The mice are saying nothing…

Carrying on my latest Dutch lessons one recent gem has included this one, and the visual image and back story need telling.

Could it be a philosophical offering or perhaps  a scenario where I imagine someone being interrogated and there’s no-one around.The interrogator shines the light into the poor suspects face The suspect is under threat from the odious questioner, but he’s giving nothing away. As if to threaten him even more the black coated inquisitor leans close to him and whispers with his strong guttural accent into his left ear….de muizen…then his voice trails off.

The suspect start to sweat profusely.

Thinking to himself that the game might be up, the suspect looks up at his questioner’s enormous bulk and croaks : “…de muizen?…That’s just not amusing.”


More musings from my Dutch lessons might follow if I can follow them.

The turtles are reading a book


I’m learning Dutch. I’ve got an app on my iPad where I’ve started in an enthusiastic way to learn the language. You might ask “Why on earth Dutch?” when most Dutch people speak English better than we do. Well it’s a family reason. My future daughter in law is from Belgium. Pause for thought.  Now there seems even less logic now as I hear you say, ” then learn Flemish” which is her native tongue. Well I can’t find anything for free where I can learn Flemish, and as Dutch is close then Dutch it is. This is not quite like saying that French is next to Germany so learn French when you go to Germany, Dutch is apparently close to Flemish. At least I hope so.

I’m getting on with it quite well and so far am being spoken to by a woman, who tells me how to say phrases like ” Women are important” and that the “Turtles are reading a book”. I’m not quite sure how this will go down when we get to Belgium and try it out. I suppose that the designers of the language course have chosen these  phrases to help with the  mind boggling pronunciation of the words. I have had to buy screen wipes for my iPad.

A recent spell of learning introduced a man saying the words, and he pronounces “risjt” ( rice to you and me, a most important word ) in completely different way to the woman, despite her importance. I thought I was getting on fine till he came along, I was sure she was going to stay the course with me. It’s been a small setback.

Occasional tests and phrases that are presented are so odd that there are times when I just can’t quite believe what I’m supposed to translate, but I’m gratified that at least some of the words stay lodged in my grey matter. The fact that they are probably the least important words in the Dutch dictionary is entirely coincidental. It’s almost if I’m expecting a dutch person to ask me on the special day: “Hello, the horse does not wear clogs”. Hopefully I’ll be ready with an answer that hopefully will not include risjt in the answer.





A passion for watercolour…not.


I always like to leave a bit. Ask my kids about when I cook, there’s a family saying…”there’s a little bit left over”. It means I’m not good at finishing stuff and that applies to drawing as much as anything else. So in my fridge of  portfolio drawings there are loads that are just not finished and now with the digital age there are even more that I fully intend to cook till entirely finished.

The rule does not apply to eating unfortunately. I’m an advocate of the clean plate in that respect. Clean Plate Davies would be my name if I were a gangster. ” Shall we get Clean Plate to do the contract Luigi?”… “Hell no Petrocomical, that schmuck will leave him for dead but won’t finish him off”.

This drawing was done earlier in the year and is a reworking of one that I did years ago for the English Tourist Board ( who no longer exist and have not for some time ). Needless to say this version is not quite finished.

I’ll finish this blog later.



Gnomes are where the heart is?

fatherxmas ironing

There I was rifling through some old files and looking at some back up work from eons ago and what should pop up, but this. It was commissioned, I’m not sure by who now but looks like electrical goods to me. I recycled a joke used in an even earlier drawing, which is the film that Rudolf is watching just before Christmas. It’s ” A Mince Pie to Far”, any suggestions for starring roles will be appreciated.

What’s different about this is it is pre digital and all done in magic marker and chalks which is the odd mix of media that I used to use. I suppose it comes from being a visualiser in the early days. Some people think it might be watercolour or inks, but no, it’s just good old industrial markers on layout paper. I remember them giving off a heady odour and these days would probably not pass health and safety regulations. The early markers were glass bottles with a wad of chemical in them, and you could screw off the top and get this wad out to cover large areas of colour in a trice. It was advisable to have the window open.

After drawing the whole things and colouring up on the layout paper I’d stick the layout paper to thick card for protection with cow gum ( you think I’m making this up? ). Cow gum was not as I thought, made from cows, it was what we probably know today as spray glue without spraying. It came in a brilliantly dangerous very inflammable tin and you spread it on both sides of the paper before sticking the two together. Lighter fluid could be used to clean up areas here and there, or a ‘cow gum rubber’, made from spreading the aforementioned cow gum on a nearby window and allowing to dry a little before peeling off into a large sot of gluey ball.Using like a conventional rubber it was used to remove any excess cow gum from the artwork. Smoking whilst performing these tasks was compulsory and added an extra edge to what is always a dangerous profession.

To add the final touch, a cover of very smart tracing paper and then another of a bright coloured cover paper, before sending off the drawing on the next available train carefully packed to the client. Usually never to be seen again. In this instance they had the clientsto let me have the scans, but the artwork? Heaven knows where it is now.


Impossible game


I’ve only played golf once and then with my brother. It was in Bolton, yes Bolton in the industrial north and many years ago when we were “nobbut lads” as they say up there “int north”. We both found it impossible and I have to say that it is a game where I would rather watch paint dry than watch them play these days, but then like tax inspectors I suppose someone has to do it. Or do they… really?

This is from a series on sports that I am working on intermittently. It’s not quite finished yet. I will try and post the finished version if I can be dragged away from the course, of course.