Saturday, 18 November 2017

early morning photo shoots


A message from Barry; Wednesday morning it's going to be a lovely frost, perfect for your calendar shot; are you up for it ....early start though ?

I'm always up for an early start, as you may already realise. By heck it was cold though.

That was last winter. Barry, of Bread and Shutter Photography, kindly sent me the pic the other day, and said I could use it. So here it is. Good, ain't he?

Kennet and Avon - a canal year - 2018 calendar

Yesterday I was in Bristol again, picking up calendars that we'll be selling to raise funds for the K&A Floating Market. These calendars show photos that were taken by several local boaters, with the aim of giving a taste of canal life. 

Here are some sample pages from the Canal Year calendar. I volunteered to format it, and since the downloadable calendar boxes I looked at seemed a bit dull, I decided to draw them. It took a while, but there you go, job done.

The calendars will be on sale at the market on Dec 2 and 3 in Bradford on Avon. You can also buy them online, at this Etsy shop




Thursday, 16 November 2017

market poster


Here's the poster for the Kennet and Avon Canal Christmas floating market, at Bradford on Avon. Click on the poster to open it in a new window, then download it!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

the wheeling of rooks


Sailing down from Semington to Bradford on Avon last week, I saw the first fieldfares of the winter.

First to me, that is; I know that they've already been around for a little while. But they were nice to see, on a clear and sunny day, when their bright and vivid plumage is seen at its best. And it was that bracing kind of niceness like very cold fizzy wine, the sort that makes me glad I'm wearing my big overcoat and woolly hat.

The picture and poem are, of course, from Drawn Chorus...

The rooks at Crows Nest (hey, I didn't name it...) were very active too; I accidentally discovered that you can loop a video on my iPhone, and the result is rather hypnotic. I hope this works....



Saturday, 11 November 2017

a logging expedition


The woods bordering the canal provide a very handy source of firewood, when trees fall, or when contractors cut back the overhanging branches or fell entire trees. Indeed, the canal community is always ready and willing to get stuck in when a tree comes down, especially if it falls across the canal and becomes a hazard or impediment to navigation. Socially useful, and enlightened self- interest. A bit of a win-win situation.

And so I did a quick trip out with Jim yesterday, to take some cuts from a big ash that fell a few months ago. Ash is, of course, the tree of choice for the owner of a woodburning stove; it will burn green, though that isn't good for your flues; but it's always better when it's seasoned. My firewood supply, stacked up on the roof of the boat, consists of hawthorn and ash that we rescued from fallen trees that we'd encountered back in the spring, and so it's had a good summer to season. (Having your firewood up on the roof exposed to the rain isn't ideal, perhaps, but then, if not there then where?) ...but a few weeks into the stove season, it is starting to look a bit depleted. And anyway, when there's a fallen tree you just can't say no, can you?

So off we went, Jim and me. It's always best to have at least two people on a job like this - as a friend said, "if you're working with a chainsaw, keep your phone on you so you can call an ambulance when you cut your leg off..." -a handy tip there but one we didn't need yesterday, fortunately.







Monday, 6 November 2017

the hidden hare who watches the moon


Tom Blackwell saw this picture and commented that there was a hare in the trees there, looking at the moon. And I looked again, and by heck he was right.

See it?

It reminds me of the Invisible Prince, on the wall of the nursery in Cardiff Castle...


...which in turn was the inspiration for my picture of the Secret Blackbird






Sunday, 5 November 2017

finding the all-important woolly socks

some new cards

In the summer, I'd have been out with my cup of tea long ago, and then hard at work on the drawing board before the Shipping Forecast was even thought of. 




But Halloween is past, and the wind's turned northerly. I'm moored up on a long aqueduct across a corner of the Wiltshire Avon valley, and it's a great place to be sometimes, and a rather exposed place to be when the wind blows. When the stove goes out overnight, the cold invades the boat until getting up from under two warm duvets and a quilt can present a challenge. I dash to the cooker, put the kettle on, and then on to the stove; firelighter, kindling, where's the bloody lighter? -rummage rummage, aha, and away. Ten minutes later the boat is warming up nicely and I've found the thick woolly socks from the heap of clothes that spend the night on the floor and the day on my bunk. 

In half an hour, I may be able to take off the top cardie.

The otter came arund again last night; I heard it splash and bump along the boat, but stayed right where I was in bed. Seems a bit intrusive, shining bright lights into its face. I hate cyclists who do that to me, after all.

I've just picked up some new Christmas card designs from Minuteman, as you see from the picture at the top.





...and some postcards of Saint Melangell and the hare, because it seemed like a good idea.