With a publication date of 1st June firmly established, I really need to settle my mind on a cover. This is the latest (not the last) version and has a (sort of) blurb. Although I love the picture of the old farmhouse, I had quite a bit of feedback saying it wouldn’t have any impact at thumbnail size. One person said she’d love to read the book but would have passed over the thumbnail. So I’ve reintroduced Devonn, who is so like Fen in my mind’s eye.
I’m blown away today by the arrival of this image to be used on the cover of Ashes on the Tongue, due for publication around Easter time this year. It is an original painting by Northern Irish artist, George A Gourley, showing a derelict house on the Tirkane Road, Maghera which is near Londonderry. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to use it yet – there are lots of ideas buzzing round in my head. Many thanks to George Gourley for giving me permission to use his painting.
It was bright and sunny this morning, although very cold, and we drove over to Colwick Park, reckoning that 1.7 miles was pretty much within our own area. We had planned to drive round the circumference of the lake, stopping occasionally in the lesser populated areas for some fresh air and a bit of a walk. Unfortunately, the path is now gated off so we were confined to the car park area, not having the mobility scooter available to us. Nevertheless, we saw pochard, tufted ducks, greylag and Canada geese, lots of black-headed gulls and swans. And, of course, the Colwick Park cormorants, some perched on the rocks like totem poles, drying their outspread wings, some swimming and diving for fish. It was very crowded so we didn’t stay too long but we filled our lungs with the (very) bracing air and felt quite invigorated on the way home.
Today I’ve been working with the remove background tool in Photoshop. I want to use this photograph of Devonn on the front cover of Ashes on the Tongue, due for publication around Easter time. I was having great difficulty in separating her hair from the black background and was on the verge of giving up when I attended a Zoom lecture last night at Nottingham & Notts Photographic Society where John Bermingham drew my attention to this neat little tool. This is a quick and dirty practice run on a very low res photograph but it has encouraged me enormously. That’s the trouble with Photoshop, it’s so bloody enormous that the answer to a problem can be right under your nose and you don’t know it. Move the slider to see the results.
This original painting, Tirkane Road, Maghera, is another image I am using for the Ashes on the Tongue cover and the reason why I was so anxious to separate Devonn’s hair from the background. It’s by George A Gourley, an Irish artist, who has given me permission to use it. I am delighted because it has just the right feel for the era I am writing about.
We were at Sainsbury’s this morning while it was still dark, which proved to be a good move as there were only a handful of other shoppers there. Loads of employees filling Click and Collect orders, though. Everyone was calm and pleasant. The only things we didn’t get were Gruyere cheese and slimline tonic – this saved money on Bombay Sapphire which I promptly spent on Sauvignon Blanc. And I got some lovely lisianthus. Home before eight o’clock for well earned bacon and eggs. Safely indoors again for another week.
I can’t help feeling this guy has got the right idea, especially the bit about getting gently hammered in a warm pub. Although not today, as I can feel a bout of labyrinthitis about to make its presence felt.
A Christmas present from Beverley, this isone of the most difficult jigsaws Jan has attempted since the lockdown started – an atlas of the world with names so tiny it requires a magnifying glass just to read them and Google to work out what country or continent they belong to. I think she’ll be able to compete on Mastermind with Geography as a specialist subject by the time she finishes it.
We had planned to have a drive out today, secure in our in-car bubble, to see what birds we could spot. The first rain spots hit the windscreen as we drove off and, while never progressing to heavy rain, persisted enough to spoil any chance of decent photographs. We confined ourselves to a local tootle and managed to see a little egret, a few magpies and crows, a handful of sparrows and a small flock of black-headed gulls. So, I have rooted through the archives to show you what might have been.
I forgot the male pheasant we saw in a field near Holme Pierrepont, so he gets a frame all to himself. I think he deserves it as he’s very handsome.