Sep 23, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

keep calm graffiti mashup
keep calm graffiti mashup
keep calm mouse mashup
It's been a dark week full of doubt and despair. I've been struggling with the need to hold on to my authentic creative self and my physical self that cannot remain a starving artist forever. Mama needs to eat, yo.

Since moving to London, I've seen those ubiquitous WWII propaganda posters encouraging us to Keep Calm and Carry On. I know there's a level of irony to them now, but I was getting really tired of seeing them until, I decided to use it in my mashup of London street art. The fit seemed natural.

I'm happy with the results and I'll be selling them at my market stall in Brick Lane in the coming weeks. I know I'm not alone in this rickety boat called life and so I've chosen to take this message of carrying on because I still can, to heart. The only bombs over my London are the ones that come from the shadowy corners of my mind.

All photography and mash up by Shehani Kay. Original graffiti #1 & #3 found on the towpath on Regent's Canal. Original graffiti #2 found in Shoreditch.

Sep 17, 2010

A Time Traveller's Jaunt to Medieval England

Come with me down the path of ages...
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ a path in the woods
down to the middle ages where this maiden sits under tree in a rune circle
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ maiden under a tree
Where Chaucer awaits to tell us his tales
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~chaucer storyteller
And the master of a mouse circus smiles at us from behind curious wooden spectacles.
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ mice master
While Hagrid watches on
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ hagrid
Right now, peasants are watching over their baby in sight of a castle
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ watching baby
and women prepare their supper around the fire
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ preparing dinner
but there are others who look on at the splendour of Herstmonceux Castle and wonder what treasures lay inside
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ castle
Some armies are more than curious. A battle to siege the castle is brewing and this dog guards his master's amour
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ guard dog
The men march off into the battle field
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ marching into battle
And the battle begins
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ battle
This knight is left standing, a respite in between the fighting but in the end, someone will surely lose their head...
Herstmonceux Medieval Festival ~ battle

I have to say, going to a living history medieval festival with a real castle and elaborate grounds is really magical. No mere dress up for freaks and geeks, this festival transported me back in time. It was wonderful and inspiring and fun.

Herstmonceux Castle, a 15th century moated castle nestled within the Sussex countryside, is the magical setting where history comes to life during the annual Medieval festival held every August bank holiday. At present, this Castle has a Canadian connection. In 1993 Herstmonceux Castle was acquired by Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader and given to Queen's University of Canada. It is now an International Study Centre attracting students from around the world.

I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt to the middle ages with me. Have a beautiful weekend everyone.

All photography by Shehani Kay.

Sep 13, 2010

Whitstable's Shuckable Oysters and Other Fresh Views

Whitstable ~ boat
Before we got blown into the pub by the fierce wind and biting rain, we strolled along the pretty seafront and I sucked back a shucked raw oyster drenched in lemon juice and tabasco sauce from a harbour front seafood stall. You can't get fresher and more delicious than this! Judging from the overflow of shells in these trays, I'm not the only one who appreciates raw oysters!
Whitstable ~ Oyster shells recycling on the beach
Whitstable, a seaside town in northeast Kent, in the southeast of England, is famous for its oysters, which have been collected in the area since Roman times. The town itself dates back to before the writing of the Domesday Book, which was a great survey of 'who owned what' in England, completed in 1086 for the Norman King, William the Conqueror, shortly after he crushed the Anglo Saxons and took the English crown.
Whitstable ~ fishing boats in the harbour
(Fishing boats in the harbour)
Whitstable ~ converted fisherman's huts
(Old fisherman's huts now converted into deluxe seaside huts)

Unfortunately for me bad weather drove me indoors and so I got a very brief view indeed. I also had a terrible cold at the time and lacked the strength to push on when the sun finally did come out again. All this means is that I will have to return another day to suck back at my leisure more oysters and sample more fresh seafood from the outdoor stalls.

For my fellow oyster lovers, Whitstable holds an annual Oyster Festival around July 25th to celebrate the feast day of St James of Compostella (the patron saint of oysters). It was originally a ’Holy Day’ so the festival symbolically recreates the ‘Landing of the Oysters’, with Whitstable Sea Scouts bringing oysters ashore for a formal Blessing by clergy before being presented to the Lord Mayor. These blessed oysters are then passed along to inns and restaurants as part of the vibrant Oyster Parade as it travels through the town centre. Sounds like good fun.

Sep 7, 2010

Chillin' in Chilham

Chilham ~ tudor town square
I'm a lucky girl. I got invited to stay at my friend's village in Chilham this last bank holiday. Chilham is located in the valley of the Great Stour river, in the English county of Kent. The village square pictured above is considered by many to be one of the most perfectly preserved medieval settings in South-east England.

Below is a photo of teacups in the window of the abandoned Peacock Antiques, a shop in the square that closed its doors suddenly, left everything as is and hasn't reopened in years. It's like Miss Havisham's house!
Chilham ~ vintage teacups

This spooky by night church is a 15th century parish church, dedicated to St Mary.
Chilham ~ spooky church at night
I loved wandering through the overgrown cemetery.
Chilham ~ overgrown cemetery

Chilham Castle is a manor house and keep. The polygonal Norman keep of the Castle, the oldest building in the village, dates from 1174. It was owned by the Viscounts Massereene and Ferrard until it was sold in 1997. In those days coaches of tourists visited the castle and spent their tourist pounds in the village, injecting some much needed wealth into the local community. Unfortunately, the present owner, Mr Stuart Wheeler, has stopped this practice, closed the castle to the public and as a result, the village has fallen on much harder financial times. Wheeler is valued at £40m so it's a shame he doesn't open up the castle grounds regularly to coaches of tourists so that his neighbours may share in some wealth in these lean times of recession. Boo, Mr Wheeler or should I call you Mr Burns! Booo!
Chilham ~ castle

I had such a lovely time here. Chilham is renowned for its beauty and I will join in the chorus and sing its praises. When I got thirsty I went to the two local pubs and had me some really tasty local beer. The Whitehorse pub in the square, where the locals hang out, has got old stories and charm dating back to the 16th century. Not to be missed.

Big thank you and kisses to the Glancy family for hosting me!!

All photography by Shehani Kay. Chilham.

Sep 6, 2010

Just Carry On Dreaming...

lady asleep in the woods
I'm on the cusp of a new venture. I'm dreaming lush dreams of selling my photos at Sunday Upmarket in Spitalfields, in east London. I've got my acorns lined up and dreaming cap on. The dream turns into reality on the 12th. See you there!


This lady sleeping on a grass bed in the middle of the woods is not a sight you see every day. Discovering a bed in the fecund woodlands is surreal and fable-like. It inspires me to carry on dreaming my magnificent dreams. And I hope it inspires you too.

Happy Monday!

Photography by Shehani Kay. Taken on the grounds of Herstmonceux Castle near Hailsham in East Sussex.

Sep 1, 2010

How I long for Jesterday...

While I was traipsing around the English countryside, being driven along narrow canopied lanes, drinking local bitter, visiting castles and cathedrals, and attending Britain's largish Medieval Festival, my Belgian buddy had been a busy bee putting together the music video we did during our last month in Madrid. So instead of posting about my country trip, which I will do over the next few posts, I'm going to return to my beloved Madrid for a different kind of trip... one down memory lane. Ah, Jesterday...

I hope you enjoyed it! I highly recommend making videos as a fun project to do with your friends. We had a amazing day laughing and laughing as we made a spectacle out of ourselves on the streets of Madrid. Locals and tourists alike stopped to gawk at us and these are some of my favourite memories of my time in Mad Madrid. The photo shoot from that day is here.

On a sad note, another friend of mine from Madrid, Nick, who was to visit me in London in mid Aug, died recently from a diabetes related fall. He was an eccentric, cultured and lively character, a right English gentleman who never shied away from sitting on the grass in his white outfit under the scorching sun. He delighted in saying that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. Cheers to you Nick! You knew how to live life to the fullest and you remind the rest of us to live well and large while the sun still shines. Besos a ti, mi amigo xx.
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