I sort of disappeared. Went underground. It wasn’t intentional.
Everyone has all sorts of relationships with & ideas about social media; the pressures of sharing, the negative health effects, how it can absorb us & cause us to only want to share the best or perhaps alter ego of ourselves. Those feelings and points are all 100% valid. I’m not going to tell you I needed a break, or time away. I’m not going to tell you that I went ‘unplugged’ for my mental health because that wouldn’t be true. I mostly feel very much on the outside of the social media club. I don’t feel the pressures to post or share regularly or with rhyme & reason. I come and go when and as I feel, and for a while… I just wasn’t here. But I assure you, I’ve been happy, really happy. And just because I haven’t been documenting them here, doesn’t mean I haven’t been off meandering about the island… because I’ve racked up more British isles miles this summer than I think I have in about ten years.
I’ll let you know gently in advance – I’m not about to open an intriguing philosophical discussion or share a whimsical work of fiction. Here are some postcards from the last few months… the quiet months where I vanished, the months that weren’t in fact quiet at all.
S C O T L A N D
This month, I did something I was very proud of. I drove to from Cornwall to Scotland. It took me 12 hours & two naps. But I did it. I was booked for a shoot in the Highlands but I stopped off in Edinburgh for a second shoot there, and to do some rounds because it’s my favourite city and all that.
The Highlands were incredible. I remember driving along the Lochs & seeing these vast mountains appear around me. I felt like they’d be really fun to run up and roly poly down, but in reality that would hurt alot and probably isn’t a good idea. I wanted to stop off every five minutes to take a picture, but the funny thing is when you’re at a place to do a job that involves taking pictures… you don’t take any for yourself.
I really hope to come to the Highlands again some time – maybe camp. Maybe explore further North-West and see the Hebrides, the Isle of Skye & the Storr.
I went to a few places I hadn’t been to the other times I was in Edinburgh… I’ve also never been there in the summer before so that was fun. The temperature was perfect, never too hot & it amazed me how even at midnight, it still didn’t get properly dark. I remember strolling down the steep georgian street, mesmerised that the hour was twelve and the sky was still that of a lofty summers evening, not quite fully night. It was charming & puzzling but I loved it immensely.
My favourite memories were the midnight sky, but also sitting in the rather luxurious freestanding bath at the air B&B, chatting for hours until the water got cold and our fingers got wrinkly. I also loved the ice-cream banana bread toast, bought for me at Mary’s Milk Bar, hiking up the side of a mountain with Esther & Dean to get ‘the shot’ & trying on silly hats in the vintage store. The Milkman was a great coffee store, found on Cockburn street (Casually renamed Genital Friction street by my adventure companion) & we ate like very greedy kings. The pizza place, Civerinos opposite the Tron was incredible. They didn’t lie when they said ‘Big Ole Box of Chips’. I mean, I can put many people to shame with the amount of chips or crisps I can consume in one sitting but my lordy, I genuinely went away and had a dream where I was pregnant with a potato.
The botanical gardens were also extremely enjoyable, especially the Greenhouses (because, you know, hipster in denial here) & I confess, that by day three, I began to find my own accent very peculiar & a little too posh for comfort. My inner voice had begun to adopt a Scottish lilt that I couldn’t quite for the life of me convince to come out of my mouth and when I confessed this to Jonathan, he admitted to having the same issue. We settled for referring to Chips forever as ‘Chups’ and leaving it at that.
[nb: my inner voice’s accent is has resumed it’s generic English style now, except in the presence of West Country people or after having watched Poldark]
L O N D O N L I F E
Let’s face it. I’m in Cornwall every other week for shoots & I seize every opportunity I can do to my favourite summer things. I’ve been in Jubilee Lido twice so far, once was on my birthday and it was the best birthday I can remember. I spent it with amazing people, messing about in the outdoor pool with giant inflatable fruit & foam swords and wound down the evening by eating the best deserts in my favourite bar/restaurant in PZ. I’m failing a bit at London life. Having said that, yesterday, Josiah (one of my best friends and the culprit who talked me into moving here) treated me to Burgers in Brixton at a place where they give you a tray of gravy to dip your burgs in… I was in food heaven.
It’s hard when you get into a work routine, sometimes my entire London life exists on Herne Hill because I work at the Lido, I swim at the Lido for fun and then I go to the markets opposite or the park which is behind the Lido. Plus I live on this road & the friends that I’ve made live here too. It’s a real effort to convince myself to leave Brixton when everything I could possibly need is here. Having said that, I have made some memories… running through the fountains by tower bridge & lazing in a deckchair at a fake tiki bar on the thames… whizzing so high up on chair swings, laughing with my friends feeling like I was flying & various gigs around the city. I have one month left here to make the most out of this cool place but I’d be lying to you if I said I was leaving with a heavy heart. I’m content to get back to the ocean, to the smells of the countryside & (yes) seaweed & cow poo.
I’ve really enjoyed all these tall buildings & conveniences & endless awesome things to do but I’m happiest when I’m sat by the sea with the breeze in my hair listening to the sounds of the sea gulls. I’m not sad here & I’ll dearly miss the friends I’ve made here, but it was just a chapter & I knew it would be a short one.
This boy spends so much money on Polaroid Film, I can’t even. However, I’ve really enjoyed spending time with another photographer. It’s really encouraged me to take photos for myself again, that aren’t for work or even for a blog post. Just photos, just because.
In this instance… photos because I needed to express my deep love affair with this light & these waves. I couldn’t stop.
So life right now?
I’m currently just finishing up Northern Lights, ready to move onto the Subtle Knife. I’ve been listening to Arcade Fire addictively & the novelty has officially worn off long train journeys. I’m figuring out my return to Cornwall in September & doing my best to get enough photography work for next year that I wont need to take a second job to make sure I can pay the bills. I move about the country so much I have developed a weird sense of displacement, where I feel quite disconnected from everything around me & the concept of travelling sort of goes over my head. Other than that, I’m feeling pretty happy with life. Sometimes it really confuses me & I worry about what direction I’m going in, or whether I’m going to make a misstep but then I remember my personal philosophy; that you can plan all you like but things can change very quickly, so I do my best to not get too attached to them.
I feel like this year has truly been the adventure that sleepy past Sarah needed. I began to forget myself for a moment. I must try and take some photographs of London before I leave… something to remember this place by other than the extra half a stone hanging around my hips from all the delicious food.