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Steam Trains and Plant Nurseries!

South Africa is in the grip of a lack of energy and the way they deal with it is by 'load shedding'. There was a committee set up to come up with a term that would palatable to the populous and 'load shedding' is it. It means that your power will be cut off for at least two hours per day and can be for up to six hours. You get warnings about when your power is due to be cut off but sometimes not far in advance.

We've been on a steam train ride from Cape Town to a small place called Elgin, we passed through areas of deep poverty and through smart gated communities. The townships got me musing in my mind (as ever) and wondering if we mightn't have townships ourselves one day as housing becomes increasingly unaffordable and unavailable. We chugged through big open countryside, lots of vineyards, apple and pear orchards, some cattle, and in the poorest areas, pigs, goats, chickens, and then we climbed right up through a mountain pass and could see the cart tracks made by earlier settlers. The whole trip was a full day's travel with a lunch stop in the middle. It was awe inspiring to travel through such vast landscapes. The train was called 'Clare'!

Simon's sister's in-laws' run a plant nursery. They concentrate in indigenous plants that need little or no watering. It's always a huge treat to visit them - we spend the day there and every time we have a tour of the nursery to see what they're growing and to enjoy being in the countryside. I have to admit to being a

bit of a bird spotter. These are the birds we've seen so far, some spotted at the nursery to add to my list:

Cape Bunting, Sparrows (like ours with the grey heads), White necked raven (my favourite bird), Pin-tailed Whydah, Swallows and Martins, Hadedahs, Red-winged Starlings, Guinea Fowl, Ostriches, Yellow-billed Kites, Pied Crows, Steppe Buzzards, Sunbirds, Cape White-eyes, Collar Doves. There will be more to add to the list once we head out on our road trip west.

Today it's clouds and heavy rain! Table Mountain (under which this house sits) is bathed in white cloud and completely invisible!


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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