At last, a job where you don’t have to be able to spill.

Linked in are chasing me to apply for even more jobs and it looks like I’ve found just the one for me, the downside is that it’s for a seamstress so there may have to be some adjustments and stitching in place before the application can go in.


On the other hand I could opt for 2 days a week as a lingerie designer and spend the rest of the week in my jim jams, doing a bit of blogging and never getting out of my slippers.

Nope! I’ll go for the first choice as they pay extra when they are bust. First time I’ve heard of a company that pays extra when they go out of business, and it seems you don’t have to be able to spill.Simples.


“Just putting you through…”

I’ve been thinking again, perhaps I should n’t.

Phones: we keep them in our pockets and if we are really up to speed we talk to them with them in our pockets via headphones and wander around seemingly talking to ourselves. Out in the supermarket or on the street we see people who are hearing voices, and it’s considered normal. In days of yore such unfortunate people were sent to large brick built institutions and filled with mind numbing drugs so that the voices might go away.They were treated kindly for the most part and pitied by the rest of us. Now we ignore.Phone boxes, these red things still around on some streets, there are a few here where I live, were for people who had no phone at home at all of for emergency. People really did not always have phones.

Glen Campbell’s haunting tune ” Witchita Lineman” has almost been made redundant. We now have fibre in a box at the end of the road. The sort of fibre we used to get was in a cereal box  and was called “All Bran” and was the prefect way to keep you regular without resorting to drugs.

Some of these red phone boxes are being preserved and made into mini libraries and artworks. My own memory of them was an unfortunate pong and a very cold wind coming through the heavy door.

Just a very quick rough cartoon this week:

tied up374


Nobody gets my marmalade.

I thought this would be a good song title, what do you think? With its double meaning of: ” Nobody understands my marmalade” or simply as it is ” Nobody is going to be given a jar of said condiment “. The cartoon is entirley irrelevant to the subject, but I’m having one of those mornings. I’m seeing many levels of marmalade, I’d best leave it.


The pope;no news…

It might have been a folk tale but when I resided in that great city of Manchester, it was said that on a slow news day, the newspaper sellers would put the headline ” The Pope;no news!” headline on their little boxes from where they dispensed their wares. This was in fact true, within the pages of their papers there was no news of the Pope. So it was all factually true a it shifted quite a few of the papers as there are many Roman Catholics in the City ( generally the Manchester United supporters ) and quite a few protestants ( Manchester City supporters ) who might look just to see if they had grounds to upset the United supporters.

The sellers themselves would wear a non-commital scarf and the “endless” gloves were an essential fashion accessory, especially in the cold weather.

This is another drawing from the Missing Persons book and what follows are Gordon’s words from the book and give a flavour of the type.


Newspaper Seller

Any sightings should be reported to the Natural History Museum.

There are plenty of people who stand about selling papers but specimens of Newspaper Seller must, by definition, be recognisable in the dusk and rain by their cries alone. Saying ‘Big Issue? Have a nice day’ in a polite, self-effacing tone does not make one a Newspaper Seller, quite honestly.

The real thing was ever unmistakable. Anyone from north east Yorkshire would be able to infer from the distant cry of ‘Baybay! Scabbay! Baybay!’ that they were on the other side of the clearing from a man offering the paper, the Scarborough paper. That it was called the Evening News was a matter widely understood and so unnecessary to mention.

Strangers to the famous port 40 miles south would instantly realise that the man selling the late editions of the Hull Daily Mail was the one crying ‘Hawdiwinnahs! Skinnywinnahs!’ Like everybody else in Hull, with the possible exception of the specimen himself, they would never know the wherefore but would buy the paper anyway and without asking about the undernourishment of victorious horses.

In the Great Wen all those thousands of office mice, hurrying down their holes at the end of the day, used to lift their heads briefly at the familiar call of ‘Tennerh! Ee-inn! Tennerh!’ and, without looking at Newspaper Seller, drop a few coins into an outstretched hand in exchange for a copy of the Standard, the Evening Standard.On Sundays, no members of the type were ever seen. Nobody knew where they went. Possibly they hibernated for the day, venturing forth only to the corner shop to purchase a copy of the Tie, Sunnay Tie, or possibly the Zerv Erah, or maybe the Noodawer-eh.Scientists are still trying to prove that Working Men’s Club and Institute Singing Man has evolved from Newspaper Seller, for some reason.


Ye Olde Sunnye Dryed Tomato

Another from the book: Some Missing Persons . Again the golden words are crafted by my chum wordsmith Gordon Thorburn: Wordweaver

I hope you’ve enjpoyed them as much as I enjoyed drawing for them.

sunnydryedtomVisitors to this remote and historic ex-hostelry, far up in the hills where rivers rise, always used to enjoy looking at the old photographs on the wall. These reflected a bygone age when the local produce show was held here, customers formed football and darts teams and turned up in Toyota pick-ups.

Those were the days, my friends, when the pub was the social sine qua non of a scattered rural community. The community is still scattered but if anybody wants a pint now it has to be a widget tin from the supermarket down the valley; no pints have been sold at Ye Tomatoe for a twelvemonth.

Yes, in that short time Signor Pomodoro Lambretta, front of house, and Darren ‘Sharon’ Maclaren, chef, transformed the place. Before, you could only get bitter, lager, Guinness and two sorts of sandwich: cheese and pickle, or cheese. Under Pommy and Sharon, you could have Saltimbocca Siciliano, Fegato alla Milanese, Pavarotti alla Mariolanza and various fusion dishes, including Szechuan Ostrich Stroganoff and Thai Broken Harbour Soup with Wild Orkney Octopus. You washed these down with 35 different sorts of Bardolino and 27 of Frascati. If you got too merry you could have bed and full Italian breakfast for the price of a farm labourer’s week’s wages.

It was not long before the two proprietors discovered that Upper Weirdale was no place for a gastropub. Their loan was called in and they had to sell the place as a private house, so that was that.

The King’s Breeches

Here’s another from Some Missing Persons with lovely words by my chum Gordon. Wordsmith’s site

He would know a lot about this subject as he was an enthusiast for frequenting such places, “all strictly for research though old chap”. This drawing is rare for me these days as it’s in colour. The original is in colour too, so it has all been hand crafted as they say, a bit like artisan bread.  £3-50 for a loaf of bread?

In this case the colour is added using the old fashioned magic marker and then enhanced with chalks for the geeky illustrator types amongst you. All this made rather redundant by photoshop these days, but adding to the argument that there is really no such thing as an original any more. There’s no such things an original, is there?

It also makes a change for me to draw places rather than just people, must do more! I suspect that Gordon used the Princess Louise Pub in High Holborn, London as his model for his words, and it still exists, as I noticed the other week when in the area. Whether the interior is changed or not I cannot say as I did not venture in. Please note in the detail, a small fly trapped in the perspex pork pie cover. I did once witness this and upon complaining to the landlord was told that this was where it lived. Also note that this was written before smoking was banned from such places, so if it does still exist as it was, it will no longer have the same atmosphere as being in Bejing on a foggy day.



This city-centre pub is very popular with exiles from the old Iron Curtain countries, since it reminds them so much of the railway-station waiting rooms back home. Connoisseurs of 1950s minimalism will also enjoy the five well-seasoned South American banknotes pinned to the stone-effect wallpaper above the bar.

Other establishments near-by offer a full menu plus blackboard specials,and live music in the evenings. The King’s Breeches provides for a niche market to one side of the business-lunch crowd, with a small selection of superheated pies out of a Perspex cabinet. The free paper serviette assists easy eating rather than forcing on customers the embarrassing refinements of cutlery and plate. After dark, a juke box can be switched on by special request and any record played, provided it is Crystal Chandeliers.

Lecturers from the art college, attracted by the working-class atmosphere, drink no more than two units while chattering incessantly and waving their hands about. Journalists and flat-capped regulars prefer to ensure inner cleanliness with sequential pints of the memorable local bitter, reading their sporting papers in silence while flicking ash into dampening lagoons on the mahogany tops of original Victorian tables.

The tenant landlord, a dark taciturn man who is never rude to anyone but never friendly either, is greatly distressing the brewery by not dying. The predictions of the Chief Actuary of the Publicans, Sinners and General Insurance Co indicate that pub landlords’ shortlivedness is second only to those who combine lion taming with drug dealing and cave diving, but our man is past 70 and showing no signs. When he does die, the brewery will rip the pub asunder, rename it The Tup and Tart, install satellite TV, a juke box, and a manager who will have to call the police on Fridays and Saturdays.


Damp Skoolboy

I like to get out for a walk, whatever the weather and the other day, it was whatever the weather. Rain coming down like stair rods and this called for full kit walking gear. Well “dubbined” boots, that is greased up to keep the wet out of my socks, weather proof coat with inner warm lining zipped up to the chin with hat to steer any drips away from the face area, and rain proof over trousers, which I generally refer to as ‘nipple trousers’ as the waist band reaches this area. I can go out in almost any amount of rain in this kit and the inner me stays as dry as a biscuit.

As I was tramping the streets on my way back to base camp in front of me was “damp skoolboy”. Dressed in his usual thin shirt, skool blazer and cheap grey blotting paper trousers he trudged ahead of me on his way home. He seemed completely impervious to the rain and did’nt even have a hat. Following on behind him I felt like Nanook of the North. I imagine that once he got home, his mother would have squeezed the moisture out of him like a sponge before parking him in front of the fire to fill the room with evaporating steam. He would then have probably shrunk to even smaller proportions.



The Best Dressed Man in the Village

This is another of the pages from my collaboration with Gordon Thorburn and our book Some Missing Persons, now very nearly out of print. Gordon’s site If you are a new visitor to my site there are others scattered around here like this one Man who mends cars…


A vacancy has arisen in the post of Honorary Village Figurehead, Titlingham St Margaret. Would suit retired major, colonel or wing commander with wife extant. Applicants must be prepared to chair Parish Council, school governors, et cetera.

Naval officers tended to retire on the coast, so the villagers of Titlingham, deep in the heart of Suffolk, always expected a senior soldier or airforce chap to come and lead them in their battles against the swirling tides of progress, and they were not disappointed.

The wife (extant), who was called Susan or Verity, also did chairing, of the village fete committee and the WI, and organised the flower rota in the church. She bought all her provisions at the village shop apart from, obviously, a few things that had to be sent from Fortnums.

He, known universally as The Major or, at a pinch, The Squadron Leader, drank halves of best, with a handle, three times a week at the pub. He’d hob-nob indiscriminately with the vicar, the poacher, the gamekeeper, the butcher, the horse dealer, the doctor (qv), the goat woman (also qv), the gardener up at the house and the mechanic who looked after his old Wolseley. He’d never tell secrets to the village policeman, not that the village policeman would want to know anyway.

The Major, you see, was not the squire or the lord of the manor. The Major was of the village. He was primus inter pares and most definitely primus, but he clipped his own hedge, grew his own roses, and called all the men (except the vicar and the doctor) by their first names, likewise the daughters thereof.

He doffed his brown trilby to the ladies and never smoked his pipe at the nativity play. His shoes (brown Oxford brogues with leather soles, hand made) were always polished to a mirror sheen. He generally wore one of his collection of six three-piece Savile Row tweed suits but could also be sighted on sunny afternoons, walking his two spaniels, in crimson or mustard cord trousers and cashmere cardigan.

He’s gone now. Defeated. Half the village is weekenders and commuters. In any case, retired officers these days don’t keep their ranks as titles and move to the country. Many of them didn’t even go to public school. Unable to retire gracefully, they write books, join security firms or become pop stars.

The poacher’s gone too. Can’t afford the house prices. A merchant banker, retired at 45, bought the old rectory the major used to live in and planted Leylandii all around it. The shop has shut, the pub is a restaurant with bar, and the school is struggling for numbers. A doctor from town holds a weekly surgery in the village hall and nobody has seen a policeman for months.

It’s sad, really. Very sad.

Man who mends cars…

Sometime in the 1970s, a design engineer had the idea of putting a computer in a car. At that instant, an entire breed was sentenced to death and we can expect Man Who Mends Cars to be virtually extinct in the western world by about 2015AD. Then, there will remain only a few isolated individuals within whom will reside the last shreds of knowledge about how to repair cars rather than psychoanalyse them and reconstitute them with plug-in components.

By then, except in Famagusta and at Classic Car rallies, you will never see a Ford Cortina nor any kind of Austin, Morris, Triumph or Hillman. All old-style VW Beetles will have been squashed flat. No Citroen Deux Chevaux will be worth flogging. People will think the Fiat 500 is the Italian share index.

There will be no cars left without fuel-injected air-conditioned sports warranties and three-year ABS alloy airbags. Every car will bong at you to say that you have left the door open, the handbrake is on and you haven’t fastened your belt yet. Equally newsworthily, every car will tell you that it’s cold outside and there are roadworks on the M6. Every car will have more buttons on its radio/CD dooberry than were once considered necessary for the entire dashboards of twenty MG-TCs.

Meanwhile, Man Who Mends Cars looks out onto the road and sees a never changing stream of vehicles which are incomprehensibly complex inside and whose outsides cannot be told one from another. Eventually, the only task within his capabilities will be changing a tyre.

Today, if you want to spot Man Who Mends Cars, you will need to go to a small country town (non-commutable) or the back streets of a poor area of the city. Look for a rusty sign saying National Benzole or Pratt’s Motor Spirit. There, inside a dark cavern with a rectangular hole in the floor, will be a stove burning sump waste. You will see some motor cycles (BSA C15, Ariel Square Four, Triumph Tiger Cub, Norton Dominator), the bonnet and wheels of a Riley Elf and several wiring harnesses on a hook. In the chaotic area designated ‘office’, there will be a picture of a Jowett Javelin, some horrible items to do with making tea, and a girlie calendar for 1972 provided by RW Grimbagg & Sons (Abrasives) Ltd.

The man himself, in a dark blue over-all, will be sitting on a bentwood chair eating a king prawn jalfraisi, part-payment for a job he did last year on the Taj Mahal owner’s daughter’s Mini Moke.manwhomends

Man who helps man who mends cars…

Several members of this migratory group attach themselves to each specimen of the main variety. They take it in turns to stand around watching while drinking tea.

Searching through my records of work done I came accross this gem with words again by my chum Gordon Thorburn  Gordon’s words

It comes from our book of some years ago called Some Missing Persons and I could not resist posting it here after my last blog. The artwork will feature in my exhibition later in the year.

In my time wandering the roads of Gloucestershire as Print Rep Man, I came across a small number of this species and they were always a joy to work for. One in particular who’s garage is on the old A38 south of Gloucester had his entire family photograph album on the wall of his workshop and proudly pointing to a small baby in a faded photo told me ” that one there got married last week”. He also had this cheque on the wall which is really quite self explanatory.


…and here’s the man himself, as far as I know he’s still mending cars.