A Period Drama in Four Pictures


Nothing is ever as perfect as we would like for it to be

the ideal versus the real

is a never-ending saga

an epic drama in endless human acts

but the imperfections add a certain charm

a loose thread may seem to be an aberration

which if pulled could tidy things up

but it could also unravel the whole tapestry

and we may lose more than we imagined we would gain…

and then we may wish to undo the undoing…

sometimes loose threads are best left loose…

and sometimes we must pull them…

when to pull and when to not do so is a mystery…


“Pictures are like doors which open into unexpected chambers.”
― Arthur Edward Waite


From A Distance


From a safe distance

what we see

may not be what is there

or what is there




what it is

At first the shadow looming in outer limits of the periphery of my vision

through the steadily falling snow

was the beast from the east personified

I didn’t know what it was

I wasn’t sure if it was really there

but it was huge


at its own pace

and I was in awe of it

my mind raced to make sense of it

but my creative heart wanted it to remain a mystery


“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
― Herman Melville


Pencil Me In


Please do not ask to borrow my pencil

as this will only lead to a fight

a joust

between your will to have it

and my will to not let you have it

and I will win because I have the pencil

and it is a mighty pointy stick

I will gladly give you my pen

and strip naked to lend you all of my clothes

but my pencil is mine

I have chewed upon it

while thinking

swallowed its coloured splinters

absorbed it into myself

worn it down

worn it in my hair

and sharpened it again and again

and listened to it scream as I did so

it is a trusted friend

and I will stab you with it before I let you have it

which I do not want to do


“One has no right to love or hate anything if one has not acquired a thorough knowledge of its nature. Great love springs from great knowledge of the beloved object, and if you know it but little you will be able to love it only a little or not at all.”
― Leonardo da Vinci



Painted Faces


Three ladies in miniature

sitting together

in a glass cabinet

filled with treasures

sparkling under the electric light

waiting now…

as they most likely waited then

while an artist created the selfie of their time

I wonder what they were thinking then

and what they would think now

if they could see through their painted eyes

the world as it is

would they share their thoughts or hold them close

hidden within

as their expressions remain poised to be painted?


“Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?

When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won.”

― William Shakespeare, Macbeth


The Soft Roar of Waves


When is a beach scene not a beach scene?

The image above is my take on a familiar view from my childhood

not because we lived by the sea

as we lived in the hills

too far from the sea to see it

even though from the hills we could see far off into the horizon

it’s a scene from those windows on the walls known as paintings

which hung on every wall of our house

all painted by my father

my bedroom had a collection of his early work

painted long before I was born

I used to stare at them as I lay in bed

they told me bedtime stories

and there was one in particular which I knew was of a beach

but due to my father’s abstract impressionism

I could never figure out what was on the beach

and something large was on it

I could have asked him what it was


I wanted to figure it out for myself


the real beauty of art is in the journey we take in when we enter into the image

merging ourselves with the scene



“It was as if when I looked into his eyes I was standing alone on the edge of the world…on a windswept ocean beach. There was nothing but the soft roar of the waves.”
― Anne Rice

Threading the Needle


What’s that saying about a something passing through the eye of a needle

I can’t quite recall it

although it is on the tip of my tongue

which has just wet the thread

that I want to pass through the eye of a needle

to do some sewing

some mending

does that actually help


is it an illusory notion that a wet thread

will be easier to pass through

the eye of a needle

than a dry one

I know nothing anymore

I say that now knowing that I have never known anything

and most likely never will

but I keep hoping that

this thread will pass through the eye of this needle

and some sewing, some mending, will get done

but my eyes aren’t as agile as I used to think they were

if I can manage this delicate operation

then the silence of satisfaction will envelop me

and I may do nothing after that


“The process of elimination, combined with a modicum of common sense, will always assist us to arrive at the correct conclusion with the maximum of possible accuracy and the minimum of hard labor. Which being translated means: I guessed it.”
― Margery Allingham



The Small-Scale Ridiculousness


Ambling along a local nature trail

we came upon a wooden gate

leading to a small farm

the gate had a strut attached to a giant tree

and upon it were placed two tiny elephants

these weren’t the only man-made inhabitants of this location

there were stone foxes, ceramic ferrets, metal birds and butterflies, and a vibrant orange rat

but they’re the ones which stood out for me

because it seems that I have a thing for tiny elephants

I’d never noticed that about myself before


“What stops me from taking myself seriously, even though I am essentially a serious person, is that I find myself extremely ridiculous, not in the sense of the small-scale ridiculousness of slap-stick comedy, but rather in the sense of ridiculousness that seems intrinsic to human life and that manifests itself in the simplest actions and the most extraordinary gestures. ”
― Gustave Flaubert


The Shadow of Small Things


I have been told that I am in possession of the memory of an elephant

(perhaps it’s the memory of the tiny wooden elephant in the photo above.

I wonder if that elephant is in possession of my memory?

Did we swap?)

usually when I recall in detail an event which others have forgotten

but am I truly remembering it

are the details correct

or do I just have a vivid imagination

if no one else can recall the event

how do they know that my version of it is real?


“Memory was that woman on the train. Insane in the way she sifted through dark things in a closet and emerged with the most unlikely ones – a fleeting look, a feeling. The smell of smoke. A windscreen wiper. A mother’s marble eyes. Quite sane in the way she left huge tracts of darkness veiled. Unremembered.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things


I did have the dubious pleasure of riding an elephant once

as a child

its skin was painfully prickly

and I immediately regretted allowing myself to be cajoled by zealous adults

while wearing a skirt

into doing something I had been reticent to do

as I wasn’t certain that the elephant wanted a child placed on its bare back

it was during that time when my father took me

to every circus he could find

as he was preparing to do a series of paintings of the subject



Inside The Tube


What we perceive

is coloured by our experience

by what’s in our personal tube of paint

Last night I saw an episode of

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey took Jerry Seinfeld to his art studio

and amongst the things therein was a giant pile of paint tubes

if my father had seen that pile of paint tubes he’d have had something to say about it

My father was an artist by vocation and trade

and paint was one of his treasured possessions

I recall him explaining to me the value of paint

by sharing his history with paint

from his poor starving artist debut

where he couldn’t afford paint

had to make his own and make do with what he could get

to his successful artist later years where he could afford the luxury of any paint he wanted

but he was still careful about what he bought

how much he bought

how much he used

and how he used it



To own as many paint tubes as Jim Carrey had in his art studio

more than many paint shops may have in stock

might have seemed excessive to my father

Does a painter really need that much paint to paint?

Does anyone need more than themselves to express themselves?

But he would have known that

we are all different tubes of paint

even if we call ourselves by the same name as other tubes of paint


“I remain restless and dissatisfied; what I knot with my right hand, I undo with my left, what my left hand creates, my right fist shatters”
― Günter Grass, The Tin Drum

(a quote from my father’s favourite book)


The undiscovered ends


We are celebrating a wedding anniversary today

(I think it’s our 21st)

and I thought I’d share some of our fizz with you

it’s of a little something

Steve drew on the blackboard we have in the kitchen

(of our very first home owned by us)

the blackboard was supposed to be for messages

but instead it’s become an artwork of Steve’s chalk doodles

which is cheerfully perfect


a relationship is

all about going with the flow

and enjoying the bubbling gold within those we love


“From quiet homes and first beginning,
Out to the undiscovered ends,
There’s nothing worth the wear of winning,
But laughter and the love of friends.”
― Hilaire Belloc




Christmas is almost over

but the memories we make during this time

tend to haunt us or harbour us as we harbour them

my mother used to make roast chicken for Christmas lunch

she was an excellent chef

and everything she made tasted delicious

but the most delightful part of her roast was the wishbone

because if you won the tug of war on the tiny bone

you could make a wish

I don’t recall if I ever won or what the wishes were

but the idea of making a wish is a compelling one


“It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them — the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


When Things Happen


The other evening we had a power cut

this happens intermittently

regularly enough for us to have a system in place

to deal with it without too much fuss

Everything goes deeply quiet

in the house

in the surrounding countryside

and in those moments you realise how noisy power is

how much it hums

even when you think it is silent

While in the darkness and cold of Winter

it can be worrying to be without power

there is also something soothing about it

as it forces you to get in touch with

the primal nature within


“Things just happen in the right way, at the right time. At least when you let them, when you work with circumstances instead of saying, ‘This isn’t supposed to be happening this way,’ and trying harder to make it happen some other way.”
― Benjamin Hoff


Seasons Greetings from The Iconophile!


Best Wishes

from both of us

to all of you


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens


A Specific Combination

Everything we do is influenced by thoughts and emotions, and the choices we make about those thoughts and emotions.

Those choices, thoughts and emotions, are influenced by those who are meaningful to us.

My most meaningful photograph from 2017 is this one:



It appeared in The Iconophile post – With a Pinch of Salt – on January 27th, 2017, with a quote from one of my favourite fairy tales – Salt Over Gold.

The image is of my lips with salt applied to lipstick.

I love salt. The taste and the feel of it.

I also love lips.

I have a particular passion for close-ups of lips.

Vibrantly coloured lips.



The above image is a stylised and zoomed out version of the same photograph I used for the With a Pinch of Salt post.

This particular passion for close-ups of lips began when I was about 7 years old.

Don’t worry, the reason for it isn’t sinister.

It’s not superficial either, as it goes deep into my origins as the child of an artist.

In 1975/6 my father, an artist, collaborated with Alain Bernardin and the Girls of The Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris (France) on a creative project to capture burlesque cabaret on canvas.

One of the performers at The Crazy Horse Saloon was Lova Moor, famous in particular for her magnificent lips, which my father painted several times:


La Bouche by Nicola Simbari


While I was not, as a child, allowed to go to The Crazy Horse Saloon (although Alain Bernardin did offer to let me watch the show from a special viewing area behind the scenes – my parents, who were rather prudish for bohemians, politely declined, much to my annoyance), I did get to see the paintings, both once they were done and as they took shape in my father’s studio.

They were magical and miraculous to me (luckily I was not hampered in my view by adult considerations). So much colour and life bursting out, loud and proud.

They made a significant impression upon me, as did all of my father’s work, and as did my father himself, both as an artist and as human being.

My father died in December of 2012.

I don’t own any of his work. I don’t need to, it’s all an intrinsic part of me, an influence. If I were to have one of his pieces, I would bypass all the paintings he created of me (for a child of an artist it is a regular feature of life to be a model and prop, so it’s not that big of a deal to be painted and you really don’t appreciate it at all), and choose the lips.


Nicola Simbari (edited photograph via Tutt’Art blog)


That’s a cravat my father is wearing in the photograph of him above (in case you were wondering). It was the 70’s and he was an artist. He’s all dressed up for an exhibition of his work at a gallery, which explains why he looks tired and tortured (and as though he’s about to pounce upon and eat the event photographer).

He did not like attending his one man shows.

He thought the shows should be about his work not about him.

He preferred to be at home, in his studio, wearing worn jeans and a denim shirt which were invariably covered in splotches of brightly coloured paint.


“Of course his dust would be absorbed in other living things and to that degree at least he would exist again, though it was plain enough that the specific combination which was he would never exist again.”
― Gore Vidal




A Sweet Little Nutcracker


If you crack my head open like a nut

and search inside

somewhere within all the gory goo

is a little oasis dedicated to ballet

if you listen carefully

you’ll hear the tinkling chimes of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

if you look closer

you’ll see a small child dressed in a pink tutu

thumping around

doing pirouettes and pliés

imaging that she is a Fantasia elephant


“It may be, after all,” said the Student Anselmus to himself, “that the superfine stomachic liqueur, which I took somewhat freely in Monsieur Conradi’s, might really be the cause of all these shocking phantasms, which tortured me so at Archivarius Lindhorst’s door.”
― E.T.A. Hoffmann

Frozen in Time


This morning the world around me was frozen

everything was covered in tiny crystal shards

it was so beautiful

such exquisite bliss

to behold

that I… didn’t want to let it go.


“Sympathies that lie too deep for words, too deep almost for thoughts, are touched, at such times, by other charms than those which the senses feel and which the resources of expression can realise.”
― Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White


The Earth from Above


This photograph is of a miniature representation of our house

which has been our home for a couple of years

it fits us like a pair of worn jeans

just right

a little frayed and falling apart in places but made of solid stuff

every now and then we patch it up

nurture it as it nurtures us

this house has room to grow

(it has a room for Stephen to build a miniature of our house and the surrounding countryside neighbourhood)

to rise and spread beyond our previous forms

and occasionally get a quiet aerial view of ourselves, our lives, the earth from above


“I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.”
― Hermann Hesse


The Existence of Possibilities


While visiting a cemetery

I noticed a logo of a walking fish on a car parked outside

and snapped a quick shot of it

I wonder what Darwin would think and have to say about it?


“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.”
― Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species


A Feeling As Deep As Love


When I was a child

I was indoctrinated into the religion of Art

the process involved looking at everything as though it was a painting

framed and hanging on a wall

a window into the poetic world of the soul

alive with not just the spirit of the subject

but also the passion of the viewer

the artist whose paint was blood coursing through veins

inspired by an ever beating heart


“We love the beautiful and serene, but we have a feeling as deep as love for the terrible and dark.”
― Edward Bulwer-Lytton



The Body Beautiful


I once wrote a fanciful little ditty

to be sung in speakeasy style

all about the debonair flair of the eclair

I am not a song writer

but I do love to eat those sweet tasty treats

and when I do I want to sing

about the joys of it


“Mother, of course, takes a lot of exercise, walks and so on. And every morning she puts on a pair of black silk drawers and a sweater and makes indelicate gestures on the lawn. That’s called Building the Body Beautiful. She’s mad about it.”
― Nancy Mitford, Christmas Pudding

There comes in the end a sort of quietness


It’s snowing today where we live

it’s the kind of snow which doesn’t stick

it comes in a flurry then melts away in hurry

it reminded me of a time years ago when it did stick

and each flurry of frozen cloud tears added more soft blankets upon soft blankets

and at the end there came a sort of quietness


“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

No Turning Back


“Had he but turned back then, and looked out once more on to the rose-lit garden, she would have seen that which would have made her own sufferings seem but light and easy to bear–a strong man, overwhelmed with his own passion and despair. Pride had given way at last, obstinacy was gone: the will was powerless. He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.”
― Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel

A Private World


“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn’t we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others? What about the world of a schizophrenic? Maybe it’s as real as our world. Maybe we cannot say that we are in touch with reality and he is not, but should instead say, His reality is so different from ours that he can’t explain his to us, and we can’t explain ours to him. The problem, then, is that if subjective worlds are experienced too differently, there occurs a breakdown in communication … and there is the real illness.”
― Philip K. Dick

The Perfect Way to Stop a Woman


“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

What’s Your Gravatar and Why?

I’m always intrigued by the images which people use to represent them on social media.

Which is why I titled this post with the question – What’s your Gravatar and Why?

I’m genuinely interested in your answers.

I once came across a wonderful post which discussed what each choice of avatar might mean, unfortunately due to my tendency to sporadically tidy up my bookmarks (which often ends up with my deleting almost all of them as I lack the patience to sift through them, revisit the sites), I’ve lost that link otherwise I would share it with you. If it still exists you and you would like to find it, I think I may have used a search term along the lines of – meaning of avatars. But I did make that search before the film of that name came out.

The images which people use to be their online face, can pass by us in the blink of an eye as we scroll through timelines, a bit like scanning faces in a crowd. Occasionally one face will grab our attention, arrest our roving eye. Why? What is it about that face which caught our eye?

What is it about that avatar, Gravatar, which made us stop and scroll back to have a better look?

What does it say to us? What does it reveal to us about ourselves?

What does it say about the person who used it?

Sometimes those who prefer not to use selfies of themselves, but instead opt for something a little more sideways from the straightforward, actually reveal more about themselves as a person than they would had they simply used a photograph of their face.

Faces reveal a lot, but they also can hide a lot too.

There are times when reading someone’s writing prompts me to want to see what they look like, I’m not entirely sure why this is important, but in the moment it feels necessary to satisfy what perhaps is only a temporary curiosity.

If you ever feel that about me, I use my own face as my WordPress Gravatar.



I had to screenshot my Gravatar because I have no idea what I called the picture when I uploaded it, and waiting for the Media Library to load is agony for someone as impatient as I am.

I did quite a  filter and photoshop number on the image, and I’m not sure if I would do that now. I’m not sure if I would choose this ‘selfie’ to represent me now either.

Although I am fond of this picture as it was one of the first I took of myself after a long time avoiding the eye of the camera lens. In fact it’s one of the first shots I took after a long absence from using a camera.

I went through a temporary phase of not liking the camera. It started when I realised I was missing out on life by wanting to capture it all on film as it happened.

I have a different approach to photography now, thanks to going through several phases.

I have a different approach to photographs of myself now, thanks to going through several phases.

I went through a must take selfie phase, which gave me an insight into those who take lots of selfies – it’s fun. It also gets a bit dull after a while. I still love taking self portraits, but not as frequently as I once did.

If you’re curious, below is the original photograph of the one I use for my Gravatar – sans the fards of filter and photoshop. I did crop it, because I’m a tad naked in the shot. I won’t explain why, I’ll leave it to your imagination.



While I was contemplating this particular temporary Daily Post Photo Challenge, I did consider taking a series of shots of my face and of the face of my blogging, business, and life partner in photographic crime, Steve, and I may still do that, to attempt to capture our micro-expressions – those fleeting facial tells which reveal what may be covert, hidden from others and from us too at times.

But then I had a temporary case of the lazies, and instead browsed my messy photographic archive, and came across an image, a blurry flash of movement in between poses, which appealed to me and my creative self said – share this.

So I’m sharing it.

I took this around Christmas time a couple of years ago, dressing up in a mask, a wig, a gown, and fairy lights. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I was in the middle of this photoshoot, the doorbell rang.

Life is funny, and so are we.



“I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary–you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

A Cheeky Peep Show


Take a peek

Can you see what it is?

At first it was a scrabbling sound which made me pause to listen

Then it was a question mark which scratched inside my head

Then it was a thought about mice in the attic

Then it was a sigh about having to deal with mice in the attic

Then it was another thought

a thought which was a hope that it wasn’t mice in the attic but a bird skittering across the slate roof

perhaps chasing the mice away

Then it was a but

But that sound isn’t skittering it’s more like scraping

Then it was an it can’t be a pigeon

the usual bird suspects who clomp around on the roof and scrape off the moss

Then it was a get off your lazy chair and go look

Then it was a peering through blinds unable to see

Then it was a slowly raising of the blinds

Then it was a flash of movement to the right

Then it was the sound of a cheeky peep

I know that sound

Then it was the a scrabbling sound again

Then it was a scraping sound

Then it was a what on earth is it doing

to that part of the eaves which used to hang loose which I fixed in late summer

Then it was a moment of horror

I made sure nothing was living there first

Then it was a subsiding of horror

that’s the tit which nested in a different section of the eaves

and I waited until long after breeding season after everyone had fledged before fixing that too

Then it was another what is it doing

I’ll look it up later online

Then it was a grabbing of the camera and taking a photo without opening the window which might disturb it

And now it’s an it’s okay it found another hole which it made in the eaves right above the window

which I won’t fix this year or next

it is going to be warm for the Winter

and its cheeky peep show as it goes to the feeder and back will warm my heart


“If I stand here, I can see the Little Red Haired girl when she comes out of her house… Of course, if she sees me peeking around this tree, she’ll think I’m the dumbest person in the world… But if I don’t peek around the tree, I’ll never see her… Which means I probably AM the dumbest person in the world… which explains why I’m standing in a batch of poison oak.”
― Charles M. Schulz



A Nice Cup of Tea


What time is it?

It’s time to wake up

but the sun isn’t up yet

It’s autumn

It’s wet

It’s windy

It’s time to rake the leaves

It’s getting darker earlier

It’s time to turn the clock back

It’s halloween

It’s dia de los muertos

It’s bonfire night

It’s cold

It’s winter

It’s the end of the year

and what a year it has been

It’s time to round off the day

with a nice cup of tea

hands cupping cup



It’s time to sleep


“In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.
Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll.”
― David Walliams, Mr Stink



There are two kinds of light


The photograph above

has two kinds of glow

the natural radiance

of the sun glinting inside of droplets of water

caught in the feathery branches of fennel

after a rainstorm

in Summer


three layers of the same image

passed through the Photoshop filters

of Topaz Glow

one of those filters is named Brilliant Fibers

which I have nicknamed brilliant fib

as it can add sparkles of lightness

to where there seems to only be darkness and dullness

why would I use this filter

why tamper with nature

why enhance the truth with a bright white lie

because I’m trying to replicate

what I spy with my naked eye

when I look at the world around me

everything is slightly blurred

and luminous


“There are two kinds of light – the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.”
― James Thurber


The Message on the Bottle


When you go shopping

do you find your eyes

straining and squinting

to read the message on the bottle

the instructions on the product

the ingredients on the tasty looking treat which may or may not be good to eat

do you ever feel as though you’re a secret agent trying to decipher a code

or find a minuscule microchip cloaked by one pixel of an image

the scale of the writing

on the walls of packaging

is getting smaller

to fit in everything a company

wants to say about their creation to sell it to you

and legally must inform you about


“I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me. ”
― Banksy


it may seem pedestrian to be told not to drink shampoo


every time someone sues a corporation

complains to a government body

gets the authorities involved

the powers that be add more rules

more warnings

which adds more text

and symbols

which can hamper design

makes one have to wear reading glasses at all times while out and about

and wish for simpler times when we foraged in the woods and had to figure out for ourselves what something was

it is for our own benefit

it can save lives

and it does regulate those who might poison us by accident or on purpose for profit

honest people sometimes have to pay the price of the actions and consequences of fraudsters

and I guess it also works as a brain training exercise.


Have you been affected by tiny writing, and does this make you less adventurous when shopping, less prone to trying something new because you have to work too hard to find out what it is and if it’s good for you?

What’s your favourite product and why?


The Passenger’s Side


If there was a window

through which you could view

images from the past

seen through the lens of your eyes

many of those

would be of me watching the world go by as I go by



as a passenger

riding shotgun

which these days involves shooting

vignettes of local country life

with a camera, of course

for Steve’s project



yesterday’s drive was a mostly wet

warm Autumn day

but there were the occasional burn holes in the clouds

exposing the cerulean skies

and through which the sun lit up the land below

accentuating greens and yellows vibrantly



on the home stretch

the rain returned

cloaking everything in drama

the wind picked up

carrying the strong stench of manure

which the tractor we briefly got stuck behind

(the local farmers will pull over when they can to let drivers pass)

was transporting to a field nearby

to feed the fields which eventually feed us


“I am a passenger
I stay under glass
I look through my window so bright”

― Iggy Pop, The Passenger



Capturing Transformations

In the beginning

there was a bare room

which planted the seed of an idea

into heart of the one who entered it

and could see that the emptiness was full of potential

to make a dream come true

but how to make the ideal become real…



Everything you see starts somewhere unseen

and as time passes

it takes shape

gradually making itself visible

bit by bit

layer by layer



until one day

all the bits

all the layers

come together…

that day is still far away

but it has progressed

and the transformation

has been captured



This is from a project Steve is working on

the movie is made from stills taken during his build

of a scale model track

of our home and the surrounding countryside


“In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.”
― Stanley Kunitz, The Collected Poems


The Sunset Flower


If you look at the last couple of posts

and photographs


I’ve shared

you may notice a theme

it appears that my not so conscious mind

is focused on circles

of one kind or another

it could be said that

I’m going around in circles


is the circle really a circle

does the beginning meet up with the end

or is it a spiral


is that spiral going upwards

or downwards

whatever direction it

or I

may take

Summer is now moving into Autumn

the senses can feel the shift from warm to cool flavours

drifting from more light to more dark

the latest circle I’ve captured

is that of a sunflower

growing in my garden

it sprouted from a seed I sowed

before the area was recreated

from what it had been

wild and untamed

yet to be defined

into a cultivated source of fruits and vegetables

I thought my seed had been lost in the shuffle of earth

in the changes


this one chose to strive and thrive through it all

grow tall

towering above me

and finally flower

a sunflower

which has chosen not to move with the sun

even though it is free to do so

but to adamantly face

and show its bloom


the west


the sunset


“So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my side like a scepter,
and deliver my sermon to my soul, and Jack’s soul too, and anyone who’ll listen,
— We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside, blessed by our own seed & hairy naked accomplishment – bodies growing into mad black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our own eyes under the shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening sitdown vision.”

― Allen Ginsberg




Mastering the Art of Passing Time


It can appear as though

much of life

is about

mastering the art of


we wait to be born

and after birth we must wait for everything to be done for us

wait to be fed

wait to be changed

wait to have our cries answered

wait to learn how to do things for ourselves

wait to walk

wait to talk

wait to grow up


once grown up

we wait some more

for opportunities

for attention

for success

for love

for that moment when we will

get everything we’ve waited for

and be able to do everything we’ve put on hold

and during all the waiting we learn to pass the time

filling the spaces between the tick and the tock

with our imagination

our creativity

our dreams of what will come once time has passed


“Vladimir: What do we do now?
Estragon: Wait.
Vladimir: Yes, but while waiting.”
― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot


Some of the best moments of my life

have occurred

while waiting


Ghosts in the Domestic Machine


You open your eyes

startled by the sudden shift from dreamworld to waking world

bright lights and harsh sounds flood your senses

your ownership of a physical vessel with all its aches and pains makes itself felt

gravity can feel strongest in the morning

you adjust

you must continue

it is too late to turn back

you roll out of bed

throw on some clothes (or not)

make your way to the kitchen

(attempting not to trip over the cat who has decided now is the time to weave between your wonky legs)

you pick up the kettle

fill it up

with just enough water for a cup of brew to get you buzzing

so that you can get started with

the rest of the structure of your day

somewhere through the process

you notice that your kettle may need descaling

(this may be something particularly British, where the water is hard and limescale forms wherever water drips and collects)

and in the haze of an early moment

the limescale inside the kettle

seems to form shapes

like clouds on a wistful day

creating ghosts in the domestic machine

a shrouded figure

looming over

the silhouette of a man with a pointy chin (or a Ming the Merciless beard)

framed by halo upon halo

of particles collected and connected


“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.”
― Richard Feynman



Words, Music, Memories


Angles and edges



in a corner

of the music room

memories of melodies

ghosts of small fingers

feeling their way

across keys



learning to play

a different type of game



in a world

made of

the wistful wishful dreams




“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”
― Hunter S. Thompson



A Momentary Refraction


There are times when

I think

I am  more of a cat than my cat

(and my cat is more of a human than its human)

for the moment I see sunlight

it is all I see

and I rush to capture it

basking in its fascination



watching its rays



create stories upon the surfaces it hits

turning everything to gold

glittering with the stuff of which we are all made



To answer the question – What is guaranteed to distract you?

is not easy

as being distrait is my status quo

which has caused my lifelong ambition

to be focused

to be able to concentrate without interrupting myself

but the corner of my eye is always busy spotting something

my body is a Fidgety Philip

and my mind is a prospector’s pan



The only time I am still


during a moment of refraction


“Keats mourned that the rainbow, which as a boy had been for him a magic thing, had lost its glory because the physicists had found it resulted merely from the refraction of the sunlight by the raindrops. Yet knowledge of its causation could not spoil the rainbow for me. I am sure that it is not given to man to be omniscient. There will always be something left to know, something to excite the imagination of the poet and those attuned to the great world in which they live.”

― Robert Frost


Weathering the Storm


While some parts of Europe are sweltering

in a Luciferian Summer

our little section of the continent

is experiencing regular elemental outbursts

of the thunder, lightning and torrential rain variety

during one of these

our barn was flooded


it was rather beautiful to behold

if you can pause to see the poetry of life

when the storm hits

and appreciate the natural philosophy

of what the storm leaves in its wake

luckily everything stored inside of the barn is raised up on palettes

because this isn’t an unusual occurrence

there are better solutions

but for now our focus is on the house

there’s nothing like a flash flood

and the canny ability of water to penetrate

the slightest crack in your building and its foundations

to let you know where something needs your attention

where a fix may need to be applied

where time isn’t healing an old wound but causing a new one

Thursday I was DIY solving one of these

and today I spotted a crack in a window pane which I could swear wasn’t there yesterday…


“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


As Things Crumble


A tiny bit of crumble

has made its escape

from the mother muffin

it looks like a comet

passing the Sun

where is it going

and will it get there

before a moistened fingertip

catches it

and devours the delicious morsel

as a sweet little appetiser

before the main meal


“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”
― Neil Gaiman




There are moments in life

when one sentence

uttered without aforethought

can sum you up

far better than

all the well thought out descriptions you’ve ever created for yourself previously

this happened to me not too long ago

I walked into a room and stated

“I almost bought this…”

and before I could name what it was I had almost acquired

Stephen interrupted to inform me that

“That could be the title of your autobiography!”

while I could have been angry

for a variety of reasons

and embarked on a crusade spurred on by this variety of reasons led anger

instead it occurred to me that

he was right

and it almost made me wish that I was writing an autobiography

just to use that title

as it is a correct description of


I am always almost buying things

and take quite some pride in not buying them

particularly when I truly desire them

there are rare times when

I do buy something

simply because I desire it

and the figurine in the image above

represents one of those instances when

I satisfied

a passing desire

and promptly

(and pretentiously perhaps)

named him

Desideratus Erasmus…

(even though whoever had placed him in the antiques arcade seemed to think he was Shakespeare…

not everything is Shakespeare)


“A constant element of enjoyment must be mingled with our studies, so that we think of learning as a game rather than a form of drudgery, for no activity can be continued for long if it does not to some extent afford pleasure to the participant.”

Letter to Christian Northoff (1497), as translated in Collected Works of Erasmus



The Scent of Something Different


I have to confess


figuring out what would be unusual for me

in any way at all

has been a difficult task

one which

I have enjoyed immensely

as it has made me look

at my photographs

and myself


a new perspective

which is something that is

a usual pursuit

and favourite pastime

there is nothing my nose likes better


to catch the scent of something different

and bury itself in that fragrance

experiencing an exotic infusion of

sensations mysterious

soon to be known


“As we all know, time sometimes flies like a bird, and sometimes
crawls like a worm, but people may be unusually happy when they do not
even notice whether time has passed quickly or slowly”
― Ivan Turgenev


This picture is one I took randomly on my phone

while on a trip

it’s not a usual subject for me

to make the effort to capture


although it is beautiful

it lacks what I tend to seek

why did I take it?

I do not know anymore


perhaps I should seek

and see more

of that which I do not usually look for.




The Power of a Droplet


Have you ever had one of those days

where your voice speaking certain words

‘I’ve checked the weather forecast and it isn’t going to rain…’

haunts you

mocks you

dances around you and taunts you

in every droplet of water

which subsequently falls

gathering powerfully together

joining forces with thunder and lightning

pounding the roof

gushing through the gutters

drumming the ground

flowing along power lines

busy little drops

rushing to get from there to there

flooding the world around you

swiftly and suddenly


until you begin to think that you might need a boat…


“Everything in life is speaking in spite of its apparent silence.”
― Hazrat Inayat Khan


Skin to Skin


I recently had the unusual pleasure

of being envied for my freckled skin

this is unusual as

more commonly


either warn me of the dangers of having such sensitive skin

as if I didn’t know

and they do know even though their skin is nothing like mine


try to sell me vanishing cream for my condition

which if I bought into it would have me vanish entirely

I wasn’t always like this

I gradually transitioned

over time

after years of running around naked in the Mediterranean Summer Sun

rebelling against hiding in the shade

certain tendencies linger


perhaps I should be careful

now that I am older and should be wiser

but if I avoided all the dangers in life

would I ever bask in the pleasures of it


I did get a bit sunburned

and its traces

while slowly fading

can still be seen

if I allow others

to observe the privacy which

the back of a person


for certain eyes only


“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird