Showing posts from July, 2021

The Big Picture - Chesham

Today  saw the launch of The Big Picture in Chesham - a collaborative venture by a bunch of artists, businesses and a theatre to promote the arts. I don't live in Chesham but I live close enough to get involved and was invited to do so by the organiser, award-winning film maker Emily Brown. Across five days of arty fun there are workshops, shop window displays and interactive events, such as an art trail featuring Chesham-related history.  We kicked off today in the foyer/cafe of the Elgiva Theatre, hanging a group of canvases all painted by local people. Emily designed a mural featuring Queen Elgiva - the ancient tribal chief who was the first person to ever name Chesham in writing - and then broke the design into 40 squares. Then, local people - some artists, some not - were encouraged to have a go at reproducing one of the squares on a canvas. The finished result looked like this: Hanging them all straight and getting the spacing right was a nightmare but we got there.  The H

Just one more month ...

In just one month's time - August 19th - my third novel Cockerings is released. I've been waiting a long time to see this one in print. Believe it or not, this novel started life as an exam question for police officers. Back in the 1990s I shared an office at Hendon Police College with a mate called Chris Hale (to whom this book is dedicated). We were members of the Met Police's training and curriculum design team and part of our workload consisted of writing scenarios for mock police promotion exams so that prospective candidates could have a practice before they faced the real thing. These took the form of ‘Knowledge and Reasoning’ tests in which a policing situation was described in detail. The candidates would then have to prove their mettle by identifying which, if any, offences were being committed and by describing what course(s) of action they would take.  We wrote a new K&R test, once a month, for several years and it was enjoyable work because it involved a c

Three men on the bummel in a boat (but no dog)

 I got a call yesterday, quite out of the blue, from an old friend called Sid.  'Hey Colgers!' he said, 'I'm near your manor visiting an old friend. Fancy meeting up for a beer?' 'Great!' I replied. 'Where?' Our rendezvous turned out to be a cricket pavilion. But not just any old cricket pavilion. This one was on the banks of the river Thames near Marlow. Sid's friend is a lovely chap called Matt, a London-based lawyer, and the pavilion - named 'Rosemary' - was left to him and his siblings and cousins by a great aunt when she died. Many decades ago, she and her husband bought the pavilion and had it transported and rebuilt next to the river as a summer house. It's a wonderful thing, deliciously crooked and tin-roofed, that sits sandwiched between the multi-million pound homes of the rich and famous that line this part of the Thames, known as Spade Oak Reach. So, we had a beer at the nearby Bounty pub, a wonderfully eccentric place wi

Painting Oz

A few blogposts ago (see here ) I mentioned a painting that I did in 2015 of characters from The Wizard of Oz . So today I thought I'd share the painting with you - and the process I went through.  Painting doesn't come naturally to me. I was never very good at it in school and I tended to concentrate on pen and ink illustration or sculpture. However, a few years ago, I decided to have a go and now - almost a decade down the line - I'm starting to produce canvases that I'm satisfied with.  The first decision I had to make was which characters to paint and what they should look like. It's really hard to exorcise the 1939 MGM film from your mind and to do something original; the costumes have become such iconic representations. Therefore, the obvious thing was to go back to the source material and L Frank Baum's books. However, none of them contain a detailed description given of Dorothy. All we get is that she is 'a little girl' and 'a well-grown ch