Coming up next year…


I’m working on a little book written by my chum Gordon Thorburn, ( Men and Sheds ) who apart from writing about sheds and bomber pilots from the Second World War ( Books about all sorts ), has written a little tome about…well, I’ll leave exactly what it’s about until I have it all ready.

I’m doing the drawings for it and hope to publish it on-line in the New Year, or perhaps will be able to make a start before Christmas, as you’ll have plenty of time to read, learn, and digest. We’ll see.

It will be on this site every week, on the same day, until it’s demise. I found it entertaining and witty. I suppose it is aimed at children so it did suit me very well.

Here’s a rough of one of the drawings for it, followed by the next version, some of you illustrator people out there might be interested in the technicalities: there are none. It’s drawn straight onto layout paper with a Pentel sign pen, then drawn again, then drawn again for the final, then mounted onto board with Studio Gum ( today’s equivalent of Cow Gum ) and some pastel half tone and shadow might be added and perhaps a bit of whiting out of some areas with Dr PH. Martin’s Bleed Proof White ( I kid you not! ). If it needs any more surgery after that then I use a scalpel to cut out or amend, cutting through the top layer of layout paper. Then the final is scanned and if necessary some final tweaks are made, digitally.

This is drawing one, followed by drawing two, final will follow when the book is published here.



Revolutionary in action.

It’s a sort of revolution.

Before you skip to the end you need to read this handy guide to book revolution above, reblogged from an earlier blog, so like a biscuit it’s been cooked at least twice.

Here’s the revolution taking place.

Taken with Lumia Selfie

Taken with Lumia Selfie

It’s a harmless sort of protest, so when you see an unworthy book. Join the revolution.I’m sure Mr Vardy is a delightful human being.

Here’s another picture from this week which speaks for itself. It takes a really good cartoon idea for a member of the public to go to the trouble of doing this, and in common with a lot of cartoons it tends to say what we all seem to think. All credit to the cartoonist Royston for this one. Royston the cartoonist




It’s a sort of revolution.

turnthebook135.jpgI’m re-blogging this from some time ago as we are in the season of celebrity books and here in Nam ( Cheltenham ) we’ve just had the what people call the ‘lit fest’. It’s a great boost to the town bringing in loads of worthy media folk and writers looking for an extra sale of a recent tome.

Here’s something that I am wont to do now and again.

I’m sure that many people like me, take against certain celebrities. One of my own dislikes is that chap who swears a lot whilst cooking. I do a bit of that myself when cooking but not at other people, and if I did would expect more than a mouthful back. There are others but for the time being we’ll limit it to the one. In general I don’t dislike people but it’s what they do that at times finds my disapproval.

So what to do about it? I suppose I should take direct action and write to this chap and ask him to moderate his language whilst  in the kitchen, but it’s hardy likely to succeed. After all his success is based upon his base language and the reaction to it.

Celebs such as he generally write books. It funds their lifestyle and they do need to make a living.

So here’s a plan learnt from my father, who apparently did this on a regular basis with anyone who wrote a book and who he thought did not deserve to sell it. When next in the bookshop the book of the celeb will be prominently displayed with aforementioned celeb photographed in action on the cover.

Turn the books. Put them back on the shelf but back to front.

That’s it! Not earth shattering but a gesture of disapproval that hurts no one. The back of the celebrity book is likely to be deeply uninteresting but if it has the celebrity on the back too, then turn it upside down too. They look quite ridiculous upside down. Come to think of it, it’s only people who are quite ridiculous that deserve this sort of revolution.

Turn the books!

I’ll be looking in my local bookstore to see if this catches on.

Guiting power, the unknown force.


Guiting Power

The uncanny way that a vicar is able to pedal a very heavy bicycle at a constant speed no matter what the gradient of the slope or the load carried in the front basket. There is always a front basket.

Continuing my series on possible meaning of Gloucestershire names, this place is in the Cotswolds and probably does not see a lot of these gentlemen these days.

guiting powermap

Bishop’s Cleeve, well it could be.


Bishop’s Cleeve

The word cleeve is generally thought to relate to the way a valley is formed, so it’s a geographical term. So a Cleeve is a wooded valley. How it relates to a Bishop is unknown, could be a favourite walk of the Bishop or possibly a parade through the area by religious people.

Can also mean the dark area between a barmaids full bosom, but this is conjecture.

Another place name meaning, I like the idea that a Bishop would go walking in full regalia through a wooded valley. As you can see from the map here it’s near Woodmancote so my theory about a wooded valley holds weight.


The print works…

This blog was published about a year ago. Sadly the print works mentioned is no longer in business, whatever has happened to all this old type is anyone’s guess.

Last week I had the pleasure of a trip around a print factory. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s certainly mine. Stanley L Hunt Limited started way back during the First World War and isn’t it brilliant that they are still going strong now. A family business that has a load of history.

Let’s get some of my history in here now. I worked as a professional cartoonist for 30 years before I found a’proper’ job as a print ‘rep’ for a company in Gloucester, though they called me an ‘account manager’. They were a family firm also like Stanley L Hunt, so some parallels there. In a sense I’ve worked with print for over 40 years, either supplying images for it or trying my best more recently, to sell it. I’m an enthusiast for it and saddened by anyone who’s not. I can bore for England about fonts and my almost pathological dislike of comic sans. So imagine my delight at seeing a trays of Caslon, in metal, sitting neatly before me, just last week.


They told me also on my visit that they had found some of that wonderful wooden type, used for letterpress posters. In which case ( no pun intended ) they would have printed the posters on a machine like this. A wonderful Heidelberg press, now used by them to cut out shapes and forms.



There was more! This is a thread sewing binding machine. I’ve never seen one before. It’s for thread sewn books, the very creme de la creme of bookbinding. You don’t see many of these machines any more and this one, which I believe is Swiss made, still  runs like clockwork.

A big thank you to all at Stanley L Hunt’s for making me so welcome and for the tour of the factory. A place full of history and skills that are rare these days.


Bookshop Owner


…occurs in both sexes. Driven out of populous areas by larger, more aggressive types, the remaining few Bookshop Owners survive in nooks and crannies.

Cyril Trumpet was the last scion of the family Trumpet, owners and runners of Trumpet & Son Publishing Bookshop since 1879. They hadn’t published a book since the ‘Trumpet’s Care and Maintenance’ series, marvellous little books brought out with brilliant timing in the 1960s and 70s. They told you everything you needed to know about looking after mechanical typewriters, wooden tennis racquets, slide rules, comptometers, 78rpm records and washing machines with hand-operated wringers.

Cyril was a kindly soul with old-fashioned beliefs. He took an interest in all his customers and thought it his job to find what they wanted or, if he could not find it, to get it at whatever inconvenience to himself. He listened to what the publishers’ sales reps said when they called to tell him about new books, and was available to meet them when he said he would be.

He looked at books for quality and originality and never allowed his own private views to interfere with his selections. So, even if he had been a bluestocking PC feminist manhater, he would still have had books in his shop with sexy pictures of females on the cover, if he thought they were good and would sell.

Similarly, even if Cyril had been a young gentleman graduate in 19th century Canadian Literature, with an MA in The Trials of Oscar Wilde and a deep bitterness at being a failed poet, he would still have been polite to anyone who came in his bookshop.

Cyril liked books because they are books. He liked good ideas and elegant style. He liked variety and thought that five different titles about quilting were quite enough, refusing to stock the other 128.

Unfortunately, Cyril could not work a computer and did not understand how the big stores could offer best-selling titles at a retail price lower than he had to pay wholesale. He did not understand The Market. He, foolishly, thought that the market was the people who had stalls on the square every Tuesday.

Poor Cyril. He sold his shop three years ago. It’s been Age Concern, Oxfam and British Heart Foundation. Now it’s going to be a pizza take-away.


Words by that impeccable but grumpy wordsmith, Gordon Thorburn.