Phew, that's better
I was getting sick of the brown blog template, so this plain white one is like a refreshing glass of water after too much oxtail soup. I hope to personalise it a little more when I can find the time. In the meantime another party picture - this one is of Annie, mother of the party boy
Hannah drawing at the party
The birthday party
A wonderful sunny day to celebrate Daniel's birthday and have a family get-together. Several of the children started sketching after seeing me. I only saw Daniel's pictures and it looks like he has real talent. It was great to see his enthusiasm.
My nephew Daniel is nine and he's having a pizza lunch for his birthday so this is the card I made for him.
Here I've combined all the four or five second sketches I made at the Blackpool Tower circus.
Here's another site to waste time and have fun getting a variety of computer generated effects .
Illustration Friday - REFLECTION
Great challenge, but sadly I've had no time to create anything original, so a quick play with an older drawing.
Passing the time on a long car journey
Lifeboat building, Lytham
An attractive nautical piece of architecture set in a boating pond, drawn from the 'daughter' building (a cafe) on the other side of the pond.
Edisford river bank, Clitheroe
Another couple of holiday drawings coloured back at home.
Morning coffee in Skipton
A quick drawing while we were away that I've now coloured in Photoshop.
Illustration Friday - WISDOM
A quickie in honour of a wise politician who died today. Mo Mowlam's honest, straight, affectionate and unconventional approach got things done. We could all learn something from her.
Beautiful scenery was not going to be enough to entertain Tom, our thirteen year old, so we spent a day visiting the seaside. First Lytham St Annes which seemed a bit dull and then gloriously vulgar Blackpool.
Our morning coffees
Every day we left the farm early in the car to explore the area. Most days at about ten I needed a cup of coffee. I'm incredibly boringly fussy about tea and coffee and the only way I can get close to the coffee I enjoy at home is to order a double espresso in a large cup with a pot of hot water, so I can dilute it a little. If I order an 'americano' I get a big cup of tasteless brown water - just like the stuff you get in New York. Robin would have a cappucinno and Tom would have what we called a 'frocca moccha chocca' - basically whatever they had that was sweet, frothy and chocolatey. This was my hot water pot...
...and this was a window at the Station Hotel, Clitheroe, drawn from the cafe across the road.
Flo left on Sunday for a sailing course in the Firth of the Forth and we drove Hugo up to Preston for his sea cadet summer camp. As we were going to have to fetch Hugo on the Friday we decided to take a short summer break in the area. It was very last minute - Preston didn't appeal to me, but fortunately my friend Jenny mentioned the nearby Forest of Bowland, so we booked a farm cottage in the Bowland area.
I'd never heard of Bowland and so it was lovely to discover this beautiful part of England. The cottage was on a hillside with huge sweeping panoramic views of farm land and heather covered hills.
Illustration Friday - EMPTY
I long for emptiness, I aspire to beautiful minimalism. However I'm like the old woman who lived in a shoe - too many children, not enough space and every one of us untidy and hoarders to boot. In my cluttered, crowded house I do however have one small wall in the office which is painted white and which I won't let anyone use to hang cupboards, pictures, shelves or anything else. A suggestion of another life. Deep down though I know that the cool, uncluttered, minimalist lifestyle I aspire to could probably only come at the price of an empty life.
I brought back a big bag of samphire from Southwold. The first time I tasted this delicious seaweed was just after Robin and I were married and it was served as a starter at a family lunch because Grandpa Oakley was very fond of it. I think I scored a lot of brownie points with him because when he asked if anyone knew where samphire was mentioned in literature, I was able to say straight away that it was in Shakespeare's 'King Lear'. I basked in the glow of his approval and didn't let on that 'Lear' had been my set Shakepeare text at school!
The way to serve it is to wash it thoroughly in several changes of water. Break off and throw away any tough stems or roots. Boil a big pan of unsalted water (growing by the sea means that the samphire is sufficiently salty). It usually takes only about two minutes for the samphire to be cooked through and tender. Then drain and serve with melted unsalted butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice and ground black pepper. Pick up the pieces of samphire and pull them through your teeth leaving the central fibrous strand behind. Have lots of wet wipes and towels to hand to clean buttery faces and hands.
Illustration Friday - AGEING
Drawing a pair of my glasses last week brought home to me the first negative aspect of ageing. For you younger people I'm sorry to have to tell you that most of us start to get long sighted in our forties - and it's even worse if you're already shortsighted, because it doesn't fix the short sight - you just end up having twice as many vision problems and needing to have a plethora of sets of glasses in order to see.
Tom in his blue bow tie
Tom began to worry that he might be underdressed at Jenny's fiftieth birthday dinner at the Swan in Southwold so he went into a shop and asked them the cost of their cheapest bow tie. They had a 'tie-it-yourself' one for £20, but they let him have it for £7 as that was all he had. Tom looked very much his father's son in his 'interesting' combination of t-shirt and bow tie.
A great evening ensued. The private dining room allowed all seventeen of us to really enjoy ourselves without worrying about disturbing other diners. Jenny stood up and gave a wonderful speech about how much each and every one of us meant to her. Octavia showed amazing maturity when she stood up in the room full of adults to give a speech about how much her mother meant to her and to all of us.