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Tuesday 28th September 2021Blog from the Edge - 13

Visitors here to Madeira enrich our lives - and return home enriched by the island in return. Alison writes about recent visitors in this week’s Blog from the Edge.



Bread and Yoga!


Another week and another set of visitors leave smitten with Madeira and looking for a place to buy for themselves!  Our friends want an old house rather than a new build (which are sprouting up all over in the most precarious spots clinging to hillsides).  Although there are plenty of derelict little houses dotted around, hidden among swaying banana plantations, it is very difficult to trace ownership of them.  A lot of families emigrated - Venezuela was popular - because of the lack of jobs on Madeira before the tourist boom hit.  When we were looking around with our visitors, it made us so aware of how lucky we are with our house in Ribeira Brava.


Our visitors gave us lessons in bread making and yoga (the yoga outside on the bedroom terrace), both of which I hope to keep going.  Paul was given advice on installing a water feature for his ‘cave project’ - all exciting stuff!


We were invited to Bar Rio on Friday for Paula’s birthday (her and her husband own it) and we were among a merry throng of family and friends and customers.


My sister and brother-in-law arrived last night 🤗 -  we ended up eating and drinking rather late and going to bed rather early 😳!  A date at their pool today was arranged - such a hardship!


As we approach October the weather is still beautiful - still hot through the day but cooler at nights. There’s not a cloud in the sky these mornings, but there is a mistiness on the horizon, which gives an autumnal feel.

Posted on September 28th 2021 on 01:25pm

Monday 09th August 2021Blog from the Edge, 6

Here’s Alison’s Blog from the Edge number 6, A Mixed Bag, as we start excavating the cave, progress work in the house, and await VIP guests.


 A Mixed Bag


It’s been a mixed bag this week on the weather front, with some gorgeous, very hot days full of sunshine and blue skies - and a couple of cloudy days, with cooler temperatures and clouds blowing down past us down into the valley below. We saw our first rain in 5 weeks last night - not heavy, a steady, gentle soak, but it was still warm.


This week’s been a mixed bag job-wise too. Paul finished clearing the garden, and we’ve been burning rubbish. I’ve been planting up numerous pots, sewing curtains, and giving four very sad chairs found in the cellar a new lease of life, with a few coats of paint. We’ve hung a few more things on the walls (not a hammer and nails job, as they’re solid concrete) and Paul has started work on clearing the cave. Note the dry stone wall 😁!  In between we had a couple of very nice meals in Ribeira Brava and Bar Rio.  Oh, and Paul’s had an excellent hair cut!


Progress has been made on the electrical front. We now have numerous sockets, so we can dispense with a few metres of extension cables running throughout the house! 


Excitement is building as we may have our first guests in a week’s time - my daughter and son-in-law and two grandchildren 🤗

Posted on August 09th 2021 on 12:05pm

Tuesday 03rd August 2021Blog from the Edge - 5


Alison’s Blog from the Edge, number 5 - another busy week.


Gallery & Plants


Well another busy week folks!  The Gallery is well underway after a mammoth clean.  There’s just the lights to go up - another job for Nono. We keep adding to his jobs list, but we’ve not much ticked off it this week, as he’s been busy elsewhere.


Our first delivery of plants arrived - 5 big boys (palms) and a few others. Our second delivery finally arrived last night 😊. This will keep us occupied for a while! The palms make such a difference placed around the terraces and we’ve also managed to get a few planted in the garden, along with bougainvillea along the edge of the wall.  


Sunday was a techi day. I updated my Amazon unlimited music, installed 3 Alexa devices, linked up 2 Bluetooth speakers with my phone and set up Zoom for Paul - not straightforward 🤨. I was a bit brain dead by the end of all that, as this is not my forte - and definitely not Paul’s!



Posted on August 03rd 2021 on 09:43am

Monday 26th July 2021Blog from The Edge - 4

Here is Alison's latest blog, below, about our move to Madeira. We're making progress with the garden, house, and becoming Maderians - with a little help from our neighbours.



Light, a Lesson and a Secret Cave


Well, we’ve got a fledgling orchard!! 😆 We now have 17 trees and we’re waiting for 2 mango trees. September is the best time to plant these, seemingly.


A lesson (and yet another gift ) has come from Nono, who lives nearby and is doing work for us after his work hours - a great guy, very clever! Nono’s been showing us how to skin and clean the local Dorado fish 🐟. I think I’ll be giving this a miss in the future 😳! It’s far easier eating it at Bar Rio, bbq’d in onion, garlic & parsley - delicioso!


We also have outdoor lights! We had the original lights, that belonged to the house, restored and cleaned, but the switches and electrics still need to be tweaked. The switches don’t correspond with the lights - a bit confusing to say the least!


If you zoom in on the orchard photo, you’ll see on the back wall there is a pile of stones. Jose, our garden helper, started pulling the stones away and there’s a cave buried behind! So we going to excavate it, remove all the stones and make a feature of it. If there’s water there, we can incorporate that somehow too.


Looking forward to a delivery of more plants tomorrow- more on that next week. 😆



Posted on July 26th 2021 on 12:42pm

Monday 19th July 2021Blog from The Edge - 3

Alison’s third Blog from the Edge is below. The Edge is the name of our house in Madeira. 





Precious water - you realise the importance of it when you haven’t got it! After 2 weeks of a mere cold trickle for a shower, we now have 2 super duper brand new showers, spilling out powerful jets of hot water. It turns out that there was a fault on the solar panel and the filter was clogged.


Outside, Paulo our lovely neighbour, delivered the lesson of the Levada system to us. We get a time slot every week to fill our 2 water tanks - to be used for the gardens.  He gained permission for us to get an extra flow to flood the orchard where we’re going to plant numerous fruit trees.  


This week will see us burning all the debris from the orchard and garden in a makeshift incinerator (we’re not allowed to burn without one), then there’ll be lots of weeding - and finally planting.  


So far we have purchased a range of fruit trees:

3 lemon, 3 lime, 2 avocado, 1 orange, 1 guava, 1 fig, 1 olive, 1 grapefruit, and we’re waiting for 3 mango trees 😊. We already have a few banana trees.  Can’t wait to get planting!




Posted on July 19th 2021 on 11:24am

Tuesday 25th August 2020Madeira Move

 This article in the Tyne Valley Express tells of our move to Madeira and my latest painting, 'Homage to Riddlehamhope'. We hope to arrive in Madeira in time for the island's flower festival in September. We will be working on a new gallery there this autumn, and I have a separate studio to paint from, looking over the sea. For anyone wishing to visit the gallery, there is a small hotel just five minutes' walk away.

Posted on August 25th 2020 on 10:50am

Tuesday 25th August 2020Homage to Riddlehamhope Sequence

These photographs show the progression of my painting of the former hunting lodge at Riddlehamhope. I've been drawn to paint this atmospheric building several times. It has recently been demolished completely.

Posted on August 25th 2020 on 10:43am

Tuesday 21st July 2020Moor House Farm Feature

Thank you to the Tyne Valley Express magazine for this feature about my pair of Moor House Farm paintings. I enjoy painting abandoned buidlings which are fragile and fading, so that I can capture their fleeting beauty.

Posted on July 21st 2020 on 02:52pm

Wednesday 17th June 2020Gallery Open by Appointment

The gallery is now open by individual appointment if you would like to browse the prints and paintings. Just email me via the website's contact area to make an appointment. 

Teaching is on hold, sadly, until we have further guidelines of what’s safe and practical. The situation will change in due course. 

Take care and very best wishes from myself and Alison. 









Posted on June 17th 2020 on 02:00pm

Tuesday 19th May 2020Empty Chair, Madeira

This painting of an empty chair in an abandoned dwelling in Madeira is paired, in a sense, with my earlier empty chair painting of a chair in an old house at Peakside, near Frosterly.
In each case, the chair looks as if a person just stood up and walked away from it, creating a mystery as to why the house was abandoned. I never change anything in the houses I paint and leave it to the person looking at the painting to fill in the gaps if they wish to, and to imagine the people who lived there.

Posted on May 19th 2020 on 02:58pm
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