A Sense of Place

An inspiring week in Plymouth attending the Balance Unbalance 2017 conference. A trans-disciplinary exploration of A Sense of Place across art, technology, science, ecology, social conscience, and imagined futures.

I presented a research paper discussing the experience of presence, exhibited the Orbit Series at Ocean Studios, Royal Willian Yard (continues until Sun Sept 10th) and screened RCA Fulldome Research Group films in the i-Dat.org Immersive Vision Theatre.

Conference highlights included a group excursion to the Eden Project, the exquisite smell of frangipani (a smell of summer), and inspiring conversations with new networks of like-minded artists, researchers and designers. A welcome break from my summer of rigorous academic writing.


image of a cow parsley flower
The umbel is a most pleasing blossom structure. Described as a flower consisting of many stalks which emanate from a single point rather like umbrella ribs. From the humble cow parsley (pictured above) to the delightful elderflower, the Hertfordshire hedgerows are currently awash with umbels. Floating cloud like on long stalks, creamy white in a sea of green. Beautiful.

Spring Clean

Spring greens for spring cleaning
I have found myself with a strong desire for spring cleaning this week, I love when this feeling arrives, it means the winter is truly over. So in the last week of glorious sunshine I have washed all my winter woollies, overhauled and tidied my loft studio (its warm enough to go up there again) and started juicing and eating foraged greens from my garden. My world is cleansed inside and out. Very pleasing.

10 Signs of Spring

Evidence of Spring - magnolia in bloom and Michaela French's compost pile
A list of evidence suggesting that spring is truly and finally in the air in Hertfordshire, I feel much cause for celebration:

1. The magnolia tree across the road is in full bloom
2. I have dug the compost pile and spread its bounty over our vegetable beds
3. The plum tree is blooming after a somewhat brutal winter pruning.
4. The daffodils are everywhere.
5. Our peony has bravely shot up two new, very bold shoots.
6. Our pond is alive is with the annual frog breeding extravaganza.
7. My hair and fingernails are growing fast.
8. I wore shorts and a singlet in the garden all day on Friday.
9. The sun is shinning and the air is warm(ish).
10. It is 6.15pm and it is still broad daylight outside.



At last it seems the spring might really be here. We have our first iris blooming and the sun is shining warmly, we even ate our lunch in the garden this afternoon. To me it feels like it has been a long long winter and this brightness is surely welcome. It feels like its time to get a haircut, start planting and begin being a sociable creature once more. Here’s to a beautiful season.

Snowy Wonderland



I love the snow, it is beautiful, exciting and endlessly surprising. Today it fell nearly all day leaving our little town covered in soft snowy drifts. So much trouble is reported in the news but I am enjoying the beauty of it, rather like the icing on the cake.  We get to have it all.


What a perfect Sunday it has been, friends came for lunch, we roasted vegetables, stuffed pumpkins, and slow cooked leeks with cream and seeded mustard. For dessert I baked yet another upside-down cake with pears from our tree. Delightful. After lunch there was sewing and a garden tour in the autumn sunshine. I am looking forward to another busy week of lecturing.