yes literally! the first day of the year was spent at the wood and the latest addition to go with the pirate ship is a swing for the grandkids (though as you can see it is adult friendly too!). it seems to have worked quite well - i decided to use hammock straps to suspend it. so far so good...
our friends have got an owl nesting box so we hope that owls like ot and come to nest there this year which would be exciting.
and latest wooodland toy is a char cloth tin which was fun to try out - it makes char cloth from cotton to use as firestarters in case you wondered.
perfect way to start the year - just hoping that we can share it with more people later this year...
jen and i cycled in on what turned out to be a wet and windy evening to go round the nine elms advent trail. it's quite a big area and due to building work not straightforward to work out where you are going so it is quite a trail. we probably managed half of it but enjoyed it and hope to go back. it's outdoors so it's socially distanced and all that. our walk was punctured by news that christmas in london is under tier 4 so it means our plans to see family and grandkids are scuppered - feels like a depressed london today. i definitely feel in need of a bit of light in the darkness. big thanks to betsy and others who put this together.
i have added a photo album here - as ever in the dark i had to work quote hard to get anything like a half decent photo but i do quite like that challenge.
i am a member of london independent photography (lip) and every year there is an exhbition. well this year unsurprisingly an actual exhibition was difficult so it was decided to curate one online lip chronicles: life under lockdown. it went live today for one month only. the more permanent record will be in a printed newspaper which is only £5 and you can order here. i am delighted to have have two photos in the exhibition in the nature section. i am sure we will look back in years to come at images like this and find it quite extraordinary.
if you are on instagram the images are gradually being posted on @lipchronicles
a friend in the local photography group i am part of, edmond terakopian is one of the organisers of an inspired project to raise funds for MSF's covid 19 relief fund. it's a a print auction of 66 prints by 42 photographers worldwide. the auction runs from now until 15 november and you can browse the catalogue and place bids here.
whilst in the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown, a concerned group of 17 photographers, members of the eyewitness collective, dispersed across several continents, came up with an idea: to collect a series of prints by members and by selected invited photographers, in order to raise funds for the battle against this awful pandemic. they have been overjoyed by the feedback and thrilled that so many photographers have donated their beautiful prints.
photo: pc mckinley by dave sinclair
over the past several months, they have secured a selection of 66 photographs. among the more notable are an image by magnum photos' legendary photographer ian berry from his iconic series the english, an image by the renowned vietnam war photographer tim page, an image by the celebrated photojournalist tom stoddart from the sudan, the fall of the berlin wall by the prominent photojournalist paul lowe, timeless fine art prints by the creative yoshie nishikawa, as well as several celebrity portraits by the likes of mark harrison, jason bell, nicky johnston and clive arrowsmith, to name just a few.
more info is on the press release which you can download here.
it amuses me looking at this that at first glance now it looks like it says "come as a stranger with fosters" - why would you do that? it's such a terrible drink! anyway that aside this week's reflection from cathy on john taylor
Don't you feel like that in these days? We are living in the world but not as we know it. What are we learning in these times? Sometimes I do feel like a stranger in these times and maybe that's good. On good days this can heighten our awareness, sharpen our senses, alert us to things we haven't noticed before, draw us into a solidarity with others. We are learning again how to live in a world where fear, inequalities and injustice have been highlighted. We are also learning that we can be good, we can practise altruism and volunteering is good for us. Taylor's insight also reminds me of some lines from the T S Eliot poem Little Gidding where we are encouraged to explore:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
book still available with discount code:MISSION2020
the church is most surely herself when she is at the periphery with those who are fringe dwellers. jesus was loved by outsiders, fringe dwellers. if the church wants to be renewed she should do likewise and look to the fringes rather than the centre. this theme recurs in john taylor's writing and is this week's quote from imagining mission, the book by cathy ross and i riffing on his writing in his newsletters.
the photo is from a slate headstone in the graveyard of the church of brendan the navigator in ireland where there is a well which i visited on pilgrimage with pioneers some years ago. he too was a fringe dweller...
i have mentioned this before but i did turn these into a set of cards for myself and a number of people have said they'd be interested in a set. so leave me a message if you are and i will add you to the list - it will be a while as we have a number more to get through - probably end of year.
and i am adding them to a photo set here
happy 18th to my nephew zac looking v cool here surfing. loved visiting the wave in bristol which is an artificial surfing pool/lake. i took photos rather than surf - there's an album here of the day and various family members surfing - most managed to stand but zac totally smashed it on the expert level of waves.
holiday this year was a bit of a challenge to work out what to do safely but also in a way that meant we could have a break other than sitting at home. so we opted to wild camp in the wood week one and then found a tucked out of the way place near hay on wye week two. it worked out really well and was all pretty socially distanced walking, wild swimming, canoeing and so on. i have added some photos here to an album wye and wood though they are not that much of a holiday set given half of them are me messing around with abstracts or reflections! i loved this reflection - it looks almost other wordly. i think a challenge for me would be to see if i could actually take what might be considered a holiday snap.
there's a real treat in ealing if you are interested in photography. edmond terakopian is leading a series of photography workshops with open ealing over july and august. he is a brilliant photographer, always inspiring in person and very knowledgeable so i am sure they will be really good. details of the workshops are in this post on the ealing lip photography group site.
if you are further afield the series kicks off with a talk that will also be online
at the last gathering of the ealing photography group i am part of we explored urban interventions - - it was a really inspiring evening. there are three blog posts of some of the presentations and discussions on the ealing group blog - life during lockdown ; clap for carers ; colonialism, street art and earthquakes. the last one was mine which you may recognise if you followed my posts from new zealand.
as well as presentations, members also shared photos in response to the theme. the photo below was my offering.
hopefully it speaks for itself but some in the group did not read it as easily as i expected so to give a bit of context, i repurposed a found sign to reframe the sharing of bread and wine at the meal table in a home. this practice was right at the heart of jesus' life and he got in trouble for eating with the wrong people. christians down the centuries have continued this in memory of his inspirational life, death and resurrection. and yet it has become one of the most tightly controlled ares of the church's practice. this has been exemplified in the church of england's (of which I am a part) response to communion in lockdown while people are at home. i blogged about this before - share communion in your own home and resist the power of religious control so won't repeat that here. but hope that helps frame the idea a bit.
i am happy to report the lockdown project of building a compost loo for the woodland is complete and turned out pretty well. i have never done anything quite like this so it was good fun, a relief it came together, and hugely satisfying! i am now just waiting for a bucket to arrive and then job done (did you see what i did there?!).
i was surprised how much interest my previous fermenting post got - and i am happy to say it seems to have inspired a few bits of fermenting out there. it may be that people loved the photos - which did look great i agree. but i have made a few schoolboy errors i'm afraid. the main one is not paying enough attention to the waterline and for whatever reason which have been multiple i have had a few jars go mouldy because i have had things poke above it. i thought i'd better confess in the public domain so took a photo of the latest one - which i think looks rather beautiful. but it did remind me that the flip side of creativity is failure. if you can't fail you won't try stuff and you don't learn. but i have pressed through and now successfully made the following ferments...
so this week's adventure has been yoghurt and i followed the sandor katz recipe in wild fermentation. it needed 8 hours to yog rather than 4 (is that a verb?!). and i used a dried culture from bulgaria which took a while to come in the post - i didn't realise you could simply use some yoghurt to kickstart it. i don't have such luxuries as a yoghurt maker so used a cooler/coolbox with hot water in and that did the trick.
having made it i then drained one through a cheesecloth for an hour to thicken it into greek yoghurt and that is incredible. so i think i'll do the same with my second jar. it tasted delicious with fruit and some homemade granola after cycling 26 miles this morning - i can never bring myself to buy granola as it sees so over priced for essentially some toasted oats with bits in!
the photo album fermenting has a few more photos in now though i have realised i must add some of the sourdough which i kind of take fro granted having made bread for several years now but it probably the best ferment i make actually...
so there you go - that's where it's got to in my lockdown fermenting adventures.