cakes and ale

[factory farming on the mantelpiece]

factory farming, at home on the mantelpiece, back from the artworks exhibition. i think this one’s for keeps… i have others. [link: ]

in a picturesque village not that far away, a small group of residents were unhappy that a local farmer wanted to use the land bordering their properties for the rearing of pigs. with the assistance of a solicitor, the residents were offered the opportunity to ‘rent’ the land off the farmer, who would plant arable crops instead and not trouble them with pigs. free-range pigs are happier pigs but they were not consulted. i read about the tale of the pig city on the village’s notice board – the current arrangement may be open to change, but pig city [as these little piggy communities are colloquially known] is now situated a little further away from the picturesque village. it could make a great british comedy film. i am dream-casting it right now: richard e grant, colin firth, bill nighy [disgruntled local menfolk]; kristin scott-thomas, emma thompson [disgruntled local womenfolk]; hugh grant [city lawyer]; timothy spall [farmer]…

random dispatches from the JG picture desk, from august to october:

a reserved grey brick wall. wondering if a reserved parking space can be used by anyone who happens to be passing if there is no nameplate attached to it? a thought for the day in the week that was.


supreme lettering on the side of an old caravan. it was tuesday the 15th of september.


if you see cows sitting down in field it’s a sign that it will rain soon. some pitch-perfect forecasting from local young farmers.


hand-written ‘lost’ poster at a road junction. it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the saints [i know this from personal experience]… were the friendly ferrets lost or missing, or have they gone intentionally awol? it reminds me of the scene in ‘Chicken Run’ where the two rats are having a friendly banter over the ‘chicken and egg’ problem. good times.


slow down: passed this road sign on numerous occasions; it’s just before a blind bend. the softly filtered sunlight was almost heavenly that afternoon.


getting into the grooves of one of my wintery farmscape paintings in the artworks exhibition shop. it didn’t sell but i am okay with that.

a few days later, just down the road…


lightbulb moment: saw the blood-red supermoon at around 3.30am after some wispy clouds finally cleared, very small and delicately peachy in colour. the supermoon was more impressive at around 7pm the evening before, on the return from the artworks exhibition – did i mention i had some work in an art exhibition? the moon was super large and quite low in the sky, and i could clearly see the marbled grey pattern of the moon’s surface – obviously fascinating, but kinda distracting too while travelling. no plans to stay awake, but at about 3am two juggernauts passed through the sleepy village – ghostly strings of tiny lights on the cabs & trailers zoomed through the darkness [no street-lights here]. not really noticed this before. strangely magical for a moment.


tuesday again: conker contest headline poster on a newspaper stand outside the supermarket. now pinned up in the kitchen. super bonkers.

[cakes and ale, framed collage on kitchen shelf]

golden acres, valley and dale, brewers bakers, cakes and ale… [non-working fragments of a poem]

cakes and ale: a well-known phrase [from shakespeare] that implies living the good life: riches, merriment, celebrations, etc.

Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night [or What you will], Act 2, Scene 3

simple tonics: if you think about it, the countryside has evolved to mostly feed the populations of the cities, so it’s a little odd to discover at a local market an artisan bakery travels up from london to sell its wares around here. the local fields of sugar-beet, wheat and barley later become some of the raw ingredients for cakes and ale. i saw a poster in the fine city for ‘cupcake classes’… it’s all food for thought. i have bought [as a special treat] a bottle of sloe gin from the adnams brewery, because if i attempt to make this seasonal liqueur myself it will probably be characteristically rustic and undrinkable… chin-chin!!


  1. Jazz
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    the story continues/concludes: in a curious Orwellian twist, the little piggies are now happily living in the cottages in the picturesque village, while the disgruntled locals, who were really out-of-towner outsiders, are camping out in the fields some distance from the village.

    or maybe that’s ‘glamping’ out…

  2. Jazz
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    update: a work colleague first told me about the artisan bakery, and on doing some internet research find they are based in brentwood [well, i guess that's quite near london] and they sell at many small markets across the south-east, from eastbourne to norfolk.

    visited a farmers’ market today. all local produce.very good.

  3. Jazz
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
    Love and desire and hate:
    I think they have no portion in us after
    We pass the gate.

    They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
    Out of a misty dream
    Our path emerges for a while, then closes
    Within a dream.

    [Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam, Ernest Dowson, 1896]