The Artist: Tales of a Very Blue Parrot and other Stories

The author, on a cold day in Bala

About The Artist:

Welcome to my book page. The idea for this latest book came from frequent visits to Snowdonia to visit friends. I was struck by the landscape and its rugged beauty, but also by the people – and the amusing tales of rural life that I kept hearing from ex-townies who live there. My partner Georgina and I liked Bala so much that we took a big chance and bought part of the old, and derelict, workhouse in the town which we are in the process of renovating.

There is more about the workhouse on other pages of this site – but back to the book. I decided to use some of these stories I was hearing for the framework of The Artist, and once I got started Crystal and my cast of characters took on a life of their own.

I hope readers will like her. She is a characterful woman who specialises in painting nudes, and her constant companion is a foul-mouthed parrot called Perkins. Both settle into the quaint lakeside cottage in Bala, and life unfolds around them. The book is based on Crystal’s first year in Snowdonia, and is split into seven separate stories..

Perkins is a very blue parrot

In the first story, we meet old Huw – a wily old gent who makes the mistake of underestimating Crystal, and gives her some very dodgy advice about the Welsh language. His little joke spectacularly backfires when Crystal fights back – painting a very explicit nude of the old codger, which she persuades his local pub to hang behind the bar.

She also meets local farmer, David, whose idea of romance is to offer Crystal a fish from the lake, and they start a relationship, which endures cage fighters, sheep rustlers and attacks from the Women of the Mountains – a nutty nationalist sect who want to rid Snowdonia of the likes of Crystal and her English city ways.

Hopefully, you will enjoy the stories, and find them as amusing to read as I found them to write. It won’t be too long before I come up with the next episode in Crystal’s life, and I intend bringing to the fore some of the minor characters who made their debut in the first book, and fleshing out some of the existing cast list.

This will include a greater role for the Welsh poet, Gruff Griff, and the muscular sheep-shearer, Myfanwy, who was briefly David’s love interest – when he was 11 years old. There may also be some new arrivals in Bala and I think one of them may be moving into the workhouse. Watch this space!

In the meantime, I have included an excerpt from the book on this site. It has it’s own page titled The Artist – A Taster. Let me know what you think.

The book is available by mail order from all leading bookshops including Waterstones, W H Smith, Blackwell and Foyles and also direct from the publisher at or as an e-book from