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Barbeques and garden machinery, the Germans have it right.

I’m forever being told that I should like barbeques, and I don’t. I certainly don’t much care for ‘having a go’ at doing one myself. This from bitter experience of lighting said fire and then waiting for hours before it got to the right temperature to grill a sausage. Said fire was still glowing at 2.00 in the morning with enough heat to cook a large beast. To say it was a fire risk is only a small understatement. And it’s the sun that brings them out. Any nearly warm sunny day brings out the charcoal and the flames, or the portable gas behemoth that’s been breeding germs in the garage where it was dumped last year when the sun hid for months.

Of course before the barbeque you must pressure wash the patio so that the grease stains will have somewhere to land and guests can mingle around in their best casual stuff that will smell of carbon forever after this day. The sound of this washer is enough to wake anyone in the district wanting a nice Sunday lie in, as if a fire engine was doing a practice quirt in the garden.

Best cut the grass while your at it. Fire up the motor mower and lets get some stripes into those lawns: the British Obsession. It’s all to do with those public schools surrounded by acres of manicured grass so the fee payers can be seen to be getting their money’s worth. For those of you not in the UK reading this, public schools in the UK are private and have to be paid for by the parents. They are not normally called private schools. Grammar schools are state schools where you have to pass an exam to get in and the rest go to secondary schools that are sometimes branded as academies. Some secondary schools were called secondary modern schools, but this title became a little tainted as if they were failures and not very modern at all. Most schools have manicured playing fields but the public ( private ) schools have the huge ones with no weeds at all, and some of the secondaries have sold their fields for cash. Where once lay playing fields now sport “Executive Homes” in roads with country names like “Field Court View”, though there is no view.

I digress.

Barbeques and the operation of garden machinery are as we all know are banned on a Sunday in Germany. If this is fake news then it shouldn’t be and the Germans have it right. OK sausage?


My love of barbeques is illustrated here from one of the pieces that will be in my exhibition here in Cheltenham at the Gardens Gallery from August 16th to the 22nd.

How much!!!!!!!!!??????


I’m in the middle of getting together my exhibition stuff for August, and here’s one of the final pieces. If a cartoon can be called a “piece”. There I go again devaluing what I do. In the good old days when I was working for ad agencies and design companies these sorts of drawings were commissioned and the fee was based on the use it was put to. If it was a visual then you’d be lucky to get £60-00 for it, if it was used for editorial in a magazine then it could be less than that. On the other hand if it was used for a small ad campaign then the fee could be aropund £300-00 or more to include the rights to the drawing. For a big ad campaign it could go into four figures ( rare this! )  This was in the 80’s and in the heyday of illustration being commissioned, and I was lucky to have had my best years of illustration commissions then.

Now I’ve changed direction and I’m doing all my own ideas and will soon be publishing them as prints from my website and having an exhibition of the originals. This one is just  a sample of one of the prints on drawings about people with apt names, these two being Valerie Uptchuous and Benjamin Dover: Ballroom Dancing Champions. The original of this will be on sale at the exhibition, and this version as a print. Here’s another : Desmond Pratt

As someone who’s been ‘in the business’ for years I’m used to people saying ” How much!!?? ” when I tell them what I want for a drawing. This phrase is usually followed by the muttered, spluttered  “…but it will only take you a short time to do it” as if creative work should be charged by the hour like a taxi driver on a meter.

The point of this is “How much?” I want to sell them, and of course I have digital files of all of them and I’m not selling the rights to the images, just the orginal black and white artwork.

I guess I’ll find a way, or let the market decide as they say. We’ll see. I’ll be posting more on the exhibitoion as we get closer to it in August. Apart from the drawings about people with apt names, there will be a series about the British, see here for more about that: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character  Indicentally I’m still trying to find living relatives of the esteemed “Pont” to invite them along to the exhibition, but no luck so far.

I’m looking forward to it myself. I’m looking for other venues around the country to show it too, so any suggestions on where I might be able to take it, then let me know. I’ve looked in London but my reaction when I saw what they wanted for the rental of a small exhibition space was “How much!!!!!!!??????”


I’m not going to tell you where this is…


…apart from the fact that it’s not that far away from where we live. I don’t want all of you crowding in there getting in the way of the scenery. It’s like all those holiday magazines with the headlines “Undiscovered Thailand” which is not now going to remain undiscovered for much longer as everyone now knows, thanks to the magazine.

Stunning photograph by my friend Sally Ware, as is the following which she also took. She’s taken lots of photos of these wonderful leaves and this is just a sample of one of them.


Both photographs copyright Sally Ware

Drawing rain…

Pont watercoloursmallweb

A penchant for watercolour

One of a series about the British Character


I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, but then when one is drawing for an exhibition about the British it is to be expected. The fact we’ve had gallons of it dropping down on us in the last few days helps. I’ve done several versions of this idea and this might be the best so far, until tomorrow when I will no doubt ‘go off it’. It started out like the one below, and I’m not sure if I prefer the first drawing or this, or as agonising starts, neither.


I’ve had a week of framing the originals for the exhibition in August, so it’s been good to get back to some drawing again, apart from a very welcome day off in Cheddar.

There’s more about this right here:

Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

Cheddar, a tasty day out.

I go walking with a good old friend of mine, and one of our favourite meeting places is in the Mendips near to the Cheddar Gorge, and yesterday we were confident of a fine day and some good walking. A reprise of a previous walk down the Cheddar gorge and unfortunately up the other side. Blubells much in evidence for the first part of the walk from Chaterhouse on the top of the hills. It seemed to us strange that these creatures of the woods were still there at this time of year and in the open rather than in a congregation under trees. No matter they were a lovely sight.Bluebelltree


We arrived after a while and a walk through old lead mining area, at the top of the Gorge. We were well kitted with what we call stout walking boots and weatherproofs. The previous day we’d had almost biblical rain and we thought the ground would have been pretty muddy and sodden. It was not. We’ve had so much premanent dry weather our theory was that the land had acted like blotting paper and had soaked up all the moisture.

It was nevertheless a surprise to see two young men and their partners coming the other way with a puchchair and small child. The ground is quite steep and rocky and they were carrying a child in a pushchair, by carrying the pushchair. Female partners were dressed in thin shoes and clothes as if they’d thought it might be a good idea after a spell on the beach at nearby Weston super Mare, or as my satnav called in Weston s Mare. So the satnav does not think it’s that super then?

They would have had to climb out of the Gorge up dozens of steps to get there. One can admire their sense of adventure but not their sense.

Here’s Richard contemplating Weston in the distance. Super view.

It’s not changed that much since our last trip there:

Bluebell fields and a grand day out.



“Plot 2″… It’s not exactly “Rocky”.

Eat your heart out Cecil B De Mille. Another thriller from the plot. Watching “Plot2” which would be the title for this I’m determined that the sequel will be better. Look out for “Plot3” when the plot thickens.

The rare breed: a gardener sitting down.


This is another from my series on the British Character ( Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character ) and is close to my heart. I like order in the garden but not too much, a bit like I like order in my life, but not too much. I’ll let the drawing do the talking today, it’s sunny outside and I need to go and see if that pigeon is eating my veg. The one featured here is a veg bandit unlike the one found the other day ( Pigeons, well that makes a change from sheds. )

Enjoy the day!

Bear with…


I’m working on a load of drawings for my exhibition in August, this is one. many of them based on the work of Punch cartoonist “Pont”.

Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

I’ve also put together a new website for the project which is very slowly coming together, where people will be able to buy prints of the work from the show as well as other selected pieces.

It’s taking a while, so as the saying goes ” Bear with me” In the meantime I’ll be blogging about pigeons, sheds and allotments as normal in addition to random stuff.

The Art of the shed

Three stages of artwork, is it ever finished? No.

Pigeons, well that makes a change from sheds.

I found one near my plot. Not just an ordinary feral beast eating my little cabbage shoots, this one was a thoroughbred racing bird. Lovely looking chap that thought my plot was a good place for a stopover. He might have been a little unwell from too long a flight. What to do? Well, I’ve had experience in these matters to a degree, and knew that it was important to let it have water and if possible some nourishment. I little sugar in the water might have helped perhaps, but that was not a choice I had at the plot. Another kind allotmenteer donated a small drinking bowl and we set it all up on the car park area.

I went on the Royal Pigeon Racing Association website to take a look at what best to do and they have a good guide there. I managed to get a shot of the birds legs, but did not try to catch him. I’m assuming pigeon was a male as he did not seem to know the direction to his own home. Take a look here: Royal Pigeon

It was a Welsh Pigeon, from somewhere in the valleys and I found the phone number from the identity search on the Royal Pigeon site. Spoke to a delightful lady in the Valleys who gave me more advice on what to do.


My guest Welsh racing  pigeon. 


I’d done right to give it water, but from the limited numbers I’d got on the photo she could not identify exactly which one it was. Apparently the owners name is somtimes stamped on the wing, but not in this case ( unless it was underneath where I could not look ). She suggested giving it some dried rice or lentils to feed it, but not too often as it might want to stay. Perhpas one should try that with the in-laws when they come to stay. Give them one meal and then say “That’s it, you’ll have to go home now”.

Going prepared yesterday, with a heady mix of rice and some very middle class muesli, I found that he’d flown. Which in many ways was a relief. I rang my Welsh contact and advised her that he was on the way down the A40.

These racing pigeons are lovely looking birds and well worth saving.


The Art of the shed

I’m a fan of this artist’s work. Guided here by my other half who discovered him for herself some years ago, and is herself inspired by it, take a look at Antoni Tapies

In a homage to his paintings here are my own images, gleaned straight from the plot. A heady mixture of art and “sheddism”. A sunny day helps both the art of the shed and the growing of the plot.


This one is called “Untitled 1”


This one is “Unititled 2”


and this one is “Rusty nail”

and finally this one:


which is called” Self portrait with shed door juxtaposed”.

All are available as fine art prints, of course. Get in touch with your bank details.