snapshots and observations

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

bbq kent style

my dislike of family get-togethers has been noted on many occasions.

i hold the current record for avoiding the family christmas party and experts say that i am unlikely to be overtaken. such is my skill and dedication that i have already got my excuse in for missing this year's christmas party. i told the organiser that i am working on the day of this year's party, only to be informed that a date hasn't been chosen yet*

anyway, with a heavy heart i drove to kent yesterday.

the bbq was held at mrs w's sister gerry's house.

while the food was being prepared and the family chatted, i took a quick stroll around the garden to note a few things...

what the what ?!
surely you must own everything in the world that you want to own before you would spend good money on a stone mini-cab office to put in your garden ?

gerry likes a tipple, that's a fact. is she trying to grow her own grapes here ?
fair play to her. she has a very nice garden anyway.

on my way back to the family throng i spotted this fellow on the lawn
i would not be the last person to note him.

there was a lot of salad kicking about. as you probably know, i don't do salad so i just decided to have a plateful of slightly charred meat.
magic darts !

ok, that wasn't my plate. i tried to take it but was told it was to share

for my starter i put this together...
a burger with a slice of chorizo. potato salad is the out of focus stuff on the bap top.
somebody commented that out of the corner of their eye they thought i had a slice of tomato on my burger. my reply contained industrial language as i tried to get the message across that i don't eat tomatoes.

in a matter of moments the burger was scoffed. next up i put this together...
more potato salad and two sausages with a slice of chorizo wedged between them.
genius !

as the day wore on, my niece rosie spotted mr potato-head.
she looked at him, she looked at her boyfriend mike. she looked back at mr potato-head.
i think mike knew what was coming...
welcome to the family.

*my response to that bombshell was that when the date is finally chosen, i'm pretty confident that i'll be working that day anyway...

merry christmas one and all !

tina we salute you

thierry enroute to the family bbq in kent we took the opportunity to call in at a very highly rated coffee shop in stoke newington.

it's called 'tina we salute you'
it looks interesting from outside... hanging lights with tutu shades.

inside there are handbags hung on the walls...
so far so stoke newington.

the walls are decorated by somebody called 'mysterio'
 despite my dislike of stokey, i liked the look and vibe of this place very much indeed.

in a nice move, jess bought the coffees.
check out her purse. it's a leather replica of the traditional new york paper coffee cups.

here come the beverages...
two latte's for the two j's

and a flat white for me
the coffee tasted very rich and velvety. 

i award tina we salute you 9/10. it's a bit out of my way but i will definitely be back.

new self-portrait

on saturday we had a family barbeque to attend in kent.
while the women of whitfield towers were getting ready i decided to shoot a quick self-portrait.

it seemed as good a time as any to debut my new hat.

hmmm... maybe i'll wear it to the bbq ?

Monday, 30 August 2010

welsh logic

i like that when you get to wales, the roadsigns are in welsh then english.
i learnt on friday that the welsh word for 'slow' is 'aruf'

however when it comes to selling things to tourists... forget about welsh, make the signs in english.

i pulled over at this interesting little roadside place in the middle of nowhere.
a roadside stall selling plants, scones and various jams and marmalades.

i do like a bit of marmalade... ( lime is my favourite by the way )

how quaint... an honesty box...
i helped myself to a bag of scones and 4 pots of marmalade and put a load of foreign coins and washers into the tin.

what ?

cheap sheep shot

regular readers will know that i do like to knock out the odd cheap panoramic shot.
the camera i generally use for blogging is not very wide, so when a wider lens is called for i just take a few shots and quickly stick them together in photoshop.

so when i got lost on the way to llanfair-whateveritwascalled on friday... as i was driving down a country lane about an inch wider than my car... as a last resort i pulled over and asked some welsh sheep for directions.

they just laughed at me.

road trip

on friday i had a bit of a road trip. it was to a little restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
the place was about a 20 minute drive from ludlow, although it took me an hour and a half to drive there from ludlow ( many thanks to google maps for this )

i left whitfield towers at 6.30am so by 9.30am-ish i was absolutely hank...
time for breakfast and look what's in the lay-by.
very nice roadside cafe

i ordered up the big breakfast ( minus the tomatoes )
it really hit the spot. shame i didn't photograph the slice of bread and butter that came with it. the bread was about 3 inches thick.

it was a very tidy cafe. very clean and they supplied all the red-tops too.
so if you're ever on the road to ludlow and feeling peckish, drive about a mile past the little chef and pull into the lay by.

( the advice "drive past the little chef" applies pretty much anywhere in the country )

Sunday, 29 August 2010

the most out of the way coffee place ?

i picked up a good coffee guide in present a couple of days ago.
one place it mentioned sounded very interesting. 
it said it was down a dead end street, behind a derelict building, through a gated passage and housed in a shed. hmmm...

so, here's the dead end street
clifford street ec1. 
it's a dead end and on the right is a gate...

turn right at the gate

there it is...

nice shed

and inside the shed look what i found...
a flat white.

good work from the taylor street baristas at 110 clifford street ec1

japanese kitkats

look what arrived at whitfield towers today...
18 different japanese kitkats

the flavours include: custard pudding, banana, sour orange, chestnut, mild bitter, 
winter strawberry, maple syrup, cranberry and strawberry and mixed fruit.

i may have to get the other flavours translated by jess's mate robert but anyway, brace yourself for a week of kitkat reviews coming up soon.

boom !

restaurant self-portraits

i had a shoot in a restaurant just around the corner from the zetter hotel this morning.
i'm seeing a lot of clerkenwell at the moment.

the restaurant looked really stunning. they have a lot of antique / vintage stuff and also some gavin turk pieces on the walls.

naturally enough i took the trouble to take a self-portrait.
in a shock move i decided to try a new pose and sat down for a change...
i wasn't entirely happy with this pose, so as a back-up i did another shot...

back to basics
summer weight t-shirt by a bathing ape
selvedge denim jeans by evisu
studded pony skin belt by marc jacobs
snakeskin superstars by adidas / oki-ni

shot using a leica m8 with a 1 second exposure at f5.6

rose riley v the amazon cafe

still-life at the amazon cafe
this was the scene after rose riley vacated her table.
i like that she tidied up after herself.

Friday, 27 August 2010

italian touch

after my shoot in clerkenwell yesterday i skulked over to st. john street for a bite to eat.

i spotted a little italian joint which served the freshest slices of pizza and also some other italian efforts that i'd never seen before, supposedly they were specialities from rome.

this is what i had...
 a slice of spicy salami pizza and a croquette thing which was bigger than it looks here.
the croquette was filled with beef bolognese risotto.

what a touch !

Thursday, 26 August 2010

day trip to sheffield

yesterday i had a shoot for a french woman who is a furniture designer.

it was a real rush job. we had to get the train up to sheffield, go to the factory where she was having some prototypes made, set up a little studio in the factory and shoot the products.

as soon as i'd finished we had to head back to london, edit the photos and get them to the printers to start getting her brochures printed overnight. alors !

here's helene helping to set up my little studio in the middle of the factory floor

and here balancing a corian lampshade onto a wooden tripod

in the end, the shot of her two lamps looked a bit like this
she seems to work with corian quite a lot. i've seen it used for tables and work surfaces before, but never as lampshades. maybe she's onto something though ?

another of the products i was supposed to shoot was a corian brick that she designed.
when we got there it was not ready as it was still being machined or whatever they call it.

here's one of the bricks having the holes drilled into it.
if it looks a bit poor quality it's because i shot this through some bullet-proof glass !
the bloke using the machine pointed at a window that was boarded up about 50 yards away.
he told me that a couple of weeks ago one of the drill bits snapped off as it was drilling, flew through the air and smashed through the window... seriously it was 50 yards away.
anyway, last week they fitted a load of bullet-proof glass around the machine.

this shows the remote control for the drill
maybe remote control is not the right phrase ?

and here are a couple of bricks after being drilled and smoothed off

here's one of the shots i did in my 'studio'
they are going to be available in blue, green and white.
you can use them as little vases, pen holders, paperweights, door stoppers, ornaments etc.
you can stack them up... hmmm... interesting little things. i hope she does well with them.


on monday me and jess took a detour to a shop on shoreditch high street called 'present'

it's a corking shop selling some really good stuff... i bought another pair of happysocks !

the reason for visiting though was that there is a take-away coffee counter at the front of the shop run by the winner of barista of the year 2009 gwilym davies.

check out gwilym's machine
sweet !

i ordered a flat white

pretty good... pretty, pretty good
damn i love coffee !

the bull and last

we had a bit of a meal for family and friends on saturday at the bull and last.

it was for a special occasion.

this was my main course...
i mentioned my scotch egg situation before right ?

ok it wasn't my main course, it was part of the snacky nibbly things laid out as starters.

have a closer look...
it's hard to tell from the photo but this is a serious scotch egg. premium meat and an egg which is still warm and a bit runny. mmmm...

also on the snacky front were a load of these bad boys
sausage rolls with bits of black pudding involved... like a boss !

after a couple of sausage rolls and five scotch eggs my main course turned up...
haddock, chips and mushy peas.
the haddock curled up like a jesters slipper, which was not to my liking. the chips were triple cooked but they were not bad at all. the peas might have passed as mushy peas to a southerner but they didn't fool me. still, it was a cracking meal.

dessert turned up after a sensible time. this was mine...
i can't remember what it was called.
those berries were nice and the shortbread was warm.

the white thing looked like it had spiders eggs in it so i didn't eat it.

all in all a very good effort from the bull and last.

i'm thinking about having my 30th birthday party there next year.

new coffee shop

sketching around middlesex street the other day it was difficult to find a parking space.

on the walk from my car to kossoffs i saw what looked to be a new coffee shop.
no customers inside, just one man who turned out to be the owner.

he told me his shop had been open for just one day... perfect ! a blog exclusive.

i asked him for a double espresso and took a few photos...

this is nice
a bar area which the owner made out of scrap wood and a tin sheet nailed to the top.
throw in a vintage armchair and away you go.

plenty of coffee beans on display
i was told that these are from guatemala, they were by far the biggest beans.

hmmm... very nice.

you can get them ground and blended here too

so here's my double espresso
it was spot-on

here's the blend he's using at the moment...

before leaving i had a small latte
very very decent indeed.

afterwards i realised that i had no idea what the place was called, or even if i'd be able to find it again. however, when i returned to middlesex street with jess a couple of days later to check out kossoffs...
there it was. unfortunately i still have no idea what street it's on, but i did find out what it's called. maybe he'll get a sign outside soon, but anyway the name of the place is

the bloke who owns it seems very very nice. he's passionate about his coffee too.
the blend he's using at the moment is excellent. i had another double espresso by the way.
so, if you're in the area i recommend to get over to middlesex street and check out the ben eine shutters, have a bagel from kossoffs and then chill out with a great coffee at fazendauk.

and tell them i sent you !