Posted by: nickwardscenarios | January 26, 2011

Black Swan on the Cam, ‘Wheel’ and a Polish Poet…

As a devoted Cam river-watcher I was very pleased to notice that this black swan has made itself at home on the river these last couple of months  – as I was riding my bike to the Flack ‘more than a magazine’ office this morning (where I have the use of a computer and shared ‘social enterprise’ office space) she-he was just crying out for a snap. Doesn’t mix with the famously aggressive Cambridge white swans – must be a loner.

and this is my latest painting which I’m calling ‘Wheel’ – another middle-of-the night effort playing with primary colours and Tibetan Buddhist concepts (not sure if its finished – which probably means it is). I used water-colour, acrylic, pastel, pencil and glitter on 4xA4 sheets of card.

and here’s a pic of my new friend Ryzard who is a Polish poet who helped overthrow the Communist regime and has recently fallen on hard times and is living in a disused garage in Cambridge (somewhere undisclosed) while he battles with his alcoholism. Ryzard does not qualify for a bed at Jimmy’s Nightshelter and manages without benefits. I met him at the Wintercomfort drop-in centre last week over a sandwich and the first thing he asked me was, ‘You are an artist, yes?’. I told him I used to write plays and then struck off for ten years of travelling with my banjo and enjoy recreational painting. I passed him a piece of paper and a pen. ‘You want to write a play with me, Ryzard?’ He immediately, without a pause, wrote:

Ryzard: I don’t think too much… I love too much! (and handed the pen and paper back to me)

and I wrote:

Nick: You love everything?

Ryzard: I love everything what has the spirit. I love God…!

Nick: Can God be in 2 places at the same time?

Ryzard: GOD CAN BE! Life is only underground.



Nick: …so close to the Devil?

Ryzard: Church is not important… Who is this Baby alone without the legs but still smiles and ask how can I help you?

Nick: Who is this old man who overcomes my guilt with a winning smile? ‘How can I help you?’

Pause for thought from Ryzard.

Physical theatre, Robert Lepage?

Silence between us.

Nick: Ryzard?

Ryzard: Tell me about the old man.

Nick: He painted maps and dreams – never human forms – then one day – he did just that: he painted a big face… I asked him, ‘What’s the story, old man?’. He replied, ‘The Last Man!’.

Ryzard: He will create New World

New Life

(Ryzard is not big on punctaution – but you should hear him say it!)

Nick: Subject and object.

(pause – Ryzard doesn’t rate that line and rolls a cigarette from butts)

Nick: Where is God?

Ryzard: I don’t know… maybe (looking at my ‘Wheel’ painting) on the cross in the sky on the big round-about…

Nick: Directing the traffic.

Ryzard laughs heartily.

Ryzard: That’s good! That’s Good, Nick! Maybe you can’t paint this circle. We don’t know what the colours should be inside.

Nick: Light blue.

Ryzard: and white… now I must go! I am alcoholic I am sorry…

Ryzard leaves without ceremony because he needs a drink.

The funding of Wintercomfort keeps more than poets alive – hats off to Wintercomfort, Cambridge, and to its benefactors. Is this the Big Society, Mr Cameron?

Ryzard hates Communism more than you will ever know. He was there fighting with his art… the great ‘poor theatre’ Grotowski was his friend… and Ryzard fought hard. Cool dude.

Jerzy Grotowski (11 August 1933 – 14 January 1999) was a Polish theatre director and innovator of experimental theatre, the “theatre laboratory” and “poor theatre’ 
BiographyBibliographyReferencesExternal links

anya: don’t look back

search term: Анна Чапман

Consciousness cannot comprehend both the seer and the self at the same time. It cannot comprehend subject-object, observer-obsereved, or actor-witness, whereas the seer can.

B.K.S. Iyengar: Light on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. P.268 (HarperCollinsPublishers – Thorson’s 2002)

Squeaky the Black Swan, part 2


River Man (incomplete, 2009)

inspired by:


Butcher Cherel Janangoo c 1920-2009. Skin Group. Jangkarti. Country. Jalnganjoowa. Language. Gooniyandi / Kija. photo from
text extract from:
January 26, 2011

Black Swan on the Cam, ‘Wheel’ and a Polish Poet…

Consciousness cannot comprehend both the seer and the self at the same time. It cannot comprehend subject-object, observer-observed, or actor-witness, whereas the seer can.

B.K.S. Iyengar: Light on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. P.268 (HarperCollinsPublishers – Thorson’s 2002)

footnote added 6th September 2012

The black swan featured in this blog is now at Swan Rescue, Chertsey, Walton-on-Thames.

Thanks to Queen’s College Boatman, Paul,  who found ‘Squeaky’ (as he likes to call him/her) in a dehydrated and poisoned state by the side of Jesus College Boat Club having been mauled, he speculates, by a dog.  He can’t be sure of the exact date but it must have been soon after the nickwardscenarios posting in January 2011.

He took the dying bird to the vets in Cherry Hinton and was told Squeaky could not be treated under RSPA charitable guidelines because black swans are  not an indiginous species to the British Isles – so Paul stumped up  the £500 necessary to save the bird out of his own pocket.

Paul is a regular at The Green Dragon – one of my favourite Cambridge pubs – with an expansive beer garden stretching down to the river. After playing him a few tunes with Duds from Cambridge 105 Radio yesterday evening – including Duelling Banjos, he offered to supervise my first outing in a sculling boat since autumn 2010 (in his capacity as Captain of Hornets Boat Club).

The boat he allocated me is stored in Queen’s College Boat Club and is privately owned; the black blades with two yellow stripes belong to Paul. The boat is a wide-bellied ‘tracer’ (which comes in kit form – ‘Stitch In Time’ – and was built by Paul’s mate Andy Nicol).

Very comfortable to row – and I had no complaints about the way Paul has it rigged. I did a few exercises, like spinning the boat fast, with Paul watching and he gave me a proficiency nod, took a few snaps, and headed back into his workshop saying, ‘row as far as you want.’

Paul, in his competitive sculling days was a member of Poplar Rowing Club on the Isle of Dogs (and still is) and Walton Rowing Club. This weekend he is helping to organise the annual Cambridge University-hosted training camp for Thames Apprentice Waterman (Doggett’s Coat and Badge contenders), who this year, in a break with recent Corpus Christi College traditition, will be hosted by Fitzwilliam College. He is happy to support the idea that I might, with the Queen’s College BC Captain’s approval, offer a session of sculling coaching once a week in return for use of a College fine boat to coach from – and explains that this will require Queens College BC membership for insurance reasons. The best set-up I can imagine should I find myself enjoying being back in a boat again in the next few weeks… judging by the lovely high after this morning’s short paddle I think I will.

Next outing tomorrow, mid-morning.

Isle of Dogs, Paul’s patch – Tuesday afternoon with Aunt Margaret and Angus

Thank you, Paul. This arrangement suits me  – happy to be a guest sculler with Hornets Boat Club, Cambridge – with the goal of sculling on the Thames again before long.

Angus, the springer spaniel.

Mo Razak, reconnective healer, Paul’s Kiosk, Isle of Dogs

another of my favourite Cambridge riverside pubs is The Boathouse, pictured here in the early spring:

Posted by: nickwardscenarios | March 14, 2012

painting by the river

painting  ’5′-10 in the beer-garden of  The Boathouse by the Cam

Posted by: nickwardscenarios | September 3, 2012

where is the sun’s twin?


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