Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Spring at last after all the traumas of the winter. And it's Nettle soup time! This is the most energising soup I know. I've just been wandering the lanes in yellow rubber gloves and plastic bag collecting the young green nettles. Put them into a big pan with sauteed onions, garlic and potatoes, add stock and liquidise. Add cream and hey presto - brilliant green magic.
I should be doing other things but it's just too tempting to get out into that new green landscape with Zebedee springing lambs.The wildlife up here is prolific with woodpeckers, red squirrels, otters, stoats and mad march hares. We have a badger's sett in our garden and he trundles past on the bank every evening at roughly the same time
The new road bridge in Workington opened on Wednesday and reunited the town after five months of misery. Percy Kelly's twin brother John who is 91 went to the opening which is a fair step from his home in South Workington. He was among the first to cross on foot and he then walked further up the North Side and crossed the temporary footbridge back and up through Workington Hall Gardens calling at M&S for shopping on his way back. He had a disabled wife Renee and is in amazing health.
The sequel to Hercules is on hold until after the imminent Chicago trip (volcanos permitting!) so I am researching the next book which is the Kelly biography so John and his other surviving brother are a rich source of information. These West Coast Cumbrians are a tough lot. I asked him for the secret of his longevity and health and he reckons it's down to diet. The Kelly's had a hard upbringing with little food followed by army rations. He's never been affluent enough to afford rich luxury food nor has he ever eaten junk food despite the MacDonalds and Caspian just down the road. I reckon he's right. Forget the fad diets - try the nettle soup!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Frontal lobotamy

Hey it's spring and we have primroses and violets up here. Don't know where April's gone but this will be the last weekend of the Marie Scott exhibition. Cockermouth is also looking better with businesses re-opening on the Main Street every week. It is looking less bleak and the sun is helping. The Scott exhibition is stimulating and the gallery garden is open (on fine days) and is full of colour.
Just got a distress call from one of my artists - she's frustrated with a painting going all wrong. Lowry told Sheila Fell that she could always pull an oil back Have handed on that advice - don't want an ear in the post do I?
May 1st (Saturday) promises to be a BIG day in the gallery. We open the Helen Tabor exhibition of over 30 paintings, both landscape, seascape and figures. Have a look at the web page You will not be disappointed. People are travelling a long way for this one.
It is also The Georgian Fair throughout the town that day. There are lots of exciting things going on with some theatre performances in the gallery garden and other venues around the town, street theatre and circus skills, Sedan Chair Racing, Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling as well as a Made in Cumbria Market in Market Place at the bottom of our hill
And there's more! We are launching the paperback of Hercules and the Farmer's Wife that day which is selling well and is on special offer at £7.
It also goes on the 3 for 2 offer at all branches of Waterstones on 1st May. For those people in the South Lakes and North Lancashire I will be in Waterstones Kendal on 8th May (11 - 4) signing copies. Karen Wallbank, the Farmer's Wife of the title will also be there so it will be a double act. (could turn into comedy performance art!) I can't trace Brian Hercules the brain surgeon or he would be dragged along as well. We could do with a bit of a lobotomy I guess.
Please come and support us and support the town. It has been a major struggle for all of us to reach this point but we've made it. Our future survival depends on you all.