It’s A Wanderful Leaf

Gordon Road, London, SE15

Gordon Road, London, SE15

I’ve been practising handstands lately. 

Unfortunately I haven’t yet progressed beyond needing a wall to support my feet, so am unable to upside-down myself at will on the discovery of a puddle…but if I could, this is what I would have witnessed this morning…

…a leaf-shaped fairy anointing all and sundry with some happy magic, each tap of her wand accompanied by a bright yet very quiet ‘ping’ noise.


Carew Street, London, SE5

Carew Street, London, SE5

I went for a walk today in the aftermath of Halloween and saw this ghost leaf making its way home.


Nunhead Lane (2), London, SE15

Nunhead Lane (2), London, SE15

I imagine it’s every fashionistas secret hope that their latest ‘look’ sparks the next trend.

I reckon this little leaf, showcasing her new season look, is in with a pretty good chance of it catching on amongst the wider leaf community.

A Flying Wonder Bus

35,000 feet above the English Channel

35,000 feet above the English Channel

As if it isn’t amazing enough to be sitting watching movies, eating a cooked breakfast and drinking a cup of tea, whilst zooming through space and time 35,000 feet above sea level, cocooned inside a surprisingly ordinary flying machine.

When, having travelled through seventeen hours of non-stop darkness, finally we come around to the sun’s side of things once again, glorious oranges and pinks glint off hard metal and soft clouds bathe in the warm glow.

Clouds which I can see not only the tops and sides of, but sometimes even the insides of – clouds which are big and bumpy and fabulous, which fill me with such excitement that if it weren’t for my seatbelt there’s no way I’d be able to stay sitting down.

Then to top it off I discover tiny frost crystals have formed on the aeroplane window!

The magnificently minuscule and the monumentally massive. Both giving as good as they get.

Put Your Hands in the Air!

New Park Road, London, SW2

New Park Road, London, SW2

Making the most of his chance in the spotlight, this little fellow enthusiastically performs his self-choreographed happy sunshine dance.


Crownfield Road, London, E15

Crownfield Road, London, E15

I feel rather attracted to walls such as this one, sporting an adornment of glass shards. There’s something strangely compelling in the contrasting displays of aggression and sculptural beauty, as the colourful spikes glint in the sunshine to warn you off a closer encounter.

This wall seemed quite unusual with its incorporation of upturned bottle necks. I crossed the road for a closer inspection as I imagined the joy experienced whilst smashing these bottles, happy in the knowledge that they will soon be helping people to KEEP OUT!

Once there I found this sweet surprise: little mosses making their homes safely sheltered inside the broken bottles.

‘What are you doing?! I live here!’ demanded a man, as I stood in the shelter of the wall reviewing my photographs.

‘Enjoying these’ I said, pointing out the mossy delights and showing him a photo I’d taken for good measure.

He laughed, surprised and uplifted.

‘I thought you were a spy!’ he said as he left.


Cazenove Road, London, N16

Cazenove Road, London, N16

This heavily pregnant conker was briefly destined for billboard-sized stardom. I found it sitting atop a hedge whilst I searched for suitable subjects to photograph for a commission for a new antenatal unit at Homerton University Hospital. It turned out to be a very suitable subject, and this image initially got chosen to grace a full top-to-bottom wall in the reception area of the new unit.

Disappointingly it was later decided that the wall in question is to remain empty…but all is not lost as there are four other superbly huge walls to be filled with other of my images. However, I love this beautiful shiny conker, ready to burst forth on its own personal life journey, so I’m sharing it here.

As I look at it I imagine what might occur once it has fully emerged from its protective casing. Quite possibly it will take a tumble, falling through the gaps in the hedge upon which it currently rests, bouncing downwards until it crashes onto the pavement below.

And then what might befall it?

Might it be immediately crushed by the footsteps of a passing pedestrian or kicked onto the road to be squished by the wheels of a car? Could its gleaming perfection be noticed by a child who will fix it to a piece of string and fight for it to be crowned ‘Best Conker’? Or will it be taken to a good home, placed on a window sill and admired? Perhaps it will provide sustenance to a hungry squirrel; or could it be one of the lucky ones, could it find its way onto a nourishing patch of soil, germinate and grow into a tall and proud horse-chestnut tree?

Having been considering this conker’s future, I was delighted to discover the similar, yet massively more dramatic emergence and subsequent fall of a Barnacle Goose gosling, whilst watching the new David Attenborough nature documentary – “Life Story”.

Barnacle Geese nest on the very top of exceedingly tall rocky columns in Greenland. This is where the goslings hatch from their shells…only to find themselves just two days later free-falling, their little undeveloped wings spread-eagled, having made a phenomenal leap of faith.

If you haven’t seen this two-minute long bit of tv, then watch it! It’s simply wonderful.

“Oh Granny!”

Nunhead Lane, London, SE15

“What a big bushy beard you have!” exclaimed Little Red Riding Hood.

“All the better to photosynthesise you with, my dear” replied The Wolf.


Bantry Street, London, SE5

Mostly I really love heavy rain, especially when it comes along after days of hot stickiness and freshens up the atmosphere.

I like climbing onto walls and hanging off railings to avoid big puddles, or splish-splashing through them depending on my current welly-wearing status.

I love watching it streak downwards especially when it falls dead straight, but also when it’s being blown at an extreme slant.

I love the way the big drips splosh into puddles of their own creation, creating criss-crossing circular ripples and rebounding droplets, whilst the surfaces of the world glisten.

I love the sounds it makes as it batters against all manner of different objects and materials – metal roofs, glass windows, concrete paving, fabric umbrellas…

And I love that earthy smell it produces. I’ve recently discovered that this smell has it’s own special name – Petrichor – meaning the scent of rain on dry earth. It’s a scent that consists of a combination of oils released by plants during dry periods and chemicals produced by soil-dwelling bacteria. The scent occurs as these oils and chemicals get liberated from the soil into the air by the rain – from where the amalgamated ‘smell’ is ready to enter our nostrils. Incidentally, Ammon Shea, a man who read all twenty volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary and wrote a book about it, emerged from his experience clutching Petrichor as one of his favourite new words.

The only thing about heavy rain I’m not so keen on is the way it causes our netball courts to get so slippery that our matches get cancelled.


Warner Road (7), London, SE5

Flaps out: Check.

Nose pointing skyward: Check.

Engines engaged: Check.

Let lift-off commence.

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