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Om PAINTING SNAILS
Stephen John Hartley left school having failed all his exams - he didnt care. He had better things to do. He was guitarist in iconic UK punk band NOTSENSIBLES - they recorded four singles, an album and a John Peel session.The North UK had its own separate punk identify imbued with a DIY ethos - make your own record; publish your own fanzine; start your record label. That DIY ethos, along with a fierce pragmatism and anti-authoritarian view became Hartleys modus operandi.He stumbled into a traditional engineering apprenticeship which taught him the practical skills to be able to design, make and mend. Not wishing to fund the bosss next luxury car, after finishing his apprenticeship, he hitch-hiked round Europe and met up with some friends who made a living out of busking. Inspired by them, he taught himself classical guitar and spent the next five years as a busker.He started a back-room DIY record label and inspired by the Japanese printmakers set up a small traditional letterpress and woodblock print-shop to print his record sleeves.After meeting his future wife, and after some harrowing experiences at the hands of the medical establishment, he developed a secret urge to become a doctor. Against almost impossible odds, he got a medical school place and now works as a senior ER physician in a UK Major Trauma Centre.Throughout all this, his over-riding passion has been nature, gardening and the outdoors. One of the most exciting days in his life was when he secured a patch of land to rent on a rugged hillside. Since then hes been gardening organically using permaculture principles.A eureka moment arrived one late balmy September day on his birthday - he would write a book from birthday to birthday using the annual cycle of the garden as a framework.No publisher; no agent; no previous writing experience. If theres a hard way of doing something, Hartley will find it.Beneath the veneer of his witty vernacular narrative, there is a deep gentle compassion for his fellow humans. This is a heart-warming tale of unflinching self- determination.The finished book is a thing of beauty, drawing on his years of typographic experience. He has abandoned the traditional indent in favour of a full space between paragraphs, giving a feel of light and space. The book is lavishly illustrated with woodcuts and line drawings.