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Posts tagged ‘London’


Liverpool – Slipway To The World

Ever sat in a restaurant and realised that the person sitting opposite you will have had an entirely different view from yours. Maybe you’ve got the view to the street and pavement outside, while your companion can see the hustle and bustle of the kitchens and the serving hatch. Your experience of the restaurant might be qualitatively distinct as a result of the simple matter of perspective and outlook.


Apply this thinking to the cities of the United Kingdom and you might suddenly begin to understand something of the particular character of one of the greatest of those cities – Liverpool.

The picture above was taken last night down by the shore of the wide River Mersey as the sun was starting to set. In the distance, the mouth of the great river is still lit as the sun drops in the West. I’ve been picturing the UK’s cities in my mind and their rivers – London and the Thames, Newcastle and the Tyne, Bristol and the Avon, yet none of these rivers open so clearly onto the oceans beyond like the Mersey as it flows in and out of Liverpool. As a Liverpudlian, your imagination is constantly drawn by this slipway to the rest of the world. To the cities of North America; Montreal, Quebec, New York and San Francisco. To the far shores of the antipodes; Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania. To the Orient; Shanghai, Hong Kong and beyond. If you want a clue to the character, personality and outlook of Liverpool and it’s citizens, look no further than the River Mersey and the seven seas lapping at the city’s shores.












Time Travel

Kings Cross Station in London has been round for a long time – since 1852 to be precise. It’s Victorian structure is easily recognisable for passengers heading to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. For today’s traveller, the surprise lies beyond the station’s facade –


The stunning roof shown here is breathtaking – opened in 2012, this amazing structure sits high above the milling passengers below. Not to mention the celebrated Platform 9 and three quarters from Harry Potter.


Wildflowers and Blue Skies

I’ve been looking for somewhere to sketch and paint and discovered a derelict area of Toxteth in Liverpool. I’m not too sure what the developers’ plans are but this a fantastic area and I’ve driven here to sketch on more than one occasion. Surprising what you see – such as this amazing plot of wildflowers running riot and a blaze of colour against the bluest of summer skies.


Just around the corner is Jermyn Street – I think. Certainly not the Jermyn Street renowned for fine tailoring in London. I only had time for a hasty sketch this morning as I needed to get back to check in on my new chocolate labrador, Henry. But expect many more posts of photographs, sketches and paintings in due course. Here it is below, a curious blend of boarded up properties and hippy havens.




iPad Art – number 1

Inspired by ‘A Bigger Picture’  – the astonishing exhibition of David Hockney’s paintings at the Royal Academy in London last year, here’s an early attempt at iPad art using the Brushes app.



Shapes and Colours in London

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square – three of the best known sights in London. But there are plenty of other things to see if you look closely. Anybody know where each of these two shots were taken?


Summer Flowers

I was at a wedding in London last weekend – first one I’d been to since my youngest brother, Peter, got married in the Isle of Man in 1997. Spotted these summer flowers in a border. More shots from London later.


Jubilee at the Nell Gwyn

Less than a week after the recent Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II and there were remnants of the celebrations all over London. The bunting outside the Nell Gwyn pub in Bull Inn Court off the Strand near Covent Garden was still fresh.

Nell Gwyn was the favourite mistress of the Queen’s ancestor – Charles II – and, curiously, Samantha Cameron, wife of British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is a direct descendant of an illegitimate child of their relationship. See if you can spot any similarities ..


Bill’s – Covent Garden

My personal trainer, Anthony, tells me I’m allowed one cheat meal a week so when I came to sit down for lunch in Bill’s in London’s Covent Garden, I made a concession and had a naked burger – i.e., without the bun. I found Bill’s about a year ago and the food and service is always very good and it’s a welcome respite from the the rush and hurry of London.

Good food and good value for money – just look at the size of the teapot I got! Here’s a link to Bill’s should you be visiting London soon –


Counting down to the London Olympics

Spotted this at the ticket barrier of a London tube station. Looks a little home-made, granted, but the message is pretty clear – the London Olympics are nearly upon us.


Hampton Court – it’s hip and happening!

Set the co-ordinates for 1494 and prepare to be blown away by Hampton Court – one of the most famous of the royal palaces – on the banks of the River Thames just outside London. As Brits we’re a bit blasé when it comes to history but a trip to Hampton Court can change all that. I mean, it’s not everyday you see the insignia of the first Queen Elizabeth is it? Think Cate Blanchett.

If that doesn’t ring any bells, check out this site  –

Dr Who’s tardis could take lessons from this place. There you are, adrift in England’s rich history when along comes a member of staff at full pelt in traditional costume, complete with mic and .. is that an iPad? 

You’re up close and personal with constant reminders of some of the most iconic figures in English history, from Henry VIII seizing the place off Cardinal Wolsey, to William and Mary attempting a palatial version of demolition derby. And windows to die for too!

And of course, some quite literally did just that. It’s one thing to know the fateful story of Anne Boleyn’s beheading. Quite another matter to find her sidling out of the shadows to engage you in salacious court gossip about the whole sorry tale. Granted an actress in Elizabethan costume, but I’ve been to Disneyworld and done my damnedest to hold my own with a mute Mickey Mouse, and this is a whole different ball game.

Reminders of royal power and prestige are all around.

For those of you who drop by regularly you’ll know that I’m drawn to graffiti. Well guess what? An eighteenth century Banksy as I live and breathe ..

This is an amazing place and you can’t help but reflect on the role of our modern day royal family especially in this Diamond Jubilee year.