Meeting Family at Xmas Time.

On xmas eve we were walking along the sea front and a man asked me, ‘what kind of dog is that, I think it might be the same as mine’? To cut a long storey short his dog called Poppy, is Cosmo’s sister! Same parents but a newer litter. And knock me over with a feather they live about about a mile away?

Poppy is smaller, round and fluffy and likes being brushed, a kind of Barbie golden doodle. Cosmo is a big boy and likes getting dirty, very much an alpha male, hates being brushed action man type. They chased and romped together happily for 15 minutes while we talked about our dogs. Poppy likes dog fish as well.

Now I have been ‘walking with cosmo’ for about a year now, and this blog has enabled me to create art about my surrounding environment. The fact that it requires a blog to make that happen is something I hope to develop over a wider area than can be covered on a dog walk.

So I am creating a new blog at http://retcreative.blogspot.com/. This will enable me to widen the area that I make art about.

I have only noticed over the holiday that I have already completed three year long projects.

1) photographs of the four seasons changing, mainley taken in the woods. Aut 06- summer 07

2) numerous photos of the wind farm from every month of the year. Oct 08 – Oct 09.

3) A walk with Cosmo. 09

so for 2010 I intend to record the wider kent countrside on my bike for a year. I have two bikes a mountain bike and a road bike. Plus I am carrying a little extra timber these days and I hope the riding will help in that respect as well.

So I will start concluding this blog, but I expect a further decade of walking with Cosmo, so plenty of time to share ideas again if thats the way things turn out.


Every year I get an xmas card from this man and his wife and inside it is a photocopy of a hand written letter which he must send to all his friends and relations, explaining all the things he’s done and goes on to detail what his son has done as well over the past year? Me and wife have laughed at this, saying how old fashioned it is and does anyone really read the carefully written almost ‘Edwardian Script’ style handwriting often employed by older generations.

But this year all we got was a personalised xmas card formally printed with their names on and only two lines about their son building a car, driving a rally in Norway and then selling the car! In a strange way I missed having the full blown version, my expectations were for a lot more info, and I was surprised to see I was a little disappointed.

So In the time honoured tradition I have decided to compile a xmas message.

Both me and my wife have prospered well in this difficult year despite the challenges faced by our current government. My high income tax demand reflects another year of hard and consistent work. Our 3 children are older now and all at secondary school, giving us more time to develop our own careers. My wife has just returned to full time employment in her ‘dream job’ which comes with high demands on time and commitment.

I have noticed a similarity with Michael Bouble’s new album cover and my own website home page! http://www.retcreative.com/.

I have spent a lot of this year like the previous year or two in isolation, in ‘the cooler’ making mosaics. I have managed to obtain some work which brings me out of the workshop and into other people’s worlds, which is healthier as I fear my sanity slowly ebbing away, constantly confined to solitary. My recent projects are in folders which can be opened at http://s213.photobucket.com/home/robturner/allalbums, these show my work over the last couple of years or so.

As always I find it difficult to create work outside of commissioned publicly funded projects. But I have recently completed a residency called ‘The Little blue Hut’. This project had no formal outcome or permanent finished piece. Unique for me. My local City Council were to host a regular blog update as the residency unfolded within their council website. Unfortunately their website froze and it was impossible to keep to this agreement. I hosted the blog on my Myspace site instead, and can be read at, http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendId=260619173. If you are interested then you can view my Myspace site which covers a lot of stuff I have done and is nice and colourful. at,http://www.myspace.com/retcreative

I would like to say that using a blog as a medium to create a body of work in its own right, is an interesting development for me. The drawings generated because of ‘A walk with Cosmo’ would never have been made otherwise. I have a ring binder with drawings in now, the resulting small body of work has made me realise that what is happening is artistic and that I need to now continue, not analyze, as that would stunt the process. Dog walks are just as artistic as pickled sharks or shutting your self in a room with a wolf! This blog has enabled me to find an inner world, and explore my own thoughts and record my surroundings and environment. Not someone else’s surroundings, which is what my portfolio shows.

As for Cosmo he does’nt even know its xmas, but if you visited us he would welcome you with a slipper, a shoe, or even his blanket. Xmas or not he would be pleased to see you.

So Merry Xmas from Cosmo and the ‘Cooler King’.


Remembering Billy Connelly:

We did actually see a St. Bernard the other night, before the snow came. In comparison with its owner it came up inbetween waist and chest height. Looked more like a pony from a distance.

We saw Mason tonight, a scatty chocolate labradoodle and we were exchanging dog stoies. Apparently Mason was ill, £250 at the vets for introvenous drip and some horse pills to cure some kind of food poisening?

I was explaing that Cosmo had eaten something on the beach recently which had made him sick. It was a carrier bag, I found out as I cleaned it up. Masons owner was unimpressed, but I did grab his attention when I went Ass over Tit, I still had my hands in my pockets as I landed very heavily on my backside in the mud.

He said ‘ are you OK, did you slip on the mud’

I found my self repeating a Billy Connelly joke I heard years ago. ‘No, I’m trying to break this bar of chocolate in my back pocket’.


The short cut…..or maybe not.

An eventful dog walk which started by going down onto the beach at Reculver. Its the stone horse beach where the animals are created and Cosmo has just legged it up from the beach to the top of the cliffs. There is a special passage up the cliff face; we have often used this as a short cut. But it is a one way short cut, Cosmo has never managed to reach the beach going down it, the last section too steep for him.

He can however, get up it in jiffy. I can do it both ways, except now in the mud. I can see Cosmo waiting for me at the top in the usual way, this is the third time I have slid back down with large cakes of clay/mud stuck to the bottom of my wellies like snowshoes. I now try a different tactic by trying to get him back down to the beach with dog treats and lots of enthusiastic ‘come on boy’s’. I even walk along the beach leaving him up there thinking under pressure like this; he will have to follow me. This does not work either, so I’m forced to climb up this wet clay cliff face. I have failed another half dozen times and the last one I got into the key part of the climb ‘The Gully’, but no grip nothing to hold onto and its the longest distance I have fallen. The epaulette on my jacket has collected some mud on the way down as I land on the beach upside down and head first. I know I’m not going to get badly hurt however many times I have to slide from the bottom of the gully to the beach.

Cosmo is getting agitated and barking at me. I am pretty muddy all over and realising this, I think of course…… its ok to press any part of my body to the sides of the gully for traction. I’m not worried about how dirty I get anymore. Got to get in the gully and up it, then the rest is a formality. And I’m in there again now with my knees, elbows, the small of my back, everything pressing onto the sides for grip. The mud….. who cares, it is actually a nice orange colour, reminds me of an earthy red oxide pigment with an orange bias called sinopia or sinoper, which was used for the under layer for fresco paintings. I was being dainty about it before. I’m taking the weight on my knee and pressing my shoulder in and it’s not that difficult really. I had to compromise by getting dirty so what, and at the top Cosmo is running around the cliff top in figures of eights as I get there. Something I have seen him do before. It has taken me 10-15 minutes to do this, he did it in about 10-15 seconds and basically he’s just run up it. In this mud? That’s pretty impressive.


The rise of sea levels!

It’s persisting down again tonight and we both got a little wet.

We seen the two burmese mountain dogs and the woman who wears the high viz jacket when she walks them. She dosn’t stop talking that woman, she tells me all about her family and friends, like I know them. I dont know who, what shes talking about. There’s Dave and someone who lives in Dorset who breeds ringtailed plovers or something, and that bench there, oh they put it in the wrong place, that one is our one, when Verity died the council put them in its £500. Ted will be out later with my husband. (Ted is another burmese mountain dog, he’s the biggest dog on the manor. Ted and Cosmo kind of grumble bad temperedly when they meet, face up and growl. It never really kicks off like Sid).

We seen a terrier, all mouth them terriers, Cosmo does his little ‘Ali Shuffle’ and side steps them lets them think he’s been seen off good and proper.

I just walked through a puddle about 25 feet long. Cosmo has his puddle he always lays down in, that same puddle. Every time its there he lays in it, even on cold horrible nights he does it.

And then we met this bloke who says he has had his beach hut for about 6-7 years. He says in that time, the distance from the waters edge at high tide to his beach hut has halved!

I dont know if thats true.