Monday, 8 February 2016

A map on a Monday

      Here's the third of a series of linocut maps, all printed in monochrome, that were produced for a book produced by Caught by The River and called, appropriately, 'Caught by the river, A COLLECTION OF WORDS ON WATER', the book was first published in 2009. 
      This linocut 'map' illustrates a chapter written by Roy Wilkinson about a London river, the River Wandle, that rises in the North Downs in Surrey eleven miles from its confluence with the Thames in Wandsworth. Did you know Admiral Lord Nelson fly-fished the Wandle for trout? There are loads more interesting facts in the chapter about its rebirth and it is one of my favourites.
      Next month there will be another map on a Monday from the same series.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The legend of Bastard Barry

      I park my car in a remote Fenland farmyard when I visit one of my favourite pike fishing venues and the farmer, like all of the farmers in Fenland, has varying levels of security around the farm and the farm buildings and stores.
      A gong sounds as you come up the farm road. A light is set to come on in darkness or daylight. The people who live there have 'eyes-on'. If you don't have permission you will be asked to leave.
      Then there is another more 'subtle' level of security, called Bastard Barry, I reckon he's descended from Bible John's preaching terrier that serviced many a dog in Fenland; anyway the legend of 'Bastard Barry' may sound like a Bob Dylan song but this one is alive, well and capable of biting.
      Barry likes nothing more than a good nip of your Achilles Tendon when your back is turned and then he's off so that he is just out of range. If you are daft enough to shout at him and chase him he turns, squares up to you and goes for the full frontal attack.
      Not advised.
      In the picture of him above he's a happy dog, he's wagging his stumpy tail so hard it's a blur, that alone is a worrying development.

      When the Essex Scribbler, Bure Boy and I fished for pike at this venue on Monday we emerged unscathed and un-nipped but I'm sure the crafty little bugger knew we were watching each others backs. I suspect my card is marked for my next solo visit. The Essex Scribbler even produced a characterful drawing to ingratiate himself with Barry, it won't work ES he's like a hairy pike, a creature who loves an ambush.
      Maybe I'll go somewhere else next time.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

For a lonely furrow

      An agricultural antique in the form a single furrow plough nestling in the corner  of a barn. At the time this piece of equipment was produced it was absolutely state-of-the-art, now it would be a piece of equipment for an agricultural hobbyist or an obsessed smallholder. Or a garden ornament.
      This time the plough is owned by a farmer, obviously, who has retired and just can't bear the thought of parting with it because of the memories it holds for him, which seems entirely fair to us.
      Times march on and now the ploughs behind the might tractors have fourteen revolving blades.
      Just what you need for your allotment.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Fen textures. Always there

      Early morning a clear and beautiful light and the Fenland textures are all crisp and sharp. In the background the winter wheat is growing furiously and the rain and colder, frosty weather is slow breaking down the ploughed field in readiness for potato planting in the spring.
      And the logs in the foreground?
      They've been seasoning for a year or so were all sawn up a few days ago in readiness for the splitter and then we'll be stacking them all OCD style.
      You just have to be ready for a cold snap.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hanging on the gallery wall

Green light

      This is the seventh lino print in the series of eight small prints whose subject is the landscape of the West Norfolk Fenland. The farms, the rivers, the drains, the cottages, the orchards with the all-powerful and ever-changing colours of the big Fenland skies providing the inspiration for the background colour.
      Some of the prints in the series will are new subjects and others will be favourite places and pike fishing venues revisited and re-worked.
      'Green light' shows the Fenland agricultural landscape and a reeded drain embankment in the early morning.
      The entire series will be printed in three colours on 300gsm Somerset Satin White with an image area of 15cm x 15cm in editions of 15 prints.
      All of the prints are available for purchase from the Two Terriers blog via the comment box or the email address in the 'About Me' section.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Sawn and split. Just add seasoning

      Just a little bit more than half of the mighty pile of free firewood comprising Alder, Poplar and Willow, has now been sawn to length and split. I say free but it did cost a litre bottle of The Famous Grouse, that's near enough to being free for us.
      The power of the vintage Ferguson tractor driving the saw bed complete with a blade that is one metre in diameter makes short work of the logs. However the next sawing session will be much harder than the first because the logs that remain are much larger and much heavier.
      Why do we always save the hardest to handle, heaviest and worst work until last? Human nature I suppose.

      The hydraulically powered log splitter running off the power of an old red Massey Ferguson tractor is a brilliant bit of kit too. The pressure from 1,500 pounds per square inch splitter takes absolutely no prisoners and the logs, even the knottiest  and hardest wood, simply give way under its power. Believe me it's a lot easier than using a splitting axe.
      Next comes the fun part.
      There is about to be an outbreak of OCD/Zen log stacking to get the timber seasoned and ready for burning.
      Watch this space.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Stand up and be counted

      Finally we've had a few hard frosts and in the last month they have turned the ground to iron and the farmer's broad beans just collapsed and looked as if they were finished. A nasty business really. Then as the milder weather returned here are the Aquadulce standing beautifully to attention again.
      There'll be a two more rows planted sequentially so that we can enjoy early, mid-season and late-season beans. That works for us because there is nothing like lovely fresh baby broad beans.
      Well, apart from lovely freshly picked peas, new potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, apples, plums; anyway you get my drift.