Introduction

Me and Cosmo walk together every day rain or shine. And over the years we have got to know local woodlands and sections of the coast line very well.  This daily routine provides the opportunity for me to create art about where I live, the landscape we walk together. This was always my plan, but somehow I was never able to achieve it.

So we are entering middle age together and a new era in our lives. I hope this blog will mark the return to ‘Painting’….. another one of those unrealised plans. So the time and the circumstances come together for ‘Another Walk With Cosmo’.

http://rob-turner.blogspot.co.uk/


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So, now two years have passed and I don’t have another dog. I think I will get one but not at the moment. My life has lost the structure that it used to have, which in some ways is good, its nice to have flexibility. On the other hand having the structure was good it made me achieve things.

I had completely lost the habit of walking and as result don’t see the changes going on around me. Having the dog empowered my walks took me to places gave them purpose. I was never intimidated by any kind of  boundary or situation. Now if I do walk its timid keeping to pathways and within limits. I obey signs and I keep out…..these are bad things. Its way more interesting to break out, have a look and find out. I was liberated with the dog!

As the spring has started I found myself walking a little and discovered the area around the Share and Coulter which had been fly tipped to such a degree that I thought it would make the regional news after the 6.pm national news. The amount of rubbish was astonishing but because I never went there I cant describe it really. I did take a photo once, passing in the car as I was so shocked.

It has been like this for a year or so and is typical of the Edgelands  Paul Farley and Michael Symmons describe in their book. This is what happens in the wilderness?

Anyway because I walked past I know  the council must have cleared it up! I even looked inside the window ….shocking. This pub was a going concern when it closed and I expected it to just change hands. But it is a ruin now.

It’s Good To Walk.


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It is exactly a year now since Cosmo died and I have not got another dog.

The commitment to dog ownership is massive and I have not had a knee jerk reaction into replacing the hole left by his passing, as the commitment is considerable.

This responsibility and commitment is a double edged sword, because that responsibility is what I am relieved of, yet that is what made the relationship between us so worthwhile. An emotional  investment I loved, yet not willing to embark on so soon, or even maybe ever  in the future.

Cosmo was not just a pet.

Though I can’t say he was a working dog, in the sense of a guide or hearing dog, my independence has not been diminished since he went. He was what might be described as a co-worker and I am not ashamed to say how much it cut me up when went. I think some people say what’s the feckin deal, a dog move on.

I enjoy talking to people who own or had dogs and I take solace from their stories.

Grief is cyclical and comes in waves and I am still unable to walk along the local coast line or in the woodlands without considerable pangs of grief and melancholy one year on. The places, the paths, the trees, the seasons, the birds all triggers to some kind of sense of loss. Perhaps a testament to how Cosmo connected me to the natural world for which I am truly grateful.

I am proud of the tribute I created to him in the woodlands. A spot I visit sometimes where the crows, the ponies, the trees, the flowers and the deer all merge together into a place of equality. A place where I am embarrassed and apologise for how we treat the planet, as if it was there only for our benifit. Sharing….. a concept not on board.

R.I.P. Cosmo.

 

 

 


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The Last Post

Cosmo’s Post

A couple of days ago I installed Cosmo’s Post in the woods. I got permission from the owners of the woodlands, who were very understanding and allowed me to make the tribute. I made it from the trunk of a chestnut tree from the woods.

We spent a lot of time in these woods, and while I was artist in residence there he came to work with me every day. We spent many whole days in there.

I placed it right over the back of the woods a nice quiet spot and close to  where several years ago now we had had a couple of adventures together regarding other animals, namely wild boar and three ponies. There was an incident when I truly believed Cosmo had found a way into the wild boar enclosure and was actually fighting with them. It turned out he had found a hole in perimeter fence to the empty enclosure next door and was so giving them what for, on the other side of wire fence. ……….Relief when I realised I did not need to go in there and get him out………….and

The Konic Ponies was another fine mess he got me into..I thought the enclosure was empty as I remembered (or so I thought) seeing the ponies in another enclosure only a day or two before, so I was confident the enclosure was empty. So we went in and after a short while I saw 3 ponies (actually they are  horses really) running at full speed in the distance. Then sure enough as I suspected I saw Cosmo charging along after them. Eventually I got him back on his lead and we started making our way out rather sheepishly. The ponies I had forgotten about by now, as I was rather focused on finding a pathway out. Suddenly they were there in front of me, in a row walking towards us. It very soon became apparent that no matter how much Cosmo barked at them they were not going to be distracted and continued to walk towards us. It was like the Magnificent Seven with Url Brenner they stayed in a line and continued walking and walking forcing us back through bushes, undergrowth, brambles. I was actually running now, and they still kept up with me and pressed me back and back. I managed to pick Cosmo up and lift/throw him over the fence and I followed PDQ not caring how just as long as I got over it……

So, my post did have the three horses on, it has wild flowers, a deer, crows and oak trees. Several images of Cosmo and his foot prints plus a little bit of text.

It’s a nice part of the woods and one of the remotest. The wild boar are gone and they have been replaced with about a dozen deer. Lots of crows, I think there must be a rookery there.

So R.I. P. Cosmo.


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A mainly visual tribute to my companion Cosmo on his final walk.

My work mate, my shadow, my muse and my friend.

A big miscalculation, I don’t think the formula of 1-7 years works in relation to dog and human life spans.

The vet told me he was dying at an average age for a dog his size.

He so enjoyed his walks, he was walking 20 minutes before the end.

Walking was preferable to standing, sitting and laying down, right till the very, very end.

I have a receipt dated 12 March 2015 with a line which reads:

Individual Cremation Giant Dog: 165.00

I walked on the shoulders of a Giant.


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The first last walk, though I didn’t know it, was ‘Over the Golf Course’. We went at the time when all the children were leaving school making the roads busy, ribbons of students along the pavements. The streets full of life. We parked in our usual place and onto the former Golf Course, Cosmo always skips through the metal gateway and I always go over it.  Inside it is empty and tranquil considering only a few hundred yards away the housing estate is bustling with people moving about…only birds in here. The putting greens are unrecognizable and two of them in the section I call the meadow have rabbit holes dug into them now.

So first of our check list of tasks is to have a look at the graffiti. There has been a lot of reworking the graffiti in the foot tunnel under the A229 since our last visit. New graffiti in styles I don’t recognise, these must be new people covering the work of people I have got to recognise. These were ‘Eliza’ who I can see no trace of now and ‘Loner’ who has focused on working at the tunnel entrance.

I have to say that Loner’s graffiti is more like an abstract painting on the wall using paint brushed on with not so much of the spray can as you would expect. I think Eliza may have stopped graffiti now, but looking at the dates inscribed over the years I have been looking at this stuff, I think Eliza may have up to 10 years of work on these walls….all covered over now with a new style and new ideas. I wonder if Eliza ever kept a sketch book or took a photo record of the work? We check the horse, who still has no stable, with the charred remains still piled up against the fence. The horse has a muddy coat on and he has spent the winter with no shelter. The next on our check list is the new excavations. These are still two ponds and I tentatively walk in to test how deep they might be and can tell that they would very easily go over the top of my wellies. We find a broken piece of 2×2 timber, with black felt pen says: 1.2m dig to pond centre from edge.

 

I kick a golf ball I just found about 200 yards to a putting green and left it there, at the place I guess I planted some wild flower seeds years ago which never did germinate.

Before we go I decide to have a look at the driving range as I notice the chain link fence and green netting has gone. I climb over a wire broken wire fence and have to leave Cosmo behind as he can’t get over. I scrabble up the bank and look all the way down the range to the sheltered end where you would have smashed your bucket of balls from. There was a white van and a small car parked there now!

We walk back to the car now through some snowdrops.

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Our next last walk was along the beach to see the Horses Head Stone.  This is a walk we have been doing for what must be over nine years. It has a public bench I made for Canterbury City Council on this walk. The bench was inspired by walks with Cosmo  along the coast line and the carvings on the bench record things we have seen and the local landmarks we visited together. It is called the groyne wood bench made from groyne timbers supplied by the council..

The horses head stone is not visible if the tide is in, but we are lucky today and the tide is right out as far as it will go and there is a strange feel as it is quite hard to see where the sea finishes and the sky starts. The wind farm is faintly hanging in space as the horizon is difficult to make out. So is the horses head stone I can’t see it in the strange light conditions.

No, it’s not this far along, we have walked passed it, and I turn back and to retrace my steps. Missed it again…. its usually easy to see as it one the highest stones sticking out of the beach. It’s too big to carry off, I say to myself. And who would anyway, probably only me. But I can’t believe that I I’m unable to find it and I have to systematically traverse the area in lines to locate it.

It has slid over and come to rest wedged under a large neighbouring stone, a little tucked away. I am quite shocked at this as it is so unexpected. The action of the sea has washed the beach away lower and lower revealing more of the Horse Head features as the pebbles get washed away. I have recorded this changing process since Aug 2008 and have several dozen photos of the stone going through various transformations. The last photo I have was Nov14 so over the winter the beach has got lower and it has eventually undermined it.

I am so surprised, I had not anticipated this and I have a powerful sense of missing it happen. After all these years I should be able to pinpoint the event  much closer than a 3month window. It has affected me and I can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of our walk. I once asked a local writing group months ago to try and create some kind of prehistory myth around the theme of the creation stones and the horses head. I had hoped that their text would inspire me to make some kind of narrative around the stone. It did not float anyone’s boat so to speak and I only have one or two drawings of it. A whole body of work was on my to do list, but somehow I have not done it…and now it’s fallen over and any creation myths have to change with it. If there were any! The world is different in some way now.

Cosmo is up the gully and on the cliff top already, waiting for me to climb

up.


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