Monday 27 July 2015

The Fountain of Love

Cliveden House Buckinghamshire
The Fountain of Love: Cupid and Friends at Cliveden

Wedged in between to very wet days, last Saturday was warm and sunny. So we went to Cliveden.  I normally see this lovely Italianate mansion looking up from the River Thames. It always appears to hover above you.

A marvellous sculpture, The Fountain of Love, welcomes visitors at the end of a bright lime tree avenue running up to the house. It was created by an American, Thomas Waldo Story in Rome in 1897, having been commissioned by Lord Astor for this spot.  

The huge Carrara marble shell is the resting place for three life-size female figures attended by cupid.  Water appears to come spilling out from everywhere. It falls into the cool green pool in which I dangled my feet as I drew.

Friday 24 July 2015

Tarry a while in Tenby

Little town of the fishes - Tenby

Tenby in welsh is Dinbych-y-pysgod, meaning little town of the fishes or little fortress of the fish. 

This delightful walled seaside town in Pembrokeshire is on the western side of Carmarthen Bay. 

During the Wars of the Roses Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII of England, sheltered here before sailing into exile in 1471.

Ruth Livingstone, who is boldly walking along the coast of Britain, recently sheltered in of this wonderful part of Wales.  

As Ruth's  artist-in-residence I painted this modest celebration. 

Ruth’s exploits are at

Thursday 23 July 2015

Mastering Manorbier

Walking towards Manorbier 

Manorbier is a village on the south coast of Pembrokeshire, Wales. Graciously served by the West Wales (train) Line. 

The Norman knight Odo de Barri was granted the lands of Manorbier in gratitude for his military help in conquering Pembrokeshire after 1103.

Ruth Livingstone, who is walking the coast of Britain, recently made her conquest of this exciting part of Wales.  

As her artist-in-residence I painted this votive tribute.   Ruth’s exploits are at

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Making Bread

Made with Carr's Flour

Disenchanted with bread offered in the shops, in spite of the huge choice including Rye with Mongolian pumpkin seeds, I gave bread baking a go.

With a redoubtable Kenwood Chef, dough hook and some wonderful flour from Essex and ninety minutes of time one can create three handsome loaves that taste delightful.

Bravo for Carr’s Flour from Maldon in Essex!  Bravo for homemade bread.

Monday 20 July 2015

A trip down the Thames: Cookham to the Fat Duck at Bray

Eventually Skipper Derek and I left The Bounty at Bourne End.

Boulters Lock: Playground for the boaters

We continued to Cookham this was the point where the Roman army crossed The Thames, a campaign to regain the Roman city of Silchester in Hampshire. 

After Cookham Lock huge trees rise up on both sides of the river; steep banks of foliage that enclose the Thames at Cliveden Reach. We look high up on the Buckinghamshire bank to posh Cliveden House. It appears to hang in the air above the trees.

Only a little further and we are in Boulters Lock moments from Maidenhead Bridge. Boulters Lock was popular for boating parties in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was the place to visit on the Sunday after Royal Ascot. The wealthy and famous passed through the lock, often on their way to Cliveden.

Passing under Maidenhead Bridge and shortly after under a red brick wonder. A bridge designed by Kingdom Brunel to carry trains from the West into London. We were close Bray and our turning point. Past the houses of the rich and famous and the renown painter Rolf Harris we made our turn back upstream.

A lovely, lovely day.

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.