The New Year thing rather passed me by this year (and the Christmas thing as regards wishing several of my overseas friends well)…but it is, of course, and however much one tries to prevent it, a time for a bit of reflection.  It’s sobering to think how much has happened over this year past and what it means.  I try to avoid too much social comment and politics here but I’d thoroughly recommend this post from Brian Eno.  It seems at least a little more optimistic than most!  But I’m also a grouch so can’t help recalling that old gag about Enver Hoxha who threw a lavish Xmas party for his Communist Cronies in Albania in 1967 saying they should enjoy it as although this year was the worst on record next year would be even harder (actually Jeremy Corbyn quoted this at a Labour party in 2015 and got roundly criticised for it so I must apologise to all my Albanian readers immediately).


Anyway onwards and…well..upwards if we can.  One of my little projects for the year ahead comes out of my current obsession for tidying and de-cluttering (doomed to failure for such an inveterate hoarder).  Up popped this small volume so lets start off with an easy stroll with the ambition to polish off all 25 walks within over the year ahead.  As it turns out Dave & Beryl (the authors) are a wee bit economical with the quoted distances (their 5kms turns out to be over 7) and the guide gives no warnings re. mud and animal excreta – cows and horses with bowel issues methinks!  But on a pretty glorious day for the beginning of January a joy to be out and about nonetheless.  Happy New Year folks!

Playground of the Midlands


Its over five years on since I embarked on my project entitled From The Earth Wealth. This comprised very nearly a year of visits to every place identified in the 1977 handbook of the District I live in followed by a series of paintings loosely based on these. The whole exhibited at the Tarpey Gallery in 2011 and the whole thing chronicled on this blog. At the time I jokingly suggested to an enquiring reporter that I might go onto each of the other districts in Leicestershire and complete the set.

Well here I am at the end of January setting out for Loughborough and beginning the exploration of Charnwood, the closest of those other authorities, with a view to doing it all over again. My guide this time is an old copy of their official guide, sadly undated, but I suspect published around the beginnings of the 1980’s. I’ve grouped the smaller villages in the guide together and with Loughborough and Shepshed have come up with twelve trips, roughly one a month, to complete this exploration. My pal Simon has foolishly agreed to come along this time and it is he who – confronted with twelve numbers – made the random selection of Loughborough itself (the biggest place by far and the administrative centre of the borough) as our first mission.

Why the ‘playground of the Midlands title? Well From The Earth Wealth is a translation of the NWLeics motto Ex Terra Opes but try as I may I’ve not found one for Charnwood…so I’ve plundered the opening paragraph of the guidebook where someone dubbed Charnwood thus.






Journey’s End

There is always something poignant about the end of a journey.  A sense of relief at having completed it certainly but also a feeling of sadness that the adventure is drawing to a close.  So it is today as I come to the end of a year of programming the exhibition space at Harrington Mill Studios.  We hosted a view for Stroll On, an exhibition of art about walking and this piece is one of those I showed.


It came about whilst walking around the man made Foremark reservoir a year or so ago…and as the show came to a close I fell to thinking that the ‘journey’ was the ideal metaphor for the programme as a whole.  Indeed when I started back in March with artist Maggy Milner and a show centred on a walk around the Thames in London it didn’t occur to me that the year might end with a slipcase of books by Ingrid Newton showing very nearly the exact route of Maggy’s perambulations!



And I couldn’t have known back in March that this year of exhibition organisation that took me back thirty five years to the time I spent as a Gallery assistant would end with a call from the current Director of that very gallery inviting me to lunch to reminisce about that time for an exhibition upcoming about the period.  Everything it seems that goes around actually does come around…

So I’ve worked with and shown thirty three  artists between March & December of 2013 and want to use this outlet to thank each and every one of them for a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience.  It’s been a pleasure to spend time with you and your work, Maggy Milner, Rob Van Beek, Anibal Lemos, Eric Tistounet, Adela Miencilova, Eva Bergenwall, Susan Disley, Rosie Kearton, Jackie Berridge, Mik Godley, Kate Smith, Robert Luzar, Sooky Huh, Julie Parker, Olivia Punnett, Jo Love, David Ainley, Katrina Blannin, Luke Frost, Lauri Hopkins, Andy Parkinson, Dan Roach, Trevor Sutton, Terry Greene, Vincent Hawkins, Lisa Denyer, Matthew Macaulay, Rachael MacArthur, Rachael Pinks, Stephen MacInnis, Glen Stoker, Ingrid Newton and Rachel Wing.  Have a good Christmas all.