Pandemic Pondering #140

Cityscapes, a word ripe with possibilities.

I describe myself as an abstract landscape artist but in truth many of them are urban inspired, Cityscapes might be the word.

The pandemic has slightly changed the way I work but in essence I consider a landscape/cityscape to include close observations of just a tiny fragment of the viewed surroundings as well as massive milewide vistas. I love the juxtaposition of manmade materials and nature. The way plants find a crack and grow in it with tenaciousness and vitality, nature will always win.

It’s not just my work that has been altered by the Pandemic. This delightful view of London owes its clarity to the lowering of pollution during Lockdown. A Massive Cityscape in every sense of the word.

A Cityscape is more accessible by foot than the equivalent rural landscape and in many ways more interesting and unique.

This butterfly has settled on Church Road , Crystal Palace. Just outside 66a.

66a was once the home of a stand-up comedian, Daniel Kitson, who has painted a whole comedy cityscape based on this address.
http://www.chortle.co.uk/review/2008/01/01/35862/sixty-six_a_church_road:_a_lament,_made_of_memories_and_kept_in_suitcases,_by_daniel_kitson

My cityscape of this small portion of South London is informed by my own observations of Crystal Palace and the observations of a comedian who loves it, regardless of its imperfect, slightly grimy urbanity. Close by there is some spectacular street art.

Street art and street furniture is integral to Cityscapes.

This watercolour is a formal landscape representing my working life in the City.

But in truth it was the little details on my walks to and from work that created my personal Cityscape. This one beautiful sign is a fine way to live life.

Street furniture and graffiti on daily walks.

One more cityscape for this blog.

The walk to De Bouvoir Town, Cityscapes not always what you might expect.

The River Effra, digressions and a memorial bench.

The River Effra plays a big part in my London life. Rising out of the ground near my home in Crystal Palace it has been constrained by engineers and now runs underground nearly all the way to Vauxhall Bridge where it emerges from a culvert to join the Thames.

Effra emerges and looks like a small lake in Belair Park, Dulwich, where Hugo and Lola love to walk. Then she sinks back underground.

I always think of Effra as a woman because Effra is a character name in Ben Arronovitchs series of books The Rivers of London.
Effra, the character, is the daughter of Mama Thames she has a BA in History of Art and is said to be very involved in UK Grime.

Just a little digression there.
Effra gives her name to.all kinds of things .

Effra Parade in Brixton

Effra Parade bus stop on the number 3 bus route.

More digression.

One of the most interesting bus routes in London. During a conversation this weekend someone said I loved riding buses because I’m a socialist. I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I love riding buses because the front seat at the top of a London bus is a joyous calabash of cultures, particularly suited to a nosey person. The front seat on a number 3 is sublime.

Effra Social.A bar and casual dining location with iconic status in Brixton. Previously the Conservative Club.

Effra Farm in the 1790’s roughly where Effra Road is.
The point, however of this blog is the lake in Belair Park where Effra takes in some daylight between underground journeys.
Belair Park has less memorial benches than many London parks but there is one in a very picturesque spot.As usual with memorial benches I’ve used what3words to locate it.Whoever Guy Robinson was his friends and family have chosen a lovely spot to position his bench.It is very close to a picture I took to manipulate into some lacy pictures.The last image is my favourite, it sums up the mystery of an underground river.

Advent#22

Suburban Winter Solstice

Waking up on the morning after the shortest day is always a little bit perkier than waking up on the shortest day. We could have bust a gut to be at Glastonbury but the reality is that the solstice has been happening here in Gipsy Hill just as long as it has been just north of the A303.

This area of London was countryside until 1856 when the railway station opened. The abstract photograph above is of the sky above the council estate which was built on the original coal yard and sidings for steam trains. They brought prosperity to the area and crowds to the nearby Crystal Palace. The posh houses that were built on this part of Alexandra Drive would have been directly in line of the steam and soot of shunting steam trains starting and ending their working days. The corrosive effect explains why some of them have been rendered.

As a sideline Alexandra Drive was named for Princess Alexandra, the long suffering wife of Edward The Caresser. Edward VII, 10 years on the throne, a lifetime of sexual incontinence.

Before the railways not much is written about this location. Part of the Great North Wood, this particular area is where Gipsies lived and worked. Samuel Pepys mentions in his diary that his wife, Elizabeth came here to visit them.

Another sideline, Samuel also suffered from sexual incontinence and married Elizabeth when she was 14.

Street Art on The Paxton

There was a plague pit in the triangular park opposite the Paxton pub at the bottom of Gipsy Hill, also the location, occasionally of contemporary short-term Gipsy encampments.

Post Victorian development of Gipsy Hill has expanded as a South London suburb. It was substantially bombed during WW2 and had a nuclear bunker built in the Cold War.

Most importantly, Gipsy Hill has Fanny, the Gipsy Hill Cat. Often on duty at the train station and always available on her Twitter account. Fanny unites this suburb with her cuddles and affection on Platform 1.

Residents crowd funded when she had a mishap. The Friends of Gipsy Hill are building her a workplace garden. She also has a loving home and family when not on-duty.

Today she is the face of Suburban Solstice.

Last sideline, Fanny keeps herself nice.

Travelling with a Coffee Addict

For a variety of reasons we are doing a lot of travelling this year. Good coffee is the fuel that gets Hannah around the world. In an effort to make mornings more calm regardless of our location. I bought this little device from China

Smugly , I relaxed on our latest outing. Happy in the knowledge that a hand grinder was in the case. What I had not checked was that the beans were packed. Thank goodness that on this occasion we had only travelled to the depths of Crystal Palace. Once again the morning plans developed with a central coffee searching scenario.

IMG_0704Crystal Palace , thank goodness, is not a coffee shop free zone. Quite the reverse.

Dalhousie had recently followed theoldmortuary.design on Instagram so with an embarrassment of choice on the Triangle we hastened to them to “wake up and smell the coffee” and in fact buy the beans.

Dalhousie is super stylish , the coffee is great as are the cakes. Furry coffee hounds are also welcome.

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Real Interior Design

IMG_0696We devour Interior Design magazines and Pinterest is a regular time waster. How often do you see loo rolls featured? We’ve repurposed an old French hatstand, from TK Maxx to hold loo rolls and really without them in position it would still be an old hat stand. The Crystal Palace poster came from Brixton Village. Hand blown glass bottles from Kokkino Chorio, Crete and the Vanishing Cream from Shanghai.

Real Interior Design is about curating our possessions into colour themes and reusing things into contemporary life. We have far more use for loo rolls than hats!

 

Abundance #everyday inspiration

IMG_5393Crystal Palace is the town that gives . A bustling Triangle  of loveliness, somehow defying all the preconceptions of London, it has a community feel that any small rural town would be proud of. Crowd funding to repair the station cat following a road accident is one example of the abundance of community care that just pops up in this south London gem, or the gentle cuddling of a small,lost, fox cub by a commuter prepared to wait until rescue arrived.