Sunday, 31 July 2016


My earlier blogs were criticized for banging on about cameras.

This one won't.

The end of the month seems like an appropriate time to make a change that I have been putting off too long. Here's why.

My Dad lends me his 1934 Box  Brownie Camera: I am 9 years old. On a cycle trip to Lewes I take a photo of a cottage. It is published in a magazine and I get a byline and a payment. I am hooked and teach myself film processing and printing.

Few children are into photography so a friend and I begin taking pictures at school events and buildings for the school magazine. We also sell prints to other pupils and I acquire my first 35mm camera from the proceeds.

I quickly discover that there is a market for photos of the various ships on which I serve. Best sellers are postcards of the ship taken from pilot-cutters at various anchorages and ports around the world ... and sold to crew members. I also have shots featured in newspapers in Borneo, Newfoundland and Cuba.

1966 - 70:
Family time and purchase of first house. Strictly family album and baby-book stuff.

As a hotel owner I seek to supplement my income by taking portraits during the off-season.

Start earning pocket money from advertising and industrial assignments.

I resist the digital age. Play with the concept of Lomography and acquire several cameras.

35mm photography priced out of market. Acquire a digital camera. Sell all the others.

2010 to present:
No More Photo or FotoNoMo:

When everyone below the age of 60 seems surgically attached to their mobile phone and even two-year old kids are taking selfies ... when a pro writes about taking 'several thousand shots at a wedding' ...this sounds like trusting to luck instead of photography.

Photographic magazines become too expensive to be value for my money and I detest reading 'on line' or 'on a device'

The world has moved on and left me  behind and I really couldn't give a flying fig about photography any more. [The works of Lisa Visser and David duChemin are exceptions!]

The photos on this post are from The Daily Mail 24 May 2014:
Paul Burgoyne is shipwrecked off the Vancouver coast in 2012
He loses his camera
It is found by students diving the area
The memory card is intact
They print the pictures and post them in the area
They are recognised and the camera is  returned to Paul

Friday, 29 July 2016

Frugal Friday

Regular readers know that I have a thing about stationery in general and notebooks in particular. I also have an exceedingly limited budget and storage space.

Sure, I love the tactile aspects of good quality products but I love being debt-free even more.

I tend to buy my year's supply of stationery during the 'back-to-school' store promotions. Recently, needing a few notebooks for project planning, I was happy to find this bargain bundle in our local 'Pound Planet' store. Ten books for £1.

I leave you with this 'looking to the future' instagram pic from Patrick Ng at
Nope! I cannot do instagram 'cos I only have a dumb phone and a slightly confused camera.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Coffee, shops, magazines, notebooks - what a mixture!

 There is a global trend for publishers to jump on the coffee shop bandwagon and then take it to the next level.

'Cos I like coffee, coffee shops, magazines, books and stationery I guess this post was inevitable

Over in Milan the first Moleskine coffee shop has just opened its doors. More are planned in cities around the world where you can browse books and merchandise - including the iconic, eponymous notebooks, as you sip your favourite brew. Sure makes our beloved Caffe Nero in the local Waterstones look kinda shabby.

    Meanwhile, in London, the lifestyle mag The Monocle introduced a similar idea around a year ago.

 Whilst in Toronto, the Indigo bookstore below has a fresh new ambiance to rejuvenate interest in the printed word. Once upon a time, Borders Bookshops sold magazines too. Then they ceased trading.

The nearest we have are the poorly conceived WH Smith stores with a coffee shop attached to a few branches that seem to be in a perpetual state of chaos and in search of an identity. Poor old WHS must be revolving in his grave!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Midsummer Murmers

For a very enjoyable decade or so, until moving to Margate, I was the chairman of Bromley Small Business Club. 
Then. getting involved in such things just couldn't compete with sun, sea and sand.
However, having been self employed since 1968 until retiring, I still have an interest in the business world and small business in particular.
That is why my choice of midsummer reading may seem strange to some.
Take Visionmongers for example. David duChemin published this in 2010 with the subtitle 'making a life and living in photography. A large format paperback, lavishly illustrated, it is one of the most sensible, practical and informative business books that I have read. It is especially appropriate to creative businesses rather than those based in manufacturing but they too could read and learn.
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillibeau is a treasury of short chapters about entrepreneurs who are happily running their own enterprises from near zero financing. It is full of practical tips and is another of my essential 'read-learn-and-inwardly-digest' books.

Friday, 22 July 2016

So this is windows 10


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

12 Years of My Art Deco Childhood

That massive door - possibly oak - was at the foot of a broad central staircase that served all four flats which each had similar individual front doors.[ It was still there last time I looked in 2009.]
Although I was only three years old at the time, my memories are vivid.
The art deco architecture has stood the test of time and I guess it was built in 1935 and 244 Brixton Hill was my home on and off between 1940 and 1950
244 Brixton Hill

I had kindergarten friends in this more impressive block at Christchurch Court. They lived in a balcony flat on the curved facing at third floor level.

Later I had a girl friend who lived at The High in Streatham High Road SW16 ...

Each of these flats had bathrooms very similar to this reproduction ... the tiles on floor and walls,, the sink, toilet and mirror are typical although the bath was larger and more angular with a terrifying Ascot gas water heater hissing and roaring above it. Ours never had a bidet either.
This was an age when few homes had indoor toilets and many had to share one outdoor shack with several other families.
This is a rather glamorized version of a typical interior of the art deco period ... possibly from a movie set.

Affordable cameras had only just come onto the market in those late 1930's so there are very few contemporary interior photographs ... even on the internet ... but the deep chunky 'three piece suites', timber standard lamps,wall lights, electric fires built in to tiled surrounds ...amazingly modern kitchens with even a refrigerator and then a space saving ironing board that dropped down from inside a cupboard door are all from my indelible memory bank.

Despite these early childhood events happening in the midst of the Blitz of WW2, those buildings in Brixton  and Streatham survived the bombs and subsequent modernization plans.

All this recall is tiring ... where's my caffeine fix?

And what features of home will children of today recall in the years ahead?

All photos in today's post were scavenged from various internet searches.
I'm tempted to bang on about all the art deco cinemas and theatres I visited and the airfields I have flown from that had art-deco control towers ... but I guess you can find them on Google if you really wanted to?

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cafe Music

Today is one of those when we are promised sunny skies, blue seas and golden sands.
Yet my mood  is rainy.
Sometimes it feels necessary to take a break from news, politics, crime stories, and all the suffering in the world.
Which is when I turn to this music courtesy of YouTube and read a few pages of a favourite book.
And count my blessings.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Art Deco Architecture - actual and almost!

I have been attracted to art deco styles as long as I can recall.
It is daft I suppose because the outside of a building is nowhere near as important as the interior, which is where a house is turned into a home.
Some Margate apartment blocks appear to have been architecturally inspired by this 60 year old design.
Welcome to Dreamland Cinema & Ballroom right here in Margate, Currently being restored and renovated after decades of neglect. This is one of Britain's most iconic examples of the art deco/moderniste style. 

We have this wonderful example of red-brick deco in a back street sorting office ...

Meanwhile, on the other side of town at Westwood, the influence is obvious in design of this flagship store for Primark that opened a couple of years ago.

                                                                                Just down the road from here, these council subsidised  affordable flats at Trinity Walk would be instantly recognisable to architects of the 1930's,
Cliftonville MCA Station design governed by function rather than fashion
And so it is time to say farewell as I  recall  Miami surrounded by houses like this,  grab a coffee and dig some laid back piano lounge sounds from my golden coming of age days.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016


This is a tale of determination ... or is it simply instinct? Intelligence even?
I didn't see this critter arrive so I don't know how  he got here. There he was when I opened the curtains at 0600 this morning. Not a fully fledged adult yet, judging by a few flecks of infantile brown, but certainly no fluffy chick. A teenager maybe.
 He [or she] was on the landing at the top of our outside stairs. It was facing the latched wrought iron gate. Clearly didn't fancy an exit via the steps that would have taken it into a lower level paved, enclosed area. It was either too young to fly or, more likely, unable to get a launching run-up owing to the small area of the landing. It lacked vertical take-off capability.

 For the next six minutes it attempted to squeeze through the gaps in the gate, approaching each in turn and failing to get more than its head and shoulders through and then furiously back pedalling. It kept repeating this exercise. Finally it walked back to the top of the steps, turned and took a frantic run at the centre gap. With a loud squawk and a flurry of feathers it struggled through.
I was relieved that it wasn't necessary to go out and open the gate ... have you seen the beak on these creatures? An adult or three were screeching overhead so my intervention could have provoked an aerial assault. That's why it's called a 'landing' and not a 'departing' maybe?

A journalist in The Huffington Post has berated the Breitling watch company for using a bevy of feminine beauties at the launch of their new range of pilot watches.
I would not even pause a single nanosecond to check out a male pilot flashing his wrist ... think Rothman cigarette ads of the 1960's ... but this line up surely caught my eye which was surely the whole point of the thing.

On needing a new summer wristwatch and lacking the means to buy a five-figure Breitling, I headed off to Terry's Gifts in Margate High Street and found this little beaut for £6.99.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Minimalistic Advertising but, with impact.

Some say that a poster should hit you between the eyes with a simple and memorable image snd very few words. This one works at that level I guess.
But, if you have never heard of Goodwood or its annual Revival Event it will mean diddlysquat to you. And that would be a pity.
OK ... so it is about glamour, attractive ladies, wonderful cars, vintage aviation, and £7 hamburgers.
I've done Hendon, Wimbledon, Ascot, 20 or so vintage air shows ... to me, Goodwood beats 'em all. I shall never go again, my  credit card couldn't stand the strain.
I still like this ad 'tho.
Here's another minimalism spot of non-news.
These posts have usually appeared on a Friday or Monday morning each week. From now on they will be 'as and when' with no regular weekly slots.