Monday, 29 June 2009

...I'm Filled With Gladness!

The tartist and I got home from work yesterday both flagging from the exertion of feeding and watering our customers in the tropical heat of this current sunny spell and put our feet up and turned the T.V. on in order to watch what was left of this year's Glastonbury music festival. We were not dissapointed, about to take to the stage were Madness, those erstwhile exponents of 'cockney ska' and purveyors of umpteen hit records over the past 30 years (go on, count 'em!).

There I sat grinning from ear to ear with our telly turned up nice and loud as Suggs and his nutty band of merry men entertained as if it was 1980 again playing hit after hit mixed with songs from their most recent concept album (yes Madness have just released a concept album) 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate'. Why is the artist waxing lyrical so? I hear you ask. Well, when I first heard madness' music it had an immediate and profound effect on me, so much so I immediatly replaced my dreadful seventies 'mullet' for a No.3 back and sides, bought myself a crombie coat, fred perry shirt and Doc. Martens. This was music coming from my generation and here they are still, men mostly in their early fifties, still vital, still cool, still able to 'work' a crowd and as I watched the Glastonbury crowd, some in safari suits, pith helmets & false moustaches, some with lime green wigs even a chap on an inflatable sofa crowd surfing and just for a short while my faith in humanity was quote the nutty boys 'if this is madness then I'm filled with gladness'!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Our Friend Joan

Today we took a break from the heat of the café to join our friend Joan at her 85th birthday party. We first met Joan when the Artcafé was in its infancy about six years ago and she's been a regular customer and we have become firm friends. One of the things we're particularly proud of at the café is that people of all ages (including 85 year olds) feel perfectly comfortable sitting on their own passing the time with a coffee. In fact the tartist and I have witnessed many blossoming friendships and one or two love stories as a result of sitting with a coffee in the Artcafé. This for us is a really important function of a business such as ours, not just the food and drink but providing a meeting place for people of all ages and tastes etc. So, happy birthday Joan from theartistandthetartist!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Snoozing ~ Watercolour
This is weird, somehow blogger is inverting colours at the moment. I've tried posting this picture several times with the same strange result, anyhow I'll wait and see if anyone else is getting muddled up colours, then try again.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


I had a most agreeable spot of dinner with the tartist this fine evening at The Coast Inn, overlooking the fleet as we islanders like to call the three muddy channels you can see in the distance. You will have also noticed the two pint glasses containing our beverages, often (for me especially) these would contain something very much darker and 'hoppy', but not this evening. You see I become quite a sucker for this trend of cider drinking, not that cider drinking is in any way a new concept, but the simple idea of filling a pint glass full of ice then pouring your pint of cider over it is, I think, a stroke of genius. On such a warm late June evening it made a perfect accompaniment to my fish and chips. Then with the sun still warm on our backs we walked up the gentle incline towards home, feeling quite fortunate to live on this muddy Essex island.

Friday, 12 June 2009

SFTW ~ Oi Va Voi

I was painting in my studio last night with the radio as company when this came on, my ears pricked up and I thought 'hello...this I like, trumpet, violin, clarinet, guitar playing electro/Yiddish/eastern European melodies...mmm'. I don't know why I haven't heard them before, but there you go, perhaps some of you too are not yet familiar with Oi Va Voi, so, just in case they're my SFTW (something for the weekend) this week. Have a good weekend cosmonauts.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sun Lounger ~ Pencil + Wash 5mins.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Summer Café

David Britton a Mersea artist and poet whose book of poems, paintings and articles is on sale at the Artcafé, wrote this lovely poem from the café terrace the other day. The tartist and I were so taken with it we decided to share it here.

Summer Café

A wedge of town-leafiness
Shadows my chosen corner.
And I consider - coffee, and town-doings
And the work of wisdom that I've brought along
- in no particular order -
They circle around each other, nodding and bowing
Smiling, and giving way-
For none of them has natural precedence here
And all of them know
Their hour and season will come
Without a jousting or jostling.

I stir the voices from the street
Into my coffee.
And the lime leaves out there
Sweetened with air and light
These too go in.
And the roast coffee aroma
Is the first sentence
In my now opened book.

And I consider, that all the wisdom of philosophy
Might be for the sake
Of this, another morning of huge gratefulness
This light and equable noise
This aroma from a high place.

I find in my book
Some sentiments perhaps too harsh, too bitter.
Coffee and sunshine mellow them -
Coffee and sunshine the wise tutors
The completers of schooling, of being.

For perhaps one work of wisdom is done
When one can lean back and smile
In the good place-the café where one needs to be alone
But needs the others there to make that possible.

Such joy within our grasp can make us tremble.
And yes philosophy has done its work
When at the back of our most peaceful smile
A greater, then a greater smile, assemble.

David Britton ~ June 2009

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sociology On The Seawall

I've just returned from an evening walk around the seawall equipped with 'artist jnr.' and his sociology revision cards and Mabel our black lab. As we strolled he revised for his A-level tomorrow, I helped as best I could and Mabel padded around and sniffed a lot, as she does. We were treated with a fabulous Mersea evening as the sun set below Wigborough hill and the tide slid silently up the Strood channel, as it does.

Tomorrow is not only artist jnr's sociology a-level exam but it is also his first opportunity to exercise his democratic right to vote for the very first time which I'm proud to say he's thinking about very seriously. Rather ironically many of the topics on his revision cards reflected current affairs to the letter. For example Sutherland's work on 'White Collar Crime' cropped up and we talked about recent scandals involving M.P's trousering tax payer's money. Strange times are these where relatively modest expenses fiddles look more likely to put an end to this government's reign than the highly unpopular Iraq war.

As the sun sank lower over Strood channel the light and shadows became very dramatic and the three of us made our way off the seawall, between the fields of ripening rapeseed towards home and the end of a very agreeable stroll.