My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been…

Here are two photographs of the 80 ton Yorkshire Keel Brookfoot, one of the damsels in distress that I mentioned a few days ago. 

Yorkshire Keels were sailing barges that once plied the canals of the North of England.  Brookfoot was built during WW2 (the last of the line) and never rigged for sailing.  Instead, she was powered by a three cylinder Gardner diesel engine.  The gentle rhythmic sound of the engine – as against the thumping of the two cylinder Lister diesel engines installed in the other canal barges -  led to her being know by the old-timers as, “the sewing machine boat”.

A year’s work went into converting Brookfoot into a home and studio.  She was my means of escape and for two years she faithfully carried us through the lean formative creative period of my life.  On turning my back to an enginers' drawing office, I had taken to heart the advice: “Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been”*.

The first photograph shows Brookfoot just after she had delivered her last cargo of coal - and just before I purchased her for the princely sum of £200 – and the second shows her two years later, moored on the canal at Brugge. 

* Arthur Ransome We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea