Random phrases of a mad person, or someone trying to sell you a gold chain in a bus station.

Thanks goodness for the filter that weeds out those emails from companies trying to sell you stuff. One this morning from National Express, the UK coach people, who think I might want to go to Glastonbury. No doubt to have a weekend camping in mud whilst listening to very average music.

These emails are like being accosted and interupted in a bus station by someone trying to sell you a genuine gold chain. The seller seems a bit dodgy, if he says the chain is genuine gold it’s not, and it’s likely to be stolen. The guy reeks of alchohol and it’s only 9.30 in the morning. The normal thing to do is not to engage in conversation.

Well, that’s got that off my chest.

Time to go down and do some plotting…












Autumn plotting…

Some days of Autumn the light catches just right and yesterday was such a day. Not my plot but one that I cross on a favourite walk. This one caught my eye. If you look a little closer you’ll see a fine crop of tommies in that greenhouse and the greens have done ok too.


Anyone familiar with my site will know my liking for sheds. This plot with it’s amazing collection of slightly raised wooden beds for the veg must have taken hours of work to get right. I think I know what they are trying to achieve and that’s to eliminate the dreaded couch grass. I won’t work, but it will help. That stuff could tunnel into a bank vault, which some of you might remember over here is another pastime that us pensioners get up to. Pensioner pastimes


On my own plot I have the other dreaded weed: horse’s tail. Someone asked me what it looks like the other day. I asked if they’d ever seen a horse’s tail. What I could do with is what comes out from below the horses tail.

Sunflowers are a favourite with artists and they are with me. If I get some of that stuff that comes out from below the horses tail I might give them a go next year on my own plot. These two are somewhat degraded from their full yellow glory but magnificent still.



Have a good Monday, and if you’re a pensioner, stick to the plot.



“Sorry about the mess” said the pilot.

It’s not the words you want to hear when climbing into the rear of a two seater aircraft. The pilot, a large bloke with a big ‘wooly pully’ as he might call it was heaving his not inconsiderable frame into the front behind the array of instruments and the all important joy stick. I was hoping he’s be able to see it among all the litter in the plane which consisted of many sweet wrappers and discarded fag packets. For those readers in the US we call cigarettes fags, amongst other things.

” I’ll drive” he joked and then said “strap yourself in then”, and then muttered something about “health and safety” as if strapping yourself into an aeroplane was ever not an option.

I’d gone along to this local gliding centre to take photos of gliders and people learning to fly them, and here I was with Wing Commander Sidney ” Sweetie” Pie ( Not his real name ) about to take to the air in a small but noisy German aeroplane in the hunt for the photos in question. “I thought I was going to just be on the ground” I chatted to him nervously as the plane bowled down the field that they took for a runway in these parts. ” No bloody good getting pictures of the things on the ground, let’s go and find some up here”, he answered cheerfully. As we took off with a glider attached I squeaked a barely audible “OK”


What followed put considerable strain on my undercarriage as well as the plane’s. Once we’d got to what he called a decent height and I called near space, he pulled a large lever and let the glider we were towing off to find some thermals. By this time the camera I had taken with me was higher than my face in the cockpit as I sank down as close to the seat as I could crush myself.

For the next terrifying fifteen minuets that felt like an hour, he chased around the sky like a demented Spitfire pilot chasing after a Focke Wolfe, the first of these words was akin to something that I muttered each time he dipped his wing and zoomed into another target.

He landed perfectly after the excursion and helped my gingerly out of the back, offering me one of his collection of sweet assortments. I can’t say the photographs came out that well, though I did get a good close up of the closing mechanism of a plane’s cockpit hood. More by accident than design.

Chocs away!


British Camp?

Ok, this is the first time I’ve posted a film. This is called British Camp, it’s an outdoorsy type of epic starring Malvern Hills and has far reaching views. Production values are not up to much, it was done on a phone after all, so you’ll be pleased that it is very short.

An October walk on the Malvern Hills is the main story line. The story ends with Tiffin the hero of the outing which can be found at the end of the walk and is not to be missed. No saccharin here this is real chocolate with a chocolate topping, absolutely topping with a cup of tea.


This is one of the opening scenes


Way out West you can see for miles over to the Shropshire Hills and Wales beyond.


Back down on the home run there is the cafe, perched on the hillside. Ring both bells and you will be well served. Tiffin and tea, what better way to end the adventure.


Roll credits:

Tiffin was served by Ruffz Refreshment Kiosk
Midsummer Hill, Malvern and made by the proprietor

Miss Toni Leigh Hollings
who sounds like a star too!

Find them on Facebook:Ruffz
Then seek out after a healthy walk. Well worth it.

Summer exhibition…that was fun.

Here are some of the exhibits from the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition which I enjoyed and if you’ll excuse the pun, from my perspective.


I rather like the way people lean when looking at pictures as if to look around them, or perhaps  as in this case as he did not lean, the image was talking to him into those lovely big ears.



This is two pieces, a sculpture and a painting behind. Someone being clever here with the curating. Clever curator!

And then last of the series I took is this one, it must have been done pre Brexit and speaks volumes.



I suspect that this exhibition is over now, but yesterday I took in the Picasso Portraits one at the National Portrait Gallery, not allowed to photograph anything there which was a shame. For my money I enjoyed the Summer Exhibition much more and thought the National Portrait people had put on a poor show, dull rooms and home movies of the man himself did nothing for me. Not all the drawings were that good either. Picasso has so much outstanding work, some in here but not all.You should be told, it’s expensive to visit.


Is it only coffee?


I think not these days.

I remember  way back when I was a teenager many years ago, that a coffee bar opened in the local town: Preston in Lancashire. It became the place to go to and all they served was coffee in little glass cups. It was almost exclusively a young place. The coffee was unexceptional, but it was the first coffee with froth on the top, so we thought it was cool.

I’m a coffee fan, not an addict, but I like a good cup of strong coffee and on journeys through France, it was an ideal way to rest and recover. The strong coffee had mileage attached, about 3 hours of alert driving for every cup. Well the French have gone to pot. Many of the motorway halts in France now serve up coffee from a metal machine. Now I’m no absolute purist but this is really an offence against the state, and says much about the state of France. They taught us how to cook properly all those years ago and how to serve decent coffee to the masses on the move. Now it’s just corporate grim.

Over here we decided that motorway coffee was yuk, and now corporates have got a grip on the trade in a totally different way to France. You have to queue for a cup at a Costa’s or similar, whilst the barista makes you the coffee of your choice. We’ve shown the French how it should be done and we learnt it from them in the first place.

Out in the town the coffee reaches even more heights of sophistication, with a ready choice of smart ( but not too smart: “Make it look like it was warehouse please”) places that serve coffee of almost every description. To cap this they even have ‘tasting notes’ in some places and guest coffee. The temptation is to say this is all b*ll*cks, but it’s really not. It’s got to be better than a French machine generated undrinkable sludge. So well done us, we came near the top in the Olympics and we’re good at coffee. Perhaps the two are related.

Coffee final.jpg

This is Tamper in Sheffield, where they serve excellent coffee, why not try a few and stay awake for a week. A few cups could get you to the South of France without having to stop.

Tamper Coffee



Yes, that’s tasting notes folks on a guest coffee! Try asking for that in France.


I’m having a short break from posting cartoons and will be posting photos and other hopefully interesting stuff for a short while. Sharpening the pencil for later. Summer is not drawing weather for me. Wet days and dark evenings make for more drawing time in my book.

Thanks for visiting.


Killing time in Newport…

So there I was in Newport, South Wales. I won’t elaborate the reasons but I had to go there. I had no choice. I ended up having 4 hours to kill in the place and it had it’s highs and lows. Here’s one of the highs. I’m keen to photograph people but it’s a delicate skill perhaps. With nothing to lose today and with a person who must liked being looked at I asked this chap if I could take a picture of him. I’m not desperately keen on tattoos but this one was pretty good and it’s really the first time I’ve seen someone with tattoos all over their face. He seemed like a really pleasant chap too, smiley and quite happy for me to tell him to ‘look over there please’. In fact I found the people in Newport to be friendly all round in the short time I was there.


Then it was off to the Art Gallery and what a treat that was too.They have a collection of teapots, and this one in particular caught my eye. This is ‘old Bill’ a cartoon character invented by a First World War artist called Bruce Bairnsfather. I’ve not seen it before in the form of a pot, but it really is a good one. Bairnsfather gained fame and plaudits for his work depicting the typical good humoured ‘tommy’ in that dreadful conflict. Looking at the two images when I got back from Newport I was struck by a small similarity, though I expect that neither would agree.


Bluebell fields and a grand day out.

My chum Richard who was at college with me some years ago, does walking, and occasionally I join him. We meet midway between where we live and this is conveniently the Mendip Hills in Somerset, just a mile or three inland from Weston super Mare. Last week we had the chance to give the area another treading and what a wonderful day it was.


Here’s Richard looking his usual relaxed self. 

Normally I would expect to see blue bells in the woods, which we did but they were even more abundant on the scrubland fields, and as an added bonus there were more skylarks than I’ve ever seen before in one place.


Then there was the garlic. When we reached the wooded areas there was the wild garlic covering the ground, hardly a bluebell to be seen in this area just a mass of white flowers. About five hours of walking, it did us both the power of good.

I’m told by one of my kind ‘followers’ that dropping in these little items is a nice change of pace, so here’s another and back to the drawing board and the snowy wastes next time.Thanks for dropping by.


Back to snowy wastelands tomorrow.