Look out for forking lifters.


Listening tonight to the radio I heard someone saying that Monet spent ten years working on some of his paintings, well this idea is at least ten years old and was intended for a campaign on safety at work. I’ve resurrected it as it was a good idea then, and a good idea now. If it’s good enough for Monet then it’s good enough for me.

There was a time not that long ago when I worked at a factory where a young lady used to drive the fork lift. She was a bit of an expert but as mad as a hatter. In the male dominated world of fork lift driving she was a bit of an unusual item, and it was her habit to wind up the lorry drivers that looked concerned about her approaching their trucks. She did this at some speed, as if she had no control over the fork lift whatsoever.

One of them had the temerity to ask her if she was ‘used to driving that thing’. Her reply got him even more wound up. ” Dunno mate, am just on day release!” she shouted to him as she reversed erratically towards the factory entrance.

She was actually one of the best forking lifters around.



Sales as a bedtime story


I remember well reading to my children when they were small and I was able to tell which the good books were as they liked repetition. They liked me to read the same story, and I knew that the best children’s books were always a pleasure to read out loud. However some of them that they liked I did n’t. I never changed a word of Maurice Sendak’s books and they always went down well. Postman Pat was another matter, I could not help but re-write as I went along with armed robbers on the loose and Mrs Goggins as an evil loose woman on the prowl. It usually got them off to sleep and made the books ever so slightly more bearable for me.

The British…what are they like?


An innate ability to look forward with hope

My New Year’s resolution of “do some drawing every day” is being strictly adhered to. I was admonished the other day, good word that, better than being ‘told-off’. The reason was that I’d described my drawing as a rough, when the viewer thought it was finished. Well, in common with many other artists, one has never finished a drawing so they can all be described as rough. This is one such.

My journey for the year is to navigate towards a project about the British and I was inspired to start this by coming across a book about a cartoonist called ‘Pont’. His real name was Graham Laidlaw and he died quite young in 1940. A Punch cartoonist of some repute  he specialised in drawings about the British and their ways of looking at life and living. He’s worth looking up on Wickepedia, his drawings are just lovely.

I’ll be following in his large footsteps and hoping to bring his ideas up to date. Some of them will not need a complete revamp as they are still as true today as they were 60 plus years ago. This drawing is the first to be done and wether or not it makes the final cut will depend on production over the next few months.

I’ll be dropping them into my blogs over the coming months and hope that you enjoy them.

Building blokes…

It’s expected of men to be able to use a power tool as if they have a degree in advanced woodworking when the only skills you might have are being able to draw a relatively straight line.

I’ve put up shelves, and the effort and result nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. I always claimed to my wife, who said they were not straight, that they were ‘visually straight’, which means they were n’t straight. I’ve even been known to try my hand at bricklaying though it was only in the garden. It was something that I found extremely satisfying but in the end a little frustrating as it took me forever and within a couple of years the resulting small garden wall looked like wobbly wreck. Thank God, n0 one ever let me near a proper building.

The other thing about DIY is the ‘fear of blokes who do this for a living, who serve in builder’s merchants’. These are not the spotty ‘oiks’ who serve in what are called DIY Superstores and generally know even less than you do about DIY. No, these are the really intimidating blokes that work in the places where real builders get their stuff. They spray the air in these places with testosterone, so you’d better puff your chest out to maximum when entering.

They can spot you from a mile off as you tread carefully through the door. Your lack of apparent tattoos might have given them a clue to your inadequacies. They might call you ‘mate’, and when you refuse to join in this banter by calling them ‘bud’, they know they have you ‘bang to rights’.

They can then sell you almost anything at almost any price or they’ll simply say: “You’d be better off using the T698 version, it’s easier to work and takes less time to cure”. Naturally you have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about but you’d be very foolish to admit as much.

In any event the product you need will always be ‘out of stock’Sportsdiyshelf400sf until next Wednesday….mate!

Dropping the catch, or not?


I hope that everyone out there has a very peaceful and Happy New Year. I’m working on a series (yet again) of drawings that are loosely described as ” Sports Nuts”.

Here’s one of the rough versions done between mince pies and acres of pork at Christmas spent with the family up in what’s normally the frozen north but was this time, very mild but very wet and windy.

I got up earlier than most and found it a perfect time to scribble away before the usual late breakfast and the other culinary challenges of the day.

I’m not a big fan of cricket, I’d rather watch paint drying on an old master, hopefully oils rather than the quick drying watercolour. That aside when at school I was given the job as the team scorer, which involved a lot of watching and consulting with the other opposition scorer, wether our maths was up to scratch or not. Mine was generally not, so some retouching was generally required to my scoring book, but as I was generally considered to be quite good at art, this was not a problem. I was roped into the scoring position as my handwriting at the time was considered to be better than average and I agreed to the deal as I was allowed to have a cricket tea with the players. It was there that I got the state for a concoction that was described as Heinz sandwich spread. It’s still available in the shops all these years later, I tried it recently and almost choked on such a dreadful taste. They must have changed the recipe. Please tell me they have.