Spring Has Sprung

What a beautiful spring we are having this year. As I write this I’m sitting on my balcony with the scent of roses wafting up from the garden, accompanied by the rushing sound of the sluices from the mill races in the middle of our lawn. From my vantage point I can see one of the two Canada geese that have nested here. Soon the chicks will be hatched and no doubt will litter the river banks much to the annoyance of the riparian occupants.

On Sunday, Val, my young friend and I drove over to visit Joanne and her daughter Nicola in Bampton. Nicola, who loves boats and rivers, will inherit my little wooden dinghy someday, but it will depend which of us decays more rapidly - me or Marsh Midget! It’s almost repaired, and hopefully will be ready to launch next week.

The weather was not only balmy on Sunday - it was the hottest day of the year to date. Not a cloud in the sky so we dined alfresco in Joanne’s garden.

Later, Nicola took us for a drive in deepest Cotswold country – Lechlade, the source of the Thames; Kelmscott, home of the designer and artist William Morris, and to Eastleach, scene of a murder earlier this month. Some of the hamlets we visited appeared not to have changed one iota over the centuries.

Saturday was a lovely day too. My young friend and I visited Beale Park near Pangbourne. A little train took us around the park and gardens. One of the aims of Beale Park is to care and conserve rare and endangered species, and to play an active role in many national and international programmes through breeding initiatives in the wild and in captivity. Here are a few of the animals and birds we saw.

And with hair windswept I'm having a go at 'pig-riding'

On the way home we stopped at Streatley. This lovely little town in Berkshire features The Swan, a very upmarket hotel and eatery.

This barge, moored nearby, caters for special parties. In days gone by I occasionally moored my boat next to the hotel overnight, and as long as we dined in the restaurant. had free use of their showers (nescessary with a boat with no shower facility).

Workwise this week I’ve started work on a variety of paintings and drawings. Here’s a small painting I’m planning to include in a book on Trompe L’Oeil painting I hope to complete in a year or two.