Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Had a day in London today and was a bit surprised by the front page news in the Standard - One in three children in London don't have any books in their home. I wonder what Greg would think about that!

He's not been so visible of late, mainly because he's buried away somewhere with a book and not keen on being pulled away for a bike ride or photo session.

This weekend I took some of him in his new teeshirt, which he rather likes. I'm hoping to get him out in the kayak this week-end too; we can't have him turning into a bookworm, even if we do need a few ambassadors.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Full tilt

Lewis had an invite from one of his sea scout friends to go sailing at Calshot today, so this is them on a Pico (with blue sail) in fairly fresh conditions. There was a great atmosphere with racing and club sailing going on all around. I was really impressed with them both, and to their credit they didn't go over once.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spent the afternoon with the Hawkins clan in Basingstoke, easing in Chris' 40th birthday. Lots of photos of old and young bouncing on the trampoline, but this one of Miranda and the pet she'd like to have is my favourite of the day.

It's quite nice to have a lazy Sunday and then have a day off to recover...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hang on...

Sunny to begin with then turning quite cold and windy, my bike ride with Greg and Miranda took aturn for the worse when her (her bike's) bottom bracket seized completely. Interesting this as Lewis pedal had also suffered a seized bearing only a day or so ago.

Anyhow we changed bikes, and rode on and the day lifted off from there. This was taken at the park as we played on the spinning top.

Rendered in a Leica M4P stylee on the iPhone - it does take some good pics.

I've just read about the passing of one of my heroes - Gil Scott Heron. The fragility of his voice on the recent "I'm new here" suggested that he was considerably less strong than I recalled him before his institutionalised visit. I shall remember him always with Brian Jackson on Winter in America and Pieces of a Man, a beacon of the emerging rap scene in the seventies. I was thinking about him recently with all the Twitter controversy - "The revolution will not be televised" he prophesised; No, but it will be orchestrated by Twitter I thought.... I saw him with my brother Christian in the early eighties, in a dark smoky, sweaty club in Newcastle - Peace Go With You Brother ...

The Bottle

Friday, May 27, 2011


She's been wearing these glasses for some time now, usually when she's doing her reading or writing. Tonight when I took her to the loo at about 10pm they were in her bed, and must have been pretty uncomfortable. I'm guessing that it must have been rather difficult reading in the dark after I'd put her to bed, and she'd put them on to see better!

Came across an interesting interview with David Bailey earlier in the day - a fun read

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Topsy turvey

Had a text message from Joanna even before my alarm clock had gone off this morning, announcing that she was making her way up Southampton Water; her sojourn with the grey haired cruisers nearly over. This is one of her photos of the kids from the recent visit.

Lewis has been Topper sailing this evening, and the winds have been incredibly strong. When I got in myself at 9pm, I couldn't believe that he'd been out since 5.30 and on capsizing drill! He was tired and cold, but I guess he's learned a lot that weeks of pussyfooting in warm weather would not yield...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who nose?

I often used to try to photograph their little curves and assorted features, the little bits that you are familiar with when you wash clean and nurse them.

This is freckles eckles herself, and she was most obliging when I was taking these.

Maybe I'll put the scar tissue on her knees, or the bitten finger nails up next!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

With her finger on the trigger

Photo taken my Miranda after we'd had our storytime in bed, she's getting quite handy with recording, and with autofocus I'm running out of excuses for hitting the delete button!

Had a quick blast with Lewis on the bikes this evening through the woods. He likes his technical challenges, mixed in with a bit of speed. Don't we all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Read my Lips

"Dad why are you taking pictures of me naked!!"

I can still hear her pretending to snarl at me, after I'd chastised her for not getting her PJ's on fast enough. Take a photo, that'll make her hurry up...and sure enough it did.

I still can't get over the ease with which you can grab great images and process them without going near a computer, my only problem is reducing the number of frames to a managable number. My last phone had about 400 images to cover the seven or so years of life. This one has 472 of the last week - and I had edited them quite hard!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Team building

Lewis' trip sailing to HMS Bristol was cut slightly short by gale force 8 winds along the South coast; we had remarked from bed earlier this morning that it was a bit windy!

He wisely spent the afternoon lavishing attention on his new bike, oiling, greasing, adjusting and cleaning. Greg has been helping out too as his bike is going to need a bit of TLC too. Everything ready for his trip to school tomorrow.

See the Blue Tits about to fledge here

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Whilst the cat's away...

My normal Saturday morning routine was disrupted by Caroline being out on a course. We started the day with a photoshoot, this one taken just before the phone rang and put us off our stroke.

It's been lovely and sunny all day, and we spenta few hours at Waterside School Summer Fair, where Greg was selling Creature Cards to raise money for Kware, the African school they pair with.

This afternoon we've been out in the forest riding the trails, Greg in particular loving the off road now he has a bike that can fly over the rough bits. We played hide and seek in the sunshine, bliss.

This captured from the Norwegian press today...

Queen on maiden voyage http://www.aftenbladet.no/lokalt/stavanger/Dronning-paa-jomfrutur-2812243.html


Kopiert fra ©sa 21.4.2011 - http://www.aftenbladet.no/lokalt/stavanger/Dronning-paa-jomfrutur-2812243.htmDronning på jomfrutur

Friday, May 20, 2011

Whatever floats your boat

Tonight we have lost Lewis to an activity weekend aboard HMS Bristol with his Sea Scout colleagues. He's going to be on best behaviour, and doing loads of sailing and ...who knows what else. It's the first time other than a school trip to Osmington Bay that we've been without him. The weather forecast for Sunday is not good, very strong winds so it will be interesting to see how that one unfolds....

I'm listening to Fela Kuti's 'Black President', a record that symbolises arriving at Art College in '82 and being inspired by all manner of people and ideas - setting sail in more ways than one.

Everybody run run run
Everybody scatter scatter
Some people lost some bread
Some one nearly die
Some one just die
Police dey come, Army dey come
Confusion everywhere

Seven minutes later
All done cool down, brother
Police don go away
Army don disappear....

....We fear to fight for freedom
We fear to fight for liberty
We fear to fight for justice
We fear to fight for happiness
We always get reason to fear 

And something even older than this is the word Macgillycuddy - check out Martin Budday's Blandscapes

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Waving not drowning

When we first moved into our house we often used to go and watch the cruise liners going out along Shore Road. We still watch them, but you tend to get a bit blasé about it over the years.

This evening was different as we made a special trip down to the waters edge to wave to Auntie Miffi aboard the Queen Elizabeth, who was going out for a cruise - next stop Stavanger and Bergen!

You can check out the view from the boat here!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Action Girl

The boys were both busy doing things after tea so I sat down with Mippy and we had a look at the blog. This is often an entertaining way of reflecting on our lives together as a family, and also a valuable way of digesting what they think is interesting or a fun activity.

When I asked her which photo I should put on the blog, she discounted a nice Greg photo I had ready to use, and another than she had taken yesterday of me and Greg cuddled up together; I offered her one of Lewis, but it was clear she wanted (another) one of herself. The one she chose was her with Actionman, a plastic toy that I had found on the beach a few days ago...

And talking of little men, you really should read the Michel Petrucciani article in the Guardian by Michael Radford if you get a chance... talk about not letting disability get in your way to the top.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Batty Betty

Caroline brought some new books home for Miranda earlier, and one of them was Batty Betty. She dressed up immediately and began casting spells on anyone and everyone in sight, turning me into a frog at one point. I think I'm OK now...

Monday, May 16, 2011


Lewis has his maths test tomorrow so our last few days have been filled with cryptic references to formulas and fractions that he can use to work practical examples through. Watching him struggle with things brings back painful memories of not being able to grasp certain things, but then the smile you get when you can tell it's sunk in is rewarding!

On the other end of the scale I had a call from Gran and Grandan, and the satisfaction was repeated when I was able to assist with a Google search and adjust the volume on their iMac. It's so easy to forget how challenging some things are when you don't know the answer.

Anyone know how to solve my equations?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rough and Tumble

As Lewis was working on his Maths revision at home this morning with Mum, Greg and Miranda got the chance to have another bike ride! Greg had his first ride on a big boy's bike (ie Lewis'), as his is getting too small for him.

We went from Denny Wood and this photo is part way round at Standing Hat near Brockenhurst. They always love playing in the trees here. They were both on good riding form today, and it's clear that Greg needs a new bike. At one point they were up ahead of me, and then Greg took off at high speed downhill, Miranda in hot persuit. The sound of them bellowing, and the sight of Miranda weaving from side to side as she precariously followed him was not too enjoyable, but I raced after them certain that I'd be picking her up off the floor any minute....

It was not be, she survived intact! But five minutes later she did come off doing about a quarter of the speed of earlier and this is result - I should have taken the picture when the blood was running down her leg ("You'll never make a war photographer Dad")

This is Miranda reading for me at bedtime - it's Tilly and Todd's tale about Nits

  Miranda tilly+todd by jon-14

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Had a bike ride with Greg and Miranda this morning, and we took this whilst playing Chase me Charlie at Dibden Enclosure on the way back. It wqs a beautiful morning, warm and sunny with birds singing merrily the whole time. In fact I think we heard a cuckoo singing in almost every wooded section we went through. Saw some nice pony and foal combos too. Miranda is a really robust bike rider, she's got good stamina and is very strong too, pushing away on those pedals when many others would have given up.  Shot with the iPhone and edited in Photoshop on the handset...

Below is a sound recording of Lewis playing the guitar recorded tonight, just click on the arrow "and make sure you have sound switched on"

  'Fright Night' by Lewis Maxwell Brown - rec by jon-14

Friday, May 13, 2011


I think it's the mad moments that interest me the most. There are all sorts of moments where you try to record something but the imge fails to represent how I saw it unfold. This one though sums up the littleness of Miranda as she pretends to be her mother, whilst copying her brother, whilst hugging her teddy...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Swing like a monkey

When she goes, she goes...

Miranda playing with her friend from school called Robin, ...and of course there's nothing like being able to show off that inspires self confidence!

She tens to get a bit giddy when she's playing with her friends, so one minute she's playing enthusiastically, but the next she's gone off the top board into the deep end.

Her technique on the swing is improving a lot at the moment, she's virtually got the hang (or swing) of it.

Another iPhone picture - it's quite good at capturing moments, but I struggle without an optical viewfinder.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Family resemblence

I think I'd just got back from my bike ride so I was feeling nicely loosened up! This picture reminds me of the fun I used to have when I had my first decent quality digital camera, the Nikon 990 - it was unusual in that it had a rotating viewfinder, and you could record others candidly, or even yourself if you wished! Of course as soon as I switched to a DSLR I lost that ability to look back at myself.

The front facing camera on the iPhone is fairly low resolution, but nevertheless it's a fun tool to use...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Home from school

Lewis as he came home from school, took off his tie and started telling me about his day... So I took a photo of him, and then we edited on the phone and edited it in Qbro.

He's got a Maths test next week, and is revising, and trying to squeeze in some homework as well

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Carry on Camping

I had intended posting a picture of Lewis sailing a Pico on Southampton Water earlier this afternoon with his Sea Scout chums, but to be fair, it was just a small blue triangle in the distance - nothing to write home about.

This one, taken after we'd been out for a tootle was more in the spirit of a sunny Sunday afternoon. I'm told this was a four/five berth caravan back in the seventies, when  Barry and Janis used it for camping holidays with their three girls! They have just refurbished the little jewel, and we're planning on letting the kids camp out one night in the summer...

The Inner Lives of Wartime Photographers

Saturday, May 07, 2011


After the driest April on record we had some very heavy rain overnight, which didn't dampen our enthusiasm for a bike ride! When Lewis and I got back at lunch time this was our view through the kitchen window. Greg is doing an Aboriginal influenced painting, and Caroline is already ahead of the game.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on the oak flooring coming out of my workroom, a slow but satisfying way of deleting the blue carpet that is one of the few original 'features' of our house.

Very heavy rain this evening too, it's like a mid winter deluge.

Friday, May 06, 2011


A photo from last weekend of Grandan with Elsbeth, who we all joined for her eighteenth birthday. In the blink of an eye we move from 'setting out' to 'seen it all', and yet where have we been and what have we learned along the way?

Enjoy each day for the simple pleaures

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rings on her fingers

I've not posted for a few days as I've been sidedtracked by too many things to do. I needed to get a new floor laid in my workroom, and then there was the tidying up afterwards...

It's not like I didn't have any photos, as I literally have stacks of images from the last week - it's just that the day wasn't long enough and my energy had gone!

This one taken spontaneously when Miranda came in from the garden decorated with daisies.

There's some great photographs in the National Geographic Magazine this month, almost every set is worthy of discussion. In particular though the work of Abelardo Morrell, who is a photographer that I've liked for some time. I almost bought a book of his images when I was in London but couldn't face carrying it home - anyhow check out this superb interview on Lens Culture

Sunday, May 01, 2011

On the crest of a wave

Just back from a long weekend with the clan celebrating Elsbeth's 18th birthday in Holmes Chapel. Lots of nice food and good company to while away the time - and the sun shone!

Had a nice walk in the Derbyshire dales pon the way up, gambolling lambs all around - Lewis in his element.

This picture is from Friday when Lewis, Ian and I went sailing to avoid the endless conversation about the Royal Wedding. Great lunch stop at Newtown on the Isle of Wight, followed by a walk along the coast. We headed back across the Solent at a brisk pace, and had a close encounter witha cruise liner and an enormous oil tanker!