Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Edgelands south of Dublin

Each and everyday my place of work
Over the last two months I have been working in Sandyford, eight miles south of Dublin city centre.

A major part of Sandyford is composed of the Sandyford Industrial Estate (opened 1977)

Apart from a Londis the area has no shops. Apart from one Italian restaurant and two hotels to serve transients comme moi,  there is little else. 

These journeys to Sandyford coincided with my discovery of the Edgelands phenomena: 
The walk back to the hotel 
‘Edgelands’ are those spaces where the veneer of civilisation peels away. They are the debatable spaces where city and countryside fray into each other; those most despised and ignored of landscapes that are part of our common experience’ - Martin Stott writing in The Journal of William Morris Studies. Winter 2011.

Sandyford is exciting and desolate after 6pm. Soon, after several fifteen-minutes-each-way-walks to the office one becomes attracted and attached to this  despondency.  

A drawing etched by  hail stones in my notebook 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Diary of a Church Mouse A wonderful Betjeman Poem

With all this churching (visiting churches) of late I re-read the anthology of John Betjeman's church poems. A favourite is Diary of a Church Mouse which evokes much of what I have enjoyed of late, in the nooks and crannies of many a church. It inspired this drawing in pen and ink.

 . . . .Here where the Vicar never looks

Diary of a Church Mouse
Here where the Vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival.
I climb the eagle's brazen head
To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair
And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan minds
Come into church my food to share
Who have no proper business there.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
And prosperous mice from fields away
Come in to hear the organ play,
And under cover of its notes
Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
While I, who starve the whole year through,
Must share my food with rodents who
Except at this time of the year
Not once inside the church appear.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

On the way to Up Marden - West Sussex

On the way to Up Marden,
Along a narrow lane,
Rosie and I pull over,
It’s just begun to rain.

We see a sweep of landscape,
Fall down to grazing sheep.

Barely a leaf on most trees,
Fields ploughed ready to sow,
in hedgerows on the high ridge,
The blackthorn starts to show.

I make a simple sketch, 
A memory to keep.

Puppy and I move on,
Along this lovely lane,
An appointment at St Michael,

Up Marden in the rain.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Big dreams in the Town of Leapers

Site of dreams

Nearly the weekend.

Every evening this week I return to room 529 and look down on the construction of a €250m project in Leopardstown; office blocks, retail bits and nearly 300 apartments.

Leopardstown in Irish, Baile na Lobhar, meaning Town of the Lepers is a district located at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. Rents are high and prospects are higher, companies scrabbling over themselves to be here.

Leopardstown is a conurbation southeast of Dublin city. It is split by the M50 motorway the sound of whose cars are permanent. A few paces away is Sandyford. Sandyford’s industrial estate burst upon the world in 1977 and is now home to much vacant office buildings.

There is much activity, so little time, hope and emptiness.

Lowlands Churches West Sussex Gems


Nestling in the downland folds,
Built by Saxons or Normans afor 1066,
French builders came to Sussex with their fancy style.

Plain inside Didling and Up Marden,
Nave and Chapel barely separated,
Congregation and Priest are as one.

Cared for now the woodwork glistens,
Rosie the puppy tilts her head to listen,
For a beetle or a mouse,

Who also live in God’s good house.