The significance of the red poppy …

A poppy is a glorious thing – a wild flower, whose seeds are distributed on the wind and the wing, planting itself resiliently and defiantly on waste ground where no other vegetation raises its head.  It was this ability which saw it adopted as a symbol of lives lost in the First World War –…

The Claridge’s Christmas Tree

  There are Christmas trees, then there are Christmas trees … For the ultimate in festive finery, put your best foot forward and head for Claridge’s, Mayfair to celebrate the start of the Christmas Season for no other than shoe maestro Christian Louboutin will be designing the property’s 10th anniversary Christmas tree, to be unveiled…

April is the cruellest month …

TS Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month in his epic poem, The Wasteland – one of my favourite poems which, when I read it again and again, I see other connotations, other meanings, other visions. Yet, conversely, it is the months of April and May that I look forward to the most in my…

The history of the Google Doodle

Celebrating John Lennon’s 70th Birthday Each morning as I sip my first cup of tea, my hand strays over to my laptop to see if there’s a Google Doodle there. I love these little snippets of information, alerting me to many events and people in history that I know about, but more interestingly, about those that…

A new dawn rises for South Parade Pier, Southsea

Friday 14th April 2017 was a great day for the people of Portsmouth. It’s been five long years since South Parade Pier, a Grade II listed Victorian Pier, closed its doors and many of us feared that it would never reopen. It’s taken investment from a private consortium of local businessmen to repair and re-open…

What’s in a plaque?

I do love to read a good plaque as I wander around the streets of London, camera in hand. It’s like having a mini-history lesson laid out for you as you take a path, walked by thousands of people before you. They help us connect our present to the past. They also help us enjoy the living…

When Churchill met Roosevelt

Have you ever wandered down London’s Bond Street and noticed the (as I call it) “When Churchill met Roosevelt” statue – the two elder statesmen sitting on a bench with a space for us in-between – wondering what it’s all about? All became clear for me on this vexed question when I sadly read the…

Hanami – the art of the cherry blossom

In many ways, I believe I am a little Japanese because like that great nation, whenever I see a cherry blossom in flower, my soul smiles. The art of cherry blossom viewing is taken extremely seriously in Japan and has been for centuries.  The name given to it, Hanami, I am told, means simply flower viewing…

A Memory of Zaha Hadid

I read with great sadness about the unexpected death last year of the formidable architect, Dame Zaha Hadid. It’s as if I’ve only just begun to appreciate her style and enjoy her unmistakable design and now she’s gone. Her’s was a unique and innovative architectural talent – and I for one will miss her. I’ve visited two…

A Walk through David Hockney’s life

I will first of all put my hands up and say that I am a bit of a fan of David Hockney – I like his ideas, his work and well, I quite like the sound of him too. So it may come as no surprise to hear that I made my way to the…