Category Archives: Broken photo links

s n a p s h o t s

[ 13:30 wednesday 8 november – jisonayili , northern ghana ]

new photos from italy , britain and ghana :

i reached the limit of my server space some time ago . indeed i shunted quite a lot of old material off the server onto my powerbook to make space , and lost the lot when it was nicked .

if i’m going to continue publishing photos i need more server space . each set is around 1mb in size . so this is a plea for anyone willing to donate 50-100mb to host for the next twelve months .

in the meantime i’m using a temporary folder on the sse server . hope that’s ok james !

: cH

v i a g g i o

16:10 sunday 13 august – eurostar , milano to napoli

a month to fill in …

my intention had been to return to britain for just a week , principally to gather with warren langley , craig and henry to discuss the next steps for trampoline and to start organising the sse learning web project with james smith . james had phoned me in milan a few days earlier to let me know that the school’s bid for core funding to cover its development for the next three years had been successful so we could start putting some of our plans into action . this is enormously exciting for me but it also brings new responsibilities . circus must evolve into a more formal structure than has been necessary hitherto .

when my work in london was done i decided not to return to milano immediately , but to head down to mum and dad’s house in gloucestershire and bite the bullet of scanning my slides from last year in the islands . ten days later i had 1050 of them digitised , cropped , resized and catalogued . this represents about half of the slides i took . the experience was a kind of purgatory , both for me and for mum who had to put up with my steadily declining temper . i really hope i never have to do anything like this again .

but the satisfaction of having the archive here on my powerbook is considerable . the process has also given me a clear sense of the raw material i have to work with , should i attempt any kind of publication or exhibition . it was , of course , a strongly nostalgic experience retracing my footsteps through the period , moment by moment . as i reached the final week i felt again the heaviness of each frame , remembering my sense that i was looking at things for the last time , paying my final tributes to places and objects i loved . my heart was in my throat once again .

during those ten days my relationship with sandhurst , my parents’ village , changed somehow . i explored the bank of the river severn on my bike , discovered favourite places to which i returned day after day . likewise the local hill with its views to the malverns on one side and the cotswolds on the other . experiences i overlooked when i lived there as a child . we take so much for granted . it has taken me this long to appreciate the beauty of the area and particularly of the garden mum and dad have created over the last dozen years . for a few days this became my office and i could not have wished for a more idyllic environment in which to pursue my unwelcome labours .

finally it was done and i was free to return to italy . i flew from stansted to brescia with ryan air . bizarrely the ticket cost even less than my previous charter horror but the service ran like clockwork and after an hour’s train journey i was back in fofo’s appartment on via solferino . to my delight my arrival coincided with a brief visit on business by my friend christian , so we had time for a fleeting coffee before he returned to london .

and in milano i have remained , buried in my work for the sse and the scillonia digital workshop . my only escape has been a day with a friend on the shores of lago di como … until today .

fofo and his family have been holidaying on the tiny island of stromboli , just north of sicilia , since my return to milano . finally , a few days ago , my resistance to his urging that i should join them collapsed . for one thing milano has almost completely shut down . over the last week swathes of shops have put up sheets in their windows and announced their closure until september . now that my favourite grocer , fruiterer , fishmonger and bakery have joined the stampede , life is scarcely worth living . on another note , this is a good opportunity to spend a week of retreat preparing the development plan and specifications for the sse learning web . and , of course , i am only too happy to be travelling to a small island once again .

so here i am , just leaving firenze , almost halfway through the six and a half journey to napoli . i had no difficulty deciding to travel by train rather than flying . this is a wonderful introduction to the changing landscapes and architectures of italy . what a trip !

from napoli i will board a ship for the six hour voyage to stromboli , where i shall arrive at five tomorrow morning just as it is getting light . what a way to arrive !

typically i am relying to a daft extent on fortune . i have no accommodation booked on stromboli and this is the peek week of the year , so i am likely to find myself sleeping beneath a tree . also i have no booking for the ferry . and i will have a mere thirty minutes between this train’s scheduled arrival and the ferry’s departure . not really a comfortable margin . who knows how it will all work out .

my absorption in various projects has resulted in a greater backlog of personal correspondence than i have ever accumulated before . it weighs heavy on me . when i return to milano i shall dedicate an hour each day to its reduction . if anyone were to draw the conclusion that their missives were unvalued they would be sorely mistaken . i regret my carelessness .

oh , there’s another batch of photos at . another experimental interface , i’m afraid … this time you only have to * point * at the thumbnails to download the large image ! i’ve already thought of some improvements for the next cluster … when i get round to it .

: cH

b l i g h t y

23:27 easter sunday – sandhurst , gloucestershire

i arrived back in britain last tuesday . malaysia was amazing , different
from anything i anticipated .

finally some photos :

as i awoke this morning i watched a mosquito walking slowly backwards on my
ceiling for what seemed like ages . it struck me as strange .

happy easter everyone

: cH

c e n t r i f u g e

12:58 friday 24 march – mundarrah street , clovelly , sydney , the service i’ve been using to host this mailing list , has been assimilated by its main competitor . since there was already a list called wanderer on egroups i’ve been compelled to modify the name . so it’s goodbye wanderer and hallo worldwanderer . it’s grossly cheesy , but heck , i couldn’t think of anything better .

i’ve been here in sydney a month now . the days have alternated pretty equally between sun and cloud , for which i’m grateful as it’s made it much easier to maintain a balance between work and shameless lounging . it also means i’ve got a modest tan rather than terminal skin cancer .

last weekend i escaped up to the blue mountains for a couple of days with duncan , a fellow brit i met a couple of days earlier . it was great to be amongst the trees , the aromatic air , the never-silent hush .

one of the main objectives in coming to autralia was to advance another stage in my mobile working endeavours . it’s twenty months since my first step in this direction , when i spent july/august 1998 roving around the isles of scilly , cornwall , gloucestershire and cambridge whilst continuing to work on a website for decca records with a team in london . back then it was just me and my little psion , which restricted my interaction to email except when i was able to hijack someone else’s terminal . i remember being enraptured by the novelty of lying on a beach and being paid for it .

my next step was when i came out to australia in december 1998 . i borrowed a computer out here and carried on working with a couple of clients in london . but my input was still essentially text-based . i didn’t get a whole lot of work done , to be honest . but i learned a lot .

after that came the experiment of spending a whole year in the isles of scilly . this time i had my full battery of equipment with me and was able to participate in a much wider range of activities . i was principally doing work for the school for social entrepreneurs , including consultancy , web production and print production . whenever i left the islands i relied on my psion to maintain email contact .

then in january i got my powerbook , opening up the prospect of being able to continue working on a full range of tasks from anywhere in the world , so long as i can get occasional access to power and telecoms . this trip to australia is the first trial of that theory . after a month it’s working well . i’ve put together a brochure for the sse , which i can send to printers in cornwall via email . i’m much of the way through producing a new website for the sse . i’ve been continuing to play a development role with the scillonia digital workshop , and will be producing a website with its members . i’ve also taken the first steps towards setting up a software development venture , whose working title is trampoline , based on my research over the last eighteen months into dispersed collaboration , learning and decision-making .

in all of these activities i’ve been working with groups of people in different places . these interactions have been structured in ways which enable me to feel i’m involved in ongoing discussions , that part of me is there with the other participants . these are delicate psychological considerations . the potential for misunderstanding , paranoia and defensiveness is much higher in a dispersed collaboration than in a conventional one . the development and sustenance of trust is critical . so in a way these experiments have been about trust , exploring different interactive structures and strategies , seeing where trust flourishes and where it perishes , where i feel like an active participant and where i feel remote , where i feel stimulated to contribute creatively and where i feel inhibited .

trampoline is the result of everything i have learned . i have come to see clear patterns in what works and what doesn’t work . from these insights has emerged a concept for a way to organise communications which will enable organisations , especially information-based organisations , to increase their creative potential .    i am particularly eager that the non-profit sector should benefit from an infrastructure tool like this . charitable organisations are typically under-resourced , thinly-spread and dependent on a wide network of influence and support . they are also blessed with high levels of commitment and shared purpose . trampoline will enable such organisations to marshal their resources more effectively . i am hoping to establish the venture in such a way that non-profit organisations will have access to services on a free or non-profit basis .

these plans took a significant step forward a couple of weeks ago when warren langley , ex-president and ceo of the pacific exchange in san francisco , offered to help guide the project through first-stage financing . there’s an amazing story behind this . at the start of may last year i was on st agnes , packing my belongings into boxes , preparing to move out of tamarisk farm . it was a fresh spring day , plump thrushes hopping about and flooding the breeze with song . there was a knock at the door and i saw a fellow clutching a laptop . warren introduced himself and explained he was staying with tim and sue hicks down at troytown . he was having trouble picking up email and they’d suggested he drop in on me in case i could do anything .

i was completely useless of course , fiddling about for a bit before sheepishly suggesting he should call the support line . but it turned out that warren was interested in social entrepreneurship , particularly social invesment , and we spent the next hour or so in conversation . we’ve remained in touch since then .

as for what brought warren all the way to st agnes , his wife ann had visited many years before on an archeological project and had been returning ever since . fate is indeed a remarkable beast .

oh , i’ve finally organised some photos from my previous trip to australia . nearly two hundred of them in fact . start at .

: cH

s u n c h a s i n g

13:07 friday 3 march – mundarrah street , clovelly , sydney

lots has happened since my last transmission . the main thing , though , is that i’ve shifted myself out to sydney , where i’m staying with my friend ross near clovelly beach for a few weeks .

some pics of the journey here , and of my new surroundings at .

i’m continuing to access email via my usual addresses . whilst i’m in australia my phone number is + 61 415 985794 .

: cH

l u n a c y

05:37 friday 21 january 2000 – rosevear , st agnes

i’ve just cycled back from wingletang where i’ve been watching the lunar eclipse . i feel like sleeping now so i’ll write later .

02:10 saturday

later , as usual , turns out to be quite a lot later !

i’ve just put together a little module :

you might have noticed a more stable style of presentation and interface emerging over the last few weeks . for the time being i’ve moved away from the photo-journal approach i tried in october to focus on self-contained modules . people’s comments and feedback have been instrumental in shaping the current format . i know some people still find themselves opening scores of image windows , but at least this can be avoided with the next and previous image buttons . it’s always good to hear people’s thoughts .

last night i ( that is , thursday night ) i returned from a magnificent dinner at westward and settled into several hours’ work . i’d intended to spend the afternoon recording interviews but ended up in highly-charged conversation with two island women who nonetheless refused to record a peep . i stuck my head out the door at about half three to confirm that the eclipse had begun . the sky was still cloudy but the moon’s white disc could be seen and a quadrant was indeed absent .

over supper we’d speculated about whether the sky would clear . inevitably there were memories of august’s eclipse , the solar one ( ) , when a perfectly-situated hole opened in the clouds precisely for the period of totality then closing again as mysteriously .

i woke nik as arranged at four and we went into the lane outside my studio . the sky was featureless black . i decided to bike down to wingletang to see whether it might be visible away from the house lights . i tried to chivy nik into joining me but fresh from bed he was not enthusiastic . so off i sped , down the pitted concrete track , past the ghostly bulk of the old lighthouse , turning right onto the rutted mud of barnaby lane , down the narrowing track flanked by pitasporum and tamarisk , finally out into the open space of the downs . i pedaled through the bracken up to the great rock known as the giant’s punchbowl . there i stopped and looked about .

from the way the cloud caught the beams of lighthouses it was evidently low in the sky . in these conditions one can clearly make out the play of seven different lights . bishop rock , penninnis head , round island – the islands’ trinity . then wolf rock , longships , sennen and lizard , hidden below the far eastern horizon .

still there was no sign of the moon . but several patches of star-crammed sky had opened in the cloud . and they were slowly stretching . it would be worth waiting and watching . the weather here often rewards patience .

so i bounced down the curving track to praskin , my best-loved beach , a short band of white sand punctuated by great boulders and embraced by jagged arms of black rock . i left my bike at the sand’s margin and trod down to the quietly lapping water . then i lay back on the sand , my face to the sky , and waited .

i have not spent nearly enough time this year lying on sand watching the stars . but in a way last night made up for it all . at twenty-nine minutes past four ( i checked my camera’s clock ) i caught my first glimpse of the eclipsed moon . for a fleeting moment a dark orange crescent appeared through the seathing cloud before being consumed once again . nothing more was visible for quarter of an hour . by this time the sky was six-tenths clear with great swathes of stars . but the quarter in which the moon hid remained stubbornly veiled . constantly i judged that she would be revealed by the drifting clouds , but time after time they seemed to mutate before my eyes or reverse their motion or in some other way refuse to disgorge her .

then there was another glimpse , swiftly engulfed . and another , a few seconds . this teasing continued . i smiled to myself and the sky .

around five o’clock my patience was rewarded . twice or three times , for a few moments only , the full disk was revealed . like sombre cochineel , the colour reminded me of the air’s hue during the solar totality . my eyes widened and my heart pounded in the same way . residues from a primaeval ancestry tinging me with the deep terror of perverted nature .

i tried to take a photograph but it was hopeless . this event was to be seen unrecorded .

a little later , knowing that totality would be ending , i raised myself , returned to my bike and began the ride home . at several points i stopped to stare a little longer towards the patch in the sky where i knew a crescent of brilliant blue-white would be beginning to spread . back up at the old coastguard cottages i was granted a view of this , the rebirth of normality looking perhaps even stranger than the fearful orange disk had done .

then i returned my bike to johann’s barn , braced the door with the old broken oar , wrote the few words with which this despatch began and went satisfied to bed .

: cH

s h e l l s

00:32 saturday 15 january – rosevear , st agnes

i’ve just arrived back , a little mud-spattered , from cycling round the island under a moon torn by stormy clouds . no lights . a couple of brief squalls lashed me with icy rain . yesterday there was hail .

these weeks have been filled with wonder and discovery . it feels like the beginning all over again . perhaps this is no more than a heightened sense of the annual cycle . i notice the first white flashes of wild garlic on the path behind covean . the fresh shoots of alexanders in the hedges . the new growth on the tamarisks .

at low tide last saturday murray hicks and i went hunting for winkles on the rocks beside the quay at periglis . christine , murray’s mother , had suggested the idea on the boat a couple of days earlier . we scrambled about , poking in the crevices between rocks , trying to avoid the largest ( too tough ) and the smallest ( too fiddly ) . by the time the tide caught up with us we had gathered what we thought a respectible quantity .

back at westward farm christine dropped them into a pot of boiling water for four minutes , then drained them and left them to cool . once they were cool enough to hold we set to work with sewing needles , spearing each one and twisting it out of its spiral shell , discarding the brown translucent trap-door . quite a fiddly business .

soon we had a pile of these unprepossesing brown coiled creatures on a plate . we ate them the traditional way with vinegar , black pepper and freshly-baked brown bread . they were splendid . not such a rich flavour as mussels , but the same fresh tang of ocean .

murray and mike were not convinced of their edibility . ross experienced something of a conversion , particularly when a liberal dash of tabasco was added .

later on mike set up his telescope behind the house and pointed it towards saturn and jupiter . the sight made a profound impression upon me . somehow i had not expected saturn to look so perfectly like its popular image , a large sphere hemmed with flat slanted rings . and there it was before my eyes . i believe i cried out in surprise and joy . two equatorial bands were visible on jupiter , along with four of its moons . all this at one hundred and sixty-nine times magnification .

stars remain dots of light when viewed through a telescope . few things surpass the beauty of the moon when magnified , but it is an augmentation of what can be seen with the naked eye . at a stroke these planets were transformed from tiny points of colour into neighbours whose form , characteristics and satellites could clearly be perceived . at that moment my sense of the solar system latered . images seen on the page or the screen , however detailed , can never affect us the same way as direct experience .

a day or two later i picked a variety of seaweed i had not previously eaten , one which grows in fan-like clumps of short brownish / black stems . i have not seen it on many of the island’s beaches , but i discovered it in profusion on a little rocky cove between perkillier and browarth point . i chopped it coarsely and steamed it for five minutes , which made it turn a shade greener . with a dash of balsamic vinegar it was delicious . a chewy texture and a strong flavour . no idea what it’s called . this was the first time nik’s been subjected to my seaweed fetish and i was delighted when he responded positively . no turning back now … we’re off harvesting on sunday !

this week finally saw the start of my project to get a photograph and a sound recording of everyone on the island . i’ve been planning it since my arrival but it’s been agony deciding how to do it and what questions i should ask . with typical helpfulness the recharger for my minidisc chose now of all times to pack up . christine hicks has saved the project by loaning me a compatible device from her cd player .

work continues for the digital workshop and the sse . plans are beginning to coalesce for the year ahead . but that’s another story .

a few photos of the winkle adventure at

and some photos i took in december in an amazing derelict church in islington ( i’ve temporarily stuck these on the sse server as i’ve run out of space on my own – hope that’s ok james ! )

: cH