No, we don’t have a Big Freeze here in Somerset – far from it – but we do have rather an over-abundance of grey skies and damp air and a general impression that this is the dullest, dankest time of year. But there are lots of reasons to be cheerful, even if the salt has settled soggily in the salt cellar!  If you live near the sea, there is nothing quite so bracing as a walk long a windswept beach. Being inland, I contented myself with a struggle along the lane with my arms full of paintings – managing to get them home from the art class in (almost) one piece. Our local hill – Ham Hill – is always fairly blusterous in a storm – most people take their dog up there on a windy day… well, it’s something to hang on to!

In other news, my New Year Resolution of drawing / sketching every day is notable by its omission(s) – but at least I am getting down to sketching more often than I did – and, if things go on this way, the activity should accelerate under its own momentum.

Now I think about it, this photo is worth making into a sketch or a painting – just as soon as I have completed my ‘blackbird cards’ and ‘snowdrops’ series…. Photos of these anon – but here is one to keep you going: (thanks, Kaye Parmenter, for the blackbird tutorial)IMG_4818IMG_3010

Posted in painting, sea, Uncategorized, weather, winter | Leave a comment

Oh dear!

IMG_4878This gives ‘bringing the house down’ a whole new meaning! The last storm, ‘Frank’, was a storm too many for the ‘African Hut’. The roof came down and brought the crib scene with it… poor Mary, Joseph, baby and Innkeeper were rescued from underneath the debris. The sheep was also located, and I am working on ideas of how to get rid of the pink dye which has discoloured her face (too near a pink fabric bauble). As someone commented: ‘It’s not myrrh the Kings need to bring – it’s bricks!’

Posted in African hut, short stories, storm damage, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Getting ready for Christmas!


Helped by Sherpa, the Crib slowly takes shape…

It’s very nearly Christmas – the full picture very soon!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

More Autumn colours

IMG_4602IMG_4603IMG_4595More Autumn colours – there is something so attractive – in the sense of ‘drawing one in’ – in autumn landscapes. As more mini-views appear, one just has to pull on the walking boots and head off to discover what lies beyond the bare branches.

A lane littered with fallen leaves… it’s definitely time to regress to childhood and kick those leaves!

As for this one – one more storm and all those leaves will be gone and the glorious twisted trunk of the tree will be fully revealed.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Autumn colours, peace and quiet

IMG_4572Autumn colours embraced our journey through Somerset and North Devon during the last week in October. This hillside, with its mystrious zigzag up between the trees, begged to be explored…

the mossy stones and endless flow of water at Watersmeet helped wile away an afternoon with my paints:IMG_4590

IMG_4589This was just a beginning – the next few days were a feast of colour, sights, sounds and fresh sea air – all in temperatures way too high for the time of year – but who was complaining?

A wonderful week – now, back to the grindstone – but refreshed and inspired!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Beguiling Miss Bennet

So, the book launch has happened and the book is now sailing out on the waters, just waiting for you to buy a copy!

If you wish to read my thoughts about the launch or about the story itself, pop over to stuck-in-a-book @ where Simon very kindly allowed me in for a cup of tea and a spot as ‘guest post’.

Meanwhile, here is a poster showing some of the highlights*

*the picture with the bath towel… now there’s a long story behind that one…

Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library

It was a beautiful evening after a day of showers, and the gathered throng happily celebrated this delight of a book – a perfect bedside book with stories to please almost every taste.

At just £8.99 it will solve those Christmas present quandries and bring pleasure to all who read it! (And I don’t say that just because of the royalties!)

Posted in books, Jane Austen, short stories, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Jane Austen, and all that

Life has been pretty exciting just recently – as one of my stories has made it into a beautiful little publication from Honno press on behalf of Chawton House Library. Here’s the press release:

Beguiling Miss Bennet Press release

And here’s the book:IMG_3965

Mine is a little back-story to Nurse Rooke from ‘Persuasion’ – she always intrigued me, taking, as she did, an important and, in some ways, pivotal role in the unmasking of William Elliot. A very slightly drawn figure, she nevertheless appeared to have two significant human traits – compassion and a love of gossip. It was great fun to imagine her history and to give her a few moments in the centre stage

You’ll find her toward the end of the book – so enjoy the many other stories on the way!

Posted in Short story competition winners | Tagged , , | Leave a comment