My friends are getting married today. Here’s their card. Guess what sort of dogs they have.
My friends are getting married today. Here’s their card. Guess what sort of dogs they have.
My amazing friend MADE me this dragon for my birthday and I am still astonished at the work that has gone into it.
For those of you you may be interested in the creation of this creature (Rediskot I’m looking at you) I think there has been some knitting and some crochet going on. Here are a couple of blurry close-ups of the little diva to illustrate why I am not a photographer.
It arrived with a little card about Llewellyn daydreaming about the Welsh kings who loved dragons and as my amazing friend is called Sue I felt the obvious choice for a name was Sue-Ellen. Now Sue-Ellen sits atop my drawing board, laughing at my efforts at cartoonery.
This is the card I made for Sue to say ‘Ta, matey!’
It’s about time we saw some of my not-so-little leggy relatives on here.
I think something like this happened to my partner the other day – I wasn’t paying that much attention but I noticed there was an emergency stop and some general yelling before the driver’s seat was rapidly evacuated.
(No banks, partners or spiders were harmed in the making of this cartoon, though my favourite balaclava is starting to unravel slightly and the car is a bit cobwebby.)
I’m not even sorry.
Inspired by an exchange with Draliman on Life I have done a terrible thing.
Sorry. I’m so sorry.
More holiday giddiness for those crazy masochists who asked for it –
I’m not going to assault you with a blow-by-blow account of the whole time – instead I have condensed it into a sort of smoothie full of goodness where you don’t notice the unpleasant green unidentified bits because they are disguised by the yummy red bits. Have at you!
There was a lot of driving on this holiday. When I say ‘there was’ what I mean is – my partner did a lot of driving. I can’t help out because I drive like a maniac and the DVLA very sensibly declined to let me have a licence after what I did on that roundabout a few years ago. So, well done to my long-suffering other half for concentrating for so long all up and down the country and around much of the Scottish west coast and all the islands whose roads we wore down. You can rest that clutch leg now; sshhh, it’s all over. (Sob!)
Northumbria had much to offer –
I don’t know how we made it out into the sticks because when we tried to continue our journey from Northumbria the signal for the Sat Nav was harder to find than the legendary red squirrels in Kielder Forest.
I had to get the map out like someone from the 1990s. Luckily, I enjoy a good map and soon I was immersed in this new vintage reading material. The possibilities were endless – a coastline you simply MUST see and this road is stunning and that road takes you through some fascinating historic…
The west coast of Scotland is all wiggly and rural and hence rather beautiful in a ‘the nearest shop is 50 miles away and all we’ve got is digestive biscuits’ kind of way. That was pretty much the situation we found ourselves in once we’d located our secluded island cottage fairly late at night. Cue a mad dash to the nearest town and a swoop around Tesco because it was the only place open. And – relax.
Take a deep breath and inhale that lungful of midgies. AHHHHH!
“Scotland – the auld country.” (A line from my favourite film – Local Hero.)
So much to see and do. We visited a different island each day, thus making good use of the variety of ferry services around the coast.
Some were big.
And some were small.
Some were challenging to get dogs onto.
And sometimes there were already other dogs on there.
Following his initial reluctance to gain sea legs, our dog became a natural and by the end of the week he was boring us with his tall tales of kraken and other mythical sea monsters.
Our other dog was less concerned with floors that moved up and down and more worried about the laminated one in our cottage, which really hated her arthritic legs and sent them sprawling in all directions. We have the same problem at home though so we had come prepared. With DOG SOCKS. Which are worth their weight in comedy gold. Honestly, even if your dog has no problem with slippery floors, just get some. Even if you don’t have a dog – get some and put them on your kitchen utensils, they are hilarious.
The weather on the west coast was plentiful and constantly changing. Whatever clothes you wear, they will be suitable at some point during any given day.
We were relieved to be missing what sounded like a violent heatwave in the south of the country. Each time I spoke to my dad on the phone (when I managed to find a phone signal for 5 minutes on our travels) I could hear his eyeballs melting as he talked. One particularly memorable day we had just returned to the cottage from a beach and a conveniently timed thunderstorm threw itself at us with force. We happened to have the radio on and heard the newsreader say the words –
Oh, we did laugh but not in a malicious way, you understand. The timing was just so perfect.
Our cottage was a cosy getaway with a wildlife haven of a garden. Although it was a joy to observe voles scurrying and birds flurrying, the dogs were unable to roam freely as the whole area was made entirely of sheep. Hardy Scottish sheep at that, with tattoos and piercings. Some evenings we got home to find them trying to break in and claim squatter’s rights.
(I honestly did see a sheep wearing a shawl of bracken like this.)
For a further flavour of the mood please see ‘Whisky and Haggis (if you haven’t looked already) – my attempts at painting with Inktense (‘Cos, like, I’m on holiday and I’m gonna be all arty, man) which can be found Here.
If we learned only one thing during our Scottish break it was about ourselves –
Meanwhile, back at home –
Finally, bagpipes. You know you want to hear some. I only saw one wee boy busking with a set on the waterfront in sunny Oban but I recklessly mentioned Radiohead in the comments of my last post so here you go – enjoy.
Right, settle down and look at my holiday album. I have over 500 fascinating photos and you are going to study each one and listen to a story about it. Ha ha ha! Only joking. I tried that on my dad and look what happened.
Look, I have film footage of a mountain!
Obviously if I did that I would bore you to death and you’d banish me from your blogging community until the end of time. So I’ve devised a fun method of boring… I mean, sharing my holiday memories with you. Can you guess what I’ve done?
Don’t worry, I haven’t drawn 500 odd cartoons of mountains and eagles and otters and shit. I have carefully selected the highlights of the holiday, or, if I’m honest, the bits I drew cartoons of while I was there until I got cheesed off with it and threw my sketch pad over my shoulder and settled down with the whisky on a ferry.
Slainte Mhath! (That’s Gaelic for bottoms up.)
Scotland is a long way and my partner is into astronomy so we had the brainwave to stop for two nights halfway, in Northumbria, to visit the Dark Sky Observatory and have a bit of a look around.
There is very low light pollution in this area so it is a perfect spot for stargazing. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when we were there so the Dark Sky was just dark, with no stars. I was going to draw what we saw but it just looked like this.
Dark, isn’t it?
The journey north was relatively uneventful.
I’m not one to perpetuate stereotyping but the constant blue sky and sunshine did honestly turn to rain the moment we passed the sign welcoming us to the north. Truly. Luckily it was a brief shower and it clearly only did it to give me a laugh and the idea for a cartoon.
We didn’t get away very early and it grew steadily dark and late as we progressed towards our destination. So much so that we very nearly missed seeing a prominent landmark in the twilight.
We were staying in a bunkhouse apartment out in the sticks and we phoned to let them know our arrival would be around midnight and asked if they could leave us the key somewhere. The lovely gent running it promised to wait there for us and show us around before he went home. What a star! (The only one we saw…)
The road became a sort of rollercoaster in the darkness as midnight approached.
We had no idea what was outside the car. In daylight it turned out to be wall-to-wall sheep. The road went on and on and on and on… A bit like this blog post.
Finally, we arrived and let the lovely man go home to his bed. He promised to cook us breakfast the next morning, even though he looked wrecked.
We pulled the dogs out from under all the luggage in the back of the car and unfolded their lanky long lurcher legs (don’t call the RSPCA – our dogs actually get to spreadeagle themselves luxuriously over two thirds of the car while we are scrunched in the front seats with our faces crushed against the windscreen and all the bags crammed in my footwell so I have to put my legs on the dashboard).
It’s really really dark in these cartoons so you can’t see what they are saying. I have thoughtfully added captions below.
One of the dogs helpfully had a sneaky poo in the dark on the campsite so we had to try and find it and pick it up. When I say it was dark, I mean it was pitch black dark. You couldn’t see ANYTHING, let alone a dark dog poo on a dark field in the dark. This is the Dark Sky Observatory on a cloudy night; darker than a black cat in a coalshed at midnight on the winter solstice. Have you noticed how the word ‘dark’ is starting to seem like a made-up word now? Or is that just me?
And then the other dog started STARING at SOMETHING, in the DARK.
This is it, I thought, waiting for the Beast of The Dark Sky Park to come and get me, this is the end. Funny, I always thought I’d die choking on a bit of apple or laughing too hard at some comedy…
Anyway, it turned out to be a bin. Gormless dog.
I’ve got more photos… don’t be a stranger…!
Come back!!! … please…?