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Sunday 24th October 2021Blog from the Edge, 16

Here's a new blog from Alison, the first in a little while, with news of our pool and a Madeiran passionflower festival. 



Pool and Passionflowers


It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted and things are progressing fast - not so much on the house and electrics side, more outdoors. Paul’s ‘market garden’ is  coming along nicely!  We also decided to take the plunge 🤣 and go ahead with a swimming pool. This solves the problem of what to do with the big space - we can now plan and plant around it.  Umberto (son of Paulo our neighbour) and Jose are doing it - they actually dug it out by hand because of lack of access for a digger. The beer fridge has certainly come in handy!


This weekend saw the first festival in two years down in Ribeira Brava - the Passionflower Festival. Bar Rio had a pop up bar, we had to try the passion fruit Poncha 😜, and they were baking garlic bread.  Madeira’s answer to the Von Trapps, Il Divo and Adele provided the live music and a merry night was had!


This coming weekend sees a visit from my daughter with two girlfriends and, of course, my grandchildren Ellie and Libby arriving for three nights. I think a chill out time with cocktails around my sister’s pool is on the cards!

Posted on October 24th 2021 on 12:53pm

Monday 13th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 11

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 11 from Alison, as we carry on working the garden and exploring the area.


Funchal, Fiesta and a Rainbow


We’ve had a quietish week this week. I decided it would be a shame for number 11 to be blank, so I went ahead with my blog.


We took another trip into the big city of Funchal via the Rapido bus, there and back this time - a much quicker journey, but not as scenic (as there are so many tunnels). The price is the same. The trip primarily was for bureaucratic matters, but we took time out to bimble around the side streets and sea front and saw the first cruise ship for a while in the harbour. We found an art supplies shop for Paul 👍 - and then visited the big garden centre again. More plants were ordered - mainly bougainvillea for our perimeter wall.


The weather was cloudier this week with some rain, mainly through the night. It was actually a bit of a relief from the intense sun.  Because of the rain, weeds pop up before your eyes, so consequently Paul has been clearing the garden again and keeping on top of the orchard whilst I’ve been hanging huge curtains at my sister’s house.


We took a trip to Madeira’s equivalent of our B&Q to source items for my sister’s place - Nono (our electrician guy) kindly offered to take us. On the way back, we stopped for a beer at a little village and its very busy quinta (old, traditional house in Madeira) - they were just starting a fiesta. The priest was making his speech in the local church and outside people were gathering.


There was a lovely rainbow tonight - everything was green and sparkly and fresh!

Posted on September 13th 2021 on 12:32pm

Monday 06th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 10

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 10 from Alison - a good insight into exploring Funchal for those of you who are planning a visit in the future.


Friends in the City


This week was highlighted by a lovely visit from friends who were staying in their favourite hotel in Funchal (Porto Santa Maria situated on the sea front, next to the old fort). 


We decided to return the visit before their week was up and rather than taking the 20 minute taxi ride to them, we decided we would take the local bus.  This was a Sunday and the ‘Rapido’ service doesn’t run on this day, so a full 1.5 hrs later, we arrived!


It was a lovely ride - twisting and turning up and down through numerous little villages along the way to Funchal, with fantastic views - for the princely sum of 3.35 euros each. We dodged heavy showers all day - a good excuse to shelter under cafe/bar umbrellas 🤣 - but even in the rain it was still warm and beautiful.  After a memorable chateaubriand for the men and fish for the girls it was getting a bit late (and dark), so we decided that a taxi back was the sensible option!   


Other days this week saw us putting in a few sweaty hours clearing my sister and brother-in-law’s garden in preparation of their impending visit to their holiday villa at the end of the month. A cooling dip in their pool was our reward after!  Their two mango trees were laden and so had to be picked - mango chutney on the hob this week, I think!  Also a walk up the hillside above our house revealed a mixture of impressive new villas mixed in with a smattering of the old.  Possible inspiration for future paintings for Paul perhaps?

Posted on September 06th 2021 on 11:47am

Monday 30th August 2021Blog from the Edge, 9

Here’s Blog from the Edge number 9 from Alison, as we readjust to normal life after our family visit and I start to paint a new window.


Painting and Produce


Well, a bit of a quiet week here, folks, and a slight anticlimax after our first family visit to Madeira last week.


The weather is so hot still in Ribeira Brava, with a temperature ‘feel factor’ of 29-30C. We had about 30 minutes of light rain one night this week - just the 2nd shower since we arrived!


Our pots of geraniums are blooming. Here’s a tip I read about: soak banana skins in your watering can!  We picked Paul’s peppers today 😊. I can’t believe the rate everything grows here! I have all of the produce - basil pesto/mint sauce/fig jam and tomato sauce - bubbling away on the hob!


The big news this week is that Paul has started a painting - a window image from a derelict house in a little village close to Porto Moniz which we visited last Sunday.  This means that the cave project has been put on hold for a little while!


To finish this week off, we had an invite to our neighbours’ place for a traditional meat and pasta family meal - a lovely night was had.

Posted on August 30th 2021 on 10:55am

Friday 12th June 2020The Byre Poem and New Book Coming, ‘An Ungoverned Sky’

This is Noel Connor’s poem ‘The Byre,’ which accompanies my painting ‘Window, Crossdykes Farm’ in ‘In the Pause of Passing’. Mike Tickell was kind enough to read the poem and Nat at Canny Productions​ filmed it.
Noel and I are currently working on a second book ‘An Ungoverned Sky’ - more news of that soon. Noel has been very busy writing in lockdown, and I’ve had far more time to paint than usual. I hope you enjoy the reading.
The Byre - https://youtu.be/NyyQSp6SD-c

Posted on June 12th 2020 on 11:52am

Wednesday 11th March 2020Madeira - Tyne Valley Express Feature

 Thank you, Tyne Valley Express magazine for this article about my work and time in Madeira, and the painting of the same name - 'Madeira' - such a beautiful island. Prints are available online or from my Prudhoe gallery.

Posted on March 11th 2020 on 03:36pm

Wednesday 04th March 2020Inspiration: Andrew Wyeth, 'Christina's World'

Interesting ideas about the work of one of my favourite artists, Andrew Wyeth, and the composition of his painting ‘Christina’s World,’ shown here. Click on the image of the painting to bring up the link to the video, or click here.

Posted on March 04th 2020 on 02:18pm

Thursday 13th February 2020Madeira

‘Madeira’ is the result of my first visit to the island with my partner, Alison, in 2018. It’s an extraordinary island. Just 14 x 70 miles in size, it’s packed with zones of different terrains. The light is clean and bright and everything from bananas to bougainvillea grows in the fertile land.‬

Posted on February 13th 2020 on 03:55pm

Thursday 13th February 2020Red Grooves, New Original and Print

This old house sits in Teesdale, between Westgate and Langdon Beck. 'Red Grooves' is surrounded by drift mines and backed by a long, deep scar that could have been formed by a melting glazier. It could either have been a farmhouse (there are crumbling remains of outbuildings too) or a mining manager’s house, as iron ore, coal and lead were all mined in that area. Both original and print are for sale.

A little further down the valley lies Flushimere and Flushimere House, which I have also painted.

Posted on February 13th 2020 on 03:44pm

Thursday 30th January 2020Tyne Valley Express Feature

Thank you to the Tyne Valley Express for this piece about my work and my appearance on BBC's Countryfile.

Posted on January 30th 2020 on 01:03pm
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