Monday, 30 June 2014

Mock Roman Bath Folly

I've known this existed in one of my local woods for a while (Summerfields Wood), but i'd never visited it or stumbled upon it before. Until this weekend! I took the boys for a walk and adventure and there it was. What a lovely little spot and pretty magical. More so in its former glory i would imagine.

As it once was with the extra arches (for changing in?)
It's a bit worse for wear, but had been cleaned up relatively recently. It could just do with a little more love and care to make it a truly special place again. We had great fun in the woods, what is it with small boys and sticks? I even introduced them (foolish Dad ; ) to the art of stick sharpening! every available stone was then scraped. We have some amazing spaces around us down here in Hastings and it bought it home to me how little we really use them. They're free, natural and the kids love them... they even stop thinking about ice cream and cheap plastic tat!! we then emerged out the other end of the wood and popped in to see Jakki (who was doing a sale of jewellery and vintage clothes) before continuing on to the beach and more simple pleasures. Leaping out of the way as waves crashed along the groynes was a good one and then dropping pebbles off the edge of groynes into little pools of water below, was another good one. We then helped Jakki load the car back up and me and the boys walked back up through the woods. That's how i like to spend my time. Entertaining ourselves, not paying someone else to entertain us. Kids are simple creatures underneath it all. yes, they want it all... but when it comes to it they're happy with some dirt and a stick... throw in a pond or a stream and you're laughing.

magical steps. The boys love running up and over the arch and down the other side
You can see it needs a bit of work inside! Originally the spring came out of a lions mouth
and there was another lion's head keystone in the arch above.
The stream then runs down under a small bridge into a beautifully leafy gulley

Ah, the joy of sticks!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Hiss Golden Messenger

Been listening to quite a bit of Hiss Golden Messenger lately, mostly the album Haw.

And here he is again, this time with fellow North Carolinians, Bowerbirds.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Bucking The System- More Of Scott Evans

Can i ever buck the system? It's not easy, but i'd love to.
Another lovely little film by Scott's son Red Evans. Seems like a great family.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A Very Pleasant Sunday

Went to see The Delines play at the Green Door Store in Brighton last night. Firstly, it was nice to go to a Sunday night gig, it was a beautiful sunny evening drive to get there, listening to that fantastic Mark Kozelek album, Benji, on the way. It reminded us both of our road trips before the kids. We both agreed Benji would be perfect for desert driving! Being as it was Sunday the roads were quiet and parking was easy and just a couple of mins from the venue.
The Delines are Willy Vlautin's (Richmond Fontaine) new band, one where he isn't the main singer. He's left that to the brilliant Amy Boone (The Damnations). All the band are great and with Sean Oldham on drum duty, you can't go wrong. Their album Colfax is already sounding like a classic. Here's a good review of the album and a review of one of their London gigs. Willy writes amazing songs. There was also such a lovely vibe on stage between the band, you could really tell this was a new project and they were all loving it. Even at the last gig of their tour here, no weariness on show!
The album has only just been released in the US and now they're off to tour it there. You guys are in for a treat. Go find where they are playing near you and get a ticket. These recent shows are now popping up on youtube, so go have a listen to some of their live shows.
As a bonus they even did a cover of a Dolorean track (why don't more people know about Dolorean?), What one bottle can do. Who covers Dolorean?? .... Well, these guys do and it fits perfectly.
Quick nod to the fantastic bass player, Freddie Trujillo and also great keyboard and trumpet by Cory Gray (I think I need to get a bit more trumpet action!) 
The new tracks they played gave a hint at an equally great follow up album, expect more trumpet and flavour!
Great gig, lovely evening and nice to hang out in Brighton for a bit. I rounded off the day with an excellent chicken shawarma!... and the voice of kozalek all the way home. Perfect.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Secret Agent Gadget Battle

The Third book in the Nick & Tesla series, which came out last month. I forgot to post anything about it. These are my favourite pieces from it and i've enjoyed thinking in just the two colours.

The books include actual science projects you can make
and that the kids use in their adventures

Sunday, 15 June 2014


Happy Fathers Day Dad! (and all you other Dads out there, keep up the good work!)

I can still remember quite clearly sitting for this, late 70's, Flatford Mill (setting for John Constable's Hay Wain)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Fatigue Of The Long Distance Runner

This is what i feel every day... and i don't run! (At least it's what i imagine it would feel like, only i don't get any of those health benefits, just the fatigue).

Damn these mysterious, invisible conditions which descend on so many of us. Could be a million things, could be anything, guesswork, stick a pin in and take a stab at it. How do you pin it down? where do you start? GP's are as much use as the internet, "take it easy, relax, take a warm bath, drink warm milk at bedtime" is this the 21st century? Mask it with pharmaceuticals? throw them in the mix, spit them out into the system, pollute the water, drug the landscape. Who has time to chase ghosts? try acupuncture, reflexology, kinesiology, a myriad of different things? something might work, all of them might not. Should you try anyhow? pursuing ghosts, magical solutions. Or am i just lazy? is it all in my head? there's a lot in there, why not? Try and ignore it? plough on, try and run it off, keep on running... I am the long distance runner.

Drape me in a foil blanket and hang a medal around my neck.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Joyless Cooking... That Can't Be Good.

On the food theme, i read an interesting article over on one of my favourite blogs Root Simple last week, do click the link and have a read. It was discussing narrowing down the range of food we cook to make shopping, store cupboards and home grown crops more harmonious. This way ingredients would work together better and leftovers can easily become something new. It also talks about planning meals for the week, but with some degree of flexibility within that structure.

I really need to take some of this on board. I can't even begin to tell you how bored i am with the whole notion of family cooking these days. I dread figuring out "what's for dinner?" I used to love cooking, but once the kids were added to the mix, the joy soon got sucked away. From hating the double meal shift when they were babies and dreaming of when we all could just eat the one meal. well, they're 6 and 7 now and i still dream of that! I have the added benefit of Jakki having lost her sense of smell/taste since having the kids/moving into the house (we can't tell which was the factor?!). Anyway, i try the one meal fits all, but all i get is the kids complaining as i cook and worse once it hits the table, along with Jakki telling me "well, it looks nice", but can't actually taste anything (bless her). So, what's the point? Add to this the daily standing in the kitchen wondering what to make and then heading to the shops and standing in the aisle still wondering what to make. Seriously i lose the will to live some days!! : ) ...i think i'm kidding.

I'm going to try fixing meals to days. I think Jakki thinks it will be boring to just keep having the same meals on rotation, but i think it's just good sense. We'd waste far less food, i wouldn't need store cupboards covering so many possibilities (Indian, Thai, Italian, Greek Mexican etc) and i'd save myself the painful kitchen 360's i constantly turn as my brain wanders aimlessly over what will cause me the least grief. Who would guess food could have got so complicated? I can't actually remember the last thing i cooked that i actually really, really wanted to eat.
I'd love any comments/ideas too. I can't buy a comment these days... well, apart from a very small few (thanks you few!)

Monday, 9 June 2014

The End Is Nigh

Social media themed food, just what the kids were demanding!... wtf? These leapt out at me as i wandered the aisles yesterday. It's depressing that food can't look like food, but hey they are made with REAL potatoes... and look, you can dunk them in REAL ketchup, made with REAL tomatoes (just don't ask Monsanto how REAL those tomatoes are ; )
Our days are surely numbered, the bees seem to be helping us out with that one.

Friday, 6 June 2014

My Favourite Cabin

I've seen this cabin numerous times, but this is the first time i've seen any of the interior. What a beautiful place. See more of Scott Newkirk's Cabin

photos: Dean Kaufman

Thursday, 5 June 2014


This is what the inside of a gardener and permaculturist's car looks like! I had to take a snap while waiting for my mate Mark in his car the other day. Love it! Mark has a great new blog post on how we've come to frown on failure (and all that it teaches us), follow the link and check it out.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Another Winning Combo

These two tracks found themselves together on a compilation i made years ago, but i still find it a winning combination. Fog- Pneumonia and Jim O'Rourke- Memory Lame.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Compilation Magic

I put these on a recent compilation cd, with 'Fingers through the glass' by Out Cold, sandwiched between them (but i can't find that). I love the way they sit together. Makes for happy cooking in the kitchen ( a touch of alcohol always helps too ; ). I should thank my mate Chris for shining a light on Broken Bells and Out Cold (along with numerous others!).