Dragon slayer? Me? Well, not really, although god knows I've tried, inadvertantly!! My dragon tree or Dracaena lives on, seeming to thrive on neglect. Forget cockroaches, it's Dracaena that will be the only survivors of the next big rock to hit our rock.
Went fishing last week, I do occasionally and apologies to any antis. Didn't catch much, but for the second time this summer, a bird landed on my rod, took a look at me at the end of the rod, thought that there might be better perches than this and flew off. First time it was a robin but this time it was a young grey wagtail. Shows how well I do 'still'.
As for magpies, I just like 'em, and I find that the black and white stays in my mind's eye, long enough to get down on paper, better than most other sights.
Sorry for my absence, but unlike the summer, at least I did return.
Just got back from our holiday, in Northumberland. We had a farm cottage just yards from the sea, near Howick and by a 'feature' most wonderfully called, on the OS maps, 'The Rumbling Kern'. I've no idea what a kern is, presumably it's a rocky cove, but each night we fell asleep to the rumble of the waves hitting the rocks.
Most surprising, with the way that this 'summer' has been, was the fact that we didn't get a single spot of rain all week. I'd like to say that all the rain we have had this year was good for the garden, but in all honesty, I've seen less wild and garden flowers this year than I can ever remember. I read in the papers that conkers were being reported in July and this pretty much backs up my observations that autumn started at the end of May!! If anyone's in any doubt, they should feel the chill north wind that's been blowing through here for the last couple of days.
The wildlife highlight of the hol was when we visited my mum, who lives near Hadrian's Wall, for a couple of days on the way home. Driving to Alston, to take the kids for a ride on the steam trains, an osprey flew alongside us for a good minute or so. Looking like a large ragged-winged gull, maybe it was on it's way to nearby(ish) Kielder Water, maybe Africa, with this crazy summer, who knows?
I took the little ones to the park by the river in Wetherby, early on Sunday morning. This is one of the houses in nearby Linton, a little way upstream. Very relaxing to immerse oneself in sketching some of its finer details.
Forget the very ropey sketching, just look at that terracotta colour. Wow!!
The sketch is honestly only barely average but I absolutely nailed the colour of the cut rock sides of the Selby bypass. The sun was bright and made the sandstone cutting glow - it took the edge off of the cold wind, from within.
Geologically, it signifies something to do with deserts and/or iron compounds, I think. I'm a keen but very limited geologist so your homework is to find out if there's any truth in that statement. Then again, who cares? Just look at that colour...
Do you ever wonder how birds (and many others) make long migrations, based on instinct alone? How they know where to go is a question I can't even begin to answer but how they know when they've got there - I sort of think I know how they feel, maybe. I'll explain - my dad is from Norfolk, but I was born in Bedford and never lived in Norfolk. However, in the last 10 years, I've often holidayed in Norfolk and I can't put my finger on it but it always feels like home, perhaps it's genetic, perhaps the 'Norf-folk' are just good at making you feel at home, perhaps I'm just a wishful townie. If nothing else, I reckon I understand the chiffchaffs that turn up in the poplars at the back of the house, each April, just that little bit better.
Anyway, we spent last week in Wells-next-the-sea. What a lovely week, we got soaked in a boat out to see the seals and all got nasty coughs and colds but big skies and wide empty beaches were just so good for the soul that the mental repair was worth it at almost any price. Daily crab-lining and long afternoon naps helped too.
The top sketch is of the channel that runs from the quay, out to Wells Bar, and the black dot near the shore is a common seal's head. The bottom sketch is the birds we saw on our trip to Blakeney Point and, as it turned out, were our almost constant companions wherever we were all week.