Thursday 22 September 2011


A work colleague showed me some old board games he had knocking around the other day. These diagrams came from the instructions to a sub-subbuteo football game based on tiddlywinks. Due to the haircut and clothes of the guy playing table top football with two perfectly happy and grinning children on the photo on the box, we guessed the game dated from the 1960s.

What is it about the combination of sans serif, geometry, dotted lines, arrows, and red & black that will always appeal to me?

Saturday 17 September 2011

A town called modest

Rabobank riding through Christchurch Park without a parkie in sight

I've never previously understood the phrase, "it'll be good for the town", often repeated by local newspapers and parochial councillors talking up some event. I heard a local official stating it on the radio yesterday when talking about the Tour of Britain. I could never quite work out what was meant by 'good', always assuming that whoever was saying it meant financially. Cynically I thought, 'great, so the local Chamber of Commerce is happy, but what about the people working in shitty jobs for crap money'. But today I got a sense that the phrase was as much about the perception of where you live. There are a lot of positive things happening in Ipswich at the moment, culturally and socially. Its not perfect, obviously, and lots of opportunities aren't being realised, but the Tour of Britain coming to Ipswich today did feel 'good'. It was great to watch the riders come through a local park as crowds lined the paths and cheered them on.

The Tour of Britain website says of Ipswich, "…the birthplace of Cardinal Wolsey [is] a modest town with a big ambition. Ipswich is in the throes of cultural renaissance now boasting a state-of-the-art new DanceHouse and University located along the rejuvenated Waterfront amongst a bevy of bistros and restaurants."

A modest town with big ambitions. I'll settle for that.

Sunday 11 September 2011

Up above the streets and houses

Claire and I took Timmy the dog for a walk in the rain yesterday early evening. As the clouds cleared away, a fantastic full double rainbow revealed itself. Unfortunately my camera phone was never going to be able to do justice to this amazing optical illusion but the photo above at least sets the scene. However, what was interesting, other than the natural visual phenomena itself, and the fact that a few other people also walking across the field stopped and gaped in awe just as Claire and I did, was that a train running along the bottom of the field slowed right down, we assume, to allow the passengers to gaze at this wondrous sight. It was one of those moments that demanded you look. Nothing else, just look.

Timmy largely ignored the spectacle.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Thursday 8 September 2011

Sunday 4 September 2011

Plantation Garden, shhh!

Yesterday, Claire and I took my Mum to a 'secret garden' in Norwich that some friends introduced us to last year. Started in 1856, the garden was abandoned after the Second World War, but has been slowly restored since the 1980s. It is one of those special places that demands you sit back and relax in wonder.

However, the reason for me posting about it here is to showcase these wonderful 'medieval' walls that run around certain sections of the garden, lining the banks of what was once a chalk pit.

I love the fact that found remnants of different buildings appear to have just been shoved into the wall as seemed appropriate at the time, creating a bespoke folk art memorial of different dwellings from the local area. A complete hodgepodge, it juxtaposes amusingly against the more formal aspects of the garden.

Alongside this, there are church window arches and gargoyles placed in flower boarders, seemingly at random, that give the place a strange quirkiness not dissimilar in feel to Clough Williams-Ellis' Portmeirion.

If you are in Norwich and want to get out of the hustle and bustle, then it's well worth finding the time to pay the gardens a visit. Check The Plantation Garden website for more details of its history, restoration, and more importantly, how to get there. Just don't tell too many people.

Mirror image

For some reason someone decided it would be a good idea to mirror the windows in the building behind the one I work in. This leads to a disconcerting sight every time I look out of the window; I see the roof of the building I'm in reflected back at me, below the roof of the building I am looking at! If I glance down, I see the windows of the floor below me. Windows within windows!

It has been like this all week, and it catches me out every time I turn around from my desk. Thankfully the floor height of where I am based and of those adjacent are different. I will therefore never catch a reflection of myself staring back at me as if standing in a different building. That really would be freaky.