That glittering prize …

Living by the coast, I spend much of my spare time along the shore-line. The combination of energy by the sea, oxygen in abundance, space, the solitude and of course, the dog are a great combination for inspiration.

I inadvertently scour the shoreline for washed-ashore treasure. Just fragments of colour glistening amongst the sand and pebbles perhaps, the cast-off once loved bits and pieces. The sunlight draws me in and catches them and I’m always tempted to pick them up and slip them into the pocket. It’s become a bit of a routine now.

You can picture it can’t you? The dog bounds aways one direction while I’m stuttering along, picking up pieces of broken ‘treasure’ in the hope of discovering the best piece yet.

Much to the dismay of Mrs Kenny (known as the ‘better half’) I’ve managed to now gather a really healthy collection of ‘pocket trinkets’ that are regularly brought to her attention as they somehow manage to confound the spin dryer …

A little like networking?

No, not the spin dryer! I do spend a good deal of time with my network colleagues, it has become another routine. The routine here though is keeping an eye out for the glittering prize of referral, all shapes, all types of referral.

These come along through a developed understanding that when I’m ‘on the patch,’ when I’m attending The Forum I have the opportunity to hear what others are looking out for. Learning how can I help them, where might I find the prize they look for. I’m learning to keep an eye and an ear open for those friends I see on a regular basis.

Good referrals, treasure, do not come along readily enough for some. Maybe it’s because they don’t frequent their patch often enough? This is often the case when people errantly declare “networking doesn’t work for me.” Of course, these miss out, they are not available to give and receive, or perhaps they have yet to determine exactly what prizes others seek.

Know what treasure do you seek? Make the networking routine, embrace the structure and the opportunity of picking up the not so perfect and understand that we are learning, training our senses for the time we recognise the glittering prize.

Serendipity?

Brian D. Powell was born in York in 1932. and as a young boy, he frequently accompanied his grandfather down by the River Ouse.

With Britains involvement in WW2 Brian spent many a day ‘sculling’ the (mostly) servicemen/women back and forth across the river. It was during 1944 that Brian Powell, budding artist, spent a day sketching the ‘traffic’ upon the water at the Leeman Road Ferry. There’s a copy of that very scene, opposite.

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Leaving school, Brian completed an electrical apprenticeship, then national service before joining the Fire Service for a career that was to last 30 years. It wasn’t long before Brian rediscovered his passion for art and in 1965 he produced a watercolour depiction of the aforementioned original. This watercolour was presented to a cousin who kept it in the family for over fifty years, until his passing. The painting, along with the contents of his house then went to charity …

At around the time of the house clearance, Pauline Sturchfield and her husband were looking for something that little bit different and found Brian’s watercolour. The condition of the canvas was ‘a little worse for wear’ although they immediately fell in love with the depiction of life by the river, an ideal addition to their home collection as it reminded them of their time ‘sailing’ on the River Ouse. It was only recently that Pauline decided to find out a little more about the artist and the painting.

Brian Powell, today aged 87, lives and paints in Northumberland. He is an active member of his local art community and regularly exhibits his work … never did he think he would have someone contact him, asking for verification of a painting produced – in 1965 … but to his surprise and to Pauline’s credit, this was exactly what Pauline Sturchfield did.

Although, little did Pauline know, that Brian also had a surprise for her! He was still in possession of that original sketch from where the watercolour was painted. Dated 1944.

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I know what you are thinking dear reader, a good ‘yarn’ perhaps? Simply another example of coincidence, serendipity?

I prefer to think of this as a wonderful example of friendships forged by simply reaching out, or how art has that ability to bind a community together. Don’t you think?

FOOTNOTE … Brian D. Powell is not only an accomplished artist. During his time in the Cumbria Fire Service, he was responsible for some of the more profound innovations in health and safety. Brian is recognised as the inventor of today’s portable life raft, the fire safety door, decontamination chamber, HGV anti-spillage valve and much more. He is credited with saving dozens of lives, appeared on BBC television’s Tomorrow’s World and inducted as a fellow of the National Geographic Society. He has published his story, widely available, “Thoughts Of A Watercolour Artist.”