Crysede Ltd – hand block printed fine fabrics.

Found a case of clothes and textiles in the Penlee House museum, Penzance from a long gone business set up locally in 1920 by a Yorkshire textile manufacturer called Alec Walker.  He was an amateur painter, and was encouraged by his friends, the Procters and the Harveys – painters of Newlyn, to use his art as the basis of hand block printed silk.  The image here was taken through the glass case, which spoils it a bit.  The background is a patchwork piece, using his fabrics.  When the factory shut in 1939 (the war, no doubt) it employed over 100 people.


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Brother Jon’s fine musical find.

Found another copy on the Guardian Newspaper site. So now it’s a link and not a my YouTube. Bypass any copyright problems. Click (touch) the little square for a full screen, press Esc to exit full screen. My Back Pages (Live) – Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton…

via I HAD to save this forever.. — Jon’s Blog

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Two Cardiff Statues

Both on pedestrianised streets near to the castle, the first is lovely and has a strange semi-hidden message which I am struggling to decipher.  Its called ‘Mother and Son’, in English, or ‘Mam a Mab’ in Welsh, and was placed here in Queens Street in the 1960s.  Robert Thomas was the artist, and he was from the Rhondda, which probably helps with interpreting the curious package Mam has attached to her wrist.

P1100570 (305 x 600)

It contains a piece of coal, an industrial bobbin of thread, a baby or foetus (?) and a container which might be a miner’s lunch box or snap tin.  But I’m guessing.  Anyway altogether I see it as a burden she is carrying.  Nonetheless she manages to look proud and elegant, even with bird shit on her head.

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The second one is a little lighter, and I don’t even know who he is, its just the way he is being used that drew my attention.

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Inspiration to paint

In Cardiff we visited the National Gallery of Wales.  The special exhibition (Bacon to Doig) was a photo-free show, but the gallery’s own stuff is free to photograph, so here is my take – a very selfish one – on it.  Just three pics, and some of the words from the adjacent captions.


Mornington Crescent by Spencer Gore (c1911) was painted from his window.  He used his immediate surroundings a lot.  I have been telling myself to do a drawing or coloured sketch a day in the back garden.  OK, his is good, and not banged out in an hour, or 20 minutes more likely, but it reminds me to DO IT.


The Francois Zola Dam by Paul Cezanne (c1879) was originally known by another name.  This is explained on the caption as being the result of Cezanne’s habit of ‘openly changing the landscape to enhance the image, so the exact location can be difficult to pinpoint’.  My painting is like that too, or at least people have said, ‘Is that supposed to be this view?’.   More encouragement from the masters!


And finally we have Rain, Auvers by Vincent van Gogh (1890).  I learnt that his painting career lasted barely 10 years, and during his life he barely sold a thing.  In both those ways I am like van Gogh.  Such encouragement.  Bring on the Isles of Scilly and I’ll be ‘en plein air-ing’ with gusto.

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Longrock Bronze Age Menhir.

Yesterday set out to find a six foot plus standing stone.  Made my way to a wooded valley and set off down a well trod path. Met a woman coming the other way with a large labrador and asked her if I was on right track for the standing stone. She looked blankly at me, so I showed her a picture of it from a Scilly guide. She shook her head, said she didn’t know it but thought it might be in the woods somewhere off to the left. We parted, and less than 2 minutes later, walking down a path with no branching off, I found the stone, beside the path she must have walked down.



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Stanmer to Keymer – across the Downs.

I got a lift to Stanmer Park with Rowena (she was running, training for the London Marathon) and so quickly was surrounded by fields and woods and dog walkers – of which more later.  Walking up through the woods between the University and Stanmer village I passed a pond with a yew tree beside it.  The tree probably fell over in the great storm of I forget when, but it wasn’t about to give up and die, oh no.  It has generated a small copse of tall upright trees rising from the fallen trunk.

fallen yew and new growth (532 x 600)

If you like yews go see the Kingley Vale post before this one, and if you don’t like yews – what kind of person are you?

Soon escaped the dog-walkers by heading north away from the car park, and down by Moon’s Bottom in a valley where the Ordnance Survey map names individual ash trees.  Looking from across a field I cannot honestly say I could identify which were the named trees, but I fear the information was old, predating the aforementioned great storm, sorry Great Storm, so any ash there now (and there were lots) are probably not ones worthy of OS attention.  Soon climbing up one of those whale-back hills up to the main ridge and the South Downs Way and a car park.  More dog-walkers.  And these do not like to leave exposed doggy turds on the ground.  So they wrap them up in little plastic bags, and leave them behind.  I thought I’d share a few with you:

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This pale green one tries but fails to blend in.  It seems to have been placed beside this hawthorn – perhaps a votive offering?

dogpoo bag 2 (600 x 578)

Now this corner post clearly has greater meaning to the dog poo worshipers, you will see two offering here, but there were more within a five foot radius of the post.  Posts and trees have a place in the life of dogs, perhaps owning a dog causes the value to be transferred?

dogpoo bag 4 (600 x 392)

But this one spoils the pattern.  Can you see it yet?  Sorry – is that phrase still allowed?  Its in the bottom right hand corner – green on green.  Is it perhaps a the dog-owning equivalent of an ISIS Improvised Explosive Device?  Enough shit!

pond and sheep (600 x 357)

Here is a sheep drinking at a Downland dewpond. And below lets have a sheep with an urban background – our very own doughnut on a stick, the i360 (sadly doughnut not climbing its stick in this shot.

i360 and sheep (600 x 510)

I have more sheep pictures but I know you are getting bored with them so lets close with some cattle and a hedge, or, as I like to think of it a horizon hedge (the cattle are just for scale – smaller: further away).  Its a big hedge!

hedge horizon (600 x 378)

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Kingley Vale, Komodo Dragon and a Druid

Way back on the 12th March four of us set out for an ancient yew woodland just north east of Chichester.  Arrived at the car park at 10.30 and walked beside a few fields to arrive at the National Nature Reserve which is Kingley Vale.

The first yew trees are there immediately, but they are nothing special – seen bigger in a country churchyard.  After a while we see into some bigger groves of them, and walk through gaps in their drooping branches to enter the dry bare earth zone underneath the yews.  Now we can get close to the trunks and branches.

blood red bark (600 x 411)

It was raining a little, but that added to the quality of the wood, and the fresher bark’s redness was stunning.  You can see through the branches above to where they dip down to rest on the ground.  If they sit there long enough they take root, and as the roots develop they become effectively a new tree.  The old core trees don’t really die.  They generate aerial roots inside the rotten centre which reach down to the ground and start all over again.

Pixie Druid and friends (600 x 407)

Our druid told us that this makes them impossible to date correctly, and though several have been dated at about 2000 years he said they are really much older.  And he’d know, he told us he is third generation Druid for Kingley Vale.  Not sure how official that title is.  He is the one with the big hood and pointing towards the camera, he is holding a fine yew staff, and has two of his what?  Disciples? Fellow druids? with him.  Jackie and Marian are the ones on the right.  He called himself Pixie.  We met them on the path and they followed us, offering information and enlightenment.

komodo dragon yew (600 x 466)

This is my Komodo Dragon – yes, its just a bit of tree, sorry.  When we got away from Pixie and friends we found a delightful tree with a ring of juniors around it.  Difficult to photograph, and the image below is the best I managed.

treees from trees (600 x 450)

The parent is in the distance, one offspring is the main up-curved branch, but another (grandson?) is starting by my feet, where you can see a branch on the left dropping down to the ground.  I suspect that this makes the tree the ‘grandfather tree’ which several people asked us about, but I was not familiar with this name.  Rowena went up the tree, and after a bit of persuasion so did I.  Always easier to get up than down, I recalled too late.

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