Flying Jewels


This is the very appropriate name the Spaniards gave to the hummingbird when they arrived in the New World. The hummingbird is only found in the Americas and features in many stories told by Native American cultures.

Some facts: they are the smallest bird and the only one that can fly backwards and forwards. They can barely walk and prefer to fly but they do perch. These and many, many more facts about hummingbirds can be found on:

This next picture is hand printed on to silk. I think it must be a hummingbird but perhaps some other exotic creature. It cost £4.99 and is very decorative and original.



Kent – the garden of England

Kent is traditionally known as the Garden of England due to its abundance of orchards and for hop growing. Sadly, because of its proximity to London it is less so nowadays but oast houses are still part of the skyline even though most are now converted into houses.

The earliest example of an oast house dates back to 1750 although they were first mentioned when hops were introduced to England in the early 1500s. They were designed for drying hops with a kiln at the bottom from whence the hot air would rise to dry the hops spread out on the upper floors. The strange looking pointed hat on the top of the oast house is actually a cowl which turns with the wind and induces a flow of air.

Above is a traditional view of Kent oast houses. Below is another painted by Stephen J Cross. It is called Near Woodchurch, Kent and it is a watercolour dated 1990. It is a very traditional view and hopefully over 20 years on it still exists as Stephen painted it.


The changing face of the British countryside

Oil seed rape is now the fourth most widely grown crop in the United Kingdom. The bright yellow fields we see in spring no longer take us by surprise as they may have done 20-30 years ago. For some they will never look right but we are growing more than ever before due to a boom in prices. It is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world and is also used as a biofuel.

My next watercolour gives me no clues as to where it is or who painted it but far off in the distance there is a field of yellow. Hence the above! It cost £3.45 which wasn’t much to pay for such an attractive little painting of the English countryside.


Bolton’s mouldering Priory

This is how William Wordsworth described the above Bolton Priory in his poem ‘The White Doe of Rylstone’. Bolton Priory is situated in the village of Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales. It is a ruined, 12th century, Augustinian monastery on the banks of the River Wharfe. It terminated as a Priory in 1539 and from 1748 has belonged to the Dukes of Devonshire. It has inspired artists such as JMW Turner and Landseer and the artist responsible for my next painting.
This next charity shop find is a watercolour entitled Bolton Abbey, North Yorshire and is signed by the artist Michael Moore and dated 1996. I have, I think, tracked down the artist responsible and more can be read about him on his website: