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4.46…an update.

This should be end of it. I can assure you Mr Ashton has taken liberties with his description of both the size and placement of the tattoo.



Well, I think what is pasted below is pretty self-explanatory! IMG_0490 IMG_0489Better a sore bum than a sore loser.

And here’s the trip to see Yayoi at Broadway Tattoo IMG_0458




Now I’ll always know what time it is. x Neil.

“If you don’t write a blog I will”


Yes, it’s been a while. This summer at Jamberoo we have been visited daily by a growing flock of King Parrots.Yesterday there were nine on the balcony, including four adolescents. One has taken to following me around the garden, and they are happy eat from your hand if you like.They are getting stiff competition from a marauding bunch of white cockatoos who are hilarious and destructive in turn.One has taken to eating the back door and he and I now have a running battle, me with the fire hose in hand. It’s been a glorious few weeks down here but now just two more sleeps until the year swings in to gear.There’s lots on. The ABC has now given a go ahead and commissioned a one hour documentary of the poker machine industry in Australia. We are now in fund raising mode for that, and we need to cash flow the project and supplement the ABC money with philanthropic funding. The working title for the film is ” Ka-Ching!. The rise and rise of the Pokies”. Next Monday I head to Adelaide where I will be based most of the next two months. There is a state election on March 15 and we are doing the campaign for Premier Jay Weatherall and his Labor government. They are going for as fifth term and it will be very tough, especially given the swing to conservative government across the county. The other major project for the year is working on “Recognise”. This is the movement to change the Australian constitution to give recognition to the first Australians. Here’s a pic from the launch in Melbourne which set off the “Journey to Recognition”, a walk/run./cycle/ride/kayak etc around Australia which will continue until the vote.( please see and join up if you haven’t!). I’ve also included a pic of Tony Abbott and wife Margie wearing their “R” badges. He is a strong supporter, and we all hope will maintain that support against  some of the more ratbag right regressive elements.IMG_1251IMG_1254

Summer here was busy to begin with – thirty-five locals for a sit down lunch, and then a glorious Christmas dinner made in full- English style by Caroline. Tom and Anna and Gyda Currie were here for that. Since then we have been gardening, cooking( me) sculpting( Caroline) and generally dagging about. Caroline has stopped eating meat and so my cooking has been a vegetarian adventure. Best book has been River Cottage Veg everyday, and the standout dish which I’ve made twice is a baby beetroot tart tartin. Sourdough bread making has continued with mixed success.Here’s one that worked well enough.IMG_0146

Evenings have been spent watching re-runs of Midsomer Murders, and occasionally something a little more challenging. One highly recommend documentary is  “Nostalgia for the light”. It is from Chile, beautifully filmed and truly original. Our viewing has been accompanied by the colony of micro bats who have taken up residence in the doors. Here’s on that landed on the sofa. They are tiny – easily fitting in the cup of your hand – and have ferocious looking little fangs. IMG_0009

We have also been heartened by more frog noises and down in the creek there is a big cloud of tadpoles, so many more are on the way.IMG_0011

The cameras have been pretty idle, but here’s one shot taken with the Leica up on Barren Grounds. About two years ago the clever clogs at the local fire Authority let a small burn off get out of control and scorched half the mountain. These grasses called xanthorrhoea are the first things to come back.22530024Other sightings have included what I’m pretty sure was a very young fox, more wallabies than I’ve seen before, and lots of lyrebirds. I hope your year is full of joy and discovery. Neil.

One misty moisty morning…

..when cloudy was the weather I met with an old man cloth-ed all in leather, he wore no shirt upon his back but wool unto his skin, singing howdy do and howdy do and howdy do again”. I’m pretty sure that was the title and  opening of a Steelye Span song that we used to sing. Being in the UK brings to mind many of those old folk songs that they and Fairport Convention reworked. Anyway… was certainly misty the second morning I was here and woke early for a walk along the Thames up to Marsh Lock. Here’s a few of the B&W pics taken on film with the Leica.CNV00019CNV00022CNV00021

River Cottage Suprise.


As part our thirty-year wedding anniversary celebration, Caroline has taken me on a magical mystery tour of Devon.The big surprise was a visit to River Cottage Farm, made famous by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Channel 4 program. They run two and four day cooking course as well as intensives for chefs. Caroline took us both on the “one day experience”. There is always some apprehension with something like this that it will be overly commercialised, but our fear evaporated quickly. It was a really very special day and I would recommend it to anyone with interest in sustainability, food, country living( and pig butchering if that’s your thing). Over the course of the day we foraged for blackberries, wild sorrel, hazelnuts, picked zucchini flowers, herbs tomatoes etc.This was all taken back to the chef to include in the dinner. From there is was bread making , learning to fillet fish and dissect a chicken, make a puff pastry dessert and finally how to cure bacon. Then 20 of us sat down to dinner and ate the lot.



We stayed at Spillers Farm B&B, run by the delightful Keith and Bridget( pictured below). Keith is an East London escapee who fell in love with the country and now raises organic pigs and chicken and makes the best sausages and bacon you’ll ever eat. Bridget runs keep it all on the rails and its again a highly recommended place to stay.