This is the handpainted sign from our local pub, "The Gun", where we
often have Sunday lunch. There has been a building on the site for many
centuries, the name of the pub alluding to the fact that it stands on
the outskirts of the area that was the site of the 1st Battle of Newbury
in 1643, one of the important battles of the English Civil War. It is,
in fact, believed that the building originally functioned as a hospital
station during the battle.
Evidence of the fighting is spread all over the area of Wash Common -
people frequently turn up archaeological finds of musket, cannonball and
other militaria. Autumn Cottage lies about three miles away from the
battlefield, and even here we have found interesting items in the
garden. The most interesting of these is the lead top from what was
called an "apostle" - a measure of gunpowder, carried in a bandolier
across the chest.
We have been told that the cottage was inhabited from about 1700, but
that before that it may well have been part of some farm buildings - so
it is quite likely that soldiers travelling on their way to or from the
fray may have holed up here. I like to think so, anyway - so romantic!
As we are having a thorough overhaul of the garden this year, I am
toying with the idea of carrying out a more comprehensive dig there. I
have literally boxes and boxes of artefacts that have been retrieved in
the general course of digging the flower beds and when building work has
occurred, but it would be interesting to carry out a more thorough,
accurate dig and record it properly. A good friend is the retired
Curator of the local museum, whose expertise I should be able to call
upon. I'll have to think more about this...
This is one of my recent efforts at collage. Another on line friend who
owns her own Yahoo list called "Armchair Travelling" has encouraged the
idea of an "Artist of the Month" in the group. Last month we focussed on
Jean Cocteau - and this is the collage that I created as a result.
Initially started with paper & acrylic paint, then scanned and script
added digitally. It's only a quick effort, but I am learning more about collage all the time. I enjoy the facilites offered by digital manipulation, but there is something missing in not having the wonderful textures of a mixed media work to enjoy. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.
This month we are finding out more about the authoress Georges Sand, one
time mistress of Frederic Chopin, but also an accomplished writer and
woman of the word. (I meant to write "world" here - but I think the slip
in fact describes her better :-)). I am enthusiastic to join in such an
enterprise as this - we can vote for our choice for the next month, but
I am quite happy to "lose" the vote - because then I discover more about
someone with whom I might be totally unfamiliar - which is much more of
an exciting adventure, don't you agree?