29 January 2013


I've always intended to make the photo I took of the two magpies that I published some months ago into a drawing, and today I had an unexpected free morning in which to do so.  They were definitely asking to be rendered in pen rather than pencil and I then sploshed some water colour over the top. Halfway through I was having grave misgivings, but I ploughed on and once I started the background, felt much happier. Now it's finished, I'm quite pleased with it. I'll be interested to see what you think. Here are a few progress pictures:

I started by roughing out the shapes of the two birds and their perches.

Heads first, starting with a .25mm Rotring pen.....

Moving on to a .35mm one for the larger black areas. Neither bird's eyes were really distinct and it took a while for me to have the courage to darken them as they should be.

Here the birds are almost done and I've started the long process of filling in the twiggy background.

More twigs and leaves and some dotting in of slight shadows in their white parts.

YET more leaves and twigs and shadows, building up the depth of the background.

And finally the colour. Muted greens and grey browns with a flash of blue on the magpies seen in the finished picture again below. Until next time.....

26 January 2013


Today the snow has gone from everywhere bar the moor. This morning I nearly fell over on numerous occasions as what we are left with is two inch thick ice everywhere with water running underneath it. We tried to get the car out and failed miserably! It's so frustrating as the rest of the area is completely back to normal and I'm getting some very strange looks dressed for the snow when we turn up in the square. Every journey down, my heart is in my mouth, hands gripping the steering wheel like a vice and I've had enough of it now, as, I'm sure, has everyone else in the country. Rant over, here are some pictures of it looking lovely before the melt started:

My footsteps trudging up to feed and water Trigger

Kestor almost unrecognisable

The stream almost buried 

Our washing line with a three inch topping

Fox prints - I followed them for about a quarter of a mile but had to give up as he/she jumped over a wall. The next few are of snow crystals on little bits of grass poking up through the blanket. I thought they were beautiful catching the sunlight.

Snippet was struggling in what was sometimes eighteen inches of snow!

Sparrows waiting for me to feed them

And finally a few from today; a marked contrast: 

Nearly all gone

Ice pattern under the snow

I've been trying to get a shot of this thrush for weeks and here it is at last. Song or Mistle? Mistle I think but if anyone thinks otherwise, please say!

Since I started writing this, the sky has turned leaden in preparation for a downpour of rain (I hope) and I think it's possible I might be able to get the car down the drive onto the road. Small steps....until next time, enjoy your Sunday and here's Snippet with ice-balls the size of ping pong and tennis balls attached to his fur. I had to chuck him in the stream to wash them off!

22 January 2013


What a beautiful day it was. My favourite weather. Minus eight degrees centigrade, bright sunshine and a thick frozen crust on the previous day's snow. What a difference from today which is quite horrible. It hasn't stopped snowing up here all day, but it is slushy and slippery on top of sheet ice. Down off the moor it has been raining more than snowing but, as soon as we cross the cattle grid onto the moor, the persistent snow begins. I tried to break up the ice sheet a bit earlier to make the Land Rover's journey to pick up Origami Boy from school a little less perilous but to no avail. I do think it's really important to get him there if at all possible, difficult though it is! Here are some more pictures from the lovely crisp day. 

It's like a different world out there; a very beautiful and ephemeral one. Difficult to live with but addictive when in a good mood like this. The birds are not so happy and I'm feeding them their porridge twice a day while it's like this. 



Great Tit

Magpie, unusually on the ground

Time to put another hot water bottle in bed for later. I made an error recently, purchasing two without one side being ribbed. I like the water to be scalding but without the ribs, even I find them too hot. Whilst reading at night, I lie with one either side of my spine to ease the pain of the day. The hot water bottle is a true friend! I'll leave you with Origami Boy's latest creative invention: the paper fastener man. He thinks he will make his fortune selling them for 10p a go......hmmmm. Constructed from two brass paper fasteners, I can see a profit here but perhaps not a fortune. Until next time, keep safe in the snow if you have it too....