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  1. Feel like I'm breaking 'radio silence' after months of avoiding this but, as it's raining outside and my nose is going for an all out drip-fest on the cold front, it seems like a good time to catch up. Once done at least it will be one less thing to burden my guilty conscience.

    How to sum up 10 months?

    I will start with a visual summary of the summer


    I think that about sums up the garden.

    On the potting front Rufford, Art in Action and Potfest in the Park were all really good and I'm delighted to have been accepted back into them all again this year. Hurrah!

    I completed 2 major commissions last year for two local churches. I made 2 wall plaques; The Ascension for Castor village church and The Transfiguration for Marholm church.  They are both commissioned in memory of Bishop John Mantel. I had to really push myself into unknown territory to make them.



    Autumn and the lead up to Christmas were the usual blur of  all out pot production for exhibitions, wholesale orders and the annual show at my sister's in Leeds. Followed by the annual allergy to work and reluctance to return to the workshop in January.

    Have made an immensely slow start to the year. Have been making the bird pieces but have laboured over them and must now pull up my socks and get production throwing. the year is running away from me already and we're only 3 months into it.

    Have assembled an interesting collection of potters for the Stamford Pottery Market on 4th & 5th May. Quite a few potters from previous years are taking a year off so I've been able to get 6 new faces in.  Have even started up a facebook page for the show. www.facebook.com/StamfordPotteryMarket .I still believe in the printed word though and hope to collect the posters and cards from the printers this coming week and get them posted off before the post goes up. That will be another weight off my burdened conscience. Here's a taster.

    market collage


    So that's about it on the potting front. I'm sure there's more but a lot of it was probably quite dull.


    Very strange dogwalk today. Waited for a hail shower to stop before we went out. Had to walk through swarming clouds of midges by the hedgeside. Got caught in another couple of hail showers and discovered that most off the frogspawn has disappeared. Very curious.

    The rape will soon be in full flower. Quite a few farmers have chosen to do spring sowings as the land was so waterlogged before Christmas. They've now got to bust through a hard crust as the winds and sunshine bake the surface to concrete.

    Have no comment to make on the winter Ashes series.

    Have 2 points to make about Kevin Pieterson. 1) How many captains do you let another player force out?  2) Do the South African team have any regrets about letting him go and did it stop them attaining no.1 team status?

    Am quite impressed with Graham Swann in the commentary box. Expected him to be bumptious but he was really very open and humble and able to laugh at himself.

    The National Theatre Live link-up showing of War Horse was fantastic. Not a dry eye in the Stamford Art's Centre cinema.

    My war with the mice continues. Will have to compost the remaining apples. Mice 1 Katherine 0.

    That's all folks.

  2. Lots to catch up on. Have been on a bit of a ceramic bender in the last months so had no time or inclination to write anything but as it's bucketing rain outside and I cannot plant out my courgette, squash and bean plants and built anti-puppy protection over them as planned, I now have time to catch up with this. It's either blog or hoover so here I am. I must continue to live with the dog hair and gnashed up toys on the floor.

    The Ceramic bender consisted of 3 weekends of events on the trot. !st was the Stamford Pottery Market which I organise. It was it's 3rd year and it took place on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, 5th & 6th May, in Stamford Art Centre's magnificent Georgian Ballroom. I feel an enormous responsibility for the whole thing and especially worry about visitor numbers. It seemed to me that we had a greater footfall this year than for the previous 2 years, but this consisted of busy mornings and then very quiet afternoons. It was a really beautifully sunny and warm weekend and I cannot blame people for staying in their gardens or heading for the seaside. I'd have done the same in their place. But I think there were more people and Pam Orme did a brilliant job of getting publicity in all the local papers and mags. We've always had it on the same bank holiday weekend so people are beginning to look out for it and expect it then,so that helps too. And the Arts Centre is brilliant. We don't have to charge an entry fee so people can just wander in and out if it takes their fancy.

    market stalls

    Each stall holder donated a plate/vessel as part of their stall fee and we had a 'Have your cake and eat it potluck tombola'. Tickets were £10 but every one was a winner and you got a piece of cake with you newly won pot. We raised £300 for the Air Ambulance.

    Our main competitors  for the public's attention during that weekend were the Uffington Scarecrow festival - very popular in the good weather - and TruckFest at Peterborough Showground. Apparently cars were queuing down the A1 for that. For months prior to it I looked on with envy at their dayglow green posters hammered into the verges on all major roads and junctions. How could we compete with massive throbbing engines and Sally Traffic and the cast of Corrie on speed dial? I think we did very well, all things considered.

    The following weekend found me down at Blackthorpe Barns, nr Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk for 'Firedworks; ceramic,glass and metal'. This was the 2nd year this show has taken place and unfortunately the public have yet to find it or decide they want to come. I know the organisers worked really hard to publicise the event; got into all the local publictions and mailshot Bury, but somehow the public resisted the irresitible lure of a specialised market. Fortunately I enjoyed the company of my fellow potters over the weekend and I did not have to redo my pot boxes after the stamford market.

    The last ceramic event of my pottery bender took place on Sunday 19th and involved Anglian Potters, their AGM and my Demonstration. Was asked to do it before Christmas so had 1/2 a year to worry about it and plan it out. Why, therefore did I only finished sorting out my images at 11.45 pm on Saturday 18th? Why indeed? Fortunately I have quite an interesting story to tell about my journey to self employment and most of them had no idea about it so that went down quite well. I think the demo went okay too. Decided to concentrate on useful tips so did a bit of throwing to show the French technique I use, turning on sponge, feet & handle application, slip trailing on a plate and jug, and printing on a tile (stamp and mono). The AGM had been quite long so my time was cut a bit short, but as my big worry had been not being able to fill the time, I was please to have enough to show to make it to 4pm.

    After the bender comes the hangover. This has manifested itself total avoidance of the workshop and a spot of 'gardening leave'. Potfest Scotland and Earth and Fire at Rufford are looming on the horizon followed by Art in Action and Potfest in the Park so I must put down my trowel and put hands to the wheel again.


    The swifts are back in the village. The sound of summer.

    Went to the National Theatre Live performance of 'This House'. Blew me away. Really tremendous. About the Labour and Tory Whips offices 1974-1979 during the hung Labour Government. Written by someone born in 1982! I only have vague memories of this time. The name Stonehouse, rubbish in the streets, powercuts and having to know where your torches and candles were, Jeremy Thorpe with moles on his back - no idea what that was about -, the Lib/Lab alliance. After the show performance I felt like I do after a very good book, that I will really miss the characters' company and wish I could have spent more time with them.

    Am filling in a survey form about my radio listening just for this week. Very untypical week for me as a radio addict as I'm not in the workshop. The radio addict's equivalent of hiding bottles in the lavatory cystern perhaps.