Oops, he’s done it again…

I raised a hand to stop the cab coming towards us on Old Street, ‘Let’s get a cab!’ As soon as Hubbie and I settled into a back seat, he exclaimed, ‘Oh sh*t! I’ve forgot the ticket!!’ We were on our way to Somerset House for a lecture, a part of the event, PHOTO LONDON. So we asked the cab driver to wait while Hubbie would dash to his office and fetch the ticket. Oh dear, I should have looked after it instead of trusting it to him, I thought. He could be s bit of scattered brain when he was extremely busy…

‘You are in charge of this from now’, he handed me the ticket, huffing and puffing as the cab pulled out and merged into early rush-hour traffic. ‘Do you think we have time for a quick tea & cake?’ I asked Hubbie as I studied the paperwork. ‘Oh, I should imagine so’, it was his cheerful reply. Then, I spotted a fatal flaw. He told me the lecture would start from 5 o’clock but the ticket stated otherwise – it was to start from 4 o’clock! Our cab was creeping up Fleet Street and the time was already 4:20. ‘Oh no, I didn’t do it, did I? Please tell me I didn’t!’ Hubbie lamented. We thought everything was going swimmingly but our boat was in fact sinking fast with a large hole in the hull…

The event organiser kindly let us sneak into the auditorium…

The lecture was given by Nadav Kander, a South African photographer, who was famous for his portraits of world leaders and celebrities. I was especially taken by his remark about Francis Bacon. ‘The image (of a sitter) expresses better if all of him/her is not shown. Because in that way, the viewer’s imagination will do the job’ I couldn’t agree more.

PHOTO LONDON is the largest and most luxurious photographic exhibition in London. An equivalent of the Frieze Art Fair. Like Frieze, the venue are full of big name photographic galleries and dealers from all over the world…

We managed to dodge securities and looked around a part of the marquee after the lecture. ‘We must look the part’, we whispered to each other as we walked in and out of the gallery booths, studying and musing exquisite prints displayed on the walls. It was a private view day and therefore open to journalists and dealers only. Oops!

We have tickets for Saturday and in the meantime, I am looking after it and I shan’t let him come anywhere near it…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

A day by the barrier

As the sun was setting, Hubbie and I were sipping organic lemonade at Summer with Monika on Pitfield Street, enjoying remnants of a balmy early summer evening. ‘We could do it indoor but I also wanna shoot them outside too’, I chipped in. We were then brainstorming how the photo shoot we were planning for my knitwear should be art directed. ‘Yeah, they could look really great against some rugged backdrops’, He mused…

‘Why don’t we go location-hunting tomorrow?’

While finishing our drink, we mulled it over and decided that we were to visit Thames Barrier next day.

The marvel of modern engineering…

Alminium cladding of the piers was gleaming under the midday sun.

Their curve reminded me an ancient creature, ammonite. And brightly coloured gate mechanism resembled a fantastic science-fiction automaton. I shan’t bore you with my descriptions of the technical details of the barrier. If you are interested in them, please read in here.

We had a small picnic at Thames Barrier Park. The park was equipped with well-manicured lawn and an interesting landscaping. The locals seemed to love this family friendly space very much and as a result, it was almost litter less despite the park didn’t have many bins.

Mr.B loved the place too…

He was pottering, sniffing around and blinking in the bright sunshine. One time, he must have found a spot with an irresistible scent. He started to rub his body against it frantically. Oh no, what is it, Mr.B? I hope it’s not too gamy…

The park was very beautiful but we found the place was a little too pretty and sanitised for the backdrop of the photo-shoot. So we decided to investigate the opposite side of the barrier.

Reaching to the other side of the Thames turned out to be a bit of an ordeal. A huge traffic was building up around the roads leading up to Blacknell Tunnel and our progress was agonisingly slow. The sound of air-conditioner working in a full power was deafening and white-hot sunlight was glaring in our faces as we waited patiently in a snail pace traffic.

A view of Thames Barrier from the south side…

The other side, where Thames Barrier Information Centre was located, was much quieter than the park side. There was absolutely no car in the visitor’s parking when we arrived and only a handful of families were having a picnic by the river bank. 

A plant of Tate & Lyle Sugar with a huge ship floating on the river, ready to receive the cargo…

Is it a river bus? We saw some ships did a u-turn and went back up the Thames. However, this vessel carried on down the river…

Hubbie and I admired a view from the information centre as we shared a can of Fanta and a small tab of Pringles…

Beyond the barrier, we could see Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome under a sky full of amazing looking clouds. The scene was a pure pleasure to behold.

‘They do look great but may not be suitable for our project’, we signed as we spotted a sign stating that any commercial photoshooting without a permission was prohibited within the compound of the barrier or the adjacent park. The barrier looked amazing but it wouldn’t be any use if we couldn’t get closer, would it? We shrugged and headed to the car park.

Our location hunting still goes on. If you have any suggestion, please chip in. It will be much appreciated!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Steak, Guy Bourdin & Christmas Tree…

I am very sorry for abandoning my blog again.
Nothing drastic had happened during the silence except my daily fight with muscle fatigue and aches caused by the all-out hockey action which has commenced since last September. When one’s body is much too tired, one’s will to do anything other than absolutely necessary wanes, and as the result, my thumb dancing had been on pause over my iPhone screen for quite a while. Now, a quick sit-rep of my household. My.B is doing very well by the help of medications. He is comfortable and still full of beans. And Hubbie is the same old himself, busy, busy & busy. So, it is all good & happy in my household!

Last Saturday, Hubbie and I went out for an early Christmas lunch at Hawksmoor, Covent Garden. We had dined at their Shoreditch branch on Curtain Road some years ago but this West End Restaurant was new for us.
We were both in the mood for serious meat eating, and therefore, we opted for 850g of Porterhouse steak to share. We also ordered tender stem broccoli, salad with vinaigrette and beef dripping chips.

Waiters cross the numbers out from the blackboard as the cuts were sold off…

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After about a half an hour of waiting, our foods were brought to the table….

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And they were great. The seasoning was exquisite and the way the steak was done was perfect.
Especially, their beef dripping chips, they were so wickedly tasty. Sorry my arteries and hello to my cholesterol…

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After settling our full stomach with cappuccino, we waded through The Piazza which was awash with Christmas shoppers as well as tourists.

A lone silver reindeer on the display…

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‘I am just a reindeer! Get me out of HERE!!’

It looked like as if the deer wanted to be free from the madness of Covent Garden in weekend.
Even there was a mass exodus of Santas on BMXs…

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Modern Christmas becomes more and more insane, don’t you agree?

Somerset House, here we come…

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We were there for the Guy Bourdin exhibition…

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It was great to see and understand his method of creating the works. Hubbie told me about his sad demise towards the end of his career. Guy Bourdin was a perfectionist who would have hated to work with someone like Anna Wintour for sure…

After the exhibition, we walked around an indoor Christmas market, expecting it to be the same as the last year’s. However, I was disappointed because there was no independent traders but all Fortnum & Mason. I had nothing against one of the most famous London stores but I just didn’t want those big names in my face everywhere I went. I would go to Piccadilly if I wanted to shop in F&M, thank you very much! So please leave some chance encounters with small retailers at Somerset House next Christmas.

An opulently decorated Christmas tree in the courtyard…

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Then, we grabbed a cab on Aldwych and sped home where our dear Mr.B awaited…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pop-Up Book Sale ICA @ The Mall

The recent London has been blessed with a blue sky and fluffy white wispy clouds. And the weather of the last Saturday was no exception.
‘We are going to the ICA today!’ Hubbie declared breezily. He explained that we were to visit a weekend-only pop-up bookshop held at the gallery. Oh, okay…

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I was not an avid Royal calendar follower and therefore I had no idea what was held at Horse Guard Parade that morning but along the stretch of The Mall, a row of crowd-control barriers was in place on both sides and onlookers were milling about…

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We had a quick bite at the gallery’s cafe before plunging our nose between pages of precious prints…

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The coffee at ICA was not bad at all and the sandwiches were really tasty.

After climbing two flights of stairs…

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And we were greeted with table tops and shelves laden with vintage art & photography books…

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While Hubbie was wandering between stalls, I came across intriguing looking pins at one of the venders…

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The staff explained to me that their designs were inspired by fonts and borders. I decided to take two of them home with me, the pins in the first and second row, because they reminded me the artworks of James Turrell…

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A corridor of the ICA…

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Once outside, we headed to the nearest ice cream van. They were making a brisk trade as customers swarmed around the window, wanting to have an icy treat…

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We licked our soft ice-cream and sauntered to the Royal Academy…

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Alas, the Summer Exhibition was not on yet so we headed home.

A back view of the statue in the courtyard resembled a bullfighter, squaring at a bull in the ring, I thought…

Do you agree with me?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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