Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You’ve read the Blog now view the Book!

You’ve read the Blog now view the Book!

When is a day off not a day off?

When you are working on researching your favourite top forty photographs for a book!

My manager and better half suggested that instead of storing my pictures on the computer’s hard drive to put a selection together for a hardback book.

I think after about five evenings and two half days last week I finalised the images for the book.

So here it is, “Day Off” forty original, amazing days off captured in photographs.

Admittedly some of the images are older than the blog but they do summarise “inspired days in and days out”.
There is a story for every image but that's another project in progress!

The book is a platform for my photography and will be on display at the Reading Contemporary Art Fair next month.

Check this site for more information and watch the blog cause it’s going to get busy...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The British Leisure Show (thanks to the sponsors)

The British Leisure Show (thanks to the sponsors)

The host venue was Windsor Race Course which was an appropriate venue, well organised and able to facilitate all attendees, us included.
We were kindly given “access” to the British Leisure Show on Sunday by MBS Europe. It was a great opportunity to see what “British” people do on their days off.

On arrival at the main gate parked next to a ferrari we spotted a “delorean” (back to the future fame) with its own flux capacitor and sign stating that it was often used for the school run.

Tom Beaton team manager, MBS Europe (thanks to the sponsors) greeted us and gave us our passes. We now had access all areas to view lots of potential days off.
Inside we quickly passed the token climbing wall, bungee jump, bouncy castles, burger stands, lost kid and headed towards the participant arena. The conduit of human traffic and associated pets along the main “thoroughfare” meant that my footwork was akin to MJ’s moonwalk and crossing hot coals barefoot. It was slug pace at best.

Obstacles ranging from excited dogs, tiny children, squidgy puddles, great grandmother Ethel (who had recently parted with her hearing and walking aids) and a golf buggy determined to take down anything in its path were between us and the participant arena.

However, it did give us the opportunity to look at some of the trade stalls en route.

At first the most inappropriate stall was relating to British Leisure was a company selling “patio effects”, deluxe paving slabs if you like. Then I thought that it was probably a good idea given that the British tend to treat their “back yards” as an external room. A strong choice of stone surfaces on which to put patio & garden furniture.   

We continued onwards and passed the ever increasing scales of recreational vehicles, from the electric bike through to the Winnebago and the boogie board up to the super deluxe yacht.

As we neared the participant arena, the MBS Europe demo ramp became visible.

The demo crew consisted of Tom Kirkman, Tom Read, Tuai Lovejoy, Matt Brind, Jamie J and a few other familiar faces hosted by Mr Rhys Crilly.

The demo kicked off and the guys were putting on a great show for the masses. Stalled 360’s, backflips, frontflips, 720’s corked 5’s.

It was a feast of freestyle boarding and because the previous two days rain had stopped play, you could see the guys going for it.

We then watched the kite demo. It was billed as high performance flying with the Scratch Bunnies. Synchronised kite flying. Looking at  the performers alone made me think is this line dancing 2010? One two and step...

We had a wander round some of the remaining stalls, drank sarsaparilla, tried red devil cheese and korma dips for free. We then came to the winner for the most inappropriate stall. It was they hippy selling dream catchers, dragon paraphernalia and all things you can’t give away on ebay.

After walking past the umpteenth Ferrari, horse & tweed themed stall, the waft of chlorine from the hot tubs, my interest in British Leisure was waning.

Overall, I don't think there was a product that tempted me to part with any monies. It was a good to learn about what other people do on their day off.

Thanks again to sponsors

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Paintings

Spring just arrived

These paintings have been inspired by the recent burst of sunshine and the first signs of spring.

They were probably realised at some point last year but didn’t fit into the timetable.

If I was being critical, I would have made the image bigger. I’ve got some other work on the go, notably a picture book and some smaller pieces for the Reading Contemporary Art Show next month.

The Lotty

The Lotty

On Saturday whilst the girls were off shopping, yours truly went to work in the allotment with Derek. As it was mother in law weekend, my gift for her was to roll up the sleeves, break out the elbow grease and getting digging. Funny thing was that I enjoyed it.

Most visits to Kent include a trip to the allotment, normally it’s a quick pick over of the seasonal vegetables or to transfer some plants or catch up with one of the neighbouring plot owners.

Hugh, leaning over the fence told us a great parrot joke, which will probably have to be reserved to a time and place more appropriate than this blog.

With a smile on my face I got back to my digging and moving of the poached egg plants. We cleared some chalk root, removed some dandelions and recycled some of last year’s beetroots on the compost heap.

We decided that we had achieved a number of tasks and was unable to tie the raspberry canes in because we didn’t have the right string. I would of used bailer twine but apparently it’s not appropriate in Kent.

It’s a well known fact that if you removed all the bailer twine in Devon the county would fall down and Cornwall would float away.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Aston Hill (the unofficial Remolition Training Facility)

Aston Hill (the unofficial Remolition Training Facility)

Today was all about free riding. You turn up to a hill and think as long as it goes downwards, has a few features, makes your eyes water and puts a grin on your mud covered face, you can sign the disclaimer.

I had arrived at the Aston Hill Mountain bike facility a little earlier than the others. The car park was filling up with vehicles laden with expensive bikes and kit. I doubt that I could get a mortgage for the bike that was placed next to my car!

The forestry commission ranger was circling like a kite; she’d taken some monies from the bikers and proceeded towards me. She looked at the car and asked if I was riding but couldn’t see my bike. She said £7 and that she’d be back in an hour or so.

Roger, Smiley, Wilz and the Reading boys turned up and we headed towards the woods... En route we came across one biker who clearly “made us aware of the riding rules, that somebody got real hurt on one of those things and that we should head for the far side of the hill”.

Did somebody phone ahead and say, here’s our plan today? It involves heading for the far side....Dope!

We hit the boarder X, the top berms were slow but everything else was quick and after a couple of runs it was pick a line and go. We all found that the bx had ticked the boxes; “air, berm, kicker, road jump, drop off!”

The next part of the “far side” was the cross country course. A single track winding through tress that went into a ditch run, into a technical edging round trees section and then into a big speed drop. When we looked back up the hill, the horseshoe shape and gradient made it a great scope for development. A potential for a Remolition training facility and it’s one of those places that would take all that much work. We spent about ten minutes clearing logs and it opened up several lines, imagine if we had spent an hour!

We headed back to the cars and as we didn’t see the ranger, it was a free ticked.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Devonia (we love ya)

Devonia (we love ya)

Did a whistle stop tour to North Devon on the weekend and walked my old play ground.

Back in the good old days, where protection amounted to a bit of sun cream and a sports beer, I looked on with veteran eyes. What appeared to be a no go five years ago now seemed to be part of a funky new line or extra obstacle. A playground of evolution, good when I was newbie, greater as an intermediate. And the more I looked, the more possibilities opened up.

And the best thing is that the lane back to the house doesn’t change, a little bit of manure here, a tiny flow of water there but still enough to make the eyes water.

A reminiscent trip to Devonia around some of the finest and most striking countryside has got be done this summer. Check you diaries......

Cliff Drop as requested....