A few days ago we put the clocks back and admitted autumn had arrived. On one hand it turns my mood to one of sadness, that the warm days of summer and lush blossoms in the garden are past. On the other I am delighted. This season is the best, I feel, for artists especially. Wonderful opportunities to paint colourful landscapes; or still life creations with apples, pears, plums. Or indeed pumpkins, seed-heads, and ‘conkers’.

That was a few days ago when I wrote this. Now we are in a winter wonderland.

Looking back summer was mixed. We had some super days despite the rain – visits to the coast, celebrations for wedding anniversaries, birthday parties, and not forgetting my ‘girls’ nights out’ to the Ogino Japanese Restaurant, Lucia and the Westwood – all in Beverley. Super food and remarkable service. Happy memories.

My wrist operation held up my painting for a while but I was able to carry on with Steve’s class on Mondays. Phase two of the wrist ops is imminent. The surgeon, Mr Platt, was extremely happy with the right wrist result and I will learn shortly when the left will take place. I am hoping this will be well before Christmas!!

My wrist recovered in time for Jan Gardner‘s workshop at Wiberfosse. I must say this was an event to remember. Jan is a wonderful warm person whose work is phenominal and her demonstration opened a whole new world for many of us. Her personality, skill and support directed our thoughts to challenges we may never have thought of without her pointing the way.( you Jan.

Right wrist now a thing of the past so I was up and running for the most recent painting workshop last Friday at Wilberfosse. This was headed up by Charlie Evans – internationally renowned as a water colourist, and the writer and producer of many instructional books on the art. ( His entertaining method of demonstrating his work kept us all on our toes until lunchtime when we all (?) enjoyed our sandwiches. His hints and tips were an added bonus as he developed a wonderful snow scene. During the afternoon session we attempted and mostly failed to do likewise – though he certainly fired us up to try to do better in the future and was generous with his supportive comments. Thank you, Charlie.

Already Christmas is in the shops. How I dislike the tinsel and glitter which assails us even before Halloween and Guy Fawkes’ Night. And I really do wonder how many of today’s youngsters even know who guy Fawkes was. Probably today he would be labelled a terrorist!

So be it. I am always ready for a celebration and here is one such which took place in France and almost started another 100 years war

On a more humourous note I will bore you with a real bonfire night event. Some friends of ours who lived in a hamlet in the Gers decided to have a bonfire party to which they invited English friends and everybody in the village and surrounding farms.

Fireworks were planned with a pyrotechnic specialist and a huge bonfire laid at the bottom of the garden. This was duly lit at about 8pm and parkin, potatoes, and the usual BBQ food served. Wine, as is normal in France, flowed.

All went well until our friend threw the effigy of the Guy into the flames causing uproar to break out fromthe French – remember this was the birth place of the real Comte de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan on which The Mousketeers was based!

‘Why?’ they demanded, ‘are you English burning D’Artagnan?’

My friend attempted an explanation in broken French. This, he told them, is a celebration of an event which took place England in 1605 when Guy Fawkes, a Catholic, tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. England was then a Protestant country, they explained, and he failed.

Confusion reigned. France is a Catholic country! And why celebrate an event which failed?

It took every bottle of good Armagnac in my friend’s cellar to provide a solution. Everybody eventually agreed a good time was had by all.

My attempt at an autumn haiku!

A golden leaf spins

earthwards through morning haze

Autumn’s greeting.


PS: Now a diversion, but I must have my say. I recently watched TV and learned the Battle of Orgreave is to be swept under the carpet. I come from a mining family and was living amongst the miners when it took place and understood their suffering. I knew good men who told no lies and who were on the picket lines and I heard their stories. I myself (a woman alone) was halted on the M62 for almost an hour by police who searched my car making me late for an important appointment.

The fight must go on.

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