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Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Red House on the Niobrara: you've seen the book, now have a look at the mosaic.

I’d never made a mosaic; not once in my entire life. And then last Sunday we went to spend a day with a potter and artist who was organising a drop-in session for friends. Here’s a pile of tiles; here’s a hammer; and here’s a board to work on. Shout if you need help.

To be fair, Annette had given us a couple of pages of instruction in the basic technique, but, as any good teacher does, she more or less left us to get on with it. She was there when – if – we needed her.

I had decided that I wanted to piece together something that reflected the sky, the earth and the house that formed my personal landscape for six months when I was out in western Nebraska. Here’s what I came up with. Not exactly stunning, but it'll make me smile when I get it on my study wall. The trick, we were told, is to stand well back and view it through half-closed eyes.

See whether you can spot (a) the cow-chip, or (b) the buzzards. Couldn't resist sticking them in. 

And now a word on the subject that's on everyone's lips. The weather. We are about to break another record. Last summer was, by any measure, the worst of the 63 I've lived through. I believe June was the dreariest on record. March is on track to be another 'worst ever'. This time last year we were baking in summer warmth. Today, as all last week, and the week before, we brace ourselves against a stiff easterly, straight out of the Ukraine and gathering a pall of dankness as it passes over the North Sea. So, no sun, 34 degrees F (1 C), a Force 6 wind, a layer of wet snow and a bunch of forecasters unable to disguise their delight as they promise us more of the same. I don't suggest that they get pleasure from bringing bad news, rather that, like any other enthusiast, they relish seeing records broken. I'm the same, but I'm starting to think my collection is complete.

In case my description doesn't conjure up the image I wish to convey, here's the view across the road, taken at midday today. I challenge you not to shiver.