SOMER Valley FM presenter Rob Bayly ended up with a surprise first tattoo at the age of 71 after inviting artists from new studio Lucid Shadow on to his radio show.

His show often features unusual local businesses and recent guests have included Zen Rebel Wellness Centre and Sewing-Sanctuary Korean Café from Midsomer Norton High Street.

Rob read about the new Paulton tattooing enterpriseThe Journal and thought it intriguing that such a specialist profession would set up in a Somerset village.

When he spoke to charismatic owner-couple, Bethan and Stu, Rob discovered interest in tattooing was more than just skin deep. During their live chat on The Bayly Brunch (Thursdays at 10am on Somer Valley FM), it was revealed that clients range from 18 to 80 and artwork varies from a subtle simple flower or heart for a lover to a full body covering of life memories.

Commemoration of a deceased pet or family member are common, and you can even have your late mother’s ashes embedded in the ink. Lucid Shadow also has a sophisticated laser that safely removes unwanted tattoos which apparently accounts for up to half their business.

Bethan and Stu currently have four apprentice tattoo artists who practice on fake flesh made of the same realistic plastic used by medical students in training.

Lucid Shadow doesn’t only rely on local clients - some travel many miles for sessions at the studio thanks to their reputation, strong social media presence and an easy online booking system. The spacious modern studio, playing cool music, is stylishly decorated, has the latest lighting, furnishings, equipment and even a classy coffee machine!

After the interview in the Somer Valley FM radio studio, Rob visited Lucid Shadow’s very different studio and was impressed by the professional atmosphere. The needles are always new and clinically packaged for safe hygiene and Rob asked a client whether they hurt. It “just tickles a bit” laughed the young lady. Bethan told Rob that women are less squeamish than men. He was intrigued to learn how it felt and impulsively booked a 45-minute session.

Rob’s sport is hot air ballooning, and he went for a subtle balloon with a snowflake crystal design.

“The balloon I have flown most is called Snow Business after the company that makes snow for filming. And the snowflake is a wonderful example of beautiful natural engineering. Every snowflake is different, just like Lucid Shadow’s tattoos.”