Tuesday, 2 June 2020


Fishing Huts ring fence and appear to defiantly hold their ground

With lockdown virtual travel being all the rage I have been revisiting some of the material Trevor and I have created in www.curiouscoast.co.uk

Of late our time in on the Kent Coast, between Romney Marsh and Hythe, resulted in some great photography and drawings, which I now revisit and ponder.

The end of that jaunt was Hythe, which once an important Cinque Port Hythe and bustling harbour until the sea decided to take it away and silt up the harbour. Hythe was the home of the Mackeson Brewery until it closed in 1968. The first Mackeson Stout was brewed in 1909.

West Parade is the road parallel to the sea front and at its eastern end becomes Fisherman’s beach. Home to still a few fishing boats and the excellent fishmonger Griggs.

A bit further and the fisherman huts and paraphernalia are strewn across the beach.
Their lines and ropes, buckets and what have you providing local colour against the shingle.

The huts ring fence and appear to defiantly hold back the development of houses and flats behind.

The property company proclaims  
Contemporary Beach-front Apartments, Houses & Villas - Life On The Water’s Edge  
…Luxury two-bedroom ground floor apartment, the creation of Kentish Project Ltd having been designed by award winning architect Guy Hollaway. Set on the jaw dropping site at Fisherman's Beach this is a rare opportunity to live within a stone's throw away from the beach…. literally!”
Help To Buy Available - Help To Buy Price: £239,995

However fishing is very much alive and has move along the beach, Reports Fishing News 
“Beach fishermen of Hastings (the largest land-based fleet in the UK) keep very active. The Stade, where they fish from, is popular with tourists, and their annual food festival gives them an opportunity to promote themselves.”

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Meet my new friend, the BiC Biro

Draw with a biro? Me? I should think so (not)!

Meet my new friend, the Bic Medium Black.

When Linnette my tutor suggested we draw with a biro the other week I was horrified. 

The ballpoint is my least favourite writing instrument. 
I gave it a go the other evening when trying to work out a composition.

In these days of new habits I confess to a complete turnaround.

Its cheap, 

does not need sharpening, 
always works, 
and you can leave the cap off 
and it never goes blunt! 

Thank you Linnette!!

Thursday, 28 May 2020


More tree talk.
Many gardens at this time feature the ‘golden rain’ of the laburnum tree, which around here has only just ended it shower of colour.
It is actually a native of area that stretches from France to the Balkans. The tree’s wood has been a favourite with cabinetmakers and those creating musical instruments: recorders and the bagpipes. 

As I made this drawing of the laburnum tree in our garden it was alive with the huge sound of bees busy about their business.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020


Cock Marsh again available for lovely walks

Redding's Orchard

Cookham is a celebrated village on the River Thames. It is notable as the home of the artist Stanley Spencer. 

Three miles north of Maidenhead, on the county boundary with Buckinghamshire on the Thames north bank.

 The highest part of Cookham is Cookham Dean, and a separate village and is served by two pubs, Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Jolly Farmer. 

It is lovely spot at this time of year. 

Some years ago friends of ours, with local neighbours banded together and bought Redding’s Orchard that sits in the centre of the village. The group all now tend to forty different varieties of apple trees!

Dropping down to the Thames there are several prehistoric burial mounds on Cock Marsh, which were excavated in the 19th century. The largest stone axe ever found in Britain was one of 10,000 that have been dug up in nearby Furze Platt. 

The National Trust now manages Cock Marsh and with the easing of restrictions we can now begin again enjoy the lovely open countryside here, who’s chalk grasslands are home a huge community of plant species. 

Do consider if for a lovely, details are here  jaunt 

Monday, 25 May 2020


Left: Two construction workers at work on the Upper East Side

The six miles of goodness on the East side of Manhattan, which takes us from Houston Street all the way up to 126th Street in East Harlem. First Avenue is lovingly maintained by the NYCDOT

Its Upper East Side sections are becoming well known to me as they are so often featured in the work of photographer PJ Lehrer, and so the 1st av. features in my recent New York pieces.

The ‘heck lets’ build this’ decision was taken in 1811. Today it passes through a mixture of neighbourhoods, including the East Village, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Onwards and upwards, where it becomes quite wide in the 23rdStreet area and past the UN building. Keep going north and you’re in Spanish Harlem around 1st and 96th.

Yes, one road out of many in Manhattan, full of rich history, it snakes through cultures and communities, major medical centres and the seat of world government. 

And I discovered a couple of blocks away from where Professor Lehrer lives, on First and 77th was filmed the opening scene of Ghostbusters II.

‘Who you gonna call?’…

Friday, 22 May 2020


Certainly one of my favourite buildings, anywhere, Sian bought me a print of it when we were in New York one summer, years back.  My New York  correspondent Prof. P J Lehrer has taken several good shots of this iconic piece, one of which inspired this drawing!

The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story 285-foot tall steel-framed lovely. You can find it at 175 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District neighbourhood. It was created by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Dunkelberg and when completed in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in the city. 

The history of this triangular marvel is long and varied, features in films and TV (Murder she wrote) home to art shows (Edward Hopper) and its distinctive ‘cow catcher’* lower floor was used as a US Navy recruiting station in WW1.

There is a wealth of pictures and facts about the place here 10 Ten Secrets

*Not part of Burnham or Dinkelberg's design, but was added at the insistence of owner and developer Harry Black, in order to exploit the use of the building's lot and produce some retail income.

Flatiron Building  -  Typical Floor Plan

Tuesday, 19 May 2020


The Birch next door. Usefully in a sauna.

Many of us, in spite of the crisis, have been enjoying the weather, the trees, gardens, parks and land around us.  

The other week my painting tutor gave me an exercise. I was to paint some trees. I cast around for some subjects and found these four on my doorstep. Remarkably I had been walking past them each day for twenty-eight years and never really appreciated their beauty.

And each tree has a back-story.

Weeping Cherry. My thanks to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with their piece eight things you probably did not know about weeping cherry trees. These include 
Their blossoms change colours; many are dark pink when in bud, lighter pink when they first blossom, and then eventually pale pink or white. 
They make fruit. Though these trees were bred for flowers, not fruit, some do produce small cherries, which appear during the summer. They’re too sour for us to eat, but birds love them.
Next door but one.

Wisteria which is growing next door; this species is native to China, Korea, Japan, and the Eastern United States. The Wisteria has been widely used in Japan art throughout the centuries and was a popular symbol on family crests and heraldry. There is a popular dance in kabuki, the Fuji Musume or The Wisteria Maiden
Japanese Maple, acer palmatum has been cultivated in Japan for centuries, the first specimen of this tree reached Britain in 1820. Japanese horticulturalists have long developed cultivars from maples found in Japan and nearby Korea and China. They are a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts. 

The good old Birch tree; birch-tar or Russian oil extracted from birch bark is thermoplastic and waterproof; it was used as glue in making arrows. Fragrant twigs of birches are used in saunas to relax the muscles – enough of that!