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.


It’s got beer in it.


Today’s caption is by Tony Farmer. I suspect he is fond of beer.

Tony is another talented member of the writer’s group here in Cheltenham which perhaps should be called the ‘City of Words’ with it’s fine literary festival, and probably would be if the town’s publicity department could have their way, and if it was a city and not a town.

Perhaps I should n’t have said that, it might rankle with them.



Signs of the times or perhaps time of the signs…

It seems right to take a break from cartoons.




I love signs and here’s a collection of some recent gems.
The first taken in Sheffield kills two birds with one stone, the first is the Chinese restaurant.How long did it take them to come up with that one, a big improvement on one in Cheltenham where there’s one called “Mini roundabout Chinese Takeaway”. What if they change the road plan, could spell disaster for them.Note also the car selling electronic fags ( in the UK fags is short for cigarettes for any US readers ) He must be doing well from this new habit to afford a personalised number plate.


The next is a sign in a local toy shop.The owner of the shop is obviously miffed that he is missing out on trade because of the local parking restrictions, it’s a gesture of independence, good for him. And if you do go in you can get yourself a nice toy police helmet: there’s one in the window.


Last, this van, also spotted locally. I love the sentiment in this sign. These guys obviously suffered at school for being clever and now are enjoying getting their own back. Good on you geeks!



To all those who follow me here I hope you have a very peaceful and Happy New Year .




Green belt under threat.

Green belt under threat.

Here’s today’s offering. A drawing for a local action group to try and help them stave off housing being built on our green and pleasant areas.
Here in rural Gloucestershire we have some of the finest countryside the country. Surrounding Cheltenham are areas of green where the council plan to build more homes. We need more houses but is it not within the wit of the local council and the ‘powers that be’ to look at derelict industrial areas to regenerate with housing? For your insight Mr Horwood is the local MP and is likely to be chucked out if he supports the plan which he does at present,and Mr Jordan is on the local council and is also supporting the present plan.
I wish our local group well with the campaign to check building on green belt areas. I hope this helps them.