The past shall not be forgotten

My dear friend D has recently gone freelance, after decades in full time employment. We used to work together on the art desk of a magazine between 2001 and 2006, designing page layouts. We've managed to stay in touch over the years, and sometimes we still dream of opening a design company with our old boss and make nice things. But I digress. Scary as freelancing is, it now means we can hang out and look at arty stuff in the daytime when she's not working. A couple of weeks ago we went to the Killed Negatives exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery which D had read about (click on the first link to find out more). It was pretty brutal to see those pictures destroyed like that! Afterwards we checked out the row of houses in the third pic, one of which is for sale. Dreamhouse alert (but thumbs down to the price and location)! A week later we met up again, this time to check out Picturing Forgotten London, a photo exhibition at the London Metropolitan Archives which was interesting, and a bit sad to see. So many cool buildings and monuments were sadly torn down (and let's not forget bombed and destroyed in WW2) for various reasons. That's still happening, and for the past decade London has been drowning in boring, bland and hideous glass buildings. I mean, look at the last picture in this post! That's a real house and not a set. I know which type of building I prefer. Anyway, after looking at pictures and prints of some of the lost houses of London (I didn't take any pictures as it was very dark in there), we continued on to Dennis Severs' house (pic 5) in Spitalfields which I've been wanting to go to for years. Friends, if there's one experience you shouldn't miss if in London - this is it. The artist Dennis Severs put the house together, imagining what life there might have been like in the late 1700's. They only let in 10 people at a time, and you have to keep quiet the whole time you're there, as well as turn your phone off and not take any pictures. It. Was. Amazing. The house is lit only by candles, and you're to have the impression that the family who live/d there have just left the room before you entered it. A breakfast half-eaten left on the table, a card game interrupted, the remains of an evening of heavy drinking, a pot of fresh coffee kept warm by a candle.  I don't want to spoil it by giving away everything, but just GO. Pics 6 and 7 are from old houses near by, which are currently under threat of being torn down, so they can be replaced by 13 story high office blocks. Criminal.


Recently, at home

A Sunday morning, all of them in their own little worlds.

Oomoo switched from the piano to the guitar a few months ago. I'm seriously impressed by how easy it was for him. As for me, I'm not playing the piano as often as I used to - must change that. It'd be too sad to lose that skill.

These guys live above a door, and goodness me do they need a dusting. Some serious cobweb action going on there.

Oomoo and pal playing with a marble run whilst Mr Famapa catches up on emails.

The long and cold winter has made all our plants explode this spring. I've never seen them this huge! Can't wait to see all them flowers bloom in the next few weeks.

Grooming time! Sometimes brushing the knots out in Buddy's fur isn't enough, and that's when the scissors come out. As you can see, he doesn't seem to mind at all.


Thank Kew

A few weekends ago, we went to Kew Gardens to check out the just opened Temperate House that had been closed for a five year long refurbishment. It didn't disappoint! Originally built in 1860-63 it houses 10 000 plants, some of which have been grown from seed. It's going to be so interesting to see how much everything will grow over the next few decades. We went on the very warm and sunny Bank Holiday Monday, and there were long queues to get in, but as Kew Gardens is so huge (121 hectares/300 acres) it was really easy to lose the crowds. I know I go on about it in every post I write about it, but Kew is just brilliant, and I really enjoy going there at different times of the year. Can't wait to go back.


Made me laugh

I found him like this, waiting for us to get ready to go out for the day :)


The last few hours

Our flight back home wasn't until the afternoon, so on our last day in Stockholm, me and Oomoo spent some time wandering around Söder, as there were a couple of shops I wanted to check out, and more than anything, I needed to stock up on my Swedish teas (yum!), and so I snapped these random pics. In the past year, at bedtime, when I stay and chat with Oomoo in the dark for a little while before I say goodnight, he's asked me for the past six months or so to tell him a story about something that happened to me when I was a kid. Racking my brains every evening I've told him all my highlights, big and small, from my years in Stockholm, and once I ran out of those he wanted more stories from before he was born. Anyway, walking around town is so much fun, as I can say "That there is the park where I slipped into the lake, remember?" and "This here is where we went ice skating after school, and built burrows in the deep snow" and "That's where I went to the dentist and faked needing braces (I told you he wanted to know everything)". On this trip I even took him to see my old school, where so many fun things happened, and showed him the walk home from there that I'd take on my own - at his age. As weird as I now feel about my hometown, I still have very fond memories from there, and I wouldn't have wished my childhood there to have been any different. I am so happy to be able to share the language and a bit of the culture with Oomoo now, and I hope he'll have fond childhood memories from there when he's a grown up too.


Gamla Stan

I texted my friend Z in Amsterdam a picture from this square saying "Surprise! We've just arrived and we're on our way to your house!". She replied "Cool! I'll put the kettle on." I don't think I fooled her.

Caught these ladies 'gramming. Loved the graphic shape of the light.

These guys. So excited about going to Serieboden and getting their mitts on old comics.

Oh my goodness. That font. Want.

Those window reflections. That blue sky. Those old old houses.

The streets are very narrow in Gamla Stan. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I was looking after the boys by myself, so no time to dawdle with the camera. I need to go back.

This was the first warm day of the year. These guys worked in a tattoo parlour, but I guess they weren't that busy at that particular moment... Swedes flock out into the sunshine in spring like no one else - those long dark winters makes them appreciate the warmth of the sun sooooo much more. I did too when I lived there. 


Again, again, again and again

I don't know why, but I kept taking pictures like these on this trip, over and over and over and over again.


An afternoon walk

Me and Oomoo spent another couple of days in Stockholm after the ski trip, whilst Mr Famapa had to leave for work. My friend A's eldest son is nine months older than Oomoo, and had to go back to school straight away, but we came and picked him up from school one day, and took the long way home, walking from Gamla Stan to Hornstull where they live. They sometimes take this walk to school when time and weather allows, and it was such a cool walk. I wish I had more time do these simple things when we visit in the future, as it always feel so rushed with family duties, and we never stay long enough to be able to just hang out. These 40 minutes or so were so nice, and I really enjoyed discovering Stockholm anew, and noticing things more as it's all so foreign now. I mean, look at how ridiculously colour co-ordinated all the houses are! Heaven forbid you paint your house blue :)