Monday, 28 May 2012

Super Son!

Simply can't resist doing the 'proud Dad' thing as Thomas was featured in an article by Rupert Christiansen in today's Daily Telegraph. It highlights the support he receives from 'Music of Life' founded by the wonderful Maria Teterina ( - a small charity that helps to give young disabled musicians a  platform to develop and display their musical aptitude alongside seasoned professional musicians. If you didn't see it, the article is also on-line at .

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Boats, Blooms, Birds...

This time last year, the Scillonian III whisked (or rocked!) Karen and me away for a very special week on the Scilly Isles. This week has been very sad and similarly our trip last year was in the aftermath of my Father's death but despite this we found our little holiday very uplifting and it is with great fondness that I find myself looking back at it.
Our guest house was just along this tiny lane...
...with a gorgeous view across the bay which emptied almost completely of water at low tide.
The atmosphere of the whole place was truly unforgettable. I felt that even many of the mad-made things added positively to this feel - not least all the boats!

Even 'retired' vessels get put to good use!

The islands were adorned with stunning flowers and we especially loved these Whistling Jacks (a type of Gladioli).

The Scillies are famous for birds. Many of the common residents, like the Backbird and this Song Thrush, seem to have no fear of man and are surprisingly tame. Also, as these islands lie 28 miles off Land's End and right out into the North Atlantic Ocean, they are possibly the best place in the UK to see more unusual migrants and we were delighted to see plenty of interesting visitors including a Woodchat Shrike and a Golden Oriole. 
Not forgetting more familiar migrants like this beautiful Swallow
Last year we celebrated 25 years of the best imaginable marriage and our trip was part of this celebration for us. So we made sure we enjoyed eating out at restaurants, visits to a lovely pub near to where we were staying (on St Mary's), lovely walks, trips to amazing gardens...
...enjoying the scenery...
..and, of course, painting it. Here I photographed the painting, scene and artist in the one shot - I'm always envious of Karen's spontaneous style and instinctive use of colours.
Our last day (exactly a year ago today) we didn't have time for 'island-hopping' but we found a little studio that were happy to give us a lesson in lino-cutting. Karen did these Whistling Jacks - such a pleasing and well balanced design that was not too cluttered either.
I used this photo (taken the day before) because I thought that simplifying the strong shadows might be quite effective on a lino cut.
(sorry it's rather a dull photo - it should be black and wight - and straight!!)
Finally, I painted Karen this card for Valentines Day this year.
I couldn't resist reminding her of our unforgettable adventure and sharing it with a truly amazing lady!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Truly Heartbreaking

Words like heartbreak and tragic are so often overused (especially in sport) but unfortunately, this time they are sadly all too appropriate. I painted this card for my friend and work colleague Jim and his family. As a gesture it seems totally inadequate in the circumstances; his young wife is extremely poorly at a nearby hospice suffering from an inoperable brain tumour. A few weeks ago, Jim had to wean their baby onto bottles and now his wife is drifting in and out of consciousness. Please remember them in your prayers.

18th May 2012
Sadly, Jana died this morning.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

No apologies for another 'Walk Post'


Above: It was a walk full of Spring flowers.
Left: Ah, the joys of a drought!
Below: The Bluebells stole the show again for me.

Our first Cowslips of the year - and a wild Strawberry.

Ok, which do you prefer - the mown strip on the left or the 'weeds' on the right?
Well our 'strapped-for-cash' council obviously prefers the mown side - so much so that they are prepared to pay three guys with strimmers and mower to create it!!
 Ah well, we never tire of these fabulous views at the top...

... and to think, when we were children we used to walk up  this slope.
Makes me tired just thinking about it!

 All good things come to an end - time to walk back home.