing (2) - Copy

This question is key to me as a visual artist.

As you know, I’m interested in the skill of making as well as ideas, whether that be in art, “craft” or design. As far as I’m concerned a level of hand-eye co-ordination is hugely important for all these disciplines. Drawing is, for me, the most effective way of really looking at something and is the common grammatical base of a language which may then be developed in an infinite number of directions. Of course it doesn’t have to be with a pencil but the direct gesture from eye and brain to the limb (normally a hand) in order to communicate an idea.

If we can’t convey our ideas through imagery of whatever kind then where does that lead us? Surely to a facile and superficial dead end.

What do you think?