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16th March 2020

Does anyone remember VSCO?

I just stumbled across some old pictures I published using an image editing app called VSCO in 2016. I forgot all about them - as you do! To think these were shot on a very poor quality phone at the time. I guess it's just one of many digital traces you leave lying around on the internet as you grow up. I'm sure my Myspace or Bebo account is still hanging around somewhere. Here's what I found:

05/06/2016 - Stopped midwalk to shoot this lego like construction in Shepherds Bush.

Another photo I took on my phone in 2016 using the image editing app VSCO. A proper blast from the past which I'd forgotten all about. This time it was my old Honda TL125s motorcycle which we rebuilt.

OTT editing! - But this is one of the best pictures I have of my old Honda TL125s in it's naked days. Stripped down to it's frame and rebuilt in my Grandad's garage. It wasn't the most reliable but I loved it.

15th December 2019

My Kangoo Maiden Voyage

A map view of the places I went to during my holiday along the english south coast

Over summer, I nipped into my savings and got a van. I was racking my brain to and through whether to get one. Are they good value? Is there an alternative to diesel? How often will I realistically use it? In the end, if its something I want to pursue maybe I should go with it. Pretty selfish, right?

The carbon impact is a dilemma. I don’t depend on using a car but when I do use it, it’s usually on my own and travelling further afield. So I’m going to pay some money into a carbon offsetting scheme. It’s not perfect but the least I can do whilst I own it. I looked into electric vans and I just don’t have that kind of money right now, what I have signed up to is an app called Bla Bla where you can invite others to car share with you and get some fuel money for it. Because I travel frequently between Bristol and Southampton (a popular route) it will help feel less wasteful.

Van

Fast forward a couple of months and my Kangoo is doing alright. I just got back from a second impromptu trip to Wales but I'll post about that another time. For now, I'll give a run down of her maiden voyage as I spent a week in September wandering the English south coast.

In all I clocked 548 miles (including a 20 mile bike ride). Rode 6 skateparks. Saw 1 seal and got 0 bike punctures. Happy days.

I've tried retracing my steps by creating this custom google map. Feel free to have a look over it in more detail. With the help of my diary, I was able to split out where I got to each day. Driving wise, I rather enjoyed it. The seat was super cushty. I could do with some more CD's though...

Beautiful morning to wake up to at Beachy Head. Super relaxed time and good nights sleep. Sad to find out it's a popular place for people to end their life...

Beautiful morning to wake up to at Beachy Head. Super relaxed time and good nights sleep. Had no idea how often people go to end their life there.

Seal

Car spotting in Arundel. This town had impeccable style! Mustangs, old land rovers and Morgans.

Car spotting in Arundel. This town had impeccable style! Mustangs, old land rovers and Morgans.

Noodles Noodles Noodles. What doesn't go with them?! I managed to save a lot of money on making breakfast and lunch out of the van. Also rather tasty.

Noodles Noodles Noodles. What doesn't go with them?! I managed to save a lot of money on making breakfast and lunch out of the van. Also rather tasty.

Hastings pier

Hastings pier

Street

I cycled a section of Stane Street, a roman road that ran from Chichester to London. It's where my family name: Stanistreet comes from. More about this in another post.

 

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DUN-JUH-NESS

7th October 2019

Saving Svanskär

Save Svanskar boat towed out of the water at Underfall Yard in Bristol

Following a sad break-up early this year, I found myself with all this new time to spare. I'm not one to complain about having free time but it doesn't necessarily make you more productive unfortunately. Keeping busy did help take my mind off things and now I'm more motivated than ever to travel and experience new things. One thing I had always been interested in but never pursued was volunteering. Not sure where or when but if i could lend some spare time helping others then I could see the value in that - I've always been passionate about working on things. Also I didn't fancy taking up the gym or paying for some other hobby just for the sake of it.

So I entertained the idea for a little while, looking at ads on Reed, talking to friends and having a general scout for anything of interest. The National Autistic Society needed a buddy for 1-2 evenings a week for a couple hours so I applied. Disappointingly I never heard anything back and reflecting on it now, I should have fished for a proper response. It would have been really useful and rewarding working with youngsters on the autistic spectrum.

At some point along the line, I installed an app called HelpfulPeeps. A free place to post any favours or offer help to others. There's some incredibly humbling things happening on it, where total strangers impart knowledge, advice or offer help where they can. It's all self regulated and you're encouraged to swap skills instead of money.

"Painters needed to restore our boat" the ad read or something along these lines. When you clicked through to read more, it gave an account of how Greg and Tash came to own Svanskär, an old Swedish fishing vessel which had fell into disrepair. They described how much of a challenge it is and will continue to be but wanted to give it a new lease of life. There was no sign up to be a volunteer, more "any help is welcome". So that Saturday, I nipped over to Underfall Yard - where Svanskär had been towed out of the water in order to work on it's hull. Ultimately to protect it and keep it water tight.

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Reusing some leftover wood, I created this A-frame sign for Greg and Tash to signpost their fundraising goal and encourage more people to get involved.

Since that first day, I've really enjoyed being part of something bigger. And whilst I have no clue about Boats, they've been really supportive and I've got to learn about knots, woodwork and Fenders (not the guitar). Everyone I've met has a wealth of different skills and ideas which brings so much to the experience. We also have a good laugh! There's no getting rid of me yet and I hope to continue helping them where and when I can.

If you want to know more or fancy getting involved, please send me a message or visit the links below.

For updates and a record of the work we've been doing, go here. If you're able to help us fundraise, you can donate here or help spread the word by sharing the same link.

 

23rd May 2019

Undercover Skatepark Project

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Portsmouth has an abundance of cafes, events and businesses that are popping up all over the place right now. With the help of the guys at Strong Island who showcase anything Pompey related, it’s become a real trendy place to live.

Luckily, my best friend is from Portsmouth and since university I’ve spent some time staying with his family over the years to see him. Before that, I would only come to Portsmouth either to ride Southsea skatepark or play as a kid at Pirate Petes and the surrounding arcades at Clarence Pier. Clarence Pier then had a huge dinosaur head that moved as you walked under it. It was part of the Jurassic 3001 ride and all its mystery. Disappointingly I never plucked up the courage to see what it was all about.

In the last couple of years, a group of dedicated skaters have been campaigning to build an all weather skatepark. Whilst Southsea skatepark does wonders for the local community and has done for over 40 years, it has no roof which is tricky what with the British weather. With this in mind, the folks at Undercover Skatepark Project aim to repurpose land underneath the M275 flyover which is currently wasteland. The location is perfect.

Just think:

  • No noise complaints
  • Good for local business in an otherwise deprived area
  • Usable all year round
  • Easy to get to
  • Cheap because it’s not an indoor facility
  • Cheaper to maintain

I guess the only downside is will Southsea skatepark survive...

Several similar projects have proved successful in cities like London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham and whilst there are indoor parks on the south coast, the closest is an hours drive away (on a good day).

In a bid to raise awareness and do some fundraising, the project recently held a competition to design your own skateboard. The theme was “Portsmouth” which you could interpret anyway you liked. The winning design would then be printed and sold to raise money for the campaign alongside auctioned artwork from top local artists.

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For my skateboard design, I chose to highlight a sign that read 'Wheel of Fortune' which sat next to Jurassic 3001 ride at Clarence pier as a nod to the nostalgic feeling I get when I think about Portsmouth. I've changed it to now say 'wheels of fortune' because skateboarding/bmx has gave me so much and continues to do so. And I feel grateful to be part of scene!

My entry was awarded as one of two runner ups and whilst my design won’t be printed on skateboards, they’ve decided to print T-shirt’s with it and sell them. I don’t think I they were expecting such a high turnout of entries! So watch this space.

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T-Shirt-Mockup-Template

21st August 2018

Folk art

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My Nan has had a fascination with canal boats in recent years, she absolutely loves them! If she had the chance or the money, I expect she’d be quite happy living on one. Anytime we catch up we can’t help talking about Great Canal Journeys on channel 4 and the places they’ve been along with any mishaps. So when it came to thinking about what present I should get her for her 70th birthday this year, I thought it would be fitting to create a piece of traditional canal art to celebrate her life. Originally I wanted to commission a traditional sign writer to create something special and see the craft in all it’s glory. But following little planning, I found myself with a week to go until her birthday with little to no signwriting experience.

I had high hopes, a few ideas and little know how but I coughed up for everything on next day delivery just to be sure I had everything. Using my iPad I created an initial design to consider colour choices. At the end of the day I wanted to limit my colour palette and only buy the essentials for a good quality finish. I first decided on the medium - a metal watering can which is commonplace on most canal boats and perfect for my Nan who also enjoys gardening. In that case I needed enamel paint, paint thinner and a reasonably priced watering can. Ideally the can would be painted already to save myself a job and add depth to the art. I found a burgundy Molton Mill model for £20 which included next day delivery and got to work on the colours and design.

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Having shown an interest in sign painting whilst at university, I had a few books to hand for inspiration and adopting a lettering style. I then used Pinterest to source examples of canal boat art and techniques for painting flowers which proved really beneficial when it came to the day. Whilst painting the letters was really tricky as I had to do everything without guides,  I soon improved as time went on at how I controlled the brush and manipulated it’s weight with pressure.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, if I’m honest I didn’t expect it to turn out quite as well as it did. After making a whole load of mistakes, I was able to adapt the lettering style to suit what I felt at least looked right. Going on to add detail and a shadow to the lettering as well as add depth by placing flowers both in front and behind was a further delight. Thankfully she liked it too.

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