Monday, 17 March 2014

New Things - and one Old Thing

I'm feeling discombobulated ... love the word but hate the feeling.   I've had a big work setback, but also, if you look at it another way, an exciting opportunity. (Well, how else can you look at it?!)

This must be one of the most exciting times in history to be creative, with so many chances to connect that didn't exist even a few years ago. The problem now is not in expressing yourself so much as finding the money and the people to watch what you do. And that's where we've had a slap in the face.  Sigh. Just as well I am philosophical by nature.  In the big picture of life, this comes low down after loved ones, home, and having enough money to get by.

So despite the work problems, it's been a good week, lovely weather, and the best part of a day looking after the babies, pure pleasure

whoops, sorry, wrong picture  - try this one!

He looks as if he is punching her in the head, but luckily he missed.  Both of them are working hard on stretching their arms and legs at the moment, and will soon, I think, be smiling.

Little A has put his first movie on Youtube, a runthrough of a Minecraft session. It's called Miners in the Tardis, reflecting his love of both Minecraft and Dr. Who.   Youtube movies are so popular with kids who like to entertain other children with what they have been doing. The models they copy are usually made by teenagers or young men - here are some on Yogscast.

This stuff isn't taught at school and thousands of kids are doing it, not just the geeks.   Some of the films are really remarkable, often made with Lego, and they express what the children like and think.   Just check out this selection of Lego Mothers Day movies here for instance.  Many mums will have been delighted to get them, I bet.

 Little A is 9 and has got 17 Minecraft movies ready to post.  He saved up all his birthday and pocket money for a year to buy a computer capable of doing what he wants (thank you Cash Converters) , and now he's aiming to take coding lessons so he can do more elaborate stuff.  I'm feeling VERY left behind and making some efforts to understand Minecraft at least, so I can keep up with, um,  let's say the six year olds...

Thought you might like some sights from a day we spent following the course of the hidden river Walbrook, another of Tom Bolton's Hidden Rivers of London walks (the book (here's the Amazon link) is highly recommended if you want to amble through some of London's hidden corners and learn all about them)

These photos were mostly taken in London, EC2.   The tube trains on top of the buildings are now artists studios. How cool is that?

Cats eyes indeed in this wal painting.  Surreal.

And this was very eye catching in an almost deserted street

And this unofficial notice board below

where as you see The Thinker has his back to some unexpected information - I've enlarged the bit in the bottom left of the image below so you can read it more easily.  I wondered why the street was called Curtain Street. and now I know it was named after Shakespeare's theatre. I believe that when the expenses and taxes got too much for Shakespeare's company in Curtain Street they did a moonlight flit and set up at the Globe in Southwark, which was far less regulated, and they left their debts behind them. 

I think the photo below had a kind of Edward* Hopper feel, something about the yellow reflection from the treated glass in the door and the large blank areas. 

This little old house is sandwiched between Starbucks and a modern office. You can only imagine how different this bit of London was in the days when it was built. Can't you imagine people in knee breeches going up the steps to that front door?

The area has been revitalised over the last few years, and in renovated areas I always like to look out for works of art. This one is inside a building, very tall, and here's what it's like looking up, up and upwards inside a tunnel of Spanish tiles that seem to reflect skies and water and dreams.

I just heard from Maria, whose blog Penelope Puddlisms from BC is always one that I enjoy.  She won the prize for her response to the story of the lacemaker,  Little Red Shoes which was on here a while back.  It was a lace collar which belonged to my great-aunt Mab and Maria has done a beautiful job framing it and also written a very interesting post about it here. 

PS *Thank you Meike, for the correction. 


  1. Sorry about the work situation Jenny, and hope things look up. Meantime, there are always the cute babies, love that dear tiny sockless foot! They are wonderful photos of art around London, and I especially like The Thinker, sitting there in an odd corner marking a special historic spot. The elegant little house is wonderful, and reminds me of a childhood book about a little house which started in the country, sat there for years and years and the city rose around it. Looked just like that!

  2. Ha ha that first shot of the babies cracked me up, yep that's pretty typical. :D

    I'd love to have an art studio in an old tube train. Very cool and fun indeed.

    I hope your work situation improves very soon.

  3. I have been terribly remiss in visiting other blogs, but so glad I visited yours this morning. You always find the most interesting places ... it's good to know that in my far too cloistered winter, life was continuing on such a grand level. Love your images and those two little sweeties remind me Life holds great promise of good.

  4. I do hope something new and exciting comes your way, you are being very philosophical and positive. Such an interesting post! I love the tube trains as studios- Jane xx

  5. How is it that those photographs of the babies made me think of cossack dancers!

    I'm sorry about the set back...always disappointing after putting so much effort into a project.

    Hearing of Little A's abilities at nine has made me feel completely inadequate...!

  6. Commiserations re the work, Jenny. Hopefully other (better?) opportunities will come down the line at some point. And I am enjoying these London photos - there are times when I miss the big city!

  7. My commiserations too, re the work, Jenny. That can knock the motivation a bit, can't it? The babies are just too lovely, so no wonder they lift your spirits. I love the one of them howling too! So precious that they do some much together. Your photos of London always fascinate me. I would so love to follow you one day and find these forgotten corners! I hope your work situation looks up soon!

  8. Oh, those babies are dripping with sugar (as we say in my part of Texas)! What a joy they are. And I loved thinking about that little house and men in knee breeches walking up to it~

  9. So sorry to hear of the work set-back and I do hope that other interesting things will take its place.
    I love both the baby pictures, and your London views are endlessly interesting.
    The 'hidden rivers' book is a gem. I gave it to my son as a recent gift

  10. I've had interesting studios over the years but none were as interesting as working out of an elevated train tube.

  11. I like your street pictures :)

  12. Hi, this is my first visit here and I am in awe of your photos and the places you find. I like murals on buildings and yes, the one photo looks like a Hopper painting. The old house between tall buildings and the artists' studios created from railway/metro cars. Wow.

  13. It's fun to have the babies around, even with the intermittent crying (wailing/screaming/shrieking). Or, in my case, mewing. Hope the work setback isn't too far back, and moves something else forward quickly!

  14. How tiny that little foot out of the green sock is, I can't believe it!! I'd be scared out of my wits if I was in charge of looking after two such little ones, I'd probably do everything wrong and would be so afraid to break something.

    The old house framed by the modern buildings is a great picture, so very symbolic!

    And you really got me there with "Edwin" Hopper - I didn't trust my own memory and went to look him up on wikipedia (where of course I found Edward Hopper and then knew I had remembered him correctly).

    Hopefully, there will new and exciting work opportunities galore for you! (Just not too many, since they'd then take up all your time and you wouldn't be writing such interesting blog posts anymore.)

  15. Ah your babies ... it sounds like you need their wonderfulness, if other stuff is going t*ts up a bit.

  16. Grateful for the sympathy everyone - thanks. I am sure something else interesting will come along. I'm glad that someone else likes Hidden Rivers - I hope your son enjoys it Judith! Shelly, what a sweet expression, "dripping with sugar"! and Val, Theresa, Patricia and Joe, in fact everyone who liked the baby pictures. I really must stop posting these or else the whole blog will be baby-centred. :)

  17. The old and the new....the best of the new are those two beautiful bubs. It can be a full time job just spending hours looking at the dear little pets...savour every moment.

    I love the street art.

  18. Oh, Jenny-- so sorry about the work bit. Hope it wasn't the BBC, something more easily replaced by good travel and writing. But what a joy to watch the duo! They're so darned cute (well, I'm sure the crying in tandem looked cuter to us than it felt to you at the time!). How fun. And this is a splendid area to showcase. I love the street art and what fascinating history!

    Please don't stop posting the babies. They give me great joy!

  19. Oh I think you can tell we love seeing those baby pics Jenny, they're so delightful. I love the first, sometimes it's good to just have a howl!!
    Sorry some things aren't working out. Life can be a pain at times.
    You introduced me to a whole new world of things I didn't realise were going on. How clever is your Little A - making those movies. Congratulations on him saving up like that to get a computer too - well done.
    Love all those wall paintings and now I'm off to read Maria's post.
    Cheerio for now :D)

  20. I immediately thought the one baby was punching the other, too.

    Love all the street art and especially those beautiful tiles.

  21. Love the pictures of the babies. So precious!. Oh how I would love to have a studio in one of the tube cars....ingenious!

  22. You're allowed to be 'baby-centred' for the moment Jenny! I liked the first shot, full of action!
    Unfortunate indeed about the setback but as you say a philosophical nature is a god-send.
    I enjoyed the series of images you chose to share - wonderful!
    Enjoy this new week Jenny!

  23. Those babies remind me of my twin grandchildren and it seems like only yesterady, and now they are six years old and nattering away on facetime. My grandson too has produced Minecraft videos (with Daddy’s help of course).

  24. Sweet babies and loving those amazing murals. Yes, still so much to celebrate in life. Each and every day!

  25. I am so sorry to hear of your problems with work, and I hope they will be worked out quickly and new opportunities will come your way.

    This post was full of so many interesting things. First of all those beautiful twins. You have us all smiling.

    Minecraft and Lego videos are all the rage with adolescents and my grandchildren are also very involved with both.

    Your pictures of London are wonderful, as usual, and show me places that I would never have the opportunity to see and I thank you for that.

  26. I don't think you need to worry about your blog becoming too baby-centric. They're adorable, and it makes us feel good just to look at them.

    Love all the pictures. The murals are amazing.

  27. Adore the photos of the babies ! both shots. As for the babies taking over your blog hahahahahaah of course they will !
    I only blog three days a week the Friday post is always The Square Dog post and it is always the most read. Babies and pets they are always take over.
    Must look up the book on Amazon.
    Love love love the tile. I want that in my home.
    Sorry about the setback but something will turn around.

    cheers, parsnip

  28. It's a blessing you can put it all in perspective. Looking at those little faces--yup! Just does show one what is important in life. And the kids these days put me to shame with their computer knowledge. I can't imagine what those twins will be able to do in just ten years time!

    Of all your interesting pictures--the house hidden between the tall buildings fascinated me the most. I wanted to go inside!! ;)

  29. Aawwwww cute babies. Even when they are bawling their eyes out.

  30. Lovely babies, Jenny! When they are crying or smiling! I think you're a great granny. Sorry you had a setback but the life is life, I see you're the strong lady. I've watched the YouTube movie, must say your little A is talented kid!
    Have a nice week!

  31. As always I enjoyed the trip to parts of London, especially that old house that remains between huge buildings. The real treat though is those babies. How you must enjoy them.


  32. Adorable babies... oh couldn't I just love them to bits. Thank you so much for sharing their photographs, oh and the shots of London of course.

  33. The pictures of the babies (and your comments) made me smile!

    Little A seems to have a knack for anything computer related...he'll probably go far. Good for him!

    And I love your "London Street Photography" - we all get to see things we wouldn't ever see otherwise.

  34. You are right about the rise of creativity. It is an age of mass creativity we are entering which on the one hand is intellectually stimulating but it is also challenging in that the boundary between what is paid work and what is unpaid leisure is blurred.

  35. Some wonderful pics. I love the tube trains cum studios and the figure on the wall (who is he, I wonder?) And I love the wall of Spanish tiles - it looks very calming and soothing.

    I also wondered why it was called Curtain Road. Thanks for the explanation. Very amusing that Shakespeare just left all his debts behind him. A common practice that continues to this day!

  36. Another super tour through a long gone river.
    These tours are fab, taking me to places I missed.

  37. Well that's me now up to date with your blog posts. I'm sorry to hear about the setback but hope, like all your followers, that the positive things outweigh the negative.

    Oh and I think that I've actually seen the tube train carriages on top of the buildings. I spent some time in London when our son Andrew lived there and whilst I didn't do much in the way of exploring I think I used to pass them occasionally. That won't be special to many of your London readers but most of the places you show are completely unknown to me despite the time I used to spend there.

  38. Really enjoyed visiting your blog today. Love the pictures of London! Thank you for sharing.

  39. Sorry about your work. The photos of those babies are beautiful and the little ones are adorable.

    Have a nice weekend.

  40. Lovely snaps.....I find the babies' bawling picture just as endearing....! Cor, I'm dying to be a granny

  41. Oh, hopefully all the positives would outweigh the negatives. Loved the pictures and the videos.


  42. Hi Jenny,

    Your positive attitude towards your work setback is refreshing and upbeat. When things don't quite go according to plan, indeed, we can open our eyes to other opportunities. As per usual, your words and your photos, most insightful.

    Time to undiscombobulate. A hopeful, positive weekend to you, dear friend.


  43. You take the most interesting and intelligent pictures. You have an eye and an understanding, I'm grateful that you share them with me. And the babies are adorable! It makes me want to snuggle my laptop.

  44. Good Ole Minecraft! My son is 12 and is absolutely obsessed with it! And yes, he is also crazy about youtube and watches many different people on there.... I don't have the time to search others out and watch them, but the kids of today sure do like it!
    I love the pictures of the babies, it cracks me up when I see the sock kicked off, I swear my babies would forever lose socks! Of course my oldest baby is now 22... sigh.
    I also like the pictures of all of the street art... Great photography!
    I hope you're having a great weekend,
    Much love,

  45. Jenny, you have a marvelous eye for the unusual. Thanks for sharing,

  46. Your two photos of the babies are funny – the first photo happens when they are hungry or upset I bet and they must have strong voices! I like all your pictures, and they are quite diverse. The cats coming out of the eyes is very original. Sorry about work, but as you say there will be other opportunities. I do like those paintings on the wall. Great post.

  47. Great series of thought-provoking pics. Hope all sorts itself out on the work front!


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