The Applegarth

Guisborough Priory, N.Yorkshire

The APPLEGARTH

When morning
meets my melancholy
I must refocus
dispel my clouds
and reconnect to nature
through her glory

The garth gate invites
pledges enchantment
such memories harboured here
once the cloister garden
of my medieval monastery
now still the repository
of the priory’s peace
ancient orchard
now transformed
but still a place
to rejuvenate the soul
to touch
feel and taste
nature’s serenity

   The morning mist
lingered low
over the once fallow fields
then no longer virgin earth
but become thick with apple trees
and those
long gone
and autumn dormant now
awaiting its wheat-carpeted
summer season

The morning advances
only half-appreciated
until the
the priory arch
proud against the sky
bursts through the mist
into the weak sun’s gaze
the veiled sky
allowing
the gathering sunlight
slowly
to prove its strength
and bring clarity
to a waiting world

And The pathway
its ancient course
 piercing its length
into the shrouded distance
remembrancer now
of those Augustinian brothers
traversing
this ancient orchard

who with such care
tended nature’s gifts
now bare of fruit
but never fruitless
no longer cosseted
by priestly presence
and full of nuanced context still

For me …

The Applegarth
my own memory
of this sanctified place
sings of golden corn
bordering that arrowed path
where also was
the winning post
the last gasp
of those long-past
teenage
distance running races
marking my triumphs
measuring my success
against the countless strides
I had wrenched
from my straining body
to accomplish
to lead the race
the end of endeavours
signifying my own
my personal
accomplishment.

The Applegarth,
a trope
my metaphor
for my life.

Photographs by WHB . . . 2016



 

Runswick Bay & Staithes

These are my Pen & Wash sketches of two quite different but equally fascinating coastal villages of North Yorkshire, England.  Below them is a short article about their history of attracting and inspiring artists. 

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Runswick Bay. N.Yorkshire – Watercolour – WHB: 2013

RUNSWICK BAY & STAITHES

These two villages lie only a few miles north of Whitby and within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  The villages, only about 4 miles apart, each grew up around an inlet of  Yorkshire’s North Sea Coast.  Both villages have a distinctive character and are fascinatingly atmospheric.  At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries  they nourished separate artistic communities, which are now considered to be of greater significance than has previously been recognised because of the number of artists who worked there and the paintings they produced.

One of the best known of these was the Yorkshire-born artist Arthur Friedenson who visited Runswick Bay to work many times.  Friedenson was initially apprenticed as a sign writer, before training as an artist in Paris and Antwerp. However, it was in this lovely Yorkshire coastal village that Friedenson met his future wife, and after they married in November 1906, he returned to Runswick Bay the following spring in order to paint the picture below. It was much admired at the Royal Academy that year, and purchased for the nation.

 

An interesting website, which contains a lot of material about the art galleries and museums in the area, can be found at:     Staithes & Runswick Bay Art Galleries

ART by the SEA

I include below images of just a few of my pen and watercolour sketches of a variety of waterfront scenes in different parts of Europe to which I have travelled.  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images and locations in larger format . . .

The NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS National Park

A Gallery of my sketches of notable scenes related to one of the two National Parks in Great Britain’s largest county of Yorkshire. It is where I grew up and where I first experienced the riches of Britain’s glorious countryside.

Pen & Wash . . . WHB
Map of The North Yorkshire Moors

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

Aberaeron & Wales – Pen & Wash

Pen and Wash watercolour from the harbour – Aberaeron … WHB – 2013
aberaeron-map

ABERAERON is a small harbour town in Ceredigion, Wales. It lies on the coastline of Cardigan Bay looking out towards the Irish Sea.  It has a small but vibrant harbour usually heavily stocked with pleasure boats of all sizes and shapes. There is much extremely impressive and beautiful Georgian architecture to be seen in the town.  Many of the houses have taken on a distinctive look by being decorated in bright colours as can be seen in my pen and wash painting above. The town has the reputation of being “one of the best examples of a planned township of small scale in Wales”.  Today the town, situated between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, serves as a touring centre for the Cardigan bay area of Wales. The town’s name is from the Welsh meaning “mouth of the River Aeron”. 

I include below images of just a few of my pen and wash sketches and two photographs of scenes in different parts of Wales (titles below).  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images in larger format . . .

Skulls – A Halloween Meditation

A West Country Skull . . Photo: WHB2021

What better encapsulates
Life’s end
Dust to bone
In resolution
IlAnticipated
Never remembered
Indescribable experience
Expressed in an image

In memoriam
Deferring to Absent Guests
I give you
The Skull beneath the skin
The Quick extolling The Dead
A cadaverous resurrection
Memento More
Become Death’s Head
Where Is Thy Sting?
Heads You Lose
Tails? – I win
Bone Dry
Let Us. Pray.
All Bone – No Meat
Jolly Roger – Old Codger
Jammy Dodger
Brolly Bodger
Death’s Sting
Is corpsing
And, pared to the Bone,
Becomes Life’s Detritus
Leftover leftovers
Smile Of The Devil
Halloween’s halo
All Done and Dusted
Life’s slipstream
Dracula The Goth
Moonshine pale
Reborn as Life’s Dust
What Remains
Only the Death Mask
Wool Skull
To numb skull
Skullduggery again
Rebirthing as
Cranium geranium
Bonehead!

VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013

SCOTLAND – Pen & Wash

A Gallery of my pen and wash sketches of notable scenes visited in various parts of Scotland – Highlands and Islands

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

  1. Ailsa Craig – Firth of Forth
  2. Castle Tioram – Loch Moidart
  3. Castle Dtalker – Argyll
  4. Castle Tioram – 2
  5. Glen Lochranza – Isle of Arran
  6. Lamlash – Isle of Arran
  7. Newton Stewart – Galloway
  8. Rannock Moor Sunset
  9. The Road To The Isles

The Husband Creche

In 2010, whilst visiting Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, the largest town (about 8,000 people)  in the Outer Hebrides, I came across McNeill’s Bar, or, as it chose to describe itself at the time,  ‘McNeill’s Husband Creche’.

I composed the following verse in recognition of the establishment’s attempt to provide succour and support for its wedded male population in their hours of need.  

Just leave your husband here, my dear.

You know he’s feeling rather queer.

Yes, park him in a cosy pub

While you go off and buy the grub.

He’s a babe if truth be told,

He will be as good as gold.

So shoot off while the coast is clear,

You know he’d dearly love a beer.

As long as he has got his drinks

Let him have his 40 winks.

While you for those bargains search

He’ll be happy in his crèche.

And when you have no more to spend

He’ll let you take him home to tend

To his desires, his every need,

Wash his clothes, provide his feed,

Tend his pains, caress his ego.

Lassitude is now his credo,

For as he’s just retired you know

You now must reap what you did sow.