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……………………..

July Blog

At the time of writing, June’s nearly over. In my book, that’s no bad thing. The month’s been dominated by the fact that my email facility gave up the ghost . My internet service provider is BT which, going off past experience, has to be the worst company in the known universe. I’ve spoken to quite a few BT folk recently. Some were off-hand, whilst others were concerned and gave me the impression that they wanted to help. The local chap who comes to give my computer a dressing down when it misbehaves can’t because he’s on holiday in Croatia. But the last BT person I spoke to PROMISED that somebody who can sort things out will be in touch on Monday. I’ll believe it when it happens.

My old, no money Mazda 6 estate is due an MoT. I think it’ll be OK. It’s a cracking car despite being presently covered in seagull pooh. That’s because last week we spent a week in Staithes, up on the north-east coast. The noisiest, poohiest herring gulls in the world live there. Some regard them as a pest, but I quite like them. Beautiful in flight and very funny when begging for food. They stamp their huge feet and go, “PAPPAPPAP !” Which is what they do to their parents, apparently.

Staithes was blisteringly hot. I have a very sunburnt hooter. The village is tiny, but it has an OK beach. Wilma the Dog thought that was v interesting. She was less sure about waves.
On day three, Sheila’s daughter Dr Jen arrived with her dog Kes, an utterly loopy, naughty two year old border collie. One evening, whilst Sheila, Jen, Wilma and I were relaxing NOT watching footy, Kes stole my glasses, hid behind the settee and ate them. So I drove back as an advert for Sellotape. Actually, peaceful, gentle Wilma has Kes’s measure. If he persists in annoying her, she growls and shows her not inconsiderable teeth. But having spent six of her eight years as a stray, that doesn’t surprise me. It surprises Kes. But not for long. But I think they quite like each other really, given the way they curled up together at night.

So then it was back to the ranch to finish my present series of cartoon calendars – a bit of a ploddy job, but end’s in sight now.

My studio fan’s still rattling away because its still way too hot – has been all day. The sooner it rains, the better.

Evening meal time now. Will I watch any footy ? Only if there’s nothing else on.
Meanwhile, two days later………Stop press ! My local computer fettler called yesterday and I’ve got my emails back. Excellent !