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    icicles puppy in snow

    Winter is back and it's all the Mid-Lenten Fairs fault. They are allowed into Stamford straight after Mothering Sunday and they nearly always bring cold weather with them. Last year was an exception of freak warmth, but normally they bring icy winds and Millets experiences a sales spike in gloves and bobble hats. This year's been a corker with an east wind blowing unimpeded off the North Sea over our flat land.  On the plus side I've heard my first ice cream van of the year. The jingle round her is the Captain Pugwash theme and I always hope they'll play enough of the tune to get to the lovely descending bit but they rarely do. Ice cream sellers are clearly optimists.

    It is very sad to see how the crops are being clobbered by this weather. The land is sodden. We have a farming tradition in January of a Straw Bear dancing through Whittlesey and it set me a wondering about what it might have meant or could mean and how a real bear wouldn't like the fenland landscape, devoid of mountains and forest, so the only way to get one is to make your own and the only material available comes from the harvest. Grow-your-own-bear.

    straw bear front straw bear back


     Was really lucky to get one of the last places to see Walter Keeler demonstrate for East Anglian Potters at the beginning of February. What a lovely man and very generous with his techniques and inspiration sources. Was also trying to pick up tips about how to give a demonstration. My May demo will come around all to soon and I just can't imagine how anything I do is not self evident and of any interest to anybody else. Will have to get a gadget to convert slides to digital.


    walter keeler demo walter keeler pots

     Am coming into the last week of my annual lenten tasks of playing a tune and doing a sketch everyday. It's my 3rd year of doing it and have been less reluctant to do the drawing this time so I guess that's progress. Spent a couple of weeks drawing owls and ended up dreaming a Frankenstein dream of constructing a large owl out of other owl parts. Have also been drawing out the Ascension for a wall plaque for a church commission, but am now back to chickens (my default setting) as I've about had enough. The tune playing is easier but the puppy has taken to howling when I play and it's hard not to take it as a critic on my playing.

    I think that's about it so Happy Easter and let's hope Spring will stop being shy and show us her new collection.


    Really decent amount of frogspawn this year. Best in years. But the heron is lurking and I just hope it's not hoovered up all the frogs.

    Really enjoyed 'Neverwhere' on radio 4 and 4xtra. Got hooked on the 'Moonstone' again - 3rd time round?

    Prefer waking up Test Match Special than going to bed to it.

    Became glued to 'Slade at the BBC' on BBC4. Had not appreciated how much they were part of my childhood. All the costumes were so familiar. If you asked me my abiding memory of Top of the Pops it would be how much I hated Pans People. I never saw the point of them and just wanted to see the proper musicians playing their own songs. I understand now that I was not really the target audience  for their gyrating choreography!






    Looking back on last year's blog entries I see I didn't even managed a monthly missive. Have thought of making a new year's resolution to that effect but know that I would fall at the first hurdle so will just continue in a sporadic fashion, try not to get too wracked with guilt and see what happens.

    Have just started back in the workshop but am being a bit half hearted about it. Must really pull myself together and stop dawdling as I've got into all the shows I applied for and the summer is looking pretty packed (see CALENDAR). I also have a very interesting and terrifying commission for a couple of local churches which I'd like to do this Jan/Feb, and have just been reminded of an exhibition in Cambridge in March, about which I'd completely forgotten. Must fire up that wood burning stove and set to.

    Have just taken delivery of a load of wood today and have stashed it away in my shed. Had considered just throwing it in but went for neatly stacking instead. There is great security and joy in having a substantial woodpile. I now want to take visitors to see it. No irony or Cold Comfort Farm inuendo intended. There is an expectant stillness in the air tonight. Snow is forecast for early tomorrow morning. But I've got a beautiful woodpile and some new longjohns from Lidl.

    I started some new work at the end of last year for the Stamford exhibition and am hoping to build on those ideas. Am not quite sure how they will evolve but it's good to have a starting point and a feeling of excitement about trying something new. They involved monoprinting and using my lenten drawings.

    monoprint 1

    monoprint 2

    monoprint 3


    Bill Nighy in Educating Rita on Radio 4 was fantastic and the play was stunning. Such sharpe, witting writing, really enhanced by not having the clutter of visual distraction. I really enjoyed the Martin Beck series. Neil Pearson is joining my list of favourite radio voices. Will look out for the repeats on 4xtra. Likewise with 'Rita'. It was a joy to wake up to the test matches in India. Am hoping the one-dayers will make the workshop a more appealing place to be. Was quite relieved that Michael Vaughan was stuck dancing in the UK. Geoffrey Boycott is quite enough.

    Heard 2 people I know on RadMac's 'Chain' on 6 music. Potter Matthew Blakely and basketmaker Sue Kirk. Is Matthew 'Matt the Potter' in the Roundtable chatroom? Also listened to Desert Island Discs with Edmund de Waal on it. Got quite insensed with Kirsty as her research was clearly lacking. She treated him like some rare, exotic creature and clearly has no idea that there is a large, healthy, lively, intelligent and diverse potting community out there. I've always rather liked her as I could not bear Sue Lawley, but I find myself writing her imaginary letters on my dog walks and would now like to see her interview Mary Wondrausch.

    Right, enough of all this. Happy New Year. All power to your resolutions and may all puppies become quickly house trained.