Sunday 15 November 2009

no place like home!

On a bit of a low today mostly because I just over did it yesterday, so I’m really tired and couldn’t walk more than a mile without needing a sit down. I didn’t do half the things I planned and spent twice the amount of money that I wanted to. Everywhere I’ve been on the West Coast has had a real problem with down and outs and San Francisco is no different. I wish America would do more about their poor. It makes me feel so uneasy seeing Louis Vuitton shops selling $3,000 handbags when there are people hardly getting by on the streets. The homeless over here tend to be more in your face, hustling is just their way of life. It takes loads of energy to find the right words and get through the day without pissing anyone off, today I just didn’t have anything to give and I just wanted to curl up in bed and hind from the world. I shouldn’t moan I am very lucky, life as delt me a much better hand that it has them.

It was another beautiful hot day and I saw some amazing street art courtesy of I also saw a less than great show at the ybca recommended by a dreadlocked space cadet I shared the dorm with last night. She told me her name was Tiger Lily but I think her name was really Tracy or something else equally pedestrian.

OK I’m going to put on my pyjamas and listen to Adam and Joe. Tomorrow Gold Gate Park, China Town and Alcatraz.

Saturday 14 November 2009

a walking holiday

Today I walked about sixteen miles, I knew I’d done a lot but not that. It was a lovely day I can’t believe how sunny and hot it is here. It’s very late and I’m really sleepy that’s what walking and fresh air does to you so I'm going to keep this short. Highlights; my first Hot Dog of the trip and I chose well Let’s be Frank make gourmet sausages visit their site if you have time the copy writing is spot on. I bough beautiful pistachio macaroons at the farmer market, wolfed them both down in under ten seconds. The farmers market was a great surprise in it’s self, was very lucky to happen upon it. A lovely arts and craft shop call Rose and Radish, I would have bought a lot in there if I had more money. I Sampled chocolate in a chocolate making factory. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Saw seals swimming in the bay and did a bit of shopping. All this on a day I had no plans. Tomorrow, China town I think and maybe some art in the afternoon, we’ll see. Now it’s time to sleep. Good night.


There are some people in life that you hope to never see again, I just spent fifteen hours on a train with a dippy lady in her fifties, who every hour would ask me if she still had her guitar, which was in the over head locker. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t a bad person (definitely irritating, but not bad), we just didn’t click and that’s a lot of time to spend with someone you have nothing to say to. Then there are people who you meet once but somehow feel like you’ve known forever because conversation comes so easily. I always feel sad when I say goodbye to these familiar strangers.

In Vancouver I met a lecturer called Peter who works in Adelaide but comes from Glasgow. I spent an afternoon full of banter with him as we took a ferry trip on a day with no views (unless you count thick fog as scenic). He’d had a fascinating life worked all over the world as a chef, lived in New York in the 80’s when it had more edge than content. Was on his way to try and see Polar Bears in Nova Scotia. A football fan, supported Scotland for his sins. Anyway I met him and his not so lovely wife again today. I got up early and discover there was a huge food market down on the docks and there he was, a chance in a million. Didn’t get chance to talk for long, didn’t get chance to find out if he saw any Polar Bears but it was lovely to meet again maybe our paths will cross once more in Austria but some how I doubt it.

Friday 13 November 2009

peace and love in portland

After a lot, well a bit of thought I did end up visiting Portland. I was worried it would be the same as Seattle and had thought about just flying down to Vegas. However I spent much longer in Canada than I had planned so it just made sense to do a small stop over and get to San Francisco for a relaxing last few days.

Portland is a cool city, it looks big as you head in as the buildings are so tall but once I started walking about it really didn’t take long to get from one end of the centre to the other. I stayed in a hippie hostel a little way out of town. It was full of Jesus sandals and mung beans. Some beardy fool kept me up half the night playing bad covers on his guitar, I so wanted to smash it over his greasy haired head. I now know for sure that I’m far too cynical to cut it as a hippie. I met my first properly properly crazy American there – “I heard a cat got killed at the docks last night, do you want to come and look for the body? I wish I had seen it die.” You have to say it in a Forest Gump accent to get the full affect. I didn’t going looking for the cat because we all know what coastally did! Instead I went to the Pearl district, which houses all the small galleries and boutiques. In New York I found a shop for Gilly in Portland I found a shop for Sally. It was a huge warehouse full of hand picked antiques and artefacts called Cargo, everything in there was very cool, quirky and best of all really reasonably priced. At one point I was walking around with about thirty things but soon realized I couldn’t afford the postage. Sally a couple of lighter surprises will soon be in the post.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

up in the air

Back in the U.S.A. and I had to go through customs again.
I’m not sure if I can answer the same questions any more times.
I really really had tobite my tongue, as the guard was being so rude
and I wanted to answer back, lucky I remembered just in time that
you couldn’t win an argument with a man in uniform! So managed not
to end up in jail and arrived safely in Portland. The sun shone on my
journey but as soon as I got off the train the heavens opened and I
ended up wet again. Portland seems very nice but I dicisided to hind
in the cinema. I saw “the men who stare at goats” and it was great.
I can’t remember ever seeing a film where the audience laughed so
loudly and so often. Highly recommend. I also saw the best trailer
for a film called “up in the air”, which just looks
like a great movie
I hope it’s out in New Zealand soon. I'm
going to spend tomorrow
morning looking around the art district then
I’m spending 18 hours on a train as I travel overnight to San
Francisco. So looking forward to getting there. Fingers crossed there
are some nice people to talk to on the journey. See you in the city.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

a case of you

"On the back of a carton coaster, in the blue TV screen light, I drew a map of Canada. Oh Canada. With your face sketched on it twice."

I’ve had this Joni Mitchell song stuck in my head for the past nine days, it’s driving me mad. I guess I should start off with an apology to anyone who thought I was dead. I’m not I just haven’t had any wifi for the past week. I’ve been with my family on Vancouver Island and I’ve had the loveliest time. I’m really shocked at how much I like Canada. It’s beautiful without question but mostly I’ve just met so many good, kind, welcoming and interesting people since I’ve been here. The family I’ve just been with are unbelievable, I have never felt so loved by people who hardly know me. I hope we will stay in touch. I’m already planning my trip back and wishing my work visa was for Canada. I’m also shocked at how many generous strangers I’ve met on my travels so far. From Diana who let me have her headphones on the plane so I could watch “the proposal”, (which I’m ashamed to say I loved – not so cool now) to Ester, whom I’m sharing a room with now and has just bought me a cup of tea. I’m going to try to stay in touch with anyone who has been good enough to pass on their contact details. Each little conversations or act of kindness has made such a difference to me, I hope I’ve been making a difference to some of their days too.

park life

I had the most perfect Saturday in Vancouver, the forecast was for rain but I got sun. I was up before anyone else in the hostel to help an Australian girl to the bus station as she had three of the biggest bags that I have ever seen. Vancouver at the moment is like little Australia as they are all over here to work the ski season at Whistler. I’ve seen inside a few of the girl’s bags and its all birth control and booze I get the feeling it’s just one long party. All the Aussies I’ve met have been very friendly but I do end up feeling like their Mum.

But I digress, back to my wonderful Saturday. I walked down to Stanley Park, which is maybe the biggest park I’ve ever been to. I started off in the Aquarium. The sea otters and beluga whales are by far the cutest, but I think my favourite feature was the Jellyfish somehow they are completely hypnotic. I’m not much of a photographer so I was really pleased with these pictures of them. The Aquarium has a 4D cinema so I saw my first (and as I enjoyed it so much second) 4D film. It’s basically a 3D film but your chair also moves and they spray you with water if a fish splashes or blow air if you’re watching a bird fly. It sound silly and I guess it is, but I really enjoyed it.

Once I had finish at the Aquarium I rented a bike for a couple of hours and cycled around the park, when I say it’s big it has three beeches, a working lighthouse and a small forest. It was the best bike ride of my life and one of the best afternoons. I’ll let the photo do the talking.

Saturday 31 October 2009

city break

Yesterday I had my first day away from a big city and it was lovely, a bit wet and foggy but really nice to get fresh air and time to think. I really enjoyed the tree top walk. None of the other tourists seemed to find it so I spent an hour up in the top of the forest on my own it was magic. The first image is of a bear proof bin and good reminder that Canada is properly wild.

seattle - it never rains...

I’m really sorry to say that I didn’t love Seattle. I had so many high .expectations for this city that I guess it was inevitable that it would fall on its face. Maybe it’s a city that has been hit hard by the resent economic down turn or maybe I just landed on a bad day either way I’ve never felt so unsafe and threatened. There is a real homeless problem and they are poor, cold and need help and that’s all I have to say on the matter.

In my 24hour stay these are my highlights. A row of pretty indie craft shops; Schmancy a kind of Manga and hand made toy store for grown-ups, Nancy selling cards, prints and lots of bits and bobs and Fancy the nicest of all three selling hand made jewellery.

I also went to the iMax and saw “Where the Wild Things Are”, which is the most perfect film about the isolation and hopelessness of childhood. I can’t believe it’s a children’s film. It’s beautiful, hard, imaginative and has the best film sound track I’ve heard since “The Life Aquatic”.

"Please don’t go, I’ll eat you up, I love you so".

Wednesday 28 October 2009

never give up on any child - red hook

Yesterday, my last full day in New York. I have very little time left as I have to catch a flight in a couple of hours but I wanted to post a couple of pictures from Red Hook. I finally made it to sunny’s the bar daisy recommended and it really was in the ass back of beyond. I got there and it was closed!!! I know I’ll be back in NY soon so I’ll make the trip again as it did look pretty fantastic. Red Hook was a real taste of Brooklyn, much more rough and ready than Manhattan. It had a few little gems hidden in the boarded up derelict houses. I really love the “we never give up on any child sign” both positive and negative in one breath.

I also revised my two favourite shops yesterday, "kiosk" which I would have never have found with out daisy’s instructions. Very cool, very New York the sort of place you only know about by word of mouth. I also went back to the letterpress house “Bowne & Co., Stationers” 211 Water Street and really wanted to buy the whole shop. OK off to Seattle see you on the west coast.

Monday 26 October 2009

kendra ross

This is who I went to see play last night and I got to briefly meet her as well. She scared the shit out of me – but in a good ‘what the hell am I doing with my life’ sort of a way. She’s a one-woman power house who doesn’t seem to waste a minute of her time. She’s hugely talented with a beautiful soft voice. It most be sickening to be that gifted and bright and be stuck playing to a room full of people while girls like Cheryl Cole are hitting the top of the chart for doing what exactly!


Sunday was a bit of a tourist sight seeing day for me. I got up early and went down to battery point to catch the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I didn’t much enjoy the whole tourist experience and found myself wishing that I’d just gone back to East village. Luckily the ferry emptied of the Statue leaving just me and three other people who went on to Ellis Island. I really liked Ellis Island (click here to read about the history of Ellis Island) and would highly recommend it. I took the audio tour, which was full of stories told by the immigrants well worth $8. It’s a strangely positive place but it also acts as a reminder of the transience of life. People used to have to be so much braver than they do today. I’m adding just a hand fall of photos now I’ll put the rest on flickr once I’m in Vancouver and hopefully have a little more time. I’m now off to face another busy day if my feet are up to it, I walked 8 miles yesterday and finally the blisters have come.

Saturday 24 October 2009

a place for gilly

So many things here that my friend Gilly would love. All the great folk and hill-billy music. Endless people watching (just so many hipsters in amazing cloths). Green tea flowing like tap water. But mostly this shop so reminded me of her. Gilly I think I’ve found your spirital homeland and it’s call anthropologie. I couldn't get away with taking any photos in the shop but I did take some of the windows. I really like the paper dogs and suitcase big apple. You must come to NY you would love it here.

I heart williamsburg

Another long day in NY. I spent the morning at the American Museum of Natural History but left early, just too many kids. The Hayden Planetarium is amazing thou and I’m very glad I when to see that. It’s a cinema in a giant ball, the film is projected onto the roof, so you look up to watch the show and it really does feel like you’re flying through space. Once I escaped I traveled over to Williamsburg and I’m very glad I did, vintage clothing stores, reclamation yards, junk shops, deli’s and fashion boutiques. Heaven. It's also full of the most beautiful people and wonderful bikes. How can anyone not fall in love with a place that has a drum school called BANG!

Friday 23 October 2009

happy accidents

I'm in New York and can hardly keep my eyes open. I've walked maybe 4 or 5 miles today and all the fresh air is just knocking me out. It's too long a story for a sleepy girl to type but due to getting lost on the Subway (again) and the MOMA being way to busy to even think about, I ended up falling into the American Folk Art Museum and I'm very glad I did. It's a beautiful place full of bright, funny and clever pieces, clearly make with love. Lots of Paintings done by sign writers, quilts and tin models. I spent a good couple of hours just enjoying the work but the best was still to come. I had planned to go and find some live music tonight little did I know that the museum held a free music friday for folk musicians. Three people sang but this guy (matt jones) was by far the best. Right I'm off for some shut-eye will aim to post some pictures tomorrow.

Sunday 18 October 2009


"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle." Steve Jobs

I was planning to write a little bit about what I'm doing and why but not surprisingly the great Steve jobs sum's it all up so perfectly I thought I would just let him do the talking. It's a long film but the single most inspiring thing I've ever seen. If you can spare 15 minute I highly recommend it. My next post will be from New York... I'm off to find what I love.

merci au revoir

I have so many people I need to thank that I'm just going to start by saying one big THANK YOU to everyone. Thank you friends, family and work colleagues you’ve all been endlessly supportive and positive. Sorry if I forget to mention you by name. Everyone that is mentioned I’ve highlighted so you can just skip to your bit.

I owe a very big thank you to Carol, Martin and Tony for the amazing gift. You know how much it means to me. Carol I'll be in touch to get your Sydney contacts soon:) Everyone else at work thanks for the fab leaving presents, love them. Jemima and Linda thank you for being excellent taxis the lifts really made a difference. I’m learning to drive so maybe one day I’ll be able to return the favor. Jemima - See you in a year. Justin thanks for finding route 101 and CS2. Sally cheers for the Seattle book I’ll return it someday, email your address! Dave I now have the best sound track for the states, cheers. Let me know what you think of the Kills. Eric the stories from your America trip inspired me to do this, I hope I fair better on greyhound buses! I have a chance to come back to the UK for a couple of weeks early next year so if I can wing it maybe I’ll make the Paris show. Having a catch up with you and Bernadette in Paris would be amazing KEEP ME POSTED. Mary, Mary thanks for putting me in touch with Evelyn really looking forward to meeting her. One day we’ll make it to New York at the same time and have lots of gallery fun. Evelyn thanks for putting me up. Daisy, you done good girl. I love the list and can’t wait to try and fit it all in. Touched you took the time to write so much. Karen thinking of you always, I’ll take the postcard to Gilly and I know we’ll both be wishing you could be with us. Mary, Marion, Margaret and Muriel thank you for the gifts, far too much you’re all very kind. I’m glad I got to see you at the weekend. My family in Victoria really excited about coming to meet you, I’ll be in touch soon.

I can’t put into words how much I owe my parents sorry for perpetually being a child and a drop out I just need to find whatever it is I’m good at. I’ll get there I promise. Thank you for everything I love you both. Finally the biggest thank you has to go to Gilly and Unge the kindest most welcoming people I know (who’ll both hate how soppy I’m being) I can’t wait to be the freakish raven haired girl in a family of gingers. Tell JimJim he’s going to get a lot of hugs. Look at how many people I had to thank aren’t I blessed.

Tuesday 17 March 2009


hello, this blog is on hold for a week or two. but I will pull it together very soon.