“Anyone wanting to be Prime Minister should be automatically discounted”

Paradise

The joys of walking are many and various, walking with a chum is recommended, though walking alone can sometimes have it’s moments too.

Today I set out early with my chum Robin. We were expecting hot weather so the early start was a must, and it was perfect. A walk in Paradise, as it really is called, just outside Painswick. Cotswold landscape at its very best. There used to be a bus stop there but it seems to have been dispensed with. Take a look here for a previous visit:  Jesus drives a Porsche in Paradise.

Walking and talking we got into things political and I expressed some doubts about our rulers, whereupon Robin came up with the quote of the day: “Anyone wanting that job should not be allowed to do it” he said and I tend to agree. Thrusting ambition and naked greed for power seem to most of us to be unsuitable attributes to be a leader of the nation. But what do we know?

The subject was quickly dispensed with as we got on with worthier ones. We came across these horses. Now I’m not a big fan of horses as they can step on you and bite, but these chaps were not in the mood for anything but a curious bit of tail waving and strolling. At “3 o’clock” ( fighter pilot parlance I believe ) in the image you might glance another demon, looks like it might be a flying insect ready for breakfast. Scamble! Scramble!

Paradise tree

Down in the valley where we kept cool, we took a break for a stare and a minor rendition from Robin, who’s a fine folk singer. Here he is backed by various birds whilst we take in a quick drying hay field. He and his fellow singers, known collectively as the Gloucester Diamonds have recently put together a cd of some lovely songs. Find out more right here: The Gloucester Diamonds

The walk ended in Painswick where we found a super little coffee shop after passing this chap mowing the bowling green for no apparent reason. I suspect that he would not gather more than a handful of clippings from the entire area. He had markers to guide where he’s been! It was like giving a completely bald bloke a haircut with a pair of electric clippers. We expected him to come out afterward and get the steam iron out on it. Now here’s a bloke who might make a good prime minister.

painswickmower

 

 

 

The carrot barrier, how’s that sweet pea?

There I was explaining to my brother, he who is a little older and wiser than I, that I’d devised this ‘foolproof’ method to keep the dreaded carrot fly off my crop on my plot.

I’d built a carrot wall. Not made of carrots but of little planks of wood, so that the carrots cannot get at my crop. A mini raised bed where the carrots can thrive in peace and would, therefore,  crop beautifully and without a blemish.

There was a brief silence from him then ” they might get over the wall by flying, they are after all called carrot flies”.

Here’s my answer:

Carrots

This is the first time that I have been able to grow carrots without the little beasts getting at my crop. They might fly but they can’t get over my wall!

My sweet peas, on the other hand, needed no walls.

Sweetpeas

 

Just got back from the Isle of Skye…

…and still, I have my trousers.

A week’s walking with 2 Canadians 3 Americans and two Brits, my other half included and a Scottish Leader. Scottish Leader was brilliant all round and the others all very good company too. We were all there to discover the same thing, that is the delights of walking in Skye. There were two ‘elephants in the room’: Trump and May, but amazingly we all seemed to be of the same mind. This was something of a blessing.

We all had a lot to talk about and loads of walking to do. I’ll let the pictures do the talking this time and it’s back to cartoons next time, rather than “What I did on my holidays”

Can’t go without mentioning the weather: generally good, sunny in patches, windy enough to keep the midges grounded for the most part. The rest of the UK was apparently cold and very wet, but we missed it.

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This is where “Ring of Bright Water’ was written and where Gavin Maxwell lived and wrote the book.  Ring of Bright Water

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Still life with seaweed

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Beach which has seaweed that has turned to this:

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This is the graveyard where Flora Macdonald is buried along with fashion designer Alexander McQueen. I wonder if he would have liked his headstone, the location could not be beaten.

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We climbed so high it felt like we were looking down from an aircraft, the light changed every few seconds and the views were just amazing as you can see here. What you might not get from this is the huge scale of the mountains. On a clear day, you can see Japanese tourists in thin clothing and designer handbags tottering up to view the strange people in boots walking the hills in rainproof gear and waterproof gaiters and gloves, in June!


 

Those vital first minutes after an accident…

I don’t normally post stuff about charities but this one is an exception. My friend’s son Ollie had a serious accident whilst out in the middle of nowhere on his motorbike. Without the early intervention of the air ambulance service and their paramedics he would not be around today. This service depends entirely on fund raising and Margaret:Ollie’s mum, is making a massive effort to get them funds to carry on this vital work.

To this end she is organising a concert at Gloucester Cathedral where she works, so not only do you get the chance to feel good about giving to the Air Ambulance, you’ll get to enjoy a wonderful concert from these brilliant musicians and singers in the atmospheric and majestic surroundings of what I think is the finest Cathedral in the land.

 


Margaret Brown from Gloucestershire is holding a concert featuring the choir “Octavo” at Gloucester Cathedral to raise vital funds for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

Read all about them here!

“Octavo” was formed in 2013. A bunch of like-minded souls, whose paths had crossed over a number of years in London and West Country vocal circles, decided that they needed an outlet for their talent that comprised smaller forces. That’s about it, but what better excuse do you need to meet, than the prospect of 8-part vocal harmony with friends? In this concert Octavo present a varied programme of a cappella vocal gems from 16th to 21st Centuries – from sacred and devout to secular and completely frivolous!

It will take place on Friday 9 th June at 7.30pm and all the money raised will go towards keeping the helicopter in the air, ensuring this life-saving service continues across Bristol, Bath, North Somerset,Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire. Tickets (£10) are available from Margaret Brown on 10452 508218 or Sarah Steele on 01452 874965.

Margaret wanted to support GWAAC because her youngest son Oliver Brown owes his life to the skill of those on board. Margaret said “It’s such a vital service, and yet they receive no day to day funding from the Government or National Lottery. I’m looking forward to raising as much money as possible. I am personally indebted to those amazing people on the Air Ambulance who saved the life of my son when there was so little hope. He had a major brain injury, multiple broken bones and internal injuries with a 1% chance of getting back to normality and is now back at work full time! He is a walking, talking miracle and looks forward to many more years of life with his wife and family. My colleagues at Gloucester Cathedral are immensely supportive and it is lovely to be able to hold a concert at this very special venue, courtesy of the extremely talented choir, Octavo”.

Find out more about them right here: Octavo

GWAAC Senior Community Fundraiser Nicole Beebee said: “We’re so grateful to Octavo for their generosity and support. We rely on the people we serve to help us raise the £2.6million we need each year to stay operational. The money raised will help us to provide critical care to those who need it the most – saving more lives.”

GWAAC has been providing an air ambulance service for 2.1 million people across the counties ofBristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Wiltshire for 7 years.

Find out more at Air Ambulance

For further information, please contact: Margaret Brown, email:margaret.brown@gloucestercathedral.org.uk


Cathedral cloisters

If you’ve never been to Gloucester Cathedral here’s your chance to take a look and hear some brilliant choral singing. You can see why from this image of the Cloisters why I think it’s one, if not the finest Cathedral’s in Britain.

Not bad from the outside too!

Cathedral outside

Barbeques and garden machinery, the Germans have it right.

I’m forever being told that I should like barbeques, and I don’t. I certainly don’t much care for ‘having a go’ at doing one myself. This from bitter experience of lighting said fire and then waiting for hours before it got to the right temperature to grill a sausage. Said fire was still glowing at 2.00 in the morning with enough heat to cook a large beast. To say it was a fire risk is only a small understatement. And it’s the sun that brings them out. Any nearly warm sunny day brings out the charcoal and the flames, or the portable gas behemoth that’s been breeding germs in the garage where it was dumped last year when the sun hid for months.

Of course before the barbeque you must pressure wash the patio so that the grease stains will have somewhere to land and guests can mingle around in their best casual stuff that will smell of carbon forever after this day. The sound of this washer is enough to wake anyone in the district wanting a nice Sunday lie in, as if a fire engine was doing a practice quirt in the garden.

Best cut the grass while your at it. Fire up the motor mower and lets get some stripes into those lawns: the British Obsession. It’s all to do with those public schools surrounded by acres of manicured grass so the fee payers can be seen to be getting their money’s worth. For those of you not in the UK reading this, public schools in the UK are private and have to be paid for by the parents. They are not normally called private schools. Grammar schools are state schools where you have to pass an exam to get in and the rest go to secondary schools that are sometimes branded as academies. Some secondary schools were called secondary modern schools, but this title became a little tainted as if they were failures and not very modern at all. Most schools have manicured playing fields but the public ( private ) schools have the huge ones with no weeds at all, and some of the secondaries have sold their fields for cash. Where once lay playing fields now sport “Executive Homes” in roads with country names like “Field Court View”, though there is no view.

I digress.

Barbeques and the operation of garden machinery are as we all know are banned on a Sunday in Germany. If this is fake news then it shouldn’t be and the Germans have it right. OK sausage?

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My love of barbeques is illustrated here from one of the pieces that will be in my exhibition here in Cheltenham at the Gardens Gallery from August 16th to the 22nd.

How much!!!!!!!!!??????

Bendover

I’m in the middle of getting together my exhibition stuff for August, and here’s one of the final pieces. If a cartoon can be called a “piece”. There I go again devaluing what I do. In the good old days when I was working for ad agencies and design companies these sorts of drawings were commissioned and the fee was based on the use it was put to. If it was a visual then you’d be lucky to get £60-00 for it, if it was used for editorial in a magazine then it could be less than that. On the other hand if it was used for a small ad campaign then the fee could be aropund £300-00 or more to include the rights to the drawing. For a big ad campaign it could go into four figures ( rare this! )  This was in the 80’s and in the heyday of illustration being commissioned, and I was lucky to have had my best years of illustration commissions then.

Now I’ve changed direction and I’m doing all my own ideas and will soon be publishing them as prints from my website and having an exhibition of the originals. This one is just  a sample of one of the prints on drawings about people with apt names, these two being Valerie Uptchuous and Benjamin Dover: Ballroom Dancing Champions. The original of this will be on sale at the exhibition, and this version as a print. Here’s another : Desmond Pratt

As someone who’s been ‘in the business’ for years I’m used to people saying ” How much!!?? ” when I tell them what I want for a drawing. This phrase is usually followed by the muttered, spluttered  “…but it will only take you a short time to do it” as if creative work should be charged by the hour like a taxi driver on a meter.

The point of this is “How much?” I want to sell them, and of course I have digital files of all of them and I’m not selling the rights to the images, just the orginal black and white artwork.

I guess I’ll find a way, or let the market decide as they say. We’ll see. I’ll be posting more on the exhibitoion as we get closer to it in August. Apart from the drawings about people with apt names, there will be a series about the British, see here for more about that: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character  Indicentally I’m still trying to find living relatives of the esteemed “Pont” to invite them along to the exhibition, but no luck so far.

I’m looking forward to it myself. I’m looking for other venues around the country to show it too, so any suggestions on where I might be able to take it, then let me know. I’ve looked in London but my reaction when I saw what they wanted for the rental of a small exhibition space was “How much!!!!!!!??????”

 

I’m not going to tell you where this is…

Miserden

…apart from the fact that it’s not that far away from where we live. I don’t want all of you crowding in there getting in the way of the scenery. It’s like all those holiday magazines with the headlines “Undiscovered Thailand” which is not now going to remain undiscovered for much longer as everyone now knows, thanks to the magazine.

Stunning photograph by my friend Sally Ware, as is the following which she also took. She’s taken lots of photos of these wonderful leaves and this is just a sample of one of them.

Leaf

Both photographs copyright Sally Ware