Saturday, 28 July 2007


Glad that I live am I
That the sky is blue
Glad for the country lanes
And the fall of dew

After the sun the rain
After the rain the sun
This is the way of life
Till the work be done

All that we need to do

Be we low or high
Is to see that I live
Nearer the sky

Lizette Woodworth Reese.

What a profound piece of writing ... yet used as a song for children!

The sun has also brought out the creatures of the wild. So far we have seen one very clean mouse, one clean rat (both pets I suspect), one frog, one hedgehog and now a wild rabbit ... to say nothing of buzzards and a red kite. This is the place to be.

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Friday, 27 July 2007


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Each thing has its own beauty. These four simple shapes, four ordinary yellow tomatoes, with a bit of care and attention become something special.
Looking for possibility and subtleties instead of the easier route of closure and blame is not always a great crowd puller ... but its worth the risk!

GERANIUMS - acrylic on canvas 24" x18"

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Once again I have realised that the summer months are often quite dead for me when it comes to painting. I don't enjoy the countryside so much at this time because it is so indistinct. Everything is joined together into one big mass.
Having realised what was happening I forced myself to paint. Under this painting are at least three attempts at loosening up, each one just an experiment in paint surface.
The painting itself, I realised, had in fact been incubating for many weeks somewhere deep down. It was a joy and relief to finally meet a new friend.

Sunday, 22 July 2007


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As torrents in summer,
Half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, tho' the sky is still cloudlesss.
For rain has been falling.
Far off at their fountains;

So hearts that are fainting
Grow full to o'erflowing,
And they that behold it,
Marvel, and know not
That God at their fountains
Far off has been raining!


Having seen the flooding on BBC 24 I grabbed my camera and headed for town. I had expected to see at least something like my faked Picture 1 ... but no, there she was gently passing through Newtown as if nothing had happened ... 'It wasn't me Sir!'.
Picture 2 is the real young Severn after torrential downpours.

Newtown has had its day. Earlier last century people saw the Severn come to visit the shopping centre quite often, until she out stayed her welcome and was given a new route and a high defensive wall. She has not tried it since.

Thursday, 12 July 2007


Recently the BBC brought their Roadshow to Drenewydd. We were able to go to the closing session.

From all reports it had been an amazing weekend. It has continued through other meetings and radio show. Our own Father Bryan from the Bryn Mawr monastery of Saint Barnabas the Encourager gave a wonderful interview on Radio Wales, compared by Jamie Owen.

Sian and myself got in the queue for THE TARDIS and finally entered 'the little big space'. This is not unlike the garden we now have. Moving from a long thin Birmingham garden to our Welsh estate was a big change of scale. When I say 'Welsh estate I mean a house on, not in its estate!

I recently created a 'little big space' at the back of the house.
Deep bed gardening is thought to have originated in the monasteries. The next step on is 'the square foot garden' where every square foot of soil is planted intensively. My garden is just 6' x 4' (I have two such beds). The first thing to notice is that the paths between the plants has been removed and because of the depth of soil, the plants are able to push down their roots without competition. So, my little TARDIS garden seems small on the outside but has at present ... sweet corn, french beans, sweet peas, varieties of lettuce, beetroot, rocket, radish, coloured chard, tomatoes and broad beans .... I also planted some old dwarf bean seeds, but they didn't like Dr Who.

Weeding is a dream.

No space is too small .... give it a go!

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Tuesday, 10 July 2007


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As in life, so in the garden, whatever the weather something will always do well. We just have to be aware. We, once again have to look for it. Every year a particular corner of the garden will do really well. At the same time other plants that seemed so promising are no bigger than at the time of planting or sowing. Next year might see a complete reversal. You can't sow knowing that something WILL grow, you just have to keep sowing.
Grace is not something we can get used to because it can come at any moment quite unexpectedly. I love the verse in the Bible that speaks about 'grace upon grace'. It makes me think of a big box of chocolates where having finished one layer there is yet another. Or when travelling in North Wales you turn a corner thinking this is the best view in the world - when - around the next corner comes a view complete with 'gasp'!


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