A few days ago, I had the opportunity to take some shots of the members of the group INSIEME who describe themselves as "a group of soloists". My own ignorance of classical music scares me, it probably would have scared them if I'd mentioned it, I know nothing about it, I didn't bring it up, I photographed them like they were rock stars. I hope it worked. Here's a couple of shots from the shoot.
Earlier today, I visited a house with 3 cats, and their "owner" the lady who I was there to photograph had the shredded furniture to prove it.
Giggling in disbelief, she asked me, "Why bother getting things reupholstered, like I did with this one, when all they do is claw it?" she cast her eyes along the shredded seams and shrugged. We even tried to purr-suade one of these lovely resident creatures to be in the photo, but he wasn't in the mood, after all there was a rug waiting to be clawed on the other side of the room. It's not often I get the opportunity to talk with someone from the House of Lords, maybe I should have asked her more about politics but instead we just talked about cats, and Islington, and and how we both grew up with paraffin heaters in the living room. It was a delight.
The Right Honourable The Baroness Hussein Ece OBE and Mango
Still the best way by far to start the New Year, the annual swim, sing, and party like it's 1899, Kenwood Ladies Pond NYD swim.
Like last year there was an original new song to enjoy, "The 2017 Song" performed by 3 of the regular swimmers, who call themselves "The Alternatives", that's their band name.
First couple of verses mentioned Weinstein, Spacey, Bruce Forsyth Prince Harry and the weather, then it all got very sweary and couldn't possibly be repeated here. Sent the (family friendly version) video and pics to the H&H.
Here's Val exiting the 5 degree water, still smiling, still wearing festive hat.
Today I had to go to a children's centre which has been providing much needed free lunches for children during the summer holidays. We'd got to the part where the children who were going to be in the photo had got to the table, the food had arrived and so we were all waiting for the MP to come and sit with them. Serious topic photo opp. As I've learnt, the prelude to many serious topic photo opps is well, just mucking around. This photo will not be in the paper. The one with the MP with the serious face will be in the paper.
If we were in the US, mucking around would be called "horsing around" - but over here, we'd need a horse for that. Oh wait there's one right outside, that's handy.... favourite photo of the year so far below.
Always happy to start the year off by covering the New Year's Day swim at the Kenwood Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath.
It just seems like the right way to start the year somehow, me fully clothed, whilst watching everyone else brave the near freezing waters, all the time using the excuse that I'm not properly attired and anyway I am busy with a camera as a perfectly good reason not to take the plunge myself. There are squeals of joy mixed with fear, mixed with anticipation on the deck as one by one swimmers take the chilly plunge which is always followed by hot drinks, snacks and entertainment; this year three of the regular swimmers (who should have named their band after the water temperature, as I have just done in the title above, but obviously nobody asked my opinion) who gave a rendition of "The 2016 song" which as you can imagine mentions Brexit, numerous celebrity deaths, a reference to the recent building works on the Heath and something quite unflattering about Mr Trump. Without wanting to rush the moment, I just can't help wondering how the 2017 song will go? Few ideas already...
So, let's get this straight...the man who was in charge and told us that we were not a nation of quitters has quit, and the man who told us that we should definitely quit has decided that he doesn't want to be in charge anymore either, and one of the other men who told us to quit has just er.. quit, and now the only person who doesn't want to quit has just been abandoned by the very people who were supposed to be on his side because they too have quit, and are now busy telling him that he should also quit, even though he doesn't actually want to.
OK, so I can't say that I hadn't been warned.
Last weekend I was excited to be doing a job for the Tottenham Journal, in spite of being told by someone who I know quite well that I should "take care" and that Tottenham had a "dark side". As I got on the bus at Finsbury Park I wondered what it was that I should be looking out for exactly? What would this particular Tottenham specific dark side look like? I was only going to the library on the High Road and it was a lovely sunny afternoon, what could possibly go wrong?
So, having banished all thoughts of potential disasters and visions of the dark forces that lay in wait for me from my mind, I could barely believe that the first thing I saw as I got off the bus right outside the Spurs ground was literally Lord Vader and a couple of Stormtroopers. Were they somehow expecting me? Was it possible that the world had finally started working in such obvious ciphers? Could other people see them too? Yes apparently they could, and soon Vader's charity bucket was clinking with change.
As you can imagine, I spend an awful lot of time popping in and out of various schools around the patch. You know, they have a new thing, or they got a good ofsted, or maybe it's world porridge day (seriously it's on 10th October) or possibly they're doing a show.
So far this term I've been in a portable planetarium, a new science lab partly funded by channel swimming students and last weekend I braved the monsoon for a school firework night.
Whatever's going on it's always interesting or fun in some way.
Plus, you never know who might be DJing.