Sunday 31 March 2019


I was too young to be carrying your Ashes (2017–18)

I watched you disappear. Pink Ghost (2018)

This exhibition ends on April 7 (boo hoo) ‘this’ being A Fortnight of Tears, a major show of Tracy Emin’s work at the White Cube in Bermondsey.

There is lots to love here and get excited about.

And Tracy can’t half draw good.

It is amazing how people want to get so close to her work
The exhibition includes sculpture, paintings, film, photography and drawings. Drawings hung on the walls, sketch books in vitrines (that’s posh for a display case, or cabinet with one or often more transparent glass surfaces). Lots of her thoughts, writings and sketches are here to enjoy.

I came away thrilled and invigorated by this visceral show.  
Get to it if you can. 

Scoop/details here:

Saturday 23 March 2019



The other Sunday I hopped and skipped along to the Royal Academy of Music and enjoyed the most wonderful concert. 

Bonza conductor of the Baroque, Philippe Herreweghe led a spirited group of musicians from the Academy and we enjoyed several cantatas. 

I am so very late coming to this lovely music and have much catching up to do. 

The cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach (Bachkantaten) consist of at least 209 surviving works most of which were written during his time in Leizig.

Search for Bach on the BBC Radio 3 iPlayer and you will find lots of goodies.

Find out more about the Bachkantaten here 

Thursday 21 March 2019

The Brown-lipped snail

Brown-lipped snail

I discovered this wonderful shell on a walk some days back and made a small drawing from different angles. Confidently I think this is a Brown-lipped. 

The Brown-lipped Snail comes in many colour forms, but usually has a brown band around the opening of its shell. 

It prefers damp spots in wide range of habitats, from gardens to grasslands, woods to hedges.

More vital information about the Brown-lipped snail is on the excellent Wild Life Trusts web site… including important guidance on encouraging their presences in our gardens and countryside.

Presumably most of the housing bash-build housing developments round here do little to help these lovely creatures.

Tuesday 19 March 2019


February 22 - March 6

During that last-week-of Feb-2019 heatwave we gave the herbs in pots a good trim. Leftover sprigs were to good to waste and put me in mind of the song ‘Parley Sage Rosemary and Thyme’ a hit in the US for Simon & Garfunkel - 1966

The herbs mentioned in the song-represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsleywas comfort, sagewas strength, rosemarywas love, and thymewas courage.

Paul Simon learned about this song when he was on tour in England, where he heard a version by a popular folk singer named Martin Carthy.

When Carthy heard Simon & Garfunkel's rendition, he accused Simon of stealing his arrangement. Carthy and Simon did not speak until 2000, when Simon asked Carthy to perform this with him at a show in London. Carthy put his differences aside and did the show.


Monday 11 March 2019


Marbella Writers' Workshop

The day after OUR visit to Ronda the literary theme continued.

I sat in on a meeting of the Marbella Writers Workshop and enjoyed their stories, which each person, in turn, shared with the rest of this energetic group of writers. 

A little Wiki-stalking reveals that my dear friend Tony, who chairs the Workshop each week, is not the only person of note to live round here. Sean Connery had a place in Marbella and was he was regularly seen playing. Actor George Clooney is a sometimes resident. Antonio Banderas, was born in the nearby city of Málaga.  Arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar (aka the Prince of Marbella) was a long-time resident until his imprisonment.
Marbella Waterfront

 As we walked along the beachfront after the workshop it was warm and sunny and peaceful. During the summer months the population increases by 30% with the arrival of tourists and non-nationals who have their second homes in the area.

Sunday 10 March 2019


Towards the end of February I spent four warm sunny days in the south of Spain. I was the guest of my friend of some forty years, Tony Merrington. 

Tony lives in Nueva Andalucía. This is an area just west of Marbella and inland from posh Puerto Banús.  The house looks over a lovely golf course.This area is covered with golf courses and known as ‘Golf Valley’. 

Nueva Andalusia:  The view from the house

All the villas and apartments are based on traditional Andalusian architecture and design. And, perhaps because of the golf, the district is blessed with many exciting looking trees and green spaces. Very different from Blighty's winter landscape. 

Each day Tony and I drove up into the mountains and caught up on old times and recalled too many crazy escapades. 

Mountains and fields in Andalucia

Ronda is situated about 750 m (2,460 feet.) above sea level. The Guadalevín River runs through the city, dividing it in two. The river cuts the steep, 100-plus-meter-deep El Tajo canyon above, which the city perches.  Walking out of the town we looked up to see The Puente Nuevo straddling the canyon.



Ernest Hemingway spent many summers in Ronda. His novel For Whom the Bell Tolls describes the execution of Nationalist sympathisers early in the Spanish Civil War. The Republicans murder the Nationalists by throwing them from cliffs in an Andalusian village, and Hemingway allegedly based the account on killings that took place in Ronda at the cliffs of El Tajo.

As we looked out to the west the afternoon sun was high, warming olive groves fields and fir trees.

Saturday 9 March 2019



Another journey into the mountains, about 40km from Nueva Andalucía, took us to Casares. We climbed through its vertiginous small streets. At the top, the view from the 12th century castle is precious. You look down an incalculable number of white houses. 


The occupying Moors established this town who surrendered to the Catholic forces after the fall of Ronda in 1485.

A story has it that when Julius Caesar visited the area surrounding this small town, he ordered the construction of the village due to the curative properties of the sulphurous and alkaline waters on a skin infection, which had plagued him since childhood. 

The Bar Nuevo   Casares

Casares hugs the edge of a cliff and is considered to one of the most stunning ‘pueblos blancos’– white villages of Andalucía. These charming towns are very popular amongst tourists anxious to escape the multitudes of multitudes.

Friday 8 March 2019


Tenby South Beach - a gusty wind and light rain

In a strong wind and an impressive downpour we arrived in Tenby.

This delightful town looks like a giant stretched Neapolitan ice cream. Georgian and Victorian houses remind us that Tenby was renowned as a health resort. 

Seen from the sea or looking up from the beach at low water, the houses decorated in pinks, lemons, sea green, white and shades of blue, rest perilously on the cliff tops.

Tenby from the harbour looking up to the cliff tops

Much of the place was built for healthy seaside walks, due to the walkways being built to accommodate Victorian nannies pushing prams; many of the beaches today still retain good disabled access. 

Wednesday 6 March 2019


Side and Front view of Bethesda Chapel


We stopped by Bethesda Chapel on our visit to Tenby. This church is part of the Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodist). This was, for me, another enchanting Welsh chapel discovery

Here there is Sunday Worship at 11am and 6pm and the Pastor, Reverend Martin Williams, leads most of the meetings, occasionally visiting preachers attend this lovely chapel. Important to note there is Bible Study every Tuesday at 6pm. 

More information is at

Protestant Dissent in Wales was in the 17th century dominated by the twin movements of the Independents or Congregationalists and the Baptists, although there were Presbyterian congregations often led by clergy ejected from their Anglican livings after defying the 1662 Act of Uniformity. 

In the 18th century Wales was transformed by the coming of Methodism. This was part of a much wider international religious movement, which can be traced to the growth of evangelical Pietism in continental Europe from the later 17th century onwards. Its emphasis on intense personal devotion nurtured by preaching which spoke directly to the individual heart formed the basis for movements which spread to Britain and also to the American colonies. 

In Wales it resulted in two major denominations, Calvinistic Methodism, later also known as Presbyterianism, and Wesleyan Methodism, or simply Methodism. More information is here: