The day after Nick Herbert MP dropped in to pick up a chisel and plant a tree was perhaps our coldest Northwood so far; a snow blanket at the top of Bignor Hill and thick at Gumber as I walked in. The day gradually thawed, but National Trust Ranger Hannah’s plucky visiting 11th Bognor Cub Scout group were up against a cold wind and did well with their tree planting despite the odd wet sock from the long walk to the fields. And what a demand for carving! Working in their planting pairs, chisel and mallet were wielded well… with a queue after lunch for more action. The brief was to make ‘explosions’ – introducing just enough energy, at the right angle, to create a stone chip.
Some other interesting visitors too – all walking from Bignor Hill following the way markers. Photographer Anne Purkiss popped by, trekking a mile and half across the snowy fields after travelling south from London. She has an exhibition of her long running project ‘Faces of the South Downs‘ in the Gridshell at Singleton in August.
Just as the sun was losing strength and ‘evening’ was officially starting (at 3ish), six people emerged through the north gate in the deer fencing. Andrew Holligan (www.andrewholligan.co.uk) is an artist living nearby with his young family – his practise takes the two-dimensional photograph into being ‘present’, almost sculpture-like, in space. His visiting brother was a Marine Biologist. We pondered that which gave rise to the Portland stone in front of us – a few larger molluscs readily visible within a hardened, compressed ooze of primitive calcium-skeletoned unicells.
We left the site together via the western deer gate and Six-Ways. Me rather incongruously with 3 mallets and a posh carrier bag containing a loaf from Anne’s favourite German bakery and catalogues from the Royal British Sculpture Society where she had been photographing the previous day.
Next carving: Wednesday 18th February – a public event 10am-3pm in Half-Term with tree planting, den building and BBQ lunch! Email here for more information.
Interesting – and important – developments with Belloc busts posted elsewhere, here
pictures courtesy: Anne Purkiss/Andrew Holligan