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Showing posts from 2008

Bird Watching on the Camel Estuary

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Visitors from far and wide winter in and around the estuary that stretches from Wadebridge to Padstow. They can be seen all along the well known Camel Trail, and if you want a close, clear, colourful view of these valued visitors, the best time is at low tide with the mid-afternoon sun at your back. They of course are waders, wildfowl, gulls and an array of other exotic species that we are privileged to have an acquaintance with at this time of year.

Above you can see a shot of a Little Egret that I took on a journey to the waterside last Winter. My last visit was rewarded with a spectacular view of a kingfisher. It flew diagonally across the estuary, straight towards me and my wife, and suddenly stopped mid-air and hovered, like a Kestrel at the side of a motorway. We've often seen this little wonder but usually as it flashed by. This time with the sun behind us and in a hovering position he/she lit up like a rainbow. What a wonderful moment!

There are many rewarding moments along …

James Cracknell Leads the “Get Home Safe” Initiative

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Stella Artois has found that up to 83% of us will get frustrated when trying to get home after a night out, due to not planning our journeys home in advance. They are encouraging people to make a plan to ‘get home safe’, which builds upon Stella Artois’ commitment to responsible drinking. This initiative is lead by former Olympic rower and gold medalist James Cracknell. James is certainly a man who all too well understands the importance of planning, especially as he is about to set off on a race to the South Pole with Ben Fogle.

“From my experiences I know the importance of making a plan and getting home safe so I was really excited when I was asked to lead the Stella Artois campaign. It doesn’t matter if you are heading to the South Pole or East Finchley this Christmas everyone should make a plan to get home safe.”

Gender seems to play a big role. 45% of men as opposed to 25% women will find themselves caught short with no way of knowing how they will get home. This is because, acc…

John O'Carroll Book Presentations

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New Book by Contemporary British Artist John O’Carroll.
Title: ‘John O’Carroll Art Works 1998 - 2008’

‘John O’Carroll has parallel careers as an archaeological illustrator with the Dakhleh Oasis Project, Western Desert, Egypt (an archaeological and environmental study) and in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, as a contemporary artist working in the desert and by the Cornish coast. This book brings together a body of work united by an interest in time and place in landscape and the elements that shape it. It reveals a preoccupation with processes of change and interchange, illuminating a correlation between micro and macro systems. Although ostensibly impressionistic, the works are often rich in metaphoric potential. Through their treatment of the abstract and transient, they pursue what is essential and universal.

A key constituent of this is the sourcing of natural pigments, resins and waxes for use in the work. Followed by their meticulous, almost alchemical, preparation and subsequ…

Autumn is Being Blown Away!

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I keep threatening to take my wife for a walk through the woods behind our house, the colours are stunning, but it looks like we are going to miss the boat! The trees are looking more and more Wintry by the hour, especially today with the chilling wind. She does have an excuse though, she's due to give birth in three weeks...

I am always quick to complain about the drop in temperature, but there are a lot of older residents who say that this is still too mild for late Autumn. Still, very wet and windy today, although Cornwall has a knack of remaining mysterious and beautiful throughout the seasons.

The rolling hills make a wonderful location for the many places offering accommodation. Not far from where we live the farmland becomes increasingly rugged at the edge of Bodmin Moor. Nestled into the hillside not far from Camelford is Steppes Farm, who provide luxury holiday cottages in Cornwall. Not far from the sea and on the cusp of the Moor, they are situated perfectly. Port Isaac…

The Ultimate Minted or Skinted?

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Here at last is some good news for city execs under pressure, looking for an investment in fine art to shelter their hard earned cash….

In today’s climate, few could afford the £50million original, most missed out on the Sotheby’s £111million auction and many have credit which has finally crunched.

But fortunately Driftwood Gallery in Truro has come to their rescue, and proudly presents the ultimate "bling on a shoe-string" for the embattled collector.

In homage to Damien Hirst, the gallery, which was founded immediately next door to Damien’s restaurant on Ilfracombe’s harbour-side in North Devon, has commissioned a beautiful skull (fortunately not real) covered in exquisite diamonds (unfortunately also not real).

Made by the famous Jimmy Crystal of New York, the skull is in fact completely decorated in glittering Swarovski crystal.

Gallery owner Justin Easton explained that he had sold the work of Jimmy Crystal for a long time, usually in the form of jewellery and accessor…

Skating at the Eden Project

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The ice rink is back! The Eden Project have announced their Winter events and it includes the popular skating rink. I have good memories of it from a few years ago, having been coerced into going with my wife, Maria, who I was going out with at the time. Since then I got a taste for it, but struggle to persuade her to go again!

It is always encouraging to see venues in Cornwall that do not close down during the Winter months, I have always enjoyed the county throughout the year, and wish that there was more available for visitors during the shoulder months. Many businesses have a blinkered view of the seasons, but there is a lot that Cornwall can offer throughout the year.

From Heart to Stereo

From Heart to Stereo are playing in Wadebridge on the 1st of November at the Swan Hotel in the centre of town. An excellent band playing very imaginative covers and originals.



This video does not do them justice at all, well worth coming down to see for yourself. The set list has a surprising amount of classic eighties tracks in it for a band in their early twenties, showing a musical maturity. It is also very refreshing to see these numbers performed with the energy of this extremely tight three piece.

Padstow Contemporary Art Gallery Autumn Exhibition

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Last week I mentioned that Padstow Contemporary Art Gallery was opening its Autumn Exhibition, and last Friday evening attended the private viewing. There was a warm atmosphere within the small exhibition space, welcoming as we stepped in from the crisp Autumn darkness. All the design team from Pickle Design attended, eager to see John O'Carroll's new work alongside regular exhibitors to his gallery.

The featured image in this post is called Damascus by Gareth Edwards, and is hung upstairs. His work in the lower gallery evokes the Camel Estuary, and the choice of media gives it the impression that it has formed from the boatyards and sands wonderfully. Simon Gaiger's sculpture draws on nautical mythology, especially memorable in the piece Charybdis, based on the spokes of a carriage wheel, and effortlessly conjuring images of the Greek sea monster.

Art Exhibition in Cornwall

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Padstow Contemporary Art Gallery is opening its Autumn 2008 Exhibition next Saturday, the 18th October. It features work by Gareth Edwards, Simon Gaiger, and, of course, John O'Carroll, the resident artist and curator.

John also has another exhibition running in Holland, Archaiologia, at Galerie Roger Katwijk. This is where, in a few weeks, he will be presenting his new book cataloguing his work from the last ten years.

Padstow Contemporary Art Gallery is located in an atmospheric alleyway in the centre of the town, and is open from 11am to 5pm daily, and 11am to 1pm on Sunday. The image above is "Grey Wing" by Simon Gaiger.