Lambeth Country Show

Oh yes! One of my favourite events of the year in Brixton took place this weekend, Lambeth Country Show. I try and go each year and you can find last year's post here. Now for the past few years it's always rained on or just before the show but this year we're in the middle of a heat wave in sunny London so it was lovely not to have to worry about getting wet! And I think that this year was the best year to date or perhaps it was just the good weather that made the difference!

The show is held in Brockwell Park and I couldn't resist snapping the  wild flower meadow that is growing next to the Lido. It was so beautiful! There were many poppy seed heads so it may have been past it's best but it was still stunning!
Each year there are random animals racing. One year it was ferrets, last year it was pigs but this year it was camels. Yep you heard that right camels, very random! Good fun but unfortunately the arena was very small so the races were a bit of an anticlimax but great opportunity for photos.
Here they are in action...
The great thing about the show is that it's just like a real country show, similar to the ones I went to when I was growing up in the Lake District. So here is a demonstration of sheep judging.
Vauxhall City Farm is always a favourite. Here I spotted a hen (which was a Tina Turner look a like) being kissed!
The llamas had just been clipped.
And not forgetting the owl displays. Was particularly pleased with this photo as I normally can't get close to the action because of the crowds.
You can't forget the animals made from vegetables. Here is a fish eating a fish (I think)
And Boris Johnson. There was also an amazing Patrick Moore of Sky at Night fame but I couldn't get a decent picture (we turned up when they were judging so could only see them from a far so there was a lot of zoom action!)
It's the year of Bowie thanks to the V&A exhibition. Here is a Bowie scarecrow (Lambeth Council hold a recycled scarecrow competition each year). He  is also a local lad having lived in Lambeth briefly
Another regular of the Show is Chucklehead cider. Here is my friend Gregory with his purchases. Last year they sold out before we could get our hands on any! Gregory and I go to the show together we can as it's also similar to fairs he went to when he was growing up in Nashville USA!
And finally the great thing about the Lambeth Country Show is the live music. Here is Lee from Madness with the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra which even OH came to see! A great end to a fantastic day. Roll on next year!


Sunny Sussex adventure part 2

Now as the  title may suggest this post is in two parts so if you've landed here read part one for a bit more context. Now I went to Great Dixter in June 2010 as part of my mother's 70th birthday garden tour (we had also been to Giveny, Monet's garden in France) but this was pre blog and also I think my photography has developed significantly since. Great Dixter was a medieval house which was bought by the Lloyd family and restored by Edwin Lutyens I think in the early 1900. Christopher Lloyd was a gardener and writer who used blocks of colour to create amazing borders. The website says he was a ' charismatic and sometimes controversial gardener, capable of inspiring a popular audience through both the written and the spoken word, and with a wonderfully atmospheric and picturesque garden at the heart of it all, Lloyd put Great Dixter on the international map' .
And wow, second time round Great Dixter was even more lovely than the first time round. Rather than me witter on throughout I think I'll just post some of the photos I took (see Flickr for more). I'll start with views of the garden, house and wild flower meadow. I'll then work through the colours of the rainbow (well as many as I can) to give you an idea of  the colour of Dixter.
Phew, what a lot of photos but I hope you enjoyed them. Great Dixter is one of my favourite places and I can highly recommend visiting!

Sunny Sussex adventure part one

Finally Summer has landed. I feel like we've been waiting about three years for it to arrive! Luckily on the hottest day of the year my friend Sophie (who you may recall made me the amazing paper cut card and picture for my birthday) and I had arranged to go for a photo day which we try and do at couple days of the year. As we arrange a date in advance the weather can be hit and miss but we finally struck gold with the weather.

So we set off 8am (I know, 8am on the Saturday but it meant traffic wasn't too bad) and headed off to the fabulous Great Dixter House and Gardens. I suggested that we broke the journey up and had spotted Bayham Abbey on the map. So after a few false starts through amazing Kent villages and crazy tree covered roads we finally found this amazing little space. The original plan was a brief pit stop but the cameras came out and we ended up staying over an hour.
It was an amazing little find, so peaceful and the cacophony of noise from the surround wildlife was amazing. Grass hoppers singing the grass, a laughing green woodpecker and a golden pheasant (which I heard but couldn't see).
This was amazing, a tree growing through a wall!
Also had the opportunity to experiment with perspective. Was really pleased with this upwards image
And looking through numerous door ways. But we couldn't stay all day! We had to get to our main destination, Great Dixter. I thought it was probably better to break up the posts as Dixter was truly incredible and there are lots of pictures!

Well I never

A couple of weeks ago my friend Mark posted some amazing pics he'd taken at the Grant Museum which is part UCL's Collections. Now some of you may know I work at UCL and I must admit that I had never been despite having worked there for 11 years now. To my shame I only found out where it was during a walk with OH a few weeks ago.

So last week I took the trusty camera to check it out one afternoon. The space was incredible though I was also taking the opportunity to experiment with my camera so there are a lot of black and white images I'm afraid.Oh and if you're squeamish I'd stop reading now....
It was a very eclectic collection but it's still a working collection which means that people can access the specimens for research
So amongst the exhibits there are areas where you can sit down and work. You can just make out a group making use of the available space behind a huge skeleton
 This amazing room is the Micrarium which is full of tiny, tiny things.
Here are samples of pufferfish of all shapes and sizes
And seaweed (I think). It was floor to ceiling samples of all shapes and sizes
This was a flying bat though it looked a little alien if I'm honest
There were hundreds of skeletons of all creatures great and small.
Quite a few of the specimens had been dissected. Here is a dissected white rabbit. You could also sponsor the specimens for a year. I was interested to note that a Freddie Robbins had sponsored this and wondered whether it was the knitting artist Freddie Robbins who also featured on an episode of Grand Designs.
This is a close up of dissected orangutan brain (I did warn you it wasn't for the squeamish!)
And finally one of the museum's iconic specimens. A jar of moles. Random I know... If you have the chance do go and visit this surprising find. It's open 1-5pm and it's free so what are you waiting for!!

Blogging in the summer time

It was a glorious sunny day in London today so after watching the Tour de France live I went to sit in the garden for an hour or two. It was so nice that I went back after dinner to write the previous post. Here are a few pics taken on my mobile including a visitor who landed on my pc. Such a glorious Sunday. Shame it's back to the office tomorrow.