Friday, 30 September 2016

Foto Friday Giorgios

Before you rush off to the tabloid press, I wish it to be known that I do not make a habit of loitering in lavatories [of either gender] with a camera in hand.

When our favourite lunch spot closed we decamped to one of Margate's longest established venues which has been there about 20 years. Great service, great food, great value. Please check it out on TripAdvisor and then try Giorgio's for yourself.

I was struck by the symmetry, subdued lighting and gentle music in the men's ablution facility.

So much so that I just had to picture it as a happy reminder for a wee while.

The washbasin ... which I guess is its name ... was a trough filled with layered shards that apparently filtered the water away. Seemed original to me.

However, the hot air hand drier appears to have been recycled from the engine of a Boeing 707 at full trot without mufflers.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Midweek Mixture

 As the end of September approaches I have again been culling some of the pictures that I have gleaned from various sources. I am told that it may be a bad habit to abandon stuff like this and yet I see no point in cluttering up my laptop with images nor our home with books and 'stuff'.
I simply cannot recall where I found this picture. The impression of a rainy or autumnal street scene , contrasting with the more tranquil coffee shop interior appealed to me. Wonder if this was a staged picture for a portfolio or an opportunist grab shot? Unless the cameraman sends me an email we may never know. You wouldn't want to be at a table by inward opening doors tho!

This one reminds me of my first venture into medium format photography ... the camera was cheap and awkward to use. I don't know why the art director or picture editor thought it was a good idea to include Polaroid pictures which a Lubitel could NOT produce.The notebook looks like a Moleskine and I wonder what is inside to make the front cover bulge like that?

Another vintage analogue camera which looks like a Leica rip-off and may be a Zorki. The Russian looking book titles may be a clue

Margate is famous for our spectacular sunsets and I see so many pictures like this that there seems little point in venturing out to have a go with my own camera.

Thanks to all the photographers and copyright holders for sharing these shots. Hope you enjoyed them too. Visit Margate soon.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Monday Magazine Choice : oh comely

Frankly, if I was launching a new magazine I wouldn't call it 'ohcomely' and with a strategy of presenting a fresh, new, approach to 'film/music/fashion/stories/mischief and ideas featuring the best of photography and illustration' ... I wouldn't also promote it as a 'woman's magazine' thus putting off the entire male population of the world.

But the three kindred spirits who founded this six-times-a-year top class publication have now reached Issue 33 when many other lesser titles have faded into oblivion.

This issue came my way because we lived in Broadstairs throughout the 1980s ... it is the next town along the coast from here ... and it is featured in a photo shoot in the September issue. Morelli's was an almost daily hanging-out place with its original [not repro] 50's decor, superb coffee and gelato made on the premises in the basement factory which I assume is still there. I even got to photograph a collection of their ice cream sundaes for display over the counter as large back lit transparencies.
Back to 'ohcomely' and at a fiver an issue it ain't cheap, but then quality never is,

If you think womens' magazines are all about babies, celebrity gossip, tv soap operas, shoes and hair then this magazine doesn't just break the mold, it throws it into the sea. It is fun and designed for readers who have more than a single brain cell.

The magazine has a healthy heft [!], is immaculately laid out, well printed, superbly illustrated, well photographed and, unusually for an independent magazine, well written without a load of pretentious claptrap and artsy-fartsy bull defecation.

For more you should go on over  to

Happy Reading

All pictures this post courtesy of 'ohcomely' magazine.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Frugal Friday Bag a Journal


Well no it isn't entirely. I DO have the notebook and I USED to have miles of 35mm negatives that  had been thru a variety of analogue cameras. 

This picture was created in a couple of clicks with a bit of free software that I found online.

If you have read some earlier blogs you'll recall that I found a purpose for the notebook featured in the header shot. 

I wanted to include some pictures and knew from past experience that glue-sticks wouldn't work 'cos they dry out on the page too soon and I really never got into that washi tape thing, I don't have a smart phone and, in any case, the cost of buying and running those little personal printers is way out of my league.

The answer was found on Amazon yet again. The delightfully named 'Labels4U' have an offer of 400 self adhesive address labels on 50 sheets [8 labels per sheet] at £3.50 including postage. No. I don't know how they do it for the price either!  For the mathematically challenged that is less than 1p per label. I already have a desktop printer charged with ink and a computer  that has Word 2010 so it is easy to select 8 prints from my camera, add to a sheet of address labels and print it off. Each label peels away neatly from the backing sheet and then sticks like the proverbial on a blanket to the chosen journal page.

With journaling in mind I picked up this A5 hardback number last time I was in 'The Works'. For £2.50 it was a fraction of the price of some famous brands available elsewhere, has around 94 perfect bound and fine ruled pages inside a cover to delight bibliophiles of any age. Don't be fooled by the flag on the back cover. It signifies that the design is British. Small print has the usual Made in China claim.

With massive sandy beaches just a few metres away, then what's  wrong with taking a vintage camera, some retro Ray Bans, a journal and a mug of coffee for an outing?

Well nothing if you ignore some heavy black clouds and a rainy day forecast.

Gladly, nothing of value was hurt for this picture. The glasses and book were placed on a coffee table at home with a 99p long life shopping bag as a backdrop.

Thanks for stopping by. While you are here why not spend a few minutes with the other blogs listed alongside? I have just added a new one at 'in love with journals'.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Book, movie, magazines

 This book was first published 45 years ago [1971] and its sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street followed three years later. They are both slender books by modern standards which is why you should look out for an edition that has both titles included in a single paperback.

It must've been a difficult format to adapt to a movie as there is little overt action but, as a documentary to the differences between the USA and UK during the immediate postwar decades it is a powerful piece and an entertaining read. The film is available on You  Tube.

I cannot recall where I found it but there is a website or blog devoted to letters in films ... which is what reminded me that I had always meant to read 84 CCR and had never gotten around to it. Here is one of the best movies of all time, Casablanca, where this letter, read in the rain, is a crucial part of the plot.

 I once heard that Hollywood  studios employed 'writer doubles' to produce notes like this which had to be'in character' and yet legible on screen --- even if the stars playing the role were illiterate.

All magazines begin life as a flat plan where each proofed and edited page is laid out and arranged in sequence on a single sheet before going to print. This example is from happinez, a Dutch quarterly which led me on an exploration of quarterly alternatives to the increasingly bland and repetitive offerings from the weekly and monthly press.Over the next few weeks I aim to introduce more examples of some that you may find interesting.

After reading Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter since the start of the year ... can't possibly describe it so link is on the  right here so that you may form your own opinion ... I have just ordered his book [below]   Even if you neither read nor want his book, the website is an object lesson in how writers of any genre can promote their books with zest and originality.

Happy Reading and thanks for being here.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Monday Music Moods: Harbor

A rainy day in Margate

You may be surprised at this choice. After all, with a ten year seafaring career and a life thereafter on the coast, why the hell would a guy want a CD like this?

The answer of course is nostalgia for those mainly happy days at sea. Sure we have seagulls around the house now from dawn to dusk and I can see ships anchored a mile offshore just at the end of the road, But that's  enough justification. I find this disc enjoyable and relaxing although, like most pleasures it can make you sick of it if taken to excess.

And so to the other photographs culled from various sources around the interweb.


LEFT: The sorta lifestyle that I once dreamed of but ...

RIGHT: Sittin' on the dock of the bay passin' time.

BOTTOM: Cover pic for
Salvage for The Saint art by
David Drummond - UK hardback edition.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Frugal Foto Friday The Project

I mentioned this delightful notebook on August 9 after getting it at bargain price in TKMaxx.

Now I have a use for it and if you look closely you will see a clue on the front cover label.

With the onset of autumn it seems a good idea to plan a substitute for some seafront walks [but not all, obviously] This will be an indoor pursuit to keep my remaining grey cells active along with eye-mind-body co-ordination. 

Yes, I know, this is gonna sound selfish but we have done our charitable stints when we were younger and fitter and more energetic!

With an interest in photography and magazine production it was almost inevitable that both would feature in my embryonic possibilities. And thus it  came to pass that we were browsing in a local book shop run by Pilgrims' Hospice charity in a disused Bank.

This delightful bargain store had an almost mint condition book dating from 2006 and it appeared to have some wonderful examples of photos and photographer profiles from which I could look and learn. 

At £1.50 it was well worth a punt, especially as I had previously dismissed Photoshop as being too clever by half and way beyond my financial and intellectual means. 
As we strolled home in the sunshine it struck me that, although modern versions of Photoshop were complex, maybe earlier versions dating back ten years would be more understandable. Back home I hit the keyboard and found that prices were still north of £50. Then I recalled a free package called Gimp, or Image Edit Pro.
There were plenty of informational/tutorial sites for free so it seemed way to go. I would even write my progress in the patiently waiting notebook and all the pieces seemed to fit.

We were distracted on the way home when we saw that some public spirited souls had set up a free pick your own herb garden. How sweet! Let's hope the local hooligans don't wreck this as they have other initiatives to improve our [and their] environment.

I leave you with this happy photograph by Tim Schooler ... an example of the professionals' art with a camera and Photoshop to enhance eyes and teeth.   WOW!!!!
This whole page image was well worth the asking price of the book alone. Pity the model didn't get a name check but I guess she was just one of a procession of High School graduates                                                                                           that he pictured for their final yearbook.
Photo Copyright Tim Schooler

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Midweek Musing La Vie Graphite & Soul Coaxing


That I was created to be a human being and not a human doing.

That it is too easy to forget the third ingredient of mind, body and spirit.

That my parents gave me the gift of faith and that religion isn't the same as faith.

That I am blessed to have enjoyed a Catholic education which included retreats and meditation,

I no longer attend Mass regularly and I do attempt to stay in touch with my soul-full side.

My church these days is the seashore and contemplation is easy there.

In quieter moments at home I read the Diary of Faustina Kowalska.

It brings me back to base and answers many questions.

The photo above is an old photo of my deceased mother, a prayer card for her father, a copy of my favourite devotional book and the rosary that travelled the world with me for the last seven decades since it was given to me when I was confirmed, These are the only bits of RC memorabilia that I own. But, faith isn't in artefacts even if they help.

I was surprised to find that 'Speculator', the author of LaVie Graphite blog, knows of Faustina and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

In his post of Thursday June 9th 2016 he explains how.

But I know EXACTLY where he is coming from with this:

... A retreat is neither escapist, nor is it a problem solving venture; it is an intentional pause, a surfacing for air. I return to the same difficulties that I'd  interrupted, yet with some experiences for reflection, a little more strength and new reminders of the broader universe... copyright La Vie Graphite.

Monday, 12 September 2016


Sunshine before the rain. This pic by Anthony Carro and featured by Baum-Kuchen reminds me of previous autumn vacations  towards the end of our stay at home year.

Among other matters I did catch up with a few long overdue bits of correspondence ... those wonderful old fashioned things called letters.

Maybe you are already calling them 'social correspondence' and no Felicity, you can't do them on your iphone!

Giacomo Leopardi's Zibaldone di Pensieri in the National Museum of Naples

At another blog [The Cramped Sept 5 2016] I discovered this post concerning Zibaldone [the 14th Century answer to Tumblr] and a link to the pleasures of maintaining a commonplace notebook where the ephemera is accompanied by hand written notes. The Cramped is also where you will find more pictures of A Notebook Called Core

All you need to start your own Zibaldone or Commonplace is a blank notebook, a pen, an open mind and a roll of tape or a tube of glue. It's not like budgeting, it is more like 'What am I spending my life on?'  [Deb Chachra]

There are links to both Baum and Cramped at my More to Explore list here on  the right.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

9-11 RIP

Whatever you believe, please pray as best you can for the families of the 2977 souls who were murdered that day.

Thank you,

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Author of the Month

Leslie Charteris [1907-1993]

It was a normal cardboard shoe box, sent through the mail by an eBay seller in exchange for £6 of my pocket money.

Inside there were a dozen paperbacks by Mr. Charteris which immediately evoked some seven decades of happy memories.

As a man of leisure I had resolved to catch up on reading books that I once loved and to follow up with their authors' other works.

In winter 2012 I explored most of Ernest Hemingway's classic titles plus a few by Ellery Queen and Micky Spillane. In 2013 I was too ill to read anything much beyond hospital appointments. 2014 was my winter for the books of Raymond Chandler and last year my loyalties switched to Nevil Shute's adventure tales.

Now I have enough Saintly delights to last well me past Christmas, after which I shall give them away as usual for most are too age-discoloured to have any value beyond pulping.

The oldest one in my parcel was published in 1930 [My book is a 1960 print] and was the second of more than 100 novels and short stories in the series. Leslie Charteris even found time to write scripts or scenarios for 16 movies and three television series.

My pal and I first discovered the Saint paper back books when we were about 11 years old. Pan books had not been in existence very long and we made a list of all their titles with the early 'yellow box' title design [see photo below]

We soon found that pocket money wouldn't cover our plan to create a full library of ALL Pan books so we shared a small collection of Saint books instead. In the summertime we were busy with our bikes, then we discovered girls and it was pretty much goodbye to reading for pleasure after that.

I am sure that Simon Templar wasn't what the De La Salle Brothers at school had in mind when they encouraged us to 'read and be inspired by the Lives of the Saints' !

Leslie Charteris certainly DID inspire my early style of writing and love of unusual words. At least I got good exam marks for English Composition.

I am delighted to offer you a signpost to all you could ever need to know about Leslie Charteris. Just head on over to Peter Dunn's amazingly erudite and well illustrated website at

Friday, 9 September 2016

Frugal Friday [Notebook]

At these prices it would seem rude not to buy a couple. I just cannot understand brand-name snobbery when it comes to notebooks, unless you want your scribblings to end up in some archives a century down the line.

But then my lady can't see the point of notebooks anyway and, as far as I know, prefers to keep everything filed in her pretty head.

As most stores seem to be stripping out their back-to-school offers and making space for Christmas goods, it is surely time for a bargain like this.

The books are a smidgen smaller than A5 and have 94 pages of feint lined paper, perfect bound inside flexible plasticised cardboard covers with space in the binding to allow  them to lie flat.

Although there is a dateline space at the head of each page and a ribbon bookmark, you will not find the Moleskine style elastic closure, embossed branding or, an ephemera pouch inside the back cover. I overcame the first with a free elastic band dropped in the street by our friendly postman [Ooops! I'm supposed to call him a mail-deliverer now!]  To help me keep the thing right way up for use I bunged a modified plastic fridge magnet from the lifeboat shop on the front with double sided sellotape.

A miniature kraft envelope that was sulking in the back of the desk drawer was similarly attached to receive odds 'n' sods of receipts and assorted paper junk.

Need page numbers and index pages? The either DIY or invest TEN TIMES THE PRICE for a Leuchtern notebook at your favourite up-market emporium.

Before leaving this topic I note the usual year-end avalanches of analogue planners and organiser 'systems' so I offer you these pages posted by The Cramped [link on the right of this page] and originally printed in the Wall Street Journal five years ago by Tom Sachs. I am not sure if he is serious or just  using satire to make a point or otherwise extract the urine? 

And so it is time to make the most of the last warmish days of summer for an hour or so at my favourite reading spot just five minutes gentle stroll along the cliff top from here.

Bingo! I just created the first entry in my Gratitude Journal.

Time on hand ... a sea view ... a couple of magazines ... sunshine .... sand ...happiness
Yesterday noon above Fulsom Rocks Margate Kent ... almost 136E on the map