Heckmondwike, the consequences…

A gathering of tea cups or mugs, unwashed. Left in a place of work, the collective noun is as we all know by now a ‘heckmondwike’. But the consequences of such a thing when dishwashers are present is even more aggravating and confirms my dislike of these infernal machines.

I’ve already gone on about how unsociable they are, but with the possibility of a ‘heck’ ( one is allowed to shorten the noun when in common parlance ) there comes the likelihood of a ‘oswaldtwistle‘, or more commonly the shortened version a ‘twistle’. As anyone with any knowledge of English will know this is the word used for retrieving a dirty mug from a dishwasher when there are none left in the vast store cupboard that normally holds at least twenty to try and minimise the risk. It also means ‘ a very bad turn of mood’ like when a spotty oik assistant in a shop ignores you when looking at mobile phone and heads for the chap next to you who’s just walked in. The wheeling of a mobile shopping bag guarantees that this  spotty oik will deem you completely invisible. Hence the phrase on the return of a shopping trip with aforementioned mobile shopping bag: “I dropped into Carphone Warehouse to see if they would give me an upgrade on my iPhone 6 for something even more expensive and the oik ignored me completely and talked to some young bloke about how cool the iPhone 4 was. I got into a right twistle, and stomped out.

I’ve a liking ,which is obvious from the last couple of posts, to making up new meanings from place names. The inspiration is a book called the Meaning of Liff which was written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, the former the writer of Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the latter a humorist who does lots of stuff on Radio 4. The book was published years ago and to me is their finest work. Seek it out and enjoy. I’ve done my own version recently which is based on Gloucestershire place names only and is called “Glossary”. I’ll be posting extracts and drawings from it over the coming months. The drawing has been posted before but it bears repeating, if you’ve seen it before then calm down, no need to get into a twistle, there will be a brand new drawing in the next postinginvisible

Hammer to crack a nut.

My last posting on dishwashers and washing up seems to have generated more traffic than I would have expected, so I make no apologies for keeping on the same theme. I’m fond of tea, and unlike coffee I’m not that particular about the brew type. As a Lancastrian  I am forced to admit that my present favourite claims to come from Yorkshire. I suspect that is where they put it in the box rather than there being fields of tea collectors taking the delicate leaves from a south facing slope in Barnsley.

I do insist that it is brewed in the pot,even if it’s just for me, but at the end of the day it is a cheap teabag blend. I also tend to stack a line of teacups in close proximity to myself nearby my desk. So there’s a gathering of empty mugs. Perhaps there’s a collective name for that, how about a “heckmondwhike” of mugs. So the phrase may be: “Oh there you go again, making a complete heckmondwike in your little office, there’s so many I can barely see out of the window. You’d better get them in the dishwasher before too long”.

Answer: “There would never be a heckmondwike before the invention of dishwashers, so it’s your fault for buying one of those infernal machines. In the good old days we just had a cuppa and then we washed up the mug, and we only had two of them until the kids came along.Now we’ve got enough to make the biggest heckmondwike south of Barnsley. If you ask me it’s all just a hammer to crack a nut”

( The last line being the excuse to put in this drawing that I found in a drawer just a few days ago, beyond the heckmondwike.)hammernut1sf )

The importance of washing up.

Dishwashers have been around for years now but there are good reasons for dispensing with them. First of all they use some pretty toxic chemicals to get the burnt on cinders off your beautifully crafted dishes. They can’t really be used to clean anything delicate or fine, and certainly shouldn’t be used to clean the silver cutlery. Did you hear that Jeeves? But the most important reason they should be considered superfluous is that they are desperately unsociable.

Jeeves v1

Fascinating little memorial just up the road from me here in Cheltenham at Cheltenham College, a very expensive public school with the most beautiful cricket ground. I never know that Jeeves was a cricketer and that he was the inspiration for Woodhouse’s character. The school was also the location for some of the filming of Linsday Anderson’s cult film “If”, but they don’t talk about that much. It did feature schoolboys machine gunning people from their chapel roof, so perhaps no surprise there.


In the day when washing up was the order of the day, it was, or at least should have been, a team effort. Two people minimum in any team. One to wash, one or maybe two to dry and one to pontificate and put stuff away until the next time. It should not be undertaken alone if at all possible, but of course these days it is usually people who live on their own who do wash up, instead of loading dishwashers.

What happens when two or more people gather together to wash up. They talk, they are in close proximity, they interact, in short they are sociable. Whereas it usually falls to one person to load a dishwasher. The end result of washing up is cemented friendship, the end result of a dishwasher is cemented cookware.

Coffee explained.Yes, it has to be.

It looks like my post on coffee started a bit of a discussion on Facebook about relative merits, so it’s worth reading what my son Joe, a fine maker of coffee at the place featured in my last blog, had to say about it.

Commodity grade coffee that would have been served in the 70’s would have been objectively awful, commodity coffee of the 90’s was much improved but still very low quality. American style corporate branding and descriptions such as ‘skinny’, caramel all refer to products added usually to disguise the mediocre nature of the product.

These days it is possible to easily access independent coffee shops which serve speciality grade coffee from all over the world, roasted by specialists to release incredible flavour profiles. This product is traded directly, not by brokers trying to squeeze the supplier then rip off the customer for the highest possible margin.Then when you purchase your coffee you have a finished product that is akin to a fine wine or good whisky in terms of its potential flavour profile, for roughly the same price as a bad coffee.

The speciality coffee can be pretentious, just as with anything that entails specialisation, like music, illustration. But, most places that serve this kind of product understand this and try and make it as accessible as possible so if you just want a good coffee you can speak to a barista who will tell you what might be to your taste.

Here’s a drawing of how it used to be and still is in some parts, I wonder if anywhere will escape ‘gentrification’ but am not particularly bothered if they don’t. Those old greasy spoon places were really dreadful. Artery clogging stuff and a fly circling the cake within the plastic lid. It’s a wonder anyone survived, except the fly.


Is it only coffee?


I think not these days.

I remember  way back when I was a teenager many years ago, that a coffee bar opened in the local town: Preston in Lancashire. It became the place to go to and all they served was coffee in little glass cups. It was almost exclusively a young place. The coffee was unexceptional, but it was the first coffee with froth on the top, so we thought it was cool.

I’m a coffee fan, not an addict, but I like a good cup of strong coffee and on journeys through France, it was an ideal way to rest and recover. The strong coffee had mileage attached, about 3 hours of alert driving for every cup. Well the French have gone to pot. Many of the motorway halts in France now serve up coffee from a metal machine. Now I’m no absolute purist but this is really an offence against the state, and says much about the state of France. They taught us how to cook properly all those years ago and how to serve decent coffee to the masses on the move. Now it’s just corporate grim.

Over here we decided that motorway coffee was yuk, and now corporates have got a grip on the trade in a totally different way to France. You have to queue for a cup at a Costa’s or similar, whilst the barista makes you the coffee of your choice. We’ve shown the French how it should be done and we learnt it from them in the first place.

Out in the town the coffee reaches even more heights of sophistication, with a ready choice of smart ( but not too smart: “Make it look like it was warehouse please”) places that serve coffee of almost every description. To cap this they even have ‘tasting notes’ in some places and guest coffee. The temptation is to say this is all b*ll*cks, but it’s really not. It’s got to be better than a French machine generated undrinkable sludge. So well done us, we came near the top in the Olympics and we’re good at coffee. Perhaps the two are related.

Coffee final.jpg

This is Tamper in Sheffield, where they serve excellent coffee, why not try a few and stay awake for a week. A few cups could get you to the South of France without having to stop.

Tamper Coffee



Yes, that’s tasting notes folks on a guest coffee! Try asking for that in France.


I’m having a short break from posting cartoons and will be posting photos and other hopefully interesting stuff for a short while. Sharpening the pencil for later. Summer is not drawing weather for me. Wet days and dark evenings make for more drawing time in my book.

Thanks for visiting.


Is it something in the air in Sheffield?

Perhaps it’s a Yorkshire trait, this naming fish and chip shops or indeed any retail outlet, with some sort of play on words. I’ve featured Codraphenia here before which is a small fish and chip shop in Walkley and has a drawing of a fish on a scooter in the window.


New cod


I’ve been to Sheffield again and on the bus up to Walkley ( again) spotted this one.

I mentioned it to my son who lives in these parts and he said that least it’s not as bad as the hairdressers around the corner who’s name is ” Curl up and Dye”. They’ve closed down. Serves them right.

Who came fourth?


I’m not a runner, never have been much. Even when I did take up sports I tried not to exert myself too much. I’m fond of the quote by the late Tony Benn, veteran politician, who I believe once said :” I sometime feel like taking exercise but a sit down in a comfy armchair usually makes it go away”.

Don’t get the wrong impression, I’m almost all for it. I think we should all be taking more exercise and I do a bit of swimming and walking myself.The Olympics is a media festival for our British commentators, trying to say something meaningful in under ten seconds.You can’t get a proper brew of tea in the time it takes some runners to run  a race, and if the race is longer than that then they’ll edit out the boring middle bits where no one is falling or doing anything but the running.

The ones I feel sorry for, but probably shouldn’t do, are those who come in fourth. The last in the race probably just got into the team and has a probably got  a healthy attitude to coming last and may even use it in dinner party chat for years to come as an amusing anecdote. But the one who came fourth is likely to keep quiet about it for years to come. The “fourthers”  as we might call them, are damaged goods. They were contenders, they could have got a medal but didn’t.

If you ever meet one, and it’s unlikely, they won’t tell you. Don’t ask them about it, get them to the nearest armchair.


Murder Weekend…


Going through some old stuff, yet again, and came upon this. I used to do drawings every week or so for the English Tourist Board. They, or the people that I worked for in particular, were brilliant to work for. I think I can say that we had a lot of laughs. The English Tourist Board no longer exists by that name, they were amalgamated and mashed together with other places and in the end evaporated up their own corporate guidelines.

This was to highlight an article about Murder Weekends where people get together in large hotels, together with a group of actors and they all have to find out who was responsible for the so-called ‘murder’. It’s the sort of thing that would be absolute murder for me.


This is very brilliant. Go to the original for really good writing.

I don’t normally reblog anything very much but this is worth it. If you like it go to the original and like that, I just reposted!

Englishman in Italy


The European Union has just announced that despite Brexit an agreement has been reached whereby English will continue to be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the The European Union decided that English spelling had some room for improvement and has recommended a 5- year phase-in plan that will become known as ‘Euro-English’.

In the first year, ‘s’ will replace the soft ‘c’. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard ‘c’ will be dropped in favour of ‘k’. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome ‘ph’ will be replaced with ‘f’. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted…

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