31 January 2024


Nearly everybody who visits this blog has lived a postwar life, untroubled by bombs or bullets. We haven't had to heed sirens before scrambling into air-raid shelters and we haven't had to wait for the knock on the door that precedes the sombre announcement that a loved one has died fighting for our country. We have been very lucky but peace is not something we should ever take for granted.

I copied the following from Yahoo News UK last week. The item was covered by all serious British newspapers.

Britain should be prepared to “train and equip” a “citizen army” that could take part in a land conflict, the head of the British Army has said, sparking fears over a third world war.

Tensions with Russia remain high amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine and General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing chief of the general staff, said that other countries are already “laying the foundations for national mobilisation” to counter the “Russian threat”. The military top brass said Britain should “train and equip the citizen army that must follow".

He added: “We will not be immune and as the pre-war generation we must similarly prepare — and that is a whole-of-nation undertaking. Ukraine brutally illustrates that regular armies start wars; citizen armies win them.” Sanders said he was not in favour of conscription – forcing citizens to undertake military service – but suggested that volunteers could sign up for a potential land war.

It might be said that General Sir Patrick Sanders has been a military man all his life, rather invested in the business of  preparing for potential battles and even wars. However, that is not a reason for dismissing his warnings. Others have been suggesting the same thing - that World War Three may be just around the corner.

It is a scary prospect but it's not some crazy fantasy. Look at Putin and look at Kim Jong Un. Look at the possibility of a second term for Trump.  Look at Iran. Look at the effects of climate change and the movement of people. This is not Nirvana. It is not La-La Land. Keeping some kind of peace since 1945 has been difficult enough over the last eighty years but stretching that out for another eighty years may be too much to expect.

What we have is so very fragile. It could easily fracture so that in the future people may look back and say - Those days between WWII and WWWIII - that was the best time for us, our golden age.

What do you think?

30 January 2024


Me as a plaster statue

Currently, AI portrait generators are doing the rounds in the blogosphere. I have seen the evidence on a number of other blogs.  It seems that often the generators require several photos of you before they can do their magic but with "LightX" I could get cracking with just one recent picture. As it happens, though I take a lot of pictures,  I don't have many pictures of me. The one I used was taken on the occasion of my seventieth birthday last October. I had to crop Phoebe out of it first.

"Light X" only allows you ten free go's a day and the four AI creations shown here were made during my very first visit to the site. By the way, I had to sign up before starting but it's free of charge. The possibilities are endless. You can make your own portrait "prompts" or simply use the oven-ready styles provided on the site.
Me as an African king
A caricature of me.
Me as a Viking

I suppose the truth is that I could carry on making hundreds of self-portraits like these but I would never find one of the real "me" because he is not in a visible, physical form. He is the pensive being within who churns out these blogposts.

29 January 2024


On Saturday, I mentioned the little Nottinghamshire village where I parked ahead of my latest country walk. There was clear evidence of recent flooding - including thin pipes emerging from letterboxes. I have little doubt that they were draining water from damp extractors set up inside the houses.

At the football match, a man showed me mobile phone footage of his brother canoeing upon the huge flood that stretched right up the east side of The River Trent -  the third longest river in England. Today I found this amateur drone footage of the village of Girton in the first week of this year. By the way, there is no music or commentary. You can see the little church where I parked Clint:-

Thankfully, I have never lived anywhere that might be liable to flooding. It must be awful to have to contend with the filthy water and all of the associated issues such as clearing out sodden fixtures and fittings, dealing with insurance companies, drying out your property and making it habitable once more. There must also be an emotional toll to pay as you contemplate possible repeat floods in the future.

In Girton, I noticed that one large property was up for sale but who the hell would want to buy such a house in the knowledge that it might be flooded again before this year is out? To me it would be too much of a risk.

Here in Sheffield, we live on a hill above the valley of The River Porter and flooding is quite impossible in our neighbourhood. I am grateful for that. Life can be challenging enough without having to deal with the aftermath of a flood.

28 January 2024


McCartney and Lennon, Rogers and Hammerstein, Rice and Lloyd-Weber, John and Taupin, Gilbert and Sullivan - just a small sample of successful writing duos. And now a new duo have announced themselves to the world of entertainment - Northsider and Pudding. Their first collaboration, "Betty and Gerald" was inspired by the couple sitting on the bench in this picture snapped last year on the island of Tenerife:-

Betty and Gerald

GERALD I am sure that if we stare hard enough at this tree we can levitate it!
BETTY You know how to give a girl a good time!
BETTY That plant reminds me of the Triffids. Have you read it?
GERALD. Read it? I saw them play live. I even bought a T shirt!
Are that Irish couple still stalking us?
BETTY They're on the other side of the poinsettias.
GERALD Do you think they'd be up for a bit of wife swapping?
BETTY I hope so. He looks a right hunk!
BETTY What do you want for your tea?
GERALD You ring me and ask this question every day when I'm at work.
BETTY. They aren't Irish they're saying "summat" and "nowt" all the time. Are we going to Lidl and we will make some Sangria back at Hotel Bastardo?
GERALD Hi alright.
GERALD Are Summat and Nowt the names of their solicitors or their budgerigars?
BETTY Oh Gerry, you are so old-fashioned! Nobody keeps budgies any more.
GERALD If that's true, why is that Anglo-Irish bloke over there wearing budgie smugglers?
BETTY Are we trying some of that pie hella (paella) for tea Gerald?
GERALD I suppose so. Do they serve chips with it?
(Betty and Gerald rise from the park bench simultaneously and both fart in harmony. They giggle.)
GERALD We are like The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band!
BETTY Ha-ha-ha-ha!
BETTY More tea vicar? You've ate all the ruddy cake!


Any film producers or publishers visiting this blogpost on the lookout for new talent, please understand that Northsider and Pudding will do anything you want if there's a big, fat cheque (American: check) at the end! 

Book cover design by William Nutt

27 January 2024


I was heading for the village of Collingham in Nottinghamshire. There I had planned to meet my son Ian who for one reason or another sponsors an amateur football club called Newark and Sherwood United. They play at Collingham and on Saturday afternoon they had a match against Ashby Ivanhoe. 

Timing is everything. At half past eleven, I arrived in the village of Girton four miles north of Collingham ready for another country walk. I figured I could complete it well before the football match kicked off but I was a little anxious about it because I knew that the area west of Girton had been flooded earlier this month. The village is a mile from the River Trent which you can see in the very top left corner of the map.
St Cecilia's Church in Girton dates back to the 13th century

I parked at the church marked on the map with a cross. It is dedicated to St Cecilia and then straight away I noticed that the nearby cottages had sand bags at their doors and there was some flood debris like carpets, linoleum and soft furniture. One pile had a card on top of it reading, "Please Leave. Awaiting Insurance Assessment". It was clear that the flood had lapped into the village.
This old sign caught my eye in Girton

The circular walk wasn't especially long - no more than four miles. The floodwater had all subsided and the paths left behind were not particularly muddy. In Besthorpe I  entered Holy Trinity Church - also marked with a cross. It has a beautiful and modern wooden floor and the old pews have been removed. Consequently, the church now provides a useful community space as well as continuing to be a place of worship.
Inside Holy Trinity Church, Besthorpe

At Collingham, Newark and Sherwood United managed to lose by two goals to nil. Ian presented the man of the match award and we had a vegan lunch at which I found myself conversing with  a bunch of business people who talk a language that seems foreign to me.
At halftime, Ian presented a winning voucher to Freddie. His tennis
 ball had landed closest to the centre spot in a fund raiser.

I left Collingham in darkness and headed up that red road to the A57 LIncoln road. Then I crossed the river at Dunham-on-Trent before heading home to Sheffield where Shirley was waiting for me to order an Indian takeaway from "Bilash" on Sharrowvale Road.
The Fleet at Besthope helps to protect that village from flooding

26 January 2024


Especially for Canadian visitors to this blog - including Red, Pixie and Jenny - I took this photo of a farm sign earlier today. It was out in Derbyshire, south of the main road that links Matlock and Alfreton. There was once a bit of a fashion in England to name farms after faraway places and I have seen several of them but I think this is the first time I have seen one that bears Canada's name.

I was out south of Chesterfield, bagging a few photo squares that had eluded me and getting some walking exercise too. Not far from Canada Farm, I spotted this lone sheep crouched upon his forelegs with Moorwood House beyond him - at least I think the animal was a ram. He appeared more stocky than ewes of that breed.
By the lane to the left of Moorwood House you can just make out a barn  and it is the same barn pictured below on Dethick Common:-
Earlier on I had parked at Stretton Cemetery - a small rural burial ground. This grave caught my eye. There are no dates and only William Nutt is specifically remembered. His relatives are just "The Nutt Family". I like the simple legend "In Fond Memory". Ridgewell Farm is just a mile away across the fields but the owners are no longer "Nutts". They rent out attractive farm cottages. What ever happened to the "Nutts"? It's such a great surname.
My last photo-gathering halt was at Toadhall Furnace, north of "The Amber Hotel" in an area known as The Amber Valley. The old hotel sits on the course of an ancient Roman roadway called Icknield Street or Ryknild Street that began at Bourton in Glocestershire and advanced in a fairly straight line through The Midlands and up into Yorkshire. Little remains of it apart from the say-so of historians and archaeologists  who know about such things. 

It is worth reminding ourselves that The Romans were here in Britain for over four hundred years and no doubt thousands of legionnaires marched by here in those four centuries. We live in 2024 but none  of us can remember 1624. The Roman occupation spanned that amount of time.
Finally, this is just one of my new "Geograph" images showing the main Midland railway passing over Back Lane at Stretton. Fast trains speed by here, connecting Sheffield with London.
I was back home for 4pm when I immediately set about preparing a beef stew for the evening meal with swede, carrots, potatoes, lentils and dumplings. It turned out really nicely and  Mrs Pudding gave it a five star review. There's even some left over for her to have for her lunch tomorrow. I am going to see a football match.

25 January 2024


Inspired by John Gray's recent recommendation, I went to "The Showroom" on Wednesday afternoon to watch "The Holdovers". Directed by Alexander Payne, it stars Paul Giamatti as boarding school classics teacher Paul Hunham, Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the school's head cook  and Dominic Sessa as Angus Tully - one of five schoolboys who, for different reasons,  have to stay over at the school through the Christmas break.

It was a really lovely film that held my attention throughout. There was no mind-drifting in the cinema darkness. I guess you could say that "The Holdovers" is quiet just like the wintry rural New England in which it is mostly set. There are no guns and no detectives, just three people  with hidden stories that they struggle to contain and articulate.

I believed in all three characters and there was subtle humour too such as when Angus Tully has to visit hospital to get his dislocated shoulder put back in its socket. It served him right for bounding over a pummel horse in the gymnasium - only to find there was no safety matting on the other side.

A British film critic I have long admired is Mark Kermode. His approvals have often led me to great films that I might otherwise have overlooked. Here he is talking to Simon Mayo about "The Holdovers":-

24 January 2024


It's a coconut grating stool! A schoolboy made it for me on the island of Rotuma in the South Pacific back in 1973. It was carved from one solid piece of wood before a rudimentary grating blade was attached and held in place with a piece of scrap tin.

The idea is that you straddle the stool then take halves of mature coconuts and between your legs grate away at the white flesh within. A bowl would be positioned beneath the blade to catch the grated flesh.

Later the grated coconut would be pressed or squeezed to capture the milkiness contained in the flesh. This oily coconut milk was very useful in cooking. The remaining gratings would be fed to chickens.

It seems that pretty much everywhere that coconut palms grow naturally - from eastern Africa to India and the Pacific islands - human beings came up with similar devices. There are many variations upon this theme and some of them could appear far more stylish than my rustic device.

The grating stool shown below was made in the nineteenth century on Nukuoro Island in the area of The Pacific known as Micronesia. Here, rather than a metal grating tool there is a hard piece of seashell secured by coconut fibre twine.

The picture below shows a large coconut grinding stool at Noa'tau on the very  same island, north of the Fiji Islands,  where my prized device was made. I believe that the photo was taken in the 1920's:-
©Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

23 January 2024


 What the?

This is one of my most prized possessions. It sits high up in a corner of our kitchen with its four little legs standing on the plastic conduit to the fan above our hob. To give you a better sense of scale, I have now briefly placed it on that hob before putting it back  where it has belonged for many years.
Many's the time I thought about featuring this unique, handmade item in this blog and at last I have got round to it but what is it? Please put your ideas in the comments section or write something like "I am completely flummoxed!" or "I have no frigging idea!"

22 January 2024


It has been exactly a year since Susan in Glentham, Lincolnshire last blogged. At that time, her daughter Sarah was renovating a cottage with practical help from her father Paul. Sarah had recently returned to England after her marriage in Australia rather sadly imploded.

I followed "Susan Here There and Everywhere" for a few years, witnessing Sue's life with Paul in France before Brexit and arguably the ageing process made them decide to return to England - first to Sue's native Wiltshire and then to rural Lincolnshire.

Sue's blog was usually well-maintained and her blogposts were regular but then gaps in time occurred and it seemed that her commitment to blogging was waning. Perhaps she was simply becoming bored with the whole thing and had nothing left that she wanted to say. Of course there could be other reasons.

Sue was a lovely, intelligent correspondent with a dry sense of humour and an alertness to the absurdities of life. Maybe she'll return to blogging one day and there'll be more to-and-fro  about life and experience ranging from domesticity and family to  reflections on  the wider world.

If you do come back Sue, please let me know and I will pop you back on my "Blogorama" bloglist from which I shall now regretfully remove you as you enter the land of memory where all lost bloggers reside, becoming vaguer as yet more months pass by. It was nice knowing you.
Sue, Paul and their French rescue dog - Rick

21 January 2024


Back in April 2006 when this humble Yorkshire blog was in its infancy, there were various lists flying around the blogosphere. I suppose the idea was that by responding, bloggers would reveal hidden truths about themselves. This particular challenge involved lists requiring seven responses under each sub-heading.

I was just a boy of 53  back then. What, if anything, has changed?

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:
(Two out of seven done)
1 - Visit India  ✔DONE
2 – Hand carve a wooden bowl ❌
3 - Grow up 

4 - Learn how 
to wolf whistle with two fingers under my tongue 
5 - Hear one of my own songs on the radio  
6 – Build a Portuguese style barbecue in our garden 

7 - Get to know my grandchildren.
Seven Things I Cannot Do:
(All still true)
1 – Wolf whistle.
2 - Change the spark plugs on a car.
3 – Watch hospital operations on TV.
4 – Pass a beggar without feeling guilty
5 - Physically hurt anyone
6 - Intentionally kill an insect.
7 – Believe in God
Seven Things That Attract Me To...Blogging:
(All still true)
1 - Seeing my own words published.
2 – The randomness of it all.
3 – Contacting other people from around the world.
4 – The design element – how a blog looks.
5 - Freedom of choice – what I put.
6 – Regular contacts with favourite bloggers.
7 - It beats watching TV.
Seven Things I Say Most Often:
What was true in 2006 and what's true now in 2024.
1 – Chairs under everybody! I'm just going shopping.
2 – What’s for tea?  Would you like a cup of tea?
3 – Good morning! Good morning!
4 – Thank you  Thank you
5 – Oo! That's better. Good night love!
6 – Fucking hell. Do we have to watch this shit?
7 - Pint of bitter please. I'm just going out to feed the birds.
Seven Books That I Love:
(All still true)
1 – Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 

2 – Nostromo – Joseph Conrad  

3 - Kes – Barry Hines  

4 – Angela’s Ashes - Frank McCourt  

5 - The Magus - John Fowles  

6 - Jude The Obscure - Thomas Hardy  

7 – Animal Farm - George Orwell  

Seven Movies That I Could Watch Again:
(All still true)
1 – Schindler’s List 

2 - Titanic

3 – Once Upon a Time in America 

4 - Midnight Express 

5 - One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 

6 - The Last Picture Show 

7 - Mutiny on The Bounty 

If you are so inclined, you are welcome to take up this old challenge and create your own lists of seven under the six sub-headings. Shouldn't there have been seven sub-headings?

20 January 2024


The picture is of the English novelist John Fowles (1926-2005). Amongst other works, he wrote "The Collector", "The Magus" and "The French Lieutenant's Woman". I thought he had so much merit as a writer that in early 1977 I picked him to be the main subject of my degree dissertation. I even wrote to him and very kindly he responded helpfully to the various questions I posed.

By that time, he was already living on the edge of Lyme Regis - a seaside town in the county of Dorset. By all accounts, there he lived a  quiet life - immersed in his reading and writing. For several years, he was also the voluntary director of the town museum but mostly he kept himself to himself. Unlike some published writers, he was not a natural socialite and did not enjoy blowing his own trumpet.

Following the success of his first book, "The Collector" (1963), John Fowles's next published book was entitled "The Aristos: A Self-Portrait in Ideas" (1964). It is a collection of aphorisms that he had been jotting down for most of his adult life. An aphorism is a  concise or pithy observation that contains a general truth or wise notion - something like a saying.

As a university student I would often reflect upon Fowles's aphorisms. It wasn't the kind of book that you were meant to read like a novel  - not a page turner. It was a book that you dipped in and out of  - gathering kernels of wisdom or morsels of food for thought:
  • All of us are failures; we all die. Nobody wants to be a nobody. All our acts are partly devised to fill or to mask the emptiness we feel at the core. We all like to be loved or hated; it is a sign that we shall be remembered, that we did not 'not exist'.
  • The profoundest distances are never geographical.
  • The genius, of course, is largely indifferent to contemporary success; and his/her commitment to his/her  ideals, both artistic and political, is profoundly, Byronically, indifferent to their contemporary popularity.
  • There comes a time in each life like a point of fulcrum. At that time you must accept yourself. It is not any more what you will become. It is what you are and always will be.
  • We all want things we can't have. Being a decent human being is accepting that.
  • Being an atheist is a matter not of moral choice, but of human obligation.
  • I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.
  • There is no plan. All is hazard. And the only thing that will preserve us is ourselves.
They are only words but an aphorism can focus the mind in ways that longer works will fail to achieve.  I'm glad that "The Aristos" was a useful companion book for me almost  fifty years ago. Those lines helped me to articulate ideas and reflections that I sometimes struggled to put into words even though some of John Fowles's  ideas were at odds with mine.

19 January 2024


I have blogged about Britain's Rwanda plans before. Go here. The government still have not  sent a single asylum seeker or a single economic migrant there in spite of spending millions on the ludicrous and pointless scheme. However, it appears that we have successfully processed six asylum seekers from Rwanda! You cannot make this stuff up.

18 January 2024


Ask any native British person to name a famous nurse from history and they are sure to mention Florence Nightingale. Though she was born in Florence, Italy most of her childhood happened in and around the village of Holloway in Derbyshire. She played a big part in dragging nursing into the modern world and is also fondly remembered as "The Lady With The Lamp" who tended to wounded soldiers during The Crimea War (1853-1856).

I walked through Holloway today. The stone houses shown below all most probably predate America's declaration of independence by decades or even centuries. As you can see, it was a sunny day but bitterly cold. It had taken me an hour to drive to the area, passing by Chatsworth House and then through Matlock.
Below, a sheep farm with its modern farmhouse to the east of Holloway. The gang of sheep were enjoying supplementary feed as the sweet, fresh grass they prefer is currently dormant, awaiting the arrival of another spring.
Down in the valley of The River Derwent this farm sign caught my eye. It's a commendable amateur effort, contained in an old picture frame. The bull's head seems almost surreal
In terms of industrial history the valley is very important for it was the site of the first cotton mill in the world to be water-powered. The entrepreneur Sir Richard Arkwright built it and also had the vision to connect Cromford Mill with Cromford Canal. Arkwright patented the spinning frame and many of his ideas were taken up around the world. He was truly one of the giants of the early decades of Great Britain's industrial revolution.

Below - not the first picture I have taken of Leawood Pump House beside The Cromford Canal. The canal sits above The River Derwent and fifty years after the canal's construction it was deemed necessary to find a powerful way of regulating water levels.
It was so good to get out into the light again and to cover five miles, my feet propelling me forward and my lungs occasionally protesting when I climbed up hill. A nice thing about walking on your own is that you can take brief rests whenever you need  to without apology or explanation.

17 January 2024


When the news was over, I was about to get up from the sofa when a film came on the BBC. It was "A Star Is Born" starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Having never seen it before, I kind of got hooked and before you knew it two hours had passed by and the film was over.

I know it received many plaudits when it first came out back in October 2018 and tonight I was nicely entertained by it but not knocked out, not wowed. Lady Gaga gave a great performance as rising star Ally Maine and the same was true of  Bradley Copper playing ageing country star Jack Maine. 

The ending seemed strange. The reasons for Jack's suicide were not entirely clear or convincing and we did not get to witness the reality of the death and its aftermath - including a funeral. It seemed quite inauthentic from my viewpoint.

Anyway, if I had got up from the sofa at ten thirty you would have been reading a much better blogpost than this one. It was going to be an Oscar winner but now I have forgotten what I was going to write so instead I will leave you with a very recent picture of another star who was born eleven weeks ago- our Little Margot...

16 January 2024


When you write poetry as I have been doing intermittently since the age of seven, it is easy to get caught up in the moment of completion - when you determine that the poem is done, finished. However, it is often illuminating to reconsider poems you wrote months, years or even decades before - to see them anew. It can be like reviewing somebody else's poetry.

Over the years, I have posted numerous self-crafted poems here at "Yorkshire  Pudding".  I have tended to title such blogposts "Poem" in order to facilitate my own future searches. However, that is not always the case and back in December 2018 I shared an environmental poem I had written called "Once" under that blogpost title.

I guess that countless poems concerning Nature, the environment and anxiety about our planet's future have been produced in the last decade. It's hard to say anything new or original on the topic.

Most of us feel the pain of what is going on out there and we feel rather helpless. It is as if we are standing here watching creatures disappear, witnessing rising sea levels, desertification and the depletion of forests. What can we do? Well at the very least we can write a poem and thereby share feelings, release emotional pressure. As in World War One, great tragedy is invariably an effective melting pot for poetry.

I am proud of "Once" and its simple underlying message, delivered as though in a state of future naivete. I admit that it owes something to a song written by the folk singer Tom Paxton in 1970: "Whose Garden Was This?"
Whose garden was this? It must have been lovely
Did it have flowers? I've seen pictures of flowers
And I'd love to have smelled one
That's a song that resonated with me from the first time I heard it.

So yes, here's "Once" once again and quite unusually at this present point in time, I would not wish to change a thing...


Once there were tigers
Padding through shadows
Anticipating another kill
They were quiet
But you could sense
Their presence
Watching. Breathing.
Or lapping furtively
From jungle streams.

Once there were hedgehogs
Snuffling in soil
Or scurrying homeward.
Living quietly
They preferred the night
Yet were amongst us
Feeding on worms
Rolling into needle balls
When danger called.

Once albatrosses
Rode on invisible winds
Circling the globe
Seeking squid or sprats
Gliding over oceans
That furrowed white below.
It is reported that
The very last pair
Danced on camera
Beaks raised to southern skies
Emitting melancholic cries
Like dodos.


Back in December 2018, I received this reassuring comment on "Once" from Bonnie who lives near Kansas City in Missouri:-
"Beautiful poem and very sad because of the truthfulness of it. Sometimes I will see a deer or other wild animal in a populated area looking panicked and lost. It breaks my heart that we have so encroached on their homes."
I say "reassuring" because Bonnie's honest emotional response proved that my main poetic intention had been achieved.

15 January 2024


View from Cookham Bridge by Stanley Spencer (1936)

"In his blending of the transcendent and the mundane, Spencer was
one of the most visionary British painters of the twentieth century."

Stanley Spencer  (1891 -1959) was born and raised in the village of Cookham by The River Thames in the county of Berkshire. That village remained a key reference point for the rest of his life. It figured in much of his art and was his spiritual home. Furthermore, it is where he was buried along with his first wife Hilda.

Stanley Spencer was an odd fish and in following his calling to be an artist, he did not play by anybody else's rules. He developed his own styles and pursued the themes that interested him - from Cookham to warfare to spirituality to shipyards to nudity to surrealism.  In his private life, he was often tormented - mostly by his own inadequacies as he reached for a way of being that he hoped would rise above mundanity. Of course, this always eluded him.

Shipbuilding on The Clyde: Burners (1940)

In World War I, he volunteered to be a hospital orderly and it was only in the last full year of the conflict that he joined an infantry unit in Macedonia fighting against combined German and Bulgarian forces. Unlike his older brother Sydney, Stanley Spencer survived that war and returned to Cookham to finish a painting he had begun there in 1915 called "Swan Upping".

He was a very driven and productive artist - mostly working in oils but also sketching prolifically in pencil. The strange painting shown below is "Sunflower and Dog Worship" from 1937. It sold in 2011 for £5.4 million - underlining his status as one of the most important British artists of the twentieth century.

In this short blogpost, I feel that I have not done Stanley Spencer's rich and fascinating artistry the justice it deserves and for that I am sorry - especially to the artist himself. Read more thorough reflections upon  Spencer's work here.

Photograph of Stanley Spencer
in The National Portrait Gallery, London

14 January 2024



Phoebe will be three years old in the morning. She was born on January 15th 2021 in the time of covid, a hundred years after my mother who of course never got to see her delightful great grand-daughter.

Today (Sunday) Phoebe had her birthday party in the local church hall. The same hall where her mother was once a brownie scout. There was a bouncy castle and a ballpit and food and drink for both small children and their accompanying adults.

How lovely it all was and Phoebe received many gifts and cards. She was dressed as Belle from "Beauty and The Beast" with her long yellow dress, tiara and yellow gloves. She had fun.

The picture above was taken last week when Phoebe helped her grandma with some baking. We both love that little girl entirely and completely which probably means the same thing.

13 January 2024


Using Microsoft Image Creator, I made some more AI images. All I did was to type in the titles of nine blogs and their locations. For each entry I was soon provided with four alternative images and for each blog I chose the image that I liked best. The first one is obvious - "Bless Our Hearts", Lloyd, Florida - but what about the other eight? Can you work any of them out before checking the answers at the bottom?










1. "Bless Our Hearts", Lloyd, Florida

2. "Hiawatha House", Red Deer, Canada

3. "From The High Rise", Melbourne, Australia

4. "Nobody's Diary", Ramsey, Isle of Man

5. "Sparrow Tree Journal", Florence, South Carolina

6. "Magnon's Meanderings", Brighton, England

7. "Northsider", West Cork, Ireland

8. "From My Mental Library", Ludwigsburg, Germany

9. "Shadows and Light", West Hampstead, London

Most Visits