Un-sofa #1 (2023)

The short version is we bought a new leather sofa recently, which turned out to be too big for the room it was meant for. The sofa came wrapped in plastic – and remains so while we wait for some nice people to come and collect it and take it back to wherever unwanted sofas are destined to go. We have been living with this ‘un-sofa’ for quite a few weeks now – not sitting on it, not daring too, goaded by its postponement of creature comforts. I scowl at it every morning, not least because I was responsible for measuring up and only have myself to blame. Still, what is it that insufferably chipper types say about making lemonade when life gives you lemons (or outsized sofas)? I started noticing how different types of light at different times of day produced strange mountainous terrains out of the plastic wrapping covering the sofa, so with The Kick-About No.71 firmly in mind, I set about investigating them.

Throwback Friday #138 ‘Centaurea’

More old-school 35mm flower photographs from the early 2000s or thereabouts, celebrating the gorgeous blues, pinks and purples of centaureas, and here, served two ways: the first being an image of the field cornflower, Centaurea cyanus, and the second, Centaurea montana, or perennial cornflower. Both press my buttons and produce an impatience in my January bones for a lovely blast of heat.

Throwback Friday #137 ‘Cornus kousa’ 2007/8

A welcome reminder of what is to come as we trudge through January… As with many of these horticultural photographs, taken back in the day on 35mm, I have no record of the when or where of their original provenance. If pushed, I’d say these images of a flowering dogwood were likely taken at the arboretum at Mount Ephraim, Faversham in late Spring c. 2007/8. You can’t appreciate it from these close-up images, but when this tree does its thing, it’s smothered in these showy bracts, making for a demure, yet rather spectacular sight.

Christmas Tree #2 (2022)

And so, making full use of the strange, empty room in the middle of our small, cold house, I set about recreating another semblance of the Christmas tree for our room-without-one. A few little lights tied to a long drop of black thread later, and I set about manifesting this Fritz Lang-meets-James Whale-style Christmas tree (in response to The Kick-About No.69) and enjoyed all the old-school sci-fi spook of it. In some of them, there’s even the ghost of some mid-20th century Americana in-the-mix, in large part due to those masking-tape atom-age snowflakes I stuck to the wall on a whim.

Christmas Tree #1 (2022)

One of the places in the house you might expect to encounter the simple delights of a Christmas tree (the prompt for The Kick-About No.69) is positioned just so beside a warming fire… Unfortunately, my house of late has been in a state of disarray, plastic dust sheets covering the furniture, the stove disconnected, and everywhere looking a touch forlorn and far from festive.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but notice the way all those plastic drapes brought a Narnian frost to this empty space in the middle of the house and was suitably inspired one exceptionally drab afternoon to create a winter wonderland, complete with frosted cones of pine trees (or rather plastic sheets suspended from the ceiling using black sewing thread and some drawing pins).

With the addition of some tiny coloured lights sat atop the trees like stars (and the magical powers of long exposure photography), I was able to produce a few festive scenes, however unpromising the starting point…

Throwback Friday #135 Albert Street, December 3rd

Not throwing back too far this week, only as far as last weekend, which saw ‘the great switch-on’ of the Albert Street Christmas lights. This year, we inherited a much longer stretch of icicles, hence the festive wrap around of our little end-of-terrace house. There were homemade mince-pies, mulled wine and, this being Whitstable, a bitterly cold wind blowing in off the sea.