Saturday 27 January 2024
Saturday 20 January 2024
The last few days have been very cold; my thermometer showed a ground temperature dropping to -12C overnight. And the canal is frozen over, up to IC5-6 on the Canal Ice Scale.
So the folk at Bradford Wharf Services,* in conjunction with charity Floaty Boat, have organised fuel runs on Ishtar, crewed by volunteers. Here they are in action; they arrived here in Bathampton on Wednesday, and breasted up on my boat overnight as the light was failing.
Shortly after setting off on Thursday morning, they had to stop; the ice was just too thick. We're all waiting for the thaw now.
*this is a link for ordering fuel for your boat; there's also an option for 'paying it forward', where you can put in funds for fuel for boaters who can't afford it.
Thursday 4 January 2024
I based Roch on a person who lived in the woods on the canalside until recently; and the dog is Bobby, another boaty neighbour's companion. I like the idea of using rather more contemporary models for saints; like my version of Melangell, who was a bit of a hunt sab in her day, but is usually portrayed a bit drippily.
Sunday 12 November 2023
It's always a lively occasion, with excellent things for sale and things to do and eat.
And I'll have my new calendars there, as well as the usual maps, cards, and poetry.
Friday 10 November 2023
|Rooks at Horton Bridge (with fieldfares and a muntjac)
Fresh from the printers, here's my new calendar. Contains twelve whole months, with a wide variety of wildlife, including the beavers that have taken up residence on the Avon!
Here's what the layout looks like
Etsy shop here
Tuesday 17 October 2023
Doing the last few pictures for next year's calendar, I'm hopping to and from around the months that are left to do, rather than drawing things in the one I'm in right now, which is October, at the moment.
So here's one for April, the cruellest month according to TS Eliot. It's the pumping station at Claverton, where a water wheel operates a pump to push water up the hill into the canal. The water is pumped electrically these days, but the old system has been restored, and works sometimes for open days.
From my mooring on the Semington aqueduct, I look across the broad floodplain of the Avon and watch the autumn progress. The field of maize harvested, the rooks wheeling over the trees and dropping to pace the stubble. The deer slipping oin and out of the big field where the cattle have no escape from the frosts that have begun, and sit there looking resigned and stoical in the morning mist.
|a sun dog, in there somewhere
Tuesday 5 September 2023
There's a pear tree in the north west corner of the churchyard, and I remembered someone telling me about the Pear Tree Churches around here. So it was nice to see an actual tree, with pears on.
The story goes that King Aethelred gave the Manor of Bradford to the Abbey of Shaftesbury, perhaps as expiation for his involvement in the murder of his half-brother in Corfe Castle. And the Abbess had pear trees planted on the boundary of the manor, and then chapels built to go with the pear trees.
As stories go, it's hard to track down any record of this story beyond local anecdote, but as anecdotes go it's a nice one. And in the town of Bradford, below the chapel of St Mary Tory, is the Ladywell, formerly the town's water supply; and it's been decorated with seven pear blossoms, to indicate the seven churches within the estate; Atworth, Bradford, Holt, Limpley Stoke, South Wraxall, Winsley and Wingfield.
Anyway, here I was in the presence of the pear tree at the church of St Mary the Virgin, in Limpley Stoke, formerly dedicated to St Edith (and a pilgrim trail begins here and goes 40 miles to Wilton in Salisbury). Not the original pear tree, which would have been about a thousand years old by now. But still, unimpeachably peary.
Going in, you immediately see the original saxon door to the church, from back when it was smaller, now beached in the middle of the nave.
The walker followed his dog down the field and out of sight. I picked two pears and put them in my pocket to take home.