Now in La Roque Gageac , but more of on the way to France. 

This is not entirely clear, it is my painting book on my brush roll. I have been sitting at the window of Jane Dammers beautiful house on La Roque Gageac. The house holds onto or leans back in an ancient and comfortable sort of way to the actual Roque. Here is the view from the bed of the Rock and the start of the ceiling .
I sat at the window and looked far out over the rain covered landscape. The casement panes needed to be open , quite chilly for working so I dressed up like North Polar Bear ( Tolkien) for the occasion. Definitely in my pyjamas,  as today I am speechless, after many ( happy) days of being a teacher. Hopefully helpful. The dearest of students. 
And now photos taken by Glen, me at the window scratching away at my painting and then one from way below. The red dot is my Best hat , I love it, made by Our Sarah. ( Sarah Atkinson. ) How amazing is this little house? 

And now the house, with the hat…

We are staying here before traveling north to Paris and Brussels. Yesterday I finished my classes near Castelnaud la Chapelle, at the also lovely accomodation of Ian Johnson and Ien Ang, I think the full name 0f their home is Les Esparoutis . I will write another weblog just on this, so much to say. About everything really. The painting time together went very well, a picture of the dining room table, busy with pictures

And getting a run up for dinner….
Before I write of days before getting to France, just a few more La Roque pictures. First a small side pathway…
An exotic French Harlequin beetle 

Of natural history news, Glen saw a snake on a slither across the footpath just below the cottage gate. Imagine any fine serpent as I don’t have a photograph. The description was of an infant brown snake. 
And one last window photograph, looking out to the great Dordogne river.

I think I must stop now , an early train to catch , And next weblog will be the getting to France, via Scotland , Hampshire, Devon with a bit of a mention of London. I will finish with a picture of a wet Beynac cat. 

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Now of Oxford, the Ashmolean, Joan Hassell, Samuel Palmer and a dangerous bookshop.


This pig is a late Oxford pig I would say, and was in the excellent pub which Michael and Sarah took us for lunch. The second photo is of diners at the next table. I would have liked to have watched to see if Betty dog got the pie in one snap.
Out on the streets we went. Shakespeare is celebrated in this shop in a cheery way.

I bought some button badges with fine insults.

In case you can’t read the top left.. Thou art a boil’. Not you personally.

I can imagine a vexed person incandescent with rage tapping out this sign .
Hurray, back again to this wonderful museum, of Art and Archaeology. Off quick sticks to the print room where we were warmly welcomed by Miss Caroline Palmer, and Katharine her assistant. Here is Glen happily looking at the Samuel Palmer rabbit walking up a hill drawing, just checked that was before, the harvest pictures.

Caroline and Katharine arranged a large folio of Joan Hassell’s wood engravings. I am not to show images of work here on this weblog, as it a publication , but if you look up her work, they are of great beauty and delight.
Out onto the streets of Oxford, being asked to meet at the Oxfam bookshop. That was a treat, maybe a bit dangerous , a perfectly arranged bookshop. I found three of the heaviest books. One.. The William Gaunt book of Impressionism, to replace one I used to own, a Folio edition of Thomas Bewick, his memoir. And a fifth edition of Percy Scholes, The Oxford Companion to music. I bought my copy nearly 100 years ago. It is heavy enough to rick my back, but is a present for Sarah and Michael’s son Charles. We have a good laugh together at the paintings of Batt, of the composers. Who all look a bit desperate. I love these books.

Sarah and Glen admiring my finds. Glen was keen to get a book of Forensic studies. It truly was one for the enthusiast. He resisted.
I will away now, back to the kitchen table.


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Meaning to be about Oxford. Instead the Woodside cats and Mimi.

Another cat beginning , this time it is Rummy Cat, as of T.S Eliot. He is the kitchen cat of my friends Katharine and Angus. We have come here from Scotland and I have moved into the kitchen happily with my lino cutting works. Rummy has had to move to his kitchen table castle, made earlier by Katharine and Angus’ daughter Susannah.

I did mean this to be about Oxford but I need to say about other cats and dogs here. ( of people… I have known Angus for many years, Katharine for nearly fifty years, I was K’s babysitter while I went to the art school in North Adelaide . This is again a journey seeing loved friends.) Back to cats .

The piano room cat, Fluffy. Quite ample in size, I think would pop if she walked near a cactus. She lives on the piano, leaving only to watch television on a cushioned lap. Her sister is Suki, the upstairs cat, sleeping on available beds.

IMG_3019.JPGAnd this is Scruffy , x3. She moved while I painted her, three years ago. This is Mimi’s cat, now grieving as we all are, for Mimi ( Margaret Miller) . Mimi wouldn’t mind being tucked in here amongst cat/ dog/ life news. A very loved friend, who died not long ago. The trees in the garden would have been just coming into leaf when she left. The bluebell wood beyond the pond is still blue. Perhaps still ringing, tolling the days for her dear life.

And the new leaves, here they come, so many ways we will remember Mimi.

The azealeas, and rhododendrons…

New shoots and the flower buds, the great copper beech, another springtime in their lives.

Life in this lovely home continues, Lola and Inca dogs sleep deeply on the kitchen couch where Mimi would spend afternoons enjoying the sun.


Well Inca is not deeply asleep, it is near 4.00, dinner time and she needs to pay attention.

Scruffy the cat , being reflective amongst reflections, in Mimi’s sitting room. Farewell Dear Mimi.

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To the Far North

IMG_2743-0.JPG. We have come to Scotland , Portobello , to visit our friends Sue and Alec, Jack and Ellie. ( On our way to to France) . Camy Cat sits at the window , the sun is coming up through thick cloud over the sea. It is almost a year since my last weblog. So much to say of a year. Of very recent times…. Our very loved Pepper Pot dog went to sleep for ever. On her couch and best cushion, with her Milly. Perhaps she said… ‘I might be gone for some time..’

DSC01083.JPG. Here she is , sitting on her second best couch. A beautiful photo taken by Glen. I think of her as I see the dogs running on the stormy beach. And along the sea wall. What a gift it is to have these animal companions in our lives.

IMG_2780.JPGThis is Clarice the whippet, a Scotland dog, on the sea wall.

We have been in England since last Monday. Sarah and Michael kindly met us at Heathrow and took us first to have a restorative cup of tea. Not just in a roadside cafe but at Dorchester ( Oxford Dorchester, not Thomas Hardy Dorchester) . It must be one of the best tea rooms. Here is Diana, one of the Tea Ladies of the Abbey officiating. The table was ‘ groaning ‘ with cakes, scones and blackcurrant jam.

We could eat all we wished and I did. Actual spoonfuls of blackcurrant jam which was a bit rude especially since I was out.
Then to the little museum full of treasures…

A perfect model of the Romano-English house C4.
And a canon ball, out of action , which is a good thing .

And some photos now of the Abbey.

The little notice board, and then some of the interior.


Candles I lit for dear friends recently left this life.. Jack Powell, Louisa Fioretti, Mac Blight, Ann Whyte, Pepper Pot, Margaret (Mimi) Miller and Lyn Bartlett.
God is at home in this Abbey.
An old knight lies partly leg less on the floor, and another one , a bit contorted on a plinth.


Out now through the garden, past the cottage in the close.


Next time, into Oxford, into the print room of the Ashmoleum , Samuel Palmer and Joan Hassell. A dog or several.

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Paris after the Cassis Glacé,  then on a speedy train south. 

 This is looking down the Dordogne river, I am peering out from a great height , between the summer stalky grasses of the bastide town of Domme.  

 My paper is clipped on with a hair clip. If it blows away in the wind I shall not climb down to fetch it. We have been staying near Castel- naud la Chapelle for some days now, my very fine students and I .  

 Here we are at amazing Rocamadour, Briali has taken this with her tricky long distance wand. I hope Utama is not too far away. It doesn’t do to look down at this point . Peter and Ria have been cooking three meals a day for us and we are cross eyed with splendid eating.  

   We can’t seem to remember what day it is, so perfect is this time together. ( And there is more……) But now back to Paris. Beautiful Paris. Again my attic room with the roof top views I have come to love…. 

 and the curly whirly art nouveau entrance to my Metro station.

   Down into the Metro again and off to the Museé D’Orsay… One of the Best galleries, along with my other Best galleries.  


 And at this time, an immense exhibition of Pierre Bonnard. An immensely wonderful exhibition. I love these paintings, I spend the rest of the day almost in his world..He shows us the most Crabbit Cats ( a Sue in Scotland word) look how spitty this one is.. 

 and then look at this chap, just near the table dejeuner, fat as fat. 

 La grandmere, aussi trés ample, attends to la jolie enfant.  

 It is Just how it is , with Grandmothers, the dearest of quiet times. Bonnard paints these treasures and more. I couldn’t photograph the the beady eyed black dog he painted, Le Chein just about to get a whole cherry pie. There are old films of Bonnard showing, of him walking with friends, swimming and in a small boat. His life going on forever in his pictures.  

 I can’t resist the catalogue, I weigh each one in my hands, bother, the best is the heaviest. And in French, good for my brain. I go out along the Seine, looking for Sennelier and Charvin art supply shops. A Zebra vase in an elegant gallery window..  

 And gosh, that is a useful looking flamingo maybe toucan ish lamp. And a mouse lamp aussi. 

 There is an upside down bear under the table, I am sure it is. And now , truly for the enthusiast, a window display of pencil sharpeners. Of course it has to be the Sennelier shop. Mais Oui.  

 Inside it is as splendid as always. I purchase a pencil sharpener. 

 Onwards to Charvin. A lovely window arrangement , aquarelles in all their splendour.  

   Of course I buy some paints. Old Holland Manganese Deep, The King’s Blue, ( Deep) x2, and also some Charvin block pan paint. Maybe I could be tempted to buy a smock.  

 But would they match my Sarah Chapeau Rouge? That is the big question. I think of the photographs of Monet in one of these smocks. With his FC beard and for ever cigarette . More water colours are glistening on the table. Back through the little crowded summer streets, past some jolie gateaux.. 

 One last Paris sleep… 

  Early morning Metro to Montparnasse, if I would be a gentleman , a chance for an almost discreet quick wee on the platform,  

 Cheery really , on now to the Montparnasse platforms, take ones time to tell us from where Le tran will leave. Bon Matin to railway dogs and their owners. 

    The second picture for Tonia and Banjo Baker, a gentle seeing eye dog. Then the pointy pointy speedy trains, waiting with engines turning. 


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An Attic in Paris, at last . .

I have decided to write later of my adventures in England. For now as I leave Angleterre, a picture of me as a traveller, taken in a very Dickens area of London, Marshalsea road, and not far away, Little Dorrit street.  

 I specialy l think of  my friend Anna Wells who knows about Mr Dickens. I have made an early morning dash to the Intaglio shop, inspired by Katharine Duncan, where I have been staying in Liphook.  


  Oh no, a poster announcing an exhibition of Ravilious!   

 Could I streak there to see it and then extremely whiz to St Pancras for the Eurostar. I do waver. But good sense for once takes hold , I sigh and virtuously set off on the underground. More excitement , the Eurostar .   

  I have an anxious moment when my bags are are scanned. I have just purchased two lethal pointy wood/ Lino cutting tools. And then there are my savage knitting needles. Might I have to toss them out? All is well, it is very good such care is taken. It is a wonderful journey, by chance I sit next to an equally wonderful person called Maggie,  who is a children’s attorney from Wyoming. She is travelling with her two teenaged daughters , Emma and Zoe. We quickly lay our ears back and have the best of conversations. Only stopping to really watch as we descended or sloped down into the tunnel. Might I see a fish or a crab I wonder? Maggie and I both agree the present Australian leaders are up there or down for the first prize in Awfulness, with the Republicans in her country. We quickly leave these thoughts of mean and wretched behaviorand speak of our homes , of the animals coming across the fields of deep snow in Wyoming,of their rescued horses, now fine and happy dressage animals . Of the concert they heard , the highlight of their London stay, the London Symphony orchestra , playing Bartok, a huge number of strings present. A fond Au’revoir. I buy my metro billet. All Français, La billet femme comprends!!! Maintenant, rattling along in the metro, I come to Gare Mouton Duvernet.

 oh it is Art Nouveau, with twirly whirly twirls. I find the Henri Delormel square and ascend in a tiny lift. I meet Gabrielle, who gives me a warm welcome . I have a great Airb&b accomodation, a beautiful little attic on le plancher sept. I must be at last , truly an artist . A Parisian Attic. Two slightly rickety windows open onto the rooftops of Paris. I am so high up , the street lights can’t be seen. Only the occasional glow from dear old windows like mine.   

 Away across I can see les enfants , ils appelant à autre enfants sous. It is like our children when they were little. Across the balconies. In my attic, decorations of old French Colonial African animals. All standing nicely, perfectly behaved.    

 I can sleep with the windows wide open. Might a pigeon fly in? I can see a murder of crows, crowing to each other on the next row of roof tiles. It can’t be about chook eggs etc like our at home Ravens. I sleep well and in the morning travel out to see the Museé Marmontan. I get a bit lost at the St Michel underground station. I stand and look at my Paris moleskine ( which Janet P kindly gave me three years is  Really useful, with maps and lists ) but this time Book and I are stumped. And there in front of me appeared a tiny older lady, who asked if she may help. She spoke slowly , I know I must look foreign. An Angel I think , …she said she would take me to the right train place, a sort of above train. ‘ Follow me ‘, and as we trotted along she told me to be Very Careful of strangers in the metro. It was a long scurry, but I was grateful. For all the world she looked like Mrs Tigggy Winkle, without the prickles. I thanked her with my best French words, she gave me a hug and was gone. Amazing gifts of kindness and care there are in this world. There I was at the station and more asking Lá s and il y a rue and there I was, Museé Marmotan. ( And Pierre and Henri dogs who I meet on the way.) 

   It was wonderful to see the collections of the Marmotan , I didn’t photograph pictures there, but just to tell you.. beautiful early Monets, and Berthe Morisot . More perfect art of the heart and of home. The streets were filled with sunshine  

 and the flower shops were abundant. The only tricky thing was seeing geraniums which I must not bring home.  

 Back on the train , and over the Seine (again)…

 and then … Hurray, une glacé Cassis.  


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George Mackley’s wood engravings , Paul Nash’s Clumps etching, then on the train North .

  Well this is clearly not a wood engraving, it is what I can see now out of my window in Paris. All those rooftops! I am so high up. I arrived today…June 11.  In this weblog I am saying still of the Ashmolean visit. Always I have lots more to say, …I might catch up…       Now to show some of the wood engravings, and cows. Just to keep a good balance.       A photograph of the now silent Stradivarius  violins, sitting glumly in the Print room of the Ashmolean . They were left to the collection with the proviso they were not to be played . We will just have to imagine the sweet sounds. My inner self , which is a bit interested in crime of the decent sort, wonders how they can be set free. At least we can look at the wood engravings of George Mackley.   The tiniest of cuts he had made , with the engraving tools. Their wonderful names, scorper, spitsticker and the  bull sticker. These little pictures are perfect to me.  


  The rivers and canals are still traversed by similar boats, the lovely long boats.  

  I can almost hear the sounds of the river. I think of him sitting quietly there, drawing the light and the dark darks of the shadows .One more ,  the Downland church.
 These wood engravings are here especially for my friend Christopher Wells . Now leaving this stillness and peace , over  to The Clumps and a clumping cow or several. 

I have to put in some more cow pictures ,  






Sarah and Michael graciously hullo the welcoming committee , I am not actually hiding , just standing a bit behind the wall.  The best cow nose I would think.  I can still smell its grassy breath. Sarah and Michael have brought me to Little see the Clumps which Paul Nash drew. And here it is … 

   All those soaring birds, and the far away lands. So far from his war pictures of sadness and devastation, this drawing is of the heart. You could hum a Vaughan Williams’  hum for this one. Back now to Abingdon, a last walk  down to the river, past the Twittys, 

 round the back of the Alms houses, 

   With their stalky chimneys and New Testament quotations, slightly cheery . The river is cheery , with perfect English flowers and calm waters. A duck and a gaggle of geese. 


Back to Sarah and Michaels’ home at the Old Goal, not grim at all, a last look out the window,   

 then onward to the northern train . Thankyou dear Sarah and Michael. Next time, the town of Hinkley, home of hosiery, and battles of Bosworth and my friends , the Meyers. 

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