Today is my birthday! No big deal, but cards from my family and friends with things like ‘TOTE AMAZE BALLS’ (which is a compliment apparently) and ‘we are not old – we’re retro’ emblazoned on the front are heart-warming.

Age is not a subject that’s tackled very often by artists – but look at Rembrandt! But that was a different time.

Sorting out my photos from yesterday, I also have the beginnings of a series I’m calling ‘The Last of England’.

Isn’t life amazing and strange when you’re an artist?


Have returned – my hopes realised, in part. The quarry is indeed rubbish strewn – but it must have a history, and that’s what I’ll search for over the next few days. Meanwhile some pics:

I fought through chin high nettles for these – my ‘machete’ was no more than a bamboo cane from the garden, which was soon reduced to a 6 inch stick, but I did wear thick trousers,boots and gloves!

Need to return with a tripod – that might be tricky!


Made a lovely discovery yesterday.Finally decided to stop my car and check out a site that I’ve passed a million times before.

I could see from the road that it had been a quarry and fully expected it to be a rubbish tip. To some extent it is; the usual discarded tyres, containers, rusting metalwork. But it’s bigger than I expected, with standing water, creating a wonderful secret nature reserve. I couldn’t get too close – the nettles were as tall as me, and I had open sandals on – not the best footwear for exploring.

But I’ll return today, with camera and machete, to explore. It has wonderful secrets: just the sort of place I love.


Had to judge a school art competition for Margate Civic Society last week: not at all easy! Lots of fantastic drawings and paintings of the Margate Clock Tower, Turner Contemporary, and the Tudor House!

South East Open Studios has finished and by various accounts has been more successful this year, at least in this East Kent area. I wonder if this will be sustainable, or whether it’s a temporary response to the financial crisis? It’s quite an investment of time and energy as well as money, so let’s hope it signals new and positive behaviour: artists need all the help they can get!

Meanwhile I’m still re-orienting myself in my new space: have temporarily mislaid the special rocks that I was working with before the move, and feel lost without them. On the good side, I’m looking back through sketch books and journals, and re-discovering the landscape I was working within.


Today is the first day I’ve been able to walk into my studio and think about work. Hard to believe that things take so long, but I’m in at last, and have my paintings around me, reminding me of where I’d got to…

The past two weeks have been strange: a visit from my oldest sister in America prompted me to want to talk about our father, who died before I was born.

What gaping holes are left in lives where things are covered up, ignored or put away. As a small child growing up I knew that the life I was living was not quite the one I might have had, but no-one talked about our loss.

Our recent conversations, myself and my two sisters (there are two brothers as well) did little to fill in the holes, but it was a glimpse into the life that included my Dad.

He was a POW in North Africa and came home in 1945 tired, thin and almost unrecognisable. He died from an accident at work in March 1949. I was born in June 1949.