Wednesday 27 July 2022


I wonder, if we had, in our public spaces and places, more benches and seats on which we could rest and think, would we become a more contemplative race?

 Less than 2 ½ miles from the Georgian kiss-me-quick of Tenby is Caldey island (pop. 40 with a varying number of Cistercian monks). The Cistercians first arrived from Belgium having bought the monastery off Anglican Benedictines in the late 20s. An ecclesiastical Rightmove? -  They ‘found their happy’* and now share it with us. 


On Caldey Island there are many benches and seats on which to sit and soak up the magic of this place. 

You arrive by boat, runs every 20 minutes which runs throughout the summer from the quayside in Tenby. The island’s population actually dates from the middle Stone Age and its first Celtic monastery was a set up in the Middle Ages.


The current abbey, which to my mind looks like some Sound of Music schloss, is said to be one of the best Arts and Crafts -style buildings in Britain. 

The new abbey: And Arts and Crafts treasure


Carpets of thick with flowers under a high sun grace open fields and cliffs. The latter are home to countless migrating birds. Red squirrels were introduced very successfully in 2018 once the rats have been done away with. 


Caldey is lovely place to visit and my immediate thought when getting off the return boat, Tenby quay, which when can I go again.


Leaving Caldey


*Rightmove helps home-movers find their happy in new campaign -  Drum Magazine APRIL 22, 2014

Two weeks later after the trip: To the Caldey Lighthouse: oil on paper 30 x 40 cm

Saturday 23 July 2022


Don't it always seem to go

That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.


        Album: Ladies of the Canyon (1970)

        Joni Mitchell Copyright


This album was released  the year I left school. I recalled  these lines the other day when reading an article in The Week magazine a précis of a piece from the National (Abu Dhabi)


Cairo Nile houseboat residents clamber to save homes from demolition order.

By Kamal Tabikha  Cairo  Jun 30, 2022,   FULL ARTICLE LINK


“This is my home, my only home. I built it myself and I thought it would be my last home,” said prominent Egyptian novelist and literary figure Ahdaf Soueif, 72, who lives on a Kit Kat houseboat.


The article tells of the gross development along the banks of the Nile in Cairo. It took me back for I was lucky enough to work in Cairo on several occasions when I was at the BBC and Microsoft.


Tabikha's article tells of the magnificent Nile houseboats (19th century) being towed away and destroyed to make way for waterfront development. Early on. Earlier on the Egyptian government has also stopped boats playing their trade crossing the river.


I thank God that I was in Cairo, across 2009 - 2012  to witness the magic of the Nile, free all this development. I made several of drawings at the time and a successful monoprint in 2011. 


Doubtless with all this change the modern visitors visitor will not miss much.


Friday 15 July 2022


Discovering the Pembroke Coast: 

Siân and I believe in making discoveries in the hands of experts. This week we and my cousin Wendy went on a walk across the headlands near Porthgain on the Pembrokeshire Coast. Our expert was Steve Jones, a fully qualified Lowland Walk Leader. 


Historian, naturalist, photographer and cartographer (twenty years with the OS no less) Steve is someone who quietly shares his huge knowledge of the coastal path hereabouts.


We started and finished in Porthgain. 


He began with a talk, down on the quay, charting the rich history of the village-port; slate mining, brick making and granite crushing. All this was shipped from the harbour.


Out of the harbour we scampered (!) up a set of steep steps and onto the headland. The apparitions of Porthgain’s industries are readily apparent, derelict buildings and walls, evidence of trams and trains.


Glorious weather, gorse, flowers and bird calls and cries beat out our steps. At each turn another gem of info from Tour Guide Steve. Barley fields to our left waved us on. Vertiginous drops on our right to seas or beaches far below.


And it was busy. Walkers of all ages were on the coastal path, as busy as a Saturday afternoon in Waitrose. Well not quite. Everyone greeted us as they passed by, everyone full of smiles and joy at being here.(Unlike Waitrose)


At one point about, halfway through the walk, we stopped and looked down; into the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi. This was former slate mine until 1910. Now in this weather a perfect spot for a dip.


From the hamlet of Abereiddi you can return to Porthgain in an hour. Siân and I visited Abereiddi before, however this was a new view. Looking down onto the few cottages set  behind a huge amphitheatre of fields and farms. Quite remarkable.  


The return walk was inland. Nonetheless beguiling; Steve led us along paths through gorse and heather, small fields of corn, red campion, sea campion and kidney vetch. 


A marvellous four hours. And now we are casting about for the excuse to do another walk with Steve.


If you want to really discover the incredible St David’s peninsula in North Pembrokeshire walk with Steve Jones. The first step is here:

Since the trip, More drawings ! ....

Tuesday 5 July 2022


Ginst Point, an area of land, four square kilometres, boomerang shaped. Sand marron grass, sand, shell (seashells) and occasionally other shells. By degrees it is a desert under high sun, under a dark sky the grey and white of the sand almost meet.  Winds change the sands and landscape. It is part of Carmarthen Bay a large tidal range, with a strong tide and areas of soft sands. 



Three rivers flows into Carmarthen rivers Tywi, Taf and Gwendraeth. On one side of the boomerang mud flats, sand flats, lagoons salt marshes, salt pastures, rich with flowers, succulents, and birds. A cuckoo called out to us not so long ago. 


Spotted a couple of Sundays back 

Danger UXO: Ginst is at the tail end of MOD Pendine is operated by QinetiQ. The signage festoons the narrow road to Ginst Point. They point out:

 “Due to the nature of work that has been undertaken at MOD Pendine since the Second World War, there is the risk that the public might discover items of UXO in the Local area”.

Nonetheless A wonderful place to walk, sit, contemplate looking out towards Carmarthen Bay has a large tidal range, with a strong tides and cockle bed, the meeting place for three rivers.


It is a place to draw, drawn as we are to its solitude and space.

Friday 1 July 2022


 This is he who comes after me and he was preferred in honor before me; he whose sandal strap I am unworthy to loose.... John 1:27


The other weekend my dear friend, the artist Peter Spens and his fab wife, Jo, came to spend a few days down here in Laugharne. 



  We billeted them at the excellent Strand  House B&B, a grand house on the foreshore.


   I was expecting to happily ferry Peter all over Carms and Pembs enabling us to draw, paint and talk. 

Instead, most of the time we were right here on the foreshore, drawing and painting the ever-changing estuary waters and sky.



I have sat at Peter’s feet for some twelve years now; lucky enough to do print making alongside him in his London studio part of the Cranley Gallery.


Across the weekend I rediscovered the joys of purposeful, unhurried drawing. Work to collect ideas for painting.  And discovered a new oil painting palette, a set of colours which yielded a different, exciting outcome for me.



We did leave Laugharne to go to Manobier in Pembrokeshire to see Peter’s art college chum, the sculptor Bob Booth. Bob, full of beans and ideas, his workshops chocker with all manner of tools and machines. Coffee and cake in his wife’s wonderful garden.


A weekend fully powered by conversations and creativity.