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My debut poetry pamphlet, Flowers by the Road (Templar Poetry) is now available to order direct from the on-line book shop at Templar Poetry. Price includes free UK shipping.

The collection was a winning entry in Templar Poetry’s Portfolio Awards 2016.

To order a copy please follow this LINK

Thank you

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Flowers by the Road – 2017

Last Stop

A number of original paintings are now available on Artfinder. For a limited time each painting will be delivered with a special selection of free gifts (prints and cards – by me). Please follow this link – Artfinder – for more information.

And to celebrate here’s the fabulous Richard Hawley. What’s not to like.

Flight Dreams

Flight Dream

Look closely and you can just about make out the three para-gliders. Flight Dream is just one of a number of photographs that are now available to purchase online at Photo4me.com – please look at the Gallery page for more details and also new information about the launch of my Artfinder shop where a selection of paintings and limited edition giclée prints will be made available. The photograph was taken just off the Pennine Way at Marsden, West Yorkshire and features the famous Pule Hill.

At a similar time last year some friends introduced me to the wonderful music of Bill Callahan who was playing live in Manchester. Unfortunately work commitments forced me to miss the show and the name slipped to the back of my mind until a year later when, in these post-Yule tide days, I started to scour the furthest recesses of my music collection looking for something to inspire. Fortunately I only needed to get to B for Bill; music collections are like that.

I’m please to say that I’ve now re-discovered Dream River and think that the rest of the world should also do the same. Headphones ready…

 

Good Fences

Good Fences

 

Good Fences – oil on board – 20 x 20cm (ex frame). The final image from the ‘Storm’ series which is now available to purchase from Enjoy Art, a wonderful independent gallery based in the village of Marsden near Huddersfield.

The landscape is the Yorkshire Dales looking towards Ingleborough. The title was inspired by the Robert Frost poem, Mending Wall.

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For a musical interlude here’s the sublime, and appropriately titled,  After The Storm by Mumford and Sons filmed live at the 2010 Eden sessions (just in case you were missing the sunshine).

 

 

 

Last Stop

Last Stop – oil on board – released mid November 2014.

Mist Lifting

Mist Lifting – oil on board – November 2014

Cop Hill,Freezing Cold

Cop Hill, Freezing Cold – oil on board – one of a series of five new paintings released late November 2014. More details coming soon.

The poem, Poles Apart, appears in the new Winter themed journal from those fantastic folks at Word Bohemia. The journal is free to read and contains wonderful illustrations by Amanda Fullwood of SpiralMoonFantasy together with a seasonal selection of prose and poetry.

Throw open the windows and let the outside in!’ was the battle cry from the Middlemoor clan of Ravenshook. It was the annual celebration of the Haw and this meant spring cleaning at the Halls.

Garlands of evergreen that had framed each wall and hung from the cloisters and porticos throughout the dark months were pulled from their hooks and carried to the greening fields. Here a bonfire would be built whose flames would signal for at least thirty miles to the east the news that spring had arrived on the high lands.

People of the low lands waited patiently, looking west towards the mighty Pen – the green goddess whose sleeping outline formed the horizon. Only when the cuckoo stole its first nest on Middlemoor could the Ravens light the fire – only then had spring truly arrived on Middlemoor.

And then it snowed, again!

And did it snow – for the last two weeks I’ve had the surreal experience of driving on roads carved out of ice and edged with walls of snow that in places reached over ten feet in height. Views that would normally reach as far as York and Selby have been stunted by the solid white mass. The road over Holme Moss (the new Tour de France) was closed for fourteen days.

So as spring waited in nature’s lay-by (no overnight parking) then so did all our Easter plans for the outside. The ground works optimistically created during the now infamous ‘March’ dig have, in the last two days, just become visible again in the melting snow.

There were some positive outcomes from the Arctic exploration experience of being trapped. The main being that I could no longer find any excuses not to tackle the wall papering on the stairs and landing. Unfortunately I’d put the job on hold so long that all the paint work needed a fresh coat but at least the daunting task of hanging four metre lengths of expensive wallpaper on walls that laugh in the face of straightness is now complete. Now we sit patiently waiting for carpet that has been in storage for twelve months.

In the midst of all this cold gloom I’ve decided to re-open the Halls and throw out some sunshine. As a reminder, the purpose of the Halls is to re-discover all those songs that sit quietly at the back of your digital library waiting, as patiently as our carpet fitter, to be played for the first time. Sometimes I cheat by playing a favourite that’s been purchased twice with one download remaining un-played. Other times I simply let the dart of fate land on any number it likes. We’ve also had visitors to the Halls and this is very welcome particularly if you think I’m missing a trick. The rules are quite flexible.

This week I’ve re-discovered a real treat from 2007. Taken from their debut mini-album, The Thief and the Heartbreaker, I’ve Known for Long by Alberta Cross is the song of the week. If you imagine a mix of My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon and Neil Young and get quite excited by the prospect then I would urge you to discover more at http://www.albertacross.net/. Not only is the website great but you can also currently download their first proper full album, Songs of Patience (2012) for the sum of £4.99 from a popular digital music download type company that also does phones and computers and things.

View from Spring Hall

After nearly three years living at the end of the road one of the things that we try not take for granted is the silence. Yes, we will always have the birds and their season songs but, with the exception of bleating lambs and the occasional rumble of farm machinery, it’s quite easy to while away the day listening to the pin point of nothing. Time disappears into silence. Without the passing of modern life we frequently prove to ourselves the hopelessness of body clocks and sun charts. During days off the run of life quickly returns to the elements of sleep, hunger and, of course, children.

We have also come to ridicule the weather forecast. Our place on the Pennines is just eight miles south west of Huddersfield yet any similarity with the weather conditions of this grand town stops with the shape of the clouds. As children we would make expeditions to ‘town’ wrapped as though we were Arctic explorers only to be met by strangers wearing jumpers and trainers. Return journeys would be spent re-dressing in the condensed air of the 352 bus in readiness to be evacuated at the West Slaithwaite turning circle where the road would turn white.

Today, the seven am text message that shattered the silence proved that the weatherman had, for once, got it right. School is closed read the first from juniors. Then came the infants and finally the high school; heavy snow had been forecast and heavy snow had landed. The children retreated back to their rooms as we laid in the warmth just looking at the milk white view. Nothing moved; the world was silent again.

The snow reminds me of our days at Rotcher in nearby Slaithwaite where the neighbouring Trans Pennine railway challenged the rural idyll. I used to watch the passing trains and catch glimpses of the passengers; all the passing people journeying, going somewhere. The sound of passing trains became almost comforting: sounds of people; of life still turning. When the trains stopped during heavy snow the silence became almost deafening, almost awkward in the rooms but, strangely, as the snow thawed we would mourn the loss of the silence.

Today is a snow day and that means cancel all plans and enjoy.

Today also sees the publication of a new poem on the poetry and prose webzine, Ink, Sweat and Tears. Threadbare has been described as a poem that will haunt you and, whilst it is a challenging piece of work, there are some universal themes to explore. You can find out more at http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk.

The snow day has secretly put on hold good intentions to sit down with the recently arrived art book, Gloaming by artist and musician, Keaton Henson. If you’ve not already come across Keaton then I would urge you to explore his website at http://www.keatonhenson.com. Keaton’s 2012 album Dear was almost the one that got away but thankfully social media knocked on the door and the track, You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are is quickly heading towards the most played list.

Another book recently arrived that will have to wait is Paul Muldoon’s new collection, Songs and Sonnets. This is a fascinating collection challenging the concept of song lyric as poetry. For more information see http://www.enitharmon.co.uk.

Now back to writing and painting avoidance techniques part one. Just for fun and exploration, here’s a snow inspired playlist to enjoy.

Run – Snow Patrol
Wintered – Songs of Green Pheasant
Snow Borne Sorrow – Nine Horses
Sky Starts Falling – Doves
Silent Hedges – Bauhaus
White Blank Page – Mumford and Sons
Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan
Winter Birds – Ray LaMontagne
Snow (Hey Oh) – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
The Snows – Pentangle

I had considered Snowballed by AC/DC as an extra track but the silence was waiting.

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