Christmas is coming…….

Christmas is coming and the year seems to be slipping through my fingers.

The new Help Musicians card is available for purchase from Help Musicians ( I don’t sell the cards myself, sorry)


Back at the studio table again after a jaunt out to Crickhowell festival, a lovely stop off at Booka in Oswestry to sign books ( both absolutely wonderful bookshops) and to Ty Newydd for the Rooted in Nature writing course. What an amazing place that is. Met some fantastic people, and a glorious river.

Good to be home and feeling focussed. Fires in the evening, work punctuated by dog walks up the hill, on the beach, at the airfield.

I’m trying to avoid the time bandit of facebook, but still active on twitter. I may drop off facebook for a sabbatical, as I really need to keep sharp focus on work and not be led astray by beauty of argument. So much work to do if I am to meet the deadline.

All of my books are out now, including The White Fox from Barrington Stoke and a new edition of Tell Me a Dragon from Quarto. Anna has been on holiday and will soon have the new ones up on the website.

The Quiet Music exhibition is still running in Cirencester, and I have been asked to contribute some bears to a show in Newcastle at Seven Stories, so may be heading up that way in the late spring. It’s a touring show, so I will try and let people know where it is.

Oh, and I have some work still in auctions, both to raise money for hospices. This piece at Blue Ginger. You need to go to their facebook page to bid.


This second one is at Postcards from Life.  Bidding for this is through Brightwells and starts on 1 Nov. Please read instructions. I think mine is on page 4.14435321_1786030581654116_8028929563769396164_o-1


Meanwhile here is a sneaky sideways look at some details from The Lost Words.


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Tidying up can be dangerous

Tidying up and I found 2 proof sets, one for Tell me a dragon, with added dragons, one for One Cheetah, One Cherry. Into the auction they go… not as individual pages as the astonishing Fiona Dunbar has enough to manage, but as whole sets. Idea for people who want to frame them, or decorate a school room, or keep them as a weird investment.

So, here’s where to place bids: Click on the links in the title.

Tell me a Dragon


One Cheetah One Cherry


Both will come with a signed copy of the book.

Please share if you will and let anyone who might be interested know.

And why was I tidying up? Because there is still time to bid on my studio visit:

or the huge box of books donated by Quarto, Otter-Barry Books, Barrington Stoke and Graffeg. There is a rare copy of Little One, We Knew You’d Come in there and Singing to the Sun by Viv French and a Helene Cardonna poetry book too. A huge parcel. Hmmm…. might need to get an elephant to deliver it.


Meanwhile, here is what Joanne Harris said of The Quiet Music. Getting lovely feedback from the show at New Brewery.



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Walking, thinking, working, home.

Walking this morning, the weather promising rain. Up the hill from Whitesands towards St Davids Head with π on a lead as I do not trust her on the cliffs.

On the way three choughs flew overhead. At Porth Melgan the tide was low and I wandered the sand. The beach was deserted, except for us three. In the bay a huge handsome head of a male seal broke the water. Curious, watchful. I had no camera. The weather had been so unpromising but now a flock of chough flew over, black holes in a milk pale sky.

I thought about how we were one of the few land mammals with the layer of fat beneath our skin. I wondered if there was a time when we were all selkies. Then in the surf a young seal floundered and came ashore among the rocks. I moved the dogs up the beach, away. And as I turned back to see a young boy stood among the rocks, just for a moment, and then was gone. Illusion? Imagination? Or a slip of the veils of time?

On, up the valley, up past the huge stone circle hidden in bracken, to the cliffs and again three choughs followed Ivy, calling over her head, taunting her lack of wings. She hunted, far and near, and I called her back with the antler whistle and wondered if such a natural object, made from an antler, could break those bonds of time and open doorways and portals.

Ivy is such a hound. It took Jerome Flynn to pint out how like a creature from the pages of Manda Scott’s Dreaming the Hound she is. Hail. Her coat looks like rain, sleet, wildness.

Walking, trying to wear out the perpetual motion machine that π has become, thinking about work. Sometimes walking outside my head, sometimes inside. First with thoughts of the cover for the new Hobb book in my head. It’s magnificent, the book. That’s all I can say. Magnificent. Then with Lost Words and the problem of larks. And in a place where a white horse stands outlined against dark willow I find a clue to the page I am working on.

We walk on, homebound, now with ten chough following. Thinking about a new proposal for a publisher. Then home to find Starling by Robert MacFarlane waiting and it’s wonderful and almost immediately images for starling fly to the mind’s eye. And it has taken me years to understand that sitting at my desk is not when I do my best work, but out walking.

Blue sky now. Sunshine. Sleeping dogs. Tired legs. Time to paint.


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Dulverton, Cirencester, Malvern. Or, What I Did on My Holiday.

And people ask me “Did you have a nice time on your holiday?” and I smile and say, “yes thank you.”

No, I don’t. I say, ‘it wasn’t a holiday, but thank you, yes, I had a lovely time’ and this is mostly because I go back to people I really enjoy working with.

So, we dropped off paintings for exhibition in Cirencester and drove on down to Mounsey where Jan and Davina had cooked us supper and Chris joined us and we drank wine and talked.  The next day I met Satish Kumar in Number Seven and handed over a painting for auction, to raise money for Resurgence Magazine. Amazing man. Wonderful human.

Two days of peace and drawing followed and then I worked in Number Seven, signing books, meeting people, painting, while Robin went off with the golden dog child and wore her out. The gallery as always was dressed to perfection and I had THE most ornate vase to hold my paint water.

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I love working with Jan and Davina. Ivy slept, quiet and unobtrusive under the table. Hoping she can teach the π to do this as she grows. Now Davina has new paintings and prints in the gallery including The Unquiet Dreams of Swift Running Longdogs. In the evening we walked by the river and in the river and took fish and chips home to our house in the woods. A family of deer were grazing in the field beside the house. Later owls set up a chorus. Tawny owls.

On Thursday I returned to sign the huge stock of books that Davina keeps in store, so there are signed copies of most of my books there now. Eleanor arrived with a circle of foxes. Just so beautiful. Davina has blogged about the day too and her photos are gorgeous. I love seeing through her eyes in this way.

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Then on to Cirencester via Judy Dyble. On the way to Judy’s we saw a great hare in a field with crows. Beautiful. Very near Stonehenge.

The Quiet Music is dedicated to Judy Dyble and to Anji who introduced us. So it was wonderful to have Judy with us for the afternoon. I painted and directed people to places, and sat quietly in the exhibition while some people walked in and then out again and others wandered around. And some said it reminded them of Christmas cards they had sent, which made me smile.


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Nicola Davies came, with her guitar and that evening we talked and I read some from the book, and Nicola sang and for some reason I was extraordinarily nervous. First time out with a book maybe. Who knows. But the audience were lovely. The paintings were displayed with beautiful elegance by Tracey. I loved the space she gave each piece. It did look quiet, with places of focus, and beautifully crafted instruments. The show is on until 30th October, so do go if you can. New Brewery Arts is a fantastic gallery, with excellent cafe and brilliant makers’ workshops and Cirencester is a lovely town.14469615_10154471445909870_7028096641910046687_n 14390635_10154471445794870_3824491019128736240_n 14462919_10154471445784870_8148601714866744223_n 14463271_10154471445724870_3721643974496588197_n 14463019_10154471445644870_1328348525096672375_n

Next day we waved goodbye to the wonderful Judy and set off for Blue Ginger via my parents, after a walk in the woods with Judy and Betty the longdog of great elegance.

At Blue Ginger I painted for a while, a piece that when finished will be auctioned for a local hospice, so keep an eye on Blue Ginger for details, then had a rest in Tamsin and Mike’s garden, in sunshine with the scent of ripe damsons heavy in the air, before heading back to Blue Ginger for a talk and a Singapore Supper. Now, the gallery is lovely, and the art is great, but what takes me back time and again is Sue, who runs the gallery and cooks so very beautifully.

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I talked, and you can listen to all that I said here:

Then we all went out into the garden for supper, and back for wonderful singing.

The next day I signed 261 books for Otter-Barry Books, to be distributed around indie bookshops who want them, so, bookshops, if you want signed copies of One Cheetah, Newborn Child and The Seal Children contact Bounce. They have some wonderful publishers on their books including Flying Eye.

That was a day off, signing 261 books. And for the most part it was very restful. Breakfast, followed by second breakfast in the garden with Tamsin and Mike, then down to the gallery as I had forgotten to deliver paintings.

Mike had a course starting the next day so we headed home. Mike teaches people to make chairs. Well, that’s a simplification of the skills he teaches people. He can change lives also with his teaching. One of those wonderful people who empowers others. We have a good deal in common, Mike and I, including grumpy dispositions and a love of porridge, made just right.

So, that’s what I did on my holiday. And the two days when I did nothing but walk and draw and dream and read I need to repeat. Perhaps next time I might just have a holiday. But in the meantime, thanks Jan, Chis and Davina for having us again, Judy for putting us all up including the golden puppy of much mischief, Tracey and all at New Brewery for making my work look so elegant, Sue at Blue Ginger for everything, and Tamsin and Mike and Janetta too, of Otter-Barry Books. π loved Lottie, the crazy dog. And thanks Nicola for coming all that way to join your very beautiful voice with mine.

Next stop CricLitFest. Come and see me and Nicola and Karin Celestine. I will be painting and reading and talking about work and if asked nicely might share some of the Lost Words, which hasn’t yet been seen in public.  These are what I began painting at Cirencester and Dulverton. The first is a dreamcatcher, Walking in the Light of the Full Moon: £975

The second is being sent back to Dulverton to Number Seven for framing before being offered for sale. Ivy, the Deerhound, on her Magic Carpet.

moondreamer dearhound



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Talking about books and other things

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Thank you Robin, for recording the talk at Blue Ginger.

Listen if you will, but get yourself a cup of tea and a cat first.


Thank you Sue at Blue Ginger for hosting such a lovely event and making such amazing food.

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Authors for Refugees are auctioning many, many things to raise money for those with nothing in our fractured world. I was asked to contribute something, a signed book, a sketch. I have chosen instead to open up my home. It seems only right when the idea is to raise money for those driven from their homes.

I am often asked by people if I do studio visits, and I always say no. My workplace is not the place to see work to buy and I am not a tourist attraction. My home is my home. A place to be private. But in the past, for Authors for the Philippines I did something similar. I auctioned an hand drawn invitation to visit my studio at a mutually agreeable time. And as the bidding went up I added more things.

So, here we are again, with a huge movement of people in the world displaced by war, displaced by an inability to make a living, lost and wandering.

Please do look at the Authors for Refugees auction site. There are so many items there. If you are an author and would like to add something then there’s a contact on the site.

Here is my ‘Lot’ and you bid by leaving a comment on that posting.

Please share the site, bid if you can, and if you can only send a small bit there’s a button on the site to donate. Please share this post.

This is what Liz said of her visit: “I was lucky enough to have the winning bid when Jackie very generously auctioned a similar visit for the Philippines flood victims. It was a wonderful day, one I shall never forget! Spending time with Jackie, seeing her studio and watching her painting was magical! And her animals were wonderful too!! Highly recommend!! Good luck – keep bidding!!”

Liz’s visit was her 60th birthday present from her son.

Here’s a glimpse of what you might see, and of course you might meet The White Cat and Elmo and you will meet the Toffee Waffle Golden Child of Doom, π, and her sidekick snark hound.

It’s an ideal and utterly unique present for someone who likes my work, someone studying illustration, someone in journalism who wants to see how The Lost Words with Robert MacFarlane is progressing, for a teacher who wishes to take back the visit to the classroom as I will allow cameras, even film if you wish and the visit will be tailored to the needs of whoever wins.

So, Little π is waiting to welcome you, and Ivy is her usual inscrutable self.

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I can show you through sketchbooks and into the plan chest where old work lives.

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If you are coming from a long way away I can recommend b&b’s or hotels, and Pembrokeshire is always beautiful.

My studio is upstairs. This visit is not suitable for children, as it is my workspace.

Here again is the link to the auction Lot and where to bid.

And my publishers have very generously agreed to send me copies of all of my books in print. I will wander my studio to find ‘spare’ copies of a few that are out of print to add. You can bid on this and either keep or donate to a library or school of your choice ( UK only I am afraid, unless you are happy to cover the postage too)

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Here’s the link for that lot.

Many thanks to Quarto, Otter-Barry Books, Barrington Stoke and Graffeg.

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Walking in the rain

1nMorning sun slanted through the trees. In the field to the side of the house 5 deer, hinds with a fawn cropped the grass.

We walked, down through the wood as thunder rumbled.

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The light was bright, the leaf canopy loud with the sound of bees and Ivy was off and running. Down, down, to where the river flows.

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At the bottom of the valley it began to rain and we sheltered a while, but then walked through the paddock to the river’s edge in the rain.

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Green light, rain song, river song, and the ground all river pebbles and the beginning of autumn leaves. Banks rich with bluebells. Ivy became a deerhound, π became an otterdog.

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So much rain, and the woodland scent was beautiful.

Then home and the rain stopped and now the trees are sending clouds skywards.

The view from here is beautiful. An afternoon of reading, drawing the tired dogs.


Tomorrow I will be in Number Seven Dulverton. 10-4. Do come.


I will be painting Ivy, the miniature deerhound, at rest. She wants a Persian carpet on which to rest after the hunt she says.



On Friday I will be in Cirencester for the opening of The Quiet Music exhibition at New Brewery Arts Centre. In the afternoon I am painting in the gallery. In the evening Nicola Davies will be singing, and I will be reading from The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow.

On Saturday I will be at Blue Ginger Gallery near Malvern, again painting in the gallery and in the evening there is a ticketed event with supper, song and story.

It’s beautiful here. I need to go and sit by the river, listen to it sing. And draw.





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Summer’s end.

Morning  sun on the weathervane, peace and a beautiful sky. A mist lay in the dips of the land and birds gathered on wires like music notes.     vane


The light as we walked up the lane to the hill top was a soft slant of gold. Across the fields the mist still wrapped Ramsey Island, making it mythical.

softlightavalonOn top of the hill we rested and looked, watching the world.


The White Cat glows in the sunshine, sparkles, but also can disappear in the landscape.


Horses are always intrigued by the sight of a cat, walking.


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On the way back we investigated ivy growing on rocks. One of The Lost Words is Ivy.whyte

Home, and the field that was golden is already being ploughed. Herring gulls follow the tractor.


Home, breakfast. Now, work.



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Morning, evening, walking.

Morning was walking with Hannah, The White Cat, Rosie, Ivy and π, over the hill to look at the sea. Hannah is back from the first part of her yoga teacher training course with Cam Yoga, beginning to teach as a teacher in training, before heading to Aberdeen next week to begin her degree in Marine Biology. Busy.

Meanwhile π is busy growing her ears and her tail, and The White Cat is busy making sure his eyes are a richer blue than the sky.




Rosie is busy playing with sticks.


Later, evening walking was just with Ivy and π and the sea was wind wrinkled.


Ivy caught the light in her fur. π learned how to bounce.eve

ears std

Later still the sky was fishbelly silvered. Now the stars are here.

The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow is making its way out into the world. Had the most lovely review from Love Reading today.

“Gosh, this is absolutely and completely enchanting. The moment I laid eyes on ‘The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow’ I knew I had fallen in love, I hugged the book before even opening the pages. I felt like a child again, it’s beautifully sized, it’s big, the cover stunning, it just invites you to pick it up. The story began when Jackie Morris created Christmas cards, one a year for Help Musicians UK, the words, while there all along, arrived later, in the creating of this book. The illustrations speak so eloquently and beautifully they brought a tear to my eye and goose bumps magically appeared on my arms. This is a book where you just sink into the pages, drift away on the words, and it feels like a half remembered dream. I whole heartedly recommend ‘The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow’, it would make a perfect gift (even for yourself), and is a fairy tale delight of a read.”~ Liz Robinson

How lovely.

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Working hard

Over the past few weeks I have completed the first batch of work for The Lost Words. Working with Robert MacFarlane has been a joy. His emails fall into my inbox like jewels. The last, a photograph of illegible writing in his notebook which he ‘claims’ to be the words for Lark, and if I really struggle I can almost make out a sentence. So frustrating!! And yet beautiful.

Raven flew in and demanded that all other work be pushed aside as he took over my mind and my time until the three pieces for the word were done.

And I have learned so much as the weeks have past. Things like, a kingfisher has no blue pigment in its feathers, rather the colour dances in the eye through refracted light. Adders come in different colours from gold to black. Guillemots eggs are so impervious to water because of the curious cone like structure of the cells that make the shell. I was told that acorns only grew on forty year old oaks, but I have two in the garden that are 22 and they have acorns on them now. There is a sub species of wren called the Shetland Wren.

I now have until 12th Oct to deliver the next batch, and I will be in Dulverton, Cirencester, Blue Ginger, Crickhowell and Ty Newydd in Sept, Oct ( see events page for details) so if I am quiet at times it is just because I am painting.

Publication date is 28th September 2017.

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