Monday, 30 September 2013

Nash in Swanage

I have written previously of my liking for Paul Nash and especially the period when he based himself in and around the Purbecks when researching and writing the Shell Guide to Dorset (1936).

1935 Paul Nash - 2 The Parade, Swanage

Swanage and its antiquities appealed to Nash so much that he moved in to number 2 The Parade in February 1935 with its gorgeous views over Swanage Bay. It just so happened, on a recent field trip, that I found myself with a bag of chips looking out at the very same view across the bay. The blue plaque is the only clue as to who lived there.

I was fascinated to read recently that Nash stayed at Furzebrook House near Wareham for a while in 1937 - you can read the excellent article by Pennie Denton here who also wrote Seaside Surrealism: Paul Nash in Swanage (Peveril Press 2002).

2013 - 2 The Parade, Swanage
1935 Paul Nash - Swanage Steps
1937 Paul Nash - Blue Pool Cliff, Wareham

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Rainbow Workshops

Margaret Calkin James
1935 GPO First Ever Greetings Telegram Form - Margaret Calkin James
1922 Curwen Press - Margaret Calkin James
Rainbow Workshops Sign - Margaret Calkin James

Thursday, 19 September 2013

When the wind is from the west.......

......the fish bite the best!

I hadn't noticed it before. On a recent yomp around Wareham I glanced up looking for the buzzard I could hear mewing and my eyes were drawn to the lovely weather vane at Lady St Mary church near The Priory and of course the Dorset Frome. Is it a salmon, sea trout, roach or a dace? Who knows. All frequent this part of the Frome, but what a mighty fine sight it is. Praise be to Izaak!  
A couple of splendid Corfe Castle Brewery ales were purchased for my enjoyment at home. I particularly liked the malty burnt caramel tones of the Gloriette. Perfect for an early autumnal evening with a good book.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Man Who Hated Walking

It is with unashamed front and huge delight that I am plugging a fabulous read which is due to be published later this year.

The Man Who Hated Walking (Wymer UK) by Overend Watts - I was lucky enough to read the manuscript of this book a few years ago by me bestest mucker. A truly entertaining and enthralling read by a very great wordsmith which details the success, trials, tribulations and encounters that the solo walker carved along the treacherous South West Coast Path. This in turn carved a deeper path in his life which runs deep to this day.

During his walk we spent a very memorable couple of days around Padstow at 'Obby 'Oss time, the music and atmosphere still resonates with me to this day. It was also with some sadness and a tad of envy at the time that I waved him on his way to continue his journey on foot as he crossed the sands of the River Gannel in Newquay.

From this other magnificent feats such as John's End to Land O' Groats (sic) were undertaken by Overend and I would eagerly await tales of each with anticipation - not just the detailed description of the landscape, cloud formations and architecture, but the many characters met on each path trodden.

Overend is not really known for his love of nature, countryside and the outdoors - they are a huge part of his life. He spends much of his time tending his Scottish croft and has many angling achievements (an early barbel pioneer on the Rivers Wye and Lugg and memorably catching the lovely Raspberry from the legendary Redmire Pool to name but a few).     

The book is published to coincide with the Mott The Hoople November 2013 UK Tour which begins at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham and concludes at the O2, London.

The book can be pre-ordered now from the publisher, Wymar UK:

Overend Watts: From 1969 to 1979 recorded and toured extensively with Mott the Hoople, Mott, and British Lions before shunning the limelight and turning his hand to record producing, gentlemen’s hairdressing (briefly!), and dealing in antiques.  At this point, however, most of his spare time was spent in the pursuit of large carp and he became a well-known figure on the gravel pits around the London area, where he always used luminous pink carp rods, so his mates, and the carp, could locate him easily!
    After a few years of antique fairs and auctions he concentrated on recycling and painting furniture and restoring antiques before opening a large “retro” department store in Hereford, which proved popular with customers from both Great Britain and abroad, with its specialist clothing, unusual antiquities, instruments, and rare music.
    After leaving the retro store in February 2003, by way a of a change, Overend then aged 55, and The Man Who Hated Walking, attempted the SW Coast Path National Trail - the greatest challenge of his life - all 650 miles of it. Or in Overend’s case, more like 680 miles as he frequently got lost over the two months it took him to achieve this incredible feat of endurance.
    The Man Who Hated Walking, Overend’s first book is a wonderful document of this amazing achievement, which is explored and described with more than a smattering of his macabre humour.  Although undoubtedly a book that all Mott The Hoople fans will want, it is also an essential read for the walking fraternity, and is undoubtedly a massive inspiration for anyone who has the urge to do some serious walking.
    Since backpacking the South West Coast Path, Overend has also completed all of the other national trails including The Ridgeway, Offa’s Dyke, The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, The Thames Path, The South Downs Way, Hadrian’s Wall (3 times), The Saint’s Way, The North Downs Way, Peddar’s Way & Norfolk Coast Path, The West Highland Way, The Great Glen Way & The Speyside Way, The York Wolds Way, The Tabular Hills Walk, The Cleveland Way, The Oxford canal, The Southern Upland Way, Glyndwr’s Way, & Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.
    In 2008 he completed a marathon 1,250 mile walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 63 days - incorporating The Cotswold Way, The Heart Of England Way, Staffordshire Way, Limestone Way, Pennine Way, Cheviots, Grampians and Cairngorms.        
    He has also walked sections of many other trails, including The Two Moors Way, Gritstone Trail, Camel trail, and many others.  Now semi-retired he spends most of his spare time quietly in a former croft in the Scottish Isles, when not backpacking, fishing, or travelling in his motor home.