Friday, October 29, 2010

Squat the countryside

My sis sent me a link to Angus Mcdiarmid's page about his zook (zine/book) The Shire, mentioning that it reminded her of Skills and Glamour, the zine I made with my good friend Lottie while living in Somerset. Mcdiarmid's is a collection of photographs he took from his time in Devonshire, idyllic countryside England, living by the roadside with the gypsies. Images of giant marrows and the twisted rockscape of the west coast made me homesick for the simple days we spent growing veggies, making tables, building fires and pimping out our caravans.
From one countryside anarchist to another, Angus, may you stay beautiful, dirty broke and free.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thompson for Sheriff

In 1970 renowned, reviled and revered gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson ran for Sheriff of Aspen, the Colarado ski resort town that he had chosen to call home. In classic Hunter S style he used the local pub as his campaign HQ. Apparently he almost won but perhaps his policy on drug legalisation was a little too much for small town America to handle. Aspen used to be where the intellectuals came to drop out, but now it's all spas, saunas and ski lodges, a place where the disgustingly affluent go to do dropping out of a different kind. Me, I would prefer to holiday gonzo-style, quibbling with armchair philosophers on mescalin in the pool at Owl Farm rather than paying to fall over repeatedly in the snow. Sign me up Sheriff Thompson.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Effort is hard

Ok so I stole the title of this post off a great blog, but it portrays exactly how I feel after writing an assignment for the first time in years. I'm studying horticulture and while the science of it all is at times baffling, it's also thankfully very practical and aimed and getting people to grow happy healthy plants. I am following an organic path but super-hippy-compassionate it's not! For example biological controls for pests include types of bacterium that eat up the insides of foliage-attacking caterpillars! Eww.
Caterpillar guts.
It's what's for dinner.

Woodland strawberries Fragaria vesca are growing in the pavement in my yard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sailor tales to sailor tunes

The man I'm working for at the moment is an old sailor, and so the house is filled with literature on war ships and yacht racing. Mr S was on the HMS Repulse when it was sunk by the Japanese in 1941. He went on to race yachts for England. He sure is a survivor.
Surrounded by images of sea-going vessels my craft is inspired by this world of sailor tales. Although pirates and ships have become a bit of hipster cliché I still am drawn to the eerie wonder of life on the high seas. My late uncle was a sailor, he built his own ferro-cement yacht in the late 80s and after he sold it he claimed he never really felt at home again.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did squirrels invent jazz?

I take my hat off and bow to you David Sedaris, in thanks for 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary'. After requesting it at the library I was briefly dismayed to find myself holding what I thought was a children's book, illustrations and all. But upon finishing the first tale I realised that yes it is a children's book, a children's book for adults. Just because we grow older doesn't mean we stop wanting to read about cats and baboons chatting in the barbershop. Animals, with all their varied appearances, diets, grooming processes, sexual preferences, habitats and disgusting habits often make much more interesting subject matter than humans. Even humans with disgusting sexual grooming habits. This is Aesop's Fables for the potty-mouthed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Club Med

Croatia: Cres Island. My good friend and I spent two languid days and nights on these rocks in our own private paradise. As part of our European Freedom Ride we were sleeping out most nights when we could, but nothing compared to waking up to this beautiful calm blue ocean and generous warm sunlight. I couldn't count the amount of times we turned around to each other with great big smiles and squinty eyes, only able to describe our pure happiness by shrugging our shoulders and diving once again into the gentle sparkling Adriatic.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I caught part of an interview with author David Rakoff on The Daly Show and could not help but be charmed by his witty chemo-soaked pessimism. His new book of essays is about expecting the worst in order to avoid disappointment and, although I have always thought looking on the bright side was a good thing I can see Rakoff's point when he talks of misguided optimism. I'm keen to order a copy into our little village library here on the Isle of Wight (I'm doing live-in care work friends...yep, livin the life of a 90yo) not only so I can read it but so I can expose the villagers to Rakoff's razor-sharp New York humour.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good as Marigold

These are some images from my time spent on an organic herb farm in Somerset. I left about two weeks ago and miss it so much already! Our neighbours got married in a Quaking house and we strung marigolds onto a friend's Landrover, the vehicle they were delivered to the reception in.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Head Hog

A little patch I made for my friend's birthday. Topical as rescued hedgehogs had just arrived at the herb farm I was working on in Somerset and we were SO excited. Unfortunately the little hedgepigs stayed in their houses during the day and it was too dark to see them at night! But we rejoiced in the knowledge that they would enjoy their new home safe from cars and badgers.