Tuesday, September 26, 2006

tea, apples and ginger snap biscuits

Are three things I like to consume together. They also sound rather quaint when you put them all in the same sentence like that. I'm reading a book about the heritage of British food, disappearing regional specialties, canny seaweed eating sheep from Orkney, BSE and chicken tikka masala. There seems to be a certain similarity between certain dishes still current in Europe and what the Brits were eating a few generations ago. Before they got scared of germs. And started feeding meat to their cows. Be that as it may, despite the fact that you can buy a bag of powdered oats here easily enough, I can't say for sure who, aside from me and the odd Scottish expat, is actually eating them.
Monsieur has recently put in an offer for an apartment, I think that constitutes grown up news or something. We're moving in at the end of the year if all goes to plan (i.e the bank generously hands us a ball and chain to cart around). It needs some work doing, but doesn't seem to have any resident mould colonies which is quite high on my list of priorities (not damp, not damp, not frigging damp). We'll be slightly (2-3km) removed from the city centre and living in one of the nearby suburbs (Marcq en Baroeul - a name which is likely to screw up more than one of my english speaking friends when it comes time to write their Christmas cards). It's a pretty nice area with some quite amazing residential architecture. Needles to say, we are not going to be living in any examples of this amazingness. It is a first purchase, after all.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I want a bunny like this one

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm in London still

So, London. I'm still all lurgy but I'll battle through with a bit of hot lemon and honey. Just don't be surprised if the sentence constructs are a bit off.
So, as I was saying, London. I really do have a soft spot for the UK, slowly developed over many short visits. My first impression of London is quite possibly the most entertaining first impression I've ever had of a city. As I hesitantly crept out of the underground system somewhere in Hammersmith the first thing I clap my eyes on is a woman sitting spreadlegged on the footpath, torn stockings, crazy hair, talking loudly and obviously into a mobile phone. The message scrawled on a ripped off piece of cardboard in front of her reads 'I am a psychopath'. Welcome to London (though on later reflection I do wonder if it wasn't a 4 non-blondes comedy sketch)
I've found Londoners to be, on the whole, excessively polite people. With the exception of club bouncers and bus drivers. Willing to go well and truely out of their way so that you should not be put out. But then, that's just my experience. And seeing as my experiences in London include door to door scottish fishmongers, it might be exceptional. Or not.
Now I had great intentions of making it out to Portobello AND Camden Town to tour the secondhand bookstores, but hey, who am I kidding right? 4 hours, one foot cramp, 148 photos and about 4 kilos of books later I emergered hot and flustered from the portobello road markets.
The main reason for my visit this time round was for a friends 30th, but with her living in the south in zone 3 and me staying in the north in zone 6, I got to experience much of all that is truely great about the London underground transport system (seriously, you guys are going to have it fixed for the Olympics, right?). It also meant I had to cut my time at her party a bit short to catch the last tube back up to Stanmore. Remember how I said experiencing everything that is good and great about the underground transport system? (insert complete tube meltdown here). So, the only alternative rapid Plan B was taking the bus up to Westminster and running like mad to catch the last Jubilee train. You know that scene in Doctor Who, whey're they're running happily past Big Ben through the night, on some new exciting adventure quest? Well, replace the characters, replace the TARDIS with the tube and replace the impending doom of the living plastic takeover with the impending doom of having the underground grills shut in my face, and you've pretty much got it. Also replace someone who is capable of running with, well, me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend in London

I have a cold, I'll talk about it later. Here's a good video though

Saturday, September 16, 2006


More bric-a-brac from the Portobello Markets, London

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Donkeys are always fun to photograph. Somewhere along the French/Belgian border.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

court métrage

A little art for the day.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Can I get through this post without saying Crikey?

Looks like not.
So I've been informed by about 17 reliable sources since 9am this morning that the trooper, the little Aussie battler and the all round annoyed the hell out of me for the most part bloke Steve Irwin (aka the Crocodile Hunter) died today. And he allegedly wasn't even physically annoying the animal in question. As you've guessed, this isn't going to be a glowing obituary. Being a bit of an Attenborough freak since the age of 5, I always found Irwins style of 'documentary' to be brash, tawdry and highly invasive for the animals in question. I also thought it sent a very sterotypic and incorrect portrait of the 'aussie bloke' to overseas viewers. And while the 'he who lives by the sword' metaphor is leaking out from my fingertips, I have to at least acknowledge that he was a Dad, and probably a good Dad, and that it's sad for kids to lose a Dad so young. I must be mellowing or something (remembers back to shrieking matches with the television every time she saw his goofy head on screen). Still, my first thought was '60 minutes are going to have a field day with this', Not that mellow.
Well, my first Braderie was an interesting experience - took some groovy pics, got shoved around by a million or so people , about half of whom had crass pseudo ethic African giraffe statues bobbing along with them in the crowd, got hit on, got treated like a no-nothing schmuck who couldn't possibly know the first thing about the fine art of being ripped off by professional secondhand dealers, bought a couple of neat things, 70's plastic orange is the new black in bric a brac land, thought about 6 times 'I should really have bought that', ate a respectable number of plates of 'moules frites' (as you must, by law, consume during a braderie under pain of permanent expulsion), decided I absolutely must own a gramophone at some point in my life, walked about 35km, got sore feet, inspected the car damage this morning (snapped off side view mirror). I think I had what you'd call a very average experience.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Toy cars

Braderie de Lille, France

Sad eyes

Braderie de Lille, France

Flemish dolls

The Braderie de Lille is a city-wide flea market that takes place every year in September. It's said to have started in the Middle ages when servants were allowed to sell their masters unwanted goods to get a little extra cash.