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Walking by water


Bridge 22, where a lane leads off to my studio in Perseverance Mill

Walking by water always seems lovely to me. A scenic two mile walk along the Rochdale canal towpath leads to my studio. The way mostly passes along a narrow strip of land perched between the canal and the Calder river.


Setting off, I often think about many things I need to get done that day but I soon forget them as the abundance of diverting sights, sounds and fragrances, at any time of year, refresh mind and body.


Negative space. A tunnel makes a huge punctuation mark.

Bridges and tunnels play games with reflections, making black holes of shadow and haloes of light, bringing to mind ideas about portals and the mythologies of doorways, bridges and crossroads found in cultures all round the planet.


vivid green ferns and white cow parsley line the Rochdale canal towpath

Manmade structures intersect natural forms and the unfolding year brings a parade of photogenic weeds, wildflowers and garden escapees.



These Cowslips are a particularly welcome sight with their cheerful soft yellow blooms after the harshness of winter.



At Charlestown the garden plants have colonised the canal bank. In spring and summer each month weaves a new pattern as different perennials come into flower.



Alchemilla leaves transform dew into diamonds, and blackberry leaves take on tigerish stripes as summer comes to an end.



Where the canal and the river run side by side there's an exciting contrast between the still canal surface and the turbulent river water. Hurrying home along the narrow elevated path between them makes me feel alive.


The river Calder in a peaceful phase.






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