More about the true meaning of Gloucestershire names



One of those parkas your dad or granddad used to own in the seventies that you never bothered to throw away. The undefined fur on the collar is somewhat perished and moth eaten. It has no waterproofing qualities at all and never did, and if mistakenly worn in wet conditions will act like blotting paper.

May have the slight smell of patchouli oil, the rennants of a visit to a music festival but more likely to give off the odour of cow manure.

Here’s another of my recent drawings for my little book of Gloucestershire names and their true meaning. I’m working on the book but it’s a bit behind schedule at present. It’s typical of those projects of one’s own where one agonises on what it should look like instead of just doing it.

More to come.

Splishy Splashy and others…

I’ve taken up swimming. I loathe swimming but it’s like hitting your head with a hammer, it feels good when you stop. I suspect that runners have similar feelings and that it’s all to do with self inducing drugs that the exercise induces: endowotsits. The source of my hate is that I was forced to swim every week, at least three times a week by a school that had proudly built a swimming pool. As a boarder they sent us twice at weekends to keep us cool and to give us something constructive to do, and then we had regular lessons in the week.

My recent conversion is for a number of reasons that are too boring to go into, but the concencus is that it will ‘do me good’, and I reluctantly have to admit that it has. I go to the local outdoor pool that is one of those 1930’s lido’s that has been well maintained and is HEATED. The steam rises from the pool if there happens to be a cold morning.

I’m amazed at some of the swimmers that plough up and down that pool. They swim faster than most people jog, and continuously. They get their own lanes, the rest of the saps have to maintain pool etiquette. We plough up and down but occasionally have to take avoiding action. I realised just how slow I was when I found even the ones in the sap lanes seemed to go a lot faster than me. Not to worry, this is not a race. However it is interesting to note some of the types up to their necks in water.

The other day I noticed a very smart lady enter the pool gracefully with what seemed to be a new hairdo and I wondered how on earth she was going to manage, but manage she did.She did not get even slightly damp from the neck upwards and seemed to glide through the water like a swan, her dark glasses still in place with a discreet earnings to complete the ensemble.


Then there are the titans. They are large women who seem also to glide through the water effortlessly, they can hardly walk on dry land but once in the weight bearing water they displace a very fast bow wave.


Then to the men…well they are a similar mix though none that I have seen keep their hair dry, most don’t have any anyway. Some are real lane rage yobs and none more so than Mr Splashy Splashy, the other day. I’m at a loss how much effort he was able to put into his forward crawl and gave the impression that he was drowning rather than swimming. The ladies were not amused, fortunately ‘smart hair’ was not there, otherwise words might have been said.


Only last week I though I might have a bit of a triumph. I was catching up with one of my fellow swimmers. As I drew level I could see that she must have been at least 80 years old and was striking out for the end of the pool just a head of me. I thought to myself ‘I’m not going to be beaten by granny’, but I was by a short hand. My excuse is a good one, she had a weight advantage on me, she had no teeth in.


Just a walk away…

So you might have expected a couple of Siberian Border guards but the weather today has been so good that they have melted away. They’ll be back soon. Off for a walk through the town and came across this gem of a house, and yes it is a house, here in Cheltenham.


Then up to Pitville to meet my walking companion for the afternoon stroll. Pitville is a super park area that was at one time only available to the residents that surrounded it, but is now thankfully open to all. Here we came across a wild planting area that could have been from deep in the countryside but was right there in front of us, and today looked at its very best. Teasels and all sorts of wild flowers that were a bit of a mystery to me and on the very sunniest of afternoons. This is a bit of a change from of late where we’ve had rain wind and very cold days, so the opportunity to get out and enjoy the sun was just a little too much to resist.


Quite a few of these local residents of the park were out as well also enjoying the teasels.


Still life with crisps


As anyone can see from my “Mr Grumpy” profile picture, I like a grumble.

Here’s today’s.In the days when the clever victorians designed the local park here they had a ‘Parkie’ who looked after it, and carried about his person a brush and shovel. This function has now been taken over by the local Borough Council, who no doubt ‘outsource it’ to some large cleaning conglomerate who bring in their machines to clean the park. In general they do a wonderful job but the devil’s in the detail. I have no doubt that they are not allowed to use a hand held brush as this would give them the same health and safety worries as if they were carrying a loaded semi automatic. Instead they have to rely on a machine to pick up the litter and the leaves, as this is completely safe and totally automatic.

This leaves them in a bit of a corner, as it leaves the leaves in a bit of a corner. In this particular instance it even left an empty packet of crisps too, bonus!

Blame the writers.


The next few blogs were inspired, if that’s the right word, by my evening with the Montpellier Writers Group. The theme was to do with senses for the evening and was testing, so I opted out in a way by just hoovering up little writer’s gems from the evening.

The one above is my own view of probably what I’m like with these sort of things.

Thanks to all those who made more sense of it than I did and apologies for recycling and here and there revamping any of your ideas.

Banksie revisited, what a shame.

We were blessed here in Cheltenham with a visit from famous graffiti artist Banksie about a year ago when he painted this blank wall on the end of a terrace of houses. I thought it was a good joke given that Cheltenham listens to the world through GCHQ, and it brightened up the house facade.

banksie first

A year on and this is the result. Nothing very funny about this mess. Wrangles about who owns it and who can profit from it have made it into this, together with a visit from someone with more paint and a lot less talent than Mr Banksie. It would be good if someone had the bright idea of just repainting the house in its original colour and leaving well alone.

Banksie shame

I wonder if it had been done by anyone other than a famous artist anyone would have bothered.

After the eclipse,it turned out very sunny.


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



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.