Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Off to the Woods




I returned to my old stalking ground over the Easter weekend. I was visiting the woods that I walked in every day when i lived in a country cottage just across the road from it. It was wonderful to spend time in a rural environment that I knew so intimately.



I'm happy to say the old place is just as beautiful as I remembered it and just as people-free too.













It is still possible in England to get off the beaten track and to enjoy that particular calm that is only found in ancient woodlands.


We might not be quite ready in these parts for those mystical fields of English bluebells - I think they'll be at the best next weekend if the weather is good.




But, if it was too early for the bluebells,  there was plenty to delight. I have always loved the way the sun shines off holly leaves livening up even the densest undergrowth.


I was pleased too to have been in time to see those delicate carpets of Wood Anenomes....



...flowering this year along side their usually earlier companions, the Lesser Celandine.



..and along the sides of the paths, there were little colonies of violets.


These shy plants are easy to miss but it is well worthwhile to stop and pay them the respect that they're due.


 Everywhere within the woods, there were the spectral stems of bluebell buds. I might go back to see them in bloom next week.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:





Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Some tidy-minded residents of Lewes got a rubbish Easter present from Lewes Council this weekend.




Over the Easter holidays we had mostly good weather here in Lewes. It rained a bit but not so much to stop people enjoying a visit to our beautiful old town. I had many an opportunity to go out into my small urban garden and to forget about that madding crowd that was apparently surging across the nation for the holidays.


Lewes was made slightly less idyllic because Lewes Council didn't notify the residents of our street that the rubbish was being collected a day earlier last week and consequently the street was lined with bin bags all weekend.



It might not have looked that attractive to residents and visitors but it delighted a visiting herring gull.


It was having a great time here in Lewes apparently amazed that tidy-minded Lewes had let its standards drop.


The gull made the view of Pleasant Stores less pleasant for a bit but at least the gull had a good time. I hope he  doesn't let the other gulls know that the rubbish collection will be a day late this week. I wonder if those nice people at the council will come and sort out the mess. At least they gave me the opportunity to study marine sea birds at close quarters.


Update: Tuesday afternoon and Lewes Council sent a van round to pick up the rubbish. Yay! Result.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:




Monday, 21 April 2014

Blue jeans in urban gardens


Easter Monday is blue jeans Monday for me. Time to stand a look in my small urban garden in Lewes, UK. What better than my crop of blue irises, variety: Blue Denim.



My Blue Denim irises have just the right street-cred for an urban garden and standing there I keep thinking of Lana Del Ray's song Blue Jeans. Here it is - enjoy your Monday too.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter everyone!


The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (1601-2) by Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)

In this series of Easter themed paintings, I've chosen for today this vividly physical painting by Caravaggio where I feel the artist is pointing at my own faults of trying to see the great religious festival of Easter rather too literally. Whatever we might think about the Resurrection or any other miraculous happening, there is no escaping the brilliance of this masterpiece - part macabre, part humourous but entirely beautiful and full of humanity with Caravaggio's dramatic use of light and colour. St. Thomas is making sure that there are no conjuring tricks involved in this particular Resurrection. 

Maybe the music for Easter Day should have an element of mystery too so here is the Kyrie from the mass O Magnum Mysterium by Palestrina (1525 - 1594) . Performed here on a recording that I have had much pleasure listening to this year: The Sixteen with Harry Christophers


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Music and art coming together for a moment of contemplation this Easter.


Agnus Dei, 1640, by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598 - 1664)

Whether you choose to see this tethered lamb as a religious symbol as the 17th Century painter Francisco de Zurbarán did, its pathos and dignity is always moving and not just for what is known as Holy Saturday. I like to take this time of year to reflect on the great works of art that can be unfairly neglected in what are, in the West at least, secular times. You don't need to go along with the theology of Easter to find meaning here.

Similarly the Tenebrae Responsories for Holy Saturday by Carlo Gesualdo (1566 - 1613) can take us to another reality that is far removed from some of the rowdier activities happening elsewhere over the Easter holidays. I plan to take a few moments in the sublimely beautiful world of this music:



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Good Friday moment for reflection.



Christ Crowned with Thorns c 1510 by Lucas Cranach the Elder ( 1472-1553) 

It's Good Friday and every year I try to reflect that with a work of art and a piece of ecclesiastical music. Today, it doesn't get more profound than Cranach the Elder and music, De profundis clamavi by Josquin Desprez (1450 - 1521). It works for me after many years of marking the days of Easter as a singer. Even though I don't go to church any more, the beauty of the creative arts associated with this time is just too profound to ignore.



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon:

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lewes' wolf is allowed out at night again.



I need to keep reminding myself that I live in a very attractive English town. I'd been pretty house-bound until recently with a lung condition which is, hopefully, now on the mend and I've been trying to get back to full fitness by taking exercise again. I've start my martial art practise, began to do a few weights and gone on walks around town. Mostly it has been in delightful Spring sunshine when the town, Lewes, looks, well, perfect. It is pretty good at night too, I noticed when I went to a party last night.


Lewes' medieval remains look particularly evocative at night. This is the 14th Century Barbican gate.


 Wandering round in the dark, I remembered how much I liked night-walking and why I've always thought Lewes was a good place for a wolf.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 I'm going to be appearing with three of my fellow Ward Wood writers in Greenwich,  London on 30th April.  Come along if you can - it would be good to see you.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
STEPHEN DEARSLEY'S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley's Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.



It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region's Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:


...or from Book Depository:


...or from Amazon: