Long-eared owl scolds Short-eared owl:


Short-eared owl warns:

“I’m not only short-eared.  I’m short-tempered.”

Tawny owl murmurs: “How cute am I …”

Barn owl whispers: “I’m so shy, I won’t let anyone take my picture.”

Tawny owl wails: “I’ve been framed!”

Owling heard on Monday 27th November during the exhibition of Peter Barrett’s new paintings in Hemyock.  Thanks to Dean, Sally, Olivia and Rufus.

A quick preview of Peter Barrett’s exhibition Nov 24th – 28th


Visit The Garages, Millhayes, Hemyock, Devon to see Peter’s latest paintings.  Here’s a glimpse of what will be on view, Friday November 24th to Monday 27th, closing on 28th.  9.30 am – 6.30  pm daily.

Prices on request.

Stone circle, near Merrivale, oil on canvas 50 cm x 70cm

Winter sun on sea, near Branscombe, watercolour 38 x 54

Scots pines, watercolour, 54 x 48 cm

West Dart river, near Huccaby Bridge, oil on canvas, 78 x 90

Yar Tor, rain and sun, oil on canvas, 81 x 112 cm

separate pictures, oil on board, 24 x 24 cm each

top left: Blackcap.  Top right: Kingfisher

bottom left: Goldfinches.  Bottom right: Song thrush

Pictures at an exhibition

The subject heading came easily to mind, thanks to Mussorgksy.  But this post isn’t about music.  It’s to advertise Peter Barrett’s exhibition to be held at The Garages, Hemyock, Devon, November 24th – 28th, 9.30 – 6.30 daily.  I’ve put a selection of the pictures which will be on show on his page:  Peter Barrett

It seems daft to advertise such a local event on a website that can be reached from anywhere in the world — but never mind that.    For years I’ve been meaning to develop a site for Peter’s artwork which can act like a stall at a fair if I also link it to some payment system like Paypal.    Perhaps that will be my next project after The Garden of The Grandfather, and the novel, “Greek Gold” I shelved to work on that book about life in Greece in the 1960s.   One thing at a time.  And the one thing at the moment is making sure that the pictures at the exhibition have titles.

The one I’ve included in this post is one of my favourites Pencross Spring lane, oil on canvas, 41 x 51.  

Changing from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

I feel as though I’ve taken part in an obstacle race.  The first big hurdle was to decide whether to take my desktop to my computer doctor for a thorough wash and brush up.  Then when he described all he could do on it, at cost of time and money, I decided to ditch that box and processor and start again.  The stuff  – not just the depth of dust in the keyboard, but the depth of data gathered in the computer-  was startling.  Miraculously, Doctor Dave saved the lot accumulated since 2009.  There’s no need to throw anything away.  It may come in!

Anyrate, within two days, I’ve gone from despair to joy, tinged with slight trepidation at learning a new rigmarole.  Keyboard feels wonderfully smooth and quick; it’s sparkling new and dust-free.  For the moment ….

Preview opportunity – follow links

Below, I’ve put a couple of links to the first couple of trial spreads for The Garden of The Grandfather.  I’d like to be able to reproduce PDF files on the site,  but I haven’t yet discovered the way to do that.

In the time it takes to fiddle with these things, I could have finished writing the book by now, and saved myself many extra white hairs.

Intro, The Garden

spread 2, The Garden

A creative hot-spot

The Garden of The Grandfather

I’ve never delved deeply into ley lines.  Today I’m wondering how people with creative energy might kick off extra creativity in themselves and others at particular points in the compass; that is, over and above the usual energy that’s generated between creative people when they meet.   This thought comes from a recent coming-together of three people – Yiannis Angelopoulos, Peter and myself – in Lourdata, Cefallonia.  The conjunction of the three of us on one particular spot set something exciting in train.  Here’s the triangulation.   Peter found something he wanted to sketch.  Yiannis video’d Peter sketching.  I was hooked by the sign on the gate of the garden Peter was sketching.

The sign gave me the title for the book I’m working on: The Garden of the Grandfather.  This will be a picture of Greece in the 1960s, a narrative of our life there illustrated by black and white photographs.   Conversations with Yiannis have expanded our ideas to include colour – Peter’s work in oils, ink, and watercolour.   Yiannis’ video is now on youtube.   Something good to share publicly must surely come out of this triangle of ideas.

p.s. I have now added a page on the site for the first 10,000 words of the book.




Dreaming up our second Greek book

(photo by Yiannis Angelopoulos)

possible cover of a book in the making

title: ‘The Garden of The Grandfather’
a picture of Greece in the 1960s in words, photographs and paintings

by Peter and Susan Barrett

I’m debating with myself whether to post here regularly the narrative of this book as I write it.   Although I keep polishing as I write, the posts will not be up to the standard of the final version of what I hope will be the published book.  The debate will continue …

Brainwaves in the sea

The Garden of The Grandfather

While gently floating in the Ionian sea – or was it in the midst of a nighttime dream – the title of our present Greek book came to me.

The Garden of The Grandfather

These words – Ο κυπος του παπου – are written on a sun-bleached sign hanging from a padlocked gate behind the beach in Lourdas Bay.   Beyond lies the garden, a fenced-in enclosure where an old man grows  potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers.  At the far end there’s a small,  white-painted shelter on  stilts with a magenta-coloured bougainvillea framing its roof against the backdrop of Cefallonia’s Mount Enos.  Peter sketched the scene and I began to write in my head the introduction to our book of Greek life as it was in the 1960s.

This morning, at ten o’clock on July 11th 2017, I am at my computer in Devon.  But in my head I am overlooking the bay of Kamares, Sifnos, in 1963.   I am summoning up memories of the summer when I wrote my first attempt at a novel and Peter painted large canvases in oils built up with sand from the beach.  These were exhibited at the Drian Galleries, London.  (I want to track down the catalogues of his four exhibitions at the Drian.  Can anyone help?)

The workings of the brain and the memory are in a world of their own, very hard to grasp.  I plan to re-read “The Human Brain, a guided tour” by Susan Greenfield.  I used my brain in an attempt to understand what she wrote.   My memory of the details of her book is hazy.   Yet I know I took in her expositions and they inform my views.   This brings me to consider the difference in Peter’s memories and mine of the same events.   I remember, if not the exact details, then the general drift: the atmosphere of a scene or the personality of a person.     The way I remember is, I think,  more typical of a female, but it’s also a writer’s way.   Peter’s memory works in a masculine,  fact-focused way.   Being an artist, his memories are also visual.    These differences work well together as we remember our life in Greece in words and pictures.  The eventual book, I hope, will evoke that delicious, sad-happy feeling of nostalgia, appealing to lovers of Greece of any age: the past still visible in the present.

Now back to ‘The Garden of the Grandfather’, not the actual one in Cefallonia sketched by Peter this summer but to our work-in-progress.   Back to Sifnos and lighting oil lamps at dusk in 1963 …