Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Busy preparing for my exhibition on Breton landscapes at L'Autre Rive in the forest of Huelgoat. I invited four friends who are professional artists living in Brittany to work with me on this project and they've produced some fantastic work. I have six texts for display on Layers, Place-names, Moor, Forest, River and Coast, all very different in form and style. There will also be for sale a little booklet of those texts plus other landscape writing I've done this year. Hoping for a good turn-out at the opening.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Downhill all the way

Very frustrating day checking out a walk for the new book: a walk that turned out to be useless. It looked good on paper, starting at a ruined church on the bank of a beautiful river, then climbing to a hill-top with long views. This was all fine, but the bit of road walking which followed turned out to be past not what looked on the map like small farms but in reality were enormous intensive complexes. Then a long section through a stream valley and extensive woods began and turned into a nightmare of confusing paths, flooded stream-beds and scrappy overgrown scrubland with no mature trees and no views whatsoever.
A strange and unpleasant sense of claustrophobia set in as hours passed in attempts to reconcile the two maps I had with what was on the ground and actually to get out of this dense part of the route to breathe freely again in the outside world. In desperation I made a long, very steep scramble up a hillside and finally got a limited view to orientate myself back to the start point, abandoning any hope of creating a circuit. Even with a good map and good directions there would always be elements of uncertainty and disorientation on this cursed route and that's not what people want when they buy a book to be sure of good walks. So a day is gone for nothing and another walking day has to be scheduled at a time when I'm already overstretched with commitments. But a friend reminds me it comes with the job and that it's the whole point: I must waste my time so others don't. OK then, but I'm not going to smile about it.