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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


one bigger piece, a kind of watering can shape;


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.