It’s beginning to feel a less like Christmas …

St Matthews - Christingle smI always feel really torn at Christmas time …

Part of me wants to embrace the the jolly tinsel, egg-nog swilling fun of it all, and the other half just sees corporations rubbing their hands at the foolish ‘externalities’ running about sending money.

I watched a video on The Facebook today with a parent videoing their child meeting Santa. Telling Santa what they would like for Christmas.

You know the drill … child says some ‘with it’, of the moment THING, and Santa repeats it.

Only, THIS Santa repeats it incorrectly!

“Come on, Santa! Get it right!” extols the parent!

If I’m anything other than a consumerist, I’m a traditionalist. Some of the ‘to the left’, rebel thinkers try too hard – the rebel against authority and anything to do with tradition. But these are the things that separate us from the corporate take-over! The corporation does not want us to appreciate the national anthem, to look kindly on war veterans  or appreciate historical events. What stockholders is that going to benefit?

‘Come on Santa, Get it right!’ ?? What?? Who are you to question Santa Claus? Do you fly round THE WHOLE WORLD (!) delivering presents to all the children in Western/democratic/Christian countries!! (but not the other children), IN ONE NIGHT?

I don’t think so!!

Don’t question His methods in front of the children.


Letting my monkey have a rest

coffee monkey sm2Danny Gregory writes about our inner monkey – that nagging voice that criticises and pulls faces at our ideas and our attempts to put them into practice.

Let me put this into context for me.

This monkey drawing was a commission for a colleague at work.

I do not know this monkey.

It is not my inner monkey.

When I was asked to draw it – a monkey with a mug of coffee – I carried it out not realising the meaning for myself.

Sometimes out monkeys screech and cry loudly in our minds, sometimes they go quiet and I’m pleased to feel that my own personal inner monkey is on a bit of a hiatus at the moment. It is taking a break. It is no longer in the house.

Thank you.



It’s nice to think that the darned monkey won’t return, but I’m sure it will. (I’ll enjoy the ride more whilst it’s putting it’s feet up for a while) But what would art life be like if it weren’t there at all? How can we truly relish those full-on creative times , when nothing stands in our way, if we can’t recall those times when our inner monkeys mock and deride our work?

We can only appreciate the sweet when we also put up with the sour.

I’d love to be able to say that I have some magic words to help push through blocks and ruts, but I don’t. I think the main thing about making art, is … making art. But sometimes we have to look up and study the landscape that we are going to paint. Sometimes we have to reflect and do other things, so that we can bounce back and leave our monkey standing, er sitting with it’s coffee.

Bemused, perhaps, at our creative surge, but silent.

Charlotte’s Ice Cream – banana ice-cream

Charlottes Ice Cream sm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –  I’m not a huge fan of ice-cream (Not sure why, I think it’s something to do with my mother being frightened by a raspberry ripple when she was pregnant with me, or something like that)

But the other members of the house – the wife and the child – both love ice-cream and, when holidaying, take regular ice-cream breaks – which I don’t join in with … unless … there is banana flavour available.

Not quite sure why it’s my one and only. But, it has to be banana, and only banana. Banoffee, or another bastardisation of banana, just won’t cut the mustard (and yes, I feel quite proud to have managed to fit the bastardisation into my little piece about banana ice-cream)


Setting myself up for the day


Macdonalds Breakfast smSometimes I just feel like a hot chocolate for breakfast!
I’m not quite sure where I picked this delicious breakfast meal up from; but the hot chocolate was delicious!

{open brackets}

Now, I’m not keen on bread at the moment, so I actually stripped the muffin-thing back to just the egg and sausagegy-ness and one of my work colleagues pinched the hash brown

{close brackets}

I’m not totally against fast food, but some of the bits I can really do without.

Overheard in the supermarket …

popcorn“I can’t believe they haven’t got salted popcorn!

There isn’t any!

No salted popcorn.

I’m really angry now!

Why wouldn’t they have salted popcorn?

I don’t believe it!”



And so the customer went on.

She said she was angry – and boy! did she sound angry!!

She eventually went and complained to a member of staff.

She was furious, rather than mad, I would say. Over popcorn. I mean! Come on! Get a grip!


Things to do with an A4 sketchbook

Holiday meals sm

At October half-term I was lucky enough to be able to get away on holiday for a week.

Rather than my usual foodie sketches of whole meals on a single page I instead decided to devote an A4 double spread to all my meals across the week.

The funniest of all the sketches to do, was the outgoing trip on the airline; trying to balance an open A4 book whilst I tried to eat and draw! Blimey!


Lost in amongst the hubbub of the food on show – was a welcome return visit to Sykaminia Cafe up in the old town of Paphos; it was pretty cool catching up with owner again, who remembered my visit from a couple of 05 - Sykaminia Cafe - Pork Kebab Pitta smyears ago. I had the Pork Kebab Pitta again – just as delicious as I remembered from my first visit. The old town has been hit pretty hard by the building of a spiffy-looking new shopping centre/mall; which many high-end shops have migrated to leaving the old town as pretty much of a ghost town, where it had once been a popular tourist shopping area for clothes and other trinkets.

Why bother travelling all the way up there when the shopping mall is closer, covered, air-conditioned and has all our favourite eating places?

I hope the cafe’s there the next time I get a chance to visit.

It amused that many of the people who spotted me drawing and chatted with me about it, seemed rather bemused/amused/mystified why I was doing it ‘just for my own amusement’. Well, either I’m crazy, or they are!

I enjoyed drawing my whole-week food diary – but I have to admit I didn’t half miss jotting my notes down next to my meals.



Betty’s Tea rooms II

Bettys A2 smI’ve posted this picture before. 

Well … sort of .

Hit the link above to see my original posting.

Any changes? Well, I’ve tinkered with the text a little. Just a bit here and there, just to tidy it up.

A bed and breakfast in York has requested a print of the sketch for one of there themed rooms, so I’ve polished the writing up a bit so it’s a bit more A2 print-worthy! Yes, you heard it here first … A2! Blimey! I’m used to seeing my little sketches in teeny tiny A5 sketchbooks.

Anyway, back to the story …

When I originally posted the sketch I can’t believe that I missed out the best bit!


As usual before I started sketching I took a quick photo – using my iPad for a change.

Sketched my Fat Rascal and cup of tea – then enjoyed them.

By which time Caroline had finished her meeting and had come to join me for a second round of refreshing tea.

and then we headed back to the car ….

Reaching for iPad … I found that was super hot and the battery was down to a low percentage.

Somehow it had been taking photos the whole time! From the point when my tea and cake arrived – through my sketching and relaxing, then sitting with Caroline chatting and the walk back to the car!


I had about 3500 photos to delete on the way home!

And all of the inside of my bag

Each of the following photographs had several hundred examples. And while I can appreciate their, quite outstanding photographic excellence, it was a bit tedious scrolling down through hundreds of them!

And deleting them too!

Now, I love my drawing bag as much as the next person but 3500 photos from the inside seemed a little extreme!





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