I am the resurrection and I am the life – The tale of Bertie Rooster

This is the story of the luckiest, most cock-sure cockerel that has ever lived – Bertie Wooster. We bought Bertie about a year ago. We named him Bertie, because my youngest daughter, Frida, has difficulties pronouncing the letter r and says wooster rather than rooster, hence Bertie Wooster. He soon had a lady friend which…

Feed your Head – An Alice Inspired Afternoon Tea

If you ever feel like disappearing down a rabbit hole on a busy Saturday afternoon in central London, then I know the place to escape to – where waiting for you, you’ll find afternoon tea, a glass of champagne and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. The Alice in Wonderland themed afternoon tea, held at the…

My Pen and Ink City Panoramas

A few years ago when I was going through a minimalist phase I did lots of simple pen and ink sketches, trying to capture faces, places and buildings in just a few black lines, by reducing everything back to its basic elements. Part of this project included a series of panoramic sketches I did of…

Checking out our local neighbourhood

When there are more power cuts than power, you don’t tend to tick very much off your to do lists. And here in Kigamboni, the “rural” neighbour to Dar Es Salaam, over the last few weeks we have had power cuts lasting days and nights and days again. Putting up blog posts is down at…

Dadas at the fish market

I’ve been painting this picture in my head for months now. The Kivukoni Fish Market in Dar Es Salaam is always busy. Both inside and outside the market walls there are scores of people; inside fishermen and traders huddle together around the many different catches of the day, outside house dadas dressed in brightly printed…

“How do you avoid the tourists in Stone Town?” said the tourist.

In the blistering heat of the sub-Saharan sun lies a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with tall once whitewashed, now crumbling buildings. A walk through Stone Town’s higgledy piggledy streets, most of which are too narrow for cars, is like stepping back in time, providing you can ignore the high-tech gadget carrying tourists. The town,…

Regressing to my teenage gothic self at Whitby Abbey

One hundred and ninety nine steps up from a harbour town stands the imposing Gothic remains of a 13th Century abbey. On a clear day you can see for miles around, out to the North Sea on one side and across the Yorkshire moors on the other. And on days when the weather is rainy…

Swedish Summertime – and the living is easy

One of the things I learnt about Swedish people in the three years that I lived there, is that they really know how to celebrate and enjoy the summertime. In a country that is cold and dark for muc… Source: Swedish Summertime – and the living is easy

Matemwe Beach – Far Away in Time

At 31 degrees centigrade and with a hotch potch of people who frequent it, Matemwe Beach is a melting-pot in every sense of the word. Between sunrise and sunset the beach, situated on the northeast coastline of Zanzibar, becomes a hive of activity with scores of Zanzibari women wearing bright coloured kangas wading into shallow…

The dead cities of Syria

Scattered across the northwest of Syria, between Aleppo and Hama, are more than 700 abandoned settlements known as the Dead Cities. I visited these curious Roman and Byzantium ruins fourteen years ago, while I was living and working in Damascus. Little did I know at the time that Aleppo, the stylish and classical city where I was…

Buying and Selling Bananas in Kenya

This is my latest painting, a watercolour of a group of women buying and selling bananas and mangoes at a street-side market in Kisii, a town in south-west Kenya. The painting was done from a quick sketch I did some months ago while travelling from Mwanza in Tanzania to Nairobi.