At 10 a.m. this morning we began work on clearing Bev and John’s wall that abuts our back drive. Knowing that I would not have the energy to tackle it after all the other shrubs and trees that threatened our neighbours’ foundations, I began with the fairly mature beech tree which was the worst offender. I need both an axe and a saw to cut it down to a stump that will be left for Jackie’s lethal application. Flora and fauna alike, except for the unfortunate prey of the spider becoming more engorged as I watched it at its feast, basked in the morning sunshine.
We have stunning clumps of Japanese anemones of various colours, and the recently planted winter pansies, some in the chimney pots, perk up cheeky faces.
Gladioli, one of which provided the canvas for a portrait of a fly that would have done justice to Whistler in his white period, looked almost translucent against the light.
Bees seem to enjoy the orange dahlias.
A woodlouse, climbing up our neighbours’ wall in an effort to escape my attentions, was soon overhauled by a baby spider.
Hidden beneath a hebe, which we have reduced in size and will retain, was a hart’s tongue fern that seems to be the only one we have. Jackie rapidly transplanted it.
‘Where there’s smoke there’s hope’, was a mantra we, as children in Raynes Park, invoked when trying to breathe life into illicit bonfires we enjoyed on the then much wider patch of railway land at the back of 29a Stanton Road where we grew up. I thought of this as I watched weak wisps of smoke struggling through the fire this morning. It was almost three hours before the first welcome crackle of flame was heard, but, by 1.30 our neighbours had a wall that Banksy would no doubt find enticing.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, Banksy is a pseudonymous U.K. based graffiti artist who stencils his work on vacant walls. Whatever you think of the idea of defacing other people’s property, you would have to agree that this man is an artist who, overnight, can enhance its value. Collectors like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will spend thousands of dollars or pounds on a piece. In October 2007 they acquired a number of works at auction for a total outlay of £1,000,000.
An earlier project of mine, which, so far has not seen any kind of publication, was called ‘Streets of London’, consisted of (more than 1,000) photographs of London streets with the constraint that the name should appear in the frame. In May 2008, because it in itself seemed an interesting scene, I photographed a corner of Acklam Road, W10, just off Portobello Road. Three days later, I passed the same corner, to find a white wall embellished by a Banksy. Interestingly, this artwork already bore a protective perspex covering. Now, at least one of my street pictures has been published.
We dined this evening on slow roasted, tangy smoked gammon, cauliflower cheese in a mustard sauce, new potatoes and carrots, followed by egg custard dessert. I finished the rioja and Jackie drank the last of the weissbier.