Yum…..

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A birthday day treat for my foodie partner John and off we went to Atelier Joel de Robuchon in London.  On a sunny (cold of course) day we stepped into a very dark venue, black and chrome and glass. Flawless service. Lots  of French speakers. A table right by the open kitchen where young men in black created dishes of beauty, imagination and exquisite taste. All of this activity diirected by and under the watching eye of the striking young French executive chef who now and then would step in to correct. So not only did we get to enjoy our dishes we could watch others being created and then delivered to other eager diners. A special pleasure came with getting our own. Yum indeed. Course after course. Stunning.

I always enjoy skill and passion and there was plenty at this restaurant. A joy to have a couple of hours there.

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Dodging showers in London

Very waterlogged we are these days in the U.K. Homes flooded, images of people in boats in what was their garden or street. Fourth floor flat in London and think our chances of floods in the kitchen are slim. We’re lucky.

So in the context of rain and floods no surprise to wake to the sound of rain again. Thoughts of long walks about the streets of London put aside. An inside alternative sought instead.

Headed off to Tate Britain. An inspiring gallery on the Thames. Art interspersed with cappuccino breaks. A perfect wet Saturday morning activity.

Henry Moore sculptures. Lovely.

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A curious piece made from car doors, Hoover pieces and maps of Africa. I really liked it.

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Photos from Don McCullin. What an eye. Black and white paintings by Bridget Riley. Slightly hallucinogenic.

And lots more. So lucky to have all this on my doorstep.

On the tube home my iPhone took a photo by mistake. Decided to keep it. Who are all the people who belong to these feet? I feel a short story coming on.

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Deliberate and accidental.All representations of the world around. Sculptures, photos, paintings. Great Saturday morning.

The bug that hung about

Never asked for it.
Entirely uninvited.
Tried to avoid anyone with it.
All to no avail.
Now here I am with the raw throat, unattractive red nose and almost empty box of tissues, aches from head to toe, head like mince, strange stomach thing, hardly able to stay awake past midday. I’ve got it all. Except for the hacking cough. Not that I’m complaining about that missing symptom. Far from it. Gratitude is what I feel.
So over it.
Thinking of maybe passing it on. It’s time. A week with me must be enough.
Any takers?

Operation Endeavour

Just listening again to news coverage of the pedophiles directing the abuse of children as young as 5 in the Phillipines from the comfort of those laptop in homes in the UK, Australia, US and other places. Unimaginably horrific.

What is it like in the brain of those men to think this is ok, to think they have a right to damage these children and rob them of their childhood, to get families in the Phillipines to collude in this abuse ?

My heart goes out to those children and families.

Mirror mirror on the wall….

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The wicked witch in one of those children’s stories constantly asked – mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all. Day after day she got the feedback she sought. One day out of the blue the mirror let her know that things had changed. No longer was she the fairest of them all. There was one more beautiful than she. She went into a rage and set off to wreak havoc. As you do, on hearing unwelcome news.

Every day we have the opportunity to learn what others think about what we do that works or doesn’t work for them. Asking for feedback creates the chance to find out, the chance to feel affirmed in what is working and the chance to do something about the things that aren’t. Yet for most it feels so hard to ask and/or receive and for others so hard to give.

Yet if we start from the mindset of wanting others to be successful, to be more effective, why wouldn’t we want to give them the opportunity to learn what else they might do or other more effective ways they could do what they are doing now. Why wouldn’t we also want them to hear what they get so right and why it is that it works so well? If we want to be successful why wouldn’t we seek out people to show us their perspective of us and how we do things.

I once went to a leaving party at work. Flowers, gifts, speeches, fond farewells and thanks for all those many long years of service talking about what a great contribution she had made. The leaving employee beamed from ear to ear. Rightly so hearing what she heard. No sooner was it done than the manager turned to me and said “Thank goodness she is gone at last. What a nightmare she’s been” . Such a complete disconnect. The person left feeling like she had been a valued contributing employee and her boss felt she was well shot of her, a poor employee. This caring manager, someone who prided herself on her support of her team, a people person, had failed to help this employee be more than she was. Giving feedback on what could change, be done differently felt just too hard, too uncaring, threatening good relationships would be how she saw things, this manager. So topsy turvey. I guess my perspective is very different. If you care, you give someone opportunities to succeed and feedback has a key part to play in that. It’s not allowing that to happen that’s uncaring. Not letting others be more.

Have I always felt like this? Far from it. It’s been a journey for me to come to seeking, welcoming and giving feedback, to seeing it as invaluable and essential to my development. Time was when I just wanted the mirror to either say nothing, just be a mirror keeping it’s opinion to itself or if speaking was a must to just say indeed you are the fairest of them all. Thanks though to all sorts of people over the years I’ve learnt so much and been able to support others to grow too. And there’s still so much to learn and so many to learn from. Still a work in progress. Feedback – bring it on.

So what do you think?

Only in England

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What a great photographic exhibition it was at the Science Museum in London. Only in England. Photographs by Tony Ray Jones and Martin Parr. I loved it.

Tony Ray jones died at 30 in 1972. What else might he have produced had he lived longer ? The images selected were great. His representation of Englishness. Images of stoic holidaymakers braving bad weather at the beach, seaside guest houses, women knitting in deck chairs on Brighton Beach, men in ill fitting suits dressed for an occasion. Dogs and owners. A fond humour.

The commentary said “he had an eye for bizarre social interactions and incongruous narratives”. I love that description. This would be a great example :

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A man in a suit drinking tea, not fazed at all by those around him.

And Martin Parr, inspired by his work, produced lots of images from the community around him in Hebden. Bridge. A mouse show in 1978. Yes, a mouse show! A man in a suit proudly holding a cabbage aloft- the winner in some competition of locally grown vegetables. Ladies in hats in a Methodist church hall pews eating scones and drinking tea to celebrate a church anniversary.

I left inspired and wanting to get my little lumix back into my handbag to catch the moments, the incongruous narratives I find around me.

A link to the exhibition – but as a novice blogger I fear I haven’t done it quite right!

http://www.artfund.org/what-to-see/exhibitions/2013/09/21/only-in-england-photographs-by-tony-ray-jones-and-martin-parr-exhibition?gclid=COjzxdeY-bsCFQXLtAodlV0ATg

Great Sunday!

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