Somerset Rural Life Museum at Glastonbury

And now – Fresh from watching VerStappen win the Malaysian Grand Prix F1 one day after his 20th birthday – to complete yesterday’s events with a discussion on the Somerset Rural Life Museum

After the high octane – change four tyres and fill up with gas in 1.9 seconds – a change of pace to a more leisurely look at times of yore.

So why bother with museums at all? Come to that, why bother with history?
* We all, at least the older ones, have the ‘once upon a time….’ imbued into us on our parent’s knee. A story of what happened here 200 years ago can be riveting and stimulating to our imagination. In these green pastures, 3000 men faced each other for the battle of …..
* Our understanding of how things work now can be put into perspective by how things worked 50 years ago. To give a nerdy example, the average cost per Gigabyte of RAM was $6,328 in 1980. In 2000 it was $1,107 and now it is $4.37 Seeing historical ways of producing a car compared with the automated methods now used can bring mixed emotions but seeing the original gives a sense of perspective of how things have changed.
* History can give valuable warnings of things that went wrong and we can look with a certain smugness on those stupid people until a current example shows even more stupidity.
* The examples of the individual overcoming huge challenges can inspire us for example the Romans Conquering Britain (how did they build so many straight roads) or Hannibal crossing the alps, or Scott of the Antarctic. All these are role models that we can store away against the time when a minor problem causes us to be discouraged.
* World history shows there are many different ways of doing things. One of my fascinations is how other races utilised the power of water and its importance as a necessary part of living. We can see which ideas lasted in various forms and which inventions did not.

well, that is certainly original

The museum of rural life is just that. It was closed for complete refurbishment about 18 months ago and recently (c. June 2017) opened in a completely refurbished form after a £2.4 million spend.

These are my requirements for a successful experience:
* Make the theme clear and in time sequence is possible
* Do not overcrowd with exhibits no matter how interesting they may  be
* LIGHTING is absolutely key. How can you see something when it is half in darkness. I know electricity burns money but please allow enough to pay for such incidentals.
* Descriptors are necessary but don’t overdo or under cook the detail. Three points a work – art or historical – is about right for the attention span of the visitor
* Clear signage. Way Out signs, this way to the cafe etc is not insulting peoples intelligence. Its just than when you are wowed by so much interesting detail you don’t have much time for refocusing the brain to mundane things.
* allow room for the visitor. If it is a popular work then allow more space.
don’t try to be ‘all things to all men’. Less is more. Do you want to give your visitor indigestion?
* volunteer guides are so important as the National Trust will tell you. A welcoming smiling face is a great help if you are visiting on your own

In this case the museum had for the purposes of getting a grant to accommodate itself to the educational needs of groups of school children. There is a lecture hall come class room in a modified structure adjacent to the main building. It is worth a squint through the window.So without further ado here is my picture gallery with comments where necessary.  You can also look at the the website for more conventional images.

clever presentation see below


Now this is clever. This very large screen is divided up into sections which work independently.  One large image can be shown or several sequential images or a number of small ones which refresh at different rates. It’s a very economical way of giving an accurate impression of many themes in a brief period of time.

same screen different function

Here we were given local words / slang and their meanings. They came on one at a time so you could follow and be hungry for the next one.

a reminder of the strength of the community
the storing of wood working tools.
slightly controversial film projection

The idea was to show movies of artisans and craftspeople going about their work but the detail could not be seen with white wooden planks as a background. I liked the symbolic merging of the present with the past. The image was of ‘people working’ and detail was not required.

the Tithe barn built 1340 AD

Helen Small, the artist, has called this work ‘Stigmata Forks’. She says ” I wanted to explore the underlying tensions and contradictions betwee

n pagan and Christian rituals surrounding fertility, sex, birth and harvest. The relationships between the ten forks (in the installation) is inspired by notions of social and moral hierarchies, each farm giving a tenth of their produce to the Church in a material and spiritual exchange

baskets pleasingly arranged
an iron sculpture with Glastonbury Tor in the background

and finally here is my wife milking a cow. Amazingly, when you pull the teats, liquid comes out but alas water not milk. Very good experience for nature-deprived children who think milk comes from Tescos.

milk maid

We could have gone on to visit other artists but there is only so much you can take so we ended with a visit via the new miniature restaurant and then wended our way. I did have a slight beef. The restaurant owner said that people thought the coffee was a trifle expensive at £2.50 but ‘we do give double shots’. I replied that this was too much for me and gave indigestion. She replied amazingly that she never drank coffee.  Well the double shot seemed a good idea at the time but should be revised.

lovely clear menu

Why £x.99? – helping the disabled via art – admission price discussion

Thursday 29 September 1664

…Coming home to-night, I did go to examine my wife’s house accounts, and finding things that seemed somewhat doubtful, I was angry though she did make it pretty plain, but confessed that when she do misse a sum, she do add something to other things to make it, and, upon my being very angry, she do protest she will here lay up something for herself to buy her a necklace with, which madded me and do still trouble me, for I fear she will forget by degrees the way of living cheap and under a sense of want...

I am covering many aspects of money during these writings. This diary of Pepys is about his wife being afraid to ask for money for herself and fiddling the books to put some aside secretly. He is also concerned that she will forget frugal ways.


Off to Wells to further participate in the two week Somerset Arts event. First to a celebration of paper making and its uses.  Paper Prospects is the working name of this collaboration and the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen is the umbrella organisation founded in 1933. I wont start to discuss this ancient art and the sheer number of type of paper there are. Here are some examples of the work found therein, not necessarily made of paper.

A quilt map of Wells (Ctrl and + repeatedly to magnify the image)
these machines have not changed in decades
never seen such modelling work. very clever.
done on special paper to bring out the transcendence of the words

Off to Wells Town Hall. The majority of it is used for exhibitions and fairs. The actual council offices are small but I guess the commercial rental pays for the upkeep. Not much to see so off to the Bishops Garden wherein is an art exhibition run by SODA, the Society for Disabled Artists. The remarkable lady who showed us around told us of the life changing effect of supposedly ‘disabled’ people finding they were very good at painting and drawing. The sign on the door was a winner.

This sign warmed my heart by its humanity and clarity
somehow the girl’s face was raised up in 3D fashion
on to a stone carver in the Bishops Palace Gardens

On to Wells Museum, on the Green. I always engage with the affable and friendly volunteers. It struck me that the admission price of £3 was low and I therefore volunteered that since anything below £5 was small change, they could as well charge £4 and few people would mind. I then witnessed much hand waving and balancing motions. Some people think it should be free, comparing it with Bristol’s City Museum, and complained accordingly. They had to be informed that the Wells equivalent is a charity and has to be entirely self funded. Apparently, the complaining people quietened down after digesting that fact. I suggested that to pre-empt the complaints, on the price list itself should be the legend that “this institution enjoys no subsidy and relies entirely on entrance charges and book sales”.

We also discussed why everything is £x.99. The answer evidently lies in psychology. Shoppers attach disproportional weight to the left digit, and 99p is associated historically with discounts. I don’t know how long this BBC article will stay up but here it is anyway.


On to the Wells Cathedral School, well know known for the quality of its music, its educational standards and its sport. We arrived at the very posh Cedars Hall, a concert hall clearly, and found about 50 works. There was no signage so we had to ask around, and no one to greet us. Never mind, I found the art works produced by 17 and 18 year old pupils quite extraordinary if not a little worrisome. What are they thinking?

self molestation?
a comment on junk food?
atavistic observation?
some of the pupils
and guess who opened the building

We then set off for Glastonbury to view the recently re-opened Somerset Rural Life Museum, a stone’s throw from the Tor. Since I have so many images to show you, this will be dealt with in Part 2

Bartering – ‘doing my stint’ – more on deer – black and white photographs – diary writing

Wednesday 28 September 1664

.. he would needs carry me and another Scotch Lord to a play, and so we saw, coming late, part of “The Generall,” my Lord Orrery’s (Broghill) second play; but, Lord! to see how no more either in words, sense, or design, it is to his “Harry the 5th” is not imaginable, and so poorly acted, though in finer clothes, is strange. And here I must confess breach of a vowe in appearance, but I not desiring it, but against my will, and my oathe being to go neither at my own charge nor at another’s, as I had done by becoming liable to give them another, as I am to Sir W. Pen and Mr. Creed; but here I neither know which of them paid for me, nor, if I did, am I obliged ever to return the like, or did it by desire or with any willingness.

Pepys has a very good sense of fair play which has probably stood him in  good stead throughout his business and social and certainly his trading life. I keep a note of who has done what for me and it goes into the pot of goodwill should they require anything from me. In my personal work with people I have a good instinct for those who are unselfish and who have given lots of time and energy to others with little or no payment. To these people I am happy to give my own service without stint* and without payment. When people ask I tell them that it is the universe’s way of thanking them for their efforts.

  • Stint is a lovely word that I do not often hear. It is from Middle English stinten, and Old English styntan, to make blunt, dull. It is cognate (related to)  with Old Norse stytta, to shorten.
    The verb ‘to stint’ means to supply a very ungenerous or inadequate amount of something. Also, we can use the word to describe a fixed period of work “I did my stint as a washer up”. As in the above  example “I indulge my fascination for antiques without stint” (or without stinting myself)


I shall be writing to the lady who asked me to do gardening. It is a wild space on a slope next to a forest which has been inhabited by nature for millennia. In order to tame it and use it for cultivatory purposes, continual attention is required. Keeping off deer requires structures of considerable strength and height, the more so because deer jump over obstacles if they see a tasty mortal. We must also not forget rabbits, who love leaves but have a custom of burrowing (though they may jump) so you need quite a fortress to construct something in this environment. There is a question whether it would adversely affect the appearance of the area.

According to a source in Google “One of the most hunted animals in the country, white-tailed deer will eat almost any plant including saplings, shrubs, grass, fruits, nuts and leaves. Because of their size and makeup, deer feed on plants close to the ground, making blueberry bushes an ideal food.

The prognosis on my offer of help is not good. Unless we barricade the garden area there will not be much left after the deer have had their feed.


I have always been fascinated by black and white photography. I feel that colour does the work of imagination for you. While we are on this retro theme, I note that a new TV channel has opened called ‘Talking Pictures (343 Sky) where they show 24/7 classic old films most of which are black and white. What a lovely way to pass a winter evening or any evening come to that.

I also noted that there is an exhibition coming up at the National Museum Cardiff entitled “Swaps: Photographs from the David Hurn Collection

This exhibition celebrates the major gift of photographs from David Hurn’s private collection and marks the opening of Amgueddfa Cymru’s first gallery dedicated to photography.

come and see more at the Museum of Wales

Throughout his career as a documentary photographer and member of Magnum Photos, Hurn has been an avid collector of photography. Remarkably, he has amassed his private collection by swapping works with other photographers.

The collection comprises approximately 700 photographs by leading 20th and 21st century photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Martine Franck, Bruce Davidson and Martin Parr, through to emerging photographers such as Bieke Depoorter, Clementine Schneidermann, and Newsha Tavakolian.

The exhibition presents a selection of works that reflect on Hurn’s own career and influences, his eye for a good photograph and the friendships he has developed with photographers along the way.

It is on until March 2018 so what more ideal excuse is there to go and view the best of the best.


I had the idea today of starting a diary group for those who are writing diaries or have written them. It would be fascinating to hear fresh first hand accounts of personal experiences of the war, of childhood, of anything with personal significance. With the coming of instant fame and instant reproduction I do feel the significance has gone out of our own history and growth. It should be taken seriously as should each and every individual with a combination of characteristics unique on the planet.

There are at least 638 primary personality traits so if they are present in us in varying degrees the number of combinations would easily exceed the number of people on the planet. Everyone therefore will write a unique diary. No one will even approach the way we look at things. Is that not a bit exciting? That is why MASS stimulus including ‘entertainment’ is so damaging to this feeling of uniqueness and is the only way to control our minds. <cough>

Once again – WE ARE ALL UNIQUE. Got the idea?


This evening we watched two programmes on the Community Channel. The first one was about the history of boat building on the Thames with emphasis on Eel Pie Island and Richmond itself. The second was on the history of London buses. Both programmes had one thing in common. They were filled in their entity by witness statements from either the boatman or the bus drivers and conductors. No sudden scene changing, no gimmicks, no sudden music just good old conversations telling a story. So refreshing. We shall spend more time with this channel. I call it “The Real People” channel.




Limbo dancing – greedy deer

Tuesday 27 September 1664

To-night Mr. T. Trice and Piggot came to see me, and desire my going down to Brampton Court, where for Piggot’s sake, for whom it is necessary, I should go, I would be glad to go, and will, contrary to my purpose, endeavour it, but having now almost 1000l., if not above, in my house, I know not what to do with it, and that will trouble my mind to leave in the house, and I not at home.

Surely they had banks at the time although the banking system was by no means developed so why did Pepys keep money at home? I must investigate this some time. 🙂


So, my letter of resignation as Patient Representative to the Hospital Trauma Unit was sent. Before sending it I talked with my wife about all sort of mitigatory circumstances that would undermine my decision. In view of the fact that I had volunteered 8 months ago and there was not even a suggestion of a remit indicated to me a lack of will, and possibly a threat from an outside person who might expose weaknesses in the system. On balance we decided that as there had been so many problem before a start was made, this did not auger well for the project itself. It may or may not have been the ‘right’ decision but I cant hang about for ever waiting for people to respond when I do not sense the will. In other words I am not begging for someone to take notice of my offer to work voluntarily.


Off to another meeting this afternoon. I offered help to a community in the form of newsletters, maintaining websites, and gardening. I was asked to focus on gardening. Alas, the local deer feel that they own the property and all that grows on it, so when you grow anything with leaves you are more or less feeding them. If I were to take on that job I would have to commit for at least a year and I don’t know if I can do that.
In general, volunteering for anything is fraught with problems. What do you get back for your efforts apart from the warm glow of satisfaction? I am happy to work for nothing for a charity, but not for a business. The venture I visited was a scrap metal and recycling business albeit with a large emphasis on the use of scrap metal for art installations and works.

There is a slight vacuum left by my resignation this morning but since there was nothing on the table, the feeling is a lack of aesthetic result only. I do not feel bad as I worked my socks off to demonstrate my abilities including making a brand new web site (and paying for it), designing and printing an invitation card, and making copious analytical notes as to how patient support could proceed post-discharge. I shall think twice before throwing myself into something in the future. I hate not being able to trust people.


My bank, the Co-op has been down all day today so no online activity can take place. One thing you cannot do is to save money through hiring inexperienced people. Three million customers cannot be let down. If this happens again I shall look around for another bank. I hear First Direct is very good.

I give the day 6/10 and – there was sunshine for at least three hours.  The next band of rain is due tonight. Blame the precocious Jet Stream.


What is a safe space?

Monday 26 September 1664

….So I have looked a little too much after Tangier and the Fishery, and that in the sight of Mr. Coventry, but I have good reason to love myself for serving Tangier, for it is one of the best flowers in my garden….

I love the idea of ideas as flowers. They bloom and they die. Alas the idea of being Patient Representative for the Bristol Hospitals has today pretty much died. After eight months – about the time I started the diary – nothing has been forthcoming terms of a working relationship, terms of reference etc. Without a certain minimum level of chemistry I cannot see a way forward with the NHS so a ‘I have to regret to have to inform you….’ letter will going out, but not before I have written to the principle person asking if there is any progress. In any event I am not downhearted as I have done my best. The NHS is so ‘committee and rule’ bound and so does not fit my temperament that maybe parting is the best thing.


What is a safe space?  A recovering alcoholic discovered he had a fear of crowds and a trust problem in general. He found he felt more able to discuss sensitive matters in the open air, in a field, in a garden.  He became enthused with he idea of nature as a healer and a refuge and subsequently took up gardening enthusiastically.

Psychotherapy and neuropsychological assessment office – would you consider this ‘safe’ or ‘safer’?

Retreating whether to bed or via alcohol only avoids the issue. ‘Safety’ in terms of avoiding any matter that will disturb or make us feel uncomfortable is encouraging us to revert to being a baby – reference the wave of Political Correctness that is sweeping our universities as well as the campuses on the USA.
Do you feel safer when you are in familiar territory?
What makes us all feel safe?
What do people need to say to make us feel safe?
If we felt safe when young, what caused us to start feeling unsafe?
Is the feeling of safety an illusion?

I have nothing else to write today so I will leave us all with these questions.

To me, fear is associated with mental or emotional situations, or the likely outlook of something. Being scared is more about the physical life. “I am scared of my father hitting me”, “scared of spiders”. The two words are related but scared seems to me a more immediate problem. ” I could not speak to her because I was too scared”
In the leaflet that came through to me from Centrepoint, stories of youngsters that are too scared to sleep out at night. A young lady is scared of what two drug addicts in the same room would do to her.

Works of art being exhibited in Frome, Somerset

There are few things I enjoy more than talking to artists and looking at works of art though I do not have formal art training. I believe and try to live out the ideal that we are all mobile art installations, instantly responsive to others, claiming the moment and making the best of it as we shall probably not meet in the same circumstances again.

Ref: Eckhart Tolle ‘The Power of Now’.

We are so busy obsessing over what we did, might have done, should have done, could have done differently that we don’t see what we did right.

Anyway enough of this philosophy, for now (ha ha) today’s topic is…..

not sure how old this photo is

Hans Borgonjon (sculptor) and Rosalind Robinson (painter) are working colleagues whose works appear in the show.
Hans has lived with his partner Liz Kozlowski for the past 10 years in Frome itself. Liz has curated the music side of this exhibition and is playing in some of the music performances, apart from being a natural therapist and healer.
The posh art web site  can be visited here.  Rosalind is an associate member of the Society of Women Artists. I am hugely impressed by her observation of the human eye as the window of the soul

Rosalind is the one in the middle.

as the following examples will show you.

Use Ctrl and the + key repeated to enlarge the images

We two together
“Ready when you are”
Moment of doubt (left) and Moment of uncertainty (right)
mischievous boy?
The venue, the Silk Mill, 5 minutes from the centre, BA11 1PT The show is called ‘Outside Insight’.

Now follows some of Hans’ works in oak, using special paint including gold. The work draws inspiration from his Flemish roots.

The Kiss
‘Squeeze’ am I going mad?
three studies of the face (not the exact title)
work outside the studio in the open air

There are many other centres where work is being shown. The one below is by Fiona Campbell whose work reminds us of the neural connections between trees and also between us and nature. It is almost impossible to photograph; you really have to see this installation in the flesh. I love the use of birch trees. I am going to put in two examples taken from different angles.

angle one
second angle
Look like its from the same artist, this time on the exterior of the building.
yes its a real post box


Quaint and quirky Frome, Somerset – pictorial essay

Sunday 25 September 1664

(Lord’s day). Up, and my throat being yet very sore, and, my head out of order, we went not to church, but I spent all the morning reading of “The Madd Lovers,” a very good play, and at noon comes Harman and his wife, whom I sent for to meet the Joyces, but they came not. It seems Will has got a fall off his horse and broke his face….


We rose early to complete a gardening job for Margaret a lady who had lost her husband two years ago. He died of a heart attack. “One moment we were chatting together and the next moment he was gone”. Two years is not long enough to get over the loss of a person that you have lived with for 50 years. After breakfast, on to Frome where my wife has an acupuncture appointment. We dumped three large bags of cuttings at the recycling centre on the way. Blessed be it is so close to our house.


There are some things you cannot concoct. The history of a town or city is unique, Frome included and when I visit there is always something of interest to photograph. John Wesley visited Frome several times in the later 18th century but he described it as a ‘dry, barren and uncomfortable place‘ One wonders why he even made a return visit.  Currently, there is also an Art Festival going on at the moment until early October 2017.

Take a deep breath and scroll down for many images.   (don’t forget to do Ctrl and + many times before doing so. The image will double in size).

Someone has thoughtfully provided a weatherproof cat kennel. I assume a grateful recipient is sitting on top of the wall.
Am old and battered slogan in someone’s front window
This is a shop on the famous Catherine Hill, a must see for all tourists.
Retro shop
there is competition between the shops for design appearance.
St Catherine’s Hill. Ask where it is if you are a visitor
A knitted picture
a lovely autumn themed range of stock at the bottom of the hill
If you are thinking of moving to this area you can tell a lot from looking at the notice boards. This is a LIVELY town
old fashioned baker
the baker, interior
and a retro music shop
very good bargains in the basics – the main shops are here. Iceland, Sainsbury’s, Lidl
and some tourist shops for the imaginative ha ha
This is the germ of a good idea but alas, empty for the moment anyway. See link for info.
This was a public toilet at one point. Nice conversion
and what could this have been I wonder
graffiti on the side of a shop

Well if that has not given you a taste of Frome then nothing will. Come and check it out and remember you can start a conversation with anyone if you are with someone or on your own.

My 26,683rd day on earth – kangaroos and self-drive cars

Saturday 24 September 1664

..a recounting of Pepys’ business matters.. then… So home and to my office, and business being done home to supper and so to bed, my head and throat being still out of order mightily.


What I really enjoy is that I only have the slightest clue what is going to happen today. Actually, it would take all the fun out of life to know what was going to happen. I suppose you could take all the risk out of life by staying in bed (how boring) but is anywhere the ‘safest place to be?’

I know what my plans are in general but as the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1785
“The best laid schemes of mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley”

nothing is risk-free.

Poor old mouse. He carefully built a winter nest in a wheat field, only for it to be destroyed by a ploughman.
Another mouse, pictured, has had an ingenious idea but that may not help him. Full credit for trying though.

I would not survive in prison or should I say, I could only survive by switching off any desire for freedom otherwise the conflict might tear me in half. I would just live day by day, hour by hour. Franklin D. Roosevelt has a point when he says “men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds“. Horrible to be in kept in prison indefinitely without charge, as is the case in many countries.

So, on with the day. I positively like it when I do not know what is going to happen. This coming Wednesday my diary will have it’s first mention in our local Journal here in Midsomer Norton. I don’t think our local population is literary orientated but the idea might catch on with one or two people. I have had site visitors from all over the place – Dublin, Andover (UK), Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lucerne, Wichita Kansas and Menlo Park California. I am unlikely to meet them but I love the idea that someone is reading my stuff and possibly being influenced by it or maybe even being challenged to write their own diary.
NB Site stats can be skewed by the visits of robots and spiders but fortunately there is software to eliminate most of these.

Menlo Park (above) is a government computer which scans and stores all web sites attempting to spot subversive information.  The amount of information that ‘they’ have on us is quite formidable in depth and breadth – browsing habits, telephone calls, travel plans, purchases. Have you ever wondered why an item that you searched for pops up when you are browsing for something else? Amazon, Ebay, Google  and Youtube are efficient at this. This profiling is quite brazen but most people do not seem to mind and regard it as a fact of life. I have long taken the view that ‘privacy’ is an illusion albeit comforting for some. We are all in the same boat, so writing about my personal life is no big deal. In publishing it I do not feel invaded but rather that I am taking part in a sharing, one human being to another.


Anyway, it is now 7.15 in the morning and the sun has yet to make any impression. Time for a second coffee before I creak into gear. creak creak. Amazing what a second cup does.  This is destined to be a quiet day which I have assigned for recovery from the wonderful weekend we had. Quiet is relative of course.


I saw a lovely article in a paper about the Swedish car maker. “Marsupials vs. Volvo“… Volvo has gone down under to test its autonomous vehicles and has found that while their AI navigation systems can cope with most eventualities but bouncing kangaroos confuse the hell out of them “.  I sometimes think that I affect people like the marsupial affected the AI.  When I get inspired I leap around like a teenager and produce all sorts of florescent language, as the artist Sally found out yesterday (see previous). Poor dear, she was suffering from a bug and was unable to enjoy her own open show at her home.  The trouble is that if I suppress my spontaneous remarks I become frustrated and have a feeling of not ‘being me’. It is like trying to stop a spring of water by blocking the outlet with a towel.

Can’t be done, not with me anyway.


Today I visited my dentist in Bath for the 35th session of the treatment to reconstitute my teeth. 12 dentists have done their best over the years but there was no choice but to have a root and branch reformation, go private and stump up (pay up, fork out, shell out – your choice). David is meticulous and will not allow any work to go through without it being 10/10.  We get on well so I don’t mind.


I went to pick up Francoise from her AgeUK centre volunteering work. I saw a leaflet on the wall which shows  trend of the times. I thought Cruse Bereavement Care was only for widows to recover from death of a loved one but now they are diversifying. I don’t like the acronym SOBS but it will do I suppose.

Sunday Pt 3 – the artist Sally Bradborn – identifying reality using forms

So we are within a two week event, Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2017,  starting yesterday 23rd September where the artists display their finery and the public can meet them in their homes.  One such was Sally Bradborn. Interestingly the surname originated from the village Bradbyrne in Derbyshire. The name comes from two old English words; biad, meaning broad or wide, and burna meaning stream. I derive from this the term ‘streaming broadband’ but that’s just my left brained take, being a mere male.

Sally moved away from the metropolis with her lawyer husband the while producing three children. The focus on the art suffered somewhat but art is like riding a bike – you never forget it, indeed a rest or a pause can enhance growth on the subconscious level. She and I have one thing in common apart from the fact that she has read the same book by Claire Tomlinson on Samuel Pepys. We do not know what is going to happen when we sit down, she with her ceramic materials and me with my keyboard.

I commented that Barbara Hepworth waited for her stones to call her. I believe that we are not originators of creativity but the receivers of harmony or otherwise.  I am very sympathetic to all artists which is why I forgive them for what they have done, are doing or might do sometime in the future. They are seeking to reach into base matter and produce gold, rather like the alchemists of old. This is not possible without INspiration. NB it is not EXpiration. In order to do so the psyche needs to be held in a space between matter and spirit, or half way between heaven and hell if you want to be fundamentalist.

This is why artists are so often ‘oddballs’ as if they to interact with normal (compromised) people they lose the very essence of what they are trying to achieve. Same with musicians I guess. I get very excited when I recognise a kindred spirit and nothing stops the flow of what appears to be inspiration coming out of my mouth. There are so many DEAD people around that it is such a joy to find a live one. Artists often have difficulty in marketing their work. They are either too greedy and try to monetize everything or they give their work away. This is why an agent should be sought to give an unbiased second opinion.

Sally’s studio

Alas due to the peculiarities of my humble camera (or was it the shaking of my hand) the photos made in her studio – a converted garage – were not as clear as I would have liked. I quite like the ethereal look.

My wife talking to Sally
All work should ask a question. I am fascinated by the nuance of the face and what is behind it.
this model does not have a point to prove. She is asking questions but falling short of interrogation.
this example shows how important the lighting of the work is

I almost feel I could use this as a Rorschach Ink Blot test and see what people see in it. Such an interesting psychological study. I found with Sally’s work that a group of her works would have considerable interaction power or should I say ‘presence’.  We both agreed that space and being alone was an essential ingredient for inspiration.

I love Edward Hopper’s quote “If I could see it in words there would be no reason to paint” and Francis Bacon’s quote “the job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery“. We should not do the viewers work for them but ask questions, then more questions.

I know we shall be seeing many good things coming from Sally and I can’t wait to visit her first one woman show. Watch this existential space.


Back to Rockaway studios (see yesterdays blog). I wanted to see Marta the wife of Mark the owner to offer to do some voluntary work. She greeted me with a lovely smile although she was rushed off her feet. I think I could really do a good job of helping with the web site, a newsletter, and the garden which for such a place needs to be something special.  We agreed to talk in the week.

Meanwhile my camera was out, itching to make more photos so here are a few:

Richard and Joyce, who is supporting traffic cones on her head.
an intricate design made by cutting up a tyre.
children soaking in the atmosphere wile a band plays in the background.
A worker building up the heat to forge metal
The creativity bubbles up from the word go on his website.
speaks for itself

Oh and I put this image in because I think it is funny. If you are doing or thinking exactly the opposite of the majority you must be getting something right.

Lots of love and good night

Sunday Pt. 2 – the local Cider and Ale Barn

We discovered this jewel about four years ago and it is now part of our Sunday routine when we go to the boot sale in Cheddar. (see previous entry). It is not a ‘pub’ but an ‘import’ from somewhere like Australia. The Cider Barn is presided over by the ever characterful Jason who works the most horrendous hours and is universally liked by the mixed clientele that appear at the door.  Cyclists, tourists, local colourful characters, farmers – you name it.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

BS27 3RU don’t drive too fast or you will miss it.
the bar area as seen from the door
side wall (use Ctrl and + to enlarge)
one of the most unpleasant physiognomies I have ever seen.
NO chemical produced rubbish beer
and many local groups
free library
The Guinness campaigns were masterly “Guinness is good for you”
another seminal ad. situated in the back room of this establishment

Oh and they do offer a selection of hot food. It is cooked on the premises and microwaved. The dishes are served with a very large doorstep of bread. There is an outdoor sitting area for smokers and sight seers. The ciders are to die for.

My wife insisted on driving us onward afterwards even though I only had a pint.