Sunday 29 September 2013

new cards for Christmas, or possibly Winterval *cough*

I picked up the first batch of this year's Christmas cards from Minuteman Press yesterday. They've turned out nicely, I think!

This one is inspired by Thomas Hardy's poem The Oxen

...and this one is called Christmas on the Cut. Because it's been quite a canal-orientated year for me...

I've got them up for sale in packs of five, on my Etsy shop. If you would like lots, do get in touch and we can try to sort something out! ...I'm learning about selling as I go along, of course....

Friday 27 September 2013

Arts and Crafts in deepest Somerset

Detouring from the North Somerset Arts Trail with Deb and Catherine, we bounced down one of those tracks that have grass growing in the middle, swung open a gate, and so arrived at the church of St Peter at Hornblotton. Deb and Cath had been before and were very enthusastic; my initial impression was favourable for a 19th century church- there was a warm glow from the yellow-brown stone that went well with the mid-autumnal trees that surrounded it. There's Cath outside the church; in the foreground is the ruin of the old tower, that apparently fell down, which is a shame, as it looks quite fun. Did it jump or was it pushed? (There's a picture of the old church here, on Phil Merryman's web page)

Inside is very exciting! The walls are decorated in sgraffito; the outer layer of plaster was removed while still damp, to reveal the strawberry-coloured underlayer. So there is a subtle three-dimensional element to the decoration and lettering that fills the walls.

And the marquetry is fine and, in the case of the choir stalls, very subtle- each place has a different wild bird inlaid. Here is a kingfisher, choosing a fish

The lectern rotates, to give the two messages that 'the letter killeth'

 ....but ''the spirit giveth life'

I particularly liked the small window in the west wall, with its greens and browns. They're a bit bleached out in this picture; I really must go back with a tripod! -These pictures were limited by the low light levels and my ability to balance the camera on something to steady it....

Saint Elizabeth
Cornelius the Centurion
the Ethiopian eunuch

Saturday 14 September 2013


I wonder how you always find your way back home.
I’m really small, in the back seat of the Zephyr that you drive,
And we’re off to Preston, to the shops. But you went alone
That trip you never came back home from. You were thirty five.

We wandered in the wreckage of our grief for you
That hurts too much to think of, even yet.
When father met and married someone new
I felt betrayed he could so easily forget.

Which was of course unkind. With craftsman’s touch,
He was forever building stuff and moving on,
And drank, as did we all, too often and too much.
And died. I wished we’d talked. That moment’s gone.

I sometimes wonder what you’d think of how things went for me
And then recall the love. That’s what matters. That is family.

I was hugely pleased (and frankly surprised!) that this poem was in the 'commended' category in the Yeovil Literary Prize competition.

 This poem took its theme from a NaPoWriMo prompt by Jo Bell : "write about your parents in a rough sonnet. Six lines on your mum, six lines on your dad - finish with two lines on you. If you want to make it a Shakespearean sonnet, it needs to rhyme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. But I'll let you off if it doesn't. Some of you will have touched on the subject before - but it's one of the great inexhaustibles, isn't it?"

Thursday 5 September 2013

wings over Bristol

pru-ning, originally uploaded by Dru Marland.

Beats there a heart that does not quicken at the sound of an unusual piston-engined aeroplane?

Loads, actually, because it's a funny old world.

But not at Schloss Marland.

On Saturday I heard an aircraft droning overhead and dashed to the window in time to see it recede into the distance. But it was back again a few minutes later. By the fourth time it passed over, I was ready with the big lens. And, when I got it up on the screen, I learned that it is the Ordnance Survey's Cessna 404, flying along at 6000 ft, taking pictures of Bristol.

Here are some other recent passers-by: a Fairey Swordfish, rumbling sedately towards Yeovilton...

..a tantalisingly distant shot of a Lockheed 12 Electra Junior, or possibly Beechcraft H18...

 ...the Battle of Britain Flight...

the Airbus A400M military transport...

the Airbus A380...

...and a Spitfire showing off over Filton, the day they closed the airfield