Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope you like my card. If you're interested you can see the progression from bare bones drawing to finished painting on my other blog 'Through the studio window'.
I hope you all have a peaceful and wonderful holiday.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pick of Champions

Here's a great shot taken at a rugby game by hubby. Hell, that ball went high!
I have to say though, one of the best sporting photos I ever saw was taken by an old boyfriend; it featured racing driver Jackie Stewart picking his nose. The title was 'Pick of Champions' !

Freecycle worked it's magic today, when a lady came to pick up our old sofabed. It was only with the greatest reluctance that we let it go as it was squidgy and cosy and jolly useful. It's done service in the spare room (now my studio), Ben's room (where he covered it with the detritus of teenage bedrooms) and in the sitting room for a while, where the dog took a shine to it. Now we find it's become a piece of furniture too far and as we already have a pump-up double bed in case of visitors I advertised it on Freecycle. And so it's gone and I'm sure will get a new lease of life elsewhere. The dog will default to his bed again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Before...and after!

The house renovations have stopped now till after Christmas, except, hopefully, for the installation of the new stove as it's getting a bit chilly now. Here are a few 'before/after shots so you can see what Neil the builder has done.

Here's the dining room, before and after plastering and reflooring. The 'new' stove is still waiting to go into the sitting room but until that glorious day we've chucked an old sheet over it to keep dust off. It's chilly and the convector heaters follow us around the house at the moment.

This is the other end of the dining room, showing the new hall door.

And the hall, with my new bookcase!! Not finished yet, still some mouldings to fit and a coat of paint which will be done when the hall is plastered, but the books are off the floor and out of boxes again, at last!

Lots and lots of painting and tiling to do now, worse luck. Still, it'll look nice when it's done, as they say. Maybe it'll sell quickly when the time comes, too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Christmas card contemplations

It's getting near that time of year again and I'm starting to wonder what to draw on our family Christmas card this year. Last year's offering went down a storm and it's going to be a job to follow I think. Maybe an interior scene for a change, featuring the dog; a new addition to the family? Or an exterior snow scene of our cottage ? I bet it won't really snow here, but I'm so fond of painting snow scenes! Perhaps a Cornish scene, on the lines of last years, or is that cheating? Here are some of the previous years offerings starting with last years:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Warmer days to come...

Here's a photo of our 'new' Hunter stove. It's it bits at the moment, awaiting the builder to whack a large recess in the chimney breast and the plumber to plumb it into the central heating and water tank. Then we'll have some heat in the house! Hooray! We're using a couple of convector heaters and the immersion for hot water. Cold radiators are horrid when you want to dry out your towels or air anything. Still, the stove will be worth waiting for and it was a real bargain at £400. We were about to go out and spend at least double that on a new one, so it's a wonderful find. It's only a year old and hardly been used; sadly the owner lost a leg and was unable to carry the fuel in for it and has had to install oil heating instead. He was relieved to sell the stove and he's decided to put an aquarium in the recess the stove lived in. I can't wait to get stoked up and cosy!

I upgraded the Mac's memory this weekend, to just over a gig as I have an A1 poster coming in and last time I did anything large the computer coughed a bit! I hope I have enough, I can't afford to get any more at the minute; we're stoney broke, trying not to delve into the house renovation money, but failing. Hubby's not got enough work and I've got enough but it's not well-paid and the clients take an age to pay up. Makes for some uncomfortable cash-flow situations. Don't even start talking about Christmas!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And now the reality!

Taken this very morning...just to balance out the previous two images! :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Glam to Grunge

Just uploaded a new profile picture...thought the old one was due for a change and actually looked a bit manic. And the march of time has left it's mark as they say, since I drew the first one, best reflect the fact. Menopausal Woman has been awarded a more 'blurred' jawline; this the legacy of too many hours in front of the computer scribbling for a living. Must get out on my bike more...then maybe I would have the pleasure of editing the picture a little and firming up the soft flesh. Virtual nip-and-tuck, so to speak.

Some 10 years ago hubby treated me to one of those make-over photoshoots; they do your makeup and drape you over exotic furniture dressed in swathes of satin and pearls then take a series of photos. They looked stunning when done but not a lot like me! Here are a couple...

"Start the other cement mixer, Claude...we've got a bit of work to do on this one!" LOL!

Meanwhile...back to reality............
I've spent far too long of late chasing workmen who keep promising to come and finish this job and that in the house and come and look at our fireplace...we have no heating at all at the moment and are waiting for a man to come and install a Parkray fire that will serve our radiators and hot water. He promised to pop over this week 'after tea', as he lives about 200 yards down the road. No sign of him yet. At least we have a couple of electric convector heaters and an immersion for the water so if a cold snap comes along we won't freeze.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

21 again...I don't think........

It's my birthday today! Parents and hubby have between them given me the cash to buy a really nice jacket..something classic that I can wear for ages because I like that sort of thing. :-) Son gave me a big box of chocs, so I shall be stuffing them away tonight...with help I have no doubt.

Had a lovely suprise Sunday after the rugby game (we won!), sitting in the rugby club bar with some other 'rugby mums', when there was an announcement over the tannoy to say it was my birthday on the 3rd and someone had gathered all the team around me to sing Happy Birthday while a huge bunch of flowers was thrust into my hands by hubby and a cake plonked in front of me by son! Blimey, my face must have been a picture! What a lovely thing to do, though.......

And this is what's left of the scrummy cake!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Donald Caleb Wakefield-1924-1982

On this day, 24 years ago my Dad passed away unexpectedly. He was just 57. He went to bed, his suit hanging ready for the morning and the loose change he always took out of his pockets at night, on the dresser, unknowing of what that night would bring. He never woke.

To say his family all still miss him would be to state the painfully obvious. He left a vast rift. He had a crazy sense of humour, fuelled by radio shows like 'The Goons'. He loved gardening, would have had a fit if he'd seen the weeds in mine! He met my Mum at the Talisman theatre in Kenilworth, where he was an enthusiastic scenery painter and actor. Never seen without a pipe clamped between his teeth, he took great delight in volunteering for work at the Boy's Club in Swindon, where we lived in the 60's. Later, in Grantham he founded the new Kontak Social Club in Grantham, when their old premises were taken from them. He loved rugby, playing for many years and breaking his nose and legs on separate occasions in his youth. He played Golf on Sundays, never failing to bring home a bottle of wine to drink with Sunday lunch!

He rose from being an apprentice in the drawing office to fully-fledged hydraulic engineer and Technical director. He loved his work which sometimes took him all over the world, and was proud of his achievements.

He never knew his grandchildren, he'd have been so proud, as we were of him.

Rest in Peace, Dad.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I drove Boris the camper for the first time today! I asked Hubby if he'd give me a lesson and his jaw dropped! This is because I avoid driving as much as I can, as I seem to have developed a bit of a phobia about it. I've held my license for about 30 years but never felt at ease behind the wheel.
However, I have decided that I won't be beaten by this and as a result decided to tackle driving the biggest vehicle I've ever tried! Hubby took me to the local disused airfield and I had a go at seeing how many gears I could crunch! All went well, though reverse was tricky to select as the gearbox is a bit 'approximate'. I felt so good about it that when Hubs suggested I carry on driving off the airfield and onto the main road to visit my Mum in the next village. And I made it!
Major smug mode!

Holiday snaps

We're baaaaack! :-) It was such a success, mucho beach-bumming, surfing and quaffing of rough red vino. All this and Boris the bus performed faultlessly! Charlie was a very good dog, if taking his responsibilities as Veedub security doordog a bit seriously at times when he leaped out of the van barking viciously at passing dog-walkers! Good job we had him on a rope. (His nick-name is now Dope-on-a-rope)

We actually persuaded Charlie to swim across some rock pools!

The only pic featuring little me, taken during the hol! Back garden of the cottageBoy and board

The boys suit up by Boris

The weather was varied but generally good if windy (which spoiled the waves later in the second week) and so much water time was had. I did tend however, to leave my bodyboarding till the crowds had departed. I like to wade out quite far and catch unbroken waves, which means I have been known to catch the odd very strong wave and get hurled uncontrollably towards the more timid bathers in the shallower water. It's like seeing transfixed rabbit eyes in your headlights...I always try to avoid mowing them down but sadly some waves are so strong, collision is unavoidable! The numbers of near-misses mounts, too. Worryingly I find myself muttering 'Getcha next time' to folks I just missed by a whisker!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Even hotter!

Seems like a long time since I blogged......... I blame the heat in the studio; I can't concentrate!

The holiday looms large now and we've been preparing to take Big Black Boris on the 300-odd mile trip to Cornwall. I have given the shabby cooker/sink cabinet a temporary coat of blue paint which cheers it up somewhat. The tie-dye curtains will have to wait till I have time as I'm needlework-ably challenged and need to take my time with anything resembling sewing. So that's my Winter Job.

We took Boris out for a run to hubby's parents' home, some 35 miles distant....15 miles out, the engine conked! AArgh! Luckily we managed to limp back home and got the bus to the garage in the village, where the mechanic took one look under the bonnet and said 'Aha! The widget's worked loose!' And promptly fixed it...took seconds! (I say widget because I don't know what it was called, but for the sake of the technically minded of you, the Bus was sucking more air than fuel. That done we were once again on our way and this time all went as smoothly as a 2 litre 25 year old VW engine can be. Phew! Only one thing now..........another techy thing means that we don't have time to finish doing the heating/cooling bits on Boris, (risers? shrug) before the hols as it's quite a fiddly job, so we're driving round with the interior heater ON! Now remember we have 300 ish miles to travel and you'll understand why we've decided to travel overnight! Think of us arriving at our destination, red and dripping with sweat........and me at my time of life too! Oh well, makes life interesting and gives me something to write in my blog.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hot hot hot!

Well, after the drama of the other day, anything else is a bit of a let down. Still, one must make the effort.......though in this heatwave it's hard to think straight!
The Phormium plant in the back garden has flowered again this year, just the second time ever. Last year it was covered with huge majestic spikes of flower. This Oh well, a good excuse for les boys to strike a dramatic pose in front of it!

I took Charlie for his walk very early yesterday because of the heat. Here are a few shots of our route. The landowner blocked off a part of the walk a few weeks ago, which was a blow. Fortunately the local council came to the rescue and reopened up an ancient footpath that hasn't been used during the memory of the people who've lived in the village all their lives. This footpath joins up with the old one at a point before the blocked bit so we can walk the familiar way again and just finish the circuit by walking this new/ old path. Trouble is, it's not been trodden down yet and is criss-crossed with plough marks and some beds of very sharp thistles!

Some late flax flowers among the seed pods

Tiptoe through the thistles to a gap in the hedge by that house!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Look what I found in our garden!

We'd drained our pond to a shallow sludge ready to move it as we need a seating area in that position. Any time now we planned to tip all our hardcore into the hole to form a base for patio area. Now we have to wait. As I walked from the back gate to the house I saw something moving in the bottom of the ex-pond, from the corner of my eye. And blow me if it wasn't a bloomin' grass snake...complete with adult frog in it's jaws! I rushed in to get the camera and here are the better shots. I did feel dreadfully sorry for the frog; it was struggling to escape but had no hope. The snake had it's head in it's mouth when I came across them and was slowly dragging it under it's rock.
There's a short bit of video too, rough quality but it shows the poor frog trying to get away. Don't look if you're squeamish or upset by nature in the raw.

Saturday Scrumptiousness

Ahhh....the weekend at Scribbly Cottage! I cycled about 6 miles to the next village Saturday afternoon to pick up some shopping. It was a really pleasant ride as there was a cooling breeze. In the evening Mart put on his pinny, as he always does every Saturday night, and cooked dinner. It's always something special, something fishy and this week it was salmon steaks with Muscadet, watercress and dill potatoes. (Thank you Rick Stein, for your inspiring TV cookery programmes!) It was absolutely scrummy as always. He's a good cook and I had to take a picture of him (with inane grin) beavering away in the kitchen. What a guy!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Grumpy old beach bum

Here's a little watercolour study of a couple coming back from a snatched hour at the beach. (apologies for the quality of my scanner, some sky wash has disappeared) Although this couple don't seem to have too much stuff with them, I see people trudging back and forth weighed down with clutter. They fascinate me. I have to ask myself why they need all this stuff. It's as if they have the need to set up their little suburban space on the 'wilds' of a beach lest they feel insecure without all their trappings to hand. Sit on any beach this summer and listen to the sound of the waves being drowned out by the inane trill of mobile phones and the bellowed conversations that ensue.

Windbreaks I suppose have their place but the massive multi-windbreak corrals that are making an appearance appal me. 'This is our space, keep well away!' is the message. The only trouble with windbreaks is that although they keep the wind out they also screen the occupants from good things. last year a crowded beach in Cornwall was treated to the spectacle of wild bottle-nosed dolphins jumping and showing off not far out to sea. The people behind windbreaks missed most of it.

Kites......argh...I HATE kites! I was almost brained by one that some unrepentant nincompoop lost control of. They glide and swoop above me like predatory birds awaiting their chance to get me again. I walk kite-infested beaches with the top of my skull crawling in anticipation.

There will be more beach-related sketches and waffling. I have to go and do some work now, but I'm looking forward to our holiday at the beach in a couple of weeks. We will go down to the beach with surfboards and a towel and a bottle of water and everything else left locked away in the van till we need it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Busy week

It's been a bit busy here at Scribbly Cottage the past few days.
First my mother phoned on Monday in a bit of a panic; she'd forgotten to take her insulin (being diabetic this is NOT GOOD) and needed somebody around to make sure she didn't slip into a coma. So, to cut a long story short we had her sleeping overnight with us. She had to have our room which put us on the futon in the sitting room. Frenzied rifling of airing cupboard to find fresh bedding and enough to go round! Come morning Mum was right as rain and declared she'd not slept so well in ages!

Then in the afternoon, Dearly Beloved and son came home from their shake-down trip to Cornwall in Boris the Camper, which seems to have gone well. A bit of a fuel leak still, though, despite a new fuel tank. Off to the garage again! Nevertheless, the camper made good time and tackled the Cornish 'ups and downs' with aplomb. Now I want to get something done about the inside before we go away. I'm poised to create some tie-dye blinds to replace the army-surplus drab green ones presently installed. And I'm going to paint the cooker/sink unit too. Thinking of a nice pattern in blues. And I have some seagrass matting to go on the floor too. Hubby bought some horrendous flourescent yellow plastic plates which are so flimsy I wouldn't trust them to hold a meal...they have to go! Watch this space and I'll post developments.

So this week I managed to finish the game board I was doing for an Irish publisher. I enjoyed doing it and was sad to see it go, but hey ho. here it is anyway, in all it's glory. And a little drawing I did for an English primary school book.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Secret life of a Surf-widow

Well I waved adieu to my nearest and dearest at midnight last night as they clattered off rather noisily in the old veedub bus Boris, for a quick shake-down weekend before the main hols in August. They phoned at 8.30 this morning to say they'd just arrived in Bude to surf heaven and apart from a teeny fuel leak the old bus was fine. Phew! I spent a restless night waking at odd times, checking the clock and thinking 'they haven't come back with the AA yet then' and 'oh, they must be at about Bristol by now' , as one does. I was particularly proud of Son as he passed up the chance to go to his school's end-of-year prom in evening dress and mingle with all the young ladies in their long go surfing with his dad. Ahhhhh!

Anyway, here I am, just me and the dog. Chocolate for this evening has been purchased and is in the fridge, as it would have been molten by now in this heat, wine is lined up, and a nice bulghar wheat salad, but that's for later. This morning I managed to shift a stack of paving slabs, double-glazed panels and rubble, so that I could get at the soil by the house wall and plant Mrs Cholmondeley (clematis in case you're wondering) that has shot to the top of it's cane and needed a nice trellis to grab hold of. There's another hole ready for another clematis at the other end of the house and a tub down the side. I have to admit, this is a cunning plan to hide some brickwork that the builder couldn't match (our cottage was made with hand-made bricks apparently and we couldn't afford the obscene sum it would have cost to try and get some reclaimed ones. ) So...different coloured patch where the windows and french doors were altered...chuck a clematis at it! Give it a couple of seasons and it'll be rampant vegetation, just what I like!

The garden pond has, alas, been drained. It was due to be moved, as we want a patio there now and I was going to put another smaller pond up the garden to replace it as I can't stand the vision of disappointed froggies with tear-stained little cheeks, next Spring, coming to find their spawning place paved over. Then we got the dog and he kept jumping into it, chasing flies and stuff, by which time it was becoming a bit whiffy as I hadn't dredged it out as I was moving it; so Charlie was coming out wet and stinky. Then the worst thing...I found the sodden body of a hedgehog floating there. :-(((( They usually go to drink at the low shallow end but somehow this one had fallen in and been unable to get out. I felt so bad I set to and pumped the water out ready to fill it in, a couple of evenings ago.
So now the ex pond is a stinking pit and ready to fill...but I still had a waterlily to save and also a marsh marigold, which flowers it's heart out every spring. I don't have another pond ready yet and I don't want them to die so I've done a bit of lateral thinking. I present to you.....the waterlily-in-a-bin! Well it may not be elegant, but you must admit it's different! The old dustbin was the only thing I had that was big enough and waterproof enough to house the lily. the marigold. It's big, I may have to have another lateral think!
Below are a couple of pictures, one of the lovely surfers weathervane that I designed and George next door made for hubby; and my favourite rose, Rosa Mundi, which was magnificent in it's stripy petals and scent a few days ago, but typically I didn't get a picture of it then. Oh, for scented-blogs!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


So much to do, so little time..... apart from the 'making-a-living' stuff that is, the list is growing. I owe a couple of people emails, I need to get some self-promotional illustrations, then there's some nice little watercolour sketches I could put on my blog...oh and must write my blog (I missed yesterday, oh well you didn't miss much). Order some curtains for Mum,hit the weedy garden again, design my new web pages, get shot of some stuff on evilbay...argh! Stop the list I'm getting dizzy!

All this and I have to make a list for Hubby and son who are soon taking Boris the elderly VW camper for it's inaugural trip, down to Cornwall. Son has just finished his GCSEs and this is the chance for him to blow off a bit of steam. To save money they're sleeping in Boris (something that we won't be doing when we go down en famille in late July/August) If I don't make a list of stuff to take they'll end up in the middle of nowhere without matches or pans. Suddenly I realise they don't have a kettle and may have to take the nice Le Creuset one from the kitchen, talk about posh! The van now has a nice big gas bottle for it's two-ring and grill cooker so I expect they'll survive. Sleeping bags are purchased, some ghastly plastic cups and plates from Tesco and a coolbox. The main thing is that they'll be able to get all the surfboards inside the van; a big improvement on strapping them to the roof of the old BMW for the 300-odd mile journey. How exciting was that in windy weather?!

Here are a couple of shots of Boris inside, showing a few bits ready for the off and the cooking arrangements. On top of the cooker is Rocky, the glove puppet otter. Bought by some surf chums for son years ago he's been with us on every surf jaunt since.

Leaving day depends on the surf reports but Boris can't hit the road before Saturday as his road tax isn't valid till then. So that'll leave Charlie and I to potter about the house for a few days, up to a week, even if the surf gets good. Perhaps I'll pamper myself a little!

Speaking of the old BMW, we waved goodbye to it at last, yesterday. Neil, the builder who's doing our house renovations, took a shine to it and bought it off us to do up. It's done us proud over the years, never let us down and as mentioned before, has lugged the surf gear up hill and down cove for 7 years without complaint. I hope it gives Neil as much as it's given us.