Sunday, 3rd July 2005

You can't be alone with your thoughts when it's a lovely summer's afternoon but amongst the buzz of conversation from next door's barbecue the thing that really grates is a visitor repeating about twenty times to a toddler in a patronizing voice:

'Nice wuff-wuff!'

'Fun-nee wuff-wuff!'

'Nice fur-ree wuff-wuff!'

As one of my neighbour's dogs once bit deep into my leg, I would think that the appropriate thing to tell the child would be:

'This is a DOG; it is unpredictable and has very large pointed teeth!'

I might have got my child psychology wrong here and do permanent damage to the child but at least there'd be less of a chance of the dog doing permanent damage!

I don't do baby talk!

dunnockA dunnock sings from the shed roof; a loud, bright song.

The weathered timber of our garden shed appeals to me as I sit at the pond wondering what I'd like to draw. There are more colourful subjects but, having spent the week writing and designing, I'm finding it difficult to launch myself into colour. I just want to pick up a pen and get lost in a drawing.

watercolourWith painting you're breaking off every minute to change the colour on your brush, which interrupts the flow of observation, so - at least as I see it this afternoon - you need to be in a more expansive frame of mind.

A month from now the book should have gone to press and I hope I'll be feeling more relaxed, ready for the challenge of colour.

This drawing might end up in the book anyway.

Etch a Sketch

If it does get printed on a page I hope the character of the drawing will come over better than it does here. It was drawn with a fine-nibbed (0.1 mm) Edding 1800 penwhich gives an effect similar to the lines in an etching. At 75 dots per inch the pixels of a computer screen are too coarse to show this but the 600 dots per inch of lithography should show that dry, scratchy quality which suits the grain of the weathered timbers.

The pen isn't dry and scratchy to use, by the way; the permanent ink flows steadily.

First Harvest

beanWe tried the first of our Kestrel potatoes today; small (that could be because of the weather we've had) and with no damage on the skins, which have reddish patches on them. They worked as well roast as they did boiled and they didn't fall into the water, which I think was something our Maris Pipers used to do.

We also tried a handful of broad bean pods which had beans not much bigger than baked beans in them. If you can resist the temptation to let the pods get bigger, this is the time to eat them, while they're still so tender. Next Page

Richard Bell,