stories and illustration

The Moon and the River

Beyond the Coldstream Bridge, the water curls up over the weir. It is dark outside this morning, our postman told me that head office had turned off the heating where they work, and it was freezing. The post is apparently running at a loss, but the shareholders are being paid handsomely. This has nothing to do with the picture, but everything to do with this country. This benighted, beknighted country….how can a few conscienceless high-living people create such chaos. I need to get out walking again, it has become a habit not an exploration. But getting back to Facebook is a start, I feel as if I am communicating with the outside world.

January 5, 2023 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moon over Tweed River

The turning of the year – I looked through January images and this was one that combined a sombreness with some streaks of light reflected from the moon, and lights on Coldstream Bridge, which is the bridge between Scotland and England. The breach between Scotland and England seems further away than at the beginning of last year. Soon I will be out and about again, I hope; and back to some kind of crazy scribbling.. May I wish every friend, and also foe if there are any out there, a Happy New Year. One can hope.

January 4, 2023 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Daughters of Thyme

Much to my pleasure, I was asked by a friend, Jane Keenan to produce a cover for this book written by herself and two other poets. They met whilst on an Open University Course, and made this lovely book of poems, with subjects that branch out from the personal to ramifications in the wider world. For anyone wanting to see more about the book, the Daughters of Time site is at

I hand-painted the lettering, as until I do Musical Bears, which will probably be later in the year, I am too mean to get the Adobe programme for laying lettering over text, to present to printers. However, I think with this book the hand-painted lettering does fit the feeling of the book, so I may do the same thing with the cover for Musical Bears. The imagery on the lilac strip is actually taken from a sprig of thyme taken from a pot just outside the Tardis, my octagonal, dark blue studio at the end of the garden.

January 2, 2023 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Merlins Crags, Liddesdale

Happy New Year to everyone. So long since I posted, the last year has been strange; but among my wishes for 2023 is to create a post, however brief or nutcase, at least a few times each week, to get me back into my environment of making imagery, posting, communicating . Where I used to live, with my son, in the Liddel Valley, where part of me still exists, there was this hill which was called Merlins Crags, and I used to think it was part of the King Arthur legend, as there were rumours of him haunting these parts on the Border between England and Scotland. But then when I went back there and walked for miles, alone, all day, I saw merlins up there, the smallest of the hawks in this country, in that exact place, and the only place I have ever seen them; so maybe that is why the name is as it is. I shall have to look up how the word Merlin come to mean these apparently two different things.

Nearly 10 years ago I wrote two or three lines about these crags. But this painting was created since then.

January 1, 2023 Posted by | Art, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

In praise of the Hellebore

From the autumn until today, when the plants are still in full flower, the hellebore has adorned the garden. Such an uncomplaining kind of plant, it doesn’t shed its petals, it doesn’t wither, it just goes on spreading by a few degrees here and there, and produces such elegant flowers. I feel a real affection towards these plants. My son will be given some for his garden in the autumn. I could not find any kind of an involving poem about them, but maybe I should look under “Christmas Rose” as I believe that is another title they bear; though it is now nearly May. I shall go on looking for a poem. In the meantime, thank you, hellebores, you are special in your own way.

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Storm Damage 3

Sinister, shot against the sun, like a fairy story forest. I have decided I need to do some quite different drawing, and photographs of tangled branches might be part of the imagery. I need to do some looking. I was gong to self-publish “Musical Bears” this year but have decided it doesn’t feel the right time. I shall continue to work on the illustrations, whilst at the same time going off on a different tack.

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Storm Damage 2

I shall visit this tree later in the year, to see if it has survived the ravages of the extreme weather we have had this late winter, in our usually temperate country.

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Storm Damaged Trees

The Hirsel, a large estate that is part of Coldstream, lost 1000 trees in the storms this year. There was a notice up by the entrance to one of my usual walks saying Danger, Footpath Closed, but it was a beautiful calm spring day, and the high winds passed through some weeks back, several of them … so I bypassed the notice and took myself and my camera down the path by River Leet. There are fallen trees everywhere, but the saddest sight to me is the trees that have their tops torn off. The place is in one way like a Paul Nash painting of the battlefields of WW1; but in another way it is strange to see robins and blackbirds hopping about within the tangle of branches, and daffodils everywhere, and to hear the noise of children in the park across the other side of the water. The faintly sinister sound of chainsaws has been accompanying us for weeks. Trees are still leaning against other trees, and others have fallen across the Leet. Such chaos everywhere. Blue skies.

March 22, 2022 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

January the First

January 1, 2022 Posted by | Art, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas

and a New Year with more delight and a lot less trouble x

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

%d bloggers like this: