“If I were you I would n’t start from here”

So goes the alleged first line of directions to a driver in Ireland. Now I’ve been to Ireland and the only time I got directions was from a taxi driver in Dublin when trying to find my way to a particular street where awaited a bed and breakfast for myself and family. As I got back into the car my other half asked me what he’d suggested.

“I have absolutely no idea what he said to me his accent was so thick, but he did smile a lot giving the impression that the place would be hard to find”

As I drove off and took the next left I could feel that he was watching me having probably told me to take the next right, right?

This was of course well before the invention of sat nav and nothing could give that frisson of excitement as one set off knowing that we’d get lost at least twice on any trip. Even with the benefit of sat nav, which I have but failed to switch on my last trip to Yorkshire. I became overconfident of my sense of direction and managed to circle Sheffield before plunging into the centre to find myself again, making a journey from Holmfirth to Sheffield at least 20 minutes longer than it needed to be.

All this to illustrate what I’ve been working on recently. It’s a continuation of a set of drawing about the British, based on the work of cartoonist “Pont” who was actually someone called Graham Laidler ( The man himself ) and did a series of cartoons about the British in the 1930’s. I’m doing my best to bring this up to date and will be exhibiting the drawings both here and for real at a Gallery in Cheltenham in the Summer. A deadline that I hope I can find.driver207sf

This particular one is perhaps not quite as up to date as I think, as although there is a sat nav in the car, none of them is looking at it and all of them, bar the driver, think they know where they should be going. This is the line work, not the final drawing. I’ll post the final one if it reaches the ‘cut’ with the others later in the year.





Unintentional Diversion

I thought that might make a great name for a book. I’m not big on reading novels, I prefer to read about things that are supposed to be true. Like biographies and history stuff, but you could argue that not a lot of these are strictly ‘true’ being someone’s version of someone or someone’s version of events long past.

I suppose it could be a racing driver’s autobiography ( no pun intended ). Now there’s a book that I’ll find hard to pick up, having no interest in driving part from getting from A to B and zero interest in cars. Though I do think we all have too many of them for our common good and most of them sit around doing nothing, apart from losing value all day.

So wither the title?

Well I’ve been out all day, driving, and in this country if you drive from North to South or visa versa, you’ll have no problem finding your way quickly. However going against the grain and driving across the country is fraught with the possibilities of getting lost. Some months ago I tried this very thing and attempted to reach Buckinghamshire. Those of you out of the UK might think this is a made up name where Postman Pat resides in a land of cottages and summer sunshine. Driving, alone, in the daylight, I could not find it. I was supposed to be going for lunch with some chums, but by the time I got even close they would have been on the pud and ready for home, so I turned around and went home. In my world Buckinghamshire does not exist, and should not.

Today I had to go to Corby ” Home of the World Famous Trouser Press”, I am told.I was collecting chairs bought on eBay, long story: not very interesting. Remembering disappearing Buckinghamshire I made sure that I was completely ready for the trip. Not far, but against the grain. To add to the help I used a sat nav thingy on my mobile phone.

Normally in the car with company I would expect the odd word, like: “Should we be going on the M1?” a phrase guaranteed to sap my self confidence. But this time I was alone apart from Sally Satnav. She was extremely helpful, telling me to take the third exit off the roundabout or whatever, in plenty of time and never once questioning if we should indeed be on the M1, which we should not have. I did detect a hint of impatience when she spoke the dreaded word: “Recalculating”but that aside she was perfect company. We got there fine without mishap, apart from the unintentional diversion onto the M1, and a tour of the Northamptonshire countryside.

Chairs loaded onto the car I set off back across the country, remembering my mistake with the M1. As I approached the area where I’d gone wrong, there on the side was an illuminated sign advising me of a change of road layout and to ‘Ignore Satnav!’. She’d already told me to take a left so steeling myself for a bit of a telling off, I pressed on.

I’m sure there was a bit of a sigh from her when tight lipped she told me to stay on this road for 20 miles… there was a tone of resignation in her voice. Was she leading me astray. Perhaps her mood would change and she’d say: ” I live quite close to here, we could call in for a coffee, if you get my drift?” Or would she never speak to me again.

She chose the latter, the battery on my phone ran out. Her patience with me was exhausted. I made my way home alone with no sign of any ‘unintentional diversion’.spaghetti2