While I spend most of my free time seeking hills and seasides, I had an opportunity to wander around a small factory recently, and I took a camera along. 

I find workplaces fascinating (when they are not my own, of course), but I especially like workplaces full of function, with specialised tools and the specialist people who use them: this one was full of dials and graphs and other fantastically unfathomable equipment. I love a proper old-fashioned dial (one of the main reasons I am so in love with my mid-1990s car, which is switches and dials and levers all the way), none of that fancy electronic stuff, if you please.

I also quite like the fact that although the inside of a factory is probably about as far away as you can get from the floaty pastels I've been seeing in all the spring magazine issues recently, when I look at these photographs I can kind of see some similarities. It's all the clean, functional lines I think, matched up with the colours of the equipment: pastel blues and greens, white paper, occasional silvers, with hints of black and red. It reminded me of Jil Sander, or maybe Celine; but it also reminded me of a few (cheaper) bits and pieces I've been seeing around the internets lately.

1. Dorothy Perkins Light Blue Shift Dress
2. ASOS Bow Belt
3. Topshop Leather Purse
4. Zara Flower Brooch
5. Anthropologie Tie-neck Knitted Dress
6. Topshop Boucle Skirt
7. Zara Sequin Purse
8. A.P.C. Fancy Mariniere Tee



In the absence of sunshine, here we have shoeshine. I haven't had the need to shine shoes for a good long time, and I had rather forgotten all about it through my years of studenty throwaway canvas sandshoes, but recently I remembered.


There's something pleasing about polishing shoes, in the same way as there is with resoling them, or darning and mending, or even preserving fruit, which I'm sure sounds peculiar, but let me explain. 

It's a very calm and time-worn and predictable thing, shoe polishing: you need some polish (probably the same old stuff your grandfather used in the 1940s) and two brushes (one to put the polish on, and another to work the polish in and remove the extra). 
Belfast Built Ships Queries
When I buy second-hand or vintage shoes I often feel quite altruistic, almost like I'm whisking them away from a certain fate in a sad old pile at a waste disposal site, and I think polishing shoes and feeding the old leather makes me feel that I'm rescuing them twice over. With new shoes (like those in the photographs, which are from Topshop) I feel like I'm putting off the old-shoe pile for them for as long as possible. It's a preservation thing I think – just like with summer fruit saved up for the winter.


It's been a while...

... but I think the manic nature of the last two weeks is finally starting to slow. I've been doing some work that I don't usually get the opportunity to do (while doing the other work I usually do at the same time), and having a grand old time, but I'm glad to have enough time to get back into the internet loop again.

While I've been rushing around, lots of things have been changing without my noticing – all of a sudden my twitter is the wrong way round, Topshop are selling spring-like pink patent loafers, the evenings are starting to get noticeably lighter for longer, and although it's still exceptionally cold, winter seems to be retreating a little, if these photographs we took on a weekend walk a few days ago are anything to go by.