stories and illustration

Rubble 3

rubble 3

China, pottery, slate, stones, wood: the detritus of lives filling a hollow in the path, and small plants creeping  round the edges, and the wheels of landrovers pushing it downwards back into the ground. Once upon a time that china was in someone’s life, soon it will be ground down into turquoise dust, unless it sinks faster than the stones, so that its shards will work their way downwards.  The earth is full of china, everywhere..

rubble 4


September 9, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinatown, Newcastle upon Tyne


Went on a jaunt to Newcastle upon Tyne to see a friend of long-standing, who knows every nook and cranny, highway and byway and waterway and alleyway of this richly fascinating city.  During this visit we went to Chinatown, which has one of the largest Chinese communities in the country. The Chinese arch, a detail of which is above, was made by craftsmen in Shangai, then bought over to Newcastle and erected by Chinese workers as recently as 2005. As well as Chinese symbols of good fortune, it includes scenes from Newcastle itself.


The arch frames the Tyneside Irish Centre, with good luck Chinese lions guarding the entrance to Chinatown:


The main street is Stowell Street, on which a Chinese store opened in 1972, and which has since grown into the main thoroughfare of Chinatown:







In the middle of the street is this rather incongruous very old-fashioned pillar box, in a nice Chinese red:



A Thai Cafe has got in on the act, and looks well at home:


Set in the heart of the renowned area of the city called  Grainger Town, a community has grown from small beginnings,  and has become a part of the fabric of Newcastle itself, with a spectacular and famed Chinese New Year’s celebration  that brings colour and festivity to this part of the city every year.

July 16, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birds in My Room


Julia’s Bird

I wondered how many images of birds I could discover in my room.  The bird with the crown is a panel by glass artist Julia Davies, who lives in Berwick upon Tweed.  I find her work beautiful. This bird is in the window, together with this jug which was given to me by my cousin Lucy, and which should have dried grasses in it but doesn’t at the moment:

april rooms 2

Lucy’s Jug

This box belonged to a friend of mine, Helen Harris, who died of leukemia:


Helen’s Box

This peacock scarf was bought by Tony, my husband, from a shop that used to be in Coldstream, selling objets d’art from France.  I don’t know whether it is French or not.  One day I will have a neat black top and will go out with him looking a tad elegant with this scarf draped round my shoulders (elegance is not my usual mode).  In the meantime, because I find it gorgeous to have around, it is hung over the back of a chair upholstered in red velvet, a chair which goes way back in my husband’s life, and which  I suspect has been witness, if chairs can witness, to many interesting events.


The Peacock Scarf

These birds were a wedding memento from my friend, Jennifer:


For a Wedding, from Jennifer

The little chinese bird in its circular frame cost me £3.50 in a charity shop.  On the other hand, the original Aboriginal painting I bought for £1.25 is downstairs. That too has a wonderful bird on it.


Embroidered Bird

This plate, which I think can be counted as representing a kind of bird (well, sort of), has been in the family for as long as I can remember, and somehow I ended up with it, travelling from Cumbria to Sunderland (in many different flats there), and from Sunderland to the West Country, and from the West Country to Berwick upon Tweed, and thence to Coldstream.  I think it is a kind of Portuguese Wyvern, though I am sure that isn’t a recognised description at all:


Old Portuguese Plate

I start hunting for birds, and find more of them on the big fan:


The Big Fan

and in the picture I did of the table in the porch (the conservatory manque)outside the kitchen, where objects accumulate week by week.  The cockerel is a largish bird that was bargained for over two years by my husband before a price was agreed. It precedes me in the household. The hat is Tony’s hat, he has more hats than any man I ever met, probably more hats than any man in Berwickshire, with the possible exception of members of the aristocracy, who probably have hats in their back rooms and cupboards that have not seen the light of day for many years:


Tony’s Table

There are ducks on my make-up bag:


The Make-up Bag

And peacocks on the brass calendar:


The (Rather Optimistic) 100 Year Calendar

Finally a few books:


Birds on Book Bindings

This little robin was so low down I nearly forgot about him.  He was a present from another Robin, a friend, for whom I have painted robins and hares:

aprilbirds 13

Robin’s Robin

And finally, cheating, a little cushion that was given to me.  If angels aren’t birds, or birds aren’t angels, then… well, whatever.  Peace and Love.


Goodwill to All

May 3, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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