Harriet would have dined out on that name for a week


Katy MacScott (@katymacscott) walked from Holland to Istanbul last year in memory of her late friend Harriet, with hops on trains to keep time, as she didn’t have as much time as Patrick Leigh Fermor did on his original journey. Now she is posting memories of her encounters on Instagram, and I particularly loved her encounters with feisty pensioners in Holland. On the first day she encountered Map and Henkel:

Map – a derivative of Margaret – approached me with a pot of jam, as I sat on a bench in the rain, in the village of Zuillichem. When she offered me a cup of coffee by the fire, I didn’t have to be asked twice…Her husband, Henkel, returned from his errands and they proceeded to tell me, in halting English, about their travels. They were now in their late 80s, but had travelled all over the Middle East in their retirement.

Henkel revealed that like many Dutch children he was sent to England after the war to recover from years of malnutrition. After another hot meal, Map and Henkel passed Katy on to a local photographer Cor de Cock (“Harriet would have dined out on that name for a week”) and eventually to Jet, a former piano teacher, with a “wicked bark” of a laugh:


She confessed that she’d put away her wine and cigarettes before I arrived, because she thought that someone doing a trip like mine would have ‘high morals’. I quickly put her straight and we enjoyed these vices for the rest of the evening.

Over asparagus risotto and radishes Jet and Katy discussed the audio books for the blind that Jet narrates, Jet garden, Chekhov and Harry Mulisch, and her brother’s paintings.


Christchurch, Southwark


Another batch of photos from a lunchtime sprint in town. As some of you will have seen on my Instagram page, I passed this church and its garden a few week days ago, but there wasn’t time to go inside, and when I went back at a weekend it was closed.IMG_2562IMG_2550


Instead, I got inside on a day when I was so  grumpy I’d taken myself for a long walk to recover from an adult-toddler tantrum. The space is light and airy, and the windows were glowing in the sunlight, a reward for taking time out to reset…


Christchurch, Southwark is the third church on this sute, the newest building being opened by Prince Philip in 1960, although the exterior is brown brick and could be any age between 1920 and the 1960s.


The windows are a mix of historical – showing the merchants of London – and modern. There’s a rather nice one of weary-looking typists in an office that seemed a good updating of the Mary and Martha model. Not a great photo, unfortunately; I was using an old iPhone and it made me realise just how much the camera improves with each model.

I think my favourite windows were these fairly low ones in the aisles of the church, commemorating local communities, and their struggles to be heard.


All in all, Christchurch, Southwark, is a mix of country parish and university society. Definitely a place I’ll be returning to.


Photos March 2017.

Rockwell Kent



In a fit of serendipity, I came across this picture of Moonlight in the Adirondacks a day or two after I’d seen a much earlier Rockwell Kent in the Met:


(Winter, Monhegan Island, 1907)


I also like this rather Paul Nash-like scene from 1960. Top photo via Curiator, bottom via Artstack; middle by me in New York, October 2016.

Soul mates

I’m still thinking about both the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at Tate and the Emily Carr exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery last year. There was a free-spiritedness to both women’s art that reminded me of each other. I think they’d be friends with Gertrude too.

Delaunay’s fabrics and Carr’s paintings:

Left to right via: Pinterest, katedaviesdesigns.com, Pinterest, textilesartcenter.com, http://www.dwell.com, http://www.textile-forum-blog.org

Left to right via: maryloudriedger2.wordpress.com,  www.bertc.com, vancouverislandbigtrees.blogspot.com, Pinterest, arthistoryarchive.com

S. Maria Maddalena


The side-light and sun in this church made it feel more like a friendly sitting room than church, especially as two close friends sat at a desk in the sunny doorway chatting peacably.


I was reminded of it the next day in this painting by Vincenzo Campi (Il Sanmartino), in the Museo Civico.



The colours in the painting are the same tones as this wonderfully cheery trompe l’oeil side chapel


Cremona photos, May 2016.

Art Nouveau bliss


Whatever is expected from Brussels, it wasn’t this much Art Nouveau, although thinking about it as the outpouring of a very new nation completely made sense in retrospect.


Satisfyingly, I was gorging on this at exactly the same time as reading the pre-WW1 Belgian and Paris chapters of Stefan Zweig’s memoir, The World of Yesterday.

all photos April 2016.

Kowloon cafes


When looking at the windows in Neisha Crosland’s garden, they reminded me of this cafe in Kowloon that I visited on a rainy afternoon.

Autumn 2015 925.JPG

Although I had a snack there, my real lunch was just round the corner at the Yee Shun Milk Company.


I chose a bowl of cool, gingery goodness from the trays of warm and cold puddings lining the shopfront like a 1950s nanny’s dream.

I would cast Myrna Loy

Imagine my delight…

When browsing Schiaparelli hats on the internet, I came across this funky little number that reminded me of an early scene in Eric Ambler’s “Journey Into Danger” where Our Hero has lost his job.

I broke the news over the soup.

She was wearing a new hat – a fact upon which I had been careful to comment – but it was not the sort of hat behind which she could hide while she thought of something to say. She looked as though she wished it had been.

“That’s bad, Nicky,” she said. Her voice was quite steady. She paused and then added: “I hope that you’re not going to let it interfere with the wedding.”

It’s not such a crazy thought of mine. It turns out that the hat is from 1937 and so is the book (it’s written in 1940 but set as three years earlier as war seems likely to break out.)

Also, I would totally wear this to a Chinese restaurant with my fiancée. The point would be useful in seeing off challengers for the last piece of salt and pepper squid.

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