Tag Archives: places of informal sociability

Dehli thought

Delhi – hot, colourful, polluted, noisy, crowded.  Wonderful in it own particular way.

The roads, traffic seething: cars, three-wheeled autos, pedal rickshaws, buses – some new(ish), some distinctly rickety. Taxis, swarms of bicycles, motorbikes, some seemingly transporting entire families.


And people, all ages – that’s ‘all’ ages – crossing the turbulent traffic sea as the mood or need takes them with what appears to be suicidal intent; though, eventually, I, too, acquire novice suicidal status, willing oncoming traffic to avoid me as I hazard to cross to the other side of the road.

IMG_2792 Continue reading


In the southeast at least, fading summer departs with grace cut across by wet and windy bluster.   Autumn beckons.   But the sun shone last week, and in that lingering warmth I found myself in Vauxhall Gardens, site of the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens between around 1650 – 1850.

The historical gardens offered pleasures  more extensive than those available today, but the past few years have seen the Gardens reclaim one aspect of their former glory: people are using them again, as a through route, as a place to linger.  Within the Gardens is Vauxhall City Farm, a stalwart which, if memory serves, dates from the early 1980s.  But this is simply background to my actual subject: Deckchairs. Continue reading

Grounds for concern: the peculiar status of school grounds

Places apart?

Key landholdings effectively divorced from their surroundings?

Sites of containment and control?

Not perhaps the conventional way to describe school grounds, but perhaps useful imagery to jolt us out of assumptions which, in the UK at least, seem so embedded and habitual that we cease to see what is before our eyes and within our daily experience.

I want to speak about school grounds – also called school playgrounds – and the way, in the UK at least, these landholdings are effectively sequestered sites, their backs turned to the local community and neighbourhood  their boundaries marked by fence, wall and bolted gate.  Although appearing on maps, our internalised local mental geographies effectively blank-out school grounds classifying them as prohibited or semi-prohibited places, achieving by ourselves what state-instructed cartographers achieve when they omit sensitive military sites from everyday maps: the erasure of place. Continue reading