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