I’ve been in Northumberland for the last few days and I can’t be here without making the obligatory trip to the Farne Islands to photograph the seabirds. Of course the star of the show is always the puffin, you can get so close you can almost hug them – if only I’d been allowed to. When you get this close there’s no point having a great big zoomy lens.
This afternoon, while we dodged rain showers at Alnwick Gardens, I decided to do a quick sketch…if you’d like to see my photos from the trip, then just hop over to www.asnapaday2015.wordpress.com.
I’ve been off work today with a head that feels as though it’s stuck in a vice, streaming eyes, a deep, painful chesty cough and the energy of rechargeable battery that has had been reused one too many times. I spent a good 18+ hours in bed feeling sorry for myself before dragging my aching body to the sofa and back to bed when being upright became too much. Thank goodness for the internet, my iPad, paracetamol and the pile of satsumas left at the side of the bed by the good doctor. Here’s hoping another 10 hours sleep and a bucket load of drugs will rid me of this hideous lurgy. Good night all.
Munich is an attractive, vibrant city with grand buildings, wide streets and a welcoming atmosphere. The Lonely Planet describes it like this: “The natural habitat of well-heeled power dressers and lederhosen-clad thigh-slappers, Mediterranean-style street cafes and Mitteleuropa beer halls, high-brow art and high-tech industry, Germany’s second city is a flourishing success story that revels in its own contradictions. If you’re looking for Alpine clichés, they’re all here, but the Bavarian metropolis sure has many an unexpected card down its Dirndl.”
And so Munich was our holiday destination for the Christmas period. Despite ALL of the shops being closed between the 24th-26th December, and just missing out on the last of the Christmas markets, there was no shortage of eateries, beer halls and coffee shops to keep us in good spirits. We spent much of our time wandering around the streets in the snow, dipping in and out of coffee shops or sampling gluhwein, bratwurst, saurkraut, schnitzel, apfelstrudel and spatzle (not necessarily in that order). I did a few sketches while I was relaxing, so here is part one!
A quick sketch to start the new year. I hope 2015 will have more cartoons and also a few photos as I’ve just embarked on a 365 project. I’ll be taking a photo a day for the whole of 2015. If you’d like to keep track, then follow me on Flickr.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been to France and back (twice), visited a seal colony on the East coast, watched the famous Lipizzaner Stallions perform, completed two commissions for a colleague’s fashion blog and a friend’s Christmas card, I’ve been to three theatre shows and much more beyond my powers of recall. Is it any wonder that I’ve been rather lax with my cartoons?
While in France, I met with family to visit the annual natural history photographic exhibition in Montier-en-Der. The five day event brings well over 30,000 visitors to – as a French man put it to us – the ‘butt end of nowhere’. Thousands of awe inspiring photographs are displayed at exhibitions in and around Montier-en-Der – it was impossible to see everything in a single day. But we tried. We spent eight hours driving from village to village, ducking in and out of tiny town halls, schools and church yards, oohing and aaahing over the images. For the most part, I was green with envy and had a persistent nagging feeling that I should give up my job, travel the world and track musk ox, or penguins, or polar bears, or field mice, or macaques, or whales, or lynx…the list goes on.
It was, of course, compulsory to saunter around the optics, camera and accessories tent – a place for those who had a bit of spare cash and were hoping to pick up a lens or two for the cheap, cheap price of £15,000 each! The poorer photographers, myself included, were simply left drool over the 1200mm lens which would give you enough zoom to photograph the nose hairs of a red squirrel high in a tree. If you were feeling particularly masochistic, you could test the equipment on your own camera. Rows and rows of predominately male photographers could be seen with lenses as long as your arm, testing their ‘zoominess’ on the banks of the lake where one of the exhibitions was taking place. Over their shoulders peered green-eyed paupers feeling inadequate with their shorter, less zoomy lenses. I couldn’t help noting the similarities between this, and other male displays of virility…
Autumn is here – my favourite time of year! Scrunchy leaves. Clear, crisp skies. Seeing your breath. Warm coats and scarves. Squirrels manically burying seeds. Irresistibly shiny conkers that you just have to pocket. Log fires and a palette of golds, reds, browns and oranges that make you want to paint or write poetry! This is not however, the topic of my cartoon.
Last week I was chatting to L about the day’s events on my walk home from work, when along the path bounced the most adorable puppy. Anyone who knows me, will know that I’m a sucker for anything cute and fluffy. I’ve been known to fight my way through a crowd to stroke some unsuspecting mutt, whilst L marches ahead with embarrassment muttering “She’s not with me. She’s not with me”. Just the sight of a ball of fluff will more than likely cause me to let out an uncontrollable squeal of joy followed by a gush of unintelligible coos and babbles as I stroke and hug said creature to death. I’ve even been known to shout ‘hello’ to cows and wave to cats…Yes, I would agree, these are not the actions of a sane person.
So, when I spied the puppy running down the path, without a moment’s thought or warning, I hung up mid-conversation. Just like that. It wasn’t until after I’d had my fill of puppy cuddles that I realised what I’d done. Understandably, L was a little bemused by the sudden disconnection – was the network down? did I drop my phone? had I been attacked by a mad axeman? When I finally rang back to explain what had happened, she was not in the least bit surprised, for nothing can come between me and a puppy!
I walk to and from work every day; a good 40 minute march. It’s a great way to wake up on a dark winter’s morning when getting out of bed is an effort and your bowl of porridge hasn’t quite started to kick in. I stick my earplugs in and listen to one of 4 Podcasts. BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour, BBC 4’s Saturday Live, BBC 4’s Mid-week or Helen and Olly’s Answermethispodcast.com. The latter tempers the former and is not for sensitive ears.
As you would expect, I pass the same people day after day and ponder their being: what are they like? Do they have a partner? Where do they work? Why are they wearing that? Gosh I love their dog, maybe I’ll stop them so I can stroke it….
I decided to draw a few of the characters to give you a flavour – I recently showed the drawings to a friend who walks the same route, albeit a little earlier than me. She recognised most of the people, so I’m satisfied that I’ve managed to capture them fairly accurately. She even shared one or two of her own commuter people. Now she texts me in the morning to say…hey, I passed ‘Greggs Man’, and I respond to say ‘I think I passed red-headed-duvet-jacket lady’!
So the next couple of posts are just sketches (no polishing) of some of the… <sings> “people that I meet when I’m walking down the street…they’re the people that I meet….each day!” (Sesame Street, People in your Neighbourhood)