A blog about things -- not necessarily beautiful -- that at least jolted me out of my tram-lined train of thought. They may be funny, poignant, disgusting or beautiful, but they will be personal. You, dear reader, may not give a damn about an image of a crisp packet at the edge of a river but I might think it so delightful that I cry with gratitude. And a few poems. A a book plug or two.
I can't express how much I love this field. It ticks all the boxes for me -- or will when the trees are a little more mature -- I love the fact that it's been reclaimed by nature from man. I tried to carry one of the 4' square pieces of board home today but it was solid wood and weighed a ton. I brought a smaller opiece home instead, to make a cover for the fire pit, but it was too small.
This is wind and grass and trees.
A Meadow Brown butterfly
it was the unofficial birthday of Luisa and Gina today (Luisa's is the 3rd, Gina's the 6th) and look what happened to the garden!
Luisa was game - despite (you can't see it in the picture) the pouring rain.
The graffiti has gone, as has the skip and rubbish. It looks as though it will be on the market shortly.
It's DK's birthday today and we went out for a lunchtime meal (Miranda and Gina split the bill - thank you ladies). We went to the Red Lion and the food had changed with the management - we went expecting two-meals-for one on steak and chips and ended up with expensive gourmet food.
Here's one of the fireplaces. There were a lot of signed etchings - a couple of which I would have liked a print of myself.
It's a little late in the season for the flowers, but here is the delight and profusion of plants on the old factory site. You can only see thistle and ragwort in flower but there are hundreds of varieties.
I also love this steel hawser that dips in and out of the foliage like a sea serpent. I'd bring it back for garden sculpture but there's a hundred feet or more of inch thick cable.
This is what I love about nature-reclaimed building sites. Although this used to be a factory, I could just as easily be looking at an ancient Roman fort here, with just dressed stone half-buried in grass.
I did bring a small (about fist sized) stone back. This is full of holes like those occasional beach pebbles. Here it is in my sink garden. That's a wild strawberry plant behind it.
Wild? It's livid! I just dropped a rock on its sucker!
The Legg family are a nightmare, and it is only that good if you are part of it. Domestic violence, heavy drinking, junk food and cigarettes are the staples of everyday life and an unholy interest in eggs only adds a surreal twist to the misery Gregg Legg has to put up with. He has always been bullied and the bullying seems as though it will continue throughout his life, being only marginally better since he decided to marry Peggy Legg, who doesn’t let anyone bully her husband except herself. But now there is their son to think about and Gregg doesn’t want history to repeat itself. “Wooden Womb Man” is a surreal, darkly hilarious and often terrifying novel, which digs into the heart of an ASBO community and finds it to be as healthy as the ash from a packet of Kensitas Club. Set in Irvine, Elizabeth O’Neill writes in dialect and describes the horror of domestic abuse and its effects from a new and refreshing perspective, the darkness of the story leavened with some of the worst puns ever set in print.
I read this novel on the plane to Ireland and struggled with it not because of the Scots dialect it is written in (which actually trips easily off the mind’s tongue after a few pages), nor with the subject matter which is bother horrifying and darkly humourous. The naming of characters in a running inside joke annoyed me greatly – I was constantly thrown out of the story by yet another intentional – and contrived – rhyme. Not a single character aroused my sympathies except perhaps the boy, but there is no focus on his development.
The end is as tragic as any I have read, though Peg’s journey is the most tragic of all, since it seems she learned nothing from it.
Although not to my taste I would recommend this book as a snapshot of life in the first decade of the twentieth century, much as I view Bill Naughton’s novels from the viewpoint of growing up in the sixties.
Many thanks to Anthony at Bluechrome for sending me a review copy.
Walking through the wetlands field again I spied this piece of lichen-covered stone and wanted to take it home. Even the brick in the foreground was full of bountiful colour.
At the top of the ridge, where houses overlook the field, was this swathe of polygonum (Russian Vine) at the back of someone's garden.
Here's the start of the woods and the horrendous amount of rubbish that fills it. This is what i hate, not the rusting hulks or the abandoned factories but the utter laziness of people not disposing of litter.
Sure, I made dens when I was a kid but I never, ever left rubbish. Perhaps because I was brought up on Enid Blyton whose characters always cleaned up after themselves.
Finally, what's the betting that all this rubbish -- and it's mostly beer cans -- came sailing over the fence from the garden at the top?
We turned away from the cemetery today and went to the site of a disused factory. DK and I went there a few years ago when we still had Holly dog but then it was a bare patch of waste ground. Now its a rich wetland habitat, crowded with wild flowers and trees.
I still love teasels, despite the thousands that come up in our garden every year
An old rusted and crushed incinerator. I could rally do with a whole version of this for growing potatoes in.
I tried to show the wetlands. Bear padded through the 6" water easily but Trickster had problems.
I doubt that even Rowan could mend this bike. It has ten speeds, all of them 'stop'.
Walking back from Morisson's I came a different route that took me through the middle of two abandoned factories. I felt almost awed at the huge space of these brownfield areas an the vast number of disused buildings. The amount of concrete laid down would have comfortably parked three hundred cars and was being slwly reclaimed by nature; principally buddleias.
It was mostly surrounded by these old walls where were themselves being invaded by ferns and lichens and buddleias and ash saplings.
Further on was part of a wall of a third disused factory. Sandstone and iron railings: marvellous!
Finally the path nearest to the house.
Why someone had left an office chair (destroyed) I've no idea. A testament to man, I suppose, though left to itself it will soon be covered by brambles.
This is a portrait of my friend Maggie, done in my third year at art school. It was originally a 5' by 4' 'standard' portrait of her (This was 1987 and i had a huge crush on her at the time) but it was boring. I cut it up, added the broken chair (she'd just had an operation on her leg) and repainted it over three canvasses. A serious influence from Howard Hodgkin, too.
Watercolour "Sansuriel" 2007 One of my recent watercolours I have this one somewhere. It was up for sale for a while.
"Bit" Collage, 1999
A collage with a long poem about my ex.
Best forgotten, I think.
"Natural 4" tagart 2002
Found materials collected from the river bank of the Derwent.