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Road Trip. (And yes I did swim after all!)

We've been on the road a few days now, all six of us in a mini van. Load shedding has been more of a problem in the areas in which we've been so I've had less access to electricity to be able to blog. We're heading back towards Cape Town now and in a place called Paternoster. It's very much a beach holiday place with little white buildings and a huge wide sandy beach but the Atlantic ocean water comes from Antarctica so not many people swim (very cold! - I might give it a go later). It's something like a cross between Cornwall and Scotland but with a South African edge to it. If I'm honest I have to say the ethnic divide is very clear and not always completely comfortable. I find it hard to get used to.

We began by heading north towards the Cederberg Mountains. Once again (and I know I've said it before) the South African landscape is vast. I keep trying to imagine what the first European settlers (voertrekkers) must have thought when they got here. I should think it was a struggle in the same way we see in westerns when people are moving families and belongings in wagons, but the landscape itself must have seemed like paradise. The 'scrub' land (Fynbos) of the Cederberg Mountains is remarkably beautiful and foreign to our UK eyes. It's where the indigenous people (the San) were pushed to by the European settlers. I suspect in flowering time it's even more stunning but we are a bit late in the year for that. I woke that first morning to the sun rising over the top of the mountain.

I have a few more birds to add to my list. There was a tree beside our cabin full of Weaver Birds and their nests hanging down like little woven baskets. There were also Pin Tailed Whyda hanging out there and, to my amazement a little bird called a Cape Sparrow. I had no idea another kind of sparrow existed. I kept looking at this little bird thinking 'it sounds like a sparrow (known locally as a Mossie), it's the same size and has the same shaped beak...what are we seeing here?!' I took a guess and put Cape Sparrow into google and there it was. I can also add Rock Martins, Black Shouldered Kite (which at first I thought was a male Hen Harrier), Blue Cranes, Gannets, Terns, Ibis, and Rock Kestrel to my list. I'll post this for now and add to it later - electricity depending...

I did swim, and yes it was freezing!


About this site...
I am an art teacher living and working in Dorset.  I have taught for the Adult Education Service and the University of Bath, plus some supply teaching in my local schools but now I run all my classes and courses privately. This site is intended as an addition to my teaching, primarily for any student who in the week misses a class and wants to catch up.
The lessons are also available for any one anywhere who would like some ideas on what to teach, what to learn or is just interested in seeing what we do.
I'm afraid I won't be able to answer emails asking for comments on anyone's work (other than for currently enrolled students).
I teach three weekly art classes in halls in and around Blandford in Dorset and every six weeks or so I run a Sunday workshop in a village hall on the outskirts of Blandford. I also run a vibrant five-day summer school.. Other than that I spend every available moment in my studio or drawing and painting elsewhere.
I studied for four years at The Slade School of Fine Art where I was awarded The Slade Prize on graduation. I went on to travel and study further finally doing a P.G.C.E at Exeter University with Ted Wragg as my mentor. It was a wonderful year of education which set me in good stead for my years of teaching since then.



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