Kerry Lemon - That Remarkable Artist I Met, London.

I met Kerry Lemon a couple of weeks ago and, since then, I've struggled to write of that meeting. 


Well, she was so remarkable that I have had no idea where to begin ...

There's an interview that gives you a sense of her.  But that's complicated, due to the fact that she's being interviewed by another truly remarkable being ... Elizabeth Duvier. 

I met Elizabeth via her blog - Mystic Vixen. Over the years her writing and photographs were that place where I wandered when I needed beauty and intelligence, and some soul-soothing too.

And so, it has to said, Elizabeth is also remarkable, for many reasons but perhaps SQUAM is her biggest, most beautiful and inspirational thing.  Well, that and her beautiful writing, and art.

Their conversation follows ... however there is more.

The meeting happened like this ... Elizabeth put out the call, writing to her friends, that I was new to the UK.  Kerry Lemon replied, saying she was madly busy with work but how about meeting up on 'this date'? 

I said 'Sure!'  

And eventually that date came round.  I headed for London, and met up with the delightful woman you see in the photograph at the start of this post.  I took photographs along the way, and managed to capture Kerry caught up in the awe and wonder she felt when viewing the work of one of her favourite installation artists, Rebecca Louise Law

Kerry is short and cute. Spending time with her, I decided, is a little like spending time with a very alive fairy.  One who sprinkles fairy dust where ever she goes, engaging all those she meets in delicious conversations that leave people smiling.

But more than that.  She's talented, driven, self-disciplined, intelligent, and entirely inspirational.  And wise.  So very wise.

Do you see what I mean?  How to write of this Kerry Lemon ... how to share something of her remarkableness.  It's difficult.

We met at Waterloo Station, under the big clock, and we clicked.  Just like that.  I felt like I'd known her forever.

But she's like that ...

She was taking me to the Columbia Road Flower Market, Sunday morning magic.  I'd never heard of it. 

What a sensory overload.  Meeting Kerry Lemon and visiting the Flower Market too. 

Yes, I promise, it's impossible not to adore her.  I imagine that's clear.

I could have followed her around for weeks.  I wanted to try and capture something of her fairy-dusting all those she met while she wandered.

It was a good day with a remarkable soul. 

And that's about as clear as I'm able to get on Ms Kerry Lemon.

Wandering Lost ... and having a lovely time, London

It was one of those deep-blue sky mornings here in London today.

I packed up my camera and headed into the city, out on a mission to explore a little.  I'm getting there but so slowly.

It was a quietly exquisite day, one where I was mostly unsure of where I was but one where I learned that you're never really lost for long in London ... there's always another Underground station, and it's relatively simple to find your way home in the end.

I had lunch at a restaurant called Spaghetti House.  An older gentlemen smiled as me as I arrived and I decided that all restaurants should have lovely older gentlemen, in that front table, who smile as though you're some old friend returning.

The staff speak in Italian, as did so many of their customers, and the food and wine were just what I needed.  And I have finally learned to say no to extras, like water and bread, in London ... to just have my dish and a small glass of wine, not the large glass.  And an espresso to finish is fine, grazie.

Italian is spoken all around me out there in the city and so, while I'm so tempted to move to Genova and try a life there,  Im not completely cut off from that culture I love.

It was a day of wonderment, amusement, and quiet bemusement.  There's a story I would love to tell but, to be honest, it would need so much wine for me to even speak of the incident.  No doubt, friends will hear of it over time, perhaps. 

It's enough to know that, on hearing it, Lenn laughed and said, 'You have to stop with the drugs, Di'.  

My excuse is that I had just taken the series of shots of the fountain, at the start of this post, and was still kind of lost in that world of light and movement.

There's more, there's always more, but this is enough for tonight.  It's late and I'm tired.  I'll leave you with a photograph of the landmark I use to find my way 'home'.  I always do this thing.  In Genova, it's Porta Soprana that guides me into my street whenever I'm there.  In London, it's the apartment building in the photograph that follows.

I looked up as I walked past it this morning and couldn't resist attempting a shot of it soaring into the blue.

Morning Light, Istanbul ...

5am … dawn on a summer’s day, my first morning in Istanbul.

I remember leaning on the sill of a barred window and hearing the muzzein’s call to prayer go out across the city

5am because I had woken early, a mix of jetlag and panic.   What the hell was I doing, moving to Turkey.

But hearing that call go out ... perhaps I began to understand something of why I was there.  It was for moments like these, safe in the home of a friend, listening to a new world wake up around me, enchanted by the sound of an invitation to prayer in Arabic, blessed by the beauty of that sun-lit morning.

I believe that was the moment when the city slowly began to slip in through the gaps that a new world opens in me. You arrive as a child, without language, without knowledge, and you begin again ... until that new life becomes something like familiar too.

I have been thinking about this piece of writing, begun so long ago and far away, as I adjust to yet another new city not my own.

It's London this time.  And slowly, those almost terrifying spaces that open up in me each time I move, are beginning to fill with new knowledge and understanding. 

I understand the Underground.  I'll walk home from my station after 9pm, through the winter-city darkness and along almost deserted roads.  I can agree, although reluctantly thatfirst time, to meet friends for an impromptu dinner in Piccadilly Circus, without studying Google maps and making notes.

The people at this new Sainsburys are kind too.   I go out and buy all the food for dinners that I am remembering how to cook, as each move seems to involve a degree of amnesia in me when it comes to 'things I can cook'.  My repertoire is growing, although all of my cookbooks are back in Belgium.

There is no call to prayer here in London, although two of my 'homes' in England have involved early-morning alarm clocks that have made me smile over the inventiveness of alarm-creators.   Those crowing roosters and other, barely remembered, sounds meant to wake the hard working people who have shared their homes with me, have come through doors and walls, leaving me amazed that anyone can sleep on.  I wake easily, always, since I was small.

My way home is familiar now.  The homes I pass are semi-detached and I enjoy checking out their gardens, making up stories about who might live there.  I met a lovely neighbour the other day.  Bob alternated between gentleman and mocking Englishman.  He made me laugh.

My host, he's the kindest man.  Wise too.  I'll tell the story of him, with his permission, once I have some photographs.  I met him out on Flanders Fields and we stayed friends.  He takes in strays sometimes and so I'm one of those.  A wandering stray until I work out where I'm heading and anchor myself again.

Accidentally, I am living a life where I have traveled a lot and lived in more than a few countries - long term, short term.  Never planned. 

This website is back in an 'under construction' phase ... perhaps 'reconstruction', as I re-cut my cloth to fit this new life.

I miss joy but I'm getting there.  I guess there's the grieving first.  Then the learning how to live a new life.  And then there's working out the next part.  I am exploring some possibilities and so, I guess, it's all about watching this space and seeing how things unfold.

Not even I know.

Don't You Love It When ...

Don't you love it when your bowl of pasta arrives and it looks too small to fill you, then you begin to feel warm and satisfied, and realise ... the bowl is still 2/3's full!

Don't you love it when you stop to listen to a really good musician and you discover his name is Scott McMahon, he's Scottish, and you talk awhile.  And he tells you the most marvelous story ever ... in his (something like) Billy Connelly accent, confusing you a little because he's serious and the story is true.  He let's you photograph him as he sings.  You buy his cd.

And don't you love it when you order a small glass of the house red wine and discover it's quite a full glass, and that the wine is good.

Don't you love it when you find a million bookshops, secondhand too, just as you decide that the directions you so laboriously noted down, are too difficult to follow.

... when you find the perfect book for Miss 11.  So good that you begin reading it as you eat your pasta at the lovely restaurant that, while out of your price range really, is a great place to cheer yourself up on a grey and rainy autumn day in London.  And knowing, simply knowing, that you and Miss 11 have many many hours of skype reading pleasure ahead ... 500+ pages, no less.

Note: she talked me into reading her 3 chapters last night.  I couldn't resist.

Don't you love it when you work out how to reach the place you'd like to head to for those weekly meetings with New Zealanders.  Although, in the end, that knowledge is for future reference, on a day when you haven't walked your feet into a constant throbbing ache like you just did now, here in the unfamiliar heart of London town.

Don't you love it when you manage to navigate the London Underground, weaving in and out and all over the place, alone.

...  and when you find the National Portrait Gallery near Trafalgar Square, realise it's free, and walk the last of your feet off, exploring exquisite portraits of old heroes and heroines, and people you'd never heard of. 

And the deep pleasure in realising you can afford that bottle of water in the Gallery restaurant, after discovering a thirst that makes you feel you have just spent 2 days walking in a desert.

Don't you love it, really love it, when you realise you are free to take photographs in the National Gallery.

And there was that other golden moment too, when I understood that no one would miss me at the Ngati Ranana meeting, and so I found a train heading my way and got a seat, despite it being rush hour.

Don't you love it, when everything is new and kind of scary sometimes, but you end up finding Sublime out here in this city where you never imagined you might live. 

And arriving 'home', to a warm house, where your truly kind host has cooked up a big feed for dinner, with dessert.  It's warm there and the company is good.

Don't you love it when you realise, sometimes, that day ... it was good one.

The images ... Scott McMahon, and the London Eye.

Tim Finn, Bush Hall, London ... YES, Really!!

Sunday night and I was there, at Bush Hall in London, enjoying a New Zealand musician I've spent most of my life listening to.  Teresa Walsh, my friend and hostess during these crazy beautiful days here in London, organised a most magical evening.

Tim Finn is a New Zealand icon.  I decided this as I stood there enjoying his voice, his piano and guitar-playing skills, his stamina ... himself.  It was hot there in Bush Hall.  Really hot.  But nothing mattered really. 

Then he told the story of my favourite song ... Parihaka.  I was rapt.  He has so many songs but he performed the one I love best.  It was magical. 

The evening was lovely for all kinds of other reasons too.  We sat next to a lovely Welsh guy at dinner, before the concert.  A fan we knew ... he was wearing the tee-shirt.  Then just before we headed out, a lovely Australian family sat down on the other side and we chatted.  Then there was the English man I was standing next to at the concert.  He'd first seen Tim perform back in the 70s. 

It was a divine evening.  Magical.  Delicious.

You know ...

Today has been a busy day and all I had in my head was Parihaka.