The joys of walking are many and various, walking with a chum is recommended, though walking alone can sometimes have it’s moments too.
Today I set out early with my chum Robin. We were expecting hot weather so the early start was a must, and it was perfect. A walk in Paradise, as it really is called, just outside Painswick. Cotswold landscape at its very best. There used to be a bus stop there but it seems to have been dispensed with. Take a look here for a previous visit: Jesus drives a Porsche in Paradise.
Walking and talking we got into things political and I expressed some doubts about our rulers, whereupon Robin came up with the quote of the day: “Anyone wanting that job should not be allowed to do it” he said and I tend to agree. Thrusting ambition and naked greed for power seem to most of us to be unsuitable attributes to be a leader of the nation. But what do we know?
The subject was quickly dispensed with as we got on with worthier ones. We came across these horses. Now I’m not a big fan of horses as they can step on you and bite, but these chaps were not in the mood for anything but a curious bit of tail waving and strolling. At “3 o’clock” ( fighter pilot parlance I believe ) in the image you might glance another demon, looks like it might be a flying insect ready for breakfast. Scamble! Scramble!
Down in the valley where we kept cool, we took a break for a stare and a minor rendition from Robin, who’s a fine folk singer. Here he is backed by various birds whilst we take in a quick drying hay field. He and his fellow singers, known collectively as the Gloucester Diamonds have recently put together a cd of some lovely songs. Find out more right here: The Gloucester Diamonds
The walk ended in Painswick where we found a super little coffee shop after passing this chap mowing the bowling green for no apparent reason. I suspect that he would not gather more than a handful of clippings from the entire area. He had markers to guide where he’s been! It was like giving a completely bald bloke a haircut with a pair of electric clippers. We expected him to come out afterward and get the steam iron out on it. Now here’s a bloke who might make a good prime minister.
A week’s walking with 2 Canadians 3 Americans and two Brits, my other half included and a Scottish Leader. Scottish Leader was brilliant all round and the others all very good company too. We were all there to discover the same thing, that is the delights of walking in Skye. There were two ‘elephants in the room’: Trump and May, but amazingly we all seemed to be of the same mind. This was something of a blessing.
We all had a lot to talk about and loads of walking to do. I’ll let the pictures do the talking this time and it’s back to cartoons next time, rather than “What I did on my holidays”
Can’t go without mentioning the weather: generally good, sunny in patches, windy enough to keep the midges grounded for the most part. The rest of the UK was apparently cold and very wet, but we missed it.
This is where “Ring of Bright Water’ was written and where Gavin Maxwell lived and wrote the book. Ring of Bright Water
Still life with seaweed
Beach which has seaweed that has turned to this:
This is the graveyard where Flora Macdonald is buried along with fashion designer Alexander McQueen. I wonder if he would have liked his headstone, the location could not be beaten.
We climbed so high it felt like we were looking down from an aircraft, the light changed every few seconds and the views were just amazing as you can see here. What you might not get from this is the huge scale of the mountains. On a clear day, you can see Japanese tourists in thin clothing and designer handbags tottering up to view the strange people in boots walking the hills in rainproof gear and waterproof gaiters and gloves, in June!
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.
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?
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.
I’m in the middle of getting together my exhibition stuff for August, and here’s one of the final pieces. If a cartoon can be called a “piece”. There I go again devaluing what I do. In the good old days when I was working for ad agencies and design companies these sorts of drawings were commissioned and the fee was based on the use it was put to. If it was a visual then you’d be lucky to get £60-00 for it, if it was used for editorial in a magazine then it could be less than that. On the other hand if it was used for a small ad campaign then the fee could be aropund £300-00 or more to include the rights to the drawing. For a big ad campaign it could go into four figures ( rare this! ) This was in the 80’s and in the heyday of illustration being commissioned, and I was lucky to have had my best years of illustration commissions then.
Now I’ve changed direction and I’m doing all my own ideas and will soon be publishing them as prints from my website and having an exhibition of the originals. This one is just a sample of one of the prints on drawings about people with apt names, these two being Valerie Uptchuous and Benjamin Dover: Ballroom Dancing Champions. The original of this will be on sale at the exhibition, and this version as a print. Here’s another : Desmond Pratt
As someone who’s been ‘in the business’ for years I’m used to people saying ” How much!!?? ” when I tell them what I want for a drawing. This phrase is usually followed by the muttered, spluttered “…but it will only take you a short time to do it” as if creative work should be charged by the hour like a taxi driver on a meter.
The point of this is “How much?” I want to sell them, and of course I have digital files of all of them and I’m not selling the rights to the images, just the orginal black and white artwork.
I guess I’ll find a way, or let the market decide as they say. We’ll see. I’ll be posting more on the exhibitoion as we get closer to it in August. Apart from the drawings about people with apt names, there will be a series about the British, see here for more about that: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character Indicentally I’m still trying to find living relatives of the esteemed “Pont” to invite them along to the exhibition, but no luck so far.
I’m looking forward to it myself. I’m looking for other venues around the country to show it too, so any suggestions on where I might be able to take it, then let me know. I’ve looked in London but my reaction when I saw what they wanted for the rental of a small exhibition space was “How much!!!!!!!??????”
…apart from the fact that it’s not that far away from where we live. I don’t want all of you crowding in there getting in the way of the scenery. It’s like all those holiday magazines with the headlines “Undiscovered Thailand” which is not now going to remain undiscovered for much longer as everyone now knows, thanks to the magazine.
Stunning photograph by my friend Sally Ware, as is the following which she also took. She’s taken lots of photos of these wonderful leaves and this is just a sample of one of them.
I’ve been doing a lot of this lately, but then when one is drawing for an exhibition about the British it is to be expected. The fact we’ve had gallons of it dropping down on us in the last few days helps. I’ve done several versions of this idea and this might be the best so far, until tomorrow when I will no doubt ‘go off it’. It started out like the one below, and I’m not sure if I prefer the first drawing or this, or as agonising starts, neither.
I’ve had a week of framing the originals for the exhibition in August, so it’s been good to get back to some drawing again, apart from a very welcome day off in Cheddar.
I go walking with a good old friend of mine, and one of our favourite meeting places is in the Mendips near to the Cheddar Gorge, and yesterday we were confident of a fine day and some good walking. A reprise of a previous walk down the Cheddar gorge and unfortunately up the other side. Blubells much in evidence for the first part of the walk from Chaterhouse on the top of the hills. It seemed to us strange that these creatures of the woods were still there at this time of year and in the open rather than in a congregation under trees. No matter they were a lovely sight.
We arrived after a while and a walk through old lead mining area, at the top of the Gorge. We were well kitted with what we call stout walking boots and weatherproofs. The previous day we’d had almost biblical rain and we thought the ground would have been pretty muddy and sodden. It was not. We’ve had so much premanent dry weather our theory was that the land had acted like blotting paper and had soaked up all the moisture.
It was nevertheless a surprise to see two young men and their partners coming the other way with a puchchair and small child. The ground is quite steep and rocky and they were carrying a child in a pushchair, by carrying the pushchair. Female partners were dressed in thin shoes and clothes as if they’d thought it might be a good idea after a spell on the beach at nearby Weston super Mare, or as my satnav called in Weston s Mare. So the satnav does not think it’s that super then?
They would have had to climb out of the Gorge up dozens of steps to get there. One can admire their sense of adventure but not their sense.
Here’s Richard contemplating Weston in the distance. Super view.
It’s not changed that much since our last trip there: