Spring is on the way

Not sure that we’ve actually had the full brunt of winter (unless you count Thursday, when we practically were blown away), but it feels as if spring is on the way. Daffodils are now in the shops, but they have a few days before they open.

Borough Market

I don’t know what’s taken me so long to get to Borough Market, but I went for the first time in about five years today. It was amazingly crowded – but good to fun to meet friends there in need of burgers – lamb, falafel, chicken, chorizo – and pretty much every other kind you could imagine – after a night of birthday celebrations. There’s lots of organic produce: fruit, vege, meat, fish, bread, coffee and extras such as olives and chutneys. While waiting near a meat seller, we were close to a headless deer, birds and a few rabbits hanging on the wall. In a few minutes, the reactions of passers-by ranged from saying the deer was ghastly without its head, to others aiming their camera for a very tight close-up.

Below are Helen, who celebrates her birthday tomorrow (Monday) with a visit to Ireland, her boyfriend Tom and post-hangover food – a wrap and very large brownies.

Photographers’ get-together

Friday night and yesterday were spent with members of the Digital Wedding Forum, mentioned a week or so ago. We had a London day with four seminars from three US photographers, one Aussie one – David A Williams – and Gordon McGowan, from Scotland. Gordon was showing how he poses brides and grooms – many of his poses for this year are inspired from “Strictly Come Dancing”. The Friday night was a great chance to chat to David (with his special Pomeranian joke welcome), Jerry Ghionis, who welcomed me to come along on two weddings a couple of years ago when I was in Melbourne, David Beckstead, who describes his photographic style as being very loose and too many UK photographers to even try to remember. A highlight was meeting Ulysses, from New York state, who is one of the forum moderators and comes across as being such a honey – and he was in real life. Someone took a photograph of the two of us – and can’t wait to see it. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time to meet everyone, which was a real shame.

One of the highlights was being able to say to forum head Jeff Caplan, who was celebrating his birthday on Friday, that we have more than enough people to go ahead with a creativity group as part of the forum. I’d asked in a post if anyone was interested in supporting each other as we read “The Artist’s Way” – a book about developing your creativity. There was a huge response and one thing led to another and somewhere in the next couple of weeks, we’re going to have a subforum for The Artist’s Way. It’s just amazing how many people have read the book and would like to return to it, or would like support while reading it. Jeff is really keen to get behind it.

So long and thanks for the fish

In the last month or so, at the suggestion of a friend, I’ve joined the Greenwich Freecycle group. It’s set up so I get a daily email of people offering things for free to others who may need them and also requests for items they need. It’s great for helping to watch the pennies and keeps things out of landfill.

Last week, someone requested travel books on a couple of countries – and I was able to help out with one. A lovely lady on a bike collected it (the deal is usually that the recipient collects it at a time convenient to the giver). I’ve been thinking of offering my fish and its tank – so did this week – the request asked for a caring home for the fish. There was an immediate response from three or four people and the first ones (the ones who got it) was a family, where it would be a surprise for their son.

Well, the family: mum, dad, baby and the son, who seemed about four, just came to collect it. The little boy looked so excited and it seems to have gone to a very loving home. If it hadn’t gone to them, there were a few other families offering it a new lifestyle … including one which was just so terribly touching. One woman said that if my fish still needed a good home, she could give him one with some young goldfish of hers. He would be looked after and in the summer he would go outside in the pond until the winter. Wow – I hope her fish realise how very lucky they are – that sounds so idyllic. There are indeed some fabulously caring people in the world.

A great apple tart in Buenos Aires

I joked with photographer Charlotte Geary and her husband Mike a few weeks ago that the blog sometimes seemed to be more about food than photography … well, here’s another food post. At the suggestion of Frances Treanor earlier this week, I found myself heading for Royal Hill after having visited the postbox. As my inbuilt compass is usually about 180 degrees wrong, it was a bit of a worry going without a map, but managed to find it (thank goodness I’m getting to know the local area) … and its cafe Buenos Aires. It was just as good as her description – and that of Greenwich Girl, found on a Google search.

I had a delicious regular coffee and piece of French-style apple tart, which was scrummy. The cafe is homey, with lots of framed black and white photographs on the wall, huge dark sofas and round, wooden cafe tables with bentwood chairs. A few languages were being spoken, very cool jazz on the stereo (nice! – apologies if you aren’t Fast Show fans) and babies and their parents. Oooh, and the day’s papers on a wall rack. No tango music, but definitely it’s ‘my’ kind of place.

On walking back into maritime Greenwich (very pleasantly, now full of apple tart & good coffee), I noticed, also in Royal Hill, Viewfinder Gallery. It doesn’t have anything displayed at the moment, but has an exhibition opening later this month. They were recovering from an exhibition from its supporters – each one being offered the chance to display a photograph of their own – and had 150 on display. It sounded a bit like the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition – just at the opposite end of the year.

An extraordinary meeting

I was recently visiting clients in Parsons Green and on the way home via King’s Road I stopped to look at the Christmas displays at a florist. They looked lovely – most were fairly traditional – with a twist – clusters of dried, sliced limes, twig bundles as well as candles and ribbons. Then I heard my name being called and looked up, having no idea as to who was calling. It was Jan Gasc, someone I’d not spoken to for more than a year. She’d wanted to open her own florist’s shop for a number of years and here it was – she’d taken over London Flower Company a few weeks before.

I can’t even imagine what a coincidence this was – for me to stop in the area and for Jan to have seen me – but completely fabulous, all the same. It was also great to see Jan’s lovely work – I’m going to make more effort to stay in touch!