Sunday, 30 September 2012


Just over 10 days ago, the gallery was rehung to host an exhibition of the remarkable equestrian paintings of Eleanor-rose Stamp.

None of the eight paintings could be called small - the general perception being that these are big paintings - in all senses - of big animals.  Growing up on and around horses, the artist displays a complete understanding not just of the muscles and sinews but crucially, also the spirit of the horse.  Reaction has been universally positive; perhaps the most telling being from a visitor who came in saying "I don't like horses. Never  have" and left 30 minutes later saying "Wonderful, wonderful paintings. Just extraordinary"  As they say, that is a result.

The exhibition continues for another week, before the gallery changes again - which neatly brings me back to the theme. On the day the exhibition opened a couple who had visited the gallery in the preceding week returned to purchase a ceramic that they had seen. They were however taken aback to discover that a picture they had seen at the same time was no longer there - a reaction that is surprisingly common. The fact is that the gallery changes all the time and in this instance I was able to show them the work they were seeking. What is more surprising is the number of times one person's thoughtful consideration of a work is shortly followed by sale to another.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Birds, Badgers and other things

Yesterday saw (I think) our first flight of geese of the season, although I understand some Pink Foot - or possibly Pink Feet - were noted at Blakeney a week or so ago.  Even so, the ones flying over the village yesterday seemed to be somewhat earlier than last year and much earlier than in 2010. I always think of the geese coming from the north, but yesterday's early birds seemed to come from the south east with subsequent arrivals from all points - bar north. A few more flew over this morning, with the weather turning suitably autumnal; much cooler and no sun.

I can't work out whether this is unusual, but yesterday's arrivals were sharing their air-space with swallows and martins who are still in residence, although I suspect that they may take the hint that the season is on the turn. Definitely not unusual and absolutely on schedule was the arrival of new work from Max Angus including a new print of Pinkfeet at Stiffkey. Very topical!

Badgers have been much in the news this week following the granting of licences for trial culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset. By nature I am not given to great sympathy for those who oppose all such controls and I do appreciate the growing cost of TB to the dairy farmers. However the approach to the trials seems flawed both in theory and practice. Having watched the brief feature about how the trial is to be carried out on Countryfile last weekend, I can't help feeling that the cull will be lengthy and inefficient and secondly that any empty setts will quickly be appropriated by animals from outside the trial areas.  Common sense would seem to suggest that focussing efforts on vaccination of cattle might be more practical and effective.

The other hot topic - at least in Norfolk - this week was UFO's with widespread sightings of mysterious flashing lights on Monday night.  No doubt about the fact they were seen, but after suitable and, one assumes, slightly tongue-in-cheek coverage in the local press it quickly transpired that it was offshore lightning from storms beyond Stalham and Hickling. Apparently on a clear night, such flashes can be seen up to a 100 miles away. So there we are then.