Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Seriously Good Milkfloat

A busy, multi-tasking sort of day, working on three different books, two journals and a looseleaf. Thankfully, the weather has been glorious once again today, so the tent and the big new paddling pool are both up and have been much used (though not by me, I must confess). I can't say this resulted in a 'quiet' day, exactly, but at least all the noise was outside, and not indoors.

Race for Life contributions are still trickling in, so I'm edging ever closer to my £600 target. Thanks again, everyone - pics on the blog below this one. My sister Catherine started chemo today and we're all hoping that that will be that until after the wedding, so she has a chance for the inevitable side-effects to wear off and to regain some strength. She's facing it all with good humour and courage, which are entirely characteristic, but still never fail to amaze me, given the circumstances

Saw a photograph today which reminded me very much of the Parisian scenes of my photographic hero, Eugene Atget www.tunickart.com/atget.html . I first discovered him when I was in my teens, and was enchanted at first sight. I've seen the work of hundreds if not thousands of photographers in the many intervening years, but Atget was my first true love and I am always drawn back to his elegiac images of forlorn lichen-clad statues and crumbling balustrades, mist-enveloped gardens and ancient organ grinders.

Here's someone who's creating a similar kind of photographic record of a great city - in this case Edinburgh - for our own times http://www.henniker.org.uk/ . He's probably not the only person doing it (it would be good to find someone working at it in black and white), but he's certainly amassed an impressive collection of images here. One of the best things about the site is that the pics blow up to fill the screen, so you get to see a huge amount of detail. There are plenty of fascinating links, too - it's one of those sites you land on and become so absorbed that you completely lose track of time.

Received a couple of emails today from Scott Russell of Paddy and Scott's Seriously Good Coffee www.paddyandscotts.co.uk/index.html . 'Pride, Passion and commitment to perfection' , they declare on their website, and I can certainly endorse the 'perfection' bit - their ground coffee is simply superb. As if the flavour weren't enough to recommend it, I love the fact that the beans are hand-roasted in the Suffolk village of Earl Soham, not too far from the Muddy Island. It comes in four blends plus water-processed decaf. Best of all is the fact that Paddy and Scott are committed to working only with small-plantation coffee producers who offer a sustainable and fair environment for all those involved. As part of their ‘Fairer Trade’ ethos, they are in the process of setting up an educational trust to fund schools within coffee growing areas - see http://www.fairertrade.info/ .

'Coast' tonight www.bbc.co.uk/coast was East Anglian - King's Lyn to Felixstowe - so quite close to home, really. Reminded me that a day-trip to Southwold and Walberswick is long overdue, and something to make time for in the next week or two. And Neil Oliver . . . sigh, what a voice . . .

And finally, beside my keyboard (the trendy black one with the worn-down keys, remember? - see Half of what I say is meaningless: A word in my ear ) sits an old, old friend, whom I haven't seen for absolutely years. Discovered in a box of miscellaneous junk in the recently reorganised garage . . . my beloved Matchbox Commer Milk Float (Model No 21) circa 1963 (at least). It is that wonderful shade of pistachio green which disappeared from the colour chart in the 1970s but is now quite popular in a retro, shabby chic kind of a way. The best thing about it was (and remains) the pointy plastic milk bottles stacked inside. I used to press my fingers onto them so hard that it hurt and then inspect the neat matrix of indentations in the skin, which took a surprisingly long time to disappear. I can still do this. It still hurts. I love it and it's going to stay right beside me on my desk forever. Goodnight.

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