UK

Robert Smith’s Cabbages

A couple of years ago I went down to Aldwick, near Bognor Regis for the summer to house-sit a relative's house. I ended up being stranded there due to a lengthy train strike. Robert Smith of the Cure is probably the only famous local resident. The owner of one of the local shops told me where he lived, and I went along to see it once out of curiosity. The house was dull and expensive looking, but the beach it stands next to was much more Robert Smith like, with windswept shingle like Dungeness and rare sea cabbages. I never bothered to look at Robert Smith's house again, but I made many trips to the beach because I liked it so much. I was usually the only person there.... Read More...

Green concrete

Here’s an illustration of a car park in Bracknell. Like the one I did yesterday, the original artwork was a pen and ink drawing, and the colour was added digitally. It’s available as a print in three different sizes, from £6 to £24.... Read More...

Cambridge’s Most Haunted

I didn't have a very thrilling pre-Halloween weekend. I was struck down by the bug that's been going around locally, and stayed in and watched Stranger Things instead. I was tempted to get a pumpkin to carve, but building work next door has displaced mice that have tried to come into my flat. At the moment they are deterred by cotton wool and strong-smelling orange and lemongrass essential oils, but I'd rather not tempt them in with a large ready cut pumpkin to eat. In the summer I went on a ghost walk in Cambridge via work. The guide told stories of mysterious cloaked figures on roofs, and Black Shuck the giant black ghost dog, and also pointed out this spot, at the back of Peterhouse College, where it joins onto a graveyard, as the most haunted place in town.... Read More...

Wandering along the canal

I often like to get some fresh air in my lunch break by walking along the canal near my work. There's not a lot there, just some houseboats and a small lock, and a lot of lunchtime joggers and the odd person eating sandwiches on a sunny day. I'm a big fan of canals, and I think I've walked along pretty much the whole length of this one at various points.... Read More...

Red Lead & Choleric Humours

In the days when I worked at Hampton Court I got to go to quite a few of their special events. They had a roster of actors who could portray the various monarchs who had lived at the palace (and two Henry VIIIs) and would do special days with re-enactments based on various time periods or themes. On one of the days they had a day based on science in the time of Charles II. I found some photos when I was tidying up the computer the other day.... Read More...

Picking Blackberries

A little while ago I went to visit my pál Erika (sorry, can't resist the terrible pun) in Surrey for blackberry picking. Her friends Stephanie and Katja came down too, and we went out on a sunny day into the woods and picked some berries and had a picnic and drinks (for N. American readers, British woods aren't very wild). Blackberries grow everywhere here at the end of August and most of September. They don't belong to anyone, and it's safe and legal to pick and eat them. I used to pick huge amounts of them when I was growing up. They're also good for jam, pies, crumbles, coulis and wine-making. We made jam this time. Foxes also like them as much as humans.... Read More...

Tate Britain

I went to the Tate Britain the other day. I went there planning to go to the Folk Art exhibition, but realised I didn't have the time or money to do it justice that day, and what I was actually in the mood for was post-war modern art. So that's what I looked at.... Read More...

Fishbourne Palace

A while back I went to Fishbourne Palace. In the 1960s engineers digging a new drain in a village just outside Chichester discovered some Roman mosaics. When they were excavated, they turned out to belong to the one of the largest Roman palaces outside Italy. My thing I wrote for Storyboard this month is based on it (and yes, the building really does look like a swimming pool). No one is one hundred percent sure who it belonged to, the most common guess is Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, the local chieftain / Roman ally / client king, but there are no inscriptions or historical records either backing it up or proving otherwise.... Read More...

Library of Birmingham

I also went to the Library of Birmingham. Initially I went to see the Daniel Meadows exhibition, but the building was so large and impressive that I ended up spending a lot of time there, and didn't end up going to the City Museum. It has nine floors, multiple exhibition spaces and two roof gardens.... Read More...

Surreal car park

While I was walking around the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, I saw the most amazing car park inside a demolished building. The roof and front wall were gone, but the side walls and floor were still there, with fire exit signs hanging off the walls, and cars parked on top of chipped floor tiles.... Read More...