The unreliable train service from Mortimer to Basingstoke let us down again today. Arriving at the station to discover the 08:19 was cancelled, I decided to spend the half hour until the next one having a wander around the churchyard of St Mary's, Mortimer.We so often take these places for granted and don't stop to appreciate them. The trees were in blossom and the churchyard was filled with birdsong. This was some consolation for being delayed on my journey to art school. I had wanted to get in for 9am to complete my current ambitious three-colour woodcut.
|Woodblock ready to print the second colour (all the white and pale blue areas cut-away)|
Each stage of the woodcut involves cutting away more of the wood block until all that remains are the parts which will print the final colour. The first two colours came out well.
|Woodcut stage 1|
|Woodcut stage 2 - 8 copies printed|
Accepting the enforced interruption to my day gave me pause to appreciate my surroundings. The Victorian Gothic church of St Mary's is in semi-retirement and only used occasionally. However, in May it is the focus for the St Mary's festival, with a range of music and other activities. Its churchyard and the parish council cemetery next to it are tranquil places. This morning they were brimming with life in the spring sunshine. In the space of ten minutes I saw or heard Goldcrest, Robin, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Blackcap, Cuckoo, House Martin, Chaffinch, Wren, Jackdaw, Magpie, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Mallard, Moorhen and Rook. One of the three dog-walkers I spoke to said she had just seen a Kingfisher nesting along the Foudry Brook about five minutes walk along the footpath. The first she had seen there for three years.
Back at the Station, another male Blackcap was in fine voice next to platform 1. I had lost half an hour, but gained much more.