Sunday, August 31, 2014

The end of August and Holiday's nearly over

Well it's the last day of August and in the next few days most of the School- children (with students a bit later) will be returning to the educational establishments to start their new academic years.
I'm not condoning it

The long summer break acts as a clear boundary between the academic years and is historically linked with the agricultural year when all labour was needed to help gather in the harvest.

The Bourne family used to usually have a fortnight away in  self catering accommodation (with maternal grandparents)  at a UK holiday resort the rest of the summer holiday time was my own and I spent or (wasted it) pretty much as I wished - holiday homework in those days was minimal, if any and tinkering (as I still do) was my occupation.
What more could you want?

As a youngster I had mixed feelings over the break, missing the camaraderie of the classroom and playground (but not really the studying) - I (like many others) did used to get bored - seems that this is less of a problem for youngsters today and not something I've experienced for a long time either.

Having said that there are studies and assertions that boredom does serve a purpose and that the hyperactivity now prevalent does deny some development that 'not having anything to do'  created.

There was for me a golden age from around eleven to sixteen when (in hindsight) I used to run pretty free, I was not a model child or even someone I'd recommend other youngsters emulate but in 1970's  semi- rural Essex the worse you could get up to was pretty mild by today's measures.

Memory is a troublesome companion who throws us deceptive messages - end of term with Fire extinguishers being set off to the soundtrack of Alice Cooper, wandering across fields of corn  and an illicit beer, is this what happened?

At 16 things changed as I got a holiday job and (I suppose) became an apprentice in the rat-race but before that I was pretty care-free.

The chance to run free though does teach you things and it is a time I look back on with some warmth - hopefully the modern youngster will have something similar to reflect on when  six weeks no longer feels like a lifetime,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre - To Kill a Mockingbird and demolition in West Ealing

Well to 'Kill a Mockingbird' if you're like me you've heard of the story (by Harper Lee) and perhaps caught some of the film on TV at some time (I don't think I've seen it but know that Gregory Peck is the lead).
It's inspirational

Well here's some news for you, the 'Story' is powerful, perhaps and even maybe hopefully a little dated but it's certainly  worth experiencing in some form.

Yesterday evening we had the  pleasure of seeing it at Regent's Park Open-Air Theatre - the rain kept off and I remained awake (surely the ultimate accolade for the production).

Although a little wary at the start of the overtly theatrical commencement and the minimalist staging, I was drawn in and felt the injustice and the heroism of Atticus Finch - strange to think that Harper Lee in these celebrity besotted days  has remained something of both an inspiration and an enigma through her single book literary career.

The production in fact worked well and my early fears were groundless, action words (and music) all integrated well and characterisation although in some places a little 2 dimensional was good.

His Lordship's kindness
I heard other audience members talking about the book as a set text when they were at School - seems such things are not necessarily endorsed by educationalists at this time if they were I reckon it would be a good book for a school to look at

Anyway many thanks Nick for the treat!

Old flats in West Ealing make way for the new.

I've noted before that West Ealing is improving and more evidence yesterday as demolition of part of the unloved Green Man estate - proceeded, this seems to be straightforward work -in the video  note the water being used to keep dust down.
Was someone's home recently

Let's hope the replacement looks and works better than these discredited designs.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Out and about in Ealing

Well Ealing retail continues to focus on restaurants and the like near the Town Hall there's a dedicated Gelato  outlet and near Ealing Broadway station an 'Afters' is soon to open presumably with the aim to further undermine our health.

Will they do coffee too? (yes of course)
The new eateries either side of Wagamama's are progressing apace,  it looks like this one will beat Turtle Bay (where the Post Office used to be) but not sure if there's a first mover advantage to be had.
Goodness it's not a coffee shop 

Traffic in the Broadway nearly back to normal and  I know it's not universally liked but I still think it's a nice looking renovation (The Arcadia centre that is).
I still like it.

Photographer - Alex Arnaoudov

Some nicely presented  Photographs at For Art's Sake in Bond Street by Bulgarian guy Alex Arnaoudov.

Those on display in the window include Ealing scenes - I'm not sure how much he will get per sale but for £100 or so the nicely framed pictures don't seem outrageous to me.

He's the guy with the camera

And an example of his work.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The days of El Vino

On the walk from Millennium Bridge

On Tuesday I walked from St Paul's to Chancery Lane and was interested to see history as I strolled,  first was this inscription.

It seems that the Worshipful Company of Upholders was a guild setting standards in upholstery which continues to this day.

Here's a photograph of  people taking a photograph nearby- the iconic view of St Paul's will be behind them.
Smile please

As I walked further I reached Fleet Street once the home of the UK press and what more important building for many years than El Vino - here's a story about Sexual politics in the 1980s that goes with the demise of the area (perhaps) and an article from a revisit more recently.

The El Vino bar  casts a  shadow and houses some ghosts perhaps?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

National, Tate and yet another Ealing Coffee shop

A few workaday things to do yesterday and decided to supplement them with a cultural visit or two one was the  National Gallery, very busy with rain adding to the crowds and some staff training at the Gallery delaying the  opening of some rooms.
National in the rain

What I did pay attention to was the Joachim Beuckelaer  Four Elements very well displayed in the gallery and quite amazing works from the 16th Century Flemish artist full of life and meaning too.

There's a tremendous number of devotional work in the National and another artist who caught my attention would feature in this area the artist was  Lo Spagna and the work I was taken with was 'Christ carrying the cross' Lo was from Spain and worked a few years prior to Joachim.

The third artist who was revelation to me was Andrea Mantegna, The introduction of the cult of Cybele was a very unusual work - it's a work from around 1505 and rather a trick of the eye in that it gives the effect of sculpted stone. Mantegna was an Italian Artist born in the year 1431 so this work was completed near the end of his life (he died in 1506).

After the National I went to Tate Modern to take a look at the Malevich  exhibition - the Tate was even busier than the National but as ticket or membership was required  for this viewing the numbers were not so bad (also the run of the  Matisse cut outs is nearing it's end).
Worth a look.

I was not over excited by the Malevich on display and preferred that which was figurative, the abstract and 'Suprematism' seemed rather without emotion and too considered but it sometimes is of benefit to see work outside that which one normally gravitates to and the work undoubtedly has a place in contemporary Art  history.

I would also now revise my view on the Northfields Road street art - it reminds me as much of Malevich as Kandinsky.

Coffee shops continue

Well it looks like I got it wrong the bubble's not burst - good luck to them  (a new Ealing coffee shop ) but let's have some other retailers please.

Something else too please

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A sad story - help if you can..

Yesterday afternoon/evening I was close to Northfields Station in Ealing and saw a number of these 'flyers' attached to lampposts and the like - on reading it it's difficult not to sympathise with the plight - if you come across the unusual item (a very much 'one-off' ring with Wood, Bone and Plastic in it) do help -

The e-mail if you can assist is 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ana Tzarev - Love and Peace

Love and Peace by Ana Tzarev 
Looking through some photo's I've taken I was curious about the image above taken by me recently 'en route' to Tate Britain.
The Artist is working towards positive outcomes from her work and you can find out more about the project here and upload a photo too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blimey - it's an Outdoor cinema in Ealing

In Ealing yesterday to book our holiday, first time I've seen it and it does look a bit  funny doesn't it?
While developers get sorted out it's the best Ealing Cinema we have and it's top of the multi-storey car park in Springbridge Road.

Can you keep the rain out?
I suppose my idea of the classic  outdoor cinema is drawn from a mixture of American Garaffiti, Happy Days  and the Flintstones - this looks more like a cross between Eastbourne beach and Wimbledon and I'm not sure what it's like when we're under the Heathrow flightpath - if you've been let me know what it's like and if you enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Riverside Hammersmith gets poignant and reflecting on a revisit

No longer around
I was in Hammersmith yesterday and rather liked the film tribute that the Riverside Studios gently played to a couple of film stars (Robin W and Lauren B) that have recently departed.

Also on display there a was an understated history of the site/studios in photographic form from its industrial past through its film studio and BBC days to the present day where it finds itself filling a number of purposes including an on-line virtual venue (it did this for David Bowie a few years back).

When I headed back to the station in Hammersmith  I took a photo of a modern office block where a church  was clearly reflected in it - I'd like to try and capture this more effectively but getting the sun and position  might not be as easy as I might hope.
I'd like to try this one again and better capture the church reflection

Friday, August 22, 2014

Froth dissipating as the Coffee Bubble bursts?

News that the Tesco backed coffee chain Harris + Hoole was closing some outlets only months after proclaiming it was on course to double (March 2014 story) might herald the end of the expansion of high street coffee shops, I'm personally so so about  Harris + Hoole.
Not so crowded

Alternatively it might just be that this particular brand lacks what it takes to set it apart from the established shops either way this recession - proof business is not looking so much like a guaranteed banker - so which chains are continuing to bring home the beans and why?
The outside of Zee

Well it seems that for the rest of UK (not me I'm afraid) Costa's the 'numero uno' of the caffeinated beverage and Starbuck's is up there too - for me of the chains. it's Caffe Nero (why the extra F? - because there's no F in Tax paid perhaps) that I would elect to visit - I'm not sure if it's only about the drink but their Cappuccino is my default selection, I also like the fact that they have papers to read and are slightly under-lit .

It seems in Ealing the Harris and Hoole is not under threat despite the centre having multiple Neros and Starbucks (as well as a Costa)  - yesterday I visited Cafe Zee for the first time, it seemed pretty good but am not sure about the economics there- it's a big place with quite a number of staff and my coffee was delivered to me by hand at my table (I'd give the coffee a 7 out of 10 from my own personal taste perspective) - I hope it continues to survive but again not sure that it can offer a big enough differentiation to the established outlets.

I have a theory that the coffee shop has replaced the pub as the watering hole for chat and gossip (and look  I'm not alone with this theory) - shame but there you go.

The things you can 'enjoy' with a chain is consistency in taste (the coffee that is)  and decor and if the chain has it, 'Loyalty' rewards - let's face it for the chain keeping you is pretty much worthwhile - £10 per week in a coffee shop is probably quite moderate for the average office serf- over a working lifetime that should not be sneezed at.

Seems that what I suspect is another Coffee shop down towards the Town Hall is nearly finished - we shall see..

Well ' is it or isn't it going to sell coffee?'

Thursday, August 21, 2014

More picking and we are/are we what we eat and drink?

Well I 'm busy picking and reports from third parties are that the  Sweetcorn is good  I was also was told that the Aubergines are nice so am planning to try these very soon.
Rich pickings on Wednesday
Well Laden with Plums

I need to pick apples soon am less sure of Pears which don't look great.

I picked and cooked a dozen or so plums yesterday (the tree, a Victoria variety  was planted in January 2012) and had some with custard (it seemed right as opposed to Yogurt, Cream or Ice-Cream) they were nice and  there are quite a few left so as they say happy days.

Doctors can advise but our diets are for us to choose

I suppose there's a common tendency by people to measure life by it's duration and a common preoccupation (shared by me) is a concern for diet - well (like almost everyone else I think) I'm confused and not sure of the best strategy.

There's an eminently reasonable Doctor bloke (Dr Michael Mosley - Should I eat Meat?) with a series on the BBC and what I've got from him is don't eat processed meat, moderate your red meat and that seems okay (ish).

Having seen that I thought well aren't the Japanese and Mediterranean diets meant to be the healthiest and I'd reckon they might go for hams and the like.
Not those Doctors silly

Then this morning I was reading a piece about drinking - a journalist had stopped drinking for 2 months (on a vague medical suggestion from his doctor) - well he seemed to reckon he felt worse and  no real improvement on his health - but he did reckon he'd reduce from now on.

Well I suppose my take on this is that it seems to be commonly agreed that Smoking is bad for you as is being overweight, over reliance on drink/drugs is not good but we should perhaps concern ourselves (mainly) with our lives and not over think everything particularly with respect to diets, some people are inclined to addictive behaviour and need help others of us might be lucky enough to be in a position to take appropriate steps to regulate our food intake in a non-extreme manner.

[The image was chosen as not having copyright issues which I hope it doesn't]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Remember the days of the old school yard - tree planting in 2007/8

In what feels like a past life I spent time learning a bit about horticulture (in fact I attained a triple distinction BTEC in Horticulture in 2009 from Capel Manor Gunnersbury).

Amongst the many practical things we did were a couple of planting projects at a local ( Primary) Ealing school yesterday I passed near the school and took a quick look.
The front of the school now with grass, shrubs and tree

The school looks good and is expanding as more children come of school age in Ealing.
When we did our tree planting we were given complimentary school lunch which was actually quite  nice and odd to have chairs and dishes in miniature.

Because we were actually doing some manual tasks some of the kids at the school presumed that we were Polish which must say something I suppose.
Back in 2008 with Neeth

Planning is everything (2007/8)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back in Tate and Thomas Cubitt the builder

Although it's only about a week since I visited Tate Britain it was no hardship to make a speedy return yesterday.
Kevin -'Show me the art' 

Visiting with an old school friend (Kevin pictured) changed the experience and again the gallery was uncrowded   -After looking once again at the Folk Art we looked at various stretches of the BP walk particularly looking at the period around 1880 to 1910.

Kevin is a fan of the darker images (he really likes Gwen John)  but we both agreed on the spectacular talent of Joseph Wright of Derby and his work the  1771/2 version of  The Blacksmith's Shop on show at The Tate Britain we both also enjoyed (to my mind) the underrated  Sickert's work.

I was surprised how much Kevin was taken with the huge Phyllida Barlow Dock installation in the Duveen Galleries too.
Blimey! That's big.

Thomas Cubitt the builder and Camilla's Great Grandfather.

The way that London integrates it's past and present is well demonstrated by the apposite placing of the  statue to Thomas Cubitt in Pimlico.

Cubitt was pretty much the 'goto builder' of his time  and as well as extending Buckingham Palace he supervised the move of Marble Arch and is repsonsible for many of the high class squares in Belgravia .

Thomas is the great grandfather of the Prince of Wales  current wife Camilla.
A builder remembered 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Compost hits new highs and old Ealing restaurants

On Sunday I took a break from picking to turn over my compost and add to the area.
Compost city on Plot 202

I hope that this will be sufficient to create a steady flow of compost provides the necessary space.

Allotment compost is potentially a rich soil conditioner but can lack some of the varieties of materials that one adds to a 'backyard' mixture which gets the coffee grounds tea bags and vacuum cleaner dust.

On moving around the compost from what were over full containers I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the mixture - here's a good site on composting for the allotment.

Eateries come and go 

Last week we had a celebratory meal (Birthday) at Charlotte's Place just off Ealing Common it's my current favourite local eatery for such occasions but it reminded me of what was for quite a few years a really enjoyable place Noughts and Crosses run By Jurgen and Anthony who then went on to open a splendid small hotel in Dorset Called The Old Vicarage.

In fact an episode of Only Fools and Horses featured the restaurant and I recall  the mural that was there with a slightly sinister cat.

After they left Ealing the restaurant became The Grove (nothing like as good in my opinion).

I think Anthony and Jurgen left the UK a few years back for another project - anyway here's what used to be their Ealing restaurant now a housing agency of some sort..

We had some great times at Noughts and Crosses 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Joys of tweeting and Public Photo's

I'm not sure exactly how this tweeting stuff works even though I'm sending a few photographic tweets out there .
Someone says an example of 'a good eye'

What I will say is that  it felt good to be told (not sure by whom) that one one picture  'Well Done, you have a good eye'  and also find that another image has been re-tweeted.

Taking Public Photo's

One of the big topics on the Business of photography course   I recently attended   at CityLit  was taking photo's in public, there are  always issues around pictures that include children but I hope the one below is not controversial.

I recall when I first started taking photo's their was (in the UK) no issue but I think at this time I was really only aware of taking photo's of people in the family or those who wanted a photo taken.

Later on traveling to other countries and experiencing other cultures I was slightly bemused by the idea that permission should be sought from 'the public' and that some people thought that a picture would 'capture their soul' (perhaps it does?)

Now I suppose we've nearly gone full circle although it's legal and legitimate to take pictures in most public spaces there are clearly 'good practices' that should be observed - as Grant though pointed out there does seem to be a different set of rules for children in Gaza as opposed to those outside a local school in England.

The lines are of course blurred (as Robin Thicke would say) with the widespread use of Camera-phones and Tablets to capture some  pretty high quality (in terms of  pixels)  images and the rise of the 'Glass-holes'.

Warning - A Public occasion -may include children

Where's the wedding Planner when you need 'em  (and the Photographer too)

 Well done! You've got a good eye.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Open your diary for the architectural open days and Ealing Morrison's improves things (I reckon)

Open House London

A great chance

Next Month we all get a chance to visit buildings that are generally out of bounds - there's quite a list which I won't go into but here's the link and the dates are September 20th and 21st.

And here's a Telegraph article about it.

 Ealing Arcadia-  Two point Zero

Okay well if you didn't get my earlier tweet here's another view of what will be the new Morrison's in Ealing (yes I'm tweeting a few photos so do follow me tjbourne).

Well I'm glad to see that the new Morrison's in Ealing is not going too be too much of an eyesore- the screens have come down (thank you nurse) and all is revealed.

Almost worth the wait.
 It's also good to see that the Australian establishment next to Bill's on New Broadway is keeping our interest engaged with  a message close to our hearts it's due to open in a week or so-  hope they have some more 'dry' comments before then.
Fag ash Lil waits patiently.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feast not Famine on Plot 202

Well like almost all hobbies horticulture can mean spending (some) money but as many buyers are so influenced by the weather if you choose the right time of year there are bargains to be had.

Yesterday we went to nearby Osterley Garden Centre and as well as half price seeds (miniature Sweetcorn, mini  Cucumbers and decorative Chillies) we got a half price Polythene grow tunnel.
A place for everything
Puncture repairman to the rescue.

In fact it's just about a year since I got (a very nice) wheelbarrow but I've had to replace the inner tube as it (somehow) became punctured - I was luck and had very good service in finding a suitable inner tube with a 45 degree valve .

At least 3 types

Well in fact what I'm doing most now is picking things and harvesting - today 3 different types of potatoes, Swift (white early), Desiree (red)  and some little black-ish ones that were self setters.
One of several

I reckon Prince would love the Plums (quite Purple and nearly ready) I also picked a Cabbage and the Pumpkins are beginning to look intimidating too.

Cabbages fit for  Kings
Prince would love the plums

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Local TV a Broadcasting wet squib? New Lords Whip and Tomatoes start

British TV has developed rapidly since the de/re regulation of the Thatcher Years and along the way there has been a distinct move to bigger and less local services as a reaction to this the last but one Culture secretary's Big Idea was Local/City TV.

Why did James Hunt think it'd work? Well it has in some countries, in Canada for example it  has flourished but let's look at what I (and perhaps others) want from Local TV - basically I want immediate news that's local and specific to me, I don't want the 23rd opportunity to see Peep Show or Coupling.

What do I get, some local (from often London's centre) news and a mixture of programmes, some with a vague London connection and reruns - why would I change my viewing habits for this?
If there's a big London story it'll be on (at least) one of the 24 hour news channels and there's 'catch up' and dedicated channels where I can see Peep Show.

Local news is better served by sites like (for me) Get West London News or twitter.

So this sounds bleak-ish for Local TV in London (London Live) with a fairly big budget and the advantage  of being part of The Evening Standard organisation - imagine what it's like in the smaller franchises  - well you don't need to Birmingham TV has gone bust without even making it to air.

What I see to be the only workable (commercially) arrangement is the STV one running North of the Border - perhaps DCMS should look again?
[There's a nice consideration of the issue by John Myers here]

A new Lords Whip -Lord Bourne
Westminster -UK Government 

Amazing that it's only about a year since Nick's appointment to 'The Lords was made - great that he's already making a move up and has a new role in the Lords as Whip announced this week-well done Nick.

{Whips in the Lords have a slightly different job than in the Commons where they're mainly meant to keep the party MPs in line with the government]

 Oh dear- now it's the 'Tomatoes'.

A Lucky fall?

Well the weather must have been worse than I realised, some damage to a tree and a Sweetcorn plant (we've started eating these and they're good).
Fortunately the tree/branch only took off a few plums it could have been a whole lot worse and after 30 minutes or so of rapid sawing I'd managed to clear the bits away.

The wind caused no damage to the tomatoes and it looks like there'll be quite a few from now on -also some aubergines (small ones though) are now appearing.
Nice little 'Toms'

An even cuter Aubergine