Fleecing the sheep

“Did you know” ask Craig and Gerard “that there are more than 60 breeds of sheep in the UK?”

We had the best of the weekend weather yesterday, without a doubt. The spawn and I winkled Jean from her work and went to the Alternative Village FĂȘte where, to celebrate all things ovine, we selected beautiful British yarn from the baskets available and Jean, SecondSpawn and I knitted a swatch to attach to the I Knit London sheep.

We were not alone. Large numbers of people leapt at the chance to do likewise, sitting in the sun, accompanied by various attractions ranging from Rediscovered Urban Rituals, the Bollywood Brass Band and (very surreal, this) a man who made a hat entirely out of cake icing (and plastic cups and sugar-coloured-sprinkly-things too, but they weren’t mentioned).

FirstSpawn is not a knitter but he kept us in stitches (sorry, couldn’t resist) with wisecracks about his “new” mobile phone. Due to an unfortunate incident over which I shall draw a discreet veil he is now reduced to using a, uh, vintage (more than ten years old!) handset – my very first mobile in fact. In a youth culture where only the very latest, most complex and most expensive will do his brick is going to stick out like, well, a brick. However he is putting a brave face on things.

“You know how small is good in mobile phone terms”, he says, “well *my* mobile phone has got the smallest screen I’ve ever seen”.

It was an accident

it was an accident

…the sun came out, just for a moment on this otherwise mostly flat-lit grey morning, giving a twist to the twist.

I am very lucky having the time to look as I walk each day. And at the moment I am unable to stop taking pictures. A function, I suppose, of having a small camera about my person rather than failing to cart round the weight of the big one.

knot a hole

It’s not a camera I would ever have chosen for myself but having ended up with it (another accident) I’m learning that what I think I want or don’t want isn’t necessarily the best guide to the best fun.


Metal and wood are what I saw on my walk today. Such a short distance, so many lines and curves, so much beauty.

broken hearted

The rest (what, there are more? oh yes, discrimination has never been my strong point) can be seen here.

Shit, where are my fingers?

shit, where are my fingers?

Well, sweety, you got frostbite taking pictures in Highgate cemetery on a very cold day and they fell off. Something similar nearly happened to Neha.

neha's nikon

Luckily her new DSLR is centrally heated so her extremities were saved. Amazing what technology can do nowadays isn’t it. The things they think of.*

I was fine because I was wearing my wrist-warmers. (More about the trip tomorrow later today, I hope.)

* See Stephen Fry’s review of compact cameras to find out some genuine ridiculous innovations in the optical field.

Another exciting use of flickr by a UK museum

First we had (or at least the first I knew about) Tate Britain setting up a flickr group alongside its exhibition How We Are which invited participation and gave prizes. Now we have the V&A Museum setting up a dedicated flickr group and encouraging virtual and offline interaction. Shiny!

Here are the terms of engagement:

Post your photos of the V&A Museum, its galleries, collections, events taking place within the V&A and photos of your visit.

We are happy for you to take photographs in the galleries, including flash photography, but photography is not permitted in special exhibitions or where an object’s label indicates a private loan. We cannot include images of these items in this group and they will be removed.

Including flash!! Good grief.

It’s more than just a gesture towards online social network development (although I’m sure its existence ticks all sorts of management objective boxes). The group page makes made good use of flickr group bling (displays of most interesting photos, stats etc) which give the group page eye- and brain- appeal, and it’s linking to (some) other London museum flickr groups only one of which appears also to be an “official” group set up by the organisation in question.

To encourage online activity the group has initiated monthly challenges. It’s interesting to see how the range and number of submissions has increased from the first in October on the theme of gardens to this month’s on the theme of light.

Even more interestingly on the group’s front page there’s a link to the museum’s upcoming Friday Late event on Crafting Couture. Those pages in turn encourage participants to share their photos on the flickr group with a prominently placed link. Firstly this changing specificity on the group front page indicates, together with the monthly challenges, that there’s going to be a continuity of care devoted by the organisation to the group. Secondly it’s an interesting and effective way to drive digital traffic to foot traffic and vice versa.

I found out about the group’s existence after a polite comment on one of my pictures tagged V&A suggested I might like to join. After I did so I got an equally polite message thanking me for doing so. Both are no doubt automated and part of an awareness-raising campaign but that in itself implies to me a good grasp of the technological side of things. The moderators’ entries and responses on the discussion boards are interesting and timely. It looks like there’s serious thought, resources and effort going into this project.

Yes. I like this. I like this very much. I shall watch with interest as it grows and develops.