Tag Archives: brecon monmouthshire canal

Earliest childhood memories and what they indicate….

Having recently celebrated my 74th birthday, I find myself thinking a great deal about my journey through life, starting with my earliest childhood memory.

An atmospheric sketch I made in Brittany France last May – watercolour/gouache69260072_10157477854895396_666887689538109440_oTen years ago I attended an Adlarian Workshop here in the UK.   The whole experience was good, but the one thing that made an impression and has stayed with me since was the Alarian understanding that we can learn about who we are and what our purpose in life is by acknowledging our earliest childhood memory.

A sketch from a balcony in the beautiful village of Saorge, Southeastern France – watercolour/gouche69855152_10157518440245396_6175012092211363840_oIn many ways I am fortunate to have a visual record of my life journey through sketches/ painting and more latterly writing.        Otherwise given that life seems to move so rapidly, I can see how easily it would be for memories to merge together in a bit of a blur.        Being able to look at sketch books over the years reminds me of all sorts of moments that I know might otherwise have disappeared into the ether and been forgotten…

walking the Brecon Monmouthshire Canal…Crikchowell Wales. – watercolour/gouache20200126_111008The story of my earliest childhood memory.

It was 1949 and my Mother and I were living in Dovercourt Essex.    My Father was still in the Royal Navy on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.    I can remember being cold (no central heating at that time – only coal fires).     Even at that tender age I knew that my Mother was not happy, and I can understand why.     Even though the war was over….my father was still away and my young mother was on her own with a small child.

rapid watercolour/gouache sketch from Brecon Monmouthshire Canal overlooking Crickhowell 

39887021_10156586330645396_9141085084848226304_nOne day when playing in the garden, I somehow escaped…and made my way into the centre of the little town where I had seen a beautiful and colourful carousel in the window of a cobbler’s shop.

When the cobbler came out to ask me where I lived, I gave him my Grandmother’s address in Kent…..Meanwhile, my poor Mother was frantic and the police had been alerted.

Dovercourt is a seaside town and where we lived was minutes away from the sea, sometimes a very rough sea…..causing much concern.

Seas and rocks….watercolour/goauche. 20200126_143102When I looked at this incident which was one of my clearest and earliest childhood memories I recognised that Escaping and seeking out the Colourful carousel were indications of my my life story. .

This is the sketch I made during the Adlarian workshop…of the three year old me  in front of the colourful carousel in the Cobbler’s window. 20200126_132619 And just to confirm my ‘escape artist’ tendencies….in this photograph I am wearing my harness and reins…complete with bells:)

til August 10 226


A Bientôt.







Upon Reflection

For the twelve years that I lived in the Magical Town of Crickadoon, Wales, I walked every day….and part of my walk took me along the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal.       

Observing reflections in the canal became a constant source of fascination for me…..it was like looking into a different world…which seemed to go on for ever. 

We tend to think in terms of going forward and backwards – looking to the future or the past, when in fact if we take the time to look up, down, inside, around, underneath and into the other worldliness of reflections…..we see so much more – like connecting with other dimensions. 



In our fast paced, technologically based world, it seems that we rush past life, rather then taking the time to contemplate its beauty and mystery.      Whereas, if we look a little further than the obvious, we begin to see and understand so much more. 

The Geode – Cite des Sciences – Paris……Worlds within worlds. 


In Rachel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’ – first published in 1962, we were given an insight into what could happen if we didn’t take care of this exquisite planet that we inhabit.    She showed us the consequences of narrow thinking…..Reading the book today is even more compelling than it was all those years ago. 

A photograph I took in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland.    The beauty was in tidal pool reflections and wet sand….When the tide retreated, whole new worlds were revealed. 



Climate Change has been in evidence since the beginning of time.   Our world and the universe is constantly evolving….growing, changing and responding to seen and unseen elements, which includes anything that humankind contributes to the mix!   

Here in the UK, we sometimes forget that we are never further than 75 miles away from a vast ocean.     An ocean which surrounds our beautiful, tiny and highly populated island. 

Looking down into tidal pools…Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland. 


We forget that not that long ago, England was attached to France….when looking at a map of the southern coast of England and the coastline of Brittany, France…..what we see is almost like a jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces came apart. 

For those of us fortunate enough to have a home, sanitation, available clean drinking water, and all the other luxuries that technology allows us to enjoy, it is easy to forget that Mother Nature can remove all of it in a flash.    

Reflections at The Hurlingham Club, Putney London – note the black swan peeking through.



Extreme weather is being experienced world wide.    In the UK, we are having severe floods and storms….floods that are affecting the lives of many, who are now feeling homeless and uprooted.      Floods that are encouraging us all to reflect and think in new ways.    

There are some who say, but this happened 250 years ago….and of course it did, but then there were no cars, a fraction of the population we have now, natural drainage everywhere, etc. 

As E.B. White said…..‘Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission’ – and clearly that is not working!

Photograph, courtesy – Kevin Chapman.    

Kevin teaches painting at the Boathouse Studio in Hampton just five minutes from where I live,  but for now all classes have been cancelled, and the swans have taken over…..



I took this photograph two springs ago close to where I live.    



A Bientôt