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.

24 Hours in London ... and the books that were found

I wandered off to London yesterday morning.  It was time. 

I was heading for Lenn's house.  That oasis of Kiwi-ness, the home that allowed me to feel anchored back when I was quite unmoored in the world. 

But I know a little of London now and so chose to weave my way here, quietly enjoying the stunning Spring day that we had yesterday.  I made the wickedest detour, to the Russel Square stop ... visiting one of my favourite bookshops, in the world, called Judd Books.

Once I arrived in that part of London, I realised my first-ever exposure to Carluccio's happened over there too.  So I popped in for an espresso, as you do.

Judd Books was as mind-blowing as ever.  I left when I picked up a new but heavily reduced copy of Jane Rogoyska's book titled, 'Gerda Taro - Inventing Robert Capa'.  I have quite a few books on, or based on, these two war photographers but this was one I had never imagined being able to own. 

I started reading it on the Underground out to Alperton.  It was as good as I had imagined it might be.

I also picked up The Wasted Vigil', by Nadeem Aslam - the prose is quite beautiful, although the story is tough, or so I read.  I always check on the first line, or paragraph, when buying a book unknown to me.  This one ... 'Her mind is a haunted house.' 

And I couldn't resist picking up a very cheap copy of 'That Summer Book', by Tove Janssen.   The story seems like one I might love and I have enjoyed anything I have read by her, and about her too,

Then I stopped off in Hammersmith to refill my USB modem.  It's meant to last one month but it didn't work out that way.  And so that was me, back at Vodaphone talking to Prince, on ways to conserve it.

People who know London say, 'Hammersmith??!!  Why Hammersmith?' It's fairly simple.  need a wee hub.  Somewhere that had a bank, a phone company, a printer, some department stores ... all within easy walking distance.  For some reason I decided on Hammersmith.  It's on the way to my Alperton stop, and it has all that I need.

I met Emily on the last part of my journey.  She was kind.  That story unfolded like this ... on recognising she was a Kiwi, I may have launched into enthusiastic conversation with her.  We didn't have long to chat but I did enjoy meeting her.

And finally I arrived here at Lenn's place. Planet Rock was on the radio, like it always is.  Nugget, the regal black cat, seemed happy to see me.  And that was me, happy to be some place familiar.

This morning finds me curled up on Lenn's big blue couch, enjoying unlimited broadband, while trying to cough, sneeze and blow my nose quietly, as one of my allergies does its ridiculous thing. 

My policy of ignoring these allergies seems not to be working.  Disappointing, to say the least.

Everyone else is still asleep, even Nugget, who took over my bed the moment I climbed out of it.  I might quietly bake that Apple Sponge soon.  I promised Lenn one ... an Edmonds Cookbook fruit sponge, like my Mum and my Nana used to make when I was a child. 

Just a glimpse from this world ...

Another Country, Another Hairdresser ...

I'm 10kgs lighter, and finally my hair has been dealt with in this new UK life.  I feel like I'm putting my Self back together.  It's been a really long time since I last visited a hairdresser.  Actually, she came to my place.

And it turns out I adore Vikki - my brilliant English hairdresser.  She listens, she sympathises, she cuts only the amount of hair this Kiwi client can bear to have cut (less than I expected actually).  And she understood about colour too ... I mean, she understood my ideas about what I liked.

She's an absolute treasure, and I'm so grateful to Becky for recommending her to me.

Surrey, and these amazing women ...

Tonight, thanks to Cathy, I found myself sitting in her lounge with a most marvelous group of women. 

We came from Macedonia, Sweden, America x2, England, France, Bulgaria and New Zealand. 

And I found myself adoring both them, and their stories. 

There was so much laughter.  I had met some of them last week, and enjoyed them already.  Tonight was just MORE.

I love that, that where ever I go in the world, I find these marvelous women.  Full of stories and laughter, and kindness and this incredible fellowship ... from the road perhaps but from being women too.

And one of the other marvelous things I'm enjoying about England, are the charity shops.  It's how I met Cathy.  She runs one of them but ... it's also how I met this exquisite Italian L Medici handbag, Italian leather, built to last forever ...  that I so very much couldn't afford in real life but couldn't resist in the world that is secondhand here in Surrey. 

It was beyond reasonable and, just by way, it fits 3 bottles of red wine inside of itself, so very easily.


I'm back for an overnight in London.  I needed to load my USB modem, after the debacle that was ordering a Broadband connection with SKY.   A story to be told another day ... it was THAT bad.

Today's Vodaphone-USB-modem-loading guy was a lovely young man called Prince.  He was endlessly patient with me, and I'd like to think that we laughed often - together.

For me, Hammersmith is my go-to place when I need to solve multiple shopping issues.  Printers, favours for friends, USB modem-loading and etc.  It's on the way to Lenn's place, here in London, and I can cope with hopping on the Tube, from Waterloo, and off and Hammersmith and back on, to Alperton.

It's been a bit of a homecoming for me.   I'm a creature who loves 'home', and keeps misplacing them.

Tonight, at Lenn's place, I have a VERY SMALL ( a dwarf breed surely), New Zealand leg of lamb in the oven, the potatoes and kumara just joined it, an onion as well.  Then in the pots, there are baby carrots and broccoli.  I'm in need of a feast, and Lenn seems partial to this kind of food appearing on a plate in front of him too... when he eventually gets home from work.  But that's okay because I think it still might need an hour ... at 7.30pm.

Planet Rock is keeping me company on the digital radio and Nugget, the big black cat, seemed really pleased to see me.  We chatted.  Me cautiously, him in his usual black cat, princely kind of way ... threatening to bite me if I took liberties.

I seem to have a new cold, or the old one has swung back in my nose.  It was running like a tap last night.  Today it's been slightly more civilised but I do resemble that red-nosed reindeer, dammit.  And I cough, due to the ... well,  you know.

I haven't had the heart to blog, while my internet connection has been so veryvery dodgy however, I'm hoping the freedom the 20 pounds worth of USB modem will give me, will see more action here.

The guitar player, there at the start?  That's Lenn.  The loveliest Kiwi bloke, here in London:-)

That Purple Swagger Coat ...

Swagger Coat - noun   1. - a woman's pyramid-shaped coat with a full flared back and usually raglan sleeves, first popularized in the 1930s.

I had never heard of a Swagger Coat but I can see how it got its name.  You do, kind of, swagger along when you're wearing one.  Especially if you're carrying your huge leather bag, and another two cloth bags full of groceries.

Mmhmm but still, how I smiled as I swaggered ... perhaps staggered, back home.  Just call me Sherpa Di.  I can often be spotted carrying huge loads back home from London, from Cobham.

The coat was there in the secondhand shop.  I was looking for a sugar bowl with a lid but I tried the coat on for fun.  I had so much fun, simply wearing it, that I couldn't resist. It was a massive bargain. Then it got cold outside, and then I realised it would be easier to wear it because it's quite heavy and voila, that's how my afternoon unfurled. 

That was me, swaggering home, loaded down but smiling ...   Smiling hugely.

However, before all of this ... my bus route has changed because the road that it uses is closed for repairs.  It became clear that I'd either missed the bus, or it's stopping elsewhere, in a place I didn't yet know about.

I asked a young woman and her mother, who lived near the bus stop, if they knew anything about this temporary stop but they didn't.

Do you know what they did?!!  They asked me where I was going and when I said Cobham, they said they'd take me there.  And they did.

The English ...!  I find them so very very kind.

So very.

Joy is just shimmering up and out of me of me as I write this.  And Richard, the bus driver ... he had the most excellent news but more on that later because really, this is already so much.