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Somerset House Fountains

The first real day of Spring.  I took Indie to see Landmark at Somerset House, and Pip & Laurie came along later.  Then the girls spent a happy hour getting soaking in the fountains.

Somerset House Fountain 4 Somerset House Fountain 2

These, and plenty of other Easter photos, on Flickr as usual.


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A Published Photographer!

I’ve been published, in a real book!

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Everyone should rush out and buy Camping By The Waterside , because page 9 features an excellent photo of my friend Lydia throwing a Frisbee on a beach in Cornwall. Taken by me!

Old Vic Tunnel Photo on Londonist

Londonist used one of my photos this week, in a post on the closure of the Old Vic Tunnels.

The Majesty, Old Vic Tunnels 2

The Clowns’ Service, Dalston 2013

I finally got round to one of those London things – the annual Grimaldi Memorial Service at the Clowns’ Church – Holy Trinity in Dalston.  We were really late (rail-replacement bus…) so we sat in the overflow hall and watched most of it on a big screen, but this meant we had perfect seats for the show afterwards.  We stayed for an hour or so after the show with the clowns.  The girls really loved it, and Laurie got to ride a huge red ball (there might be a proper name for it) with Rainbow (of Sonny & Rainbow fame).

Sonny Sonny Red Nose 1 Laurie rides the ball with Sonny


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More photos on Flickr.

January 2013 Roundup

As well as the Shard, we stumbled across the Kings Cross Hot Club Tea Dance in the Eisenhower Room at Lassco’s off Maltby Street Market, and I went to the Antony Gormley exhibition at White Cube on Bermondsey Street twice – once with the girls, and once with my parents.

All recommended – we go to Maltby St often on Saturdays for lunch or cake.

Kings Cross Hot Club 1 White Cube, Bermondsey St

I also spent a lot of time preparing my entries for the Canada Water Library  photo competition, and was disappointed to find out it’s only one entry per person…

Canada Water Library Stairs Canada Water Library Stairs - Laurie Canada Water Kids Library Canada Water Library By Night 4 Canada Water Library By Night 3

Finally we also went to a white-tie dinner at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall for Sally’s installation as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Marketors.

White Tie Dinner White Tie Dinner

Photos on Flickr as usual…

The View from the Shard

We got some free tickets (Southwark residents) to the Shard before it fully opened.  The Sunday lunchtime was a beautiful clear day and the view was great. You get free run of a couple of floors (68 and 72 I think) – the upper one is open-roofed and windy.  It’s hard to get decent photos because there’s a lot of double-glazed glass at irregular angles, rain forms streaks on the outside, and you can’t take a tripod, but I had a try.  I think I’ll buy Pip and Indie tickets before Indie jumps from free to £25!

Looking East  Open Air Shard Deck Looking Up 2


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Photos on Flickr.

Mossnam Style

Amazing what they learn at school these days.

Video by Jo.

Bonfire Nights

We went to three Guy Fawkes events this year – the Silky’s party

Kat & Per’s fireworks in the park,

and Southwark Park fireworks (no pictures from here).
We also went to Legoland and my Mum’s birthday in Felixstowe over half-term, and a slew of Hallowe’en parties.


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Photos also on Flickr as usual.

I have got the gorilla out of my system

I completed the Great Gorilla Run 2012 on Saturday, my second one.  For 30 glorious seconds near the start I was the lead gorilla, but I was overtaken going down some stairs by someone with bigger eye-holes (who could see the steps), and I never regained the lead.  Evolution in action.

As before, it was bloody hot. I kept the head and hands on all the way round, which is an effective way of converting all the moist exhaled air into condensation on the inside of the suit. I probably won’t do it again, so if you want a gorilla suit (only worn twice, never washed) get in touch.


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PS You can still donate! I only just scraped to my sponsorship target.

All the trees in China

I spent a week in China recently helping on a research project into the effects of global warming.  The trip was sponsored by my company Credit Suisse, as part of the Credit Suisse Cares For Climate initiative, and was delivered through the global environment charity Earthwatch and their local research partner the Chinese Academy of Sciences. On the way back I spent 36 hours in Hong Kong, where I hadn’t been since I lived there for four months in 1998.

We were based at the Dinghushan national biosphere reserve, in Guangdong province, in the south west of China.


View Larger Map

As well as the four colleagues from London, Singapore and Hong Kong who went to China, four people from Credit Suisse in Zurich and New York went on a parallel expedition to a coffee plantation in Costa Rica.

Most days we ate a vast breakfast involving several species by the side of the river, then headed into the forest for a few hours of field work. This involved measuring and tagging various trees, recording their GPS coordinates and a photo, and making and fitting a dendrometer – a steel sprung band which stretches as the tree grows, and allows easy measurement of the tree growth over time. More volunteers will return to these trees every few months for the next five years or so to read the dendrometers.  This gives the scientists an understanding how how different species will tolerate climate change, and the impact of various factors such as altitude, human interference, hill slope etc. After a couple of hours in the jungle we’d head back to the hotel for another huge meal (in the river next to the restaurant were a flock of captive ducks, and a net full of live fish. Over the course of the week we worked our way through most of both). An hour to digest, and soak up some air-con, then back into the forest for a few more hours of fitting dendrometers. After a shower we’d head into the town at the edge of the reserve for several courses in the private room of a restaurant. We also spent a few hours doing lab work – sorting piles of matter from forest leaf traps into leaves, seeds and insect poo. One of the local scientists would then identify and count the leaves. The seeds would go into a seed bank, the leaves would be dried, weighed, and buried in the forest – then recovered later and reweighed to measure the rate of carbon flux from the atmosphere, through the trees, into long-term storage in the soil. We could do whatever we wanted with the insect poo.

Sema Tags a Tree Earthwatch China 14 Earthwatch China 18 Earthwatch China 4

I was surprised to discover the focus of science has moved on from determining if global warming is real, through understanding its mechanisms, and is now looking at how to cope with the impacts. There is no ambiguity any more about its existence or gravity.

We managed to squeeze in a few hikes through the nature reserve, one along a river up to a chain of waterfalls where I satisfied a long-time wish to walk through the back of a waterfall. Another took us along the main tourist trail to a Buddhist temple complex, and then on to more waterfalls and pools.

Barn and a Waterfall 1 Temple 3 Sun Yat Sen Waterfall 1 Sema, Sav, Barney at the lake

One afternoon we got caught in a huge rainstorm, an arm of typhoon Tembin, but as the rain’s so warm it made a perfect opportunity for a swim in the deserted hotel pool (fed from the river via a waterfall!)

Rain 3 Rain 2 rainstorm Hotel Pool

Earthwatch China 8 Field Work Rain 4 Dinner Barn and a Waterfall 3Fish pigeon Boots Not Come In

After the Earthwatch expedition, I caught the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, and spent 36 hours revisiting some favourite locations I remember from my four months there in 1998, when I was developing software for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority with Midas Kapiti / Misys. I was pretty busy running around, and managed Temple Street Night Market for dinner, the bird market, goldfish market and flower markets in the morning, a couple of harbour crossings on the Star Ferry, a three-hour hike across Lamma Island and a swim in the South China Sea (I never managed this last time I was there!), the Man Mo temple on Hollywood Road, the towers of Central, and a few other places beside. Quite a contrast to a week in the rainforest.

Hong Kong Goldfish Market Hong Kong Skyline 1 Hong Kong Bird Market 2 Hong Kong 3Hong Kong Star Ferry Lamma Island Hike 3 Hong Kong - Man Mo Temple Hong Kong Bird Market 1Lamma Island Hike - Giant Spider 2 Lamma Island Hike - Banana Beach

All in all, brilliant. And Credit Suisse offset the CO2 from the flights!

More photos on Flickr.


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