Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In The Bleak Midwinter

Well, we've reached that midwinter point again, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the longest night.

Somehow this song from Sting just resonates with me both musically and lyrically on this our longest night...

"Ghost Story"

I watch the Western sky
The sun is sinking
The geese are flying South
It sets me thinking

I did not miss you much
I did not suffer
What did not kill me
Just made me tougher

I feel the winter come
His icy sinews
Now in the fire light
The case continues

Another night in court
The same old trial
The same old questions asked
The same denial

The shadows closely run
Like jury members
I look for answers in
The fire's embers

Why was I missing then
That whole December
I give my usual line:
I don't remember

Another winter comes
His icy fingers creep
Into these bones of mine
These memories never sleep

And all these differences
A cloak I borrow
We kept our distances
Why should it follow I must have loved you

What is the force that binds the stars
I wore this mask to hide my scars
What is the power that pulls the tide
I never could find a place to hide

What moves the Earth around the sun
What could I do but run and run and run
Afraid to love, afraid to fail
A mast without a sail

The moon's a fingernail and slowly sinking
Another day begins and now I'm thinking
That this indifference was my invention
When everything I did sought your attention

You were my compass star
You were my measure
You were a pirate's map
A buried treasure

If this was all correct
The last thing I'd expect
The prosecution rests
It's time that I confess: I must have loved you

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Winter Trip To Orford

The tartist and I have just returned from yet another rather splendid few days away in Orford, a favourite nearby spot up in Suffolk. It's strange really as it is relatively close to home and very similar in it's landscape etc. but to us it seems quite far from our every day hustle & bustle. We stayed at the Crown & Castle which overlooks the old castle in Orford built by Henry 2nd in 1170'ish (the castle, not the hotel!). It is a great place for a few days unwinding with tastefully designed rooms plus an excellent 'unfussy' restaurant with a lovely menu on which there is always locally landed fish which suits us both really well.

Orford Castle through the bathroom window of our room.

Reed Beds at Snape

The bitterly cold weather, snow & ice was a feature of this particular visit and on a couple of days out I tentatively drove us on the icy road a few miles through Tunstall forest to Snape.
At Snape the old maltings have been converted into a concert hall and visitor centre with an art gallery, cafés and shops but one of the real beauties of Snape for me is the vast area of reed beds that surround the maltings. Despite the cold I went out walking with my camera (it really was too bitter for sketching this time) under very leaden skies between blizzards, meeting up later with the tartist for hot chocolate & cake. I'm pleased to say I have returned with some very interesting reference material of the snowy, muddy, windswept reeds.

On our way home we once again stopped off in Woodbridge and spent rather more than we ought to have on books in Browsers bookshop & café, where the coffee is pretty decent and the cakes are all homemade from recipes taken from books available for sale in the shop (a simple and brilliant marketing rouse on their part). As I've mentioned before in a previous post this part of Suffolk is really well worth a trip out even if it's just for the day. I can guarantee we'll be returning soon.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Shuffling First 15 Meme...

'The Hottest Day, Feldy Marshes' ~ Watercolour

I've not indulged myself in one of these 'memes' before, but this one from 'Banksy Boy' had me intrigued. Here's what to do...

1) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.
2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up–song title and artist
–NO editing/cheating, please.

1/ 'Oxford Comma' ~ Vampire Weekend
2/ 'Carraroe'/'Out On The Ocean' ~ Dennis Cahill & Martin Hayes
3/ 'The Meeting' ~ XTC
4/ 'Contusion' ~ Stevie Wonder
5/ 'Sunrise Over Sea' ~ John Butler Trio
6/ 'Come On Let's Go' ~ Los Lobos
7/ 'Brown Eyed Girl' ~ Van Morrison
8/ 'Me And Mr. Jones' ~ Amy Winehouse
9/ 'Some Kind Of Wonderful' ~ Paul Young & Q-tips
10/ 'Fool Who Knows' ~ Nick Lowe
11/ 'Needle & Thread' ~ Richard Thompson
12/ 'Two Dancers' ~ Wild Beasts
13/ 'Nzaji' ~ Mario Rui Silva
14/ 'A Sigh' ~ Crowded House
15/ 'Indian Queens' ~ Nick Lowe

So, this is what I get from a random snapshot of my i-pod, I don't quite know what to make of it as there is simply so much more variety on there that could have cropped up. Only two really contemporary artists there, Vampire Weekend plus the weird and wonderful Wild Beasts. Still an interesting little exercise. Give it a go friends...I'm curious to see what you get on yours!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween 2010

The artist and the tartist became members of that rather exclusive and slightly aloof minority group 'The living dead' this weekend or zombies if you prefer. It's not easy being a reanimated corpse, especially outside on a chilly October evening, but our good friends Pete & Val made us really warm with their hospitality, chilli con carne and chimeneas. You know it is genuinely heartwarming to be in a group of old friends and witness a werewolf talking to Uncle Fester about his power steering or indeed the Wicked Witch of the West talking to Count Dracula about working in accounts. So, you've probably deduced we were at a fancy dress Halloween party and a splendid time was had by kids and adults alike.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Grapes Of Wrath - Poignantly Re Visited

The tartist and I were fortunate to go and watch the Mercury Theatre's production of 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck last night, H/T Peter and what a superb play it is, extremely poignant, moving and hauntingly relevant once again. The time seems absolutely ripe for this amazing story to be re visited right now, and I for one came away feeling very aware of the narrow margin that exists between good fortune and plenty and poverty and desperation. The best play we've seen at the Mercury in quite a while and urge you if you can in the last couple of days it has to run to go and see it if you can, you won't be disappointed I'm sure.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

We've just returned from a bracing walk on the seawall, one of our favourite routes, with plenty of salty air, wildfowl, saltmarsh and today a fairly chilly northerly breeze too. Having a rare midweek day off we barely saw another person, just the tartist, mabel and myself and a big blue dome of a sky over the Strood Channel.

With the sun much lower now the October light has a quality all of its own, casting much longer more defined shadows and more saturated colours everywhere. And the fluffy clouds and prussian blue sky looked just like the title sequence from The Simpsons!

A rare blog picture of the tartist in her hat with Mabel

Monday, 18 October 2010

The Return of The Geese

'View Across Ray Marshes' ~ Pastel

Last night we heard the distinct 'honking' sound that marks the arrival at this time of year of the migratory Brent Geese to the saltmarsh around Essex. We always look forward to hearing them, especially at night when laying in bed, as their arrival here puts another punctuation mark in the seasonal cycle. This usually seems to coincide with the arrival of colder weather and this week sure enough it turned up too.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Ten, ten, twenty-ten! It's definitely Autumn here on Mersea now, here is the view that greeted us on arrival at work at 7.30 this morning with the sun peeking over the yews in the church yard opposite. The leaves are falling and being swirled around on the ground and there is a dew on the grass each morning, the tartist and I both commented to each other how fortunate we are to live and work here.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Artie & Vincent

Like millions of people we're woken up most mornings by the dulcet tones of a radio alarm, not too loud you understand, not so quiet as to be ignored. It blips into action this time of year at 6am then for a period of time just after that we find ourselves in that very pleasant semi conscious state listening to whatever the beeb is broadcasting our way. We mostly have on radio two these days, which may be a bit of a giveaway as to which demographic the pair of us has slipped into. We experimented with 6 music for a while but didn't find it quite what we were after for our wake up tunes, but its pretty good later in the day. Once downstairs it has to be radio four for news, weather, 'thought for the day' etc., anyhow I digress.

This morning we were woken by a fabulous swing tune by Artie Shaw titled 'Frenesi', which was a most pleasant start to today. Now hearing this I was reminded of something I read that Artie Shaw was quoted to have said about Vincent Van Gogh and is so simple in it's language but so profoundly true of all great artists, be they painters, writers, musicians etc. that I thought I'd share it here.

'What was Van Gogh about? God knows, we could talk about that forever. One thing we do know is that he was not trying to please somebody else. He was trying to do what he had to do.' ~ Artie Shaw

Sunday, 19 September 2010

'Antiques and Collectables' ~ Watercolour & Gouache
We are pleased to see our neighbours at 'The Poop Deck' in Coast Road have started the blogging habit, so here is a kind of welcome to the blogosphere painting. I painted this about 12 months ago from one of Lyn's fab. dressed windows.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Saltmarsh Sketces #1

Here are a few hasty pencil sketches done on a very blustery, showery afternoon on the seawall. I think this may be the spark for something bigger on saltmarsh I've wanted to do for simply ages. We shall see.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Living On An Island

View Across Strood Channel to Wigborough Hill ~ Pastel on paper

"He who has never seen himself surrounded on all sides by the sea can never possess an idea of the world, and of his relation to it." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

We've been getting some pretty big tides this week and of course the Strood has been getting covered for a time each day and as a consequence we're getting all the usual questions in the shop from curious visitors to the island, who have found themselves marooned for an hour or so. From the "how on earth do you all put up with it?" and "how long until we can get across?" to (almost unbelievably) "should we find a place to stay until it goes down?". And yesterday a nice couple visiting from Scotland, with a view to a move down south to Mersea, asked me "as a local, how do you feel about getting caught by the tide?". This, I think is a very interesting question that raises a couple of wider questions, like, how do any of us feel about living on this relatively small, muddy island and do we possess an island mentality? after all we are, in Britain, all islanders in a broader sense.

After briefly trawling the Internet for references to island mentality it quickly becomes apparent most views of this are negative, which it seems is in part due to the fact that most uses of the term island mentality seem to refer to the cultural, moral, ideological isolation of island life, whilst this may be true for some, small isolated, islands (probably not for a heavily populated place like Mersea, only a spitting distance from the mainland) it still doesn't satisfy the question of whether there is a deeper feeling or state of mind associated with living on a small lump of land, surrounded on all sides by water, or mostly mud in our case! I'm not entirely sure myself, but I, like others have a deep affinity with this place, that seems to get stronger as I get older. There is also some comfort for me in living such a geographically defined place as an island, as opposed to a sprawling suburb say.

One of the positive aspects of getting caught by the tide here is that it can be spectacularly beautiful when the salt marsh is covered. For an hour or two we are truly isolated and have our timetable set by nature again, and are reminded that we are not actually in control of everything. I'm sure there are many who live here and have been caught by the tide on a summer's night on the Colchester side of the Strood and like me have got out of the car, rolled up their trousers and paddled around on the footpath under the stars to the sound of the seabirds, until the water has receded.
I think for the couple from Scotland contemplating a move to an island like ours, if you are seriously concerned about the tide covering the road a few times a month, then, maybe you should look elsewhere.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

TBTE 08.09.2010 Village Green No.VG247

Village Green No.VG247

I'm just back from my evening constitutional around the seawall with my canine companion Mabel. This, believe it or not, is one of our village greens here on Mersea Island and is also probably one of the most photographed, sketched & painted scenes by locals and visitors alike. I'm not ashamed to admit that this particular corner of the waterfront just at the end of The Lane has been something of a 'pot boiler' for me too over the years.

'Old Trawlers' ~ Watercolour

I admit it's not much like your architypal village green but little spaces like this muddy one of ours are very precious indeed and definately need preserving.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Back In The Studio

It's been a while again hasn't it, sorry, but joy of joys I managed to get into my studio again yesterday for a few hours. So I have a new medium sized watercolour underway and a big imperial sheet of the gorgeous 'Arches' stretched and ready to go for a much larger painting that I've been planning for some time. Whilst working yesterday I had a musical studio companion in the form of Sufjan Stevens which seemed to go well with the work, so here's a little taster of the joyfully odd & eclectic Sufjan for those who are not familiar with his music. I know I keep saying this but, I will try to keep more regular with my posting.

Friday, 16 July 2010

We No Speak Americano

This is not part of our usual aural diet, but it's somehow worked it's way in there. We can't stop humming it, and the video is brilliant too, any how we thought we share it with you. Just for the record, an 'Americano' is also a classic long black coffee, I'll tell you why in a future post if you don't already know. Have a good weekend peeps!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Search For A Diabetic Cake

Has anyone out there got any fabulous cake recipes for diabetics?

Having cracked (albeit with just one cake) the gluten free barrier, I am now on the hunt for a diabetic cake that is good enough that non diabetics will like it too. I have found that often the recipes for diabetics are a sort of last ditch attempt to pretend that you are allowed cake.

My dad pretended for years that Orange Fruit Teabread was ok for him because he liked it, but for the diabetically challenged it was disastrous. I would like to find a cake that leaves diabetics feeling spoilt & lucky, not disappointed. I've tried two types of apple cake but as my guinea pig Mrs. Borrie will tell you, they were horrible. What's needed is a 'sneaky cake' that looks, feels and tastes fantastic but is, almost accidentally, good for us all.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Lemon & Almond Polenta Cake

Since opening 'Cake-Hole' we've been asked often for something for those of you who have to follow a 'gluten free' diet. I'm now pleased to say we have a cake on offer that is both gluten free and ruddy delicious, these two adjectives are sadly almost never used in the same sentence. It's been our experience with gluten free cake often the flavour is all there but the texture is dissapointing, in contrast the tartist's Lemon & Almond Polenta Cake is both zesty and has a lovely texture... come on down all you gluten avoiders!

Saturday, 10 July 2010


It has been some time time since our last post and now we're able to break radio silence in order to reveal what we've been up to in the last few weeks. Our blog here has had to remain idle in order that we could shopfit and prepare our sparkling new venture here on Mersea Island called 'Cake-Hole', a brand new shop just two doors down from the Artcafé. Why 'Cake-Hole'? I hear you ask, well, for some considerable time demand for the tartist's homemade cakes etc. has far exceeded capacity in our little kitchen/servery at the artcafé and to be honest we've fancied having a 'deli' style shop for quite a while. so now in addition to a lovely new shop we now have an ample catering kitchen to better service the cafés, plus a dedicated office for all our admin.



Artisan breads, fresh daily.

Some of our olives, pistou, feta stuffed & global.

Our 'own label' ground coffees

It has been quite an effort to get this whole thing off the ground and quite a steep learning curve that we're still on having never before been in the business of retailing lovely stuff. Our ethos is to joyfully provide all manner of delicious things with an emphasis on homemade, locally sourced (or as local as possible) and good quality, with our list of stuff growing gradually each week it currently includes:- Artisan breads; fresh daily, Maggie & Jenny's homemade cakes, olives, quality leaf teas & coffee, Mersea Island free range eggs, Hadley's Farm Dairy ice cream, homemade chutney & salad dressing, plus a growing stock of stuff we can't quite describe in a word but is 'foodie' related, so, you get the gist of it so far.

We've had the name 'Cake-Hole' on ice for a couple of years now in the hope that the ideal premises would come along, and have determinedly shied away from calling our shop a 'Deli.' Not least because most deli's these days seem to by in loads of jams & chutneys etc. that are basically factory made products dressed up to look like your granny made them. Although not strictly speaking a deli., Cake-Hole is very deli-like and in the fullness of time we may not be able to resist stocking cheeses, cold meats and more conventional deli. fare alongside our olives and artisan breads already on offer.

Some of the fruits of the tartist's labours, red onion relish & honey-mustard salad dressing.

In addition to all this we've installed our old espresso machine from the Artcafé, which now has a shiny new one, so we can also make you a cappuccino etc. in our shop when things are extremely busy next door. But, of course our new shop is still in its infancy and very much a work in progress and we welcome any suggestions that would help us make improvements and extend our range to stock the sorts of things you like to buy on a regular basis.
Hopefully now this new project is up and running we can now keep our posts a bit more regular.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Ukulele Is Good For You!

This short film confirms what we've suspected for some time. The humble ukulele can work wonders.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

St. Valentine's Biscuits

Contrary to popular belief St. Valentine was in fact a humble biscuit maker from Mersea Island, so, to celebrate this little known fact our Jenny has made some rather nice homemade biscuits for today. One batch of ginger, one of chocolate and one of shortbread...that's one each, plus one to share for £1.50, lovely with a pot of tea.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

SFTW ~ F-Sharp

If this doesn't make you laugh...then you're probably dead. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Robin Hood Tax

Bill Nighy, who portrays slippery characters to perfection, in a short film in support of Robin Hood Taxes.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

The Snow Returns & The Performing Right Society

The view from the Artcafé first thing this morning

As soon as we got to work this morning it started snowing again, only a dusting so far, but very pretty looking out from table 6.

Yesterday I had a phone call from The Performing Right Society, the organisation set up to collect fees on behalf of copyright holders of music, predominantly authors and music publishers. Fair enough, you might think. We've been grudgingly paying our dues since they caught up with us about two years ago, approx. £200 per café, per annum. And yesterday they called to remind us our fee was due for the next 12 months. This fee is apparently due for playing music where the general public is within 'earshot' which obviously includes cafés, shops, hairdressers, garages etc. etc. I can hear you asking what's your problem Jim? well, I have several...

When PRS first make their initial contact they convey themselves as a government style organisation who are collecting monies for all artists broadcast. Failure to do so is met with the threat of legal action. The PRS only collect and distribute money to their own members (who pay a fee to join by the way) by no means all artists. They are not connected to the government. 

Let's assume you are a hairdresser who likes to listen to the BBC on the radio whilst cutting your customer's hair, you are required to pay the PRS. a license fee each year for this. Now, when a song is broadcast, a fee is collected for the writer, performer etc. at the point of broadcast, and presumably a certain percentage of the original purchase price of the media, be it CD or digital download etc. is too. How can it be right that you, the hairdresser, have to pay a fee at the point of reception?...we don't charge our customers twice for their coffee! 

I always pay for the music I download and CD's too, I think it is only right and fair to the artist who's original work I'm enjoying, but this weird blanket license/tax on top is quite frankly 'milking it' and I don't like it. It also takes no account of how many times a particular artist gets a play, I might want to play Mozart all day and no Robbie Williams at all, yet, presumably Mr. Williams still gets a cut, like I say, milking it.

To put it crudely from a PRS. point of view, it is the same music (already paid for), same ears, different room. I don't have much time for researching all the in's and out's but there seems to to be no specific legal definition of a public performance. I'd be curious to know if anyone yet has been successfully 'nicked' for refusing to pay the PRS and it might be well worth an organiseation like the Federation of Small Businesses looking into the legality of these charges. 
I have to add that I, in no way want to deprive musicians and artists of what's due to them (I am one myself) but my instinct tells me that these charges smell fishy.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Blair Witch Hunt

Something Sam posted on his blog [H/T] the other day has got me thinking. The link alludes to the nature of an apology vis a vis this miserable affair (the Iraq war). Now with Tony Blair about to have his day in front of the Iraq Inquiry the whole process seems to have taken on the spectre of a medieval witch trial, with a huge waiting list for seats. My view for what it's worth, is, this whole saga [war] has been an ill-conceived tragedy from start to finish. But the question that reading Sam's link prevoked is what are people looking for from Mr. Blair, an apology?, some sort of legal justification for the action?, which is looking unlikely too, or, I suspect simply the hollow satisfaction of watching him squirm in front of the panel.

Now the wider thought about all this that I wished to express was, that war, or any act of violence for that matter is the result of a complete breakdown of intellectual, civilised means of solving an argument. To try to put a legal framework around something like war (the ultimate expression of violence) seems kind of absurd to me. In other words once we start hurling bullets and bombs at each other the genie is out of the bottle.

I think the perfect metaphor for this contradiction is the 'eco-bullet', the environmentally friendly bullet that contains no lead, being developed by the military to be kinder to our environment.

I'm not so naive as to suggest there are not occasions when we have no other course than to use military force but historically these instances have always seemed to me pretty obvious by comparison to the Iraq war. None of us can guess what the outcome would have been to taking no action at all against this awful regime, but I'm am curious to learn what Messrs Blair and Bush's exit strategy was.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Theartistandtartist...Evil Geniuses!

Another first for us, Maggie discovered this very complimentary review today whilst googling something else online. It is from an online PDF magazine called 'All The Rage', the article is rather out of date, unfortunately, but it refers to us as 'Evil Geniuses' (love it!) and, we came away with a commendable 8/10 and a couple of buffed up egos.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

SFTW ~ How Can You Deny An Electric Car?

We think this is cool, They Might Be Giants' 'Electric Car'. The thought has just occurred to me, that, if and when we embrace the electric car, manufacturers will have to include a mechanism to make a brroom brrrooom sound or else we'll never hear them coming!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Those Tricky Little Particles

"At the minute, it would appear that more people are damaged by sunbeds than by nuclear power in the UK," A thought provoking article here, that I read yesterday, which nicely ties in with Sunday's post. There are some controversial claims surrounding the dangers of low level radiation it would seem, but there's an awful amount of rather paranoid scare mongering by the anti-nuclear lobby taking place too. I for my part think we can't un-invent the technology and we owe an awful lot to it, I'm more concerned about the storage of nuclear waste than the safety of the power plants themselves so, I guess I'm once again comfortable sitting on the fence for the time being.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Deckchairs & Ice Creams

Deckchairs and Ice Creams ~ Watercolour

Here's the watercolour I've been working on through all the recent ice and snow. It's a bit strange to try to capture a Summer mood with a blizzard going on outside. It's a composite of elements, the old couple, the interior of the kiosk then the kiosk and beach itself all from different sources.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The Coldest Night, The Energy Gap, Then We Zoomed To Norwich!

TBTE 08/01/10 or more accurately 'the road to the beach this evening'!

We took advantage during this current icy blast, of a break in the snow this afternoon to get artistandtartist jnr. back to university, so the three of us got in the car and zoomed up to Norwich. I was very apprehensive and almost didn't go as driving conditions have been lately described as 'treacherous' on the news, fortunately the snow didn't start again until we were almost home. We talked for the whole journey about loads of interesting stuff...not just the driving conditions, although the current weather did seem to be the dominant theme.
Now this raised the thorny issue of the current fragility of our energy supply, it seems that we really are down to the wire when it comes to our supply of energy, and this situation has simply been waiting in the wings until we experience a prolonged 'cold snap'. Now if we add to the equation all the new build housing thats been springing up were really heaping on the pressure to an energy supply that's already frankly at full stretch. The really big dilemma for us in the U.K. at the moment seems to me to be how to bridge the gap that will inevitably widen between getting our renewable sources of energy on stream and when our own fossil fuel resources run out (about 15 years I think is a reasonable estimate). And thus reduce our reliance on buying in large amounts of our energy from other nations who may whimsically jack the price up...or worse still, turn off the tap completely. At this point in time (several people on Mersea will hate me for saying this) nuclear generators seem to be looking a more attractive solution than they did twenty years back. I'd much prefer that there were a more user friendly alternative, but I'm not at this point persuaded that renewables will come close to filling our energy gap.
Now all of this kind of dovetails into another thread of our conversation we had today about Transition Culture and its pro's & cons, and I intend to get on my soapbox about this subject soon too, when time will allow.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Global 'Cooling' & Red Onion Marmalade

Whilst our corner of the globe continues it's cooling spell this afternoon the tartist is making about 3kg. of red onion marmalade. As I enter the kitchen my eyes immediately start streaming with the vapour coming from her endeavors, but it's well worth this minor hardship as her red onion marmalade is so delicious.

The view from the studio this afternoon

I for my part am working on a watercolour that I think I'm going to ironically call 'Deckchairs and Ice Creams'. I'm being accompanied this afternoon by the dulcet tones of Elbow, who produced 'The Seldom Seen Kid', one of the albums of the last decade in my humble opinion.

Monday, 4 January 2010

TBTM 04.01.10

Some of Richard Haward's oysters this morning on their way from our muddy creeks to a dining table somewhere!

Another bright but very cold morning for us on our muddy island, with the thermometer on our car reading -6 when I scraped the ice from the windscreen at 7am. If you are reading this from somwhere like, say Vermont, you must think were all crazy to make such a fuss about a bit of ice. Still, I heard on the BBC this morning that were having our coldest winter here in the U.K. for 25 years, so maybe I can be forgiven for getting a bit carried away.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2010...A New Decade

Well friends, here we all are on the threshold of a brand year, 'twenty-ten' and once again the snow and ice has returned to our island, in fact the temperature has struggled to get above freezing for about a week. It really has only just dawned upon me that we've not only started a new year, but also just entered a new decade and with it comes the irresistible urge to reflect upon the ramifications of events of the previous one. From this rare vantage point on the cusp of another decade it seems the 'naughties' were to a large extent either sadly dominated by the threat of terrorism or the threat of celebrity. I think it's also true to say that the reality of climate change and its potential effect upon our way of life has become apparent to all of us in the last decade. The irony of this last statement is that the current very cold weather seems set to continue for some time to come.

From a family perspective, particularly sad for the tartist has been the loss of both her parents in the last ten years and we all miss them loads. At the risk of using a cliche the past decade seems not much more than the blink of an eye, with a fair measure of both sadness and joy. On a positive note, in April 2003 we started The Artcafé, our business in West Mersea and then in 2007 we opened our second Artcafé in Colchester and despite the extremely hard work and various problems that jump up and bite us from time to time, we're looking forward to developing further what we do in 2010 with a third strand to our business.

It seems to me a curious human trait, to 'decimalise' our lives into decades but I guess in some way it helps make sense of it all. So here we are looking both forward and back, but mostly forward into 2010! Happy new year, oh, and by the way I insist we all pronounce it 'twenty-ten'