dry sunny weather in April brings out the flowers, and encourages me into my pot workshop.

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the garden is a pleasure, plenty to do, but there’s time, I can spend from a few minutes to half an hour every time I walk up to the shed in the sunshine, birdsong accompanying me. there is a blackbird with a lovely series of tootles and trills who sits on the low hawthorn above the office. I don’t hear the thrush – I think I don’t get up early enough, but I often see them with beakfuls of invertebrates – the nest must be in the hedge somewhere. then there is the greenfinch with his jay-jay-jay- rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr song.

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the blackthorn is about two weeks later than last year. I am attacking the hogweed straight away, squirting glycosulphate at close range on the new leaves. I hope I can really get rid of it for good and all this year.

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plenty of damson blossom, if it gets fertilised there should be a good crop.

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after a week’s work there is quite a good crop of pots. the dry weather means they will be ready for the kiln soon. I made a start by looking at the work of Mo Jupp. he uses sheets of clay to construct small female torsos, and I felt there was something I could learn from his work.

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although these are similar to the small flasks and bottles I usually make, their shoulders are constructed differently, with a steeper angle, and made out of two or more sections, also the clay is rolled out thinner and softer. I tried putting wet porcelain on top of the stoneware clay, then covering it with powdered china clay. this gives a lovely soft texture, uneven, powdery and sometimes cracking and flaking off.

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I used the terracotta crank as well, and mixed it with the St Thomas stoneware.

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most of these pots are “feeding vessels” with the little spout and wider neck. some have a neck which grows smoothly out of the shoulder, on others the neck has a different angle from the shoulder.

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one bigger piece, a kind of watering can shape;

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and one shaped like a torso, more organic, made of more pieces, the clay soft, the porcelain powdery like flour.

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I found the website of the museum of Cycladic art and printed out some images for inspiration. most of the vessels here are Bronze Age, carved from marble.

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Tilda and Sal are hors de combat just at the moment; T cut a paw pad last week and has stitches, Sal ate too much lamb fat and has an inflamed pancreas.

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So I am walking myself at the moment. on Tuesday I am convinced I saw a Bonelli’s warbler in Cake’s Lane. if this is true I am one up on the twitchers. a little olive grey bird, whitish greyish underparts, smaller than a robin, with no distinguishing stripes or anything special, a small robin type beak. I got very close, as it was perched amongst last year’s dry meadow sweet stalks as I walked by. if I didn’t notice the eye stripe of course it could easily have been a chiff chaff or a willow warbler. perhaps, what ever it was, it seemed stunned after its long journey north.

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this evening the sun shone through the wood and illuminated the blackthorn blossom and the new leaves. there is a resident thrush in the wood, he always rewards my walk with a solo improvisation.

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there were eight hares out here, cavorting in the low slanting sunshine.

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the severe winter doesn’t seem to have had any effect on their numbers.

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violets sprinkled on the bank in Clip Street, along with mounds of primroses. it seems like a good year for flowers here too. I must visit the secret wood, its wood anemones must be out by now. I have one flower in my garden; they are hard to establish, and they are a sign of ancient woodland.

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and the chickens looking pretty at Clip street farm. another kind of bird made their presence felt – Hercules bombers out for their evening run, flying low and banking overhead, rumbling along like so many giant bumblebees.

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