Across The Park

Late this morning Jackie drove me to my appointment with Chiropractic Eloise Moody, who showed me the x-rays of my neck and explained their story with the aid of a model. The upshot is that she is able to halt the process, and ease the pain, but not reverse it, which is pretty much what I had hoped for. We began a course of treatment which will continue on Monday.

Afterwards I took a walk through the park opposite. Squelching through sward, still soggy from another night of rain ceased this sunny day

I photographed graffiti across the green, including passers by, a man seated on the brick wall beneath the artwork, and a standing mobile phone user.

The dog of the man in the second picture frolicked with two friends, one of which attempted to snot my trouser leg.

Two friends asked me to photograph them.

I was able to walk from the art-wall through a private car park to Station Road and thence to the public one where my Chauffeuse awaited.

This evening we all dined on slow-roasted rolled breast of lamb; crisp Yorkshire pudding; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, meaty gravy, mint sauce, and redcurrant jelly, with which Jackie drank more of the white Zinfandel and I drank more of the Garnacha.

A City Of Fungi

Yesterday I mentioned that Jackie and I had taken a forest drive which I would feature today.

This is that drive.

On Cadnam Lane we were subject to the scrutiny of donkeys on Country Watch. Like police officers on surveillance one was fixed on the suspects while the other was taking a rest.

Further along we encountered the first of what would be a number of donkey foals we would meet on our drive.

Ponies foraged along both sides of the verges at Furzey.

Cattle and ponies shared the pasturage of Penn Common;

I walked along the road towards Bramshaw to investigate a distant group of ponies and flock of sheep.

A slow moving tractor with its lights flashing came into view before I reached my targets.

Outside Bramshaw we noticed what Jackie termed 

a city of fungi perched in tiers on the sides of the cliffside roots of 

a recently fallen tree still bearing 

penknife graffiti which will merge into the soil sooner than if its carved bark had remained on a living tree.

This afternoon Becky drove Flo and Ellie to her home at Southbourne, where they will spend a day or two.

Jackie and I then dined at The Red Lion in Pilley. My choice was a rib eye steak, and Jackie’s a Cajun chicken burger. Each with all the trimmings was excellent. Drinks were Diet Pepsi and Ringwood’s Best respectively.

A Knight’s Tale (128: Waiting On Barbados, Part 1)

During the few days waiting for Sam to arrive in Port St Charles, Barbados, and afterwards, I took the opportunity to roam the Island with my camera.

Jessica, Louisa, and I began our stay in an hotel on the southern tip of the island, some miles from the finishing point, but soon transferred to join Chris, Frances, and Fiona in one in the luxurious developing holiday playground.

Coconut seller 5.04

This area presented a stark contrast to how the rest of the inhabitants of Barbados lived. Our hotel was surrounded by a compound patrolled by armed guards to keep out people like a coconut seller seated on the wall outside. His produce looked unappetising and he charged fairly optimistic prices.

Young woman against spray  5.04 002
Youn woman against spray 5.04 003
Young woman against spray 5.04 001

Some distance away, a young woman, seated on a rugged outcrop gazing out to sea, was persuaded to rise to her feet.


Port St Charles (Speightstown on the map) lies on the Caribbean Sea to the north west of the Island. To the east storms the Atlantic ocean. The two bodies of water meet at the northern tip of the Island. Rowers need to navigate this point with precision. Too wide and the current would would carry them to Cuba, too near and they would be smashed on these rocks. The competitors rowed in pairs or solo. One of the pairs hit the rocks, and had to be rescued.

Caribbean Sea 5.04 002
Caribbean Sea 5.04 005
Caribbean 5.04 006
Caribbean 5.04 009

These seascapes are of the more gentle Caribbean.

Much less inviting was the dark, violent, Atlantic that, on the last couple of days, swept my son so fast towards his final destination that he dropped his anchor to slow himself down in order to arrive in daylight. Not for him, Cuba or the rocks.

Meanwhile, I traversed the island.

Flowering cacti

Cacti flowered profusely;

Unknown plant

I learned later that this is a calotropis;


this is an hibiscus;


bougainvillea grows everywhere on the island;


as do coconuts.


A lone stork stands out from the long grass by the sea,

Homes on coastline

on the coast of which expensive holiday homes contrast with

Chattel houses

the traditional wooden chattel houses.


I was surprised to see a horse lurking in the hedgerow, but have since learned that racing is a popular pastime, dating from the colonial years.


This is possibly a grackle, or a Barbadian Black Bird.

Zenaida dove 5.04 02

The iridescent blue tinge on the neck of the Zenaida dove is intriguing.

Rusty drum

I expect there were plans for this rusting drum.

Succulent graffiti 1
Succulent graffiti 2
Succulent graffiti 3

I have seen graffiti in many forms, but only on Barbados has it been carved into succulents.

The Menagerist

In her Foreword to her ‘The Proud Tower’, Barbara W. Tuchman states that ‘this book is an attempt to discover the quality of the world from which the Great War came’. First published in 1966, this is largely a collection of previously published writings gathered together. The first, entitled, ‘The Patricians – England: 1895-1902’, describes the powerful ruling classes whose complacency, based on the assumed right to govern accumulated over centuries of inherited position, wealth, and advantaged education, was unassailed at that time. According to the writer their status as leaders was seen to be natural and unquestioned, and would always be rewarded with success. The setbacks of the Boer War came as a great shock.

On a drizzle-miserable day I finished reading this chapter.

Later I scanned a few colour slides from Abney Park Cemetery produced in March 2009.

The last three of this set are of the multi-denominational chapel which has been graffiti-desecrated at the rear, bricked and boarded up. When making these images I was told that the building is intact inside. I do hope some renovation has been undertaken in the years since then.

I have converted those in this gallery to black and white.

The last two, bearing the sculpture of a docile lion, are of the tomb, shared with his wife, Susannah, of Frank Charles Bostock who ‘was part of the Bostock and Wombwell dynasty, famed for the presentation of travelling Menageries throughout the nineteenth century and the first third of the 20th century. George Wombwell commenced this tradition by exhibiting exotic animals from around 1804. This fascination for exhibition informed the emerging trends of entertainment throughout the Victorian period, with all manner of beasts, curiosities and displays of human endeavour on regular display in fixed and floating locations.

Wombwell took to presenting a travelling animal show from around 1805, competing with many other Menagerists of the time. He had a fierce drive to become the most famous animal showman in the country, and his partnership with the Bostock family established Bostock and Wombwell as the country’s leading operation.

The Bostock family were land-owning farmers in Staffordshire. In 1832 James Bostock turned his back on his farming destiny and worked as a waggoner with Wombwell’s Menagerie. His marriage to Emma Wombwell in 1852 saw the start of the Bostock and Wombwell dynasty, all capable and willing animal handlers and showmen. The core axis of this dynasty was the three sons of James and Emma (there were other children also): Edward Henry (EH) Bostock became the successor to running the main show, James William Bostock managed separate Menageries and presented ‘Anita the Living Doll’, whilst Frank Charles Bostock set off on his own direction by touring Europe and America.

Frank Bostock was equally as ambitious as his Menagerie-founding grandfather. In his memoirs he talks about how he introduced the ‘big cage’ to England in 1908 and how he discovered that big cats were wary of the underside of a chair. His time in America possibly led him to doing things differently, with contact at the vibrant Coney Island, and the tradition of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ pioneered by PT Barnum.

Frank C Bostock arrived in the United States in the summer of 1893 at twenty seven years of age. He set up near 5th and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn. It is said that Frank and his family lived in one wagon and had another two wagons housing four monkeys, five parrots, three lions, a sheep and a boxing kangaroo.

It could be said that the arrival of Frank Bostock and the Ferari brothers in 1893-94 (Francis and Joseph Ferari were his partners at the time, they were the sons of Italian-born English showman James Ferari) was the beginning of the touring carnival business in America. The wild animal shows they brought became the nucleus around which many of the early street-fair showmen built their midways.

The elaborate carved fronts of the wild animal shows Frank Bostock brought from England, some of them made by the Burton-upon-Trent company Orton and Spooner, served as the prototype for wagon-mounted show fronts on American carnivals for the next half century’. (

This evening we dined on smoked haddock; Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potato; firm carrots and peas with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Nivei white Rioja 2018.

Clogged Up With Visitors

This afternoon I printed photographs for Aaron, Mark, and Steve, of their tree-cutting work of three days ago. Some profile pictures are about to be changed.

Late on a very dull afternoon we drove to Keyhaven to catch the last of the meagre light.

There is so very little graffiti in the New Forest that our granddaughter, Flo thought she must be an “alternative universe” when she saw no graffiti on carved wooden benches in Ringwood. A rare example adorns the

Electricity Sub-Station in Barnes Lane, where we now notice crosses on the trees alongside warning signs on the gates.

Saltgrass Lane in Keyhaven was clogged up with the transport of

visitors walking, kite surfing or sailboarding.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs marinaded in Nando’s chilli and mango sauce served with Jackie’s savoury vegetable rice accompanied by Hoegaarden in her case and more of the Merlot in mine.

Durdle Door

Today continuous rain fell from a leaden sky.




As I focussed on the spray-spattered cliffs beneath Portland Bill lighthouse, a small yacht crossed the ocean near the horizon.

Lovers had carved their names in the weathered rocks. How long ago, I wondered, and are they still together?

Boat sheds perched above these geological specimens.

Having begun at dawn our group returned to take advantage of the evening light.

Elizabeth is third from our right of those focussing on the iconic

Durdle Door and its intrepid climbers.

Packs of frozen peas are regularly applied to ease the swelling on my operated knee. One of the bags has split. This meant that a plentiful helping of said peas appeared on our dinner plates this evening. These were alongside cheese centred smoked haddock fishcakes, tangy ratatouille, and piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

From Bespoke Suits To Thongs


My rambles around London brought me into touch with a variety of different faces of England’s capital. None more contrasting perhaps than those seen in this batch from my Streets of London series of colour slides made in July 2005. Having been once more beset by wind and rain, I worked on these today.

Savile Row W1 7.05

We begin with a couple of most expensive streets in the region of Regent Street. Savile Row W1 is the home of bespoke tailoring, and not, perhaps, where one might expect to come across a chained bicycle of this nature.

Vigo Street/Burlington Gardens W1 7.05

Vigo Street which becomes Burlington Gardens is a turning off Regent Street. Careful viewers may see my portrait hanging in the window of Burlington Paintings. The motor cyclist is leaving Savile Row. Had he turned left and taken the first turning right, he could have ridden down

Sackville Street/Piccadilly W1

Sackville Street onto Piccadilly. The crypt of St James’s Church, the clock tower of which is seen here, was the scene of the brass-rubbing debacle featured in ‘Meandering Through Soho’.

Pall Mall East SW1 7.05

A month before these photographs were produced, London’s bid secured the 2012 Olympic Games. Banners celebrated this feat. From this corner of Pall Mall East we see Nelson’s column with its lions and the famous fountains. The gentleman in the foreground peruses The Financial Times, the first pink paper.

Spring Gardens/The Mall SW1 7.05

 The Mall itself offers another view of Trafalgar Square, incorporating its backdrop of The National Gallery. The bus advertising Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s ‘The Woman in White’ is looking ahead to the musical’s first performance on 15th September that year.

Concert Hall Approach SE1 7.05

The Archduke restaurant was a regular lunch venue for me and my dapper late friend, Wolf, at this time. Here he waves as I advance on Concert Hall Approach SE1.

Sturmer Way N7 7.05

We shift to north Islington and Sturmer Way N7. More comfortable than she appears, this lady willingly consented to pose beside her car. I did explain that I wanted to feature the street name in the picture.

Stock Orchard Street N7 7.05

Graffiti merchants have even left their mark on a satellite dish above the offices of William Hill’s betting shop in Stock Orchard Street N7.

Surr Street N7 7.05

Two more readers occupy a bench in the sunshine in Surr Street N7, in an area of development off North Street.

Formosa Street W9 7.05

Neither of these two nor this gentleman outside The Prince Albert pub in Formosa Street W9 appears to favour The Financial Times. This fine Grade 2 listed Victorian public house, built in 1856, still sports etched glass and mahogany fittings.

Honeywood Road NW10 7.05

The Willesden Junction Hotel stands on the corner of Station Road and Honeywood Road NW10. The pub closed soon after I took this photograph, and now seems to be functioning as a restaurant.

Curzon Crescent NW10 7.05

‘The L Word’ series ran from 2004-2009. This was concerned with the life and loves of a group of lesbians, their friends, and families, living in Los Angeles. As can be seen, its striking advertisement stole the limelight from the graffiti of Curzon Crescent NW10.

This evening we enjoyed our usual excellent dining experience at Lal Quilla. My main course was king prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; we shared mushroom rice and an egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.


North Of Regent’s Park


Today I scanned the next dozen of my Streets of London colour slides from October 2004.

Regent's Park Road NW1 10.04

Tasteful washes decorate the facades of these houses in Regents Park Road NW1. This street in the Primrose Hill area of London is stocked with a multitude of long established independent shops of all kinds.

Fitzroy Road NW1 10.04 2Fitzroy Road NW1 10.04 1

One such establishment is Fonthill Pottery at 38 Chalcot Road on the corner of Fitzroy Road NW1.

Gilden Crescent, NW5 10.04

Between Chalk Farm and Gospel Oak lies Gilden Crescent NW5, in Kentish Town. This wall on the corner of Queen’s Crescent features local children’s mural of the eponymous Post Office.

Marsden Street NW5 10.04

British pubs are being closed at an alarming rate in the 21st century. The Newberry Arms on the corner of Marsden Street and Malden Road NW5 is just one example. Soon after I took this photograph, the boarded up building was demolished, and by 2010

had been replaced by this block of flats.

St Leonard's Square NW5 10.04

St Leonard’s Square, NW5 is on the other side of Malden Road. Graffiti covers this dirty grey wall, rubbish lies on the pavement, scaffolding runs up the side of the building, the entrance to number 22 is narrow and lead directly onto the pavement, and someone has to live there.

Chalk Farm Road NW1 10.04

It was quite early in the morning that I crossed Chalk Farm Road NW1, yet these two building workers had already earned a break.

Bridge Approach NW1 10.04

This Bridge Approach NW1 is to the railway bridge at Chalk Farm.

St George's Terrace NW1 10.04

The Queen’s Pub on the corner of St George’s Terrace, NW1 and Regent’s Park Road is just yards from the Primrose Hill open space. The area must be considered a reasonably safe one in which to leave such a bicycle chained to railings.

Prince Albert Road/Townshend Road NW8 10.04 2

Prince Albert Road/Townshend Road NW8 10.04 1

Prince Albert Road, NW8 houses rows of apartment blocks like these on the corners of Townshend Road,

Prince Albert Road/Eamont Street NW8

and Eamont Street. They all provide views over Regent’s Park on the opposite side of the road. It was when walking along that street on my birthday, 2005, that I met a woman waiting at a bus stop. I had to work very hard to convince her that, two or three hours after the London suicide bombings, it was not unreasonable that the bus services had been suspended.

It had not been our intention to dine on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare this evening, but our electricity supplier had other ideas. There is no gas supplied to our hamlet. We experienced a complete power cut for three hours, at the point when Jackie was in the midst of cooking a chicken dish. She has just abandoned that project and gone out to hunt down one of Mr Chan’s excellent meals.



How Did This One Get In Here?


Here, at last, are the Streets of London colour slides from October 2004 that I scanned a couple of days ago.

Bravington Road W9 10.04

Bravington Road, W9, in the heart of my Social Services patch, runs north from Harrow Road towards Queens Park. Here it is receiving the attentions of workers of the ubiquitous Clancy Group plc, described thus by Wikipedia:

‘Clancy Docwra is a large construction firm in the United Kingdom founded in Wembley in 1958 by Michael Clancy as M.J. Clancy & Sons Limited. In 1974 the firm bought water and gas public works contractor R.E. Docwra Limited and in 2001, following other acquisitions, all were merged to form Clancy Docwra Limited. Today the firm trades as The Clancy Group plc. The firm carries out work for several national utilities including Scottish Water and Scottish Power.[1] The firm has also carried out work for London Underground.’

Lancefield Street W10 10.04

Here, in Lancefield Street W10, are a pair of houses with gardens that, during my time there, were gradually built as part of a refurbishment of the notorious, prize-winning, Mozart Estate. Undoubtedly attractive in conception and design, the fatal flaw in these rabbit warrens was the number of convenient hiding places for muggers, and the lack of gardens in which residents could take pride. It was into the estate that two young men  fled following their failed attempt to mug me a few years before.

Caird Street W10 10.04

Next door in Caird Street stands the Jubilee Sport Centre in which I spent many hours playing badminton and otherwise keeping fit, or knackering my knees, whichever way you look at it.

Enbrook Street W10 10.04

This corner of Enbrook Street, W10, shows one of the several rows of little Victorian terraced houses that had been demolished to make room for the Mozart Estate. Avenues numbered First to Sixth still contained these gems still being maintained.

Longstone Avenue NW10 10.04

When my friend, Norman, still lived in Harlesden, I would regularly walk along the streets mentioned above for one of our fortnightly lunches. I would vary my routes which could take me past The Roundwood Gospel Assembly building in Longstone Avenue NW10. On the other side of this road lies Roundwood Park, according to Wikipedia: a public park in WillesdenLondon, measuring a total of 26.5 acres,[1] or approximately 10.27 hectares.[2] It was originally known in the 19th century as Knowles Hill (its name coming from the Knowles Tower nearby),[3][4] or Hunger Hill Common Field,[3][4] and after much work by Oliver Claude Robson, became the Roundwood Park known to the public today (its name coming from the Roundwood House originally beside it)’.

Roundwood Road NW10 10.04

Following a dog-leg angle, the thoroghfare becomes Roundwood Road, on the corner of which this building is being adapted for more multiple occupation than the family home for which it was originally intended.

Oldfield Road NW10 10.04

Oldfield Road, where Norman lived, received more than its share of graffiti.

King's Cross Bridge N1 10.04

At the time of these photographs, King’s Cross Bridge N1 was yet to form part of the extensive redevelopment of the area;

Sheldon Square W2 10.04

and Sheldon Square W2, was part of the Paddington Basin development nearing completion.

Leighton Road NW5 10.04

Now, what has caught the eye of this woman in Leighton Road, NW5?

Leighton Road NW5 10.04 2

Ah! I see.

Hang on a minute.

Sunshine in a park 10.04

How did this one get in here?

The shadows must have attracted my attention while I was seeking street scenes. Let it stand. I think the lawn is in Rembrandt Gardens, Warwick Avenue, Little Venice.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jafrezi with her perfect pilau rice. To accompany this, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I enjoyed a really marvellous Finca Flichman reserve malbec 2015 given to me for my birthday by Helen and Bill.


Up The Cally


After yesterday’s violent deaths on Westminster Bridge, over which I have walked many a time, it has been difficult to take my mind off London. I’ve always found a productive routine task to be therapeutic. It seemed therefore appropriate to continue yesterday’s North London perambulations through the medium of scanning the next dozen of my Streets of London images made in August and September 2004.

Euston Road N1 8.04 1

I begin with this corner of King’s Cross station on Euston Road, N1. Purely by coincidence the picture contains a reminder of another disaster experienced on 18th November 1987. An accidental fire in the Underground cost thirty one people their lives. The following month I began daily trips through King’s Cross when I would use those underground lines. The walled commemorative area in the foreground was filled with floral tributes over the following days.

Alongside the station, Caledonian Road runs up towards Holloway. During the late ’80s and ’90s, when, in sports gear, carrying my working clothes in a back pack, I commuted from Newark, I would run up The Cally, as it was known to the locals, for a few hundred yards, turn into a pocket park on the left, and continue along the Regent’s Canal towpath, past Camden Lock to my counselling room in Little Venice.

Omega Place N1 8.04

The first turning on the right is Omega Place N1. Tony’s Organics, at 10 Caledonian Road, in 2009, was considered one of the best raw food cafés in London. It is now reported to be closed.

Keystone Crescent N1 8.04

The next turning is the one-time picturesque Keystone Crescent. At that time, a plastered wall with bricked up windows unwittingly invited graffiti.

Twyford Street N1 8.04

Beyond the above-mentioned pocket park lies Twyford Street. Cally Pool has its entrance further up Caledonian Road. I hope the gentleman in the foreground didn’t have a cold.

On this particular day I must have been walking up to Parents for Children in Islington, for I continued on along Richmond Avenue on the right. Tarmon Free House is at 270, Caledonian Road. Perhaps the same florists decorated the establishment as did The Exmouth Arms featured yesterday.

Cloudesley Road N1 8.04

At the far end of Richmond Avenue we find Cloudesley Road N1. As with a number of our 19th century buildings, this one bears the freshened up slogans of  a shop that once operated on its site.

Dowrey Street N1 9.04

In nearby Dowrey Street, shadows of leaves do their best to take our minds of an uninviting stairwell.

Lonsdale Square N1 9.04

Lonsdale Square in Barnsbury needs no such distraction,

Liverpool Road N1 9.04

although, just around the corner, Liverpool Road, one of the main routes from Holloway Road through to Islington, could have done with a facelift at this point.’s page on Alan Cocks’s shop demonstrates that it has received one. London’s central area telephone numbers are now prefixed by 020 7, so if you need a quotation don’t forget the addition to the prominent number in my photograph, which remains otherwise unchanged.

This evening we dined on pork chops marinaded in mustard sauce and coated with flaked almonds, piquant cauliflower cheese; sauteed potatoes, carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin-Borisset Beaujolais Villages 2015.