May your days be merry and bright…


Last year, we were staying in the Peak District, and as night fell on Christmas day, so did the snow.  It was the loveliest thing.

It was slightly less lovely when our car got stuck in the pub car park the next day, but you have to take the rough with the smooth in these situations, and it was worth it for the cold beauty that the snow brought to the landscape, at once stark and soft.

My son wants it to snow this Christmas, but since today it was unseasonably warm enough to go out in just a t-shirt and a thin cardigan, he’s going to have to go on hoping.  I’ll be hoping along with him, though.

I was looking at previous posts, and saw last year’s card.  I wrote ‘seasons greetings’ on that as well.  I suppose that means something or other – I think it’s just a joyful idea that quite a lot of people all celebrate this time of year, whichever direction they’ve come at it from.

Whatever you’re putting the lights on for, though, I hope it’s a cheerful and peaceful time for you.



Personal stuff – just saw a feather and thought that it would be nice to paint it.  I’ve collected up a few more, but the prevailing colour scheme of light grey, brownish grey and dark grey makes me suspect that the feral pigeon provides most of the source material.  I live in hope that one day something more decorative will fly past – we do get parakeets round here, but they don’t seem inclined to moult.




Forgive the ropy scans.  It has been a bad day.

Excuses, excuses

I haven’t been very good at finding time to draw lately.  You, know how it is, the twins are refusing to settle at night, then there’s the teething, and trying to cook tea with a wailing baby attached to each leg, and then there’s the oldest who wants your help and wants to play a game and there’s the worksheet from school to fill in, and tax stuff, and on top of that, we’ve got the builders in to give us a little more room because there’s five of us in a small terraced house and, and, and… excuses, excuses.

Anyway, I haven’t been very good at finding time to draw lately.

Well, that is except for when I found myself with little else to do except tend to the youngest baby, read and draw.  This, unfortunately, was because he was in hospital with a chest infection.  He didn’t seem so very ill at a glance, but the doctor thought differently and sent us off to the hospital, where the machine that went ‘ping’ said differently, and poor Benjamin spent three days on the children’s ward, being excellently cared for.  May I put in a word for our lovely and magnificent NHS here?  It wasn’t just the medical care – everyone had a smile for Benjamin, and the ward was excellent, with a play room, and a sensory room, and staff and volunteers who tried to make his and my stay as cheerful and comfortable as possible.  I’d also like to put in a word for my husband and mother and friends who all rallied together when what was meant to be a quick check up turned into a minor saga.  I would also just like to add that it is quite difficult to keep an oxygen tube on a baby who has decided that he doesn’t really want it, particularly after he’s started to pick up and has got quite wriggly.  The thing is, I wouldn’t have changed a minute of it, because you know, it’s your child, and you want to know they’ll be OK.  I just hope everyone knew how glad we were of their care for Benjamin, and for all of us as a family.

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Goodbye Sir Terry


The first Terry Pratchett I ever read was (I suppose appropriately for such news) Mort, and I remained hooked on Terry Pratchett’s books for the next 25 years, and shall do for as many years as I’ve got left.

It was so damn funny!  But I like funny books.  It took a long while to realise why unlike many others, Pratchett’s books lodged in my brain and refused to leave.

There was that sense that a vast amount of research and knowledge had been packed into each book – not that you ever got beaten over the head with it (“…as you know, Bob…”), but I loved it when I spotted references to folklore, literature, film… and I’m very sure I never even noticed half of them.

So, they’re fantastic entertainment and the product of a huge intelligence, but one aspect that elevated them above the usual run of humour was that you could always tell that he cared about human beings and the wider world they lived in, knew how their thought processes worked.  He pointed out the layers of fluff we use to insulate ourselves from reality, but understood why we spin those layers for ourselves.

Most of all, there was the palpable sense of anger that rose from that care for humanity, and a desire for social justice.  It was anger at those who treat people like interchangeable spare parts, or where a society is set up to benefit the system, not the people who live in it.

Make that a huge, compassionate and humane intelligence.  With a genius for silly names.

From Reaper Man, one of my favourites (actually, they’re nearly all my favourites, if this is a possible thing):

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”

That’s going to take a long time.  Even so, I’m going to miss him, a lot.

Rest in peace, Terry Pratchett.

Happy World Book Day!



…from Elen’s Island, which is out now!  Makes an excellent gift for friends and family!

A very quick sketch (executed with sleeping infants on lap) of Elen and Captain Beaky to celebrate World Book Day.  Hope you have a lovely day, and find some time to read a good book!