Ice cool in Gloucester

We all have them, the sort of days when it really would have been better to stay in bed and not venture out too far. The plan was a trip to Gloucester with the bonus of swinging by the best fishmonger in the area. In fact probably the only fishmonger in the area, as supermarkets have swept the rest aside. I’d better take a cool bag block with me just in case it gets warm, want that fish to be as fresh as possible and not taste like supermarket stuff with all the freshness of being in a rucksack for day, with my walking socks.

So of I go to Gloucester on the 64 bus, making friends with a couple of good Europeans on the bus as they toured the area. I was off to the Cathedral as well as the fishmonger, so I gave my new European Bus Chums the lowdown on what to expect in Gloucester. A lot of history to start with. I guided them towards the Cathedral via a bookshop in Westgate Street, now the Antiques Centre, which, if you are lucky has the side alleyway door open. We were in luck, it was, so they were able to see the side a complete facade of a wooden medieval house. if you ever go to Gloucester, go and see it and hope that the door is open for you. Any other town would have made sure that such a stunning facade was on open view, but Gloucester seems to want to hide it’s history.

That aside I love the place, it’s friendly and unpretentious. Sadly, after my moment of triumph there, things went downhill.

I had planned a trip to the local photography shop to try and find a camera that had been on offer about a month ago. I wanted to get the feel of it, and then to buy it. The friendly assistant came to me and asked if there was anything she could help with. The camera I had wanted to look at appeared to have disappeared. It’s a GX7 and that’s about all I know, perhaps you can look it up. “That’s the Gx 9, she said pointing to an empty place, we seem to have sold the one from display”. Let’s see if we can make this a little more profitable for both of us I said: Tell me about mirrorless cameras please. “Well ….they are cameras without mirrors” she said triumphantly but with the look of a rabbit in the headlights. I would never have guessed, I said and headed for the door, at least I had the prospect of a trip to the fishmonger to cheer me. I strode out to find it, with the vision of gleaming fresh fish and the ice block in my rucksack to remind me with a cold back.

The lights were on but there was nobody home. A little like the photo assistant. On the fish counter was a notice: Gone fishing, we’ll be back from holiday in on June 4th. So there I was stood standing, with only a block of ice in my rucksack to remind me of what I’d come for.

I thought it best to head home before my back turned to ice, at least the bus ran on time.

One would expect a drawing to go with this of a fish, perhaps, or a block of ice or a clueless camera shop assistant, but it’s none of those. It’s one of those days, get used to it.bandbidrumsoupsf



“It is my only dress”


My Dutch lessons resume and the latest phrases are getting positively plaintive. Whoever thinks up these should try to undertandme. I don’t even have one dress, honestly. Dutch is a difficult enough language without resorting to these liberal thoughts. My imagination is running riot as phrase after odd phrase is thrown at me without any concern for my well being.

Then the latest just the other day:

“Not a single child hears the sheep”

Now that’s just a little creepy, or is it just my imagination. I spoke it in a sinister whisper, try it and you’ll understand the sinister Dutch. For crying out loud I’m only going to Belgium for a wedding, just “Pass the bottle please Jolien” will suffice.

To add to the irrelevance of this phrase I add an irrelevant drawing.

I wonder what the Dutch for:
” There’s a small bird on my triangle” might be, it’s about as useful as
“Not a child hears the sheep” and a little less creepy.Trianglebirdblog

“Taking the lidl biscuit” amongst other things.

I’ve been rambling, more than normally, in Sardinia, where the weather last week was, to start with, not unlike the Orkney’s ; scene of a previous ramble. We do these walking hols, and generally go for the ones that include a guide. That is a human guide, not a damp book of maps.

There’s an interesting dynamic in the group walking thingy. I look at people’s feet in the airport to see if, like me they are wearing walking boots. as these constitute a bulky item for air luggage and most walkers wear them for the trip. When a fellow traveller is spotted suitably attired in said boots, the plan then is to wonder if you are going to spend the rest of the week with them, tricky. One such looked like an ageing hippy with his headband around rather too long hair, as if it was fixed to keep any more hair from escaping. The badges on his rucksack looked like a travel map, and all those showy badges was the sort of thing that one used to do when aged 11, not pushing 50. It was not to be, he was probably an independent walker avoiding the group effort. He would have been unlikely to have been a ” 2 booter” like us in any event. All walks are graded and a 2 booter is likely to be considered by ageing badged hippies to be beneath their dignity, probably. Him aside, that bloke who looked like a mini Jeremy Corbyn, seemed like a good bet.

This is all resolved at the arrival airport when one’s “group” assembles. Eight people milling around a young Italian who’s cranking up his English and blinding us with his beaming smile. Mini Jeremy is there with his wife, two women from Scotland, one who’s name I managed to misunderstand due to accent difficulties. Not something new for me with my difficulties learning Dutch. A couple from Lincoln, the flattest part of the UK and somewhere I have never been, but after the first day’s wet walking up Sardinia’s tallest peak in the damp and the cold, rather wished I had been instead. So, that’s nine of us: 2 scots, 2 Lincolns, 2 mini corbyns, me and the other half , plus Alberto the guide, all on a 2 booter to boot.

It got better after day one on the Sardinian mountain. Mrs Mini Jeremy had the good sense to forgo that trip and avoided getting cold and wet, this is supposed to be a holiday after all. Mr Mini, turned out to be a mountain climber who’s climber all the Scottish Munros, that’s a lot of mountains.  Built like a whippet he had no trouble with the walks. The Scottish women gave the impression that they  could go a lot faster than a 2 booter,especially when close to a Prosecco outlet. Lincolnshire bloke was the man with the biggest stride walking with the one with possibly the smallest, so he got half the holiday we got. I managed to keep up, this helped by the fact that usually on these trips I take a camera and hang back to photograph almost anything. I had my camera, but the battery was charging in the UK, no excuse to hang back. Mrs Lincoln spoke Italian very well which was an added bonus, so I also had the benefit of Italian lessons as well as the walking. My plan of putting an “o” on the end of any random words in English was not met with as much discouragement as I expected. Stonioi the crows.

If you have the chance, go to Sardinia. There is so much to it. Our guide Alberto had by now got his English in top gear and was knowledgable and interesting. We all walked over the next few days over countryside, mountains, hills, wild flower meadows, inside huge cave areas, by the sea, and after the first day, with hardly a drop of rain. I was asked by my other half to do a drawing for Alberto, on behalf of our group, who, like our experience with all of our walking hols, been populated by people who just add to the fun. I resorted to recycling an old idea, but for his benefit with the one here. Excuse the quality of the scan, I had to take it with my phone as my camera was now designated as a “lidl biscuit”: a lidl biscuit is an object or thing you take on holiday and it stays in the suitcase unused. I had 3 such items, the camera minus battery, an apple which I ate yesterday whilst examining my allotment back here at home, but had been to Italy and back with me, and a round shortbread lidl brand biscuit that I still have, just in case.


Summertime and China

bofb seaside

I’ve had visitors from China. With all this new fangled techie stuff I can find out where people who have dropped into this site, and today I had 2 visitors from China. The last time this happened there was just the one visitor from China. I was inordinately pleased and boasted about this very first visit from China to my son. Who paused on the other end of the phone and said very slowly “…. just the one Dad?”

Well, today I’ve excelled myself and doubled my visitor numbers. So if you are one of those visitors from China, you are very welcome. I suppose it’s possible that you might be trying to understand the British so here’s a drawing that will help which features what the British do when the sun comes out. And the sun has come out here.

We go to the seaside and older male members of the family, unused to sunny conditions, sometimes knot a handkerchief and rest it on their heads whilst paddling in the shadows in a stout pair of trousers, firmly held in place by belt and braces. We have a saying: “You can never be too careful”, which is complete nonsense of course, following? A full pipe of tobacco complements this image of the male of the species enjoying the day out with what appears to be a small child who carries a bucket. The child uses this to make castles in the sand that are swept away by the end of the day by the inevitable crashing waves.You may now leave this site with additional knowledge about the British which may be useful to you.

Feel free to tell your 1.357 billion fellow countrymen.

Will it take off?


I’m trying something new with something old. This might be the thin end of the wedge for an old pro like me, but I’ve been sending some of my stuff to a stock illustration site: shutterstock  to be exact  and you’ll find me under Pauldraws. I’m hoping that this works then you can all see more of my stuff and  have the opportunity to download too.

I know that a lot of illustrators and cartoonists think this might be a bit infra dig, not the done thing, but rather than have drawings just sitting in an old plans chest, at least here they can be seen worldwide. Someone might even choose to use them.

Having tried the link above to shutter stock I’ve discovered it does not find me, but if you try Google and put in “Pauldraws” then that seems to work a treat.

Or you can try again here Pauldraws

I’m beginning to wonder if this will ever take off, but like the bloke in the drawing, I’m full of hope. It’s my relentless optimism that gets others down. If you have, thanks for trying.