Tuesday, 16 July 2019


A reredos that rises up and embraces one.

Nothing can quite prepare one for the impact on entering this wonderful church.  In front of you the reredos shimmers and the whole place feels as if it is hovering off its Mayfair plot.

After Catholic emancipation in 1829, when the position of Catholics in England became easier, a plan was conceived on a bold and imaginative scale for a permanent Jesuit church in London. 

Jenkins describes The Church of Immaculate Conception as ‘Gothic Revival at its most sumptuous, not an inch of wall surface is without decoration, the climax is reredos of gilded stone by A.W.N. Pugin. 

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was the English architect, designer, artist, and critic, on of the leaders the Gothic Revival style of architecture. 

More about Farm Street here https://farmstreet.org.uk

Sunday, 14 July 2019


The fields of wheat were looking beautiful waving in the wind - other sea.


The other Saturday I was pleased to be driven round the fields and small woodland areas by retired farmer John Seabrook.  This was a real treat and the weather was glorious! 

John was one of my father’s greatest friends. Dad would often drive over to John’s farm and working alongside each other, they would tend to and nurture these woodlands, put up as havens for wild life. Trees were planted and undergrowth was brought under control. This was early conservation work by two enthusiasts!

Tollesbury, on the Essex coast, has been farmed to grow crops for thousands of years. 
The dominant crop is wheat for bread, animal feed and biscuits. 

We toured the land in John’s old Mitsubishi pick-up, the fields of wheat were looking beautiful and waving in the wind - other sea, and like the sea just yards behind us. The winter barley was about to turn pale gold.

I came back with a haul of pictures and have started to use them as the basis for paintings.

This land and sea is described with guides, walks and information here

Friday, 12 July 2019



The garden and allotment continues to yield great things, thanks to Sian’s industry. We have harvested the first courgette an there are pots of chillies on fruit all over the garden, except for the pot I accidentally steps on when deadheading some roses. Ooops.

And you can put these two things together in Katie Gillingham’s
Spiced Courgette Soup Recipe.

Katie says this is easy to make and freezes well especially in empty plastic milk containers (clever recycling tip). It sounds delicious, served with a sprinkling of Lemon Pepper and crusty bread

HERE WE GO… (Serves 4)
25g/1oz butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
350g/12oz sliced courgettes
140g/5oz potato sliced, old or new
425ml/¾ pint chicken or vegetable stock
300ml/½ pint milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Method for Spiced Courgette Soup:

Melt butter in pan, add onions and garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes
Add cumin and coriander, stirring for a few minutes.
Add courgettes, potato, stock and milk. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15mins or until soft.
Leave to cool, then liquidise until preferred consistency


Dawnie Cheeks commented on Katie’s receipe:
‘Delicious! Really simple but really tasty. Made a huge batch and will freeze some.
What a great site. Wish I’d found it last year rather than throwing loads of stuff away that I didn’t know what to do with. Thanks.’

Tuesday, 9 July 2019


It is good to be working with Fallon's Angler magazine again. 
This set of pictures was commissioned to illustrate a story by Christopher Lewis II about pike fishing in County Meath circa 1980.
Captions for these three pieces are taken from Christopher's text.


'The summer holidays are glorious , three months of tomfoolery in the outlander of rural Ireland'
'How long did you fight it it for?
Five to 10 minutes maybe more'
'There is a small stretch where the canal....'

Saturday, 6 July 2019


Avro Vulcan
In July of last year, 2018, I visited Hendon Air Museum. Somewhere I must have put down and misplaced my Moleskine. My chums and I searched in vain so did the team at the museum, to no avail.

Imagine my amazement and delight when I received this email a few weeks back:
Hi Tim

It’s taken me a while to trace you but I believe that my 10-year-old son has found one of your sketchbooks on a trip to the RAF museum in London. The book contains sketches of Margate, Oxford, a t-Rex, trumpets and drums as well as a few sketches from the museum. Could this be yours? The only problem is that Toby was so inspired by the sketches of aircraft and service men that he’s added some of his sketches on the blank pages. 

Please let me know if this is yours and we will see if we can reunite you with it!

Long range British Bomber
Kind regards, Lucy

In due course with exchange of addresses and such the Moleskine arrived back home, with the precious addition of Toby’s five drawings.  (Subsequently I reciprocated with a cache of colouring pencils and a copy of the Observer’s Book of Aircraft. 

Lucy’s footnote is the only way one could finish this chapter, for the story will continue in some way, shape or form.

He has been very excited to share his news with his class at school and looks forward to seeing his sketches on-line. You’re very kind to do that as it’s really boosted his self-confidence. From our point of view, it has also given Toby an insight into morality and how the decisions you make affects other people because as explained previously he felt very protective of your little sketch book and took great care of it and was so pleased to find you. So sincerely, thank you for making a little fuss of him and reinforcing that notion. 

B17 Flying Fortress

F22 Raptor
WW1 Battle Ground 

Friday, 5 July 2019



Another City of London church, All Hallows By The Tower, is wedged in between nasty office blocks and a stream of traffic passing Tower Hill. Once you could stroll down from the church to the Thames’ edge, however now glass and concrete impedes the view.

In 1941 a German bomber reduced the church to rubble. By 1951 plans were underway to rebuild it.  Job done, although the exterior is in dull Gothic, likewise the Nave. 

However, spend time here; we did, for two hours. Treasures are dotted about the place and are yours to savour. Ships hanging from the ceilings and other monuments point to the church's  maritime and trading connections. Across the street is the Merchant Seamen’s War Memorial. 

Treats include
Elizabethan memorial to an Italian trader North wall
Canopied altar tomb just up a bit from the memorial
Flemish altarpiece 1500
Font cover by Grindling Gibbons (now at the back of the church, but do seek it out!

 Many riches actually stored in the church’s crypt, and undershaft.  This is collection of alcoves that display prizes from Roman and Saxon times right up to the last century.
You actually enter this area across a tessellated Roman floor! And further down and in there is a chapel built of the stone from a Crusader Castle!

Do go!


Wednesday, 3 July 2019


Don't miss this wonderful show of frocks and fancies at the V&A. The Dior exhibition runs until mid September and is worth every penny. Extensive beyond one's imagining. His work and all though that worked with him and in the House of Dior.  So much colour, style and fabric in one place.

The website proclaims sold out however I think they do release some tickets from time to time.