Monday, 22 September 2014

Pistachio VW

Take your passion and make it happen. ['Flashdance' sung by Irene Cara]

If your passions include retail
And pistachio gelato
And VW camper vans
And scooters
This all makes sense

Any shops this original in your town?

No. Not in Margate either.

                                                       Pictures taken last week on Via Nationale, Rome

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Art

Claire Gill clearly loves the coast.

She uses her talent, skill and imagination to create a new place from familiar elements.

But then I guess that we all create our own reality of  the way we make sense of the world.

Claire's prints and cards are available from Margate Gallery, 2 Lombard Street, Margate

What realities will YOU create today?

Saturday, 20 September 2014


This time yesterday - only juice in the tumblers

A retreat? From what?

It may seem odd when one lives in a seaside resort and is retired from most things, to seek a change.

This recent break lasting less than a week meant no TV or radio, no computer, a simple mobile phone [used only for calling the cab home from Gatwick]

Just one small holdall each and after two hours in an easyJet economy seat [Ouch!] we emerged into brilliant sunshine and 28 degrees.

No matter where you are or what is 'normal' in your world, it could be refreshing and restorative to take even a brief break from routine?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Morning Pages

Yesterday - the camera is a 35mm Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim
finished in 'gold' by Superheadz Inc.    The film is old Kodak Gold
A morning coffee, a fruit juice chaser, a notebook, a pen and if I am really lucky, a couple of croissants, often kick start my day.
Now recommending books to anyone is risky and making suggestions to total strangers is downright dangerously daft. So I shall flirt with disaster by recommending a book that I figure should be read by everyone at least once and then revisited, like a good friend, over the years.
It is constructed around a keystone, a fundamental basis, a concept and a catalyst which I can describe in about 100 words. Please, even if you think this is familiar territory and you know it so well, stay with me for the rest of this page. This could just be the right time for you.
Author, Julia Cameron writes:
 'Morning Pages are three pages  of longhand "streams of consciousness" writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no right or wrong way to do them. They are not high art. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronise the day at hand. Do not overthink Morning Pages. Just put three pages of anything on paper ... and then do three more pages tomorrow.'
Julia came up with this notion in her book The Artists Way. She initially self published it and then, in 1992 it was taken on by a major publishing house and became a global success that has never been out of print since. Google has 463,000 entries for this popular and phenomenal success.
My first attempt at Morning Pages lasted a week. Sometime later I tried again and cheated by using an A5 notebook instead of A4. Julia doesn't stipulate what size the pages should be. Then again I missed a couple of days that stretched into weeks and months.
Now I am back on track with my passport-sized Midori Traveler's Notebooks. If you have read this far it would be pointless not to give Morning Pages a try. One day you may think back to this and thank me. It may not be tomorrow but it will be one day soon.
Meanwhile, read all about The Artists Way on line, then buy and treasure your own copy. Used examples are often available on Amazon and eBay.
Today - the camera is a Lomo Zenith 35mm  dating from 28|12|1985


Saturday, 13 September 2014

So Sorry Stewart

Around this time yesterday morning, I committed an offence against good blogging protocol.

I suggested that planned changes to Boat International would result in it becoming just another lifestyle title akin to GQ, Esquire and a host of others. And I did so as a prediction. Never a good idea!

A couple of hours later I ate my words [along with a delicious sausage sandwich at Ramsgate's bijou Galley restaurant overlooking the marina] and enjoyed a quick first glance at the magazine.

New editor Stewart got it right and I was wrong. My sincere apologies. I thought his magazine was big before. Now it is positively obese with a 2cm thickness, 300 or so pages and weighing as much as small child. Maybe designed as ballast for a yacht?

The October issue is big on Monaco. When I took this header picture I reckoned that Ramsgate may lack some of the glitz, but we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep.

Yesterday was a good day in other ways. I arrived home to find that I had won a notebook in a prize draw from the nice people at Bureau Direct [more on this another time] and that the geraniums in our hanging basket were putting on a final fling of a late summer show.

To round off my introductions to 'Because They're Worth It' on the right of this page:

Quo Vadis is the American blog of a French stationery company produced in New York by Leah Hoffman. A great way to discover some of the issues that matter in the  Big Apple and usually full of fascinating information.

Notebook Stories was instrumental in opening my eyes to the amazing [some may say strange] pastime that is a passion for notebooks and journals, with some very useful links.

The Well Appointed Desk appears to be US based as well. It takes a look at some of the more unusual stationery and office equipment on the market.

Newsstand, listed here as Magazines International, provides a source of otherwise 'hard to get in UK' magazines but beware that postage costs can sometimes double the cover price. They are phenomenally fast and have usually delivered my orders well within 24 hours.

The local weather forecast is good for today, so I am looking forward to another day of being busy doing nothing near my favourite pew with a view on Margate seafront.

Enjoy your day too. [If you don't enjoy what you do, why do you do it?]

Friday, 12 September 2014

Personal Paradox

Ramsgate Marina           Google Images
You are probably familiar with the advice that, if it ain't broke you don't fix it.

As a thoroughbred Aquarian of two Aquarian parents I am just as likely to follow the other route where, if it ain't broke we take it apart to discover what makes it work.

Then again, when my career veered off its charted course and into the fun that is magazine editing, I learned that we had a duty of care to our regular readers and, especially our subscribers, to make changes gently and stay relevant by evolution rather than revolution.

On the flipside it is totally understandable that a newly appointed editor will want to 'put his or her stamp on it' or, 'take it to the next exciting stage of development'.

Amateur Photographer had a change of editor recently and bravely kept the former hot seat incumbent as a contributor and it all seems good so far. The editor of Boat International launches his third issue [Dateline October] today and I aim to grab a copy when I stroll around Ramsgate Marina later. But, when he announced his intentions in the September issue, every fibre of my being screamed 'WHY?!'

The thing must cover its costs many times over from advertising revenue with profits accruing from people like me who hand over a fiver from time to time so that we can drool over the articles and photographs of the toys which amuse the rich and famous.

Some cautions are appropriate here. Boat International weighs in at over one kilo so don't drop it on your toes or even dream of asking your First Mate to grab a copy next time she pops into Tesco. Don't be afraid to explore something new but, be alert to the risk of disappointment. And obviously, don't mistake fantasy for your own reality.

Once upon a time I had the high maintenance lifestyle. The biggest house in the street with land to spare, a pair of Italian sports cars in the drive, a well stocked bar, a speed boat project in the garden and as one employee trilled as she finished her work ... 'See ya, wouldn't want to be ya'.

Out of the mouths of babes! After a repossession, bankruptcy and a destroyed marriage [where the relationship aftershocks have taken 25 years to repair]  I have no artefacts of value, a simple and low cost lifestyle where the occasional magazine with a coffee in Caffe Nero is my only fairly regular luxury and my lady and I have truly, never been happier.

You cannot buy happiness no matter how wealthy you may be, Be careful what you wish for as ... well, you get the point and I have some boats to look at!

Next time I venture into the wonderful world of magazine publishing and editing, you can expect a different touch of luxury. I leave you with this chap's risky attempt to turn a respected magazine into just another 'lifestyle' title. Oh dear!
Scanned collage of September 2014 editorial

Thursday, 11 September 2014