Thursday, 20 October 2016

Painted Christmas

Now then. I know it's ridiculously early, and I'm usually the first to be shouting at decorations appearing in John Lewis in September, but I wanted to share a pertinent thought with you all. A few of you will remember the Christmas cards I painted between 1998 and 2006, generally featuring buildings around Oundle in Northamptonshire, but always featuring a Royal Mail van of one vintage or another. More of you will perhaps have seen them in the Christmas chapter in More From Unmitigated England. Later, in discussion with the Royal Mail over a book on post boxes, I accidentally found myself showing them off. They were leapt upon, and I found three of them being proposed as Christmas stamps to the august body that is the Stamp Advisory Committee.They were the RM's stamps of choice, but the Committee decided on photographs of leaves floating on water by Andy Goldsworthy.
So, to get to the point (yes please, Ed.) I have decided to sell the original paintings.They are all a uniform size, 155mm x 155mm, and are executed in Designers Gouache. If you are seriously interested, then contact me through this blog and I'll send a pdf poster of all nine to you. The usual copyright stuff applies, but we'll talk about all that off piste as it were. The three paintings here feature, from the top, Oundle Post Office, the bridge over the River Nene at Fotheringhay and one of the two gate lodges to Lilford Hall. Obviously much artistic licence has been liberally applied along with the paint.

"...very impressive" Chris Beetles

Monday, 17 October 2016

Electric Hedge

This little building is obscure even by Unmitigated England standards. It's halfway down the very bucolic Commissioners Lane (which tells of it being an enclosure road) that leads only to a farm just outside Slawston in Leicestershire. You won't find it in a Pevsner or a Shell Guide; this is a prime example of a utility building built, I would think, between the wars. Despite all the warnings of death by electric shock, I somehow think that there is no sub station equipment therein. There's no sinister sounding hum emitting out into the lane, and I would guess it's now currently (no pun intended) a store for Western Power Distribution's excess tree-loppers and hedge cutters that are being put to increasing use locally to cut back foliage from electricity wires, and any other bits of tree pruning they can be persuaded to do. ("While you're up there...")
    But my main reason for sharing this riveting discovery is that it's worthwhile spending half-a-minute to look at how much care actually went into its simple design. Built in neat brickwork, a concrete lintel extends over both door and windows, the roof parapet is in different coloured brick with an intermediate course of tiles and care was taken with the iron gate. The tree loppers haven't been snipped into action on the surroundings, and the whole thing is gradually disappearing from view. Soon WPD's white Land Rovers will come down here and the abseiling woodcutters will scratch their heads saying "Well it was around here somewhere". 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

On The Brink

With its back to the tidal River Nene, this was the South Brink Farm Shop on the A47 just to the west of Wisbech. In 1999 I'd been out on the Fens and on my way home I pulled in here."Do you mind if I take a photograph?" I asked politely. "You might as well" the proprietor said from his easy chair "Every other f----r does". I loved it. The handwritten signs shouting out like a market trader, the impromptu temporary feel to everything. Just look at that wheel-less Allinson Wholemeal Bread van sitting there. I had to buy big onions at £1.50 a stone, and think I said as a parting shot "As the French onion seller said as he sold his last onion: that's shallot". I can't be absolutely sure but I think he said "F--k off."

I drove by last April with the redoubtable Ron Combo, and noticed that it was not only closed but very substantially burnt to the ground. Anyway, if you'd like a signed A4 glossy print I'll knock one out (as they say) for twenty quid. Just drop me a line.