Bean Thinking

Saturday, 21st February 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

navigation bar

Previous Day Previous Page | This Month | Home Page | Next Page Next Page

navigation bar
beans in envelopes

After a week of errands and drawing it's time to catch up in the studio. Those runner bean pods that I sketched on the 27th January have been sitting on my plan chest in a box ever since.

Runners, broad and dwarf French: I put them in separate envelopes ready for planting sometime soon.

There's only one junk mail reply-paid envelope in the recycling bin so I pick up a couple of envelopes that are lying around the studio. The discarded bean pods go for recycling on our compost heap.

I wouldn't be without e-mail but letters are different: they're like bean pods. You open them and there's some thought, runner beansome emotion, some idea that a friend has taken the trouble to write to you with; encapsulated, like the bean, with its embryonic shoot and root curled up inside, just waiting to find some fertile ground where, perhaps, it can grow.

runner beancork oaksCork Oaks

The broad bean envelope was from my friends Jacqui and David and contained a letter about environmental threats to the Erith Marshes near Bexley, South London, and to the Iberian cork oak forests.

cork by JacquiDavid Black, who is a veteran of several environmental campaigns, notably the so-far successful one to protect Oxleas Woodlands SSSI, admits to 'campaigners burn out'. I know the feeling, but one of the ways we can help protect the cork oak forests is, so he tells me, to buy wine with a real cork in the bottle, rather than with a plastic stopper or a screw-top.

Now, that's one campaign that I'll never suffer 'burn out' from.

I've know Jacqui Atkinson since she and I were students in the Illustration Department at the Royal College of Art in the early 1970s. She and David now live most of time on a campsite on a wild coast somewhere in Portugal.

'I'm enclosing my 'brainstorm' about “montados”,' she writes (detail, one sixth of the whole thing, above right), 'This was executed outdoors, at the campsite, with plenty of heavy stones to stop the paper blowing away - and a couple of dictionaries. My knowledge of montados is fairly limited but we have seen these sort of places first hand and read about them in the Portuguese press.' Next Page

Richard Bell,

navigation bar

Previous Day Previous Page | This Month | This day last year | Home Page | Next Page Next Page

navigation bar