Monday, 30 November 2009

Let's keep it authentic

Yes, I do support my local health food shop as much as I possibly can - But who would have thought I was to get such a reception .. :) Walther really is the loveliest and most helpful shop assistant you will ever come across! He loves music, tennis and his hair! He hasn't been to a hairdresser in 11 years!

Walther's boss and owner of "Balham Treatment Rooms", Reza, is generally less euphoric ...
Today, however, when he noticed that I took a snap shot of Walther, he wanted in too!

"Take a photo of me too!"
"But you are on the phone"
"He's always on the phone!"

Well, OK then, let's keep it authentic!

Saturday, 28 November 2009


It's always good to spend time reflecting on your day ...:)

What can you remember?
What has struck you?
What would you have done differently?
What has the day taught you?
What are you most happiest about?

What can you "see" in (your) reflections?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Trip down Memory Lane

Whenever I travel to or from Waterloo I have flash backs of the first time I used the station. It was very exciting then because I had an appointment at King's Reach Tower, home what was then to IPC magazines. I was to see Melvin Van Gelderen, art editor of Horse & Hound magazine to show my portfolio. I remember stopping at the top of the stairs when coming out of the station, taking in the scenery ahead when a little voice in my head said: "I like what I see". I felt very good, confident and full of optimism about the meeting that lay a few walking minutes ahead.

That view has totally changed now - There was no Imax cinema in the centre of the roundabout then but "card board city", place of many homeless, sleeping rough. Walking through it was a bit awkward. then on down Stamford Street and into the reception of IPC magazines.

Although I felt confident, I also had a few butterflies flying around. This was after all the very first time I was to show my photographs to someone in view of getting some work.

Melvin was very complementary of my work.
"These images are great, if they were current I'd use them today!"

I was pleased and smiled (not only internally)! This was the beginning. My career of what turned out to be 20 years of horse photography was launched.

Today, however, I didn't walk to King's Reach Tower but towards the river. So much happens along there and whenever I see a bit of action I feel compelled to take a shot.

This Skateboarder was having a go at jumping down a set of stairs. Just after having taken this shot, the group of youths were asked to move on. They were practicing behind the Hayward Gallery where skating is not allowed.

But hey, I got a shot. Once an action photographer always an action photographer!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Getting a kick

Seems like I can't get enough of this place :) yes, it's true, I find the Southbank Centre very inspiring and see "new things" every time I'm there. The imposing structure of the London Eye has certainly something to do with it.

I also get a kick out of people watching!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I went for another brainstorming moment for my project - here a clue of what it may be about!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Keep the air circulating

Have you ever seen anything like it?

If you live in the UK, you might have... If you live in a less damp country you probably (and luckily) haven't! If on the other hand you live in a place where air doesn't circulate well enough humidity gets trapped. The result is the appearance of a nasty condensation fungus. Not a pretty sight and on top of it, if left untreated spreads extremely fast. It first starts off black (which is the state I caught it at) and can rapidly turn green and then even red...
I live by the motto "one stitch in time saves nine" and I had an damp inspector come round to the property in question week ago.
And today, I witnessed the installation of the solution to this nasty condensation mould. Apparently a lot of study has gone into finding a resolution - The focus is not as much on finding the "right" temperature for the room or rooms in question but force the air to circulate. One device pushes air in and another sucks it out the at a different location.

In comes Carl with his magic circular drill!

Amazing work. A perfect hole to the outside world!

in goes the unit that sucks the air out.

outside bit

inside bit

Bingo this will work - so says Carl (who fits about three of these a day). As for me, my fingers, legs and everything I can think of are crossed - the installation had a fair price tag on it ... so it better work!
Apparently it works wonders immediately. All I had to do was to wash off all the mould (using warm water and bleach) and maximum 10 days after installation all should be totally dry.
Good bye condensation mould... forever!

Stay tuned for the verdict - I'm going for re inspection in a couple of weeks :)

Monday, 23 November 2009

Everybody needs a day off

Yesterday around 3pm I set out with the best of intentions to see the Ed Ruscha exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. I got to the tube station only to find out after a 15 minutes wait on the southbound platform that due to a computer crash the control room had lost all knowledge of the whereabouts of the expected train .... strange but true! Anyway, I certainly didn't like the sound!

By now it was very windy and pouring again ... the perfect weather conditions to walk back home, light a fire and get comfortable in front of the telly with freshly home made popcorn!

Besides, I was still showing signs of fatigue from the lido crawl :) and decided there and then to make a slight adjustment to my blogging routine. No more sunday blogging!

After having kept up my daily blogging for 69 straight days in a row, Sunday has officially been reinstated as a day off (blogging) ;)

But fear not, I made it to the Hayward Gallery today. The weather wasn't better but at least the tube took me there (and back) in one piece.

Puddles everywhere.

Naturally, one is not allowed to take photos of the exhibits ... so no pix ... would I recommend going? I'm not sure... viewing Art is such a personal experience ... I will say, however, that I wanted to go and see it because I've entered a competition which involves seeing the 50 years retrospective of Ed Ruscha. And I'll say no more at this stage other than watch that space:)

For those who haven't been to The Southbank Centre let me warn you, it's a bit of a concrete jungle.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

What a day

This time last year a new sport was born and today was its anniversary: The Lido Crawl!

A bunch of hardened cold water swimmers and members of the Tooting Bec Lido decided to swim in as many as four open air water holes/pools in London in one morning.
Starting at the Tooting Bec Lido at 7.30 am, and finishing around lunch time in Hampstead.
Some were cycling between swims while others drove in convoy.

I was amongst the cycling party... and party it was! After our 2 length of the Tooting Bec Lido (100 yards long) we cycled to the Serpentine Swimming Club to swim there. Next destination, still on our bikes, Parliament Hill Lido in Camden and finally on to the Pond on Hampstead Heath. Not any old pond I have you know: no the one and only Mens Pond - no women allowed .. well with the exception of us Tooting Bec Belles! And that only once a year when about 20 screeching women (and as many men) who can hardly contain their joy, jump off the diving board into deliciously refreshing water.

Once the crawl was accomplished, we all gathered for lunch at Kenwood House only to cycle (non stop this time) all the way back to Tooting.

Wow, what a exhilarating day!

Serpentine in Hyde Park

Cycling along Regents Canal on the way to Parliament Hill Lido

Parliament Hill Lido

Fantastic Water of the Parliament Hill Lido

Men's Pond

Friday, 20 November 2009

A touch of class

I just had to take these two shots - as different as they are ... they both tickled me in their very own sort of way :)

The lady outside the supermarket pushing her laden trolley was definitely wearing the right head protection for today ... had she just been to the hairdresser and wanted to protect her styled coiffure?! The amount of shopping in her trolley could easily point towards an important dinner party ... whatever the reason may be it unquestionably shows how practical British ladies of a certain generation are!

The posters in the second hand book shop, on the other hand, portrayed a very differnet touch of class!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Floods of memories

I have vivid memories of receiving an LP by Esther and Abi Ofarim when I was nine years old. The songs on the LP were from a live concert the couple had given at the Royal Albert Hall in London - and ever since I saw a photo of that funny looking building, I had the desire to, one day, see it for real!

The wish was big and fortunately the day I was to finally stand in front of The Royal Albert Hall eventually came. I moved to London in September 1985 and the following year I got the chance to photograph a Tennis Doubles tournament held at the Royal Albert Hall. It really was a big achievement because not only had I only just started up as a freelance photographer, but I had no press accreditation and simply smuggled my way in ... :) something which would be absolutely impossible these days!
I remember calling my parents (who lived in Austria) from the press office. Journalists around me were well impressed thinking I was some new hot shot photographer because I was effortlessly switching between English, French (to speak with my mum) and German (to speak with my dad). Little did they know that I was literally the "new kid on the bloc" who had just started a career in horse photography with an insatiable passion for tennis :)
It was all good fun then and generally speaking people were far less paranoid than they sadly have become nowadays.

Anyway, I have been back a few times since that day - not only to watch tennis but SGI-UK, the Buddhist organisation I belong to, held their General Meeting in May 2005 in that very hall! That event, for sure, matched the excitement of when I first set eyes on the famously unique building!

When going back today all those memories clearly flooded back into my mind.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Comments welcome

Today, I felt like having a bit of a rant! Not that I set out to have a rant ... but, funnily enough, the idea grew on me as I was walking the streets of London... having been rather busy all day I didn't get a chance to travel to a specific area and decided to stay in the neighbourhood.

My first observation was how messy the streets looked! Dead leaves, empty cans, empty bottles, discarded cigarette packets, cigarette stubs, old wet and torn newspapers, sweets wrappers ... you get the picture!

Funny that, isn't today garbage day? Yes, it is! ahh... well that explains!
As I turn into another street I am compelled to capture the subject of my real rant!

At first glance it doesn't say much ... or does it? Three neatly placed garbage bins - great and by the looks of it they have even been emptied! Even better! But where are their respective lids? Look carefully!
Yes, there they are. Sitting on the hedge above each bin. Now, I can assure you that this is not where the lids were this morning before the garbage men came to empty the bins! No, the lids were where they are supposed to be: namely ON the bins!

I have a simple question for you and for the garbage men:
Why, ohhh why do garbage men know how to take OFF the lids but don't know how to put the lids BACK ON the bins?!

And let me tell you, this house is lucky, the lids are placed on the hedge. In most cases, including at my house, the lids are just thrown willy nilly on the floor, sometimes even on the street itself instead of at least keeping the lid close to it's counter part, if not as desired ON the bin!

There you go, I have had my rant. So, should you have an explanation for this phenomena please send me a comment :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Oodles of Noodles

Looking through the food cupboard I noticed that we were ... shock, horror ... out of Goji Berries :) Not only are they very tasty, they are also a great source of antioxidants ... say no more, the mini crisis had to be addressed immediately.
Holland & Barrett stopped selling this "super food" so I had no other choice than to take a quick trip into London's China Town.

Browsing around the different Chinese supermarkets can be quite fun once in a while. That's if you can identify the different types of food!

We were also out of rice noodles. (Great for stir fries and soups!) Shopping for those should be pretty straight forward ... :)

When I arrived delivery vans were still allowed into the pedestrian zone, China Town is. The supermarkets were getting stocked up, restaurants were still closed and there was definitely a different feel to the area.

I soon found the shop I usually get my stuff from. Goji Berries in hand and oodles of noodles under my arm I made my way to the till. Victory, I'm out of here!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Who is who?

The road I live in is full of surprises and I never know which of my neighbours I might bump into. Not that I know all my neighbours... but I have come to know a few of them over the years ... some I simply exchange a friendly hello with, some I stop and chat with, and others I know a bit more about.

Today, I was finally able to put a name to one of my neighbours from a few houses down. A gentle looking Italian who I often throw a few Italian words to and who always responds as if I was fluent in his native language!

As I am usually on my bike when I see him there has fortunately never been the fear of having to actually string together a coherent phrase in Italian ... :) it's usually restricted to "buon giorno tutto bene?" which means "Good morning everything alright"- or "che bella giornate" which should mean, "what a lovely day"!

However, I have always been intrigued by the amazingly huge Madonna he has displayed in his front room. But I have never been brave enough to ask him about "her". Anyway, she is looking out the window and probably watching over us all - so what is there to ask about :)

Today as I was cycling home Richard, another neighbour I always chat to at length with, was having a conversation with Mr. Italia.

This was my chance to finally get to know the lovely Cesare, from Parma!

And here they are. Don't they look great, Richard and Cesare! AND the Madonna!

I even got Cesare to go back in and stand next to his beloved Madonna! Only to make perfectly clear who is who!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

How about that

Yesterday, we had gale storms and gallons of rain! Today, huge puddles to show for it but sun shine and 15 degrees Celsius!

Is it really November 15th?!

Has the world gone mad?...

or is everything simply upside down!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Enough is enough

There is only so much a person .. and ...

... an umbrella could take today!

Friday, 13 November 2009

You've got to love London

What do you do when you've just had your one to one with an Apple Mac wizzzzz (kid) and it's chucking it down?

Simple: you take a shot from inside the the coolest shop in town and show the world what's up on rainy day on Regent Street ... who comes and goes to and from the Apple Store ... and most importantly you stay dry!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Getting around town

Getting around London is not a case of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" .. yet ... but simply Bicycles, Tubes and Trains!

I had to go into town and my route took me via Liverpool Street Tube station in the heart of London so I thought of popping my head out of the tube and into the train station itself to take a few shots of this busy station ... dull and grey as most November days have been these days, I kept well clear of venturing outside... no, I made sure to stay inside! It was around 2.30pm and the station was quieter than the usual hustle and bustle which made taking this shot fairly easy. However, taking a few shots of a "prime target location", to use police lingo - I was expecting a police man's tap on the shoulder any minute ... :) but no such luck :) I was free to take my shots!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Southbank by night

On my way to my memorable unique once in a life time dinner I stopped off at the Southbank to catch a bit of early evening atmosphere .. not that I needed to get "in the mood" for my special meeting ... I had been on a high all day :)

A November's eve in London can be very special regardless of what you may have planned...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

All the leaves are brown ...

... and the sky is grey! The temperature has fallen dramatically in the last day! Foggy morning... quite mystical actually ... however, I'm as always on the look out for a bit of colour to brighten up what would otherwise be a dull day!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Another side of London

What a shame that big cities are also breeding grounds for crime... sadly London is no exception.

My heart goes out to the owner of this car, memories flooding back into my mind...

I know what it feels like to come to your car and see that one of your windows has been smashed... it's most upsetting to say the least. First time it happened to me was in Birmingham at the NEC car park followed by another three times in London. To be fair last time it happened was a long time ago ... However, seeing the evidence of this crime today points towards another reason of why Operation Bumblebee (I have come across only a few days ago) has been re-introduced.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Today is the day we remember all those who gave their lives for their country ... in countless wars ...

The elderly man I caught on the streets of Tooting must have been through at least one if not two world wars ... He seemed lost in his thoughts ... I wonder what stories he would have to tell?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Canoes on the canal

Londoners must be envied - firstly because it's sunny again - check this, it is November :) and then because it has a lot to offer.

Ever heard of Little Venice and all the canals that service Londoners and make for great walks?

Today, was the day to take a closer look! First stop, Little Venice - closest tube station : Warwick Avenue on the Bakerloo Line. A short walk and we are there. Always great to have company!

We find the canal and start walking - lovely colours and lovely reflections on the water - not much traffic on the water - which is a bit of a shame ... and fortunately not many pedestrians either which is a plus point!

But we run into a bit of bother : full bladders and no appropriate facilities in sight ...
We resort to getting off the canal track onto street level and towards Primrose Hill.
ahhhh how lovely is that, relief is near by! The first pub on the corner is where we stop - not for long .. just to do you know what!

Regents Park Road is lovely and had it not been for the urge we would not have seen it!

Back on track, we continue along Regents Canal all the way to Camden Lock. A spot of (late) lunch and back along the canal.

Now it gets exciting - canoes on the canal! See, told you so, lots to do in London!