July to September 2013

 

We have now completed a whole year of exhibitions at the Watchtower and have already started a new year.

In July we welcomed back the Berwick Art Group who now seem like old friends. Well attended as always, the show was varied and fascinating. We have dates for next year already pencilled in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lindisfarne exhibition to mark the presence of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham was everything I had hoped for. Exhibits ranged from a proggy mat replica of one of the Cross Carpet pages from the Gospels to four large images of the Four Evangelists entirely made from seeds, beans and lentils. They had a convincing appearance of ancient embroideries. Arthur Wood made a stunning banner which was hung on the front of the Watchtower and could be clearly seen from Berwick. He also lent to us his prize winning example of calligraphy which was much praised and exhibited in the British Library in London. Incorporated into this exhibition were the sculptures of the late Geoff Woodcock who had prepared this show for later in the year but sadly died very suddenly. With the agreement of his family we decided that this would make a loving memorial for him but he is much missed. It was a great privilege to have Treeo, which was exhibited in the Open Exhibition last year, back in the gallery. The piece de resistance was the massive tree trunk which Geoff had embellished with his carving and which exactly fitted into the path to the front door of the gallery.

The Mayor of Berwick, Isabel Hunter, graciously opened the exhibition and it was well attended throughout August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

To celebrate our first anniversary my son Steve has brought a group of works titled Decomposition by himself and his friends in London to the Watchtower. He writes: Composition: the act of putting together or making up by combining parts or ingredients. Decomposition: to break up or separate into constituent parts. Making leads to unmaking, living leads to dying.” The exhibition contains some stunning images, provocative but beautiful and never without food for thought. It is at the Watchtower until Wednesday 2 October. Not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While all this was happening summer came to Berwick – the first proper one for three years!

 

 

The river twinkled and the corn grew golden. The pallid faces of the winter also turned golden and people began to look healthy and happy. Tourists filled the town and amazing summer puddings appeared at Civic receptions . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cow parsley blossomed outside my bedroom window. I met a chameleon and the Mayor sported a beautiful snake. Spectacular sunrises woke me at 5.00 a.m.  

 

 

Arthur’s banner had to come down. A London Routemaster bus came to Spittal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Flodden was gloriously but thoughtfully remembered. Coldstream Guards and four hundred horses passed through Coldstream and solemn traditions followed at Flodden Field itself.

A beautiful family of swans enjoyed the sunshine at low tide on the Tweed and Pip the Bedlington Terrier eyed up the competition in the gallery.

My best friend stayed with me for a month and we visited Durham to see the Lindisfarne Gospels and the glorious Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met a Peregrine Falcon, and watched She perform, who practise at the Watchtower, together with sound engineer Ian Ballantyne, another Watchtower professional, all celebrating at Prior Park Residents Fun Day in brilliant sunshine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL TO JUNE 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pip the Bedlington terrier had his first haircut and came in looking less lamblike and more sheepish . . .

 

 

 

 

Artist Andy Watchorn, who showed his elegant abstract paintings at 

the Watchtower in June last year, played together with his wife Margaret at the Sheriff’s Dinner in the Town Hall  

In April Sakina Jones and Amy Jones presented a beautiful exhibition of paintings and historical costumes. Sakina’s radiant work delighted as always. Amy’s desirable outfits populated the Gallery for a month and I was never certain that they had not moved about during the night!

 

 

 

 

   

At the same time the Watchtower had the privilege of showing downstairs the superb embroidered images by the late Katriina Merrin.

 

 

 

 

 

The seal came back to the Tweed just below the Old Bridge together with a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In May Seven Photographers filled the Gallery with an amazing range of images. 

 

 

During the Photographers show, MT organised an amazing concert which brought T J Johnson and his Band back to Berwick with favourite Adrian Cox playing with them again for this gig.

 

Two of Berwick’s handsomest musicians opened this excellent evening  

and the delighted audience audience enjoyed every moment while the Watchtower glowed late into the summer night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The musicians went back to London, Ian Ballantyne disappeared upstairs and a small brown dog came in the front door!

Meanwhile, the Ian Stephenson Screen together with his painting Still Life Abstraction D1 went off to Vienna and on to Zurich and Berlin to feature in a major exhibition about the work of Michelangelo Antonioni and his film Blow Up in which these works feature.

During the Seven Photographers exhibition a group of children from Holy Trinity First School added their delightful work to the Gallery for three days. Once again they impressed with their thoughtful paintings and writing which owes so much to the intelligent and dedicated work of their teachers.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Nigel Chandler presented another of the popular lunchtime concerts in June and supervised the arrival of a piano via The Yardheads.

Carole Clarke sang arias and songs by Gabrielli, Brahms and Schumann together with two traditional Scottish songs arranged by Beethoven: now there is a surprise! (Well, it is to me. . .)

And more songs by the Berwick Community Choir, though rather later than Beethoven, allowed us all to join in numbers from World War 1 to the present day as a large crowd came to support the local Fundraising Group for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, a charity after my own heart.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer early morning skies are back and I have become engaged by the sight of young seagulls on a nearby chimney pot.

Of course they drive us mad with their noise and mess but I must say that their parenting skills are exemplary!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTHUR WOOD

 

BUT I MUST END ANOTHER THREE MONTHS AT THE WATCHTOWER ON, FOR US ALL, A VERY SAD NOTE.

IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR ARTHUR WOOD ESCAPED THE WORLD AND FLEW INTO THE LIGHT.

A MAN OF ALL TALENTS, IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO KNOW HIM AND TO HAVE THE PLEASURE OF HANGING HIS WORK AT THE WATCHTOWER. FROM HIS WONDERFUL BANNER WHICH HE MADE FOR THE LINDISFARNE EXHIBITION LAST SUMMER TO THE PRIZEWINNING CALLIGRAPHY FROM THE BRITISH LIBRARY, THE GREAT SERIES OF ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE DENHAM TRACTS TO THE INNOVATIVE MOBILE OF QUOTES, HIS WORK NEVER FAILS TO AMUSE AND INTRIGUE.

 

ARTHUR, FRIENDLY, FEISTY AND FULL OF HUMOUR. AS ARE HIS BEAUTIFUL PIECES OF CALLIGRAPHY. BUT ALWAYS, JUST BELOW THE SURFACE, ARE THE DARK TRUTHS THEY EXPOSE. ANCIENT BATTLES, CONTEMPORARY STRUGGLES, LIKE WARNING CRIES BEHIND THE IMAGES OF CELEBRATION. WIND SLOWLY ALONG HIS IMAGES AND PONDER ON THE MESSAGES. EXAMINE THEM WELL. THEY MIGHT POLARISE THE REAL NEEDS OF BERWICK UPON TWEED IN THIS TIME OF DECISION MAKING. THANK YOU ARTHUR

.                                                                                                  

 

                                              

                         

JANUARY TO MARCH 2014

 

 

 

 

During his exhibition Graham Patterson did a great workshop with these results

 

 

 

 

And added more and more pieces to his show as the weeks went past and the tide on Spital Beach kept up its eternal whisperings

 

 

                            

 

 

Priscilla Eckhard’s charming image came into its own on invitations to Priscilla’s birthday tea party to close the show as she so sadly missed the Preview

 

                                        

 

and at which cake and wine and good friends celebrated Priscilla’s return to health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s OK, the cigarette is of the E variety

 

 

 

 

 

How we miss that exquisitely painted bucket!

 

 

 

Roddy, Karin and their perfect granddaughter brought a Christmas present for Pip –

  which he loved so much that he ate almost all of it including the ball . . .                 

 

 

 

Pip suffers from delusions of smallness and thinks that he still fits on this cushion

 

 

  

Artist David Baird and pianist Mark Dickinson brought some surprising images for the next show which included Bob Dylan, the current Kate, the young Ian Stephenson and Mark’s son

 

 

 

 

Rina Richardson whose stunning photographs are currently 

hanging in Watchtower foyer and Eric Richardson whose paintings will impress us all in early 2014

 

 

Rina’s beautiful snow scene reflecting the Watchtower staircase!

 

 

 

On the day David’s and Rina’s shows opened Bob Dylan was spotlighted by a passing rainbow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Dickinson and very like: the artist is his grandfather

 

 

 

 

After all of this excitement my laptop went into freefall and tried to turn into one of Ian’s paintings:

 

                

 

The concert in aid of the Mayor’s charities was even better than we had dared hope for. Local talents Summerland and Kirsty Jamieson of She accompanied by Mark Dickinson played and sang together in heart stopping style and nobody went home before midnight.

 

 

 

Mayor Isabel Hunter and Mace Bearer Joyce Benton were as efficient at the Bar and selling raffle tickets as they are when carrying out their Civic Duties

 

            

 

 

 

Mark Reid, always welcome at the Watchtower, played solo guitar and sang both old and new songs from his repertoire

 

 

 

And Mark Dickinson, beneath his portrait, played brilliantly in his usual extraordinary virtuoso style

 

 

 

 

The first of March, which I like to claim as the First Day of Spring, brought the first daffodils . . .

 

 

 

 

 

. . . and also the last week in which the team which has for the last 

few years recorded the choicest parts of the Berwick Advertiser for the visually impaired, first at The Old School Duddo and latterly at the Watchtower, has “gone digital” and moved on to a smaller space! No more green packets in my mailbox cheerfully delivered by my postman and laboriously sorted by Jim Turner over coffee and dialogues about rugby and the state of the world. All sadly missed but I do have my turret office back to make up for their

disappearance.         

  

 

 

 

 

Sound experts Ian Ballantyne and Mark Inglis continue to labour in the Recording Studio with results building up all the time. A satisfactorily developing scene at the Watchtower and always a pleasure to have them coming and going.

                                                                         

Deborah Chandler, looking beautiful and playing beautifully as always, treated us to Bach, Walton and Tavener.

                             

 

                  

 

A fascinated crowd filled the Gallery for this special treat.

 

 

 

Come back soon please Deborah. x

 

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In August the great Flodden remembering came to an end and the Mayor of Berwick flew the flag of Berwick above Flodden Field. A memorable day when the descendants of the great families who fought and won or lost all those years ago sat on the platform looking most probably much like their ancestors. And so the summer ended, a summer with much sunshine and many outdoor pursuits.

 

 

 

 

On the river the young swans grew bigger and dabbled in the Tweed under the eyes of their parents.

 

And the Film Festival came back but sadly rejected the film made by Stewart Hardie and Lee Mace who went ahead anyway and provided an excellent Fringe performance, well attended, close to the Gymnasium Gallery car park.

 

    

In early October a Preview of a film about the fate of young Palestinians caught by [not much older than them] Israeli soldiers was heart rending on both groups’ accounts and gave us much food for thought.

                                                        

 

 

And suddenly it was a whole year since the last Open Exhibition. Elaine Housby and David Blake helped to receive the paintings: the scene became rather more hectic later than it looks in this photograph!

 

The following day the Civic Society came for a formal presentation of a Civic Award celebrating the development of the Watchtower. Inspired builder Michael Richardson, architect Barbara Swan and friend, mentor, calligrapher, artist and humourist Arthur Wood joined in

              

 

 

Later in October Helen Little, Tate Gallery Curator, came to see the Stephenson paintings and to admire the huge range of local talent in the Open Exhibition. We walked the walls and gazed at the River Tweed and she went back to London the following day enchanted by Berwick.

 

On Friday the first of November we held not one but two concerts. In the morning the harp arrived via the Yardheads and the back fire door and Pip posed proudly in front of it. He sat quietly with me on the sofa and listened to the whole recital.                              

 

  

  An hour of classical music by friends of Nigel Chandler one of whom is Roberta Burn, a talented local harpist, and student of the Purcell School.

We had not had the pleasure of hearing a harp played in the Watchtower yet – another first to be savoured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in the evening we came at last to the longed for Adrian Cox concert.

Summerland played us in with their usual style and charm. They were already on stage and performing when Adrian and his players finally escaped from the A1 and a long and tedious journey north. The Quartet appeared off the Yardheads and entered at stage right through the fire door straight into the gallery beside the stage but nothing phases Summerland: they greeted them then went on playing!

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Kirsty Jamieson and Poppy added glamour and star quality to the impeccable performance of the Adrian Cox Quartet.

A stunning evening which went right on till midnight!

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

Wild flowers gathered from the river side decorated the tables.

 

 

All through these diverse events the second Open Show at the Watchtower shone down from the walls, as exciting as last year and generally, in my view, setting a higher level of talent from the local community even than last year.

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Arthur Wood’s wonderful polyhedron circulated wisely throughout the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Oldale organised an excellent concert in aid of the Meningitis Trust with entertainment from The Border Tarts, Malcolm Bennett, Andy and Margaret Watchorn, Martin Hudson, and the Podlies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembrance Sunday was cold and bright and a busy day for the Civic Party which attended six separate services ending at Ord where the long shadows and quiet atmosphere seemed the most appropriate one of all in some ways.

                              

 

                      

 

 

 

 

The show of work by Peter Podmore accompanied by the wonderful array of pastels originally invented by the late John Hersey for his own use and the production of which is now a family business selling worldwide gave us a month of rich colour and distinguished painting to take us all the way to the start of the Festive Season.

  

  

  

                   

 

                         

                   

 

 

The Meadowsweet I have watched from my bedroom all year has finally become a shadow of its former self, more like a drawing than a wild plant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gallery became a photographer’s studio for a day; and David Blake took images of the Stephenson screen for a coming exhibition in Vienna.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mighty Tweed came washing up towards the Watchtower to reflect the Christmas lights on the New Bridge.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Another excellent concert organised by Nigel Chandler filled the Gallery despite the amount of water flowing about Tweedmouth.

 

 

During this time Nelson Mandela died and an unbelievable fifty years had passed since the assassination of John F Kennedy.  

 

 

I went to London, happy in the knowledge that I would be coming back to the Watchtower in due course, swapping one river for another. And saw my grandson, now taller than when he officially opened the building over fifteen months ago.

  

Now we start a New Year with an exhibition of work by Graham Patterson and Priscilla Eckhart opening on Saturday 18 January and continuing until Friday 14 February 2014. I look forward to seeing you all during that time. Yours Kate

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Not one, not two, but three events almost upon us:

Posted on October 23, 2013 by Kate Stephenson

As well as the Adrian Cox Quartet we have the following two concerts:

 

 Friday 1 November 1.00 – 2.00 pm

An hour of classical music by friends of Nigel Chandler one of whom is Roberta Burn, a talented local harpist,. and student of the Purcell School.

We have not had the pleasure of hearing a harp played in the Watchtower yet – another first to be savoured.

Admission free but donations welcome!

 

Saturday 9 November 7.30 pm

Border Tarts and Friends In Concert [Andy and Margaret Watchorn, Podlies, Martin Hudson]

Inspired by Martin Hudson’s Cycle ride from London to Land’s End to raise funds for Meningitis Trust to which all proceeds will be donated.

A very worthy cause, as all parents of young children would agree. Pay at the door £7

 

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE WITH THESE THREE CONCERTS!       WILL ANYONE HAVE THE STAMINA TO DO ALL THREE . . . .

I WILL, BUT THEN I LIVE HERE!        YOURS KATE

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Adrian Cox Quartet

Posted on October 22, 2013 by Kate Stephenson

Adrian Cox Quartet

 

After 15 years of touring the world with various artists, Adrian Cox has now formed his quartet playing a high class , high energy mix of Jazz and Swing . Adrian (clarinet/sax) plays with the drive and passion of such players as Benny Goodman, George Lewis, Cannonball Adderley,Earl Bostics… The band includes and features the UK’s finest. Nils Solberg (gt) George Trebar (db) Mez Clough (drm) With a new album being released within the next 2 months , come and catch them at a venue soon.

And you can do just that in Berwick upon Tweed by coming to the Watchtower in Tweedmouth on Friday 1 November 7.30 until you drop!  £6 entry at the door.  BAR.   And for good measure: Summerland, Le Woodsmen, Kirstie Jameson and Poppy

Be Here!

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July to September

Posted on September 12, 2013 by Kate Stephenson

We have now completed a whole year of exhibitions at the Watchtower and have already started a new year.

In July we welcomed back the Berwick Art Group who now seem like old friends. Well attended as always, the show was varied and fascinating. We have dates for next year already pencilled in!

 

 

The Lindisfarne exhibition to mark the presence of the Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham was everything I had hoped for. Exhibits ranged from a proggy mat replica of one of the Cross Carpet pages from the Gospels to four large images of the Four Evangelists entirely made from seeds, beans and lentils. They had a convincing appearance of ancient embroideries. Arthur Wood made a stunning banner which was hung on the front of the Watchtower and could be clearly seen from Berwick. He also lent to us his prize winning example of calligraphy which was much praised and exhibited in the British Library in London. Incorporated into this exhibition were the sculptures of the late Geoff Woodcock who had prepared this show for later in the year but sadly died very suddenly. With the agreement of his family we decided that this would make a loving memorial for him but he is much missed. It was a great privilege to have Treeo, which was exhibited in the Open Exhibition last year, back in the gallery. The piece de resistance was the massive tree trunk which Geoff had embellished with his carving and which exactly fitted into the path to the front door of the gallery.

The Mayor of Berwick, Isabel Hunter, graciously opened the exhibition and it was well attended throughout August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To celebrate our first anniversary my son Steve has brought a group of works titled Decomposition by himself and his friends in London to the Watchtower. He writes: Composition: the act of putting together or making up by combining parts or ingredients. Decomposition: to break up or separate into constituent parts. Making leads to unmaking, living leads to dying.” The exhibition contains some stunning images, provocative but beautiful and never without food for thought. It is at the Watchtower until Wednesday 2 October. Not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While all this was happening summer came to Berwick – the first proper one for three years!

The river twinkled and the corn grew golden. The pallid faces of the winter also turned golden and people began to look healthy and happy. Tourists filled the town and amazing summer puddings appeared at Civic receptions . . .

 

 

Cow parsley blossomed outside my bedroom window. I met a chameleon and the Mayor sported a beautiful snake. Spectacular sunrises woke me at 5.00 a.m.

 

 

 

 

Arthur’s banner had to come down. A London Routemaster bus came to Spittal.

 

 

The Battle of Flodden was gloriously but thoughtfully remembered. Coldstream Guards and four hundred horses passed through Coldstream and solemn traditions followed at Flodden Field itself.

A beautiful family of swans enjoyed the sunshine at low tide on the Tweed and Pip the Bedlington Terrier eyed up the competition in the gallery.

My best friend stayed with me for a month and we visited Durham to see the Lindisfarne Gospels and the glorious Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

I met a Peregrine Falcon, and watched She perform, who practise at the Watchtower, together with sound engineer Ian Ballantyne, another Watchtower professional, all celebrating at Prior Park Residents Fun Day in brilliant sunshine.

 

 

 

And a taste of things to come: painter Peter Podmore in his studio coming to the Watchtower soon.

 

A memorable summer turning into a glorious autumn : beautiful Berwick.

Yours Kate