When I lived in the UK, pubs were a big part of my social life — the meeting place of choice for most of the people I knew. A “swift half” at lunchtime; “a few drinks” after work; “Sunday lunch” — all became part of the fabric of my world. While I entertained, and was entertained by, friends from the ex-pat community at home, my English friends seemed to prefer, or just expect, that meeting to socialise took place on neutral — licensed — territory.
Pubs are such an integral part of British life, certainly as I experienced it. Even the smallest hamlet seemed to have at least one pub. One town I lived in had 17 within easy walking distance. I never did explore them all, but it was obvious that each had its own character, including a few that seemed to exist solely as a meeting place for a tiny, quite specific community.
The undercroft of London’s Southbank Centre is a famous skate spot; a meeting place for that community of young (mainly) men who — like the boychild — love skateboarding. Decorated with fabulous-coloured graffiti, the area is a kind of spiritual home for London skaters.
While pubs and skate parks are meeting places in the sense of people gathering to share in communal activities, most areas of human habitation also contain landmark spots which, because of some distinctive feature that makes them easy to describe and identify, become quite literally places to meet. One of these is the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, which tops a memorial foundation built in 1992, in commemoration of Lord Shaftesbury. The statue was created by Alfred Gilbert, and was one of the first to be cast in aluminium. Like the Lions in Trafalgar Square, Eros is so recognizable that it’s an ideal place to arrange to meet.
Rail, subway and bus stations are also popular and logical meeting places. Be warned though, when you agree to meet someone at the entrance to a tube station, make sure you agree WHICH entrance. I once missed a meeting because I was waiting for a colleague (who knew where we were meant to be going) at an entrance/exit to Bank Station. I didn’t realise there are about eight of these, and assumed he’d emerge from the same one as me. I was wrong!
Airports, especially international terminals, are quite a special kind of meeting place. They are huge, brightly-lit public spaces where normally reserved people will break free from the crowd and burst into tears at the sight of loved ones from who they may have been separated for a long time. I don’t know who the man in the photo was meeting, but I hope that he or she appreciated the flowers.
Meeting Places is this week’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack. Pop over to see Ailsa’s wonderful photos.
Life seems quite stressful at the moment. The Big T is out of the country for two weeks, workplace politics are spoiling my enjoyment of a project I’ve hitherto loved, and I have some ongoing, low-level pain that’s quietly driving me crazy. So I’m trying to focus on the good stuff; friends, my darling son, my home – and most of all living in a country where I can go about daily life without fear of snipers, rocket fire, suicide bombers or air strikes.
Today I bought mandarins; small, sweet, juicy and very fresh. They were packaged – not in the usual polythene bags – but in plastic mesh, which reminded me of the string bags my mum used to carry fruit and veg home in.
I had all but thrown the bags away when I noticed the lovely sculptural quality of the pliant mesh. I’m happy enough with the photos I took; but happier still with the edits.
I like the way the layers of mesh form different patterns in the shot below, and I think darkening it accentuates the contrast between the fine plastic thread and the background.
I particularly like this black and white shot which abstracts the mesh even further.
Changing the colour palette removes the shot even further from the reality of a fruit bag.
As does the opposite – increased saturation and a paint-like effect.
This week it’s challenger’s choice in Sally’s Phoneography and non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge. Pop over and have a look at Sally’s post, and those of other bloggers.
I don’t know if it’s proof I’m getting old, or just that deep down I’m really British, but lately I have been thinking, commenting — and posting — about the weather. True, we have had an unexpectedly large number of storms and way more rain than usual, but still!
Anyway, I’m doing it again. I woke this morning to the heaviest fog I’ve seen in ages, so as soon as the boy-child was out the door for school, I headed off with my camera. It was really cold and damp in Greenhithe today, but I’m quite pleased with the photos I shot.
I think of all that I have done in the last 100 days, and know that if my child had been taken from me and I didn’t know where he was or what was happening to him, I would be so consumed with fear and anxiety that even the smallest things would seem impossible. Please, don’t let us forget these girls and their families.
Originally posted on The Brixton Housewife:
Over the past 100 days I have:
pottered in my garden.
helped my husband lay new flooring.
written school reports.
protested for Palestine.
bitched with friends.
attended a street festival.
laid in the sunshine.
argued with loved ones.
bought new artwork.
witnessed the dashed hopes and dreams of a nation.
taught Zumba to my class.
received callaloo and cabbage seeds from a stranger.
hoovered (ok I’m not fooling anyone)
listened to my unborn baby’s heartbeat.
stalked on Facebook.
watched a human chess match.
found it impossible to sleep.
participated in a treasure hunt.
joined the TEDx Brixton event team.
had a pedicure.
rushed to hospital.
attended a beautiful wedding.
Over the past 100 days the Chibok girls have:
Yesterday marked 100 days since the girls…
View original 100 more words
It rained again overnight, and although there is some blue in the sky this morning, the Met Service is predicting heavy showers, hail and (for Auckland) low temperatures. So another grey day then — which makes Ailsa’s travel theme of “purple” very welcome. If I can’t find colour in the living world today, I can vicariously enjoy my favourite colour in photography.
And of course reality can always be modified to visualise an interior landscape. These sculptures have both appeared in my dreams lately, and playing with photo-editing apps has allowed me to externalise, and understand those dream landscapes.
If you’d like to see Aisla’s wonderful purple images, visit Where’s my Backpack. Here are some other bloggers’ interpretations of the challenge that I’ve enjoyed: