Thaw

When you have a tiny baby your boundaries contract. My horizon stretched about as far as our back yard for a couple of weeks.

I became fascinated by the melting of a cute snowman built by my little nephew on a visit in the snow. It was a sterling effort with lavender stalks for eyes, a mini carrot for a nose, and paintbrushes for arms.  Documenting its gradual disappearance over several days was rather therapeutic for me.

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Terracotta bunnies

These little things are lined up next to the checkout in my local Waitrose.

Every time I see them they cause me to pause.  I think it’s because they remind me of China’s Terracotta Warriors, silently guarding the imperial tomb for eternity.

Hang on, this Monstrous Regiment of Rabbits must be there for Easter.  It’s January, ffs!

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Foggy murmuration

Yesterday I was back at Brighton Marina photographing on a cold January day (see this post for last Jan’s Marina photos).

It was quite an eerie place, nearly deserted and blanketed in fog.  It’s not a beautiful marina by any stretch of the imagination: chain restaurants and  bowling alleys; closed-down nightclubs and fake palm trees.  My kind of place!

Then over the masts of moored-up sailing boats a murmuration of starlings flocked. Little specks of black on a grey backdrop.  The sound was amazing: the starlings, a fog horn, and a haunting wind.  Thought I’d record a few seconds and post it here to add to the atmosphere. [Click on the link below, then on the underlined ‘Brighton Marina fog’. Turn up the volume!]

Brighton Marina fog

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Emma

A couple of shots of my beautiful friend Emma Cummins relaxing at home on a Sunday morning.

I love her ruby red nail varnish, the ’50s cyan teacup, and the bunting which was made by every guest to her Swedish wedding to Andy last summer.

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European Toad Championships

The hotly-contested European Toad Championships 2011 took place in Lewes a few days ago.

The world’s [aka Lewes’s] finest Toad-In-The-Hole athletes participated in the prestigious event, competing for the coveted toad trophy.  For those of you unaware of this fine sport, it has been played in Sussex pubs for a good couple of hundred years.  For a definitive history and rulebook check out past champion Ben Ward’s fascinating website.

Congratulations to Tim Walker who retook the title this year.  Surely it’s only a matter of time before Toad achieves Olympic status.

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Hot toddy

Tis the season for snuffles and colds.

I made this little emergency kit for a hard-working chum who’d succumbed to a nasty bout of flu as soon as the holidays started. The ingredients: hot water, honey, lemon and finest single malt whiskey (I prefer a nice peaty Islay).

Alternatively ditch the first three ingredients.

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Flat Planet

A weekend in the Old Smoke, and another great coffee bar discovery.

Flat Planet specialises in flatbreads, but I stuck to my old favourites of latte and brownie.  A truly great coffee (using an Elektra machine), and a delicious morsel.  The interior is a nice relaxed mix, with some classic Danish furniture among the quirk and the shab. But we sat outside on the metal cafe tables watching Soho gearing up for a Saturday night.

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Never felt so good

I took these a few days ago through the window of a forthcoming exhibition of feltwork by the ever-talented Barbara Keal and her equally amazing husband, carpenter Richard Keal.

I popped in to the shop today (hosted by Susanne Wolf, Lewes) and had to buy something.  I wish I had the space (and spare cash) for one of the incredible sculptural headpieces with green wood stands.  They stand or hang from the wall like a strangely organic baronial suit of armour.

Made by Barbara from local sheep and alpaca wool, the hats and headpieces seem to mystically invoke the animals they uncannily represent: stags, hares, badgers, foxes.  Waiting for us to inhabit them, they reminded me of the myth of Herne the Hunter.

And in case you’re interested, I am on the order books for one of these achingly cute hare finger puppets.

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