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?

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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.

Bear with…

Bearwith

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.

The problems in America? It’s got to be the food.

It’s enough to turn anybody crazy. The things they eat over there get more and more extreme. I follow this site where the delightful Betty reviews food that she seems to buy from someone called Trader Joe.

Whatever next?

I have this vision of Joe in a large shed somewhere ( I’m keen on sheds as a place to be creative ) thinking “What can I put out there that will tickle their taste buds and send me laughing all the way to the bank?”.

Here are some recent gems from Joe:
Turkey Bacon. Great idea, lets get all the grim bits of that old turkey and press it until it looks like bacon and then get the road roller to flatten it so it resembles strips of bacon. No Joe! Bacon is bacon.

Organic Roasted Teriyaki Seaweed snack, what’s not to like? Well everything really Joe.

Shredded Cheese Blend. ” What if they think of buying cheese in a block, say three types, and then mixing it together Joe?” They’ll never think of that will they?

Coffee Flour. Made from dried and ground coffee cherry husks and husk skins. I kid you not, this is for real as they say. You know when you go to a coffee shop and the barista person knocks all those old coffee grounds out of the filter thingummy into a bin. Well Joe has been in there and knows how to monetise this stuff. Put it in flour. You’ll be delighted to know that it has limited production.

I was begining to think that we’d reached the nadir of foolishness when Betty posted something about Butter Lettuce. I’m pleased to report that they don’t put butter on the lettuce. It’s tempting to think that they do but it’s a type.

All these things might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Last on my list is Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef. If it’s beefless it’s not beef, so how come thay can call it beef if it’s not. This is not fake news, rumours to the contrary are groundless.

Eating any of this stuff is likely to make you trump. Hopefully they’ll find an antacid that will solve the problem.

Burger3web

 

Some useless phrases: tell me about it?

Well there’s one to start with: “Tell me about it!” There I was commenting on the inclement weather just the other day to huge shopkeeper: I said by way of greeting: “What a cold day it is today”…”Tell me about it?” he answers. ” I just did ” I replied.

“Going forward”. There’s another phrase put in when they mean in the future. ” We’ll be making big changes going forward” is the call, when they mean “in future”. Going forward sounds like you might have a choice. Unless I’m sadly mistaken none of us can go backwards in time, and “Going forward” sounds like we have a choice.

“I’m good” as a response to “How are you?” Not good. Indequate reponse. I usually respond with ” How good is that?” OK so I’m starting to sound like a miserable old grumbler. Well I’m not really, take my word for it.

” Can I get an espresso and one of your cakes?” CAN I GET???? NO YOU CAN’T, THAT’S WHY THE PERSON BEHIND THE COUNTER IS EMPLOYED, TO GET IT FOR YOU!!! Sorry, getting cross and grumbly again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

calmed down now.

Juxtapose in any discussion regarding art and design concept that’s put there to sound like you really know what you are talking about. You probably do, my dislike is entirely unreasonable.

Spend and Save. Can’t be done so don’t let any Supermarket tell you otherwise.

Nothing acts faster. In that case don’t take that tablet, if nothing acts faster than that to deal with a headache, then do as they suggest, and take nothing.

Here’s a random cartoon…

 

 

Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

A quick aside from my musings on Greece and our trip to Spetses.

I’m working towards an Exhibition in August here in Cheltenham of drawings that go under the title of “The British Character”. This project was inspired by the finding of a small book that I found in a charity shop by the same name which had an intro by the late Alan Coren – now there was a funny man.The drawings in this book are by Pont, who’s real name was Graham Laidler. Mr Laidler was one of the country’s leading cartoonists in the late 1930’s and had a perceptive eye for the way of the British, as well as wonderful draughtsmanship skills. I have used his ideas as the basis for my own interpretations and drawings for the exhibition.

I thought it right in the circumstances that I might invite relatives of Pont to the Exhibition to see a modern take on his thoughts, so I embarked on a search to find them. Everyone I asked has been quick to respond but until today I have had little positive feedback. An email to the Cartoon Museum has today resulted in a positive response and someone who knows of living relatives. As I write I am waiting to see if there will be more, and if I am able to invite them down here in August. A big thanks to Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum for her help.

I’ve never been to the Cartoon Museum, perhaps I should!  Cartoon Museum in London

Inventiongreyweb341

The British Character
A capacity for invention linked to great optimism


You can see some of Pont’s fine work here and even buy one of his originals.
Pont at Punch     Chris Beetles Gallery

Umpire of the Sun

umpire-of-the-sun333

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?

 

 

 

 

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…


squadronldr2

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.