Poets, painters and puddings these three things make the world as it ought to be.
Quote from a poem by Hilare Belloc.
Of course I agree, I am an artist and a chef and I write nonsense poetry, whenever I am feeling clever enough. These pages, I hope will be full of fun, recipes, art, photoes and laughter. I hope that you enjoy them. You will find the link to My Painters Page, further down. Just click and you will be there.
Tessa's Kitchen It is time to teach, after 35 years of experience with food and the art of food, and now living in this beautiful house, I am creating custom designed cookery courses to suit anyone and everyone.
Jill Shepperd The english bookshop in the old village of Valbonne alpes maritime
This is a sketch for an oil painting I have been commissioned to do for the lovely Annie Reed. I am very excited, I haven't had the courage to take my oil paints out for over two years now. So when I went into my studio yesterday and opened up the box of new paints I bought myself in Bordeaux, I veritably tingled with anticipation and delight that I had treated myself to so many delicious things.
My mixing palette is 16 years old now and feels so rich and friendly, but the nerves did set in yesterday and I found it hard to start on a blank canvas.
Here is my box of goodies and off I go now to use them.
My sister Candy wanted the story of Thomas, so here goes. Every so often I go to work at a Chateau in St Emilion. One yoga healthy evening I saw a rosy faced English woman and soon became friends with Jane and her family. Now when I go to St Emilion I stay with them. Driving to work most mornings in the rain I saw a little grey face with a small black nose poking out through the fence. This little black nose belonged to a would be white haired Westie. He lived on a two foot chain on a peice of plastic under a strip of corrugated iron, year in year out season in season out. When I saw him he had been tied up in the rain for months, his little face was tired and dejected. I decided I could not leav him there any more. Action would have to be taken. The local rescue place would only take dogs if you paid them and if no one wanted one within a week they are put down. So I said to my friend on a very rainly night, the night before I left we stole into the neighbours garden and took Thomas back to her house. Where it took three of us to wash him, we had to cut his matted hair, he stank. the next day, probably for the first time in his little life I drove from St Emilion to Lorgues, stopping in every Aire on the auto route on the way. Next day was vet day.
He was covered in fungus, his ears were so sore the vet would not touch him and his gums so inflamed the vet could ot tell his age. The photo above is one I took yesterday of him and Topy in the shade of a small bush. Thomas has been swimming, walking, running and loving, He has a good life now and we all love him.
I was going from Garden center to garden center searching for a beautiful rose that would smell devine. Could I find one, oh no I could not. As a child growing up in the country with a mother who loved to garden, and whose garden was filled with beauty and roses whose scent was heavenly, I have become a confused adult, why oh why have they taken the perfume out of the rose??
Dispirited on my way home I thought I would cheer myself up and buy some herbs for my herb garden, and I asked the lady, do you by any chance have a beautiful rose that smells divine, and she said sadly no, they have all been sold you will have to wait till autumn, but wait a minute and I shall have a quick look anyway. Ah ha she said I have one last one, and she came over with this beautiful rose. Oh my oh my, I put my nose deep into the red velvet flower and was transported back to the cottage, to the garden of my youth, To the home that I loved most in the world, to the far wall of the cottage, after all the glorious May Gold roses came the rose so red, whose scent was intoxicating. And now I have one of my very own and it has made me a very happy person.
So here I am now in St Emilion doing a little work and I just can't resist a poppy or two, and these are so pretty I thought I would take a photo just for you.
Not quite the vines, but the gorse instead, smelling so sweet as to fill the nostrils with honeyed air an elixir of heaven and earth, filling me with long gone memories and bringing to life cool breezes from the past.
London and heartbreak, cycling down the deisel filled roads, bracing against the cold of a march morning. Seeing him and his new wife where ever I used to go, bludgeoning home the tortuous agony of the past few months. Relentless pain, flaying my soul.
'Go away' said a friend, 'go to the south a France, get work on a boat, at least there you won't see Adam"
So I went or I came, either way. After a disasterous two months on a Motor yacht I acquired a job working as chef in a beach restaurant in St Tropez. I bought a racing bike, found ahome through a friend in Gassin and was soon cycling to work in May. Cold cold mornings the mistral blowing, down by the sea the salt wind irreverant of my skin lashed at me with mightly force. I loved it, there was something healing and cleansing in the Mistral, blowing away my past, giving me a new future, what I didn't know.
Now here I am in Lorgues, it is May the nights are cold and the Mistral has taken hold this last week, claiming the south of France for herself. And as I walk down the path in the vineyards I am reminded of London. I am reminded of my time in the beach restaurant. The sun and the cold morning air, waiting for the mid morning warmth to venture in and hoping that the wind will settle. Today there is no Mistral, the morning is cold, but I know the day will be warm and in the afternoon I will be wrapped in the arms of the hot sun.
My beloved poppies, translucent, quiver, dancing to the tune of the wind. I sit in rapture and watch. My paint brush is wet and I delight in a moment of pure hedonistic pleasure.
My dearest Pal Alison came over to celebrate her birthday on the 21st. I went to the market in the morning
and bought goats cheese, and nicoise olives, beef tomatoes, basil and avocado, aged balsamic and very delicious olive oil.
David, Brad and me. The next day
we took our little boat out to the Porquerolles. A perfect day in every way. The sea was freezing the sun was hot, and the wind was blowing, but not too much.
No one was there, we literally had the whole Island to ourselves.
Yesterday I was full of poetry and prose, eloquent sentences. Delightful stories and now it is tomorrow and late in the evening and most of the magic has gone.HO hum.
BUT last week I rushed rushed rushed always finding one more thing to do and no time to do it in, and by Saturday I was in a state of anxiety. I decided to take my friends dog for a walk to the little stream I found last weekend, and we had a lovely time splashing around and painting. On the way back to the car he slipped his collar and off he ran, glancing back from time to time as I yelled out his name ever loader. Oh no way was he going to stop, so I had to run and run after him, I was so scared of losing him. During the chase my very expensive (but totally free on the social)reading glasses fell off the top of my head. I got to the car and realized they were gone. Put the dog in the car and went to look for them, but there was so much ground and distance to cover and it was getting late. Oh dear, so I decided just to go home.
I got back and thought some meditation might help, so for an hour I meditated. I felt calmer and more relaxed. I decided that Sunday would be a mindful rush free day. I went back to that little spot on the river. I decided I would do mindful looking and mindful walking and within 10 minutes I had found them OH my goodness what a relief!
The sun was shining, life felt good. I decided everything I did would be mindful, from eating my picnic, painting, listening to the little river. I took a one minute video of it that I wanted to put on this post, but I am not sure how to work out the UTube thing. The sun became warmer and I thought a paddle was in order,
and this is what I saw, two orange bellied lizards making hay on a sunny day.
The approach to the little river,
Well by the end of the day and starting from very tight horrid little paintings to very loose paintings that weren't much better but far more enjoyable, I felt better than I have for so so long.
After two hours painting and sitting in one postion I danced and American Indian peace dance and saluted the sun, I had a chance meeting with peace myself and was filled with tranquility. I as at one with nature and in harmony with myself. Something that I wish I could be on a daily basis. My heart belongs to painting and painting in nature, it is then I feel complete. How I would love to do this all the time. I think that the greatest gift the mindful meditation gave me was the gift of letting go.
Well I was speaking with my brother in law Mr. BB himself and he told me he used to live in San Francisco, something I didn't know about him, and he said I should take a trip to Napa Valley. My friends have also told me this is a must trip to take. So I set off out of Healdsburg on the 101 and turned off on the Alexandra road heading to Calistoga. I went past a road called Pine road that led straight into the mountains. I yearned to take this road, but instead I carried on. I went through pretty village and pretty town one after the other and was soon to arrive in Napa, only another 12 miles and I would be there.
But I didn't want to go, I wanted to go into the mountains I wanted freedom to explode into the mountains views, to melt with the sky and reach out to all ends of the earth. Well I couldn't possibly do this in a village. So I turned around and went up my mountain road. By this time I had been driving for three hours and felt quite tired. I just wanted to stop find a place to walk have my picnic and paint. Plenty of places to stop and look at incredible views. No where to actually walk, all there were were no entry signs, no tressapsing, hunting or fishing. I drove higher and higher and thought that at least at the summit there would be a place to walk. But the summit was STRICTLY out of bounds.
I drove my way wearily down the mountain almost regretting that I hadn't gone to Napa. when I spied a tiny little lane direction Cloverdale. I took it and finally I found my peace. It started out as a a trickling mountain stream and whats more by scrambling down the hill I could feel it touch it, hear it.
HAHA, blessed are those who wait.
only one or two keep out signs. I followed that little stream until she almost became a river and at the end of the day I sat by the river. painted the river, touched the river and heard the river and I melted into nature and it was glorious. I have pretty much made up my mind though, that I am only going to go walking on designated trails, because by the time I got back last night I had been driving for six hours, and that's too much.
The little watercolour at the top is the sunrise I see in the mornings, not as beautiful as it actually is, but I enjoyed painting it all the same.
On a side note, I have been listening to Andrew Cohen, mystic and spiritual leader on Utube and to Deepak Chopra and they are both fascinating and extra-ordinary worth a listen in.