Hand to mouth…

On a recent visit to  The Brunswick Yard in Penrith, we got chatting to Sam; a vintner who runs his business Black Hand Wine from there. He describes his business as ‘real wine, organic wine, biodynamic wine, local spirits, local beers, real wine know-how, wine tastings, wine advice, food and wine matching, wine making’. We came away with a couple of bottles of inspiration…


He also sells bottles straight from the barrel. This week he was offering  a tasty organic vin rouge.


You buy the bottle as part of your initial purchase then bring it back for a refill.

Upfront Open 2017

Upfront 2017 Open Exhibition, Unthank Farm, Unthank, Penrith, CA11 9TG

Tuesday 24th January – Sunday 19th March 2017

The gallery has a vegetarian coffee shop and gift shop.

The Upfront Open Exhibition for 2017 welcomes entries from all artists. The purpose of the show is to exhibit a wealth and wide cross section of artistic talent. The panel of judges choose an eclectic mix of work in various media and styles, both 2D and 3D. The exhibition displays around 100 selected works at Upfront’s various gallery spaces.

Phil has had 2 paintings accepted. The judges will select a winner and award a prize.


‘Nether Denton Roman Fort (Northern Topographic Series)’, Carved relief into board/metal leaf and oil paint, 607mm X 787mm.


‘Hope & Glory’ Carved relief into board/metal leaf and oil paint, 595mm X 362mm


Jail birds…

Update from DEFRA is that the H5N8 strain of avian flu has been confirmed at a poultry farm in Lincolnshire, at a premises in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and at a premises near Settle in North Yorkshire, and restrictions are in place. The same strain has also been found in wild birds in England, Scotland and Wales. Risks to public health are very low and avian flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.
We are currently required by law to keep our bantams separate from wild birds, so we have moved the bird feeders well away and are keeping ours within their Eglu run. This requirement (the Prevention Zone) has now been extended until 28 February 2017.


We’ve ordered a clear plastic run cover in the hope that at least they will get some daylight (and perhaps some sunshine) on their little faces while they are confined.

Neo-Dada Constructivist Assemblage ‘Nativity’ …expialidocious !

This year’s Christmas card is of a Nativity scene constructed from carefully selected redundant tools. It was entered in the Christmas decoration section in the Armathwaite Village show but was unplaced.


Perhaps the judges just  couldn’t see Mary cradling the baby  Jesus with an attentive Joseph looking on adoringly?

Arrow of Christmas trees

Last year we made our own Christmas cards. It took a bit of effort but we were pleased with the result. Phil had bought a collection of stone axes and included in the lot was a small bag of about 20  flint arrowheads, beautifully crafted by ancient ancestors. They are most probably North African in origin and date from 6,000-5,500 BC.

Who killed the Black Dahlia?

The Dahlias in the raised bed proved to be quite a talking point with passers by over the fence. It is the first time we have grown them and they provided a fabulous shock of burgundy and red right through into the first frost of November.

There one moment and gone in a flash, succumbed to the deadly  hand of Jack Frost.