Pancake tosser…


It’s not often you get a pancake tosser on the front of a magazine, but this one made it. I quite like the art director’s note  in the top right not to lose the pancakes at the top when placing. I’m assuming I did this for pancake day.

I was always inspired by the wonderful invention and drawing of William Heath Robinson, where he imagined machines that could do all sorts of wonderful tasks. I think this drawing would benefit from some simple animation.Flying pancakes, lovely.

Heath Robinson

I’m having a week of postings to see what sort of response they get rather than the once a week, as per normal. If you have dropped into my site then thanks for visiting.


To Sheffield, studying the northern diet?


They like good coffee in Sheffield, there are loads of great places to find it and with it comes some exceptional food.

There are still places to get a bacon sandwich on gluey white bread but Sheffield seems to me to be going through a food revolution, with smart tiny places producing great stuff. One such that you should seek out as soon as possible is Joni which can be found right next to the traffic lights on South Road in Walkey. Tiny inside and not over furnished this place specialises in macarons, which are just sensational melt in the mouth offerings. The coffee is great and the little lemon meringue pie, which my son had and  let me taste, was equally so. I had a cooked breakfast there which was so good that it would not wait for a photograph. I had the Classic: two poached eggs on toast does not sound that great but with a béchamel sauce and the addition of tiny cubes of garlicky sweet potato and bacon strips it was a small haven of fine dining in a tiny diner. Seek this place out and buy their stuff, they deserve success.

This blog seems to be turning into a travel and food thingy, but it’s really just a diversion. I’m back at the drawing board and plans are afoot to get the results on here when I’ve stopped going hither and yon. Next trip? London. In search of the £3.50 loaf again, it was worth it, honestly.

£3-50 for a loaf of bread?

If it’s green…


Here’s a black and white green cartoon done quite a few years ago for the English Tourist Board. I think vegetarian food has come along a bit since I did this, but I do remember that any cooked food then that had ‘vegetarian’ in front of it , generally looked brown.

Speaking of green, take a look at this wonderful oak tree that I came across the other day on a walk just close to Paradise, which is a village in Gloucestershire. There’s something brilliant about September days when the light is clear and sharp.

The Paradise Oak


Rocky Topp, what he did at the coast.

There we are in sunny Pembrokeshire taking in the beauty of the area and there in the distance is a rock, as you’d expect.

“What’s that on the top there?” says someone. ” It’s a bloke in a chair!”

As he gets home from his holiday this chap will tell his chums on a Monday morning that he went down to the coast and took in the view, as well as did a bit of climbing, with the most important but of equipment of course, the fold-up beach chair. A knotted handkerchief on the head might have completed the picture.



The price of blasted courgettes…

Here he goes again talking about the price of food. I really do not grumble all the time, honestly. Here’s a gem spotted in my local supermarket in the “no added anything section”. By the looks of it it’s just a bit of courgettes spiralized and blasted, and then put into the regulation ‘no-fun’ packaging.

As someone once said to me about my own work ” Who buys this stuff? ” At the time I was able to say ” quite a few people actually”.

Let’s make one thing clear though, courgettes do not make pasta. They are a watery green vegetable with not a lot of taste. At this rate we’ll all be having radishes for breakfast.

That is £90-00 per kilo you are looking at there, and that’s on special offer.

And I thought they ate croissants.


£3-50 for a loaf of bread?

I’m always going on about prices with my kids, and my present visit to London is no exception. I’m staying in an area that was years ago, known as the haunt of gangsters and criminals and these days the only thing that I’ve seen that is remotely criminal is the price of a loaf of bread. With it comes the sort of look from the hipster server that says to you: ” We weren’t expecting your type in here, if you walk a few miles in that direction you’ll find a Gregg’s”

Genuine Sourdough bread made from the original recipe that’s from San Francisco is just one of the delicacies on offer. I choose a smaller loaf that is described as Granary and is about the size of a London brick, so not massive. “That will be £3-50 please Sir” comes the response. I grit my teeth and mutter and give them the gimlet eye that says: ” I hope it’s worth it”

It is.

I went back today for another one happy to pay the going rate for what I thought was one of the best breads I’ve tasted for years.It was coming to the end of their day and they had just a few left. ” You can have two for the price of one now Sir” says hipsterman in black behind the counter. “Result!” I say to myself and head to the door with my prizes in the bag. Two loaves for just £1.75 each, I mutter to myself and then muse that I’d have probably baulked at that price just a few days ago for just one loaf. For heaven’s sake I’d better get a grip while there’s time left.

New improved recipe? What’s that all about? One sees it on many food items and it brings to mind the following. If you’ve been buying the product for years then the recipe is fine, it cannot be improved. So leave it alone.


The importance of washing up.

Dishwashers have been around for years now but there are good reasons for dispensing with them. First of all they use some pretty toxic chemicals to get the burnt on cinders off your beautifully crafted dishes. They can’t really be used to clean anything delicate or fine, and certainly shouldn’t be used to clean the silver cutlery. Did you hear that Jeeves? But the most important reason they should be considered superfluous is that they are desperately unsociable.

Jeeves v1

Fascinating little memorial just up the road from me here in Cheltenham at Cheltenham College, a very expensive public school with the most beautiful cricket ground. I never know that Jeeves was a cricketer and that he was the inspiration for Woodhouse’s character. The school was also the location for some of the filming of Linsday Anderson’s cult film “If”, but they don’t talk about that much. It did feature schoolboys machine gunning people from their chapel roof, so perhaps no surprise there.


In the day when washing up was the order of the day, it was, or at least should have been, a team effort. Two people minimum in any team. One to wash, one or maybe two to dry and one to pontificate and put stuff away until the next time. It should not be undertaken alone if at all possible, but of course these days it is usually people who live on their own who do wash up, instead of loading dishwashers.

What happens when two or more people gather together to wash up. They talk, they are in close proximity, they interact, in short they are sociable. Whereas it usually falls to one person to load a dishwasher. The end result of washing up is cemented friendship, the end result of a dishwasher is cemented cookware.

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


Where did that come from?


More”Guides to the Modern Man’s Haircut” is this small collection. I’ve not ever witnessed and “Adolf” in my lifetime but I’ve come close on one or two occasions. One was one of those blokes that wanders around an art gallery making sure you don’t get too close to the artwork. They always look bored rigid, but then I suppose you would when you’ve been Chancellor of all Germany. The other time was handing over cash for parking and the site of someone closely resembling Adolf taking the money and chuckling was an unnerving experience.

As for Trump, that was something my mother used to call a fart when we were young.

More of these to come this week. Let’s get them out of my system. Like a trump.


So, I’ve been doing the odd political cartoon over the last few days and they’ve had a generally positive response. I have the feeling that everyone is a bit cheesed off with politics and perhaps would enjoy a bit of a break from it. So here’s a drawing from a series I’m working on on bandsmen, or should I say bandspeople as there will be women in the series and one has to be politically correct. Oops! There we go again, politics, catching us out again.bandrumblog

Enjoy the warm weather and with a bit of luck you’ll catch a brass band playing in the park.