Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Friday, 19 August 2016

The night tube

For the first time in London's history we'll now have  24 hour weekend Tube travel. The night tube begins tonight on the Central and Victoria lines and 3 more lines will follow in a few weeks. Many shift workers have been asking for this for some time.

Sharing with James at weekend reflection

Monday, 15 August 2016

Sculpture in the City.

As part of the City of London's education programme each year, there is a sculpture trail of new works in public places. A large number of children enjoy numerous workshops based on these sculptures.There are 20 sculptures altogether of which I have chosen a selection of the ones I found most interesting to share with you.

 This one is called 'Laura' by Jaume Plensa. It is a large, bronze solid looking statue. The surprise for me was looking at it head on, just not what I expected at all.

This is 'Fire Walker' by William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx. It was originally commissioned by the City of Johannesburg in 2010 and depicts the silhouette of a street vendor carrying a burning brazier on her head. Fire walkers sell pieces of coal to other vendors and are the poorest of the city's urban labourers. The sculpture is made up of fragmented pieces and I found it very difficult to find the exact spot which would align the pieces and give me the best view.

This view is from the City of London website which shows you a much better image of the sculpture than I could capture.

These are two out of a series of twelve giant masks by Ugo Rondonone. They are named after the months of the year so this is Sunrise. East July and Sunrise East October. They are cast bronze and painted silver and  have a resemblance to the stone heads of Easter Island.

Bronze and river stones by Giuseppe Penone needed a second look from me. I didn't realize at first that the tree wasn't real but was bronze. In its branches are five large river stones. For some reason it suited the surroundings of the large modern city skyscrapers. The explanation from the artist is that 'the bronze encapsulates the memory of the tree, memorialising and extending its life as it appears to rise out of the ground, undeterred by the weight of the boulders.'

Magic Lantern Small by Mat Collishaw was my favourite. It is situated in an out of the way, very small square, surrounded by huge buildings. At first I wasn't sure what it was supposed to be but the explanation quickly enlightened and delighted me. In 2010 Collishaw created a grand zoetrope for the cupola of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It showed a group of moths fluttering around a lit lantern. There was a small replica of the giant cupola in the courtyard providing a close up view of the moths.

Looking closely you can see the moths rotating around the lantern as though they are fluttering towards the light.

High up hanging from the ceiling of Leadenhall Market is a plastic mesh sculpture.
 Try as I might to photograph this one I just couldn't do it justice. It did impress me but I doubt I can impress any of you with these photos. It is called 'Falling into Virtual Reality' by Recycle Group. The duo created this from recycled materials
They were reflecting on what our time will leave behind for future generations, what artefacts archaeologists will find after we've gone.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Summer reflections.

The blue skies this week gave rise to lots of reflections in London

 especially at St Katherine's Dock.

Monday, 8 August 2016


These are a selection of some prize winning illustrations that are on display at Somerset House. I just happened to be passing by last Thursday and decided to pop in for a look. I am glad I did as some of them are so cleverly designed that I couldn't fail to be impressed.

This is from a children's book called 'Flyaway' by Lesley Barnes. The theme of the book is freedom and the reader can lift the flaps to  'free' the bird themselves.

The illustrations were not just from childrens' books. These illustrations by David Foldvari were from a series of prints based on interviews with refugee children in Rome. They were commissioned by 'Save the Children'

There is so much going on in these illustrations by Ami Shin. From the picture book 'Mice in the City' featuring well known buildings in London.

This illustration forms the front cover of the book 'Great Modern Artists A to Z'. The illustrator is Andy Tuohy

The unmistakable image of Frida Kahlo

The Hundred and One Dalmatians. The coloured cover and the black and white illustrations are for the 60th anniversary of the book by Dodie Smith.  The illustrator is Alex T Smith.

A completely different kind of illustration using crochet, machine knit, lambswool, sequins and foil print. The crocheted and knitted fish were displayed at the knitting and stitching show in Alexander Palace last year. Entitled Kate's Plaice The Stitchmongers by Kate Jenkins.

These are from a five part series of illustrations designed for the  BAFTA Film Awards brochure based on the 2016 Best Film Nominees.
The illustrator is Levente Szabo

These beautiful illustrations by Richard Lewington depict different species of bees for a set of UK postage stamps.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Saturday in the City

Saturday morning in the City of London on a beautiful clear day. During the week the streets are heaving with City workers going about their business but at the weekend it takes on a different atmosphere and with little traffic and empty pavements it is one of my  favourite places to wander around.

 Looking up I spotted workers of a different kind being taken up onto the roof of the church.
 I wondered if they were stone masons


Thursday, 4 August 2016

For Gattina

 Today I should have met 'Gattina' from Writers cramps but due to a mistake over the train times she did not arrive and will not be in London until tomorrow when I am not free to meet up. So this is for you 'Gattina'. Your fears that my day might have been wasted were needless. I spent the day walking and here area few things I spotted on the way. Victoria station is still a nightmare with all the building works so I wanted to move away from there.
The only highlight amongst the chaos is Little Big Ben at the end of Victoria Street.

Leicester Square was my next stop looking for a couple of reflections
This reflection was a strange one as the reflection looks as though the building is next to it rather than at right angles to it.

One of the many talented buskers around the Square.

Lisle Street with its colourful flags and gay bars.

Another reflection, this time it shows the side entrance to the Phoenix theatre.

 Found this reflection at Tottenham Court Road where major work is taking place to enlarge the station for the new Crossrail line.

I spent the afternoon at Somerset House looking at an exhibition of prize winning illustrations (more of these in my next post). So 'Gattina' I look forward to hearing about your day in London tomorrow.