March Miscellany

By now I was beginning to get back to normal and wondered if an icon would help my site and here it is just 512 pixels square.  It is one of a short series of images I took of a Peregrine Falcon that was being displayed at Capel Manor.  I was trying out a telephoto lens. hence the black background.

The 12th we went to see Carmen at the Royal Opera House and what a disappointment.  I was expecting, colour, passion, warmth, exuberance.  It was all grey, black and white and Carmen appeared in a grey gorilla suit!  It was dreary and we were glad to leave at the interval even though the tickets had cost an arm and a leg.

Dugdale Foyer


A March success story was the project to expose the original floor of the theatre Foyer  in the Dugdale Centre.  Paul Everitt had asked if I could suggest a quick way to remove adhesive residues left when the carpet tiles were lifted.  Fortunately I was able to help using Chela’s product Eraze HD and the beautiful metal tiles were brought back to life.  What a difference!  The whole area was opened up, looks lighter, modern, edgy.  A museum shop selling goods made in Enfield will soon be installed.

Victorian Anthony



We went to a wonderful exhibition of Victorian photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.  The photos were contact printed onto sensitised paper from glass negatives.  There is a short video showing how this was done.  I can be but filled with admiration at the technical as well as artistic skills of those who produced such beautiful, evocative images.  This is a fun picture of me posing behind a pop-up Victorian photo frame.  I am doing my best to look full of deep and wonderful thoughts.



China Town


We had lunch in a Malaysian Café, C&R, in Rupert Court and it was lovely.  I had the Singapore Laska featured in the review (link above) and it was delicious.  I like chrysanthemum tea and had a mug of it.

Visiting China town is always fun  and I was able to buy a tub of Pu-Er tea


though Valerie steered me away from the delicious Dorian fruit; they have a stimulating fragrance and heavenly taste!  I had been searching for this tea and is most delicious, even though it is probably made by the modern accelerated fermentation process.  The traditional method has the tea fermenting in a cave for 10 or 12 years.  Now that I have the taste I must seek out a traditional product.



Valerie wanted to check that the headstone of her great aunt Fanny Darville, née Danvers, was OK.  Last time we visited it had fallen over.  Valerie jumped up and down on it after we had re-set it.  We found it upright and solid, no movement, which was good and Valerie planted a primrose which looked very pretty against the grey and lichen tombstone.  The Danvers’s line goes back to the Regicide John Danvers who was one of the signatories of Charles I death warrant.  Fortunately John died before Charles’s II thugs tracked him down.  His co-signatories suffered horrible deaths.  The grave is in St Nicholas Church, Great Kimble and the cemetery is  lovely.

Grave Yard

Work was being done to renovate various paths as you can see.  The yews are just magnificent and the bench and swing next to the large yew in the background above, made great pictures.









Yew Tree and Bench








Finally a walk up Bush Hill and along the Victorian path and down to Enfield Town Park, (please excuse the paucity of information on the linked website.  Best I could find).  The long narrow and steep final stretch of the path meets a little iron bridge over the New River where we fed the ducks and coots and magpies.  We enjoy this.

New River Loop 2



Holocaust Memorial Day, Dugdale Theatre, Enfield

This year, Enfield poets were asked to read poems  at the Holocaust Memorial Day  taking place in Enfield and I wrote the Haiku above for this occasion and it was translated into Hebrew by Poet Nurit Kahana.  In the feature image above you can see us in the front row. From the right; Christine Vial, me and Valerie Darville who was sitting next to Gerald Granston who spoke about his experience escaping from Germany on the SS St Louis.

HMD Programme 2018-3


It was an extraordinarily moving event that were very proud to have taken part in. The theatre was full and there was a mix of ages and backgrounds of both  those taking an active part and those in the audience.  As well as the moving account by Gerald Granston of his experiences on the SS St Louis and how he eventually came to England, there was a film of Appolinaire Kageruka  speaking of his harrowing experiences during the Genocide in Rwanda demonstrating that genocide is still happening all these years later.


I was made to think of the awfulness and horror of the Holocaust with friends, neighbours, work colleagues denouncing Jews to the Nazis; how could this happen?  I was born during the war and remember post war newsreels of the death camps but I needed to be reminded of this now. How can we keep the memories alive so that they are still real, visceral, long after any survivors of those dreadful times are no longer with us?  The Memorial Days are designed, in part, to achieve this and I hope they succeed.

Hlcaust Memorial Day_Enf_011


There was music from he Wolfson Hillel Primary school choir who sang, in Hebrew, songs full of passion and feeling.




Hlcaust Memorial Day_Enf_102



Cllr. Doug Taylor who initiated Enfield’s first Holocaust Memorial Day talking to Gerald Granston and Rabbi Emanuel Levy.




HMD 25th Jan 2018




Enfield Poet Christine Vial


Hlcaust Memorial Day_Enf_029






Enfield Poet Anthony Fisher





The poems can be seen here.

Images courtesy of the London Borough of Enfield


9th Floor – Royal Free Hospital


The 4th of February was a dramatic day for us.  Thanks to Valerie’s clear thinking and action, it started with an appointment with a duty doctor who sent me to Barnet A&E and then the Royal Free Hospital.  The experience prompted a short poem.

9th Floor night time
On arrival, the ambulance personnel pointed out the night time view

and  these are the evening and daytime views.

So here is the poem:

Ninth Floor

For me, the fourth of February
began at the duty doctor
and ended, via Barnet A&E,
on the ninth floor of the Royal Free;
the ambulance crew pointed out
the magnificent view over London.
A massive infection kept me there for six nights.

That first night I felt oddly secure
even though I was without
my instruments of support;
spectacles, hearing aids, watch
wallet with cash and cards,
my phone off as the battery was low.

I thought of how Valerie had come back
to see me leave in the ambulance,
glad that she was now safe at home.
Shrouded in a yellow-grey miasma of nausea,
time for me was distorted-
Valerie came each afternoon
and the children on separate days.

Elwyn witnessed my examination
and claimed that my right testicle
was the size of a grapefruit
though goose egg was more likely.

My daughter brought me home,
sent a laconic text to her brothers
“Grapefruit back in fruit bowl.”

© Anthony Fisher March 2108

View from the fruit bowl.


The All Saint’s Session


Last night Valerie and I went to a wonderful performance of music and poetry at All Saint’s Church, Edmonton.  Produced by Cheryl Moskowitz and Alastair Gavin, it was exceptional in quality and the senses it stimulated.  When the lights went down the set, lit by candles (I counted 33) and simple spot lights, appeared as a painting and I would have been happy just looking at it imagining music and words as if I were in an art gallery. The cello played a few notes and then came Alastair’s electric piano.  Aprés Un Rève is a beautiful piece and the performance was delightful.

I had left my camera at home so my trusty iPhone was pressed into use.

Ian Burdge




Ian Burdge







Alastair behind music





Alastair Gavin hidden behind his music and key board.






Mario Petrucci  and Cheryl Moskowitz then read, both are evocative and thoughtful, good poets who perform well.  Two excellent readings.

After the interval Mario read his translations of Sufi poems with Cheryl sounding very sinister.  Alastair managed to conjure the desert and altered state of consciousness in a most extraordinary fashion and the music composed by him and Ian complimented and underpinned the poems in a sensitive and  mystical way.






Performing For The LOVE of GOD.






The church is an unusually beautiful and gentle venue for performance and, to complete the enjoyment, there was incense hanging in the air.

All Saints Programme164




Here is the rather crumpled programme.  The next performance is on Thursday 19th April at All Saint’s Church.  For details email:


Tosca and London Lumiere

I was 75 last week and Valerie took me to see Tosca at the Royal Opera House for her birthday present to me; it was my first visit to this most magnificent building and theatre.  We went first to Leicester Square to see the London Lumiére installation.  There were several across London with different themes and this one was flora and fauna depicted in a most beautiful way.  It was a lovely beginning to a special evening.  Here are some of the photographs that I took.


As the lights had only just been switched on so the Square was not too crowded.  It still had the buzz of London that always gives me such a thrill.

Lumiere Fox

The fox was magnificent.

Lumiere Hare

as was the hare…

and the Falcons

The butterflies were on a carousel but, as usual, I did not think to video them.

Lumiere Butterflies 1

Lumiere Butterflies 2

We then walked up Long Acre towards Covent Garden.  There used to be a great shop here, the 80s I think, called Flic Flac that sold vintage clothes where I bought a Palm Beach Seersucker Jacket  that I was immensely proud of.  It was ideal for travelling and hot weather and England too.  The link shows one with trousers but I had just the jacket.

The Royal Opera House – the link is to a site with more detail – is a glorious building, somewhat marred by building works but still fabulous.  We were early and had sandwiches and tea in the Champagne bar which has magnificent cast iron pillars and huge mirrors reflecting the room.  It was a treat just sitting, looking.


We were a bit surprised at how “dressed down” people were.  I felt positively overdressed in my black silk roll neck top,  black corduroy jacket and Mephisto shoes; my poet’s garb.  I wasn’t expecting white silk scarves and top hats but perhaps Thursday is dress-down day.

Toscais one of my favourite Puccini operas, lots of horn and brass, melodramatic, passionate, evil and everyone dies.  Here is a YouTube link to Pavarotti singing one of the Arias.

We had great seats in the back row of the Grand Tier where the screen for the English subtitles was only just above our eye level which made it easy to read without distraction.  I had a friend in chorus at the ENO at the Coliseum and she would get me free tickets which was wonderful, she retired so they are no more.  The operas are sung in English at the ENO (English National Opera) but the music and singing soar in the original Italian, true Bel Cantowhich cannot be achieved in English.

I have used the image of the luxurious safety curtain embroided in Gold in the feature image above but I like it so here it is again.  Every seat was filled by the time the performance began.


The sets were elaborate, sumptuous, Continue reading “Tosca and London Lumiere”

Random Thoughts on Photos

The photograph in the featured image above was taken, a couple of days ago, from a functional steel and concrete bridge over Cuffley Brook.  I like to stop and look and sometimes take a picture as the brook and its banks change so much.  Even this time with the limited telephoto my camera had, it can look a different place.

Whitewebbs from Bridge cropped

OK I changed the colour a bit using Photoshop but not much.  It looks like a magic pool where warlocks go to commune with the Naiads of the water which flows from Hertfordshire to Turkey Brook and then the Lee.



Standing by the lake which is up the hill through the woods,  Whitewebbs Pond cropped I noticed the thin branches hanging down  and thought that this would make an interesting picture.  It must be about 45 years I have been visiting this spot and not noticed this perspective before.  Although the fringe of branches is slight it is like looking out into a different world.


Yesterday we visited Tate Britain to see the exhibition “Impressionists in London”.  Walking from Plimlico Tube Station some trees looked fabulous against clouds and buildings.

Walking to Tate Britain





Here the image is a memory of a good day and London unusually quiet.  I like the different textures and colours, the tracery of the trees and the simple colours and lines of the buildings, the pedestrians wandering by.





Valerie then treated me to lunch at Fortnum and Mason.  It was one of the best restaurant meals I have had for a long time.  A raw mackerel starter followed by fish pie and a mixed leaf salad.

Lunch at Fortnum's

The photo will always remind me of the lovely lunch with her.

After eating we went to the first floor to buy some opulent crackers, half price in the sale, and then get some anchovy relish which is other-worldly in flavour.

Here it is on toasted rye bread.

Lunch at Fortnum's

AND THEY HAD RUN OUT, WHAT A DISASTER!  Ah well it means another visit.


Poetry in Enfield from Henry VIII to Enfield Poets – part one, Henry VIII

Poetry fills Enfield’s air, seeps out of the ground so it is no wonder so many poets are associated with this North London Borough.  The first for me is:Henry-VIII1



Henry VIII who liked to hunt in the vast forest that was the Royal Chase.









His palace, Elsynge was located in, what are now, the grounds of Forty Hall.





[6533] Elsyng

Each year the Enfield Archaeological Society excavate the ruins but have to refill them as the masonry is of such poor quality and would deteriorate if left exposed to the atmosphere:  though current thinking is that Elsynge was every bit as grand as Hampton Court.  It was certainly his favourite palace and was probably more of a family home.  His children Edward and Elizabeth spent a lot of time there and it is where they were told of their father’s death and that Edward was to be king. It is thought that much of the planning of the Reformation was carried out here.  Nearby Waltham Abbey was the last monastery to be dissolved as the abbot was a friend of Henry.

Elsgyne site from House



Looking down towards the site of Elsynge Palace from the second floor of Forty Hall.





In Henry’s time less than 10% of the population were literate.  It was important for the monarch to be perceived as cultured as well as having physical prowess and power,  It was the time of courtly love and romance and Henry writing poetry was in keeping with the times.  Not a great poet by any means but he spent time on it and I feel that a relaxed atmosphere at Elsynge and the hunting encouraged this creative side of the monarch.  He often used his poetry as a political tool, reminding all that he was King and that his will should prevail.

When researching for this blog I was very pleased to discover a book edited by Peter C Herman “Reading Monarchs Writing” which has a series of essays and examples of the poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I and James VI/I. Apart from Mary Stuart all had lived in Enfield at one time or another.  I emailed Peter Herman who gave me permission to quote from his book and here is one of Henry’s poems.  It is very political.  Though it begins in a defensive apologetic mood, it ends with an overt statement of Royal power.

Though some say that youth rules me,
I trust in age to tarry.
God and my right, and my duty,
From them shall  I never vary,
Though some say that youth rules me.

I pray you all that aged be
How well did you your youth carry?
I think some worse of each degree.
Therein a wager lay dare I,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Pastimes of youth some time among–
None can say but necessary.
I hurt no man, I do no wrong,
I love true where I did marry,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Then soon discuss that hence we must.
Pray we to God and Saint Mary
That all amend, and here an end.

Thus says the King, the eighth Harry,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Finally a poem that sums Henry up I feel.  It is rather long so I give just the first stanza.

The Kings Ballad

Pastime with good company
I love and shall until I die.
Grudge who likes, but none deny;
So God be pleased, thus live will I,
      For my pastance:
Hunt, sing, and dance.



Lebanese Cedar in Enfield – the first in Europe

Dr Robert Uvedale planted the first Lebanese Cedar in Europe In the grounds of Enfield Palace, roughly where Pearson’s the department store now is,  somewhere between 1662 and 1670.

This is a woodcut showing the tree growing at the back of the palace in, perhaps, the late 19th century.

Enfield Manor House (palace)

Image courtesy of the Enfield Local History library

In 1920 Enfield council demolished the Palace and cut down the tree.  Lloyd George was prime Minister but I suspect it was a Conservative Council who perpetrated this deed.  Luckily he planted a second one on the grounds of Forty Hall and this is still there.

Forty Hall Feature 2

Unfortunately a large branch fell off a few years ago and the bowl in the feature image above was turned from this by a local craftsman.

To mark the spot a Silver Birch has been planted approximately where the tree grew, alongside a granite stele giving details.

Enfield site of cedar edit

It is a pioneer tree, that is to say it is one of the first to occupy land.  It spread across Britain after the last ice age so it is a native of our island which was, in those times, still connected to continental Europe.   I think it an interesting metaphor that the Silver Birch has been chosen the represent a tree as exotic as the Lebanese Cedar which did not arrive on our shores until the late 17th century.

Amelita Galli and Shop Windows

The quality of acoustically recorded, shellac records is often quite remarkable.  Electric microphones were not introduced until 1925 and before then the soloist had to perform into a horn which carried sound to a transducer that converted it to vibrations that were then cut into a wax disc – see link for more detail.

Here is a link to a YouTube video showing the post recording disk-making  process.  They are using microphones to make the recording and the master disc is made of different material but the plating process and stamping is the same as it always has been.  It is about 5 minutes long.

What was achieved by the early record producers and artists was remarkable.  Originally sound was stamped onto just one side of the disk and these can have quite splendid graphics pressed into the back.  They are also heavier, most satisfying to handle.

Back of one sided 78

From time to time I have bought old 78s and have a small collection in boxes that I need to get  out of the junk room and go through them as I have the postcards. It will remind me of why I bought them.

Rootling around in my video files I came across one I made of playing a recording of Amelita Galli ; I had quite forgotten it.  Here are a couple of images I have of her,

She has a beautiful voice.

As it is boring to watch a disk playing I thought to add a slide show of photos of shop windows – there is one exception but it is taken through glass.  These fascinate me with their colour, designs, sometimes flamboyant sometimes plain and, of course, often with interesting reflections, even of me!  I have been trying to think of a poem but so far one has not come to me so, as I wanted to use the photos, I used them in the short video below which I hope that you will play and enjoy.

Memories in photos and postcards

I like the featured image above, the shapes and colours its weirdness. It is also a memory of a wonderful weekend Valerie and I spent in Berlin.  We went down into a subterranean shopping mall and the complexity of what I was seeing struck me and cried out “photograph me”.  That night we were serenaded at our dinner table under the moon and stars by a guitar and violin; the next day it was curry wurst and chips in a converted railway dining car.

The image may be around in a hundred years and someone may like it but will not be aware of what it means to me.

Looking through my collection of postcards over the last couple of days,  I was reminded of why, from time-to-time, I buy them ; I like those from between 1900 and 1920.  They are often beautiful images, sometimes  smaltzy, cheeky and carry memories in the messages on the back.  I preferred used cards as it is a link to people in the past.  How they were produced is also interesting and I hope to write about this in the near future.

Market Place


This is of the market in Enfield Town.  The post date is 1908. As the split back for both message and address did not come into effect in 1904 it may be the photo was taken between these dates.


Market Place back


The message on the back apologises for not coming that day as the writer had had an accident with their horse and would  C. Boosey bring them round on Monday -I think.


Enfield Market Nov 2017


Yesterday I took a photo of the market from about the same place.  The church is dwarfed by trees, the pine on the left is only half way up the tower on the postcard.  The cast-iron bollards are replacements though in the same place.  Pub, and the central structure are still there but mostly hidden by cars and fast food outlets.

St Mary photo back

The cards above  are of St. Mary Magdalene at the top of Windmill Hill.  The sails were taken off the windmill in 1901 and it was demolished in 1904 so the photo and the painting show the scene between these dates.  I feel the painting may be taken from the photograph.  The photo graph was posted to Hants. saying this is our church; can’t read the rest.  Here is a photo of the same scene, taken yesterday, from about the same spot yesterday.

St Mary Magdelene Nov 2017

Not a rural scene now with a farm horse but farms still form 22% of Enfield’s area though 51% is built on.  I suppose the tiled tower is a reference to the windmill though it was a smock windmill which refers to its shape I imagine.

Our French house is in St Maixent L’Ecole where the Porte Chalon is one of the notable buildings.  It is a triumphal arch built in the late 18th century.  Last month we found a postcard of the view from the road.

Porte Chalon road side


It is so busy, covered with fly posters and the writer has continued the message on the front a hangover from the time the back could only be used for an address. this changed in 1904.  the card is of about this time I think.


Porte Chalon road side back

It is impossible for me to understand much of the messages on French postcards but I enjoy just looking at the script. Some are so beautiful.  Mougon is a nearby town and was posted to someone in the same town.  Telephones were rare then.


Porte Chalon from road photo


Here is a photo taken from about the same spot.  see how clean and shiny it is.  The right hand side is now the tourist office.



Porte Chalon from Rue Chalon

And here is the view from Rue Chalon, the other side.  The yellow is hand tinting.  The clothes look about 1910 or just before.  It was much busier then,



Porte Chalon from Rue Chalon Photo




as you can see from a photo from, again, the same spot.  Behind me in Rue Chalon there are sometimes 20 empty shops in a street of about 300 metres.  There is a good food market and street market on Saturdays and it is much busier then.





I just remembered an Audio Visual I made a while ago which has a bit on St Maixent l’Ecole at the end. An early one for me but it was fun making it.


Hope you liked it.