December Blog

So……Gatwick airport’s had to be closed because some unidentified nitwit chose to fly his/her drone in Gatwick’s airspace.  Before anybody is allowed to buy a drone, they should be examined to see if they’ve got a brain. Then they ought to be compelled to pass a droning test. Mind you, we’ve had a car driving test for ages and that doesn’t filter out  nitwits, does it ? We all make mistakes whilst driving a car – wrong lane/too fast/too slow –but hopefully at the very least, we acknowledge those mistakes. Not so the rogue droners. They choose to fly their irritating/dangerous machines in potentially fatal places.  Its the choice bit which fascinates me. In another news item, we’re told that increasing numbers of people trek to erupting volcanos. Why ? To get a better view ? To put the lives of rescue agencies at risk ? Dunno. Maybe its because humans like risk, especially when the risk is to someone else. How many times have you seen drivers rubbernecking when passing road accidents ?

Meanwhile, in other news……………..We managed to get down to London a couple of weeks ago to attend a Carol Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I’ve never been to the RAH before. It was stunning. There was a full orchestra and choir and they finished the evening with “Hark the Herald Angels !” .Gave it the beans, they did.

All of that compensated for having to tolerate London itself. What was it Samuel Johnson said ? “He who tires of London is tired of life “ There must be some pretty knackered people down there. I have some good cartoonist friends who would probably call themselves Londoners, and that’s fine. Its just that London seems to see itself as utterly desirable. In my book, its not.

So it was pretty good to get back up here, which we did eventually despite our train being delayed because Hull Trains had a fire. On a train, surprisingly. In fact all hands had to climb into taxis to reach our final destination. Then for me it was a 120 mile trip down the M62 to get back to Lostock Green, where there are fields, trees, birdies and such. Wilma the dog was delighted to be home and rushed out into the garden to pee on most of it.

Then it was off to various hospitals see consultants [who go, “Hmm” a lot]  about my eternal bad back. I was dreading the prospect of an operation, but thankfully, that wasn’t immediately recommended. I think physiotherapy and hydrotherapy might be on the cards. I’ve had hydrotherapy before, and it certainly helped. You get to stroll up and down a nice warm pool for a while, chatting to the similarly afflicted. And thanks to the wonderful NHS – its all free !

Speaking of drones, Brexit continues it march to God knows where. Who is to blame ? David Cameron is. ‘Twas he who instituted a Referendum. We have a Parliament which gave our links with the rest of Europe the thumbs up. Then after the Referendum, we find that two percent wanted out. Two percent ! Huh ! And why did they want out ? Well I can’t help thinking that thoughts of Britain Ruling the Waves had something to do with it. AND we’ve now got the biggest aircraft carrier. So there, Johnny foreigner ! Its a bit like having our own Trump. Aaargh ! 

November Blog

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting erm, slightly alarmed. Yes, it’ll
soon be upon us, dragging with it all the festive clichés and thousands of
deeply irritating TV adverts. It will also encourage the Clergy to ask what
the true meaning of Christmas is – a theme followed by lots of Christmas
card designers, and indeed Carol writers….”In the bleak midwinter long
ago, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone. Snow had fallen, snow
upon snow……..” Did it really ? In Israel ? Significant stuff –
especially for Christians. Enter the baby Jesus, who went on to be the
saviour of mankind – well, the Christian bits of mankind. So grateful were
they that they murdered him. Allegedly.

Now, I don’t know if I believe all that. I mean there are no videos
are there ? At best, it’s a mixed message, overly dominated by commerce
which urges us to buy stuff for each other.

Enough of that. A more pressing problem is my pond, which is leaking
and needs constant topping up. I don’t think the fishy types therein are
actually coming to any harm, but it certainly needs fixing. So to that end I
bought a new pond liner. My good friend Simon, who is very good at fixing
things is going to come and install said liner. This will mean netting the
fish and putting them into temporary accommodation. Probably a wheelie bin.

And I’ve bought a new telly. Its much cleverer than me, and can get
loads of channels, some of which are worth watching.
My pc’s just pinged to tell me a job’s come through. I know what it is, so
I’d better knuckle down and do some work.

October Blog

I thought I’d better do this before I get any more pleading emails and
letters – hundreds of them……. [well, two actually]. The truth is that
recently I’ve been beset with technical difficulties, especially with my
shiny new computer. My local computer fettler is calling again tomorrow to
find out why said machine is being targeted by malicious gits who keep
putting what I believe is called “malware” on it. Of course there are
companies out there which, for a mere 500 quid will cleanse your machine.
Maybe its them who put the malware on in the first place. My computer
fettler – let’s call him Denzil [not his real name] is far cheaper than
that.

I’m really not sure if the internet is a blessing or a curse. I like
Google. It tells me all manner of things I didn’t used to know. Really
useful stuff like John Wayne delaying a shoot during the making of “True
Grit” because he needed to pick his nose. And the BBC news is OK too –
especially the Local News – “Bradford woman says Boo to goose” whilst the
main news strives manfully to make Brexit interesting.

My other ongoing problem is to do with my pond. Its losing water. Now I’m
no expert, but I think its because there’s a hole in the liner. I don’t
think its harming the fish because it stops leaking when there’s about two
feet of water left. Besides, as the weather gets colder, pond fish go torpid
and stay very still on the bottom. So, my local pond-fettler is calling
later this week. Doubtless, a new pond liner will be needed. He’s been to do
this before – years ago – and all the fish – six of them – five fat goldfish
and one two foot long ghost koi [ they can live for 50 years]will have to
spend time in his temporary tank. 

Phoebe, my fat Orpington hen’s getting on. She’s about eight and looking
a bit scruffy. That’s partly because she’s moulting. Her egg laying days are
well behind her and eight’s a fair age for a hen.

Little Man, my aged cockatiel – he’s fifteen – is just as chirpy as he’s
ever been and spends quite a lot of time singing to Wilma, our new-ish dog.
After Maggie the Dog died last December, we really didn’t like a dogless
house, so we took ourselves off to Dog Rescue and came home with Wilma.
Wilma’s in her ninth year. She spent six of those years as a stray on the
streets of Dublin. Wilma’s very nervous and scared of everything, but she’s
bonded very well with us and she’s seldom more than ten feet away from
either of us. 

Off to see a neurologist soon. My back’s rubbish and walking’s painful.
If he/she recommends an operation, that’ll mean time in hospital which in
turn will mean sorting out visiting animal husbandry.

On the upside, my elderly Jaguar’s running very well and is still a joy
to drive – as is my workhorse Mazda, in its own way.
Cartooning’s still difficult shrinking market, but I count myself as lucky
inasmuch as I do have work coming in. Not bad at my age, I suppose.

There, that’s it. Oh, and John Wayne’s nose – I made that up.

September Blog

Computers drive me crazy. We’ve come to rely on them so completely. When
they’re on song – fine – but when they start iffing and butting, they’re
infuriating. Being a jobbing cartoonist, I depend on my PC. I scan and send
drawings hither and yon and dread it when something like “It has not been
possible….” pops up. Yesterday, I renewed all the printer’s ink
cartridges. All I get from the damned thing now is ” cartridges have not
been recognized” Aargh !

A very short Blog, this because I’ve got ‘flu, so now its time for another
Lemsip.

August Blog

I’ve always thought of the days of the week as having their own colours. Don’t know why, but I have. Monday’s black or white. Tuesday’s lime green. Wednesday’s a nice friendly, warm brown. But it wasn’t yesterday. [Today’s Thursday. Do try to keep up]

Yesterday I got a phone call from somebody who turned out to be a scammer ; somebody who’d managed to hack into my online banking facility. He told me that he’d “accidentally” deposited £8200 into my current account and that he’d like it back. I checked and found that there was in fact an unlooked-for  £8200 in my account. Very odd. I don’t use my online banking facility. I contacted my bank, told them what had apparently happened and cancelled said on line banking facility. Job done ? Oh dear me, No. I find now [7.00 am, Thursday – which is blue, by the way] that my telephone banking number won’t work and that I must contact bank security. Deep sigh. I’ll do this in an hour or so, and hope that I can speak to a Real Person rather than get sucked into the frustrating button pressing routine – you know……….”I f you’d like to speak to one of our helpful team, please hold…….”

So, be warned – somewhere out there is a plausible little rat who says he’s from BT and would like to arrange delivery of a new router as my present one is faulty. Of course, it isn’t. But because these days we are so reliant on being a tiny part of the world-wide web, its very difficult to establish exactly what’s going on with things like a router.

Anyway, this morning I’m moderately brassed off and would dearly like a couple of minutes alone with the Not Really from BT bloke.

But cartoon-wise, the show must go on. I’m in the final stages of the 2020 calendar cover. Covers are always complicated jobs because they have to feature loads of different “work” activities, all of which have to hang together as a readable whole.

Before that, though, I shall try to contact a Real Person at my bank. Wish me luck……………………..