The rare breed: a gardener sitting down.

gardenweb

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!

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.

Pigeon

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.

 

No such thing as a Greek postcode?

I’ve had a break from blogging as we took a trip to Spetses in Greece to visit a long standing friend and fine printmaker/artist. It’s a long trip that’s worth it. Flight to Athens and a night at Piraeus, the nearby port, before departure the next morning on the ferry. The joy of dropping in on a couple of other islands on the way including Hydra, where Leonard Cohen found himslef in the 60’s. What was he so bloody miserable about? I was in Manchester where one had the rain to be miserable about, and his bloody records did not help.

I was apparently studying art and design, though this was not always apparent to anyone else,  Ros was there too and already showed talent. I remember being very impressed with her stylish haircut, an odd east London accent, and the fact that she’d been on “Ready Steady Go”, one of the orginal pop programmes that was on ITV in those days, as well has her artistic abilities of course!

rosshelf

Are artists like jackdaws? Can’t resist collectiong bits and bobs, this is the wall outside Ros’s place, you’ll never find it, there’s no postcode, but at least you get to see it. For the real deal go to her website: Ros’s site  It’s well worth a click. 


We were on our way to see her and her hubby, as well as to get in some walking. It was February when we set off and I’d packed nice warm clothes. Some never came out of the suitcase. Or accommodation was in sniffing distance of the bakery and in the old town, recommend staying there, though take a sense of direction with you, only a couple of streets have names. Apparently you find places by knowing the names of who lives there.I was looking forward to seeing a postman with a look of total confusion, but it appears that Ros’s post is just delivered to a bar in town where they know she and hubby pop into regularly.

What we found on Spetses was wondefuly scenery, very friendly people and weather to match their sunny dispositions, we were lucky in some respects that we’d caught a good week. I shall blog some more about the place over the coming week with tales of dogs on bikes ( really ) and some unusual community singing, but for the time being take a look at this little video, the result of a walk to the top of the island. No road noise, there are no cars apart from the odd taxi on Spetses. In the distance the Peloponese mountains of the mainline with a dusting of snow on the peaks and a bird in the background. Anyone know what it is?

You may also hear a bee landing on me at the finale to the video. It too was friendly.

 

 

 

Trapped in a Post Office queue with a bird…

Woolworth’s used to make all their profit at Christmas and I’ve no doubt that the Post Office do very well at the same time of year. Let’s hope they can keep going, unlike dear old Woolies. They seem to be trying all sorts of things to keep their heads afloat and at present are blessed by the simple fact that people still want to post Christmas cards. My local Post Office was rammed the other day when I chose to post a small parcel.

The main post office sold off their impressive building in the centre of the town and took some space on the first floor of WH Smiths, so when there one can indulge in some revolutionary activity as they even have books displayed on the ‘queue maker cage’ . They are usually the books you would want to turn as well,that is the so-called best sellers that are always 50% off. Do they ever sell any of these tomes at the price inside the dust jacket ( if they have such a thing ). For more about book shop revolution take a look here:

It’s a sort of revolution.

turnthebook135.jpg

However, this time, knowing that the W H Smith main branch would be mega rammed, I chose a small local branch. To while away the time I was able to look over the magazine section right next to me, and came across this brilliant title.

poultrycover

Poultry posers! Brilliant. I bet the editor thought of that one on the way into his swish editorial office on his Southern Region train. On second thoughts, both those might be fiction. That is :swish office and a train on the Southern Region.

As someone once said of my drawings and cartoons ” Who buys this stuff?” Well someone must and to be fair, you can sell almost any magazine with a bird on the cover. At least they had the good grace not to feature a turkey, but then it is the January Edition.

 

 

 

Is that a Sedge Warbler or what?

I’ve had a day out at Slimbridge with Betty, my step mother in law, and we are both bird watchers but not twitchers. Slimbridge is on the banks of the River Severn and is a magnificent spot. The Wildlife and Wetlands Trust has it’s place there and the main part of their facility is a rest home for all kinds of wetlands birds. More ducks and geese than you would ever normally see. It has a bit of the look of a theme park in the main area, which is careful fenced, in the main to keep out foxes who would have a field day in there.

Just outside this area is a walk down to the banks of the Severn, a large area to walk through mainly with reeds and grasses and this is naturally a good place to spot the elusive Reed Warbler or it’s brother Sedge. It’s not been my pleasure to spot these before although I’m told by Betty that they are not that uncommon. They are shy little beasts and although we did get a fleeting glance, they were too busy singing at below eye level in the reeds.

I was racking my brains to recall when I had last heard that song, then it came to me. “Are you sure it’s a Reed Warbler Betty”, I asked. “It could be a Sedge she said with utter confidence”. “I’m sorry to disappoint you”, I said, “I think it’s an HP Deskjet Printer which is just getting ready to print. I had one on my desk just this morning”.

Check it out, they sound just the same.

Warbler122

After the eclipse,it turned out very sunny.

Trees

So here in Cheltenham at 9-30 this morning it went darker, not much darker than normal, and then it went light again. Very light. So I took advantage of a it and went for a walk with ‘she with the map’. A new booklet came through the door with walks in the area and we tested one out: Sheepscombe

 

Cricket

Brilliant sunny afternoon and we came across this, which is supposed to be the most beautiful cricket field in England. It’s in Sheepscombe in Gloucestershire and has just the most stunning views across the valley. Laurie Lee, the famous poet and writer apparently used to play here and had a hand in preserving it as a cricket field ad infinitum. The gorse was beginning to open and the birds were in abundance enjoying a warm afternoon. What could be better, perhaps a half pint of bitter before a return to urban life, if it can be called that in leafy Cheltenham. Sadly the pub was shut, and activity around the area was just mums collecting children from the local village school.

Drawing cartoons is best done on days when it’s cold and rainy outside, an afternoon like this afternoon is best used for getting out and feeling the sun on your back and looking at the birds and the trees.

Gorse