Tag Archive: Family & friends


Family & friends

40th birthday surfing

I’ve known Nat since September 1996 when I started at City of Bath College and stayed in touch ever since. He’s a been a great friend to me all that time. Nat turned 40 this September so I wanted to do something to mark the occasion rather than stick a card in the post, I actually forgot to give him a card. I decided that a weekend surfing would be just the ticket, neither of us would be any good and the location in Devon would be great for walks etc.

I’d already been to the same spot with Emma at the invite of Vaughan and Shannon, who are proper surfers, back in 2009. I booked the same campsite as well as some lessons with Surf South West. I went down to Bath to stay with mum on the Thursday night and then headed over to meet Nat on the Friday morning. It was great to hang out with Nat and Cath as well as Elsa and Joe. Caitlin was at school unfortunately. We then headed down to Devon, found our campsite and had a wander around. We stopped at Saunton Sands first for a coffee and wander around after the drive. It felt really good to breath that fresh Devon air in.

Saunton sands

Our cabin was a shed really. Two beds, a door, a Stella fridge and a kettle… and not to forget the campsite rules and menu laminated and then stapled to the wall. Classy stuff. Still it was better than pitching a tent and the site had a great view of the sea.

Home sweet home

We peaked a little early on the first day, having cycled down into Woolacombe for a ‘quick pint’ which turned into three and a burger. The cycle back up the hill was pretty grim on my Brompton. I’m amazed neither of us saw the beer or food again. Having felt a little woozy after that a nap was in order. Then some crap TV courtesy of Kevin Bacon and The Happening and then over to the capsite bar to join ‘happy hour’. Oh my, what a sight that was. Stag do’s, lads on tour, a man with stars tattooed all over and wearing a muscle vest as well as women in little or no clothing. Still they had an outside bit and we managed to drink through it. Nat also brought a bottle of bourbon which went down a little too well after.

So next morning it was up to fill ourselves with a greasy breakfast and get down to Croyde to learn how to surf. Not before a good coffee was had though to ease the hangover.

Dry run

We had a great day splashing around in the water, taking little steps on how to surf, mainly on the foamy waves coming in. Both of us managed little balances then falls. Both also got donked on the head by the big foamy boards – not great for a hangover.

Surf dude
And we're on...

After two hours in the water they let us have lunch. We were both shagged. Fortunately we had time for a nap in the sunshine.

Mid surf nap time - Nat

Mid surf nap time - Andy

The afternoon session was a bit rough. The tide was out and throwing some fairly aggressive waves about and beating us to a pulp in the process. Still great fun though. After we headed out for coffee in Croyde and both looked weary from it all.

So damn tired

Then it was over to Woolacombe for a massive fish and chips followed by yet another nap back at our shed. Neither of us had the energy for another big night and both struggled with our pints and conversation. Back in bed for a reasonable time and then back out the next morning for another few hours in the water.

Amazingly the second day wasn’t as hard as we were expecting. We both managed to stand up properly on the board and we were taught how to get onto unbroken waves without nosediving. It felt great and completely exhilarating to be forced through the water that fast on the front of a wave. Brilliant fun and far more enjoyable than the day before.

Picture taker
Surfer, gull, surfer, rocks, sand etc

We had meant to stay the Sunday night and then do a walk or something on the Monday. Both of us were completely shattered and the kids were missing Nat. So we headed back to Bristol to have a bit of food, I had another nap, before driving back to London.

Superb weekend. Can’t wait to go again.


Family & friends

Bank hols

Lovely weekend in Cambridge hanging out with Emma’s Mum and Ivan as well as Snoopy the dog. I think I’m a little obsessed with him.

I tried to take him out for a run around with me riding my bike but he wasn’t keen. He’d been running around playing ball with all the kids in the pub. I had to put his lead on him to get him out of the van. Anyway, lovely and relaxing. Shame you have to go back after that but never mind.

Ok I'm driving, get in the van.
130825 X100 DSF3254
Good times
Black mirror
Back door

And also lovely to spend some time with these two.

130825 X100 DSF3240


Family & friends London Peckham

Saying hello to Frank again

Nice to get back to Franks again this year with Emma. I’d already been once for the VIEW summer party which was rammed. Seems to be best to go at the weekends or get there early on a week night. Same kind of thing as usual, good food, views and Negroni’s. We had a great time although had a little too much sun.

Pikker taker
I /
Me and her

And of course someone turned up with their tomato plant. As you do.

I brought a tomato plant


Architecture Family & friends

Taking Emma up the Shard

Yesterday was Emma’s Birthday. Whilst I’m rubbish at buying presents except from the pre-prepared list she gives me, I did want to have one small element of surprise. So I booked a couple of tickets for the viewing platform at the Shard and got out of work early. Of course as soon as I said “Meet me at London Bridge” she knew what was going on.

Surprisingly good.

We both used to work at London Bridge and got a bit of a shock without that dark old roof in place. Lots of light, lots of construction work still ongoing but still on its way to being completely transformed. I’ve taken loads of pictures of the Shard from Peckham so it was nice to go and see it up close and personal. Having been up the Empire State in New York and had a hellish time we were both pleasantly surprised about how nice the experience of going up there was.

Observation deck
Birthday girl

There was plenty of space, you could get to see the view easily and it was nicely detailed for the inspecting architect to visit. I was actually really impressed with it all. You arrive into a large enclosed space and then are able to go one level up to a more open section. At that point you’re actually right up against some of the shardy bits which is pretty amazing.

At the actual shardy bit
Colourful people

It’s amazing seeing the city beneath you, especially when you’re able to see deep into the street pattern of areas you’ve walked and cycled around for years and years. The way the railway cuts through the city is also quite incredible.

Transport connections

Following that we wandered into Borough Market to have a few drinks at The Rake. It’s been a while since we drank there and again Borough Market has changed so much. Still the beer and company was good and I managed to get this wonderful photo of Emma.

Will you stop taking my fucking picture

That was then followed by birthday dinner at the Dragon Castle at Elephant and Castle. Happy Birthday Emma!

Canopy & Shard


Family & friends

Petting the dog in Cambridge

Great to get a weekend out of London. Plenty of food, beer, dog(s), great company, cycling and the usual trip to the centre of town. Bloody love it.

We managed to get a ride in the countryside with Snoopy which was great. We were worrying about tiring the dog out on the ride but needn’t have. As soon as he got back to the pub he still found the energy to play ball with everyone.

Country riding
Mish mash


Family & friends

Easter in Cambridge

So nice to be out of London for the long weekend. Plenty of walking, cycling, eating, drinking and laughing as well as just enjoying the peace and quiet. Pretty much overloaded Instagram with pictures of Snoopy, but hey why not, he’s cute. The sun even made a fleeting appearance at times. We managed a lovely walk in the evening sun today along the usual spot and I even managed a bit of colour in my cheeks. Maybe this grey Narnia weather is finally over?

Emma also got a chance to ride her bike in some quiet areas rather than the busy streets of London. I think she quite likes it, although perhaps a shorter stem would help. Back to work tomorrow but looking forward to a trip to Wales next weekend for some riding at Coed-Y-Brenin.

IMG 6789
Kicks and bike
Lotus Challenger Mixte
A bell and snoopy


Family & friends Film Video

Waiting for lightning

Alex was over from Sweden last weekend and we met up for a quick pint in Peckham. Sure enough we got round to talking around skating, snowboard and biking videos.

He mentioned that we should watch this one, Waiting for Lightning. The trailer looks insanely good (which Emma found earlier). Can’t wait to get hold of a copy of this.


Cycling Family & friends Van

Bikes and van upgrades, a weekend in Bath

I’ve been back in the West Country since Weds evening which has been great. I did a series of lectures and workshops on photography at the University of Bath School of Architecture on Thursday and Friday which was pretty tiring, more on that in a bit. Then on Friday I met up with my old boss, David Kent, and former colleagues in the Pultney Arms. It’s at least ten years since I saw David and the same amount of time since I had a drink in the Pultney. We’ve kept in touch via Twitter of all things since but great to catch up in person. A few of us went for a curry after including Alex who now is one half of BrickItPro on Twitter.

I stayed at Gav’s on Friday and woke to the taste of raw onions from the previous nights curry and beer. We then headed down to get the new alloys on the van. Unfortunately they all needed tyres adding and balancing too and new valves adding. Gav had sorted out a set of Alfa 156 wheels and got them cleaned and powder coated black for me.


They jacked the van up on what looked like four very spindly jacks. Rather than doing front first, then back they had the whole thing up which looked more than a little precarious. Obviously they know what they’re doing though. It did look a little odd like this.

Sans wheels

Then the final showing with the new alloys on with wider, thinner Michelin tyres on. Time for a clean of the van and I think it’ll look a lot better. It seems to drive a lot better and not roll around quite so much. Maybe this is due to less balloon like tyres on there. This could all just be the placebo effect though as I’m no expert on cars.


So having completed this, stood back and admired for a bit, we headed over to Bristol for some brunch with some more people I hadn’t seen in years. This time Sam and Kiera and also their friend Susie who I hadn’t met before. Coffee was ingested along with a fine breakfast. Then we headed out to get onto the M4 to head to Wales.

Wales welcomes you

We were hoping to ride Afan and some quick maths and a rough idea of when it was going to get dark suggested we carry on and go for the better ride. I love riding Cwm-Carn but always seem to enjoy Whites at Afan that little bit more. Gav drove there in my van whilst I fell asleep against the window. By the time we got there I really wanted to just sleep some more but we got the bikes out and headed out into a grey covered landscape.


Unfortunately there was a diversion for a large part of the climb which went up a claggy clay bank. It was impossible to ride as the tyres just skidded around so we ended up pushing. I was hoping that this new diversion meant that the old descent was open.

The diversion soon ended and we got back onto the normal climb. Soon enough we got to the bit near the top where it ever so slightly flattens out and you get a short burst of single track before popping out at the clearing with the view of the wind farms. Saddles down and then straight into the fun bit. I was trying to not get over confident and crash as usual. No bruises from this trip which was great.


The energy trail was running well and the cinder path single track through the woods was great fun. I love that section of the trail as it’s so narrow and twisty. It would have been nice to have done W2 but there was no way we’d make it round before darkness. Fortunately the final section of trail was open. I hadn’t ridden this in ages – maybe 18 months – as they’d been doing forestry works here.

Trail Gav

Sadly this final descent had been a victim of the ash die back problem that has affected much of the forestry round this area. What was once a dark, dense tree lined trail was now an open moor and type of path. We rode down not really recognising it even though we’ve been riding it for a long time now. It really is shame that all these trees have died off but hopefully new ones can be planted when this issues is resolved.

By the end of the trail we had a little rain which cooled us of, then went back to the van, changed quickly to get our coffee and cake at the cafe. Driving back along the winding road to the M4 we were treated to the beginnings of a fantastic sunset over the misty hills.

Welsh sunset


Family & friends Travel

Fuck yeah NYC

So we finally got around to booking our first proper holiday together. No more Cornwall camping or couple of nights in a nice hotel here and there with a walk along a beach after. We’re doing it properly this time – we’re going to NEW YORK BABY! So we’ve booked two flights to New York JFK for June. We’re going to stay in an apartment in Williamsburg which is better than a hotel in my eyes and enjoy every bloody minute of it.

We’ve both made an enormous list of things to do already. Food, bikes, buildings, galleries, museums, views, drinks, more food… We’ve got seven nights there so should hopefully have plenty of time to enjoy it all and get a good experience of the city without feeling rushed. Best get reading through this and work out how many memory cards I’ll need for a weeks worth of photos.

Wallpaper New York guide

Can’t wait! I think Emma might explode with excitement before we go.


Family & friends Photography Travel

Bexhill & Eastbourne

A few weekends back we had a weekend away to visit Bexhill, walk around, eat chips, admire dogs on the beach etc and then went to Eastbourne to stay in a supposedly “Boutique” hotel for the night. I’ve only just got round to start processing my shots from the X100. I seem to be taking more photos than I have time to edit right now but here’s a few of my favourites so far.

Dog chat