Saturday 29 February 2020


Less than three weeks ago, I posted on Facebook a short slideshow of images of Jago Stone in 1969, 1972, 1976 and 1984 to celebrate the forthcoming publication of Jago's biography on Thursday in the UK.

Jago in 1969 - a 'still' from Harlech TV interview - Monksilver, Exmoor 

Among the comments that were left was this one with a RAF/USAF Upper Heyford connection from Karen McNulty Bussa in the USA:

'Here's a photo of one of Jago's paintings that I recently told you about'.

Karen had left a comment a month or two previously on another American Connection blogpost but I hadn't been able to make further contact. Now I was looking at the fruit that I had missed before.

The English Village - Jago Stone (c.1987) - Karen McNulty Bussa Collection

I replied straightaway:

'Thanks so much for this image, Karen - I think this is a painting not a print - am I right? Can you let me know the date? …. This is a real find! In the biography, you will find a couple of similar images, one a painting, the other a print.

Here they are - with their stories:

The English Village - Jago Stone (1986) - Pue Family Collection

Jessica Raber, the American artist, and her mother, Dianna Pue, made this image of 'The English Village' available to me. Dianna and her husband, Howard, were stationed at Upper Heyford during the 1980s. Jessica was 5 years-old when she met Jago who had been commissioned by her parents to paint their home in Bicester in 1984. Jago depicted Jessica in the downstairs window:

Number Seven, Blencowe Close - RAF Bicester, Oxfordshire - Jago Stone (1984) - Pue Family Collection

This image of a typical English village below is now part of our collection. It was discovered in a second-hand shop by Anthony Price who later told me about it on Facebook when he came across my Jago webpage. It is a print and declares itself to be print number 25 of a run of 500, but no trace of any others have surfaced - until now.

The English Village Revisited (print) - Jago Stone (undated) 

Karen McNulty Bussa confirmed that her picture was indeed a painting, not a print. She explained that Jago had produced this 'personalized version of his English Village' for her. Very interestingly, she suggested that prints of an original Jago painting of 'The English Village' were being sold at the Upper Heyford holiday bazaar in at least one year, by his wife she thought. Karen suggested at first that this was around 1989 and that her own painting was perhaps 1988. When I pointed out that Jago had died in 1988 and I had found no work later than 1987, Karen revised that dating. She had lived at UH from 1986 to mid-89, so she 'could have gotten this in 1987'. She had met Jago 'at some spouses group function & 'commissioned' this and another water color of the George & Dragon pub. That one is in storage right now. I also have one of the English Village prints sold & that would definitely be winter 1988, now that I think of it.'

Fascinating detail - Jago died on 17 July, 1988, from lung cancer. The painting of the English village that Karen had commissioned Jago to paint would have been one of his last works; I understand that he was already receiving alternative therapies for his lung condition by 1987.

To close this blog-post, I have included some more images in greater detail from Jago's painting of The English Village in the Pue family collection:

Detail from The English Village - The Church - Jago Stone (1986) - Pue Family Collection

Detail from The English Village - The Village Sign and the Village Pub - Jago Stone (1986) - Pue Family Collection   

Detail from The English Village - The Antiques Shop and The Stocks and Pond - Jago Stone (1986) - Pue Family Collection

I hope that this short blogpost may awaken some memories of those Upper Heyford holiday bazaars and, in particular, these prints of 'The English Village'. Do let me know, please - I can see a second edition of the biography being published in a couple of years that incorporates all the new material which is emerging. My email is      

Wednesday 26 February 2020


I am a Penwith author. That statement feels more authentic than declaring that I am a Cornish author; I have lived only seven years in this wonderful county and I don't feel that entitles me to claim a Cornish identity yet. I do, however, want to mark the publication of my second book on Thursday 5 March - 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone - Once a Burglar; Always an Artist' (press this link for more details) - with this blogpost in which I celebrate those local writers and artists I've met whose work has made an impact on me during my Cornish years.

Untitled - Bobby Wotnot (Undated)

A couple of St Ives artists first - Bobby Wotnot - aka Pete Giles - and his partner, Zoe Eaton, who are the creative minds behind the Barnoon workshop. Pete and Zoe are both members of the St Ives Society of Artists, formed in 1927, and their work is available through Saatch Art online as well as other outlets. Press here for Zoe's website link. And press here for Pete's website link. I first discovered their work in an art gallery (now closed) on Tregenna Hill in St Ives in 2016. My father-in-law had died the year before and left me a legacy. I now had a small magic money-tree to spend on good causes such as self-publishing my first book and buying paintings by local artists whose work spoke to me. Here are images of works by Pete and Zoe that we now enjoy in our home. Their talent needs wider and wider recognition - and they are lovely people too.

Untitled - Bobby Wotnot (Undated)

Untitled - Zoe Eaton (2016)

Now a St Ives author, sadly no longer alive - Roy Phillips. Roy published under the name N.R. Phillips. He died in May 2019 at the age of 89, a son of St Ives in the words of Frank Ruhrmund who in his tribute in the St Ives Times and Echo remarked that Roy had once proudly told him how six generations of his family once lived in the same street of the town. In 1987, Roy won the TSB Peninsula Prize, the premier literary award for West Country novelists, for his novel set in a Cornish fishing village: 'The Saffron Eaters'. An acclaimed sequel followed in 1996: 'Horn of Strangers'. I met Roy when we were both guests of Clare Lynch at a meeting of her reading group in the summer of 2015. Clare is my brilliant saxophone teacher. I spoke about the draft of 'Deception', the work I had just completed. It was my reworking of John Bunyan's 'The Pilgrim's Progress' in the form of a story about a 21st century secular pilgrim who seeks an answer as to why there is so much suffering in our country at present. Roy gifted all of us a copy of his collection of short stories: 'Rainbows in the Spray' (2012), memorable and inspired tales of Cornwall in modern times and I listened to this humble man with growing respect. 'A Sweetheart Remembered', one of these stories, still fills me with shock and delight when I reread it; Roy wrote so well.  

Rainbows in the Spray - Roy Phillips (2012) - Palores

Within a week of that reading group meeting in 2015, Roy had written to me. Here are some extracts:

'Dear Rob,

On Thursday, the day after receiving it, I sat in my garden and read your typescript of 'Deception' right through. As I said at Clare's house, I can not claim to be 'literary', I just spin a bit of a yarn, but you might nevertheless be interested to know what my reaction to your work might be.
First I have to congratulate you on your insight of the right-wing mind set …. The idea of a political

Wednesday 19 February 2020


I'm always looking for ideas and interpretations that help me make better sense of what's happening in the world - and when I do my natural inclination now is to produce a blogpost so I can widen the currency of those insights. Speaking for myself - but I suspect for many others too - I find I suffer from message overload. So much to read; so much information to process; the time and space to process it all simply isn't there. That's the conundrum I am looking to solve. These blogposts, centred on social and economic and political matters, are part of my way of solving that problem. They serve as digests of the more significant stuff I come across and the ideas that this material generates for me.

My initial inspiration for this blogpost I owe to the Daily Mirror and its online political editorial team. I read their telling analysis last weekend at the same time as other penetrating articles in the London Review of Books (LRB) and in the Morning Star daily newspaper.  Here, in this first post in the series, is the Daily Mirror's perceptive take on the significance of Boris Johnson's cabinet reshuffle last week (13/14 February, 2020):

In the course of Johnson's cabinet reshuffle, the chancellor, Sajid Javid, resigned rather than accept the loss of his special advisors - and was replaced by Rishi Sunak. Sunak was prepared to accept an unprecedented degree of control from Johnson and his extraordinary special advisor, Dominic Cummings, at No. 10 Downing Street. 


'Boris Johnson and string-pulling aide Dominic Cummings have mounted a huge power grab - with implications for the economy, legal system, foreign aid and women. Here's what you need to lose sleep over:

Boris Johnson and his string-pulling aide Dominic Cummings have launched a massive power grab as the Prime Minister reshuffles his Cabinet.

Downing Street seized control of the Treasury yesterday, breaking down a historic separation

Tuesday 18 February 2020


This 20th American Connection post is winging its way through cyberspace to celebrate the publication of Jago Stone's biography on Thursday March 5 in the UK and a couple of months later, in early May, in the US and Australia. I wanted to create a blogpost that would be of specific interest for those with Upper Heyford connections back in the 70s and 80s - but also of value to others. A couple of days ago, I published my blogpost announcing that 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone' - my biography of the artist - is appearing in bookshops and available online in early March. Here's a couple of links, if you are interested - one to that blogpost, the other to the American Amazon website:

Now for matters connected with Upper Heyford. Here's an image that may bring back memories:

Flyer print - Jago Stone (c.1976) - my thanks to Marie 'Mazy Cooper for gifting me this image

I have been gifted several copies of this work of Jago Stone during my research.

Flyer print - Jago Stone (c1976) - my thanks to Robin Kroyer-Kubicek for gifting me this image

In November 2017, via Facebook, Robin Kroyer-Kubicek from Oregon sent me a copy, with images of a couple of watercolours that his mum had commissioned during their tour (1979-80). Here's one of them:

Turweston Church - Jago Stone (1980) - Robin Kroyer-Kubicek Family Collection

Also in 2017, I came across this image as a submission by Duane Park (1976-8), now an UH web/guy. Duane writes:

'This was a black and white print measuring about 21"x16" published back in 1976 by Jago Stone, a popular English artist. I wasn't able to buy one at the time as they were always sold out, but before I left I took this picture of it.'

Curt Lenz, Assistant Webmaster added his own commentary which you can read below. I am unclear which people Curt is referring to in his speculation about the origin of the poster. Can anyone shed any light? Do please leave a comment or contact me directly on my website address.

I discovered this whilst trawling websites in 2017 

I have been lucky to have been the recipient of so much generosity from those who served at Upper Heyford or Croughton, got to know Jago Stone and commissioned paintings from him - and then shared images of that art-work, across the Atlantic. Chapter Seven of my biography of this remarkable artist tells the story of this American Connection.

To conclude, here are various of those images that have been transmitted some thousands of miles from the USA to my computer here in my study in St Ives in Cornwall - all the work of a talented artist who lived a remarkable life - and I've squeezed in a picture of the artist himself from a source here in the UK:

Untitled palette-knife - Jago Stone (1976) - Keith and Joan Goodenough Collection (a rare instance where there is no direct UH or Croughton connection; Keith and Joan spotted this in an art auction in Virginia in August 2017. I wonder who brought it back across the Pond and where it was stored or hung for those missing decades.

Jessica Raber from Bloomington, Indiana is an American artist. Her parents were stationed at RAF Bicester on their tour; Jago painted the five-year old Jessica in the downstairs window - 
Blencowe Close - RAF Bicester - Oxfordshire - Jago Stone (1984) - Pue Family Collection

The artist himself - in 1976 - celebrating the publication of his autobiography - from a newspaper cutting gifted me by David Mitchell in the UK

Banbury Cross - Jago Stone (1973) - Nick Michas collection

An Old English Country Cottage - Warwickshire - Jago Stone (1976) - Suzanne Fuhrmeister and Pat Petty Collection

Tysoe Fire Station - Jago Stone (1976) - Jenny Janzen Collection with thanks to Kristi Moore, the photographer 

England's Smallest Pub - Godmanstone, Dorset - Jago Stone (1976) - Bob Pahl Collection

Many thanks to all my American sources - you have done Jago proud.

Saturday 15 February 2020


I promised that I would share the contents of last week's Mailchimp newsletter about Jago in a blogpost this weekend - and here it is, with additional material and images: (And note the definitive date that I have picked up on Amazon for availability - Thursday, March 5, 2020)

I am pleased to welcome Louise Campbell as the 67th subscriber to this newsletter. Louise is the Marketing and Publicity Manager for Unicorn PG, the publishers of 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone'. Louise and I spoke on the phone last Thursday, February 6, and I can update you with the news that March 1 is now the likely date for publication in the UK. I guess that might be moved to Monday March 2 - are books published on a Sunday these days? The world of publishing is revealing more of its workings as the months pass but I still have much to learn.

As Louise Campbell explained, Unicorn need to allow time to move the hard copies of the first print-run to book distributors and retailers. And the American and Australian wholesalers and retailers are likely to get their copies for sale a couple of months after the UK market - say early May - for the same reason. That seems to be how things are done.

All very exciting - and patience was ever a virtue of the first order.

The biography of Jago Stone, available online and in bookshops from March 5. You can pre-order.

I wanted to update my loyal subscribers as soon as I could - (although I did squeeze in the publication of the fourth and last part in my blogpost series on the Labour Party 2019 Manifesto yesterday!). And I also wanted to make this Mailchimp edition of the Newsletter a celebration of a definitive date for

Saturday 8 February 2020


My first three blogposts in this series have provided a summary of the key features of the first 86 pages of the Labour Party Manifesto for the December 2019 General Election. The last 21 pages of this 107 page document were focused on Brexit (six pages, now redundant) and a new approach to relations with the rest of the world.

I should repeat at this point how impressed I am with the coherence and integrity of the vision that underpins this socialist manifesto. Remember, this Manifesto starts as it must with the threat of global extinction through climate warning. Rebecca Long Bailey is one of the authors of this vital first section. Jeremy Corbyn was and is absolutely committed to responding to that threat. We need leaders who 'get it'. The present occupant of No 10, by his own admission, has problems in this area.

Tory inaction will help wipe out our civilisation from the planet

I have relished creating this summary of the Manifesto in these four blogposts. We in the Labour Party should be proud to identify with such a set of policies and we need to find ways and means over the next five years to get the message out there to the peoples of this land:

'This is what we as socialists believe will change all our lives for the better - do you really think the Tories are going to do better than this?'  

Here are the links to the first three parts:

I should also say I realise how misguided it was to produce a Manifesto that ran to 107 pages. I didn't have time to read it when the document appeared; I was too busy campaigning; I just read the media highlights. Why create a political document that very, very few of the electorate were ever going to

Saturday 1 February 2020


This blogpost has been inspired by my purchase and reading of Norman Baker's latest publication: 'What the Royal Family don't want you to know …. AND WHAT DO YOU DO?' (2019). I first came across the work of Norman Baker, former Minister of State and current Privy Councillor, when his work: 'The Strange Death of David Kelly' (2007) was referenced in 'An Inconvenient Death - How the Establishment covered up the David Kelly Affair' (2018) by Miles Goslett. Here is a link to the blogpost that I published after reading Miles Goslett's brilliantly researched and disturbing book:

I should point out that in my concluding paragraph I suggest that the lack of reviews of Miles Goslett's book was in itself suspicious. In private email correspondence, Miles Goslett reassured me that there were other reviews that I had not seen.

And I am now looking forward to reading Norman Baker's book on the strange death of David Kelly; I've just ordered it. We need more whistle-blowers such as Norman Baker and Miles Goslett. Take a look again at the blog-spot title caption I wrote in January 2016: 'Unrobing the Emperors and other matters of concern. An author's blog revealing political deception in the UK ….'  Why do you think I wrote 'The Road to Corbyn' (2016), originally called 'Deception'?

Brilliantly researched and disturbing reading - as are the two books about the strange death of David Kelly I have referenced above.


Your starter for ten points …. How many monarchies are left in Europe, what are they - and name one big difference between ours and the others?

There are 10 monarchies left in Europe. They are in Britain, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Liechtenstein and Monaco. All call themselves constitutional monarchies - but we only have an unwritten constitution. Our British