Friday, 30 December 2011

christmas mattresses & the capital ring

the start of Luke's journey...rather reminds me of something dark & disturbing to be found in a cemetary...brrrr
thanks to roving reporter Lukey Likey - who spent the christmas period in London with his mum and decided to traverse the capital ring - he sent me these over the 3 days they took to do it...brilliant!!!
just as much of a shambles down south as up my way...
indeed, Luke, the sign says it all...
very moving...
wonder if they get much interest?!
another disturbing scene...
 not to be left out...when i returned home from Hampshire i popped down to Golborne Road and was greeted with this grim spectacle!
out with the old....goodbye 2011!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Welcome to Imber...beware of the bombs!
Imber. Population: 0
my dad, brother and i decided to head to Imber for our annual Boxing Day constitutional walk.  just a quick drive from my parents home, past Stonehenge, is the uninhabited village of Imber. it's only open to the public on limited dates including Christmas and Easter (access times can be found here) as it's currently owned by the Ministry of Defense and has been used by the army for training since WWII.
christmas weather looking mean and moody over the 'henge
hey Matt, welcome to the cheery village of Imber

a settlement at Imber is believed to go back as far as the Iron Age, it's also mentioned in the Domesday Book and the church of St Giles dates back to the 13th century, with medieval paintings adorning the walls.  sadly the population of Imber dwindled towards the end of the 19th century and later the MoD began buying up surrounding property. eventually in 1943 the villagers were given just over a month to leave (in the belief they would come back) so that the US army could use it to practice for the invasion of Europe.  the villagers have never been allowed back, though there have been attempts to, with exiled villagers taking the army to court over it in the 1960s - but to no avail. 
Entrance to Imber, with St Giles in the background
Out of Bounds...hmmm...never stopped us at school!
Ghost Town
while there we bumped into my dad's mate in his vintage motor...nice.
Matt & my dad, goosestepping outside the old pub....ahem
i first heard about Imber in 2003 when Artangel organised a promenade musical performance through the village.  i didn't make the performance and have only just made it to the village in 2011 but definitely plan to go back in 2012 (check out the BBC link here for a slideshow about Imber).
the whole place was just so haunting and beautiful - all those derelict, empty buildings just made me think of the work of my fave painter Lee Madgwick - i wonder if he's been here.  you know...there's just one thing missing in this place....not ONE abandoned mattress...surely some mistake.

Friday, 23 December 2011

bye bye 2011

3 in the same place (spotted from the bus on Harrow Road, NW10)
on the 3rd day of christmas my true love gave to me....2 green & 1 white mattress, 2 blue mattresses....etc etc.  just a couple of spottings during the last days in town...before i head off to Hampshire for the holidays.
just behind work on North Gower Street NW1

Monday, 12 December 2011


opinions are still divided ....but i'm loving the latest from banksy...
i know just how he feels...

Modern Toss

Modern Toss show @ Imitate Modern Gallery til Sunday 18th December 2011
i have long held a soft spot for the modern toss boys, so was really excited when i heard they were popping up to town for a live portrait session at their new show at the Imitate Modern Gallery in Devonshire Street on sunday.  i bundled up against the cold and caught a bus down just in time to be 4th in queue (which was snaking out the door as i left) and after a quick chat with Jon, came away with a fab little portrait in my grubby mitts...and for only a fiver...what a bargain.
i'm ready for my close up....mind the step yeah i look like that...ha ha ha...brilliant likeness
whilst there, everyone was keen to have a go on the fab Periodic Table of Swearing (a print of which my dear mate Kate bought us each when she was over last christmas and gives us literally minutes of stupid fun on facebook as we throw coded insults back and forth) - it definitely raised a titter or two out of the waiting queue - how i'd love to have this in my house ha ha!
the Periodic Table of Swearing
the all important button...

Saturday, 10 December 2011

December mattresses....

spotted by my Aunty Jennie when she "popped out for some carrots" in Bournemouth the other morning!
 with the cold weather, comes a rash of mattress spottings from far and wide....people must be chucking out the old in the hope of getting something springy under the tree this christmas!
out on a cold and windy bike ride in mattressland central (Holland Road, NW10)
roving reporter lukeylikey has spotted a few while lurking about the streets of south london...they're getting just as bad down there as up north these days!
check baby, check baby, 1 2 3 4.....
Brrrr....its definitely getting parky out there!

Sunday, 4 December 2011


St Pancras Hotel
its been quite a while since i posted - i've had a busy November with a trip to Brussels and my birthday weekend - which included a fab overnight stay at the glorious newly revamped St Pancras Hotel courtesy of my bezzy brussel sprout, Kate.  originally built in the 1860s and designed by George Gilbert Scott (who also made the Albert Memorial) it was previously known as the The Midland Grand - a gothic delight with painted ceilings & stonework, granite pillars and a grand wrought iron double staircase.  its popularity declined after 30 years mainly due to practicalities (with 300 rooms but only 5 bathrooms with 9 baths!) and the concrete floors prevented updating the plumbing system. the building survived WWII and attempts to knock it down by London planners in the 1960s - it eventually managed to secure a Grade 1 listing and part of the building continued to be used as an entrance to St Pancras station, but it was finally abandoned by British Rail in the 1980s, when it fell into disrepair. it was only in the 1990s, when St Pancras was chosen as the Eurostar terminus, that it had a chance of rebirth.  What a joy it is to see this beautiful building restored, with many of its original features. it has a great history and its been used as setting for many films, including scenes from Joseph Losey's 1963 classic The Servant,  and if you can't stretch to a room i would highly recommend a trip to the Booking Office bar for some delicious parmesan and truffle oil chips and a bloody mary - perfect after a heavy night celebrating a birthday!
The old booking office, now the bar
Kate & Steve on the grand staircase
my complimentary slippers ("you look lovely tonight, madam")

after a weekend of being spoilt, late nights and rather a lot of alcohol -  i needed to blow the cobwebs out with some fresh air,  just as it was beginning to get cold and foggy (and feeling like winter at last after our unseasonally warm autumn).  many of the tallest buildings have recently become engulfed in old school London fog and its all starting to resemble the days of Jack the Ripper with a proper pea-souper!
the Post Office...sorry..BT Tower is disappearing
birthday mattress spotting
i did manage to take a trip on the train to Richmond and cycle along the river - but didn't make it to Richmond Deer Park to see the rutting deer - have to go back another day. 
a lovely wintery view of the river at Richmond
under Richmond Bridge
Richmond's Old Deer Park
now that December has arrived, the heating is on, and i can fully accept that its really time to start getting merry - having tried to ignore the decorations and shop windows screaming christmas since September in some cases (ridiculous).
evidence of merriment at Kate's house party in Brussels!
HOLY COW! Bart gets zen before his trip to Nepal the next morning!
the last weekend in November i went to visit my grandparents in South Wales - it was their 70th wedding anniversary (yes, SEVENTIETH!).  sadly they both suffered a stroke a couple of years ago and cannot communicate verbally - but you just need to see them as they hold hands and stare into eachother's eyes and seem to be in their own little world together - my grandad even bought new matching wedding rings as a present for my Nanna - it just warms the cockles of your heart.
the way they were....
Congratulations - Anne & George Rees!
 and so, to mark the arrival of December -  i whipped up a quick Mattressland Advent Calendar this weekend....guess what's behind each door...yup...mattresses from around the world of course!