Thursday 31 January 2019


In January its adolescence is all too apparent,
To be enjoyed.
Without the encumbrance of a leaf,
Is this summertime for trees when they can be themselves?
The floor of any wood becomes beach
Last year’s leaves are stones and sand.

Tuesday 29 January 2019


Although this statue is generally known as Eros, it was created as an image of his brother, Anteros. 

The sculptor Alfred Gilbert had already sculpted a statue of Anteros and when commissioned for the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, chose to reproduce the same subject, who, as "The God of Selfless Love" was deemed to aptly represent the philanthropic 7th Earl of Shaftesbury suitably, doer of great works in this area of London. 1893.

When I drew this sketch picture Anteros was in the shade, and beneath him were several tourists remonstrating in Italian.

* Anteros was the god of requited love, literally ‘love returned’ or ‘counter-love’ and also the punisher of those who scorn love and the advances of others.  The writer acknowledges Wikipedia as the source for this information and readily contributes to this vital organisation.

Sunday 27 January 2019


The National Gallery in dear Trafalgar Square a rallying place for tourists and buskers. Inside there is a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

We see here the third site to house the National Gallery. What we see is a building by William Wilkins, completed in 1839. 

Only the fa├žade onto Trafalgar Square remains essentially untouched from this time of its being built. It ran out of space ands led to the establishment of the Tate Gallery for British art in 1897.

It was quiet at the time of my standing here. 

However each year 6* million people visit the National Gallery.

*2017 Report: Over 6.2 million visitors came to the Gallery in the past year, with more than 9.7 million visits to our digital channels, up from 9.4 million last year. 

Friday 18 January 2019


Tollesbury  -  Prentice Hall Lane 


Fields crossed and quartered by sparrow hawks,
Hares on patrol,
Partridges, gaggle and scurry at the margins of these wide fields.

Wednesday 16 January 2019


Tollesbury  -  Prentice Hall Lane 


Sown in Autumn,
on heavy soil.

By the year’s turn when days are bleak and short,
The wheat is small 
but showing vivid green.

Sunday 13 January 2019

Tollesbury Low Water

Tollesbury Low Water  31 x 44 cm   Acrylic on Paper 

Let the reader look attentively at the outline of this slighted county on the map. He will see in the first place how beautifully the coast-line is broken up by tidal rivers and estuaries, by creeks and islands’.

Reginald A. Becket in his book Romantic Essex 1907

Friday 11 January 2019

Loch Stack and Arkle

Loch Stack   90 x 60 cm   Acrylic on Paper

Loch Stack 

A large freshwater loch in the Sutherland in the far north west of Scotland. It lies approximately 4 mi southeast of Laxford Bridge and is surrounded by mountains. Ben Stack rises steeply from the loch's south-western shore and Arkle lies directly to the north.

Fishing on Loch Stack is from a drifting boat only, with a ghillie being a mandatory requirement. The charge for a boat for two people on Loch Stack is £ 50 per day, a very modest sum for a good chance of migratory fish in magnificent surroundings.

The loch enjoys large areas of submerged rocks and skerries which all harbour the Salmon and Trout as do the burn mouths. These submerged areas extend around the edge of the loch as well as some unexpected shoals of productive shallow water in the middle. The ghillie will guide the boat over these known lies safely and consistently no matter what the wind direction. Sea Trout tend to be more mobile but will still tend to congregate in certain areas, which the ghillies know.

Great fishing is to be had in Arkle's reflection, magnificent mountain a shattered, curving ridge of quartzite. It  will take a good seven hours to ascend in Summer.  The mountain gave its name to Arkle was an Irish thoroughbred racehorse owned the late Duchess of Westminster who’s estate nestles against this ridge.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Lovely things to do with Amazon Wrap

The Christmas Rose 

All is pale, 
elegant long stems almost translucent
With bright green leaves outspread.

Anemone-like flowers that keep coming 
Long after the 12thnight and well into Epiphany.
Buds keep coming and stalks gangling, 
like awkward adolescent limbs.

Sunday 6 January 2019


It a lovely sunny day in the season of Advent,
I was churching again with Rosie the puppy with the added bonus of 
Cousin Wendy, who knows the county too well.

Yarntonvillage, where my cousin lived for sometime,
St Bartholomew’s Church, 
Norman, Early English yet stamped ‘Jacobean’,
Monuments both extravagant and foppish are installed in the side chapel.
Light floods into this generous church.

Local worthies collected bits and pieces from Europe
And brought them all back here and installing them in Yarnton.
This collection from the continent included a reredos of alabaster panels, and stained glass from Flanders and France.
A church showered with treasures from those with means and taste.

Its spire, known as ‘Old Lady’s Needle’ can be enjoyed from a great distance.
Inside and out this big church glowed in the December light.
We got into conversation with the Rector who pointed out that the chancel ‘weep’ to the right.
Meaning everything is not quite square or lined up from nave to chancel.

Misericords from the 13thC, the carvers art again bathed in sunlight.
The east window of 14thC glass cobbled together from other windows in the church by the Victorians and re-done in 1951 – now quite magnificent!

First find this place, little more than a tiny chapel, 
Nestled in a farm that overlooks the River Evenlode, Another splendid Oxfordshire river.
What the steep step as you enter!

Inside it was remarkably cold however there was much on which to feast.
Simple 12thC with chancel added 100 years later.
Box pews and two-decker Georgian pulpit.
The walls are adorned with precious fragments of wall paintings including a saint teaching a child to read, a Last Judgment and Jonah and his whale. 
It must have been a dazzling interior.

Friday 4 January 2019


My artistic idol John Piper (1903-1992) discovered west wales in the 1930s through his wife Myfanwy. They bought a traditional Welsh cottage on Garn Fawr, near Tresinwen, Pembrokeshire. Here Piper made countless prints and paintings inspired by the surrounding scenery.

We discovered the on the way back from a south wales jaunt: SMYRNA INDEPENDENT CHAPEL was built in 1834 and then rebuilt in 1865 and 1883. The chapel was enlarged in 1915 to the design of architect John Howard Morgan of Carmarthen. This gem standing by a roadside, square, sometime brooding, in dark weather, always proud, like the people of Wales.

Grateful thanks to the brilliant online catalogue of archaeology, buildings, industrial and maritime heritage in Wales.

Wednesday 2 January 2019


More welsh wonders 

My artistic idol John Piper (1903-1992) discovered west wales in the 1930s through his wife Myfanwy. They bought a traditional Welsh cottage on Garn Fawr, near Tresinwen, Pembrokeshire. Here Piper made countless prints and paintings inspired by the surrounding scenery.

ST CLEARS CAPEL MAIR WELSH INDEPENDENT CHAPEL was originally built in 1820, but later rebuilt in 1827 and 1862, the latter to the design of Rev. Thomas Thomas of Landorore, Swansea. It was refurbished in 1913. The chapel is in the sub-Classical style, gable fronted, with two storeys. The whole building is stuccoed, with four bays to the sides, arch-headed windows with slate sills on corbels, and topped by a slate roof. We pass this blessed place each time we go to wales.

Grateful thanks to  the brilliant online catalogue of archaeology, buildings, industrial and maritime heritage in Wales