Breckon Gráfica



No Comments


Share this post
relaunch 3

0019



No Comments


Share this post
nuevo

Slide



No Comments


Share this post
slide

Night



No Comments


Share this post
d

Storm



No Comments


Share this post
storm

Court



No Comments


Share this post
tree

Nikolai Howalt



No Comments


Share this post
nikolai

Beautifully grim car crash studies
by Nikolai Howalt

full post

Distressing



No Comments


Share this post
sign

Not quite sure what happened to this sign,
but it looks great…

full post

Plate



No Comments


Share this post
plate

Tabletop



No Comments


Share this post
table

Barn



No Comments


Share this post
barn

Corner



No Comments


Share this post
tree

Morris



No Comments


Share this post
morris

Private land



No Comments


Share this post
private



No Comments


Share this post
dad2

Lettering



No Comments


Share this post
lettering

Basement



No Comments


Share this post
Basement

Channel



No Comments


Share this post
seascape

Utah beach



No Comments


Share this post
utah beach

Van



No Comments


Share this post
van

Track



No Comments


Share this post
bike

Sierra



No Comments


Share this post
sierra

Hostal woman



No Comments


Share this post
woman

Clock face



No Comments


Share this post
clock1

Jon



No Comments


Share this post
jon

Jaulas



No Comments


Share this post
cage

Tarde



No Comments


Share this post
casa

Marti



No Comments


Share this post
mart2

Morning



No Comments


Share this post
door

Village



No Comments


Share this post
fuente el

Disfraz



No Comments


Share this post
marty2

Genio



No Comments


Share this post
genio

Leña



No Comments


Share this post
leña

Tata



No Comments


Share this post
carmen

Pies



No Comments


Share this post
feet

Globos



No Comments


Share this post
globos

El bola



No Comments


Share this post
bubble

Fence



No Comments


Share this post
sky

Sundown



No Comments


Share this post
sundown

Foam



No Comments


Share this post
foam

Ana



No Comments


Share this post
ana

Bale



No Comments


Share this post
bale

O



No Comments


Share this post
po

Doce



No Comments


Share this post
pueblo

Girasoles



No Comments


Share this post
girasoles

Salir



No Comments


Share this post
18

7.37



No Comments


Share this post
sky1

Track



No Comments


Share this post
hill

Wash



No Comments


Share this post
13

Surfer #3


,


No Comments


Share this post
14

Crack



No Comments


Share this post
19

Surf school



No Comments


Share this post
12

Cache



No Comments


Share this post
16

Surfer #2



No Comments


Share this post
11

Garage



No Comments


Share this post
17

Del Toro



No Comments


Share this post
6

Surfer #1



No Comments


Share this post
3

Biarritz



No Comments


Share this post
5

Mirror for the sun



No Comments


Share this post
21

Sophie



No Comments


Share this post
20

Hastingues



No Comments


Share this post
8

Arcachon



No Comments


Share this post
7

Saint jean d’angely



No Comments


Share this post
4

Nantes



No Comments


Share this post
2

Crossing the channel


,


No Comments


Share this post
1a

Slide



No Comments


Share this post
slide

Wild Bunch deck



No Comments


Share this post
deck

VW



No Comments


Share this post
vw

Claverton weir


,


No Comments


Share this post
weir

Great bit of wild swimming near Claverton weir, also bumped into yet another Madrileño. That´s the third in a week and in as many unlikely places…

full post

Tank



No Comments


Share this post
aquarium

Underwater



No Comments


Share this post
underwater

Diving



No Comments


Share this post
diving

Westminster II



No Comments


Share this post
brol

Westminster



No Comments


Share this post
west

Southbank



No Comments


Share this post
south

Fencing…


,


No Comments


Share this post
fencing

One of the best things I´ve seen for ages – ‘Olympic fencing’ by Tim Lahan.
Sold out unfortunately… but being reprinted soon.

full post

Domingo



No Comments


Share this post
mina

Letter press



No Comments


Share this post
press2

Gate



No Comments


Share this post
gate

Dust



No Comments


Share this post
dust

Flashlab



No Comments


Share this post
flash

Hedge



No Comments


Share this post
hedge

Sign



No Comments


Share this post
sign

Now that´s a bit of signage…

full post

Studland


,


No Comments


Share this post
studland

Havaianas


,


No Comments


Share this post
havai

I ran into Sergio ´Serial Cut´ a couple of times while I was in Madrid. His studio´s going great guns at the moment, with a top notch client list and a stable of thoroughbred collaborators. This new work for one of my fave brands, Havaianas, is packed full of bendy flip floppery… very nice.

full post

Adrian Johnson


,


No Comments


Share this post
bics

When I´m not working I seem to be constantly mooching around national trust spots doing a not especially good job of explaining ´how plants breathe´to my kids while I force feed them organic flapjacks made from locally sourced shizzles. One upshot of this is being able to bask in the glory of the NT visuals – spending a bit too long looking at the typography on the menus, and also admiring the stacks of beautiful packaging, illustrated by  Adrian Johnson.

full post

Moon



No Comments


Share this post
moon

Jason Little


,


No Comments


Share this post
little

Ace business card concept by jason Little.

full post

Fondo 6


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo6

Fondo 5


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo5

Fondo 4


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo4

Fondo 3


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo3

Fondo 2


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo2

Fondo 1


,


No Comments


Share this post
fondo1

I´ve been getting a bit obsessed
by streams and river beds lately…

full post

Anuncio Moonflower


,


No Comments


Share this post
moon

Cerne Abbas



No Comments


Share this post
cerne

Littlebredy



No Comments


Share this post
bam

Gull & head



No Comments


Share this post
gull

Poundbury



No Comments


Share this post
bakery

Poundbury is a very peculiar place, and I’ve taken loads of pictures over the last few months which one day I’ll sort into a post… this typography on their new ‘market’ building is very odd…

full post

Book in the canal



No Comments


Share this post
book

Die cuts



No Comments


Share this post
dies

Liverpool, unfinished


,


No Comments


Share this post
skinhead boy sitting in car with another boy holding young child

Great set of work shot in the 1980′s by (then student) Rob Bremner. Exhibition in Liverpool until June 2nd by the WCS…

full post

Lu & Jean



No Comments


Share this post
loos1

Miss Kō



No Comments


Share this post
missko2

Great identity for the Phillipe Starck designed ‘Miss Kō’ restaurant in Paris. The logo of 9 rice grains is by London’s GBH

full post

Saul Leiter



No Comments


Share this post
saul

I’ve just discovered Saul Leiter, thanks to Thomas Leach’s documentary. Absolutely stunning stuff.

full post

Torque



No Comments


Share this post
o

Dorset cereals



No Comments


Share this post
dor

Dorset cereals have won awards for their packaging (by Big Fish), and their adherence
to a single typeface is a thing to be admired.
I stumbled on the factory this morning (where they apparently x-ray all their ingredients to sift out any tooth cracking elements) , and even the parking space notices are in American typewriter…
No dust, and a nice company car to boot.

full post

Magnetic paint



No Comments


Share this post
mag

Canal



No Comments


Share this post
canal

Multistorey



No Comments


Share this post
multi

Javier Marias



No Comments


Share this post
marias1

Had the good fortune to catch a reading/talk by Javier Marias last night…

full post

Bath sky



No Comments


Share this post
sky

Nick’s bikes…


,


No Comments


Share this post
bikes

Bath building



No Comments


Share this post
build

Apple colour


,


No Comments


Share this post
print1

Nice evening at the printers:
Apple Colour in Bristol…

full post

Moonflower cards


,


No Comments


Share this post
card

A set of new postcards for Moonflower
arrived today from Madrid. Very nice…

full post

Lacock wall



No Comments


Share this post
lack

Ingrid Cole



No Comments


Share this post
ingrid

An old friend who I haven’t heard from in years got in touch this morning, now based in New Zealand doing some lovely work. Illustrator
Ingrid Cole…

full post

New work…



No Comments


Share this post
h

3 new projects up in the portfolio

full post

Quayola



No Comments


Share this post
q2

Awe inspiring stuff from Quayola

full post

La Vinyeta…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
huevs

La Vinyeta is a bodega in Girona close to the Costa Brava. Josep Serra Pla, the owner, has a graphic designer brother, Lluís, and between them they create some beautiful things…

full post

Life in cities…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
wul

Roger Mayne



No Comments


Share this post
my

Wierd moment in a (very good) Roger Mayne exhibition this morning – stumbling across a photograph featuring my dad (in 1957) with his then girlfriend, both studying fine art at Corsham and included as part of a photo story Mayne shot for Bath Academy of Art. If things had worked out between the two of them, I wouldn’t be there taking the picture, or posting this – etc. etc.

full post

Circles



No Comments


Share this post
beer

It’s been very busy lately, with some interesting work being done, and a bit of a job change on the horizon. My freelance days are over and I’ve been nabbed by a local agency, where I’ll be full-time as of March.

Nothing symbolic about the spot btw, just enjoyed a bit of painting on a recent job…

full post

Gull



No Comments


Share this post
gull

11am



No Comments


Share this post
glass

11am



No Comments


Share this post
plant

One for sorrow…



No Comments


Share this post
rothery

I was rattling around in an artisan market this morning – wholesome sunday stuff – and I met Ben Rothery, a local illustrator with some great work. Alot of skill and a nice feel to it… I’ve got a peculiar superstitious thing about magpies as it happens, so had to resist the urge to duplicate this in photoshop…

full post

La Órdiga…



No Comments


Share this post
card

After a long time wading through the boggy mire that is Spanish bureaucracy (sorting out permits, getting permits for the permits, waiting for planets to align etc.) it looks like La Ordiga is full steam ahead at last… I have alot of respect for people like Irene and Jesús with the nerve to try and get a project running in the midst of the mess that Spain is in. I’ve been doing a few projects for small Spanish start-ups recently, and it’s probably the most enjoyable, and in some ways useful work that I’ve done for years. As well as genuinely interesting projects, all of them seem to share a common set of principles that go beyond the usual token ‘social responsibility’ that bigger corporations like to associate themselves with.
‘La ilusión’; it’s a potent fuel…

full post

Steve Chandler



No Comments


Share this post
steve

Photographer Steve Chandler has his new site up. Really nice stuff, aside from a very unsettling portrait of me, aged about 18…

full post

Man on a screen…



No Comments


Share this post
mariano

Extraordinary stuff going on in Spain at the moment. If the medium is the message, then the Prime Minister’s decision to appear before the press as a face on a screen (next to an empty lecturn) says it all. The horror… the horror…

full post

Laura Pannack


,


No Comments


Share this post
pannack

The great thing about photography is that at times (when it’s good) it can take you to places that other mediums can’t. Laura Pannack’s ‘Our lives’ work for Save the Children does in a short series of images so much more than an entire documentary could, and in a much more profound way. Light from the dark. Check out ‘Our lives’ here…

full post

Lead



No Comments


Share this post
cord

Cutting



No Comments


Share this post
cutiing

Render



No Comments


Share this post
rend

Blaze…



No Comments


Share this post
hearth

Snow and rice…



No Comments


Share this post
rice

Moonflower…



No Comments


Share this post
paperthm

Wrapping paper design for Moonflower

full post

Coco



No Comments


Share this post
coco

Foil blocked cards
for Coco café

full post

Nieve


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
nieve thmb

Some photographs around the ‘barrio’
of the last couple of days of snowfall…

full post

Drums



No Comments


Share this post
drums

AA rebrand



No Comments


Share this post
aa

2 interesting articles in CR about the new AA ID: yesterday Futurebrand’s design, and today Massimo Vignelli’s reaction.

This particular rebrand is like the apex of all the recent identity overhauls; drawing in everything
from Mad Men to the use of gradients (bit of a tired debate now surely?). I like it (although the blade-like aspect does bring airport body searches to mind). I also like Vignelli's comment 'Design cannot cover the mistakes of bad management, but styling can'...

full post

Denim like a jean…



No Comments


Share this post
hiut

Rule 11: Do one thing well…
hiut denim

full post

Dark lane



No Comments


Share this post
dkthm

Las Lomas



No Comments


Share this post
lomas

While I was over in Spain I came across this logo I did a while back. The restaurant has a great view of the rather strange and very concrete ‘Puente de Hispanoamérica’ bridge…

full post

Counting…



No Comments


Share this post
counting

Haircut



No Comments


Share this post
htmb

Black water



No Comments


Share this post
btm

Metro…



No Comments


Share this post
met

My 4 year old killed my S95 today… here are the last 3 pictures before the lens was destroyed by tiny hands.

full post

Surface



No Comments


Share this post
stm

I could photograph the underside
of the Caixa forum building all day…

full post

Milky Way Dreaming…


,


No Comments


Share this post
dreamtime

Interesting exhibition on in the Caixa Forum,
here’s a detail from a beautiful painting
by Norah Nelson Napaljarri…

full post

Lavapiés


,


No Comments


Share this post
ltm

Foglit



No Comments


Share this post
foglitthm

Terminal



No Comments


Share this post
terminal

Scalextric



No Comments


Share this post
scalextric

making some pics with son nº2′s scalextric
and a point and shoot…

full post

Oeste…



No Comments


Share this post
otm

SX70…



No Comments


Share this post
sx70thmb

A friend of mine just picked this up for 80 quid – one of the finest cameras ever made I reckon, everything about it is beautiful; design, materials, results…

full post

Wall



No Comments


Share this post
wall

Rooftops…



No Comments


Share this post
roofthmb

Banks…


,


No Comments


Share this post
bnks

Always liked the Bankinter branding by Saffron, especially the external branding of the branches, although here’s a classic case of ‘fucking up the flan’ with some horrible stock photography.

The Kutxabank logo is interesting – result of another Spanish bank fusion that has so far, amazingly, produced nothing decent in terms of good new identities (see dire Bankia). Anyway, I saw this logo in white 3d against a shop window and headed straight for it thinking it was a toy shop. The work of ‘Paradox’, a studio in Vizcaya who have previously been known for creating controversial advertising campaigns, I can’t find any web site or other branding work relating to them, which makes me like it even more…

full post

Old and new builds…



No Comments


Share this post
jumble

Strange jumble of architecture.
Note blue spanish sky… lovely.

full post

Landing…



No Comments


Share this post
landthmb

New year’s day…



No Comments


Share this post
cldthmb

12 minutes across London…



No Comments


Share this post
thm

Taking down the tree…



No Comments


Share this post
ntm

Profile…



No Comments


Share this post
blu sm

Adaptives



No Comments


Share this post
ip9

Bits from a new client project…

full post

1970


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
shrimpthmb

My Dad painted this 40x40cm pointillist Jean Shrimpton in 1970, and gave it to my wife as a present about a year or so ago. Before he became a full time painter he briefly thought about commercial work, and this would have formed part of the portfolio that he took around a couple of ad agencies in London at the end of the sixties. One day he went to a big London studio of the time and a creative director looked over his book; ‘It’s great’ he said, ‘but I’ve already got a load of people upstairs who can do this kind of stuff’. ‘Oh’ thought my dad, and left. That was that for my dad and the world of advertising…

full post

º below



No Comments


Share this post
IMG_5380sm

The canal finally freezes over!
some winter landscapes from this morning…

full post

Lorem ipsum…



No Comments


Share this post
cap

Not just paid lunch hours and maternity leave they’re cutting back on… Classic placeholder text from a Saturday paper.

full post

New work…



No Comments


Share this post
rosa

10,000 covers


,


No Comments


Share this post
smpnt

I remember seeing an image from this series
on the cover of Eye last year, but the project
slipped under the radar… until this morning.

Beautiful work by Field: project info here

full post

Canal



No Comments


Share this post
canthmb

Pictures from a walk…

full post

In progress…



No Comments


Share this post
brush

Managed to get back to work on the identity for the florist in Madrid – nearly complete, and will shortly be in the ‘work’ section…

full post

Roots



No Comments


Share this post
ills2

Twenty eight



No Comments


Share this post
28

Nucoco



No Comments


Share this post
nucthumb

Love this smooth scrolling logo construction… simple web design for Nucoco Chocolate from Glasgow’s ‘o street’, who also co-own the brand…

full post

Logo refresh



No Comments


Share this post
fuesthmb1

Extracts from a quick logo refresh
for ‘Trama’ in Spain.

full post

Flood II



No Comments


Share this post
riverside600

Flood I



No Comments


Share this post
swansm

Rounds



No Comments


Share this post
ballsm

House number



No Comments


Share this post
22sm

Yutaka Tajima



No Comments


Share this post
yutakasm

My contribution to Yutaka Tajima’s ‘Y project’…

full post

Stems



No Comments


Share this post
stems480

Marca personal…


, , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
lobo

Early logotype for a client’s personal
identity (rejected option)…

full post

Fall…



No Comments


Share this post
fallsm

Narrow boat…



No Comments


Share this post
meldsm

My favourite boat on the canal – aside from the real turf roof, it looks like it’s getting slowly consumed by the bank…

full post

Windows 8…



No Comments


Share this post
crowsm

I’ve been thinking about the new windows 8 rebrand. If I was connected with Apple’s brand management I think I’d be relieved. The whole thing feels like an unrealised opportunity (not that the new design based ethos, and work itself, isn’t a good thing, and love the Colors and the Kids graphics). They seemed to have chosen all the right fronts to attack on, but the end result, in my humble opinion, falls flat, like someone trying too hard to do something that doesn’t come naturally. Taking on the competition by trying to beat them at their own game is a big win strategy, but not getting it absolutely right means not only going back to square one, but also giving your rivals extra props in the process. As the Japanese say; “The crow imitating the cormorant drowns in the water”. Crows in nicely branded sharkskin neoprene and mini subs may have been something else. Thinking back to the 90′s apple vs. microsoft era the products themselves were so different, the blueberry imacs vs. dour desktop PC’s. Today they’re selling visually similar products with a similar brand message (all ‘brand messages’ are arguably pretty much identical) but I reckon Apple are still clinching it. The ads for the new ipod range and the lumia are a case in point; the bouncing ipods are starting to grate, but that lumia ad is annoying as hell.

full post

Rigging…



No Comments


Share this post
rigsm

An extra ration of rum for whoever coiled that rope…

full post

British steel…



No Comments


Share this post
steelsm

One of the reasons I chose my sons primary school (apart from ofsted and all that) is for the lamp post right opposite stamped with David Gentleman’s British Steel logo.

full post

Beer, bond, bears & bacon…



No Comments


Share this post
adsm

…Roger Moore pads along, kicking his safari suit flares out in front of him then pirouettes to shoot, like a deadly Larry Grayson. Daniel Craig huffs across the screen before breaking a urinal over your head. Hard times…

full post

Election forecast…



No Comments


Share this post
wind

“The radio says a ninety mile wind
Will whip old New York town tonight.
Well I did walk and the wind did come
And I got to see who was the toughest”…
Woody Guthrie

The wind map – from the brilliant Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg…

full post

Daylight…



No Comments


Share this post
tablesm

The dulcet whirr of a working macpro is one thing at the start of the day, and another by 2am. Sketch books and concepts are a beautiful thing, but all jobs inevitably lead to heavy sessions confronting a screen that can give you a sensation at shutdown of having been hit by a big pixelly bus. So it’s nice now and again to work in a different way, and the last couple of days have been pure photography; and alot of flowers. This is all part of a project I’m working on for a  florist in Madrid. Results will be posted soon (ish).

full post

Smoking area



No Comments


Share this post
U18A0314sm

Breaking away…



No Comments


Share this post
chris2

Fortuna buon fratello!

full post

Matti Braun



No Comments


Share this post
finism

Interesting Matti Braun exhibition at the Arnolfini. The central piece is great: slices cut from a 30m fir tree form strategically placed ‘stepping points’ in a room flooded with dark liquid. It gets especially interesting as more people step out into the ‘lake’. Reminded me a bit of ‘the vortex’ from the adventure game – with a bit of Andy Goldsworthy thrown in…

full post

Wagon type



No Comments


Share this post
wagonsm

Diptych 5/5



No Comments


Share this post
dip5sm

Priceless iconic artworks aside, one of my favourite things in the Prado Museum is this baby change icon… (I think it’s by Fernando Gutierrez).

full post

Diptych 4/5



No Comments


Share this post
floodlightsm

‘Floodlight’

full post

Diptych 3/5



No Comments


Share this post
dip3sm

‘La flecha’

full post

New cards in…



1 Comment


Share this post
cantacardssm,

Some business cards I’ve been working on for a client arrived this morning… Double sided with a series of product shots plus QR code on the back, printed on 100% recycled stock made in a factory using wind power. Cantagrullas is a great project in the north of Spain; a farm set up by some great folks making dairy products from sheep and goats reared on their own land. Organic growers have apparently not been affected by the Spanish economic crisis, which is interesting. There’s a blog entry here which explains a bit more (in english) about Cantagrullas…

full post

Diptych 2/5



No Comments


Share this post
dip2sm

‘Anniversary’

full post

Diptych 1/5



No Comments


Share this post
baths

This week I’m putting up a 10 minute diptych each day. Monday: ‘Roman Baths’….  

full post

For your tomorrow



No Comments


Share this post
engsm

Stunning piece of engraved glass by Tracey Sheppard on display at Dyrham Park near Bath. The engraved glass sheet is set about 4cm in front of a back panel of polished black slate (or marble?) with a top light angled down in the gap. The effect is incredible, although very tricky to photograph, especially with a compact and no tripod…

full post

Vitis Vinífera



No Comments


Share this post
vitism

Great bit of packaging design from Madrid’s Brand Session, taking inspiration from the ceramic pots traditionally stacked in rows behind the counter of pharmacies. The ’Vitis Vinífera’ wine is produced by a Bodega belonging to a family with a background in the pharmaceutical trade – hence the beautiful spin on the bottle design.

full post

Democratic photos



No Comments


Share this post
mateosm

My 5 year old has got so deft at nicking my compact from my back pocket and filling my card up with hundreds of pictures that I’ve started to take a ‘fatherly interest’ in his ‘work’. Not in the form of instruction or anything like that (wouldn’t want to stifle his creativity) but rather in actually looking at what he’s photographing. Interestingly, it’s all people. He’s often asked why I’m always taking pictures of ‘the floor’, which is a good point, so it’s curious that all his stuff is shot upwards. Aside from the fact that he’s obviously small, his angle is up towards adult face level. Maybe all those Eggleston books we looked at when he was 2 are rubbing off?. Wouldn’t be a bad thing for primary schools to get hold of some cheap compacts, like a modern equivalent of finger painting – could make some brilliant books [...]

full post

Musical gems…



No Comments


Share this post
gemssm

Car boot sale mania is gripping my household. We had the Rastro in Madrid, but there’s something about plodding about in a field that smells of wet dogs and sifting through boxes of ‘stuff’ that is incredibly addictive. Picked up a pile of old 7 inches that I’m currently going through…

full post



No Comments


Share this post
corizsm

There’s Chorizo all over the place – not sure when that happened as the last time I was in england no-one knew what it was. Spanish cuisine is apparently in fashion…

full post

Prior Park



No Comments


Share this post
graf1sm

I can never remember being as impressed by the design of a garden. Prior Park was built in the 18th century by local entrepreneur Ralph Allen (Bath stone man) with help from ‘Capability’ Brown, and it’s really stunning. Down in the bowl of the sweeping green curves is a palladian bridge carved with names and marks from visitors; the earliest I found was 1798, with diligently carved serifs. Alexander Pope – he of incredibly long poems – was a frequent visitor. ”We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow; Our wiser sons, no doubt will think us so.”

full post

Morning web



No Comments


Share this post
websm

Ledge



No Comments


Share this post
mulchsm

Bariol


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
bariolsm

Nice rounded typeface from Gijón based studio Atipo. Get ‘Bariol’ here…

full post

Leaf work…



No Comments


Share this post
leafwksm

Heat…



No Comments


Share this post
conessm

I’m trying to source some wood for our fire. There’s a forest on the doorstep but it’s sodden and dripping, so no luck there. Back in Spain there were pine cones lying about all over the place, which made a perfect fire but as it was rarely cold they went unappreciated. I burnt the lens casing of a canon taking this picture…

full post

The skirt locker…



No Comments


Share this post
cupboard3sm

This is the interior of a hefty wooden cabinet that was used as a locker in a machine parts factory some time around the turn of the century. It was put up for auction last week, but before going on public display the auctioneer removed a set of ‘adult’ images that were stuck inside the door – all that remains of the hundred year old pin-ups are a glimpse of these half tone antique legs, as well as some anonymous portraits and will’s cigarette cards of long dead footballers. Eerie stuff…

full post

Reina Sofia aerials…



No Comments


Share this post
reinasm

Stoptober…



No Comments


Share this post
stoptobersm

Apparently its ‘Stoptober’ – another official giving up smoking month!. To mark the occasion, here’s a picture of a cigarette case that ‘stopped’ a snipers bullet in Normandy in WWII….

full post

Crashes…



No Comments


Share this post
crash4sm

Dust…



No Comments


Share this post
dustsm

Puerta del Sol in Madrid is supposedly the centre of the modern city, but is full of old fashioned quirks. Near the square you can still find the old studio of a ‘commercial artist’ who used the shop front of the ‘locale’ to display his portfolio to passers by. Probably abandoned and unopened for more than 40 years (50?), this is an image of that period of time in inches of undisturbed, accumulated dust trapped behind the window…

full post

The red cord…



No Comments


Share this post
redcordsm

Knowing your fete…



No Comments


Share this post
fete1sm

There are a few things that really ‘jar’ coming back to england after 12 years; Simon Cowell, jeans in primary colours, refuse collection, lawns… Last weekend we visited the village flower show/fete and the culture shock was like a whack in the face with a cricket bat. Will Self, Alan Bennet and the rest have all been here so I won’t go on, but it’s enough to say that for any foreign person with a fascination for the english and what makes us tick (and I know there are a few) all you need to do is go to a fete. Actually, at this particular fete I was witness to one of the most bizarre and even unsettling things I’ve seen for a long time, involving a scale model of some ‘golden gallopers’, some small cuddly toys, a bucket and a bag of pipe cleaners…

full post

Leaving a mark…


,


No Comments


Share this post
blaze480

This is Alojz Knafelc: draughtsman, mountaineer and inventor of this symbol: the Slovenian trail blaze…

full post

Unions…



No Comments


Share this post
union flag

Fascinating image from todays Guardian – a sheet from The Earl of Nottingham’s designs for the ‘union flag’. His preference (in the middle of the bottom row) has a note below which reads (roughly) as ‘In my poor opinion, this will be the most suited, for this is like man and wife’. Trouble was England was the man (left position in heraldry) and Scotland the wife, which the scots didn’t think matched their brands ‘tone of voice’…

full post

Oolite…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
wood1

We’ve got bathampton woods round the back of the house – deep and ancient, the kind that swallow you up. Once inside there’s the sensation of the colossal crashing and tumbling of stone and heavy wood that’s been temporarily put on pause and gently draped in moss and small sounds. This was once underneath a tropical sea, which formed the superbly named ‘Oolite’ (formed from ooids, of course) – otherwise known as ‘Bath stone’, first used by the Romans, and then quarried here well into the 18th century. There are still remains of the stone sleepers used to ferry trucks laden with stone down to the canal boats on a dead weight system, and the quarries themselves are spread through the wood as moss covered angular chunks dropped in among the winding pathways…

full post

Allen keys…


,


No Comments


Share this post
block1

Lent to me by Steve the neighbour – there’s something fantastic about this tin…

full post

The neighbourhood…


,


No Comments


Share this post
canal6

It’s a long way from lavapiés, although some of the narrowboats are roughly the same size as a flat in the centre of Madrid…

full post

Colourscape…



No Comments


Share this post
scape

See no evil…


, ,


1 Comment


Share this post
see4

Friends from Brighton, Madrid, Valladolid and Bristol all coincided on Nelson street – and no rain…

full post

Olympic spectators…


, , ,


No Comments


Share this post
olim8

The olympic period was a peculiar time – a sudden burst of adrenaline and people suddenly surrounded by infinite opportunities, like being able to pay a quid for an old local to row you over to the ‘stone quay’ in Weymouth and catch the olympic sailing for free!. The olympic zeitgeist was, in my opinion, more than anything about a surprising sense of participation – it seemed to involve everyone in one way or another, even watching TV became a grain of sand experience. Lots of talk post olympics about ‘harnessing the spirit of London 2012′ and finding some way of keeping the torch burning. The whole notion of ’collective participation’ is a bit of an alien concept in England, which is probably why ‘the war’ and nostalgia for the post 1945 period still holds such sway. The famous ‘blitz spirit’ of coming together when faced with hardship probably has more to do with [...]

full post

Court lines…



No Comments


Share this post
tennis1

Holes…



No Comments


Share this post
slag

Drilling holes in our 1930′s walls – made of mining slag bricks…

full post

Masts…


,


No Comments


Share this post
mast1

Rain…



No Comments


Share this post
hair

England is damp, drenched, soggy, the rain is crashing down on our new skylights and my youngest is somewhere between bewildered and terrified of this peculiar weather. The usual August heatwave is stifling Madrid at the moment but to be honest I don’t miss it, 40º at 2am is no fun…  

full post

Llegada…


, ,


2 Comments


Share this post
4

Our arrival at the new house in Bath coincided with everything arriving from Madrid, and this is the panorama for the next few days…

full post

Heritage…


,


No Comments


Share this post
heritage

Maiden Castle is an iron-age hill fort from a time when power was equated with who was physically the highest situated in the landscape, as opposed to now – all about who has the deepest bunker. This is the most grass I’ve ever seen in one place in my life. it’s so grassy it’s almost unreal. The hill was apparently man made and has an incredible rampart structure running round the perimeter. Nice chance to look at english folk standing in the wind, contemplating the landscape… and the English Heritage logo.

full post

La manche…


, , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
U18A0313

We set off early to make the ferry, 100km to cherbourg and into a grey sea mist shrouding the anonymous off-white blocks and concrete expanses of a ferry port. This is like non-weather, a blank grey backdrop held up with cranes. Cars draw slowly up into numbered lines, their occupants unfolding themselves from back seats to flip up boots and dig out hooded tops and sandwiches. The journey is smooth, and I start the process of re-entry to england soaking up the patter of the other passengers, sunburn, the smell of tents, english breakfasts, ferry steel and the sea. Landing at poole (from cherbourg a great route) we set off for dorchester and arrive in time to catch the bizarre opening ceremony of the olympics. A 3 hour resume to give us an idea of the state of the nation we’ll now be living in. In a peculiar moment, champions [...]

full post

Yes to everything…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
U18A0301

The last night of our France journey we spend at a B&B on the north coast. When I send an email to Glenda, the owner, with a long list of ‘can we do this…’ style requests, she sends one back saying simply ‘yes to everything’. We spend the evening on their lush lawn playing badminton and messing about as the sun sets and her little phrase keeps rolling over in my head. Glenda and Steve are previously from Manchester. She says she got to a certain age and realised that the next phase of her life would be slow decline as friends around her started getting old, and ill. So she sold up, bought a caravan with her partner Steve and went to india. Now she’s here in a beautiful old farmhouse surrounded by three acres, ‘just enough to manage without machinery’ according to Steve. I think about moving, and [...]

full post

Normandy…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
IMG_4494

Shortly before the Dunkirk evacuations, my grandad was in Le Mans serving with the army logistics corp. An officer tried to give him a pistol, which he refused. ‘What do you expect me to do with that’ he replied. This morning local kids are busy digging long furrows that channel the water running toward the sea into holes dug in the sand. Later I lie in one of the warm pools on my back staring up at the sky with mateo next to me. Living in one moment and not another.

full post

French sky…



No Comments


Share this post
U18A0256

Bouge…


, ,


1 Comment


Share this post
day42

We head up the coast into Brittany, and stop off in Port Navalo, and after more bungled conversations in french find a room in an odd ‘designer’ hotel. Port Navalo and the towns nearby are very neat and well groomed. I really like the citroen restyling btw. I’ve never liked the aesthetics of their cars, but the DS3 seems to take the essentials and give it just enough of a nudge in the right direction to create something that works. The whole rebranding (especially the new typeface) from a couple of years ago is very smart – Landor I think. The hotel is all keith haring motif upholstery and interesting cutlery. Strangely, all the staff disappear at 7pm and its impossible to get a drink. Back from the beach I head off to the marina at midnight in search of liquids to bring back to the sweltering family holed up [...]

full post

Le cheval blanc…


, , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
day31

Up past Bordeaux and endless motorway, counting off kilometres in chunks. The sea is somewhere off to the left and lumber is all around, shifted on lorries, hosed down in huge stacks at the side of the road. As we pull off the main route onto lesser roads calmer countryside, and everything seems so fertile – harvesting is underway and we slow down to a nice 20km per hour behind hulking combines and goods trucks. Stopping off at a roadside bar I try and feel the difference to the Spanish countryside. The heat here is cut with humidity, everything is slow and calm. The flys are fat and seem barely interested in staying in the air. A lawnmower hums in the background, a sound that instantly reminds me of England. We’ve come to terms with the fact that people here don’t speak Spanish, and pretty much the same with english. [...]

full post

Frantzia…


, , , , , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
day2b

Tracking across the north coast we pass through the Basque country travelling the same autopistas as our recent trip to Zumaia. Interesting comparing the open rolling landscape of Cantabria, sunlight and salted air flowing through the car, with the mountains and industrial landscape around Bilbao. Dark scent of forests and factory smoke mixed with the dust thrown up by rumbling cargo lorries. This reminds me of a rumpled mountainous cornwall strewn with tower blocks for workers families, all around is Industry that’s actually working rather than falling into ruin. Just outside Bilbao we pass a imposing bunker up on a hill with the Banco Santander logo emblazoned on a huge faux chimney stack – this is apparently ‘santander village’ or something, headquarters of the Botin empire. It reminds me of the villains bases from the bond films. Yesterday on the beach I read about investigations into offshore banks discovering vast [...]

full post

La meseta…


, , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
day1c

‘La meseta’  - a flat table of a plateau over which the A67 snakes in rolling heat made bearable for the fact that all leads north to the sea… We head straight to Tagle for calamares and swims in rock pool lagoons. Over in nearby Mogro is a great posada  - Condado de la Mota – where we’ve stayed before, so it’s good to be back. The housekeeper gives the kids a bag of plums picked off the tree for the journey. The posada is a stop off for white legged sun burnt aficionados of the ‘camino de santiago’, rolling up at sundown tossing rucksacks aside and crumpling into the plastic bar seats to inspect their feet. Tommorrow through the País Vasco and into France…

full post

Sabado…


,


No Comments


Share this post
mart

Tomorrow we set off;  345 kilometres north to the sea, our first stop, then along the coast into France…

full post

Land to the sea…


, , , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
land5

The land here is regularly watered by vast industrial sprinklers that straddle the fields and flash great silver arcs that battle against the sun. The cornfield at the side of the house hums with the surging of the water in steel pipes that cut grids under the earth. Everything should be wet. Solar panels are a rare sight and I can’t for the life of me figure out why, in a country with 3 months or more  of virtually cloudless skies and endless swathes of flat unshaded landscape.

full post

Days end…


, , ,


1 Comment


Share this post
stars3

Night drops gently and the heat lifts. Days are now routes, plans, and points on digital maps. If we weren’t certain of being back then I would have to deal with missing the sounds and the warmth and the people. Hushed sounds of the kids enjoying the last few sundown’s with their cousins. Soon we’ll be staring out at the sea…

full post

Night drive…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
nightdrive

Brañosera…


,


1 Comment


Share this post
brano2

Road trip up north to the beautiful village of Brañosera. Up in the mountains but only an hour from Santander, the north coast of Spain comes close to having it all as far as landscapes go. The trip was mixed in with a bit of work, hopefully getting involved in future with a project for the moment known as ‘Nemoral’ – when the scaffolding comes off this could be something very interesting. Cracking swim under a waterfall – another day spent in the company of some brilliant people with some great ideas…

full post

Burning the bank…


,


No Comments


Share this post
ash

Burning piles of bank statements is very invigorating, and highly recommended…

full post

Dos caballos…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
2cv

This is my old neighbour’s 2CV, a marvel of longevity. Every time it starts it defies mechanics, gravity, and logic. I’ve been passing it for years on my way to work waiting for the thing to just fall apart, but it remains. The other day, the president was in congress formally announcing his plans to cut unemployment benefit in half, to which one of his own party deputies, Andrea Fabra, unable to contain herself, shouted ‘fuck ‘em all’. Seriously.’fuck ‘em all’.  You can watch it on youtube.  It shouldn’t really be so surprising after the health minister claimed that, according to her, medicine was for ‘healing health’, and the almost constant surreal insanity from the ‘alcaldesa’ of Madrid, Ana Botella, about apples, squirrels, particles from Africa, and the war in Iraq being ok because the pope says so. It’s impossible to go on. Hats off to the 2CV.

full post

Jon…



No Comments


Share this post
detalle

Jon is one of my oldest friends from Madrid, so I was really glad that he dropped by with his wife amaia to see us in the village. A few years ago me and Jon climbed a volcano in Africa that was one of those arduous near death ‘staring into the abyss’ type experiences that leaves you feeling a bit invigorated. The fact that we both survived the ascent, leopards, noxious fumes, piles of ash and hallucinations brought on by altitude give our meetings a nice ring. As well as liking whiskey, smoking, and proper laughing of the therapeutic sort, he constantly produces sculptures and paintings, and if you go round his house you’ll always go home with something stuffed in a bag. Brilliant.

full post

Pablo…



No Comments


Share this post
pablo

On our way back to the village we dropped in on some friends to meet the mighty Pablo – now 2 months old and destined to fight injustice wherever it may be found, and by the looks of things be very handsome while he’s about it. Enhorabuena chicos…  

full post

Despertando…



No Comments


Share this post
sleepers

Clear morning in Madrid. My 2 boys are pieces of a jigsaw…

full post

Rubber bullets, baltis and besos…


, , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
miner

Our last trip to lavapiés tied in with a march by miners from the north of Spain demonstrating against government spending cuts reducing subsidies to an industry that is ‘no longer profitable’. After borrowing a chunk of money to ‘refloat’ the country, the government has now set about the budget with a rusty cutlass, halving unemployment benefit, laying off teachers in public education, bringing in laws that allow the police to remove peaceful protesters, cutting civil servant’s pay and even having a quick swipe at pensioners while they’re about it. The need for austerity befits the right wing catholic government who seem to be really relishing their job. Last week a friend of mine who owns a bar was visited by 6 policemen who fined him 300 euros for having the door open after 11pm (It was 30 degrees after all). ‘The excesses of the past must be paid for [...]

full post

Dolomites…


, , , , , ,


No Comments


Share this post
chris2

Our kid completes his Italian race in 6h 16mins – 9000 riders, 138km, one or two hills. Nice socks…

full post

Trama…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
*door2

  Quick commute into Valladolid today to pick up an annual report job for the Red Cross, courtesy of the lovely Trama Publicidad. Back to the village for sundown. Waiting for some advice from a french friend about some possible stop offs for our trip up to Cherbourg, which at the moment should be around the end of next week (ish). Wednesday we’ll be back in Madrid for a couple of days, which will be our last visit until we leave for England. Two new jobs coming up involving a DJ… and a florist. After the last week of something approaching a zen like state, and running around pine forests listening to Blak Twang, the idea of getting back into some work is good… (*note to self reading this 2 months later: ‘the idea of getting back into some work is good’. You fool).

full post

Siesta…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
*window

Best rapid siesta technique: sleep in a chair with an arm dangling and a coin in your hand. You fall asleep, the coin drops and you wake up power-napped. Doesn’t work with carpets though.

full post

Furrows…


,


No Comments


Share this post
ploughed

On the dust track outside the house the rich smell of pine resin from the woods is pungent in the heat.Crickets (grillos) rather than chirping can actually make one hell of a racket at midday. Here’s a beautiful bit of ploughing taken last spring – there’s a tractor driving Otl Aicher fan somewhere in the village…

full post

Bombonas…



No Comments


Share this post
bombona

A staple of village life, and still used in flats the city, these orange butane canisters can often be found loafing menacingly in the street waiting for collection. A couple of years ago I tried hoofing one of these 20 kilo bad boys up a flight of stairs on my shoulder, feeling all rustic. Right at the top step, as I reached for the door handle, the liquid gas sloshed backwards and pulled me off balance, hurling me backwards down a full flight with the canister taking a chunk out of a solid concrete step on its way down. After a trip to hospital I now give these things a wide berth. They taught me a valuable lesson: don’t do that.

full post

Backflips…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
marti

One of my brother in law’s, Jose, recently had to rent out his parents flat. One of the neighbours, a down home racist, made a point of letting him know that he didn’t want any gypsy’s or foreigners next door, Jose searched very selectively, found a large family of moroccan’s, and moved them in immediately. Today Spain’s ‘prima de riesgo’ went up and the country’s economic problems get steadily worse. The back flips of Jose’s daughter, meanwhile, get steadily better…

full post

The pool…


,


No Comments


Share this post
pool

An 8km run in 30 degree heat followed by a headlong flop into a deep cool swimming pool is up there with the best of sensations. As is a midnight swim feeling bats flitting and flicking at the water in the fading light. Swimming pools in the dark are fantastically sinister. The pool here in the village house was built by a local builder, who I remember told me of its indestructible nature; solid concrete 5 feet thick – put a lid on it and fill it with beans and you can come out smiling after any nearby conflict involving explosives with fallout. A couple of years ago one of my brothers in law hit on the idea of covering it in winter then recycling the water the following summer, but before these days of innovation there was an annual ritual of emptying the dark green stagnant soup left from [...]

full post

North and south…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
zumaia

A last chance to cross unvisited spots off our list. First north to the Pais Vasco to visit friends in their 500 year old country house (currently being renovated – I wish I was a carpenter) and on to the extraordinary beach at Zumaia. I was told years ago that Donosti was the ‘best of Spain’ and it seems a fair comment. We’ll be coming past here, then up through France in a couple of weeks on our way to England. Next up was Cordoba – south into the heat, guests of Almudena, Joaquin, Azahara and Gimena – a lovely family that embody everything that’s great about Spain (gracias chicos). Granada unfortunately remained an alcazar too far (another time), but we did get a guided tour of a village only reachable through a 5km tunnel previously used as a uranium mine (very strange) and I got to eat pork in [...]

full post

La roja…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
flag

So last night, in spectacular fashion, ‘La selección’ hammered Italy into the ground. All Pirlo could do was weep with the realisation that in his lifetime he would never be a part of a team like this, and the display of spanish dominance was almost at times surreal. My kids are spoilt in the fact that their team basically just win everything – including penalty shootouts. The spanish flags suddenly brandished all over the landscape are done so a little squeamishly in some quarters. The flag in general is regarded in the same way as the union jack in the 80′s, a symbol of boot boys and far right nationalism with some still choosing the purple banded flag of the republic, and the Basque and Catalan flags as prevalent outside of Madrid. I remember going to town in my first design jobs for a spanish ministry with the red and [...]

full post

Lavapiés…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
lava

I doubt there’s another barrio on the planet like Lavapiés. When we first moved to Madrid, b found a flat here and we were told we’d landed in some equivalent of the bronx. Over the years we’ve come to love it. Lavapiés is an old working class neighbourhood that today jams people from every nationality into the narrow streets. Largely first generation immigrants (not counting the gatos, students, junkies, trustafarians, artists etc.), the result is a glorious collage of africans, chinese, arabs, europeans, south americans, and everything else in between. The city authorities seem vaguely disgusted by the place, which makes it even better, and lends it an air of autonomy. Our boys grew up here, went to school here, and hopefully will be back some day. This neighbourhood deals in simple truths, surprises and confounds you every day, challenges your preconceptions about just about everything and I miss it [...]

full post

The village…


,


No Comments


Share this post
dusk

I’ve been coming here now for 18 years – as long as I’ve known Bea. Her mum built the house some time in the 1970′s, and before that she lived in the village through the civil war. Endless stories there, as in any pueblo during that period, but she told me once that her and the other kids in the village would run behind the trucks carrying italian soldiers to Madrid, and they would occasionally be thrown a tin of sardines. Her father (bea’s grandad) was a school teacher in another village who occasionally hid republicans from the ‘guardia civil’. Anyway, we’re now here until we set off for england – maybe 2 or three weeks. A last chance to get some sun?…

full post

Adios Madrid…


, ,


No Comments


Share this post
lucas

Our mountain of stuff somehow wedged itself into the back of a rather inadequate removals van, and the flat is finally gloriously empty. I could live like this – just a fan, white curtains and a bed. 12 years have passed since me and b arrived in Madrid, and our first flat is only a couple of streets away. The new ‘inquilinas’ are moving in on monday; 2 young doctors who we’re both really lucky to have found. They’re a great couple, and we’re glad that they’ll be starting their new life in calle esperanza. Tomorrow we head off to the ‘pueblo’ where we can finally relax after the last 3 months of sorting out redundancies, uk house hunting, schools research and all the other endless rounds of paperwork and phone calls. Yesterday reached 38 degrees and the nights are still and airless making it difficult to sleep. I used [...]

full post