Friday, 8 December 2017

Fredericksburg VA

Later Thursday evening I was another part of Virginia, Fredericksburg.

Once I’d check into the Marriott and unpacked in Room 210 I headed down the street for the Spencer Devon Brewery. This destination is also a bar and restaurant.
(The place was familiar see 2015 post – link here
Returning to Spencer Devon

I enjoyed the burger and a pint of their finest IPA and also got several of questions right in the pub quiz that runs on a Thursday. Tired, I walked back up the street now twinkling with ‘holiday’ lights.

The railroads were a feature of this week. We ran parallel to them on the drive up from Roanoke.  Now freight trains hollered and wailed passing through Fredericksburg.

After work the next day I walked to the railway station. Looking down the track, into the setting sun, the rails glowed orange and gold, like some gigantic bracelet that a giant had laid down for me to marvel at.

Rail tracks in the setting sun

As I made my drawing in what was left of the light I sang a few lines from Love in Vain (from Let It Bleed 1969)

Well I followed her, to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Yeah, I followed her to the station
With a suitcase in my hand
Whoa, it's hard to tell, it's hard to tell
When all your love's in vain

A homeless person tapped me up and I handed him a couple of dollar bills

The Fredericksburg station building had been converted; it was now ‘The Bavarian Chef’. It was and more Bavarian that Munich.

More Bavarian than Munchen

There were boys behind the bar in lederhosen and the girls waiting on table, were in their dirndls  - a dirndl comprises of a bodice, a low-cut blouse with short puff sleeves, full skirt and apron.  On the menu there was wurst und bier aplenty.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Roanoke VA

A schloss in Roanoke

Parked by the rail tracks 
Three days staying the Roanoke Hotel. The hotel is great schloss-like building in the centre of Roanoke, in the state of Virginia, population 300,000.

I arrived late on a Sunday evening, always a strange time to enter a new place in a taxicab through the darkness from the airport. 

The name Roanoke is said to have originated from a Native American word for shell "money" and probably of more value then than bit coins are today.

The Roanoke River passes through the city and cuts its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains; each morning I saw their peaks from my bedroom window. The area was an important hub of trails and roads. The Great Indian Warpath, which later became the Great Wagon Road, passed through.

New dawn and the Blue Ridge Mountains
Each hour trains whistle and groan their way through the heart of the city carrying freight, there has been no passenger service since 1979.  I watched these long lines of carriages and cars trundle, through seemingly for five or ten minutes before the end of the train finally disappeared.

Once my work was done I headed out, early Thursday evening, riding with a colleague in his white Ford pickup truck up to another part of Virginia, Fredericksburg.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Back in print

Again earlier last month I was back working at the Press of the late Christine Lock
And proofing new lino cuts and a two favourites, which were cut some time back, a time when Christine was with us.

Aldeburgh Boats  14 x 21 cm

Christopher Curlew 14 x 14 cm

Downland 21 x 14 cm

Gerald the Grouse 14 x 14 cm

Sunday, 3 December 2017


This was read on Radio 3 on Friday. I thought I heard it announced as  Advent 1953,  no matter, for this time of year the words and sentiment are exquisite

Advent 1955 
by John Betjeman

The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It's dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When it and we sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound -
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out 'Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth

Of God made Man for us on earth.'

Against great skies all silver pale . . .

Painting the library

Last week was the first time I had engaged publicly about my painting. (Aside from muttered openings in my 2010 - 11 shows).

I finished the actual 'talk' in forty minutes and then we got into an exercise: I'd bought some gear and paper and a jar of Rudbeckia stems and we all got to work.

It was a really exciting session!

Three big learnings
1. People are more interested in how one does something more than why or what

2. People love getting stuck into something

3. Taking along some equipment so people could have a go with untried materials was a bonus - for they love experimenting with something new

Friday, 1 December 2017

Penarth Pier – Pier of the Year

Rain on the people on the pier - Oh dear!

As it started to rain this lovely art deco Pavilion began to melt in my drawing book. Penarth Pier and its pavilion, opened in 1930, has  been a cinema, dance hall (the Marina Ballroom) and nightclub

The pier was opened in 1898, and at 658 ft. (200 m) it is rather short; it was built that length for fear of obstructing the deep-water channel into Cardiff Docks.  The pier is built of cast iron with a timber decking, it is a delightful promenade.

The pier open  open all year round with several places to get a cup of tea.  Sea fishing is possible from the pier head in all months except June, July and August  and without a licence. In the summer months, the pleasure steamers PS Waverley and MV Balmoral regularly use the pier head pontoon.

Penarth Pier was voted Pier of the Year by the National Piers Society in 2014.