Umpire of the Sun


I used to be keen on cricket until struck on the head by a ball when just a callow youth. The result of some fearsome fast bowling by one of my sports teachers, who insisted that I keep wicket in the very small area behind the wicket in the cricket nets. The resulting blow put what looked like an egg on my forehead and I suppose these days would be classed as concussion. All he did was get cross with me for failing to catch his fearsome delivery.

It’s a very sunny day but cold out there today and I came across this little drawing which I plan to finish properly one day, like dozens of others. If it was several degrees warmer it would be a perfect cricketing day so I thought this might put you in mind of summer.

For anyone not familiar with cricket, there are two umpires who oversee the game, one at the bowler’s end and one at mid-on, there you are, you’re lost already. It’s no use going any further explaining to anyone who has no knowledge of the game. I have very little myself, suffice to say that in the old days, the umpires also used to serve as a handy clothes peg, wrapped around with the player’s spare hats and jumpers on what was normally a roasting hot day.

Their job is to adjudicate if a batsman is in, or out, if he was judged out then he had to go off and someone else would come in , until they were judged to be out. If they were judged to be not out then they would stay in. In this particular case the umpire is indicating the result of an appeal and the batsmen is out. Another batsman may now come on and will be in until he is out, unless he succeeds in being not out. Owzat?


 This one is from 2017, but just as relevant today. Not a lot of cricket going on at present as the country is just trying to get back to normal and the weather is wet,wet,wet. It’s cold too so jumpers are on. I never did finish this drawing and am not going to promise that I will any more. It will have to do like this. I’m into other projects for the time being like T shirts

Not the weather for them either.



Desmond Pratt

Des to his chums. He does a lot of on-line gaming and delves into on-line dating describing himself as a “buff twenty something” when he’s a good deal older and not buff at all. He rarely meets his intended date, thank goodness. Lives with his Mum, which again is perhaps just as well. Nobody ever goes into his room apart from his cat and whatever the cat had brought in. There is nothing he does not know about computers and could probably hack into the Pentagon if he wanted to.

I’ll let you fill in any other details from your imagination, but don’t waste too much time on it, or him.


Thanks to Richard who came up with this name for me and suggested the possible drawing too

What’s in a name?

In my quest for more odd names, I was recently telling my sister in law about this, my most recent “excuse to draw”. I’m in the middle of a series of drawings of people with odd names. Generally these are all made up by either myself or someone I’ve been talking to. The idea started some years ago when a work colleague who told me several names  that he’d seen whilst overseeing production of business cards. Derek, then used to come and whisper new ones to add to the collection and these were generally of his own making.

I told him then that I’d do some of drawings of them when I had the time, and now I have the time. Sadly, I have lost touch with Derek, but if you are out there Derek, there will be an exhibition of all this stuff in August here in downtown Cheltenham. Half of the drawings in there will be your fault!

If I run into anyone else who’s remotely intersted in what I’m doing I’ll tell them of the plan and inevitably they will come up with an example of their own. My chum Richard, who I go walking with when the weather behaves, came up with a few like Des Pratt ( he saw him as one of those rather sad on-line gamer/dating poeple ) Helen Highwater: Yachtswoman, and one that I’m struggling with:Jenny Taylor. 

My sister in law suggested that I might do one of my brother and call him Robin B’Staard.  OK, I said, but it’s your idea and not mine. After all my brother is an antique dealer by profession.

So here he is, in rough form ( when is he not? ) complete with rather ancient flyer’s jacket that he used to live in when he first started all those years ago. He’s not changed much over the years and can still lift a fairly sizeable chest of drawers into the back of his van.






More of my fine art views of sheds, with due thanks to a bright sunny morning for the excellent lighting.


Profile of the artist as a plotter


Missing downpipe


Water tank abstract, artist unknown.


Nail on tin abstract, wire sculpture


Pipe dream



What will they make of this in China?

I’m fond of sheds, and I tend an allotment. My favourite sheds are corrugated iron. It rots so colourfully.Yesterday we had a rare day of winter sunshine and I ventured out to the plot for a quick check on my rhubarb. My one half-succesful broccoli plant had decided to seceretly sprout some lovely heads for me to pick and I dug out some very strange looking parsnips plus one of my favourite vegetables, a celeraic. Rhubarb was slowly growing well. So the garden is producing things even in winter.

I noticed that the national papers were full of headlines about the shortage of lettuce that is imminent. Front page news! Apparently there has been very cold weather in Spain where most of our icebergs come from. Global warming? Icebergs ruined in Spain. We should be told.

I also noticed yesterday that when I opened my stats for the views of my page, the screen went red. Someone from China has been looking at my blog. Not for the first time I might add, and it might be the same person looking again, but I got unreasonably excited by this some months ago and when I told my son the exciting news he simply muttered : “Just the one Dad?”

So here are the visual results of my short time on the plot yesreday. Works of art in corrugated iron and wood:


Still life with hose


Circle lines


Study in wood and tin


Cat’s eyes


Untitled Number 3


You’re looking well, have you lost weight?


We’re all selling something, some of us without really realising it. Some have made a living out of it, myself included. I was employed, later in life ( I’m quite late now ) to sell print. I loved it and I made a lot of friends and the occasional enemy. Having been a professional cartoonist for most of my ‘so-called’ adult life, it was strange to enter a world where things were serious. Unlike the very best salespeople I took with me the idea that I only wanted to work for people I liked. Which in fairness was most people.There were one or two things that really did get up my nose, the people who were interupted by their mobiles and took the calls saying that they would only be a few minutes while they “sorted the printers out” ( as if we were a minor problemn with the drains ).

The young couple who came in to discuss thier wedding invite and ended up having a row in reception was not a great experience, they were not the perfect match. The chap who wanted to change his small company logo from a charming little illustrated logo to a nonsensical back of the envelope ‘symbol’ was one time I did lose control of my supressed opinion and after a tiring day just said to him, very loudly. ” WHAT? YOU WANT TO CHANGE THAT TO THAT?  YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” It was not my place to voice an opinion, and a quiet word by him to head office made sure we did not have to deal with each other again. We were lucky not to lose the account.

I developed a subtle language of my own when dealing with opinions about work we were to print. If I thought it was good I’d say so, if it was less than good I’d say it was interesting. If it was crap I’d say it was really interesting. If it was absolute crap, I’d simply mutter ” very curious”or “fascinating”. It meant I kept my self respect without losing paying customers.

And then there are colours. I’m apparently red green colour blind. That does not mean I cannot see red and green, but subtle versions of the colours can be tricky. I’ll see a dark green as black and if then told that it is a very dark shade of green will see it as such. It’s not really got in the way of either of my ‘so-called’ careers. Customers coming to the printers could be very particular about colour and some were positively evangelical about it. The phrase: ” It looks nothing like the colour on my screen” became a familiar refrain no matter how many times we told them that screen colours and print colours were just not the same.

The best bit of sales is getting it right. That may sound like one of those dreadful self help books that seem to do so well the days, but in this particular case it’s right. Getting it right is seeing the customer happy with the result. And if I’m to pass on a few of my hints when selling it is to be interested in the customer, say how well they are looking and ask them if they have lost weight. Flattery will get you everywhere.