A week of it

Sunday 03 March 2013 – Bristol and London

With my departure from London looming I seem to have become incredibly busy all of a sudden. The ‘things to do’ list seems to grow longer and longer as the time to do them grows shorter and I remember all the things I need to take with me when I travel to rather more tropical climes.

Shorts and t-shirts seem more appropriate in 30+ degree Sri Lanka than the jeans, jackets and scarves that I have here in London Bridge so I took a trip to Dartford to swap winter clothes for summer and catch up with my uncle for a wee while.

On the good news front my lovely daughter Meliesha arrived home from three months travelling in India with her partner – so I took a trip down to Bristol on Tuesday to see them both. They are between homes at the moment and dossing on a friends couch while they hunt for a flat so I ended up staying the night in a ‘cheap’ hotel. It was ab fab to see them both, looking so well and brown and relaxed. As always it was a great time in Bristol and I will miss her when I leave, just as I miss my sons Dom and Aiden now.

The view of the Bear Pit from my hotel stairwell.

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My current favourite street artist is Phlegm, from Sheffield in England, I really like his characters and the level of detail in them, each unique. He has painted a wall in Tangalla in Sri Lanka and I am going to try and find it when I am there. It was great to just come across a wall of his in Bristol’s Stokes Croft.

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Mel, who hates having her photo taken and will hate this even more, sorry!

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Back in London, on Thursday El and I went to see an exhibition of portraits from the photographer David Bailey, he is mainly known for his fashion photography and for images of the rich and famous, however this exhibition focused on some of the work he did in the 60’s in the east end of London where he was brought up. It was really good and I am always amazed at the quality of these old images, especially when we spend so much time these days ‘pixel peeping’ digital images at 400% magnification to look for flaws…

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The exhibition was in the William Morris Gallery in Walthemstow, east London so after the gallery we took a walk around the old part of town; with buildings dating back to the time when it was a small village on the edge of Epping Forest. It constantly, and pleasantly, surprises me that in the middle of so many of these suburbs and suburban towns there is an enclave of ancient and well preserved buildings, with some of them trying to record and maintain the history of the area, just very cool.

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Saturday was a visit to another photo exhibition, I cannot believe how much good quality free art is available in London – if you know where to look of course ! There was an exhibition of work from Norman Parkinson at the National Theatre. Parkinson is a fashion/society photographer who has worked in the industry for decades. There were some great images from across his career, including from the sixties music scene. This is a recent photo of him.



From the exhibition El and I walked a bit of the South Bank


Finally, crossing the Thames to the city side. I have had a look for this bridge leg a few times, it is well known as the final resting place for skateboards that get broken at the South Bank skate park.


Ever since I arrived in England I have been pondering the purchase of a new camera and have had a look at a variety of options as well as brief thoughts about buying an underwater housing to go with a new camera. After a lot of reading on the complexities of underwater photography plus the price tag on a housing I decided to give up on that idea. However, I still wanted a new camera and had been looking at the Panasonic Lumix GX1 – an upgrade on my travel camera the GF1. They were on special so I decided today was the day and dragged El up towards Oxford St so I could go shopping. On the way as we passed through the back of Denmark St I spotted a small Space Invader on a building, these are quite rare and seemingly hard to find, so it was cool to find one.


This was followed by finding a Stik on the back of a building though I was unable to get a clean shot as access was fenced off.


And then another Space Invader – wahoo 🙂 I love it when I unexpectedly come across some street art!


This is my new purchase, the GX1, it looks and feels similar to my GF1 but works totally differently, it took me ages to work out how to change the aperture in manual mode, and I still had to Google it.


I have supported Arsenal Football Club for many years and this year they are playing average at best. Sunday was a season defining game against north London arch rivals Tottenham Hostpsur so I decided I would walk up to Islington – Arsenal homeland, and find a pub to watch the game in. It is not a huge walk from London Bridge, maybe one and half hours – but it does pass through part of Shoreditch so I was looking for opportunities to try the new camera as well.

A bit of the past, present and future. I really like the ‘Gherkin’ it is not as cool as the Shard, but still a dramatic building in the downtown business heart of London.


I walked past the Village Underground building to see the completed wall that Thierry Noir and Stik were painting a few days ago – I wonder how long this wall will last before a new piece is painted on it ?


Thierry had also completed the pieces on the front of the building as well.



As I walked up Great Eastern Rd towards Islington and I found this large Stik on a car park wall, I am getting quite a good collection of Stiks. Admittedly they all look kind of the same, but I still like finding them around the place.


And round the back of the car park I saw these guys finishing off a piece, I do not know who they are though and they were too far away to talk too, but it looks great and I think it is fabulous that some property owners allow, or even commission, artists to paint their walls.



And finally this on a window in City Rd. Possibly the last bit of street art I will see in London this time round, I really like it though.


I made it up to Islington well before the game started so bought a paper – The Observer, and found a seat in a pub for a pint and some lunch. I really like The Observer, a great Sunday read. I will really miss quality English newspapers when I leave – and yes I can read them on line but it is not the same, browsing a paper is the just best way to keep informed on all the random bits of news that I never pick up on on-line.

Anyway, I won’t say anything more about the game other than I and the rest of the jam packed pub left disappointed.

To all the people who read my blog, this message on the back of a sign in Soho Square, says it best.


I have just ‘discovered’ embedding links to other places on the web. I always knew they were there, just have never used them, something I now regret. So very useful.

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.

2 thoughts on “A week of it”

  1. Phil, I have a Lumix 200 and which I bought after holding the Lumix you just bought. I would be super interested in how you feel about the camera. Let me know?

    1. I bought the GX1 as I have been using its oldest ancestor the GF1 throughout my travels and had a couple of lenses that work on both. I have only used it a couple of times so far an really like it. It is fast and light and the picture quality is good.

      I may buy a viewfinder for it though. I had one with the GF1 but frustratingly it does not work on the new camera, though I did know this before I bought. I was hoping it would work well without but I am not so sure….

      The real test will be Sri Lanka next week !

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