Posts Tagged ‘family’

A-to-Z: My road map for 2010

Monday, January 4th, 2010

A is for AFK – I seem to get some of my best work done when I’m not staring at a screen.  I guess I’m more of a pencil person.

B is for BREAKFAST – The most important meal of the day.  And a chance to get ahead on all the fruit and fibre of which my diet seems to be otherwise totally devoid.  Take my word for it, breakfast is going to be BIG in 2010.  And fibrous.  And, well, rather boring.

C is for CRUNKMy version of Lent, involving a break from all the crap drugs.  You know the ones;  booze; coke; sugar; television.  I’m not damning them outright, they just aren’t my cup of green tea.  Last year I managed 37 days.  As of right now I’m four down and counting.

D is for @danlight – Twitter’s become an outlet through which I waste time and energy trying to validate inconsequential aspects of my life in the eyes of people who likely couldn’t give a shit.  Which would be fine, except that that’s what my blog’s for. Going to try and mix it up a bit on Twitter.

E is for ELECTION – Some of my favourite blog posts (by me, that is) were written about the 2008 US presidential election campaign.  Hopefully I can find some time to conjure a bit of commentary on the ‘compassionate conservative’ clusterfuck we can look forward to in the run-up to May 6th.  Without having to break my leg in two places in the process.

F is for FAMILY – It’s the easiest thing in the world to cite work/writing/whatever-you-fancy as a reason for being an absent or inadequate husband/father/son.  Even worse, you might actually try to convince yourself that it’s more difficult, or more important. It’s not.

G is for – One of my oldest friends, Tommy P, is one of the founders of  Honestly, I didn’t see them surviving the downturn, but they seem to be doing just that.  What’s more, I met a few of the guys behind the business, and they’re an impressive bunch.  Expect good things in 2010.

H is for HELIOPOLISJames Scudamore, another very old friend  – try 30-odd years – published his second novel, Heliopolis, exactly one year ago.  It ha since received considerable critical acclaim, and was long-listed for the Booker Prize.  I still haven’t read it.  (In fairness, it’s not like I read any other novels in 2009.)  This is lame as fuck.  I will read Heliopolis in 2010.

I is for INSHRIACH – The hard-working highland estate owned and managed by our pal Walter.  Just back from spending a truly magnificent few days seeing in the new year, and set to get back up there for one family holiday, three stag weekends and one music festival over the next six months.  Oh, and I want to try and shoot a film there (see L).  Project Inshriach goes from strength to strength.

J is for JUICE – Just don’t drink enough of it.  Cranberry is best, for the kidney win.

K is for – a clever little site, recognising the amplified power of Internet crowdsourcing as the basis for funding a range of worthwhile endeavours.  Hope to try it out with something, quite possibly…

L is for LOCH GHOON – …a film I’m going to make.  So far I’ve failed spectacularly in almost everything I’ve set out to do.  Fortunately, for as long as I’m only playing with my time or money, that doesn’t really matter.  Expect more spectacular failures in 2010.

M is for MAX – My cousin, who passed away in 2009.  I’m going to honour his memory in the year to come, in a number of ways.  (See L, N and V.)

N is for NORTH DORSET RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB – Max was their Club Captain.  Going to make sure I get a long to a game or two, starting with the home game against joint-leaders of the Southern Counties League, Frome, on January 30th.  Let me know if you fancy it.

O is for ORGANISED – Not very.  Just a bit.  I’m talking a to-do list on a Monday morning, is all.  Meaning that O is also for Optimistic.

P is for PSYCHOTHERAPY – The new vocation Ems has chosen for herself, following almost a decade in corporate public relations.  Her foundation year starts right here, and four years down the line…

Q is for QUALIFICATIONS – …enabling her to practice Psychotherapy in a professional capacity.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about what could come out in the wash along the way, but it feels great that she’s pursuing a vocation that has the potential to play to her real strengths.

R is for RESOLVE – Emma has it.  Once she commits herself to something, she gets the job done.  I’ve always been more of a butterfly, but I don’t beat myself up over it – it has its own advantages.  Between us we both seem to get stuff done.  I guess R is also for Rapport.

S is for SLINGERS SIZZLE – Very keen to see where this ends up, after generating such a huge buzz back in early December.  So I guess S is also for Sizemore and Sleepydog.

T is for TOMMY P – He’s getting married in May.  I figure that gets him his own entry, especially being that I’m best man.  Soon as I’m done with this list, I need to make a start on that speech.

U is for UNSUBSCRIBE – Meaning I don’t care how many of my friends took quizzes this week.  Or what kind of dried fruit you are.  Or what kind of dried fruit I am.

V is for #VHSMovieClub – and the 365 VHS videos I’m going to watch in 2010.  Follow @VHSMovieClub to keep pace, and for details of our occasional outings, the first of which is the Max Biles Memorial #VHSMovieClub taking place at The Scooterworks on January 25th

W is for WILLIAM DESMOND TAYLOR – The subject of the most grown-up thing I’ve ever attempted.  Watch this space.

X is for EXERCISE – kind of.  Because I’m going to start taking regular exercise. Kind of.  It starts with getting back on a climbing wall.  Reckon my leg is back where it needs to be, and I can probably squeeze a spare evening out of the week, especially during Crunk.  Probably Thursdays at The Castle in Green Lanes, if anybody fancies it.

Y is for WHY NOT? – It’s a much better question than ‘Why?’  For someone who’s supposed to be creative, I think my mind is sometimes far too closed to the more challenging ideas of the people around me.  Need to fix that.

Z is for ZZZ – Every aspect of my life seems to be improved off the back of a good night’s sleep.  It’s effortless, enjoyable, and a great way to experience the extraordinary imaginative energy and latent creativity of the human mind.   Speaking of which, I fancy a kip.  See you in 2011.

Welcome to the house of war

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Photo: Matt Rawlinson

Today, anything I can imagine, I can realize on film. Back then, when my mechanical shark was being repaired and I had to shoot something, I had to make the water scary. I relied on the audience’s imagination, aided by where I put the camera.

Today, it would be a digital shark. It would cost a hell of a lot more, but never break down. As a result, I probably would have used it four times as much, which would have made the film four times less scary.

Jaws is scary because of what you don’t see, not because of what you do. We need to bring the audience back into partnership with storytelling.

Steven Spielberg


Last Saturday my daughters and I traded Lower Clapton for Lower Clopton, and took a road trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the location of Warhouse; a feature-length independent film being put together by creative partners Ben Read (aka @BookPirate) and Luke Massey (aka @lukemassey).

I know Ben through @sizemore, and have watched with growing interest as the #warhouse hashtags have become an increasingly regular fixture in my Twitter feed. The production photos Ben has posted have really brought the process to life for me, so I wanted to take him up on his offer of a set visit before they finished principal photography.

Turns out we timed it to perfection, stealing in for a quick look around just as cast and crew were about to turn over the first of thirty-six scenes due to be shot in a twenty-four hour window before their lead, Joseph Morgan, jetted out to LA.

As a film-maker, that’s the kind of deadline you have to treat with respect. That’s why, if a crew member is coming up short and doesn’t even know it yet, you drop him down a deep dark hole and look after it yourself, until you find a competent replacement. “I’ve sacked more people in the past four weeks than I have in the last few years,” laments Ben, seeming to look for absolution.

He doesn’t have to look very far. He’s surrounded by people who need a producer to make difficult decisions, quickly, and to take responsibility for them. When you’re shooting on a shoestring you depend on people with something to prove, often giving their time and talent away for next to nothing. You get found out pretty quickly keeping that kind of company.

And you lead by example. Over the hour or so I spent on location, I felt like I got a real sense of how everything knits together – or, perhaps, comes apart – to constitute the singularly exacting experience of independent film-making.

The crew looked as though they were coming to the end of a month-long all-nighter; thirty long days of increasingly feverish highs and abysmal lows, the culmination of which found them standing around staring down at their own creative innards, trying to figure out what went where, what belonged to whom, and whether that even mattered any more.


Ben, meanwhile, was carrying himself with the unflappability of a man whose capacity to be caught off-guard had itself been caught off-guard, quickly overwhelmed, and was currently staked out on a dirty chopping board being poked with a butter knife by his faculty for indignation.

“This is without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s been insanely stressful, so much so that the other day, I was driving back from set, and I almost had an accident. I remember thinking at the time, if I’d hit the other guy, and hurt myself, at least I wouldn’t have had to go back. I’m not talking life-or-death, just serious enough that nobody would mind.”

Some people might take that as a bad sign – when a producer is contemplating automotive self-harm, purely to escape the madness he himself has inspired, orchestrated and financed.

To me it speaks volumes about the brutal sense of loyalty and mutual obligation that comes part and parcel with making an indie. I’m in danger of making it sound very honourable, when in fact it probably has just as much to do with sheer bloody-mindedness, and raw strength of will.

Spielberg knows a thing or two about that too. By his own admission, he damn near drove himself crazy making Jaws. Faced with an animatronic shark that wouldn’t play ball, the director shifted emphasis onto the development of the relationship between his principal characters, as they bob around at sea waiting to become shark-bait.


The result is an agonisingly tense middle act, punctuated by glimpses of fin, playing to the undoubted strength of the cast, and peaking with Robert Shaw’s legendary monologue about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

Jaws seems to have been a source inspiration in more ways than one in the making of Warhouse, leading Luke to declare, off the back of two particularly vicious days, “look man, the shark’s not working.  We need to think of something else.”

As well as providing a fully-working modus operandi for how to turn adversity to strength, it also offered the inspiration for one particular scene (giving @sizemore the chance to leave a cameo mark on the production, and to earn the dubious billing of ‘autopsy consultant’ in the process).

Spielberg’s experience on Jaws demonstrates that that it can be precisely at the point at which things appear to be going wrong that they’re actually coming good. And that, as creative processes go, film-making sometimes becomes a process of creating endless problems for yourself, purely so that you can capture the artistry with which you overcome them.

Who knows what we can look forward to from Warhouse? After a few hours in the heart of Warwickshire, I’m only marginally the wiser. What I can tell you is that blood has been spilt, and tears have been shed.

So far so good.

Picture postcard

Monday, July 6th, 2009

The beach at Maupertus-sur-mer

It wouldn’t be a Light family holiday if father and daughter didn’t brave the elements on the off-chance of a dip in ice-cold waters.  We spotted the beach at Maupertus-Sur-Mer as we were hurtling past, and left Ems and Ruby having a little kip in the car park for a chance to explore what must be one of the nicest family beaches on the Cherbourg Peninsula, whatever the weather.

For the full story – and the closest any of you will come to a postcard – check out ‘the park where the sand lives’ (another Lolism, roughly translated as ‘the beach’).  It’s a Flickr photo set I’ve created for our holiday, the latest additions to which will appear over there, on the right, in that little widget sitting just below my latest tweets.  Watch that space.

Dog days of summer

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Dog day afternoon

Eschewing Worthy Farm for Willow Farm, and swapping The Insider for two days outside in the warm embrace of a typically eccentric English summer, this weekend was one of those that makes you realise that you’re growing up, so you might as well do it gracefully.

When we weren’t chaperoning the girls around farmyards and flower markets we were lazing in bed watching 50p VHS videos from our local charity shop.

I’m talking L.A. Confidential (1997), True Romance (1993), To Live & Die in L.A. (1985), Memento (2000) – classic cinema, made all the sweeter by the balmy evening air breezing in off the sativa-scented streets of East London.

We’ve now got two weeks in Normandy ahead of us.  Days on the beach making friends with the local flora and fauna, evenings in the folds of whatever reading material, movie or mini-series takes our fancy, accompanied by fine food and a glass of seasonal cidre.

See you on the other side x

From Prussia with love

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

This is Prussia Cove – part of a private family estate on the south coast of Cornwall, named after the 18th century smuggler John Carter who lived and traded there. (History records that he called himself the King of Prussia when playing toy soldiers with his brother Harry.)

We used to head there for our family holidays some twenty-five years ago. We stayed in one of the Coastguard Cottages (below), a listed terrace of seven cottages built by the government in 1826 in an attempt to suppress smuggling in the area, as a result of which they have pretty much the best sea-view the architects could muster.

Each year we’d fill a scrapbook with pictures, postcards, and the memory of each day documented in our respective scrawls.  Memories of foraging for cowrie shells amidst the shingle, and chasing gobies around the rock pools; building fortifications in the sand and trying to turn back the tide on the nearby Kennegy Sand; trawling for mackerel in one of my dad’s first boats, Ariadne; then cooking up the catch over a huge fire made of driftwood, singing songs like this one to a chorus of fast-made-friends and extended family.

The prospect of taking our little ones down there for a week has me smiling like a seven-year-old.  Of all the family holidays, those were my favourites. I’m not sure if it’s how I’ve distilled those memories over the years, but the place has taken on a timeless quality.

When I daydream about one day outrunning the rat race, this is the corner of our green and pleasant land I plan to flee to, to live out my days trawling for mackerel, growing fresh vegetables, and writing pages and pages of meandering and inconsequent prose.

Or, at the very least, keeping up the old scrapbook.

Week in Inshriach™

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

February 2009 will see our inaugural visit to Inshriach House, a 200-acre highland estate (below) the ownership and management of which was recently taken over by our pal Walter.

We’ve booked it from the 16th-23rd Feb (at the eminently reasonable off-season weekly rate) so it will probably look a bit more like this.

Our current confirmed party consists of eight adults (Emma and I, my parents, and my brother and sister plus other halves) and seven children – Sam (8), Joel (6), Amelie (4), Lola (3), Charlie (2), Teddy (1.5) and Ruby (1).

Walter tells me that the place can comfortably sleep double this number of adults, with a few of the little ones creatively accommodated. As such, we’re throwing open an invitation to some of our friends – especially those with offspring, and those who don’t find other people’s offspring utterly insufferable – to come join us for this wintery week in the Cairngorms.

For anybody foolhardy enough to be considering it, here’s a look at what we have planned for our fun, frugal, family-friendly Week in Inschriach™.

The Caledonian Sleeper

This runs every night between London Euston and Fort William, stopping along the way at Aviemore, which is just a few miles from Inshriach. It has to be a better option for any parent than spending 8-10 hours in a car with one or more small children, and is probably cheaper.

There’s a page full of useful information here, including details of what you can expect with a standard class 2-berth compartment (pictured left). Booked in advance, this compartment (and, I presume, both berths) can apparently be yours from £99. I looked into buying tickets through RailEasy and was quoted £124 for a return ticket departing from Euston at 9pm on Sunday 15th (arriving in Aviemore at 7am the following morning) and returning at the corresponding times on Sunday 22nd.

Kids under five go free, but aren’t provided with a berth. There is apparently room for a Samsonite travel bubble, which looks like it would house a little one for the whole week (allowing them out for meals perhaps, and a cold bath.) Failing that, the kids can take the berths and mum and dad can take turns working through a bottle of half-decent scotch in the lounge car.

For anybody worried as to whether or not you’ll be able to transport everything you need for a week by train, there will be some cars going, and probably the option to stow a few extra items therein. (And by items, I do not mean children.)

Don’t call it a ‘rota’

Our friend Eleanor (who might be coming) was quick to point out to me that running a kitchen can become a bit of a bone of contention in this kind of situation. While some wrestle for control of the utensils, others shrug off any and all responsibility with irksome abandon. (For the record, I am usually to be found in the second category.)

With her reservations in mind, we’re going to run things a little differently.

By my reckoning we’ll be looking at about ten sit-down meals – five lunches, and five suppers. This excludes lunch on the Monday (we’ll come pre-prepared), dinner on the Saturday (for reasons that should become clear) and both meals on Sunday (so that we can use up any scraps and leftovers as we prepare to decamp).

The current plan is to create five crack teams of 2-3 capable adults, each with roughly equivalent culinary know-how (or don’t-know-how).

Each crack team will then cater for a lunch and a dinner (on different days), using a corresponding proportion of our overall food budget.

We’ll use lunch on Monday as an opportunity to horsetrade regarding any larger items we want to involve. And, by horsetrade, I mean horsetrade. As in trading horses. And cows. And pigs-in-jelly.

After that it’s down to Walter to get us the best deals possible from his local suppliers.

We should be able to source most of our food locally, with the opportunity to choose from a stunning selection of fresh, organic meat, fish and vegetables, not to mention all sorts of other local delicacies. Walter provides details of various local suppliers and their mouth-watering wares on the Inshriach House website.

Other things to note:

  1. There are crack teams, but this is not a competition. Try to think of it more as a government black op, like running guns into Indochina.
  2. If you’re cooking the next meal, you’re washing up the last one. Simple, effective, and a good chance to bond over a sink full of culinary smegma.
  3. Dinner means tea as well. That means an early sitting for the tiddlers and the toddlers. It’s a chance to show some real class, catering for critics who don’t mince words. Or, for that matter, use words.
  4. You have to cater for unusual dietary requirements. Cook for the veggies, basically, if there are any. And any vegans, though they be freaks of nature.
  5. Breakfast will operate on the simple principle of have what you want, when you want, and leave the kitchen as you find it.

Treehouses & treasure hunts

“Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to build treehouses.”

If you know the man, you know that when Walter talks idly on the Inshriach blog about building a treehouse, what this means is the development of a sprawling multi-tiered arboreal housing complex fit for a tribe of Roman Catholic Ewoks.


I haven’t consulted him on the subject, but I’m hopeful that we might be able to lay some of the groundwork – nay, treework – while we have a few able-bodied men and women able to stand around drinking tea and disagreeing about what to do next.

Given the family-friendly theme of Week in Inschriach™ we’ll also be planning other activities each morning designed for children aged 1-100.

Top of the list is a treasure hunt Walter’s busy designing, using various other-worldly props (see below) salvaged from a recent 3-month BBC shoot for the children’s tv show Raven.


I dare say if there’s snow there will be some sledging, and also some snowmen. However, in the event that the elements conspire against us, we’ll also have plenty of indoor ideas in reserve, not least plenty of paper, paints, pens and pencils, and a nature table with its own weather system.

The 1st Inshriach International Film Festival

You can read about the new Inshriach House cinema and Film Club here, including the origins of the mysterious 6’x4′ NBS Nightly News screen set to take centre-stage, and pictured here in the process of being constructed:


As such, we’ll be staging the 1st Inshriach International Film Festival, which essentially means we’ll be showing one or two movies in the barn each day.

We’ll try and show some good kiddie fare in the afternoons/early evenings – I’m thinking everything from vintage Disney (Snow White, The Jungle Book) through to Pixar’s latest, WALL-E:

Later on we’ll put on something for the old-timers, some good independent stuff from across the years, maybe exploring a suitable Scottish theme – think Gregory’s Girl, Shallow Grave and Hallam Foe:

We should manage to watch a couple of films at least and who knows? Maybe if there’s ever a 2nd Inshriach International Film Festival we’ll be able to showcase something original that hasn’t been shot and cut within the preceding twenty-four hours.

And to round it all off…

Plans are currently afoot for a collaboration between Inshriach House and some local restauranteurs, whereby they will occasionally cater for parties staying at the estate.

Walter sent me through some details of a menu being prepared for a party in January. It features some wonderful looking food for what sounds like an insanely reasonable price.

Rather than spell out the details here, I’ll simply put it out there as a possibility that we would be catered for on the Saturday evening, after which some of us would no doubt drink our way through to the early hours of Sunday 22nd, which just happens to be my brother Barnaby’s 103rd birthday.

And just for any gourmets among you, let me tease you with one possible selection; a starter of confit duck terrine with celeriac remoulade and handmade oatcakes, Rothiemurchus venison and juniper stew, with chilli chocolate, wee rosemary roasties and honey glazed root veg for a main, finishing up with rhubarb and custard crème brulee with shortbread.

So that’s that really.

Anyone can find out much more about the estate and the house on the main Inshriach House website, you can read about the most recent developments on Walter’s blog, you can find lots of lovely pictures on the Flickr page, and can make friends with Inshriach on Facebook.

If you have any suggestions as to what we should or shouldn’t do on our Week in Inschriach™, and are coming along, or thinking about coming along, or even not remotely interested in coming along, feel free to comment below. As a rule, bloggers love it when people post comments on their posts. It’s strangely reassuring to think that people might actually read them.

Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, all the way to the end.

Checking into the Love Hotel

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Photo reproduced without the kind permission of Steve A. J. Beijer

The building absorbs the force of yet another blast, and the light of the neon flickers back into life. My eyes fall open, as I list like a drunk, soaking up the aftershock. All around me I can see bodies, soft pale bodies, writhing in ecstasy all over the dirty dusty dance-floor. I can see friends, drawn together from across the decades, finding each other just for tonight, and losing it together once again.

For a derelict farm building, the Love Hotel makes one hell of a club. The dance-floor is small enough to fill, large enough to lose yourself on, and has nothing but night sky for a ceiling. Walled in by the hard-working bar and a host of bunker-like boudoirs, each furnished with faux antiquities and decorated with a better class of graffiti, it looks like everybody here is on their honeymoon.

Me, I’m bouncing round the dance-floor like a spaghetti pinball. Looking up, I can see the DJ dropping bombs from atop of his towering scaffold, musical hand grenades for us to jump on as soon as they hit the floor, sending limbs into the dirty air, slamming bodies against the bare concrete walls. I can see one of the ‘wasabi peas’ up there, bobbing around behind the turntables. There are five of them, at the last count, scattered around the grounds of this 16th Century Hertfordshire manor. They’re wearing green one-piece speed-skating outfits and scandalising passers-by with the unnatural contours of their drug-addled genitalia. Like the eighteen hundred other people who made it along for the weekend, they’re bringing their own little piece of Japan to the party.

We may be in costume, but this is no dress rehearsal. It’s Standon Calling, one of the smallest most perfectly formed festivals here or hereabouts. By which I mean on this planet, or any that happen to be nearby. Some take the view that it’s nothing more than a glorified birthday party, one that’s spiralled wilfully out of control ever since the young and impetuous Alexander Trenchard Esq. turned twenty one, seven long years ago.

I’m here to tell you that it’s very much under control, executed with the discipline and military precision you’d expect from somebody whose great grandfather founded a little flying outfit some of us know as the RAF. What would the late Viscount Trenchard think, were he here today? Surely he’d like our fighting spirit, we flying aces, who go up tiddly up up, and down diddly down, but never, ever say die.

He wouldn’t have been crazy about Marko. Not because Marko’s housed inside the flame-licked exterior of a Japanese fighter plane, with a Tesco carrier bag tied bandana-style around his head and a yellow kimono hanging from his comically elongated body. Not because Marko’s looking to go kamikaze on some poor unsuspecting Tokyo schoolgirl, with a wildness in his eyes promising dishonour before death. Just because, beneath all the bodywork and bravado, Marko’s French.

He’s just one of the stray dogs, the kind of gifted degenerate it’s good to swim with on days like these. We’ve been mooching around since midday, kicking our heels and catching up with one another, here to meet the people we’ve become. We’ve gotten our bearings, blown away the cobwebs, and charged our glasses with the choice of a thousand poisons.

Now we’re tearing up the script on the dance-floor, scribbling out our own impulsive little libretto, orchestrated in the moment. I can feel the music in my bones, this soundtrack to my life, a roadmap to the memories it recalls. Each song belongs to a time, a place, a person, some of whom are here to share it with me, one of whom has been here for as long as I have, even though I only got to know her ten happy years ago. Every time I look into her eyes I see a kaleidoscope of memories, stretching back over a decade. Deep brown eyes, smiling like rubies, full of light and colour stolen from the lollapalooza of life.

This post was supposed to be about Standon, but really its about her. In a way, they all are. She’s the energy and the inspiration, the muse to whatever artistry there is in me, and the colour on my palette. I’ve made my share of mistakes in this life, and I’m sure I’ll make plenty more, but whatever words I found ten years ago to convince her that I was worth being with, worth staying with, were the most important words I’ve ever spoken, or written down. It was the rightest thing I’ve ever done. It got me a room at the Love Hotel, and I’m never checking out.

Emma and I met ten years ago to the day, and have been married for exactly five. I’m not sure I’ll ever find the words to tell her – or you – what she means to me, but I’ll keep looking.

Life’s a beach

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

This picture was taken a couple of weekends ago, when my dad’s side of the family got together for a seventieth birthday party in Porlock. We didn’t see them as much as my mum’s side when we were growing up, and it was great to be reminded what an unusual and interesting group of people they are.

Lola and I went down to the beach, with a few others. My sister was there, she took this photo. It reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of my dad when I was Lola’s age. As a family we spent a lot of time at the beach, all along the English coastline, pottering around.

It was somewhere we all seemed to be able to find something to occupy ourselves, but often that would be no more than to sit around together turning over rocks, looking into pools, talking things over.

To a passer-by might have looked as though we were just passing time. But we were in a tidal zone, where the water meets the shore, waves washing over rocks, teeming with life. It was where I saw my family come alive. Now I get to see it all over again.


Sunday, June 15th, 2008

These two photos ought to tell the story of a pretty perfect Saturday. An afternoon at the Natural History Museum…

…followed by an evening in the garden preparing lovely fresh mackerel, barbecued and served up with some of that pak choi you can see growing in the background, seasoned thai-style and wok-fried by the infinitely versatile Mrs Light.

I love days like these, full of things that come naturally. I hope I can raise my kids to appreciate them as much as I do, and I hope they have the opportunity.

Higher Faster

Monday, May 5th, 2008

In spite of a contentious choice of soundtrack (Apply Some Pressure from Mark Ronson’s excellent VERSION) and some less than crisp slow-mo (paying homage to one of my favourite directors, Wes Anderson) this is definitely one of my favourite adventures with the DV Cam. It was seriously fun to make, I learnt a few new tricks in the process, and it sent Lola to bed tonight with a big smile on her face. Enjoy!