Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Saturday 28 August 2010

"Cheetah's and Cherries", these have been the recent bane of my life.
Tomorrow, or to be precise in the middle of the night I am driving across the country to visit Jackie Morris in Wales and then back through Southern England to see Amanda Popham collecting the works for our exhibition which opens next weekend.
I am looking forward to the very long journey as it will be a total break from the gallery and it should with luck give me plenty of time during the drive to resolve many of the problems that I have running through my mind.
Not real problems, mainly problems my own mind creates.
Things like, who we shall show when in the future, what would be the best title for a Christmas exhibition, who should I invite to exhibit, what kind of lighting and displays should I build for the new gallery, who haven't I written to, etc, etc, etc?
Not very real problems in the scheme of things but still thoughts that take up too much of my time on a daily basis, as a result I get less done as I am distracted.
One of this weeks big distractions is answering the telephone just to hear someone asking about "the Cheetah Cherry" paintings.
As you might recall the cover of the latest invitation shows a painting of a bowl,
curled up in the bowl are a pair of Cheetah's. The sort of thing you see every day really, in fact it was only last night when I arrived home that Irene asked
"could you eat the last of the Cheetah's they're going stale".
They originated from the mind imagination, plus slip of the tongue of Jackie Morris.
In a recent conversation she explained that she couldn't talk longer because
she wanted to get home to paint a Bowl of Cheetah's and a Cherry.
"Are you sure about that" she was asked?
[Of course she had meant a painting of a bowl of Cherries and another of a Cheetah].
But pausing for a moment after being questioned she replied.
"Yeah, I'm sure".
So started the Cheetah and Cherry paintings.
After seeing the original I knew that it had to be the invitation cover.
Then that was followed by 'Cheetah with Bowl of Cherries'.
Wow! Fantastic this is what I want, were my thoughts.
Then came 'One Cheetah One Cherry', followed closely by 'One Cheetah Two Cherries'.
So it went on.
I am not sure at the moment how many Cheetah's with how many Cherries we have got up to.
The amazing thing is that even though they are not even here on the walls they are selling
faster than the woman can paint them. She has been desperately trying to have at least have one unsold on the wall before the exhibition opens.
But, I suppose the early bird catches the worm, or in this case cherry.
As a gallery owner of course this is fantastic but both Jackie and I would like at least one to be left for the first person through the door.
If there isn't, don't worry there is at least one "secret" painting being held back for the Christmas exhibition.
Blimey! This takes me back to worrying about who we will show in December.
The good news is Jackie is moving on to Lions.

I am looking forward to getting back here next Tuesday so that I can start photographing everything and getting pictures on the web site and in the catalogue.
In particular I really am looking forward to [in a perverse way] photographing Amanda's work.
I say perverse because I have no idea what it is like but I know I will want to own it all.
That's when frustration and finances step in.

All of the above aside
I had a really enjoyable 15-20 minutes last night.
I had just collected some new pictures from our framer and couldn't wait to hang them.
Having positioned them on the walls and in the window I stood back to look at everything,
then slowly walked around the shop, looking at and caressing objects as I went.
It amazed me how many beautiful things that we have.
I know that I always go on about our art and how brilliant it all is, but yesterday evening I really felt this to be true.
I thought to myself "if this moment never comes again, I know now that we have achieved something very special here".
Now, this month, this year, in this time.
So a really heartfelt thank you to all the amazing people who have created these things that
enabled me to have that experience.
Let's hope that it works for us all in the future.

So above we have a collection of 'Cherries, Cheetah's or Cheetahs and Cherries'.
I have lost account of what is what.
I just can't wait for the Lions.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Today was the day that I thought that I would catch up with all the paper work/bill paying/parcel packing/posting/telephone calls etc,etc, that have been hanging over me for a while.
I have been trying to give myself a couple of clear days so that I could concentrate on different photographs that I have taken over the last month or so.
No Chance.
I did get some of the chores done but not enough, still the end is in sight.
It's not really, but it's nice to pretend.
I know that at 3.am in the morning I will be staring at the ceiling thinking
"I still haven't done that, I must call him, I must send that, bloody hell I didn't reply to "that".
Still, at least in the background I will hear the snoring and murmuring of the dogs in their sleep,
something that does tend to focus my mind on what is really important in my world.

But, it has been one of those days.
Summer? Pouring with rain and very few people venturing out so at least I had few distractions from my chores and at least my conscience is a little clearer for writing some letters.
Every now and then I became distracted [easy for me] and justified to myself that as it wasn't busy I could spend time looking at some of the collected works we have here.
What a treat.
As one visitor who braved the showers told me today
"it must take a lot of work to gather a collection like this".
I don't know. I have never seen it as work. I have just been very lucky and privileged to have stumbled across the right artists who's work moved me, and then been even more lucky in
persuading them in letting me show some of it.

It has had me thinking about what I am looking for.
For instance another gallery owner came in on Saturday and introduced himself for the first time [what a day to choose] he then chatted "art" for an hour or so.
I swear I nodded off in the middle of it [ you can tell why I have no friends].
As I jolted awake at one point he said
"You must do really well with *********** work", he told me getting the artists name wrong.
"No, not really" I replied. ".
"Come on you must do or you wouldn't have it".

"It is here because I love it".
What I had meant was "if I love it then I know it will sell".
It sounds arrogant but that's a fact, we have many strange, varied beautiful works here,
all chosen from my own desire to own them.
Because they are different it takes time for people to appreciate them and get used to them.
But sell they do, because it seems that there are people like myself moved by the art drawn from the spirit and imagination of talented people.
So, with all this in mind I took a little time to study some of the things that we have.

Above are just a few of them.
They are very different and all drawn from the very different ideas of what is beauty.
We have the cottages by Jo March, set in the landscape that I would love to inhabit.
The countryside as we would like it to be, and perhaps as it once was.
Annie Ovenden, with her landscapes that we have all perhaps been lucky enough to have seen
at least once, images that are etched in our memories.
Lastly, the very strange, humorous and very moving world that David Shanahan has managed
to capture, I'm sure that we have all, at least once witnessed something like the strange
scenes that he captures.
All of the pictures in their own way, moving and perhaps just slightly disturbing?
I don't know, I just love them all.

So it seems do other people, as one of them sold during the staggered period that it has taken to write this.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

I suppose that I should start with the news of what we are now doing.
So I will.
For a long time now we have been looking for a much larger gallery, although we like it here and many people return because they like the feel and look of the place we felt that it was inhibiting us from doing many things because of the shortage of space.
Coupled to this our lease was expiring and we had been informed that our rent was to have a "modest uplift" of 16%.
Not bad in a recession.
Add to this the slight increase of 40% in rates we started to question was it all worth it.
We are pleased that during a recession we have managed to "hang in there" but for what we are going to have to pay we were frustrated that we couldn't grow and show more, and different art.
There have been so many things that I would have liked to show but when all put together they just wouldn't have worked.
Imagine has its own feel and that we wanted to preserve.
As I explained the other day, I spend a lot of time here so it is hard for me to have much time for thoughts past what I am doing this week, this month and more importantly the next exhibition, so I have little time to plan anything else.
The result of this is that my wife Irene is going to open a small gallery in the nearby village of Lavenham [soon to be famous in the next Harry Potter film].
We have always liked it their, in fact we live just outside the village, and have often wished that we had opened a gallery there instead of Long Melford.
So my wife with the help of our children is going to have a place of her own.
A place that will be different yet similar, after all you don't live together and and have totally different tastes, but it will be a different persons view on art.
We are both nervous but excited.
Only time will tell what the future will hold, but I do know that although small it will look fantastic and will have a different feel and show different beautiful art.
After all different people will be at the helm.
As it gets closer to the opening I will tell and show a lot more.
Of course you are all invited to the opening.

The gallery [haven't got a name yet] is situated opposite the famous old Hotel 'The Swan'.
It is small but a mirror image of Imagine Gallery,
Brick floors, inglenook fireplace, lots of beams and is on two floors.

When I have more pictures I will show them, but until then here are a few.
The first shows the village and the Swan Hotel, the second the gallery and the last
the front door.
Although, if it is anything like this place you won't see the door closed very often.
Above all of these is a picture of one of the ceramic sculptures that caused me to be so upset
in my last post.
I ask you, just how could you haggle over that?
The poor boy was just begging for a new home, still I suppose he wanted a nice one.

Sunday 22 August 2010

I'm usually in the gallery seven days a week,
which although I enjoy it does mean that I miss out on a lot of important things in life.
Little things like seeing sunsets or rainbows, the colour of the sky, the shape of the clouds,
the changing of light after a storm. All things I love.
Also I miss out on more important things, like having a relationship with my wife and children, spending time with them and my lovely dogs, and just being at home a little bit.
But, the gallery does seem all important and I am determined not to leave a "stone unturned"
when it comes to making a success of it.
So most of the time I really enjoy being here, but, just every now and again I wish I wasn't.

I never expect any visitor to purchase anything, I fully appreciate that these are uncertain times
and that the art we show is not cheap [although it is certainly an investment].
So I am used to people asking "can we just look".
Of course they can, the majority of the pleasure that I have comes from ordinary folk who just
take great enjoyment in what we show, the majority of them are a great pleasure and the questions they ask give me satisfaction as I am able to close my eyes and picture the artist, their studio, home, and many times the sources of their inspiration.
This is great fun and a great pleasure to pass on to interested people.
When they leave, usually with an apology for not purchasing it is not a problem,
they have enriched my day.
As an example a family visited this week. They were interested in and asked about many things.
They wanted to know the origins of the gallery, what I used to do, how I found artists,
and generally just what it was like to lead this strange life that holds no guaranteed pay packet.
I answered every question honestly but finished with a comment that I probably had only one
hour of real pleasure [enjoying the art] each day.
Before they left the father told me
" let me tell you that you have just given us our one hour of pleasure today".
How lovely and how rewarding.

Bu, it's not always like that, sometimes it's like today.

Many of the display area's in the gallery are "sand pits", which is good and bad.
They have to be combed to give patterns in the sand. When freshly combed and with sculptures or ceramics displayed upon them they look fantastic, and I am often told
"what a fantastic idea".
Unfortunately people like to play with sand, I don't mean children I mean 30 - 70 year olds.
Often to my great irritation I will find a name written in the display or a "July luvs Peter"
[I hope he loves her because I don't].
It takes me about 20 minutes to remove the exhibits, carefully smooth and comb the sand and then replace them, so that when a serious person comes in they are displayed at their best.

So today after having to do this three times [yes, there are a lot of brain dead people out there]
I was feeling less than happy.
This was followed by an obnoxious man asking for a large discount if he purchased two sculptures. Rather than ask him when he last asked this in a supermarket I gently explained
that everything was "priced to sell" and that almost everything was priced by the artists.

"Can we have them anyway"? His wife asked him.
"Do what you want, but don't ask my approval, if we don't get money off I don't want them".
He Replied [such a nice man].

I explained to Sir, that if he could make them, and make them cheaper that I would buy them from him.
Guess what?
They left.

I don't enjoy days like today, they leech all pleasure that comes from being here.
Still, the sun is shining so I am going to close [what! its not 9pm yet] and go home.
Tomorrow is another day and there a lot of lovely people in the world and the chances are at
least one of them will come in here.
In fact one did today but it is just a measure of how a few small unpleasant experiences can
outweigh the good when measured over the day.

Tomorrow I hope to have some exciting [for me] news that I will want to share, complete with pictures I hope.

Meanwhile one of today's better moments was taking the long overdue pictures shown above.
At the top is the shrine by Novie Trump, titled "Dreaming of Flight".
Both sides are shown, on the reverse there is an egg behind a glass window. I love it.
Next are a pair of "Boxing Hares" by the talented Nichola Theakston, we haven't had any of her work for about a year and it is lovely to be showing something new, exciting and fresh by her.
Last of all is a beautiful, strange sculpture by Helen Nottage.
"The beauty Within" is what I have named it, but I think that it also says a lot about us all.
The person within is revealed, something that not often happens.
Three [four but one is a pair] very different works that all excite me in their own different way,
all of them I love and feel very fortunate to be showing.

Monday 16 August 2010

Firstly I ought to mention our up coming exhibition, the one I have been designing the invitations for. I suppose I feel the need to mention it sooner rather than later as it is already gathering momentum and press releases and advertisements seem almost out of date before they are even published.
This mainly due to the incredible art and effort that Artist Jackie Morris is putting
into bringing the exhibition to fruition.
I have become so used to various artists sending work at the last moment with a seeming
uncaring attitude it has taken me almost by surprise to find someone who recognises just how hard these events are to put on, and that a little help goes a very long way.
As a result three paintings have sold, not only before the exhibition opens but even before they arrived in the gallery.
Only Jackie could have made this happen, and it should act as a lesson to many artists,
a little help goes a long way.
Surely it is better to create sales, than to sit back doing nothing and then exclaiming
"they couldn't sell my art".
Which has always surprised me, as any gallery has to make a large investment
[financial, time or with faith, usually all] to show any artist, and I am sure that no one feels
the disappointment of poor sales more than a gallery owner.
It is so lovely to have the help of the artist.

So here we are with the invitations not back from the printer and the cover picture is already
sold, something that I know will disappoint many people.
Amanda Popham who is the joint artist would be in the same position, as I have had many calls asking what pieces we have from her.
The answer "none at the moment".
The pictures of her work on the invitation are all of ceramic sculptures that sold at auction
earlier this month and everything that we will be showing is being created especially for the exhibition.
Everything from both artists will be here a week before the opening on September 5 th,
as soon as I have things I will start to show them, both here and on our web site.
But as a sneak preview above are pictures of the invitation.

Apart from the usual day to day business of running the gallery a lot has been going on behind the scenes.
Officially our lease here expires here at the end of September and for some time now we haven't known where we will be after that, although we have been in negotiations for a much larger building for a very long time.
Politics [I'm sure you have heard of it].
It now seems that by the end of this week we might have a larger gallery, but what is more
likely we will have two galleries in different locations.
One in Long Melford and one in Lavenham.
Whatever the outcome we are very excited about what the future will bring.
I hope to be able to let everyone know by the end of the week.

I just can't wait for all that extra worry and increased paperwork.

I have started to photograph other pieces of work in the gallery, but as I still have many pictures to take I will leave those for the next post.
Apart from the invitation one extra picture above is the first of the finished photographs of
Emma Rodgers daughters "as fairies" that I mentioned taking a week ago.
There will be about 20 in total, all different and all from my muddled imagination.
This is the first.
As long as her little girl likes it then that is all that matters, after all if I take myself seriously I will start thinking I'm an artist.
Who knows know what that would lead to.

Thursday 12 August 2010

It has been one of those unproductive days.
What I suppose I mean is I got a lot done but none of it what I really wanted to be doing.
So much time on the telephone takes up about half my day, every day.
I know it sounds impossible but it's true, and in a way I suppose I do enjoy it, I should do as it
is the telephone and the computer that are my window and link to the outside world.
So much of the beautiful work that we show comes from long conversations and many emails.
It is strange to find that you can be so close to someone and have a friendship and good working relationship without actually meeting the person in the flesh.
It is also such a strange sensation meeting someone for the first time
knowing that you are already good friends.
So I suppose what I mean by unproductive day is that I didn't get around to changing different displays in the gallery.
Over the past couple of weeks I have collected many different and varied pieces of art,
and though it is all on display I know that there is a lot of tweaking to be done before I feel content that I am showing everything to its best advantage.
This is one job I do enjoy, in fact it seems that it is what I should be doing more often.
Many people will think, "no, you should be writing to me", and if you are one of those people
I apologise, it will be done just as soon as I tick off a few more 'things I must do' from my list.
One of those must do things today was finishing off the invitations for our next exhibition.
I bet you think, "that's all he does".
In truth, at times that's how it feels but it is just a case of remembering that other peoples deadlines [printers, publishers, etc] are different to your own, so it does feel very much like going from one exhibition straight into another, which isn't really the case.
These things need a lot of thought and planning, of course the end result is all in
"the lap of the Gods"
but I must try and play my part as best I can.
So in between calls today I have finished and at last sent off the latest invitation to be printed,
I know that when the boxes full of them are returned I will wish that I had tried "this" or done "that" as I always do, but after doing five different versions "enough is enough".
In truth, I like what I have sent.
I would show you pictures of them but that can wait for a day or two as I am very overdue to
show some of our latest acquisitions that are on show in the gallery.
I still have many, many things to photograph and I will try and fit them in while I am not on the telephone tomorrow.

Talking of photographs you may remember a little while ago I showed "work in progress"
of a book cover I had been asked to produce.
After hearing nothing from the publisher for a couple of weeks I had a call [telephones] on
Monday saying that they might be able to use it but they had wanted the girl in a red dress
not a blue one, but maybe "their" man could do something with it.
No way, if anyone was going to play with the picture it would be me, so half an hour later I sent them 'Tudor girl in red dress'.
Then nothing.
Until today when they sent me a copy of the printed cover.
Blimey! It was cropped so much there was nothing left, but it did give me an idea of what they had been looking for, which is just as well because they want another two covers this week.
Perhaps I should have explained about "telephone calls and emails and letters to send".
Instead my ego jumped in, "leave it with me".

All of that nonsense aside I will have to give you a peek at some new work that I am showing.
I have collected some beautiful textile pictures from an incredible woman, Susan Macarthur,
I have long wanted to show some of her work and now after a two year wait I have some.
Without a doubt good things are worth waiting for.
Some totally different art came from an unexpected chance encounter with a sculptor named Ann Goodfellow.
One glance and I fell in love with it.
After a long chat I asked if I could leave with her work there and then.
" I have never heard of such a thing", she told me.
"Never say Never" to a man who is in love with a piece of art.
I now have some on display in the gallery and I am very proud to be showing it.

So here is just a glimpse of what the last week or so have been about.
I will show more pictures I promise just as soon as someone takes that telephone off me.

Above are two of Susan's incredible textiles, a sculpture by Ann, and of course my book cover
before and after crop.
Maybe an odd mixture, but so is my life.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

I should have written and recorded a lot of events since last I wrote, but I just haven't been
capable of doing this,
I had decided that when I started "blogging" or keeping a diary of events I would try to restrict it to the things that involved the gallery, my life outside of that [which isn't very much] I have wanted to keep private, or at least as best as I could.
I know I have lapsed, and at times have mentioned my family.
But I have decided that isn't such all bad, as things that happen outside the gallery have a great influence on what I may or may not do, or what art I will show.
So much depends upon a state of mind as the running of the gallery is a very personal thing.

But one event has happened which perhaps I shouldn't write about but It has affected me very deeply and I feel that I must record it, and then never mention it again.
I have mentioned in the past that we have three Old English Sheepdogs.
They are the dearest friends I have ever known, whatever happens in my life they have always been there to listen to my version of events without judging me, and have licked me afterwards to register their concern.

Well, we all know that "life is what happens".

My life has just had a massive blow. Our oldest dog [friend] died at the weekend and has left a gap in our lives so large it will take a long time to heal.
I know in time it will heal and that we will eventually look back and remember the good times.
I know that I shouldn't be writing this but I just feel that it would cheapen his importance to me if I just let the event pass.
He was my best friend and now he has gone.
I will always miss him, and I hope that his gentle trusting nature teaches me a lesson in life.
He was both my little boy and greatest friend, I have confided in him many times with my problems and every time he had the the best solution, a look from his eyes then a big lick.

With that done, I will just make a short note about different things, then perhaps come back to them when I have pictures that go with them.
At the weekend there was a large ceramic fair in the grounds of an old stately home at Hatfield, this event is now in its seventeenth year and is a "must" in the calendar of pottery collectors.
Like many things in life the legend overtakes the event, and I must admit I have found the last couple of years a little disappointing, but, there is always something new to see and is a chance to meet many old friends in one place without the need to travel.
Under the circumstances at home I would not have gone but I had made commitments to some people and I had promised the sculptor Emma Rodgers that I would meet her there and photograph her two beautiful little girls and produce "fairy/fantasy" pictures of them,
we have talked of this for about three years but have never got around to doing it, so with a location we could both reach we had decided upon Sunday as "the" day.
This was the day that my world was shattered.
On Irene's urging I did eventually get there, and I am glad that I did.
Meeting with Emma [who was so understanding of how I felt] and a few other good friends
lifted my spirits and after taking the promised photographs I even had time to talk with a few new ceramic artists and left with some of their work.
It is strange that such a sad day did have some happy touches.
I have a lot of interesting things to show from the day, and when they are photographed I will
show them, along with a couple of pictures of Emma's delightful little girls, although when you see the pictures the will be in an antique fairy land of my imagination.

I had promised to show pictures of Novie Trump's ceramic sculptures but I have only had time to photograph one so here it is above, and just so that this post has something visual to go with it I have included two new Michael Parkes stone lithographs which have just arrived from San Francisco.

I'm off now to be welcomed home by my two beautiful dogs.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Too many thing happen that aren't worth recording, and then too much happens in too short a space of time that I'm not sure what to write about, and when I do I wished I had recorded different events.
For me, it is a case of once a day has passed any events are history in my mind.
However, I must mention what has taken up the last few days.

I travelled far north to visit Jim Malone [the potter], this was a visit that I had to make but was also looking forward to as it coincided with a large ceramic fair which is held near Penrith.
I always enjoy this trip as it necessitates visiting and staying at my favourite pub
'The Green Dragon', in North Yorkshire.
Of course I don't have to stay there but it is good to break the journey, and I can't think of a
more pleasant "old fashioned" place to stay.
I did stay overnight but the following morning I travelled further north, and after a short stop at Jim's I travelled back south for twenty miles to Penrith to visit the ceramic fair.
I usually go each year, but wouldn't have bothered this year as the last two events have just featured the same ceramic artists showing the "same old, same old".
I had started to wonder how long this could go on for, but this year was a complete change.
It was full of many new potters and sculptors from around the world, and the quality of work on display was first class.
I was so pleased that I made the visit.
There were many people that I wanted to talk to and lots of different ceramics that I would have love to have left with, but even with a full day there wasn't enough time.
Most of the day disappeared talking with old friends so I had to restrict my choices.
Whose work did I really want to depart with?
I had to concentrate on forging a relationship with them.
Well actually "them" was one person.
She was Novie Trump, an artist from Washington who had come over for the event.
For me her work shone out like a beacon.
Unfortunately I have only been able to find one image to show you, but tomorrow when further pieces [that go with what I have] arrive I will photograph them and show the World.
I wasn't sure how to approach her because as usual when I like someones work I become very shy, in fact I am a very shy person but I fight against it when I fall in love with art.
This time it was made easy because her friend [and mine] and fellow American
Ruthanne Tudball [the potter] grabbed me by the arm, pulled me over to Novie and said
" Novie Trump this is John Foley and he owns a gallery and he loves your ceramics".

Well that saved me about half an hour of small talk so my opening words were
"I wonder if you would consider allowing me to try your work on consignment"?

"Oh thank you, you have made my day".
Wow! As it turned out we had made each others day, I loved her art and she loved the artists that we show, so as a result I left the show with some of the most unusual, different and beautiful objects that you have ever seen.
They are hard to describe and are made up from different elements, some of these being glass bottles which sit inside the sculptures.
Novie explained to me that usually she engraves the bottles with lettering and asked would I like her to engrave them and send them on to me.
Of course I have to have the finished piece as she imagined it, so when these extra objects arrive I will be able to display the finished pieces.
I can't wait.

Apart from visiting the fair the trip was good for me in lots of ways.
We have a lot going on at home at the moment and coupled with lots of things happening at the gallery I rarely have time to think further ahead than the next email that needs to be sent, phone call to make, advertisement or invitation to design, object to package or customer to deal with.
It is dealing with visitors [if they purchase or not] that is one of the best parts of each day,
but at times dealing with other "stuff" spoils this.
The result of this is that I can't ever see further than a few hours ahead each day, so having a
long journey provides me with time to think, about the "bigger picture" and more importantly
what is happening at home.
I felt much more contented after a days driving, but more was to come.
I had decided to stop overnight and sleep beside Ullswater in the Lake District.
Not in a hotel or pub, but in the back of my hired van.

Although I didn't sleep for long it was one of the best hotels that I have stayed at.
I found my own little private beach where I set up my stove and cooked a delicious meal of
rice and beans.
It made me feel young [what was in those beans] and took me back to more tranquil times.
I ate my meal, washed my pots in the lake, then sat with a can of beer and thought of home.

It was good for me. If I had a computer with me I could have done at least six posts.
They would have all been too personal, but the nice thoughts remain in my mind.
I dozed of to sleep on the banks of the lake, the mountains reflected darkly upon the water
disturbed every now and then by a Trout rising to catch mosquitoes, competing with the Bats that skimmed the surface of the water.
Eventually I climbed into my bed within the van and tried to sleep.

Breakfast and bath time.

Beans for breakfast, and bath?
Well, look at the picture and you will see my bath tub. I have seen worst bathrooms.

Then it was off across the Northern Pennines to Newcastle to visit Karen, but I think that's another tale.
So here above [in reverse order] are the pictures of one piece by Novie, my bedside scene,
my bathroom in the morning, a very lucky man catching his own breakfast as I left the lake,
plus a small cottage I passed high up in the Pennines, to the left were views to the Scottish mountains.
I feel a little better for it all.