Urban, Yet Rural

Autumn, nearly winter. Chilly mornings and early evenings with a hint of ice in the air.

Uncertain times persist. Life has returned to normal, and yet it hasn’t. The pandemic could return with a vengeance, catching many of us unaware.

I struggle with malaise to an extent. Once the Covid restrictions ended, a number of friends chose to leave London. I am still out of work, more than eighteen months on, and I have got used to spending substantial amounts of time indoors, although I stay busy with language studies and practising the piano. Plus, I arrange to see friends for coffee or via Video.

And take local walks, of course. London can be busy, dirty and noisy. Yet, the outskirts contain remains of country, such as the Ancient Forest of Middlesex.

Below I capture a hint of rural Muswell Hill, taken on a morning walk:

“Forest of Middlesex”

Till next time, and stay safe!

Perfect Spring Weather, And Lockdown

A month has passed since lockdown and times are both worrying and strange.

This week, I heard that the owner of Toffs, a well known fish and chip shop in Muswell Hill, north London, died from coronavirus, aged 62. I found the news devastating, as he regarded me as a local author and musician, and he was respected and loved by many in this part of north London and beyond.

We have great weather now.

I remain busy with piano practise, foreign language studies and creative writing, and I socialise via online video calls.

Of course, I miss the freedom to explore rural London in this near-perfect weather, but the risks associated with catching the virus are not worth it. In closing, I enclose a collage I took about a decade ago.

Stay safe.

Local Newspaper, Local Author Interview

Twelve months have passed and I’ve appeared in The Archer again, the local East Finchley and Muswell Hill newspaper.  You can find the original article here.

A teenager’s search

Muswell Hill crime writer Lawrence Estrey has published a second novel, this time delving into the dark and desperate
world of a teenage boy searching for the fatherwho abandoned him.

Last summer, Lawrence (pictured right) self-published his first book Secrets, an adult psychological thriller. The new novel, called EggHead, is targeted at a young adult audience. Lawrence said: “I completed EggHead in about nine months and found that my previous experience with my debut novel helped when it came to
structure and planning.

“However, I found  the writing process draining at times, particularly when it came to depicting the bleak and lonely coastal surroundings that make up some of the setting, and I would sometimes consider abandoning
the story.”

Again self-published, EggHead is available on Amazon and Lawrence is already planning to release another novel for young adults.


Meanwhile, my debut novel Secrets by Lawrence Estrey is available from Amazon in paperback and e-book. 

Check out the reviews for Secrets.

Newspaper article on author.

Local musician publishes crime thriller

EggHead by Lawrence Estrey: Questions And Answers

Improving Old Shots (Photoshop)

My latest batch of photographs got ruined due to poor lighting, extra slow shutter speed and resulting camera shake, so I thought I would continue experimenting with Photoshop and improving old shots. 

Photo One: Monken Hadley (Barnet), Photo Two: Muswell Hill, North London:


New To Photoshop

After months of using Photoshop Elements and GIMP, I finally have access to Photoshop.   It’s sort of complicated in some ways but familiar in others.   Below are some poorer shots I’ve taken over the years; I’ve used Photoshop to bring out of the atmosphere in each.   Locations, Queen’s Wood and Highgate Wood, Muswell Hill, & Alexandra Park.

The Novel, Secrets


A local musician has published his debut novel Secrets, a psychological thriller set in Lancashire. Lawrence Estrey, a classical pianist, grew up near the Pennines but is now based in Muswell Hill, North London.

“I really wanted to keep many of my childhood memories alive in the novel,” he says. “Even though I’ve lived in Devon and Wales since then, I’ve always had a nostalgic feel for places like Rochdale and Oldham and Bury. I wanted readers to experience this world through the novel. To meet the people and hear the accents and view the landmarks. ”

In Secrets, the central character, a web designer, has to leave London and return to his native Lancashire when his marriage collapses. However, as the title of the novel suggests, the character has a secret of his own and he is quickly forced to face his secret past when events in his home town spiral out of control. The novel is a mixture of psychological thriller and serious crime.

Lawrence trained in music at Dartington College of Arts in Totnes, Devon, and later came to London to take up a piano scholarship with local pianist and teacher Vera Yelverton. “The early days were amazing. One year, I ended up catching an overnight coach to Edinburgh to give a recital in the Fringe Festival, and that was during a heat wave. The same week, I performed another three concerts in and around London. I used to love the buzz of it all.

“I also used to write on and off, but often it would come and go in bursts. I only seriously got interested in creative writing about 2003, shortly after I moved to Muswell Hill from another part of London. Then I ended up at the local novelist group.”

Lawrence originally approached agents and publishers with a couple of proposals about three or four years ago, both of which attracted considerable interest, but he decided to go it alone, largely due to the recession and the huge difficulties new authors often encounter.

“It’s interesting…after Secrets, I wasn’t sure I could go through the lengthy process of writing another novel, yet I’m more than two thirds of the way through my next novel EggHead, a crime thriller about a boy at the ages of twelve and nineteen. The process is very similar. I expect I shall release EggHead early next year. Meanwhile, I’m concentrating on the piano and releasing recordings and short videos through the internet.” Lawrence Estrey’s debut Secrets is available from Amazon in paperback and in Kindle.