Blog Archives

Into the Woods

I ventured into the loft today to bring down this large original for my daughter’s bedroom wall. It’s the kind of piece that isn’t fashionable these days, but I’ve always thought it had an interesting quality of atmosphere or (to borrow from Wassily Kandinsky) innerer klang even.

By W. Elkin

By W. Elkin

Autumn Tree

This has been done by the eldest (twelve) on my phone when she was sitting in the car for a few minutes whilst I bought some dog food at the pet shop.

This has been done by the girl who says she doesn’t like art (as it’s taught in school) anymore.

This has been done by someone who has an instinctive approach to form.

tree (1)

Spring is Sprung

That earlier post about pitch put me in a linguistic glitch.

Do drips drip and drops drop? Or drips drop and drops drip?

It all sounds wrong and looks funny on the page after a very short time indeed. Anyway Spring does indeed spring, but today, on the evening dog walk, I found evidence that it has also sprung. I am not convinced the sunny days and freezing nights are particularly conducive to tree blossom, but nature is giving it a good old go like the old broad she is, with blowsy, fuzzy leaf buds busting out all over.

This my eldest daughter’s favourite tree in the park. It’s quite nice that she has one.

The dog had the wind up his tail on the walk, spring has got him sprung too, although he did mention it was a bit parky to go naked (I had forgotten to put his coat on). A little girl in her pushchair asked her mum as we wended homeward, ‘Why has that doggie got so much legs?’ I am too deaf to have heard the answer, but had some mild amusement to think of the eight-legged beast on the end of my lead.

Anyway, here’s the evidence that spring has finally sprung from it’s winter irons:
an evening magnolia


magnolia close

A post about a jigsaw that turned into one about something else

There has been a lot of nothing lately: nothing on the blog, nothing in my head, nothing out of the window. This because I have stopped. I have at least learned by now that if you don’t want nothing in life (double negative noted) you have to do something…

Something will be thrust upon me soon enough when I return to work on Monday, but since I stopped I wondered if it was, in fact, the kind of thing I wanted to do after all. This is a stupid thing to think I chide myself. One must be grateful for a job, not just a job either, a job that one enjoys, a job that gives one a sense of purpose. I always thought a human should have a sense of purpose you see; I have always thought that without that a person would just vanish into thin air.

I don’t think that is the case, any more. It is perfectly possible to vanish into thin air with many a sense of purpose, in fact it can be the purpose that does one for in the first place. The person seems to conflate self with busyness and before long, when they do finally stand still, you cannot see them at all.

I once had a dream that I should like to sit under a tree trying to do an old jigsaw of the racehorse Red Rum. I have pieces missing, so it would be like a Sisyphean task, one that I would never get to the end of: the jigsaw would never be complete and that’s how I would spend the rest of my life. I am not sure that that is my dream any longer. I have spent two weeks, not doing a jigsaw, but reading a book and I have still not finished it. The book has made me realise that there is some part of me, some part of you, that never ends. We, whether we sit under a tree with an incomplete jigsaw, or slump on the sofa in front of Celebrity Big Brother, are never ending. We are not just a solid mass of particles, we are in fact all fluid energy that flows out to meet the tree, or the sofa, the jigsaw piece, or the television. It is the energy that is the thing, you see, and I wonder what I will choose to do with mine now I have had a while to realise it.

This is the book (and below). I recommend it.

Why things feel like they do, sometimes

There are words to go with this post.

They have come to me like the inverse of the bird’s eye view of the tree branches.

I may be a while sorting them out…

Old catholic habits…

Take the saints, for example. Here’s something from St Bernard of Clairvaux

Experto crede: aliquid amplius invenies in silvis, quam in libris. Ligna et lapides docebunt te, quod a magistris audire non possis.

‘Believe me, you will find more lessons in the woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot learn from masters.’

A Trio of Trees

We nearly have enough for a spinney

I suppose the leaves will blow away in the wind eventually

Hakuna Matata

That’s what yesterday ended up being; in punting terms. Picking a 100/1 winner (which was far in excess of the RP tissue price) means you can forgive yourself a lot of past near misses. A wiping of the slate clean. A starting of the flat season a bit up.

When Theredballoon went on in the last 2 furlongs at Huntingdon (having been the back marker for the previous 14) I was watching the in-running Betfair market. It had opened at 190 in the win market and almost from flag-fall contracted to 70. The lowest it seemed thereafter was 60. But then, in what seemed like the closing stages, it just tumbled. I could hardly believe my eyes when we entered the hallowed gubbing territory of 1.5s. Although I actually could. I had spent the race looking at the 70 thinking: how can this be? It’s got to run better than a 70 shot. Sometimes you have a strong feeling of great possibilities. I’ve had it on a train to Kempton for Akona Matata (sic) and I had it for Kicking King and War of Attrition. It doesn’t come round too often so I’m making sure to enjoy it. Of course (and if you read The Outliers you’ll know why) genius needs company, otherwise they are just another loser 😉 In this case the company was Stephen Foster and Old Stokie who are proper gents in an unkind world and for reasons best known to themselves had Nena’s Red Balloons on their minds last week.

I won’t be giving it all back mind. Just this bit.


And for a day that started so unpromisingly the best bit turned out to be: trees, about five of them. Last year I met a tree officer for the council at the Southend Film Festival. Yes, it rivals Cannes you know. Anyway, when I heard he was a tree lover and not just a bureaucrat I emailed him.

Please Sir, can I have some more?

You see we are an avenue, but most of the trees died leaving many years ago leaving us a bare street. Actually it reminds me of the Raggle Taggle’s cold open field. Anyway, yesterday, the council came along drilled holes and planted trees. On our avenue. Marvellous.