Sunday, 27 October 2013

there's a storm coming............get out your salad servers

after 1

before 1

The storm will be here soon.

Apparently measures are being taken to clear culvets and drainage channels to reduce the risk of flooding.

So why not here in Bromley?

Every time we have heavy rain  there is a massive flood at the bottom of the road, and if you walk past as a car goes by you can guarantee to be drenched from head to foot.

I have decided that today I can wait no longer for Bromley council to clear the drains that are ALWAYS BLOCKED.

I have taken the matter into my own hands.

And if there isn't a flood at the bottom of the road in the morning, then I hope for due recognition, in the form of a council badge of honour, or perhaps my very own road sweeper ( except that they are completely useless in the matter of clearing the gunge of dead leaves from between the grills of the average drain cover, so I will decline the offer if one is made).

How did I do it you may ask?

What tools did I use?


A salad server.

'How unhygeinic' I hear you scream in horror. Well it will be washed, and I couldn't be bothered to walk all the way up the garden again to get the trowel that I had just tidied away with other bits and pieces into the shed in advance of the storm.

It worked very well; both ends have their functions, and I cleared over 10 drains in a matter of minutes.

Did I care that people were looking at me and might think me rather odd?

No; not really. That is one of the advantages of getting older; I don't worry any more what people think, and luckily my children don't know, and my other half was cooking, so I just slipped out.

before 2
after 2

In terms of a personal archive, this might be one of my greatest moments...........

I'll let you know in the morning.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

thought for the day - on personal archives

the tree that dances © caroline fraser 2013
I am way behind as always

been to some fascinating talks and shows, and not had time to put thoughts down on 'paper'

The most thought provoking session was a talk by John Levett on his recent exhibition Retrospeculations with Nick Scammell , in which he explored the issue of personal archive at Goldsmith's College. Sadly the show is now over, so you won't be able to visit it. Mea culpa.

from Retrospeculations by John Levett

John and Nick described the exhibition thus

'A gathering of gatherings made over twenty years; an unfolding; a condensation (Freud) of tremendous fragments (Klee) – in this work, John Levett will respond to Green’s question by way of Blanchot’s proposal of a past to come, and in that spirit re-engineer, re-purpose and re-imagine his archive.
Mutations of connection and disconnection (Foster) are hoped for: new lines of interpretation, counter-archives within the archive. Gaps and absences will be taken as forms of evidence (Merewether) for this new prospective past (Demos) and the freedoms it may offer.'

Well,  I must be dense, because when I first read this I really couldn't make sense of it. But having been to the talk, and on re-reading, I realise that I am just being dense, because the show does exactly what it says on the tin; takes a personal archive and re-engineers it.
John talked about different ways of looking at a personal archive, and really got me thinking. He discussed eight different ways of looking at an archive:

  1. as  monument
  2. as obstacle
  3. as iceberg
  4. as gathering
  5. as entourage
  6. as promise
  7. as utopia
  8. as map

I am not going to recreate his lecture, as I could never do it justice, but will pick just one quote that resonated with me.

In describing archive as obstacle, he used this quote from Wright Morris , photographer and writer

'first we make these images to see clearly: then we see clearly only what we have made'

Wright Morris ; photographer and writer

Given that this blog is a personal archive of sorts, 

and if, as John also points out,

'gaps and absences will be taken as forms of evidence'   (Merewether)

then the waters are getting muddy indeed.

see here for an essay on his work from Nebraska.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

breaking news..............

Got to get to work, but just need to say...........

I nearly fell off my chair last night..........

OH came back from a trip away last night, noticed all my hard labour in putting up all his pictures and getting two rooms back to normal functioning while he had been gone.............

 and said............


It really doesn't get any better than that.

(Natural calico and a deep shade of Indigo blue in case you were wondering).

And if you have no idea what I am on about, then you'll need to go back a bit to my previous post on the matter of paint pots and the like

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Autumn in Achiltibuie


I went to Achiltibuie

The sun shone and the sky was relentlessly blue.

Not what I had expected for late September, but one could hardly complain, for it made everything bright and cheerful.

I spent time by a river, where the birch leaves were flowing downstream.


I walked to Fox Point where the sun was dancing on the waves, and I nearly got blown over.

    I talked to the sheep.

    I did a bit of multiple exposure photography of the little white houses against the blue sky.

   I remembered how to slow down a little and wrote a little poem to remind myself how good it felt.

 I got lost in the fields and nearly eaten by a large black and white dog when walking right through someone's front garden trying to get  back onto the road.

 I heard the geese flying overhead in the hundreds, making a noise that is joyful beyond description.

 I had a ball, thanks to the friendly folk of Achiltibuie who made me very welcome.

If you are wondering where Achiltibuie is, it is here .............

in Scotland, in a place called the summer isles, where I have always wanted to go, and now I have been.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

confessions of a photographer ................ Pecha Kucha Rye 02

self portrait with grass © caroline fraser 2013
It's tonight

It's free

It will be fun

I will confess.

There will be grass

Pecha Kucha Rye 02

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

toast and cheerios on the road to Ullapool

ring for service

I have a lot to tell you about my recent trip to Achiltibuie, but before I get into the finer details of my photographic exploits, I feel obliged to share with you what was probably my most extraordinary coffee stop on the trip. The road to Ullapool from Inverness is one of my favourite drives in the world. So many happy memories.

But clearly not a route for baristas or coffee lovers.

This hotel/B&B was the only place that I found open on a two hour drive. I popped in for a coffee. I have forgotten the name, which is not a problem as I won't be partaking of the B&B facilities.

I rang the bell for service.

A very elderly gentleman appeared from somewhere else.

I asked for a coffee.

He brought it.

It was foamy on the top and tasted vile. I felt obliged to drink half of it as I try my best to be polite most of the time.

He told me to leave the money on the table and disappeared back to somewhere else. I strolled around looking for a map.

I found the Cheerios

cheerios and a china sale

I found the toaster

with butter , jam or marmalade

And I found a conservatory stuffed full of things that I really didn't need as a passing tourist.

if you see something make me an offer
 I didn't buy furniture, old videos or even a cot.

I didn't buy dodgy second hand clothes or a china elephant, and I certainly didn't make him an offer.

I left my money on the table,  popped to the loo, and bid a hasty retreat, never to be seen again.

The rest of the trip was so much better.

I will tell you about it soon.

But I needed to get that out of my system, and now I have.

Monday, 7 October 2013

pink walls and building sites; finalists in the RPS-UPF Urban Photography Competition

garden wall © caroline fraser 2013
Busy day.

Ikea in Croydon with youngest, including swedish meatball fest and my second trip around the store in 2 weeks (being a mother has its moments, some being better than others)

Then off to Canning Town to deliver new furniture to youngest's new abode; through the Blackwall tunnel and back; always a gamble........ try not to think about what happens if there is a flood while you happen to be driving through the tunnel whilst actually driving through the tunnel...........

Then on to inspecting highly dodgy electrics and plumbing before leaving him to the joys of a 326 page instruction manual on how to make a bed from random bits of wood and some screws.

Next the greenwich gallery to find out which of my images was a finalist in the RPS-UPF Urban Photography Competition

I was really delighted to make it to the final from over a thousand images submitted. The exhibition in my favourite Greenwich gallery is beautifully hung, and the quality of the prints is very high.

OK, so I didn't win an Olympus Pen ( more's the pity), but I did take the prize ( self - appointed) for the most pink picture, and possibly also the most colourful.

I did get into an interesting debate with my friend John about how to define the term 'urban', and possibly disqualified myself from the competition on the basis of his response, but with my deliberately ambiguous title, hopefully no one will pop over to Alentejo in Portugal to see if I meet John's criteria.

I chatted to Aasima Pathan, whose image I liked best of all those on show. From her series 'Solitude' (described in more detail in the link), and taken on a Hasselblad, it reminded me of the beauty of medium format. Her images are very still and considered, and remind me of pen and ink drawings; see below.

Then home for more meat, and I might even have to go to work in the morning, which after two weeks of dossing a bout could be a challenge.