Decidedly Chilli On A Hot Summers Day – Richards Anorexia

Another morning where I woke Richard up early. Our day started at 2.30 am, oops and ha ha ha.

We went over to Vauxhall because there was meant to be a 24 hour Tesco where Richard could buy a “safe food”, it’s a Polish chocolate and coconut sweet. It wasn’t 24 hours!

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On the subject of his anorexia I’m feeling most impressed with him. He’s stuck with his meal plan to the letter, a bit late most days but he’s done it. How cool is that? The downside is that with carrying his laptop, camera and lenses his back is now in so much pain. He struggled yesterday and I felt guilt for not carrying his bag, even though he wouldn’t let me.

We went to the Chelsea Physic Garden, nice play but too many plants, trees and shrubs for my liking. I wanted to see more flowers, they have more insects.

Some lovely chilli peppers though. Bring on the heat.

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Another bloody Rhino near the Saatchi gallery. Feels like I’m on a damn Safari. Richard was happy though as he was able to fulfill his book addiction. There’s a Taschen bookshop outside of the Saatchi and he’s brought Salgado’s Genesis. I’ve never seen a book so large, I could fit into it a million times, so he’s asked the shop to post it to him. I’m so impressed with them.

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I forgot, on the way back to Sloane Square we discovered the National Army Museum. Had a drink with my buddies (any veteran or person serving in the forces is a pal).

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After Taschen Richard was in so much pain that we went to sit down near the theatre he was going in the evening, and we accidentally found Trafalgar Square. The most amazing thing was that despite so many, many people there’s also lots of space. The second best thing is how pretty the surrounding square and architecture is. Another effing Rhino. I say that but I like what Tusk are doing to raise awareness of, educate about and protect rhinos throughout Africa. Check them out here.

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Richard then went off to see Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre, it’s about the former refuge camp at Calais, the complex relationships between people of different races and nationalities, the abysmal living conditions and the refugees resilience and ability to create a community, the complete and disgusting failure of the United Nations, the EU, The French and British Governments, and the West’s racist and self centred failure to protect and provide. A bit too much for me, and I’d secretly planned to go to the pub with me mates from the Army Museum. I didn’t drink as much so I’m feeling good day. Flowers at Kew Gardens is on the agenda.

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Blood Test, Justice, Who Ate All The Pies

When Richard told his eating disorder team about our holiday he had to promise that he would have his usual blood test whilst here.

I can’t stand blood at all, so I had to wait outside of the hospital.

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Hospitals can take so long to see people so I went for a walk around Hampstead. It’s a lovely place and has a large parkland called Hampstead Heath, and there’s Hampstead village. I’m a bit to common for this boutique gentrified place. Found a nice sweet shop though.

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We were meeting family at the hospital, Richards cousins L and K, and once they had finished their appointment we went into London and had a look at some churches where family members had been baptised and married, going back 200 years. L is a family historian and is a treasure trove of knowledge.

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On the way to the churches (on the Strand and Fleet Street) we walked past the Aldwych Courts of Justice.

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Now this is where I come into my own. The legal system in the UK is a tripartite system.

  • Those that make the law
  • Those that uphold the law
  • Those who try the law.

This translates as government, which creates legislation, the police who detect crime and bring charges against those suspected of breaking the law, and the court system tries the law, through hearings or trials.

The courts system has magistrates court, crown court, county court, high court, court of appeal and supreme court. It seems complicated but it’s just a hierarchical system. The courts of justice hold the high court and appeal court, both of which are used to either appeal a decision made by a lower court or to examine more complex aspects relating to the meaning and implementation of legislation.

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What a mouth explaining the law is, but not as much as a mouthful as the pies.

Time for me to trapes behind Richard in the flower gardens, so love to you all and I’ll be back tomorrow.

How Can A Rest Day Include 12k Walking?

Richard is effing crazy.

Finding himself a little exhausted from our adventures he decided that Sunday would be a rest day, with the plan being to sit in Starbucks and play his stupid computer game.

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Wonderful in theory, and to be fair he spent 2 hours doing so, and then decided to walk around Hyde Park and the Serpentine lake, via Marble Arch.

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Marble Arch with the golden arches over my left shoulder. I’m loving it. The rhino is part of a series of installations by Tusk to “Raise public awareness of the plight of the rhino, our conservation work and to raise vital public funds to support our projects.”

That’s my seriousness over, although I had to be for the last paragraph, important stuff.

Onwards to Hyde Park and some exercise. Would you really? In public? I would but there’s no way that Richard will join in.

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Some pretty good birds on the Serpentine, but my favourites were flying around all over the place. London has a whole load of ring-necked parakeets. They started off with a small flock, probably in the 1950’s or 69’s, but nobody knows for sure. They’re all over London now and have started to travel further a field. I didn’t get my photo taken with them.

Different adventures await today, I’ll post about it tomorrow. Whatever you do today remember that action man loves ya all.

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The King And Queen

I’ll start at the end and work backwards this time. Richard took me to see the King Kane that is. Harry Kane was the golden boot winner at the world cup. Wembley is huge, so many people that I’m glad I was in the rucksack until I got to my seat. King Kane scored and Tottenham Hotspur beat Fulham 3 – 1. The best goal came from a Kieran Trippier free kick (he was England’s best player in the world cup).

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My time in the Army meant I was serving Queen and country. Which is crap. We were serving the American government because of our “special relationship”. Anyhow, keep calm and blog on.

Buckingham Palace is whers my Queen  lives. She didn’t come out and wave to me. I serve her and she can’t even be bothered to give me a wave. Better luck next time hey? Bless her, she’s a dear. Gotta love the Queen.

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Richard has never been keen on the Royal Family, although William and Kate, Harry and Meghan have definitely changed his outlook. The younger generation have a much better attitude and acceptance, and he likes that.

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Before Buckingham Palace was At James’ park. Lovely bit of tranquility with some flowers and birds. Green, ring necked parrots. Richard got a photo of a couple of them, but as I don’t fly as yet then I’m not in those.

I’ll sign off with yesterday’s update with a few photos. We’re having a rest today, we may sit in Hyde Park for a bit.

Richard wants to try and catch up with your posts. He’s struggling with this as we’re so busy. He says sorry for not doing so.

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Wonderful And Exhausting

Richard and I met Jonathan yesterday, who is also a Foundations in Photography student (Open College of the Arts).

The Tate Modern currently has an exhibition called Shape of Light, something to do with mixing art and photography. If you ask me if say photography is art but art isn’t photography.

I left them to it and had a nosey around. I can’t understand this analysis of photos though. If you like a picture you like it, if you don’t like it then you don’t like it. End of! It doesn’t matter why. I’m thinking Richard is joining the rank of pretentious with this analysis. Anyway, here is a photo I like.

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Am I a poser or what?

Richard enjoyed his tine with Jonathon, and has gained some knowledge about using a speed light. He says his opinion on black and white photography by attending exhibitions and listening to Jonathan and Sarah’s views, and being able to see the texture, depth and tone on a physical photo.

Aftet the gallery it was time for a quick coffee (no beer today), and then off to the shard. It’s beautiful to look at, amazing architecture and there is so much glass. London is a city of glass and reflections. Why do people name buildings though? Why? What’s that about? Maybe my intelligence isn’t as wonderful as I think it is.

Was the view worth the £25 entrance fee? My opinion is most definitely yes. It’s a one-off experience. You wouldn’t want to go there every day, but the 360 degree views of London are awesome.

IMG_20180818_053144.jpgTower Bridge and HMS Belfast (and me)

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Despite being tired and needing to rest, Richard decided to hunt down his favourite shop, Hobbycraft. So we got an over-ground to Charlton, just so that he could get some plastic cutter things for his aircraft kit, then over-ground from Charlton to Greenwich, Docklands Light Railway to Stratford and finally the tube to Wanstead. I was exhausted by this point.

As for all of the travel I have to say “big respect to Transport For London”.

I Woke The Old Man Up Early

After drinking lots of water yesterday and sleeping during the day, I didn’t need much sleep last night. I woke Richard up at 4.30 and headed straight to the city, via St Paul’s Cathedral.

IMG_20180817_060930.jpg(I’m back to being the star today.)

From St Paul’s it’s just a short walk to the millennium bridge, which provided me with the opportunity for a few more poses. Richard hates being photographed but I love it.

IMG_20180817_093225.jpg(Millennium Bridge, River Thames, Tate Modern)

IMG_20180817_092256.jpg(River Thames, The Shard, a glimpse of Tower Bridge.)

Sometimes life just walks you into wonderful opportunities and experiences, and this morning has been serendipitous.

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As well as the dancer being photographed, a newly married couple were having their wedding photos made before the chaos of the daily grind.

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After a quick visit to Starbucks (I’m sticking to water), we meandered slowly to the Shard via Borough Market. I found it to be more appealing than the Old Spitalfields Market yesterday.

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The Shard viewing platform doesn’t open until ten, but Richard is meeting his friend Jonathan (going to Tate Modern) who also studies photography with the Open College of the Arts. We’ll go to the viewing platform afterwards and then Richard wants to go to Hobby Craft.

Where’s Wally???

It’s been a mixed day for me, partly because of my hangover and partly because Richard only took two photos of me.

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To be honest I slept through this morning. Richard met his friend Sarah from Foundations in Photography, and they went to the Barbican to see an exhibition:- Dorothea Lange – Politics of Seeing. I slept in his rucksack. However, Richard and Sarah had a wonderful time, and not only did he enjoy Sarah’s company, he felt he learned a lot from how she viewed some of the images. Think he will blog about it, but I can’t say when though.

It was mid-afternoon when they left the gallery, and Richard and I went for a walk and saw the famous Boris Bike’s. I used to like the guy, now I know he’s a Wally. Couldn’t spot him though.

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This morning on the way to the Barbican Richard messed up a bit. He wanted to go to Spitalfields Market. He had no idea about there being an old and new market. He got off the bus at the New Spitalfields Market which is in the middle of nowhere. He had a quick look around before getting an Uber to the Barbican. What a fruit loop.

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We took a walk to the Old Spitalfields Market via Liverpool Street (first photo of me at the top of the page) this afternoon. Modernisation can be a bit of a let down at times, and sadly this was one of those. Although he did make one average photo. Maybe earlier in the day would have been more lively?

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After the disappointment we took a walk down Brick Lane, and oh my god what a bright, vibrant, colourful, energetic and multicultural place. Love love love Brick Lane. This is the Britain I love. Britain is made up of people at the end of the day, and Brick Lane is people, people, people. Unfortunately Richard didn’t take any photos there, he was flagging a bit by then, so we stopped at Starbucks, (I’ve stuck to the water today) and then got the tube back. I’m having a rest now.

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Richard and I are both loving London. Let’s see how he feels in three weeks time. I’m aware he can be impulsive, and he’s already having thoughts about moving here. I’ll get him to pause and chat things through with N and K, he listens to them. They can help him think things through and make a decision, either way, with consideration, time and reflection, rather than acting upon impulse

Off to sleep now. Good night.

I’m Still Partying

Oh my god. After Richard went to the meeting yesterday I had a walk around in search of quality clubs.

Jager bombs are amazing aren’t they. They loosened my lips and got me talking with a group of guys, and we hit the town.

Somebody, and I can’t remember who, gave me this silver vial, and I think he said it was nitrous oxide, or was it helium? Jesus, high as a kite, my legs are so wobbly, so I’m having a break before I take the next one.

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I have to be on my best behaviour today. Richards meeting one of his peers from foundations in photography. Think I’ll just hide in the rucksack and sleep.

And This Is Why I’m A Soldier Not A Sailor

What a fab day Richard and I have had. We started off at Stratford and paid a quick visit to the Olympic Park.

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Being six years late meant there was no running, no swimming and something called West Ham United are now squatting at the Olympic Stadium. Bit ironic really, West Ham, in East London and no pigs around???

We then hopped on a bus and had a walk along the Thames to the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Navy College and the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Must admit I stopped on the way for something to drink. Richard had flavoured water (raspberry and cranberry) water flavoured with hops.

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Now the Cutty Sark is a wonderfully preserved Tea Clipper that was once owned by the Dutch East India Company. As well as bringing tea from China to the UK it imported wool from Australia, as well as importing and exporting all kinds of wonderful goods. History is wonderful and the boat is amazing. But…

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A bilge pump. A boat that sails on water, around the world, and needs a damned pump to keep water out. That’s a risk I’m not prepared to take, and that’s why I didn’t join the Navy.

The  Old Royal Naval College is absolutely stunning. The architecture is drop dead gorgeous, but greatly improved by my presence.

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A pro photographer introduced himself to Richard at this point, he liked Richards creative approach to travel photography by tagging me along. Well I’m the star and Richard gets the glory, is this fair?

After Richard carried me up the steep hill to the observatory, I needed a rest.

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Maybe it’s the fresh air, or maybe I’ve become lazy since Richard has insisted on giving me piggy-backs. I just had to lay down and have a nap.

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Apparently I slept on something called the Greenwich meridian. It’s supposedly 0 degrees longitude, which means that east is one side, west is the other. My head was in the east, my feet in the west, so where on earth was my chest? Greenwich mean time is also important in relation to time. If your to the west your said to be so many hours behind GMT, and to the east your ahead of GMT and clocks are set worldwide according to this. Really? Somebody has come out here with some rolled metal, stuck it in the ground and made this up. Bring back quantum physics and special relativity I say.

Anyhow, Richard’s been brave enough to head off to an eating disorders self-help group. R E S P E C T. His first actual day of his holiday, going to his first ABA meeting.

I’m still off to get drunk though.

 

My Heart Is Racing – I Need To Run

Two coffee’s and it’s only 11am.

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I have no idea why Richard is buying me coffee. I don’t drink it, ever! Perhaps he’s trying to fill my belly to keep me off of the beer. I’m a bit of a party animal, it’s second nature for a soldier.

The drinking got worse once I left the forces. My mental health was bad, and I wasn’t sure how to cope with daily living without regimented routine and a string of blokes who had each others backs.

Since I started getting help from SSAFA, who are an armed forces charity, life has started to turn around. I’ve got so many transferable skills from my military career and I’m starting to see how I can use them.

It helps having a mate like Richard. He’s a bit of a dick sometimes, and he does go on about curving the excesses and finding balance, but he’s a good, caring bloke and I love his sense of humour.

He doesn’t understand what it’s like to serve, to be on the front line, but I’ve learned that he doesn’t need to. He listens, he lets me talk my shit out, and he never tells me what to do. Priceless.

Anyhow enough of this gushy, soppy shit, time to finish my coffee, then fuck him, I’m on holiday and I’m gonna get so pissed he has to carry me home.

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