Saturday, January 27, 2007

the sackville monument at withyham church

i speculated on a short lunch break in withyham church, about two miles off my route

as i arrived, i found a sign on the door saying the church is kept locked and giving a phone number ... however, i heard voices within and entered

two builders were just packing up and about to lock up but they allowed me a two minute trot around the interior

i was astonished but there wasn't time to do justice to what i'd seen and i must return

the sackville memorial was carved by caius cibber, it is probably his best work but is poorly documented, & only after hours of searching the internet, could i find this black & white picture postcard from the nineteen thirties

it is a pretty good photograph but i can and must do better ... so watch this space

Thursday, January 25, 2007

love in a cold climate

Yesterday morning, before four o’clock, I set out to walk to the bus stop at Putney Heath, about ten minutes away. As I arrived, the first snowflake appeared & in two minutes a steady whirl of tiny flakes enveloped the City. I turned my face up and was tickled by them. At South Kensington, some young Polish maintenance men had come up from the Underground to catch the bus home & seemed pleased to see some snow. When I got off the bus near Harrods, some young Africans were laughing in an unknown tongue, & around the corner in Sloane Street, a young English couple were already waiting at the next stop although no bus was due for twenty minutes.

There was no shelter. He was tall & slim and vaguely old-fashioned in his corduroy jacket, child’s scarf, & Brideshead haircut. Her short jacket and shorter skirt, gave her long body no protection against the cold & she looked desperately unhappy. Neither spoke. He paced up and down the curb whilst she squatted against a shop front, lit a cigarette and shivered. Oppressed by their misery, I wandered off a little way to shelter in a doorway. Then their conversation resumed. His first words were unclear, but her reply was shrill. “Well, you shouldn’t have called me a fucking slag ! What do you expect ?” His reply sounded like, “Oh, do you deny that you are, then ?”

Silence returned for a few moments until another, sweeter, voice approached from the direction of Sloane Square, accompanied by the steady clicking of very high heels striding upon leisurely long legs. The woman was slender & tall & black, and everything she wore was black. Her high-waisted ankle-length coat swung elegantly beneath a huge black umbrella, and as she passed us she was singing sweetly into a mobile telephone, her laughter-tinted voice as deep & melodic as her silhouette was dark.

Later, passing the tenements in Nine Elms, where grass and pathways were now unambiguously white, a young woman with a big anorak lay on the ground beneath a young man with a big rucksack on his back. She was writhing voluptuously, her arms relaxing behind her head, palms up, & her fingers pinching snowflakes whilst she yielded to his passionate kisses.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

a snowy day

a cold cab isn't half so bad as a cold loo seat

but a cold fork-lift must be pretty uncomfortable ... except during snowball wars, when it becomes mechanised cavalry for the morning

... and danger lurks everywhere ... "bandits at ten o'clock, skipper !"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

two of brighton & hove's surviving frivolities enjoying the winter sun

a rainy evening in stepney, eating in l'oasis with two other stout parties

dominic & diana, two too high voltage characters in no need of an author

dominic is complying with my request to sit still whilst i photograph the retro soviet hip flask he's brought me from foreign parts

diana is politely holding dominic's camera for me to photograph the screen ... the tiny image is of himself starring as the christmas fairy in the commissary panto a couple of weeks ago in a far off country

Sunday, January 21, 2007

the bridge over the canal at stoke bruerne

i've always been intrigued by the way bricks are arranged beneath oblique arches

and here they have drained the lock, revealing the flat bed of the canal, lined with bricks that are coloured by a yellow clay sediment

hanslope church ... the tallest steeple in buckinghamshire

it was too windy, and the long grass was too wet to set up the tripod ... i'll have to go back !

... "Created by the early manorial family, the Maudits, following the Conquest, a hunting park was established at Hanslope and by Royal agreement several stags were taken from Salcey Forest to fortify the stock. Eventually this was acquired by Basil Brent, by whom in the late seventeenth century the present mansion was built. In time William Watts, an ex governor of Bengal, in June, 1764, bought possession and his tomb may be seen in the local church. Whilst in India, William had been attacked by a rabid dog and he was only saved from a severe mauling, or worse, by the action of a bystander, who fired an arrow through the animal's paw.
As a sign of his gratitude William had the representation of a hound with an arrow through the paw incorporated in the family coat of arms, and on the top of Hanslope church spire the weathervane is shaped in a similar depiction!"

Friday, January 19, 2007

morning has broken ...

herstmonceux observatory

windmill hill near herstmonceux

a windy day at the office

fortunately the nearest man was just out of reach when this two ton steel gate was ripped away from it's restraining chain with such force that the sectional frame ruptured and bent at right angles next to the hinges ... the smallest man in the picture is about six foot four

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

a modest proposal

an idea that might improve the sublime spectacle that is professional soccer

given david beckham's poor disciplinary record in the spanish league this season, and his imminent move to play in america, the question will inevitably recur ... "should football introduce sin-bins ?"

the answer is clearly "yes & no" ...

instead of a boring bench where a vexed player might sit for a few minutes, we need a coin-operated touch-line X-box confessional booth ... linked to giant screens ... virtual priests for ordinary matches ... virtual bishops for the european cup ... virtual archbishops for the world cup ... players may only return to the fray when they have been thoroughly absolved ... the element of suspense as the sidelined players grapple with their conscience will lift the game to new levels of stress

Saturday, January 13, 2007

another dark saturday in putney

... and i don't have the heart to take down the last bit of christmas

Monday, January 08, 2007

aaargh !

this evening as i was sitting down to edit today's pictures, my phone rang

instinctively i stood up to answer the call, and yanked the usb cable, damaging the socket at the side of the camera

the camera has gone to sleep & i don't know if it can be repaired

woe !

a proper lunch break with laura and nic

i was on my way back from an unexpected and urgent dash to banbury when i realized i could easily spend an hour with some friends who live near the motorway ... so i did !