Time to share apples.. Will they take them?


The time is nearly here when I pick my hundreds of apples from my three glorious apple trees…I’m always so thankful for my harvest… Picking each apple makes me feel honoured and humbled that such a lovely, delicious fruit has grown on my tree in my garden and I have hundreds!
I also have this nagging guilt when i pick, that some of them will goto waste… We certainly can’t eat them all…there are only so many pies, crumbles, juices, buns, jars of apple sauce and puddings one family can eat…
But they are so beautiful, each one precious and deserving of someone to love, enjoy and value it.
Over the years I’ve collected many customers for my free of charge apples. Mum, grandma, visiting friends, mr and mrs Donaldson over the road accept a couple of crumbles ( she struggles to bake these days) and I also deliver a sack to the church in time for their apple harvest festival,..but I’m still left with apples in abundance!! And I hate wasted food …..

So last year for the first time I unearthed my basket old picnic hamper, loaded it with yummy apples and a sign saying “help yourself…free apples) placing it at the end of the drive I felt pleased they would go to good homes and might just make someone’s day…. May even encourage everyone to bake ( I had a romantic idea that the smell of baked apple pies would waft around our gardens)

By day two not one had gone .. Cars had slowed down and dog walkers stopped to read… But not one apple was taken:-( ( except from a spotted hedgehog who enjoyed a fruit or two)

After much confused and giggly discussion we wondered if folks thought it was some kind of trick… Talking about the poisoned apple and the wicked step mother we hid our disappointment . We were aware that our lovely leafy estate wasn’t full of folk that Neighboured. We had tried a few times to drag them out of their lovely homes to become a thriving and inclusive community. First time we tried one christmas…we made christingles and clove studded oranges and took the kids and a couple of their friends carol singing. We practised at home and decided we were not going to ask for money and as a sign of goodwill and peace we would give out the oranges instead. A perfect christmas eve activity for the kids and lovely sentiment for the neighbours. After singing at over twenty doors, only had maybe three opened them, we were disheartened. But we carried on, believing we would be making someone smile behind each door, and that would be ok…singing our carols and leaving the oranges on doorsteps…we had a few more secretly open doors while we were at another houses, a couple of home owners running after us panicking. Thrusting their oranges back at us , they worried that we may have planted some kind of bomb in it or even that we might post through an invoice over the holidays for the said orange! The thought it was something for nothing terrifying them. We went the year after and more ( if only a few more) did open their door..albeit trying to give us money… Us refusing of course, much to their confusion.

Another time the kids and I sat down to devise a way to support earth hour… We typed out a short note inviting everyone on our street to turn out their lights for a hour at the guven time, put the given tea light into a jam jar in their window and take a walk around our block…we walked around posting the candle and note in every door excited to see if they would partake in this small but significant show of commitment and community. Out of the hundred or so homes… Only 4 took to the street and only two more lit their candle…. What a shame!?! But at least we tried… And some did respond… Better than none. ( however I did spend the whole walk countering ‘how hard can it be… Just turn your lights off for one hour…. Etc etc… Phfft’

So last year, we giggled as we put up a sign … Apples 10p each….by midday every apple had gone and although, thrilled, we felt a little sad that the only way our community would take something was to pay for it….

We will try again this weekend… Gather our fruit and put out front for free… Maybe they will trust us a little more this year and accept our gifts.

I however, will be thinking of how to bring the street together…maybe providing a lantern making workshop in time for earth hour this year.. Would anyone come? May be a carol service where everyone comes out and meets for christmas singing one evening? I’m gonna keep trying it’ll be worth it one day they will come out of their homes and be a community..

Happy apples everyone.. Anyone want any?



Olympics, Jubilee and a very British year!!! an excuse to re-own and be proud of the Union Jack????

Well that’s it , I’ve just watched the parade of the athletics, the day after the closing ceremony of the Paralympics 2012! And I am feeling proud, blessed, utterly uplifted and so proud to fly the union jack!!!!

I have to admit I was quietly looking forward to this summer, with the queens jubilee, the European football (less said the better) and of course the Olympics … What a year to test your patriotic spirit and to embrace the community that is our country. I for one have been proud to wave the flag!

But that wasn’t the feelings of everyone… it was certainly, in some circles, not seen as an exciting year for britain. Flying my Union Jack was not welcomed by everyone!

I am a big lover of the flag, I have always flown it at any excuse and was totally sucked up by the vintage union jack craze over the last few years. It has something about it. Warming, safe and weirdly echoing sentiments of family, community and safety. My memories stemming back to war time stories told by my Grandad Pat’, the royal weddings I have seen in my lifetime, many celebrations such as the olympics, commonwealth games and of course my obsession with the ‘make do and mend’ war years, in which this symbol that was our flag was a singular and most powerful sight of hope and faith.

I had a conversation a few years ago with friends about our British flag..The Union Jack. They talked about how they didn’t feel any pride in the union flag. In fact they felt ashamed, disgusted, betrayed by it and didn’t want to acknowledge or celebrate their Britishness let alone via the Union Jack.. I listened to their reasons, and agreed utterly with many of their thoughts and feelings, Listening to how they linked the Union Flag with its symbolization of historical power and dominance I considered exactly I felt about the flag and indeed my Britishness. Our flag  and the way our ancestors built up the British empire? how we flew our flag as a sign of ownership, power and of course in cases, oppression? somehow had it teamed up with modern day racism and the yobbish behavior that echoed back to its misuse in facsist campaigning and football violence?

‘I am not going to go into this in detail, it’s not my point nor is it relevant to do this, we all know what went on way back when Britain ruled the world, and besides, I do believe a lot of good came out of the British empire and all it stood for, in fact it still does do much positive effect…. But…. I’m not in anyway going to start belittling the negative impact we had on many countries and their people. similarly I understand how the recent more modern use of the british flag can taint its image. How it was seen often flying at BNP rallies and handing of the rails of a football stand accompanied by a story of violent confrontation between our nation and one equally responsive other was and is a powerful and memorable image stained on our hearts’

It’s not that I don’t have extremely strong feelings about all of the above, but I am fucked if I’m gonna let these minority bigots and ignorant individuals take ownership of a symbol that supported a nation of British men, women and children through many wars, depressions, celebrations and pride. We ALL know what it is to be brandished with the mark of a ‘group’ of people, to be pulled into a stereotype and to feel violated when they use something or someone close to us as an totem for their bad or unethical behavior. So I am not going to write about the rights and wrongs of the commonwealth or start of racism and violence… it, like the rest of the blog will only be touched upon and not examined… or I will end up writing a whole essay, and frankly this has the potential to be a bit of boring rant as it is…!so…..

Get this….. It was a long time ago, do we have to take responsibility for the actions of those in power way back then? I certainly refuse to be tarred by any bad my countrymen may have opposed on others and indeed each other. Nor should the modern German citizens take responsibility for the horrors of the holocaust, nor the American working men and women take responsibility for slavery (to name one of many actions of the early Americans that could be accused of  historically) how much do we draw comparisons? Maybe the Greeks should take responsibility for the way they threw poor unassuming men into the lions den to watch till the death? How about us Brits.. no… YOU personally… become responsible for the way we:

– drowned ‘witches’ hung criminals?

– held Maids and house staff in silenced slavery? forced in married women to give up their infants?

– Maybe for allowing the mentally ill rot away in torturous asylums?

-Or the poor in the slaved in the work houses?

are you or your loved ones responsible? is anyone alive here and now responsible for all the shitty things that happened in or with the UK?

In short our past, as is everyone else’s, a journey in history in which we have travelled…. It made and created us who we are, how we act and how we live now as a national community. Its evolving, all communities evolve! they learn and work with the discovery of actions bad and good. Weather we talk about our history as a country or as a community or indeed as an individual, we all progress, learning from the actions of others, of those of our own past. We need to understand ‘bad’ to enable us to act ‘good’ ….look at the old school philosophers (google Plato and Freud for a start) they loved this shit! http://www.evolutionaryethics.com/

Just as the horrible histories ( really if you haven’t seen this you must) illustrate we come form a very violent and barbaric line of generations, each one less horrid than the last… we are here in 2012 and you know what it’s not that fucking bad!

WE are evolving, it’s not perfect of course.. but don’t underestimate the evolution and positivity of our nation. I for one am very proud and pleased with how we have come on over the years and what our people are achieving right now…


So what makes me proud of being British, English, a Yorkshire woman?

Firstly I love our land, the green luscious hard worked land in which I am graced with the loan of a small bit of  during my time on this earth. The land that has been tended for many hundreds of years , a land that is fruitful, rich and lush. (I understand this will cause argument and I stand back awaiting the backlash)… I know how farmers have lost land and the ability to farm, how other vast arid counties don’t have this luxury of luscious green fertile land and suffer from famine and drought. … I by no way forget this, but it doesn’t, and will not stop me celebrating our fortune of good land and the backbreaking work that our land keepers undergo to provide us good fresh safe food from their piece of earth…(yes i know all about GM foods, PESTICIDES, and forced cultivation and all that, I’m not denying the issue that it needs change… but pointing out.. that quite simply we have fertile growth in abundance) I celebrate and give thanks that even in the face of adversity we continue to struggle to work with this land (but in no way do we struggle like our brother and sisters in waterless, arid and growth less countries). I love and appreciate how we see an uprising and celebration of home-grown local produce..the praise and consumer desire for organic and British grown produce….a movement that is continuously adapting to keep our land alive.. and hey guess what I love celebrating the harvest festival!.
I celebrate, that slowly, we are sharing the message that we must do more to protect not only our land but that of the worlds… We know it’s not enough as yet.. But look back just ten years!!! We are now all recycling( with the support of our councils/governments) building compost heaps, starting to embrace the technology of solar panels, wind turbines and even seeing how ‘growing our own’ is becoming the norm, quite fashionable even!?! when u look at the waiting lists for allotments and the schemes in place to support sustainable living through energy reform and awareness… I am proud in the distance we have travelled together.

I’m proud of how we as communities are starting to work together. Many may be unaware of how thriving their community is.. But believe me if you look for it you will find it… With the uprising of community projects in arts, music, dance, drama and groups such as the women’s institutes, adult education ( much of which is funded) the governments, councils, arts council, sports councils, lottery funding and arts and business, in short they have put tens of thousands/millions into creating creativity, health and information… More than ever before! Particularly in inner cities and deprived housing with high percentages of crime and depression.
It’s not perfect yet.. I don’t think It ever will be .. We are on a journey here.. A journey through an ever-changing world… We will never get it totally right…. But my god we should feel so honoured to have these things in place here in th UK. Like it or not we have some amazing riches but I fear we are frightened to see them in case we are named as a traitor, a conservative, a fascist, middle-class, greedy, blinkered, ‘not in touch with the real world’ etc etc etc…( FYI : I was once called a fascist  for asking for asking all my employees to provide personal details and references)

Honoured I am, that our government are ploughing money directly into communities who live in response to the difficulties of social change. Proud of the way we can speak and be heard. …..So many nations across the world can not!  (don’t kid yourself when you say we don’t a have a voice in the UK, it is offensive and dismissive of our freedom to communicate and make a difference, the heroes in our community are those that do just that.. do some research!) Many in this country say ‘we have no voice’ ‘no one cares’ and that ‘there is nothing for them‘…’ No future‘ how wrong you are!  (will get to that)

Without pointing out the vast array of community projects talked about above, let’s look at the free health care, free schooling ( EVERYONE GETS CHANCE TO GO TO SCHOOL ) free fire service, free policing, free education (for those with low or no income…yes you do get support at uni … again I will discuss this later) ……how about the fact you can be supported should you find yourself addicted to heroin or alcohol? how about the free clinics and hospitals that treat our young as they sink in to the depths of anorexia, bulimia and  mental health issues? How about the elderly and the dying, cared for in homes and hospices???? WE are angry about the pensions and the lack of them…but are you aware how few countries offer a state pension??? Do they count??? Most countries care for their elders within their own family.. we expect the state to do it for us and complain when it starts to struggle to do this financially…..????

How about The ability to speak out ????( I’m doing it now on a blog, feeling pretty nervous ‘cos I’m not sure everyone will see my point.. but I’m not fearing for my life by writing it) with Facebook, text, phones, books, websites, forums and basic general speech in the street… freedom to talk and communicate is not to be bypassed when thinking about how lucky we are here in the UK!

Don’t fall in the trap of believing we are NOT free!! We have a vote and a voice , communities and services, rights and protection. Again I’m no fool and I know it’s not perfect … We all have stories of terrible violation and the control of individuals rights and beliefs.. but we must, and I pray that we can, have fair controls in place to protect us and our children, someone hurting, taking or inflicting suffering or acting with greed, must be stopped in some way to protect the good and the nation in their quest for freedom… we must find a way to make this happen… I believe it is evolving!

We hear of ‘bad’ care in hospitals or such awful abuse in homes offering pastoral care etc etc … But my god we have some of the best medical professionals and services in the world.. Free to every person in this country!!! I know it’s not so clear-cutBut my god how bloody rich we are to have all this..no matter how flawed… evolving daily against all the odds!!! where do all the millions of pounds come to pay for all this???

Our governments and councils provide this, provided by taxes from our hard-working peers, incomes from business that work for us not always against us. ( opening the flood gates I know)

Are we so spoiled that we have found ourselves in such a privileged position to be able to find fault in everything we have given?…so used to what we have that we still feel we need more….?

Are we so spoiled that we stomp our feet if we simply don’t get the best self-centred free care?

Sounds ungrateful to me, a bit ‘greedy’ … Sounds like to me that so many of us believe we should have and deserve more than is available for us all to share!!!! We are given so much no matter how hard it is to maintain and share around….. yet we still want to take more of the cream… more benefits, more housing, more money, more health care, more education…….more more more…..

Who does that remind you of???? Let’s think… Folks who take everything for free, but don’t want to share it out between us all, take what they want, expect everyone to provide for u to keep for yourself…??? ( this isn’t actually my opinion but one of those that I have seen to complain about what we have, don’t have etc) Bankers, royalty, mps, lords… and I’ve noticed recently..Home owners, professionals such as doctors and lawyers, those who have saved and inherited and are not on the ‘bread line’ ( can u see where I might go here when thinking about university fees?)

I find it so tough to listen to folks who talk about how we need to ‘return to basics’, how we should ‘work together to create a cooperative’ how we need to ‘share’ and how we need to be able to ‘be heard’ and be able to ‘speak out!’ Funny but i think we have all this in place! But not everyone wants to hear it…ADMIT IT!
Let’s work together and be grateful for what we have, does a mother in Africa blame her hospital that her child died from malaria? Or is she is grateful she was welcomed into a hospital at all? … grateful that someone could try to help..when so many of her sisters remain untreated and dying. Here we all have access to this care for free, enough in each town and city for every person to be treated! So why do we still think we are being badly treated, owed something more? We forget to celebrate what systems we have, what care we have ( even if it’s not perfect yet and is a work in progress… Don’t forget we are in a huge financial crisis right now and everything is suffering.. ALL THIS CARE COSTS BILLIONS ) 

Instead of seeing the progress and wealth of what we have, we make noises that it is not at all good enough! Such a shame because we have so so much!!!! Achieved so so much as a country !!!! Especially as we are, as a country, still finding the billions it costs to provide these services ( free to all citizens, tax payers or not) bloody hell I am proud of that achievement! ,,,

“A way to find a way to treat and care for every one of its citizens”.

I join that great British co-operative of givers (that is the tax payers) and in return I know I help provide so much for those in my country who have so much less. I hope those that take those pounds of shared out money, only take what they need before giving back into the pot.

I’m proud that my kids get free schooling! education is freedom ! and I see schools working hard to create highly educated children and also to care for them pastorally as a school community..I see the school involving parents, giving them a voice and an involvement in the education of their child….I see women and men choosing to educate their child at home, and the country supports it…. I see adults, who didn’t achieve getting chance to go back to school for free, to re-educate and move forward providing themselves with brighter futures if they choose that indeed that life would be brighter if they chose it to be. … I see those on benefits able to step into adult education that supports them prepare to find themselves back in the work place. I see students, young and old offered low-interest loans on hugely soft terms, to enable them to train for higher paid, specialist roles which pay more, provide services for their community and take responsibility for their own futures. ( again this is contentious…. But yes I think it’s right that the government doesn’t pay for every students’ degree… Tutors need wages, colleges and buildings need maintaining… I think at this level of personal development you should take personal responsibility for it financially… After all, no matter how you may argue, you are 90% more likely to work in a higher paid role with a degree .. Which in turn allows you to be able to afford to pay for the education you received to get you there in that very role..(don’t all the socialists believe that the rich shouldn’t get stuff for free!!! ok .. so if this is the case do we support the potentially rich get their for free? is it fair that those on low paid wages should pay ( via tax) for someone to become a doctor ( for example) and live on a hight paid scale than themselves?) also the amount of students ‘flunking’ out of their studies, since fees became chargeable , has dramatically dropped, saving the government millions, yes millions, of waisted cash….waisted wages from the lower paid hard-working tax payer!?…. All of a sudden going to university isn’t a paid opportunity to move out and have fun… It is now a serious career move and the (chosen) chance to invest in your own future… And with the government offering these supportive loans with supportive terms… I reckon we get a good deal! they are helping but not paying… )
So what else am I proud of?
  • I’m proud of how the Brits wave from bridges.
  • The way we randomly burst into song when together
  • chatting about weather at bus stops and in general.
  • Come together as towns and communities to support their teams on mass and largely with frequently banter.
  • I’m proud that you can’t use racist, sexist or homophobic language, action or discrimination…both at work or on the streets
  • I’m proud that for those that are racist, sexist and homophobic, there are more folk now able and brave enough to stand up and say “NO!.. that’s not ok…”
  • I’m proud I can call the police if I or my children are in danger
  • I’m proud that no army ransack my village and rape the women and girls with in it
  • I’m proud we fought again genocide and came together as a country to fight for our and others’ freedom and equality.
  • I’m proud we can vote, not just as woman but as citizens and eaquals
  • I’m proud to pay tax to share my wealth with other who have none
  • I’m proud that I am safe when say “I don’t agree” 
  • I proud that our elders and sick are provided for however small.
  • I’m proud that we have clean water, Thank god every one of us has access to clean water,
  • I’m proud that we can create music, words and art freely and openly.. and our government support us.
  • Proud we can gather to sing, dance and sing, to talk about our dreams, our fears and our needs
  • Proud of our rain, our sun our snow and our shelters

and..I’m proud that my grandmother ( taught by her mother) taught my mother ….who taught me…. who now teaches my daughters…. to be thankful for our ‘haves’ not to be woeful for our ‘lacks’ and never guilty for the wrongdoings of others who came before us but to be thankful, proud and appreciate our accomplishments.

There are tons of things that get me cross, and many English traits that I am so very un-proud… but it’s not my point here.. I’m seeing the good, looking at the brilliance and generosity that is great britain, I am not naive nor am I ignorant to believe its all that we have… but shit we are lucky to be here! here on this journey of developement.

So anyway… Today once more I openly celebrated been British and proud, I got teary to see so many thousands of folks coming out, with their union jacks to cheer for their people and sport ambassadors . So proud of what we have and what we provide and proud of myself for writing it freely without fear of death or persecution.


Oliver Bear

Oliver Bear and Trixie the Caravan







Angel Sam

Illustrated by Angel Lisa









Oliver Bear.


Oliver Bear lived at home with a boy

Oliver for years was his favourite toy

He cared for him daily and loved him each day

Every night in his bed he did lay


But the boy had grown and got kids of his own

Oliver bear was sad on his own

He needed a holiday somewhere to go

But who with and where he didn’t know


He made a call, for a wish granting pixie

Who sent down a carriage whose name was Trixie

“I need to go and find people like me”

“ok” said Trixie “Leave it with me”


So in to Trixie he did jump

Closed the door with a thick thack and thump

Trixie twitched her magic tire



………………And they both fly up high, high…..high….. and higher.


 They appeared in a field with grass all around,

He looked carefully around and heard a strange sound…..

Music and people and lots of laughter,

Was this the place that he was after?


He was dressed in some hipsters made of tie dye,

Wearing a t-shirt with a sun, tree and sky.

On his is feet were nothing, in fact they were bare

On his head there were flowers tied around his fair hair.


He sat by a fire with a group of folks drumming

They all sat around singing and humming

Hugging and dancing and talking of peace                                     


Oliver bear thought he was………. Ooooohhhh owwwwwww nooooooo

From the smoke, his eyes were positively stinging

The music from the drums had his ears ringing

These people were lovely and had so much to share

But this wasn’t the place for poor Oliver Bear.


So in to Trixie he did jump

Closed the door with a thick thack thump

Trixie twitched her magic tire………….


………………And they both fly up high, high…..high….. and higher.


They appeared in a field with grass all around,

He looked carefully around and heard a strange sound…..

Taking and people and not much laughter,

Was this the place that he was after?


He was dressed in some trousers that looked mighty fine,

His t-shirt was stripy with blue and white lines.

On his is feet were slip ons, made of brown leather

On his head was a beret, adorned with a feather.


He sat in a marquee with a book in his hand

The man on his stage was reading it grand

Scratching their beards and looking quite thoughtful


Oliver bear thought he was………. Ooooohhhh owwwwwww nooooooo

But the words were too small and his eyes were stinging

The man was so boring his ears were just ringing

These people were lovely and had so much to share

But this wasn’t the place for poor Oliver Bear.


So in to Trixie he did jump


Closed the door with a thick thack thump


Trixie twitched her magic tire



………………And they both fly up high, high…..high….. and higher



They appeared in a field with grass all around,

He looked carefully around and heard a strange sound…..

Music and people and lots of laughter,

Was this the place that he was after?


He was dressed in an evening suit with a band round the waste,

Wearing a shirt and bow tie, he dressed with good taste .

Black shoes with a shine, sat on his bear feet

On his head, his hair was gelled and so neat.





A lady was singing in a big dress

With a choir behind her, she did really impress…

Bear with her songs of Italian love

Oliver bear thought he was………. Ooohhh oooohhhh ahhhhhh


From tears from the music, his eyes were stinging

But the lady screeched too high and had his ears ringing

These people were lovely and had so much to share

But this wasn’t the place for poor Oliver Bear.


So in to Trixie he did jump

Closed the door with a thick thack thump

Trixie twitched her magic tire

And they both flew up high, high,high and higher.


They appeared in a field with grass all around,

He looked carefully around and heard a strange sound…..

Music and people and lots of laughter,

Was this the place that he was after?


He was dressed in a jacket made from a hide

Wearing a t-shirt it said “born to ride.”

On his is feet were biker boots, shiny and black

On his head a bandana tied neat at the back.


He watched a band all frantic and hairy

The crowd were all jumping, banging heads in a fury.

Screaming and shouting and thrashing guitars



Oliver bear thought he was………. Ooooohhhh owwwwwww nooooooo


From the dry ice, his eyes were stinging

The sound from the music had his ears ringing

These people were lovely and had so much to share

But this wasn’t the place for poor Oliver Bear.



So in to Trixie he did jump


Closed the door with a thick thack thump


Trixie twitched her magic tire



………………And they both fly up high, high…..high….. and higher


They appeared in a field with grass all around,

He looked carefully around and heard a strange sound…..

Music and people and lots of laughter,

Was this the place that he was after?


He was dressed in his bear clothes, his best dungarees,

Wearing a t-shirt with a picture of trees.

On his is feet were his trainers that he’d had a for while

On his head his hair styled in a normal bear style.


He carefully walked towards folk that he’d knew

This place felt exciting and friendly too

The rockers, the hippy and the lady that sang

The man reading books he didn’t understand


They were all sat there, sharing their stuff

The lady singing to a rocker (who looked really quite tough)

The Hippies were hugging the man with the book

And all of a sudden they all stopped to Look




“Oliver Bear, Come and sit down

Please put away your confused frown

It doesn’t matter, what you wear or you sing

What you dance to or talk about, just do your thing”



“At every festival, we join as one family

Everyone’s welcome, as long as they’re friendly

You’re sure to fit in, whatever you wear

It’s you that we love Oliver Bear”



The tears in his eyes were positively stinging

The love in the air, had his heart singing

These people were lovely and had so much to share

It was defiantly the place for Oliver Bear.


In Angel Gardens, Oliver stayed

And many different friends here he has made

You can come too, have fun with us here

You’ll find us camping here, year after year.




So Trixie smiled, her heart did jump


She closed the door with a thick thack thump


Trixie twitched her magic tire



………………And she fly up  high, high…..high….. and  higher




My solo exhibition…Catching the vibe.. review for Yorkshire Life Magazine 2012

NB: I havent painted since this exhibition.. I think I used up a big chuck of my creative energy producing the collection… but Its coming back… I can feel the need to get out the paints again!!!!Imagehis was the review from my exhibition in 20010




When Pontefract based artist Sam Pattison-O’Brien set up her first ever solo exhibition in a disused Castleford furniture shop ‘Bridge Arts’. She took the unusual step of including her touring caravan in the display, which soon became the star attraction.


 Best not let Sam catch you calling it a ’Caravan’ though ‘It’s a Pixie Pad’ she exclaimed!

Surrounded by picnic chairs, tables, china cups, saucers and plates, plus lots of references to her beloved Angels (including Angel’s wings and Angel cakes). You will find, of course, her beautiful eye catching paintings taking centre stage. Sam had certainly spent so much time and dedication making the gallery so warm and inviting, shall we compare it to a summer’s day?

 ImageOne wonders should we have taken along our vacuum flask, sandwiches and bottles of orange juice and enjoyed the rest of afternoon, maybe having a picnic in the large plate glass window, peered at by curious onlookers?


I think a better idea would be to allow Sam to reveal all about her intriguing display.

‘I have always gone to music festivals all over England like Glastonbury and the smaller ones too, But in the last few years I went in order to set up art workshops in these lovely spaces. When these events are televised you see only big stages, lights, and crowds of people. But there are many interesting individuals attending, who all add their little bit in creating the tremendous atmosphere festivals are famous for’.

‘I began to realise that there was enough scope for other talented Yorkshire artist’s to come along and join in too’ so she set up a space surrounding her ‘Pixie Pad’ called ‘Angel Gardens’ where Sam and her Angels run art workshops, festival weddings and creative activities. She calls her crew her ‘Angel’s’ and more or less everyone is from Yorkshire. ‘The one thing that’s important to us is that we are taking any skills we may possess from our own county and showing others in different parts of the U. K what we can do.’  ‘It’s all about inputting into the community and giving out creative energy. We decorate peoples bodies, get folk involved in arts and crafts, build willow sculptures, ( There is a lovely willow Angel in the exhibition) and paint glass jars transforming them into colourful lanterns. We all work around a campfire, and are surrounded by lots of old fashioned bell tents’.

 ‘I soon became so inspired by all these creative people coming together; I wanted to capture all the individuals onto canvas. The pictures you see here in the exhibition are portraits of my ‘Angels’ the people who have spent magical times with me in ‘Angel Gardens’.


‘I started by photographing the people with my mobile phone unawares. My photos were not about fantastic lighting or cleverly getting my subject to pose in a particular way, they are about capturing that moment at that time. It’s not until afterwards I set about painting my subjects onto canvas’.




I personally found Sam’s paintings themselves so vibrant with colour, so uplifting and fresh. I asked how she achieves this unusual effect especially when taking the unusual step of working watercolour on canvas?  ‘It’s all down to the paint; it’s not very often that artists apply watercolour to canvas’ she told me. The technique was discovered purely by accident, one day picking the wrong paint up on her brush. ‘I kept working away because I loved the way the watercolour was sitting on the canvas, it had a beautiful sense of transparency together with its vivid colour that I found fascinating’

‘The paint I discovered was dictating to me rather than me to it, by moving itself around on the canvas running and splurging about’.

 ‘The backgrounds however are painted simply with emulsion paint from B&Q it’s the flattest paint I’ve come across and sometimes adding chalk to achieve even flatter results.

Sam’s backgrounds are always plain, blocking out the distraction of other people and objects. Her subjects are all about individuals who attend festivals, each one having their own story to tell.


She singled out one particular picture from the rest, a portrait of a man with long dreadlocks. ‘Now here’s an interesting story’ Sam went on to show me around the corner where a picture of a couple is hung. ‘It’s the same man, this time without the dreadlocks; you’d never guess it was the same person would you? His life has changed so much, and he’s a different person now with a different life. It’s really nice to see the old ‘him’ and the new ‘him’ in the same room a real celebration of his life’s journey’.




Sam’s own story must be an inspiration to others, as she suffers from severe Dyslexia, and was told at school she wouldn’t go very far, and have no chance of passing any exam’s.


‘I used to sit in class and wonder to myself what on earth are they talking about? I never felt that I fit in at school, even when I tried being more fashionable or following the ‘in’ bands, it never quite worked, I was always on the edge of the crowd’.

‘One day a teacher told me Sam you need to concentrate on dancing, drama and art because that’s all you can hope to do well in’. Not to be defeated she took up the offer of a place at Wakefield College, where she studied fine art, then finding herself accepted in to university two years later.

‘When I got to University I realised I could do something much more academic, I hounded my tutors until my degree was changed to philosophy as well as fine art, and I absolutely shined. Although I knew the words I wanted to say, I didn’t have the spelling or the grammar, it didn’t hold me back though, thanks to my computer and spell checking I was able to put my theories across. Since graduating in 1996, Sam went on to achieve teaching qualifications and later her MA in Art Psychotherapy. Currently working towards her PhD, Sam loves to share her skills. Teaching art to all age groups and levels as well as lecturing to students about the psychological nature of art making, she encourages students to think about how our brain allows individuals to be creative. ‘Creative thinking has such a positive effect on our mental health.’ She explains.

‘So, for all those teachers who told me, I wouldn’t get anywhere’ smiles Sam  ‘I’m going to be a Doctor within a couple of years, not bad for someone that spent her entire school years staring out of the window’.


Sam’s first solo exhibition hasn’t been without its critic’s amazingly some from her own family. ‘What’s that caravan doing in here? that isn’t art’ one remarked. ‘Is it making you think?’ Sam asked, ‘Well then it’s art!!!’

The ‘Pixie Pad’ has reached celebrity status these days as everyone instantly recognises it. It’s even got over 200 fans on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pixiepad) and festival goers often ‘parp’ their horns as they pass. Originally bought for £200 plus £30 was spent on fabric for curtains and cushions from various charity shops, Pixie is now quite a beauty. ‘Besides designing the interior, I decorated the exterior with flowers and fairies. The words from her family’s favorite songs, including ‘Over the Rainbow and ‘In Barefoot Day’s’ adorn the walls of the Pixie Pad  ‘she is very special’ she says


The caravan acts as a focal point at the festivals, lost children head straight for her where they feel safe and can be reunited with their mums and dads. My children love her too, even William, her youngest at 4, refuses to call her a just a ‘caravan’.


And the teacup’s? well Sam explained with a mischievous smile, ‘rather everyone sitting around drinking alcohol out of cans and bottles, we pour it into the china cup’s so to anyone passing it looks like a quaint old fashioned tea party going on in Angel Gardens underneath the bunting, much nicer to look at I think’.


Finally I asked Sam if she considers herself to be a hippie?

She told me she doesn’t really know what that means,

‘- we live in suburbia and my husband has a sensible(ish) job, we, as a family live in a different way to most of our neighbors. We have different ideals, alternative ways of bringing up our children, we believe in peace and love and money isn’t our driving force, So if that constitutes us as hippies then Yes, you could say we were hippi ish’


Sam dedicated her first exhibition to her late father who died suddenly the day after she’d graduated from her MA. ‘His comment was always the same’ says Sam, when discussing her achievements ‘it was worth all that money sending her to college’ and indeed it was.


Sam is currently searching for other venues to park ‘Pixie’ together with her images of Angel Gardens. Hopefully then, the rest of Yorkshire can come along and experience this unique exhibition and celebrate Yorkshire art at its best, ‘ if not’ she laughs ‘we’ll see you at Glastonbury, under the white rose!’

Contact details: Sam Pattison-O’Brien. 07979 344902







List of photographs/captions.


N01 Pontefract artist, Sam Pattison-O’Brien and Pixie Pad, in ‘Angel Gardens’


N02  Woolly hat and Pixie pad.

N03   ‘Old aged not travelling’  man with Dreadlocks.

N04    ‘Prohibition #2 , (same man without his dreadlocks.)

N05     ‘I’m not a Hippie’ Libby (11) eldest of  Sam’s two daughters.

N06     Hen Night.

N07      Lady Troll ( Sam dressed as a troll).

N08       Prohibition #1

N09     Teacup’s usually filled with alcohol.

N010  Angel cakes what else?

N011   Wicker Angel with wish tag’s. ( Made by Sam’s Angels)

N012  Sam Pattison-O’Brien.

N013 Sam’s Pixie pad.

N014  Pixies decoration.

N015 Teacups & Angel cakes.

N016 Interior of Pixie pad.

N017 Free Hug’s.

N018 Washing up.

N019 Sam Pattison-O’Brien at Bridge arts Castleford.

N020 Interior of Pixie Pad.

N021 Pharmacological engineer.  ( Sam’s husband- out of work)


N022 Grace Mae, Sam’s middle daughter ( 8).

N023 Signposts at Angel gardens.


N0 24 Tent Obsession.


N025 Sam’s little boy ‘Billy Fest’.

























An Angelic life of two halves!

A Festival Angel’s double life..


My life is split into two parts…. Christmas and Festivals. This may sound a little odd given that I have a good job and a home in suberbian Yorkshire and one would not be to blame that thinking a winter at ‘home’ was a quiet and cosy affair that rejuvenated our batteries ready for the forthcoming summer. (A summer when we threw ourselves out to ‘rough it’

– According to my mother-in-law (who is still trying after 15 years of Mr. O and myself spending 6 months a year in various fields ). She believes that unfortunatly my ‘lovely’ home is only a temporary hostel that keeps us warm when the campsites are closed, the music has stopped and even the most dedicated of festival goer has hibernated or gone to warmer festivals abroad.


Christmas is the event that we have in place (invented by festival angels I think) to keep us from climbing the walls living though out the (scary voice required) THE INDOOR MONTHS……. Thank god for Christmas!


Let me explain.

September comes around and as the last tent is packed safely away the children pushed back to school (me knocking off the last of the stray field mud from their shoes and trying to look like a yummy mummy) and I start somehow thinking about Christmas.

You can pretty much guarantee that Asda will creep in the odd box of Christmas cards and either my Mum or Mr. O’s Mum will race to be the first ones to ask us round for Christmas dinner. Of course I play it cool and explain it’s still a long way off and that I will need to see what comes up in the mean time before making a decision on where the Angel Family will be going.

But for all my coolness I’ll have picked up a house magazine that will have inspired me to re-decorate a room, ready for Christmas….

‘now the festival season has finished and before the weather turns cold’ I urge Mr. O ‘and it’ll be all nice for Christmas’… I perswade the husband to agree and so off I go to B&Q, and so I start to decorate

…and while I do…

I find myself planning where the tree will go, what theme I will use and even start to think about how much money I’m planning to spend on the kids. By October the November Ideal Home magazine is out and that of course talks about preparing for December. I will no doubt make a cake (you know it needs to rest) I will have looked at the list of presents you can get for under £20 (ideal home again) and the letter will have come home from school telling me when the kids break up, when the nativity is and other festive nonsense specifically designed to put scummy mummies like me to shame (such as baking minces pies without nuts in case of allergies and using gluten free flour in case of intollerances).

November, I’ll have most definitely have bought some cards ( before they are picked over) relented and told which set of parents we will be visiting over the festive break ( normally we not going to any and staying at home)and may even have started noticing the odd face book status telling me that ‘Jimmy has bought some Christmas cards’. Of course there will be an old lady at work who has told me she’s ‘bought and wrapped everything up’. Oh and in time facebook whips itself into a ‘Christmas is nearly here frenzy!’

By December the world has gone mad;

Facebook status’s talk about parties, cards, presents and troublesome relatives. We are all attending events, nativities, parties and meals. (And updating pictures, videos and status’s appropriately on our return)



eat tons…..drink tons…..smoke tons…..dress up….dance badly at parties…. freeze to death in the cold in our party frocks…. party ….party….. party ….and generally have a ball.








…new year comes around and as the last themed bauble in packed safely away, the children pushed back to school (me knocking off the last of the stray tinsel from their shoes) and I start somehow thinking about Festivals.

You can pretty much guarantee that Asda will creep in the odd ‘outdoor range’ and either Solfest or Shmbala will race to be the first ones to ask us to book them in for the August Bank holiday weekend.

Of course I play it cool and explain it’s still a long way off and that I will need to see what comes up in the mean time before making a decision on where I will be going with my crew this year.

But for all my coolness I’ll have picked up the guardian that will have inspired me to ‘plan for brighter days’, now the festive season has finished and before the weather turns warm we need to start thinking about where we will be going. .

So off I go I start to contact the festie organizers and send them our stuff , I find myself planning where the tents will go,  what theme I will use and even start to think about how much money I’m planning to spend on the bunting and workshops.

By February …

Sunrise and Moorfest have open up for early bird tickets, E festivals are adding more and more dates to the diary and I am in talks with everyone from prospective new crew and established festivals.. I will no doubt make new curtains for the pixie pad (my lovely caravan) I will have looked at new welly designs for 2010 (the guardian again) and the emails will have come home from the festie times telling me to think about my first article,

March and April..

I’ll have most definitely have bought some new wellies (most folk buy willies for the winter.. not me) relented and told which festival we will be doing August bank holiday and may even have started noticing the odd face book status telling me that Jimmy can’t wait to get in a field. Of course Glastonbury and Latitude will have sold out without us know even who’s playing and I will have prospective crew coming out of my ears (all wanting to do glasto and non of the small ones) Invoices, health and safety, crew lists and timetables have been written and sent, and face book whips itself into ‘the summer is nearly here frenzy!’

By May

…the festie world has gone mad, face book status’s talk about pre season gigs and launch parties, new tents, log burning stoves and troublesome ticket registration schemes. We are all in various fields around the county. (And updating pictures, videos and status’s appropriately on our return)



eat tons….drink tons….smoke tons….get dressed up….drink chai and cider….. sing around the fire….grind in the reggae tent…..rave in the dance tent…get soaked in the rain…..stuck in the mud….party… party…. party…. and generally have a ball.


See…. it’s not that I don’t have other things in my life; it’s just that they all fall in and around these two things.

I awake in January ready for life outdoors, ready to throw myself out of suburbia and into the green green grass of temporary home. September is bloody depressing and without Christmas what would we do?

I fully believe Christmas was invented by the festival angels to keep us sane and well practiced for the complications and strains of the best months of our years……





The Great Land Rush of Glastonbury Kingdom


We moved the village of green crafts on a balmy Sunday afternoon. The village sat on the hill at the top of Glastonbury Kingdom and nestled on the the edge of the wilderness, known to the locals as the stone circle. Our great walled kingdom was safe and secure and had everything a kingdom needed to survive.

Our village was greener that the cities and towns that nestled below us and we had everything we needed in green crafts from stone masons, woodsmen, bakers and cloth weavers. Our land was more spacious that our nearby city dwellers and we had space not only to erect our bells tents, tipis and yurts, but to build a garden and a fence around our boundaries.

The village was build around a quiet dusty road that curled around the hamlet  ending at the village green where a magnificent sculpture stood surrounded by grass and planting alike.

Everyone knew everyone’s name in green fields and the residents were please with how they had build such a wonderful place and thriving, well working community.

After a while The King of Glastonbury decided that the kingdom was to be opened to outsiders, and to make if fair a ballot was formed.  People from outside the lands were given the chance to ‘stake a claim’ of their own part of Glastonbury and join the community that was working so well.

On that Wednesday morning the gates opened and the great land rush began, outsiders ( to be known to locals as ‘Punters’) dashed through the gates of the great wall and charged down the main highway to the great stretch of open green pastures to stake their claim. Falling over each other and laden with their worldly goods, the punters travelled on foot, pushing carts and wagons along the rugged roads. Many casualties were to be seen on that day, as folks left cans of Stella, blankets and clothing on the roads as they continued their fight for the best plots. They spilled onto the open fields and raced to their chosen plot, marking it with flags and banners while they quickly erecting temporary homes from canvas and nylon.The crowds of 'punters' as they worshipped at one of the 'stages'

The green fields of the kingdom turned quickly in to a mass of blues and creams broken only by the odd hot pink of a pop up special from an outside suppliers named only as ‘Millets’. Flags fluttered gaily in the breeze and the punters celebrated their new lives together as they formed new friendships and communities almost immediately.

The residents sat back and watched as more and more punters teemed in through the gates, carefully and nervously watching as they passed by our homes.

As the communities grew so the kingdom evolved. The various towns opened up meeting places and gathering spaces for their communities to gather.  The main place of worship was the ‘pyramid’, a large triangular building which boasted a large communal space to its frontage. Every day thousands would undertake the pilgrimage to hear their chosen speakers spread the word. Of course like in any society, many different cultures and beliefs prevail and many hubs of alternate worship popped up to cater for these. We had the Jazz world, circus, children’s Areas, dance arenas, acoustic stages and many many more, all corners of society were catered for and welcomed. The Kingdom helped the punters by setting up food outlets, medical provision was provided and even a new security force was brought in to protect the new citizens. The gates were closed and everyone joined together living in harmony in this now over populated but happy land.

We of course were still on the outskirts, our village was still quieter than the towns but the recent influx of people meant we had tourists coming to visit our beautiful village. I started face painting the punters and Mr. Angel helped them make lanterns from old willow and tissue paper. The would enjoy looking at how we lived and would take photos of us, calling us Hippies, something we really didn’t mind at all.

One Night an important meeting had taken place at the pyramid and many crowds of people had found themselves trying to take the same main road home from the city. The security had jumped into action and diverted the crowds through our village. We had never seen so many people in our small hamlet and as they passed by our homes, peering in at our candle lit tents, we could feel change in the air.

Sure enough the morning after the massive surge, the people came back to the strange village in which they had encounted the night before. They frequented our businesses and took pleasure in the more simple things in life; they learned traditional skills and how to relax, favoring more the campfires of our gardens to the great meeting halls of the city. They sat together singing and playing instruments, drinking chai instead of cider and talked less about line ups and more about the vibe.

One night the Kingdom celebrated their new found way of life, instead of the pyramid the pilgrimage to the stone circle high on the hill overlooking the kingdom. Together they sat and they watched as the sun rose above our beautiful land, cheering as it broke thought the space between land and sky.

As morning broke they silently returned to their plots of land, packed up gently their belongings and said their goodbyes. They quietly buy content they returned to their homes. They had learned how they wanted to live their lives and were ready to take back their new findings to those whom they had left behind.

We remained in the village for little while, tidying up the kingdom to its former state, before leaving ourselves. Tired and exhausted we left in the knowledge that we, the Glastonbury crew, had changed people’s lives forever.

My Wonderful Words from My Wonderful Brain… like it or lump it!

take my breath away!!!!!!Ok…. so the time has come for me to find a way to log all my ramblings. No longer shall I scribble my thoughts, mumbles and ramblings in my note book and journal… I shall be all clever and modern and type straight into my blog.

What has stopped my doing this before??? Well fear my friends, fear has stopped me…

The one thing that has stopped me from writing and publishing without a proof reader, is my lack of ability to spell very well. My dyslexia ( although I wouldn’t change it.. I’ve grown to love it!.. I will write about why some day) has troubled me for many years and when writing in the world of academia, the wonderful invention of the ‘spell check’ has allowed me to write unashamedly and confidently… but to write in a blog or letter or email, has scared me slightly ( actually a lot)… my subconsious fear of failure and ridicule, changes the words I want to write into words I CAN write.. for example when writing a card I would write..

To Joe 

Hope you have a great party and get lots of fab gifts

love Sam

What I really want to write is

Dearest Joe

Wishing you many happy returns of the day, you deserve to have a wonderful time and an even greater celebration. Hope you enjoy opening all presents you are sure to receive.

Your friend


So the reason I change it? I cant spell the words in italics without a spell check…and I bet you really cant believe that so many ‘easy’ words would need me to really think hard about how they are spelt!!….

Well… it fills me with fear, the humiliation I feel when I am corrected publicly on facebook or elsewhere, when some well meaning friend takes the piss unaware how small it makes me feel…. It actually has got worse the more educated and qualified I have become, the more folks enjoy correcting me! Weirdly though, I still find it tough to stand up for myself….I want to say….

” why does it matter if my words are spelled differently?”

“you can tell what I am saying! You can understand my message!”

and I want to scream

” I’m dyslexic!!! You are lucky I’m writing anything at all!”

…and they are luck I am writing at all……At Keiths Birthday party last January, I was stood outside nattering, laughing and bantering with friends and family under the influence of alcohol and the buzz of all been* together…. when a close relative answered my question of ‘why don’t you stay in touch more?’ he said lightly…

” I do see what you are upto on facebook all the time” I replied by expressing my dissopointment that they never commented or joined my in the ever present banter with my facebook friends and family.

He shrugged and said ” I don’t reply ‘cos I cant spell” then a friend, who also never ‘did’ facebook said

” I’m with you brother, I never post anything ‘cos I can barely spell my name”

.. wow!!! I wasn’t alone..

How many others write ‘simple’ words to express themselves?

How many do NOT use the words that roll from their expressive brains, but translate them into ‘easy to spell’ collections of basic phonetic English?

and worst of all…

How many folks don’t write at all? how many folks are silenced and oppressed by language snobs and spelling OCD?

So… I will….

….argue with teachers and peers about the importance of spelling and grammar in the classroom…

….I will never correct anyone’s written word…

….I will never feel inferior for expressing my words with a slight variation of letters than the average ‘non dyslexic’ would use..

and most importantly for this blog:-

I will write without pause, without fear and without adjustment….like it or lump it.. these are my words in my way, from my heart and my wonderful brain!!

*I don’t know, and will never know, the difference between BEEN, BEAN and BEING .. everyone has tried, teachers, parents and MR O.. doesnt matter how many times you tell me.. I just don’t have a fucking clue! so get over it and enjoy the blog!

Peace x