View

Looking out of our house, I can see gardens on the side and rear of the house, but a grey factory building in front. I wish we had a view of the sea or countryside. The road in front of our house is on a steep hill, and quite often cars roar up and down it, ambulances rush by with sirens blaring, or motorbikes speed up, exhausts popping and banging. The hill is one of the steepest in the area and seems sometimes to be a racetrack! Oh to see a yatch in the distance, sails catching the rising or setting sun. That would be magical.

house portrait

From May 2020, when I first started my part time illustration course. I am still quite pleased with this drawing. Physically, I was fitter and could draw without shaking too much. I tend to add less details these days too. I’d like to get back to drawing outside. Maybe meet up with urban sketchers again. Even though I havent caught Covid, it’s done things to me mentally. I guess I got a bit of cabin fever during lockdown, and since then it’s been easier to avoid people – you never know if you will just burst into tears… I think I’m OK, god knows what its like for people living through wars or famine. We can still do things here, well some of us can. I worry for people in food poverty or who can’t afford to heat their homes. It all spins round in my head. which is why I’m writing this at 3.11am…. must go to bed.

In the second world war and afterwards they had ordinary people just writing down their everyday lives in diaries. They were collated to record what had happened. There is a film called “Housewife 55” or something like that, which starred Victoria Wood. If you can find it, it’s worth watching, very poignant. maybe they were their own kind of bloggers.

Old digital drawing

A few years ago I drew this portrait of Hugh Laurie, (who played House in the medical drama of that name). This was a digital drawing done with a stylus on a tablet but with very simple tools on a site called Sketchfu. It consequently closed and people lost their drawings. Luckily I downloaded some of mine.

This particular drawing always gives me pleasure. It took me a while to master the tools and when I try and draw like this now it doesn’t flow as easily. It’s true what they say – practice makes perfect!

House?

Old digital drawing I did of House, the actor Hugh Laurie.

I remember him from his comedy act with Stephen Fry, and also his appearances in Blackadder with Rowan Atkinson (who also plays Mr Bean).

I’ve watched most of the episodes, I’m fascinated by his characters ability to diagnose the most unusual diseases, and his inability to socialise with people.

Drawn at the old Sketchfu website several years ago.

Virtual sketch out…

Enjoyed the virtual sketch out today with #uskstoke ! I drew our house off Google maps, it was too cold and wet to stand outside. Anyone who knows where I live knows my views out of the house are limited so I drew two other places I know from photos too! Oh how I wish I could get out more…. They are Gladstone pottery museum and Penkhull church. Both drawn as snowy scenes so at least they look a bit like the weather today….

Two sketches today

Two sketches in Etruria today. A corner house and the White bridge over the Trent and Mersey canal. Both were done in response to an online virtual sketch out with #uskstoke (Stoke Urban Sketchers). There was a zoom meeting, but I couldn’t join as I was out and about and had no Internet access. These are hopefully going to be included in an online ‘street’ of people’s images that represent the city. They were very quick sketches and I tried to draw the corner house a few times, it was difficult to get it to fit on a small sketchpad page…..

The irritations of lockdown

Being together is supposed to be better than being by yourself. Not as lonely. But when you live in a small house it’s not that simple. A narrow galley kitchen means you struggle to pass each other. One persons shooing is the others dislike. You bought four huge pork pies? The potato salad is full of sugar? Why can’t you put waste food in the bin, instead of letting it float in the sink….. Then there is TV. We don’t have Netflix or anything like that, so we watch terrestrial TV. But do there have to be so many steam train programmes? Tools is another thing. Yes he has a shed, but this time of year he takes over the kitchen, there are batteries, middle boats, cable ties, screwdrivers… The list is endless, all over the place. He doesn’t like shopping and washing up. So the food is weird and the water splashes everywhere. My new cupboard door is loosing it’s surface because its always wet… So I do things myself. The most irritating? When I buy things for both of us and he eats it all first.

If I asked him to write his irritations, he too would have a long list. He would be right! Living together isn’t easy.

Interesting statistic. Married men I’ve five years longer than single men on average, whilst married women live five years less than single ones!

Huge wasp!

Ooo dear, suddenly buzzing round the front door was a huge wasp, it must have snuck in when I put the milk bottles out. It was big. A queen? I don’t know, perhaps my fear made it seem larger. Boy cat, in his cone of shame, was bouncing up and down by the door, reaching up to the letterbox. He looked very comical in his buster collar, but I was worried the wasp would get scooped up by it!

Then I saw it. It was up on the glass above the door. But I couldn’t reach it! My hubby took the glass I was holding and got a bit of paper, quickly covered the wasp and I opened the front door. Off it flew.

I can’t tell you what species of wasp it was. All I know is it seemed to have a large stinger. I hope it finds somewhere to go, but not in my home.

X

Keys

She was searching for the keys for the back door…

She had let herself in the front door with a key she had found in the street. It had just been there, in the gutter. Perhaps fallen from a pocket? The address was stuck to it with a bit of sellotape. She wondered why and pondered if the person it belonged to was forgetful….

She decided to try and find the house or flat it was from, so she looked it up on her phone. Success, only two streets away. She would go round and drop it off.

A few minutes later she was outside a large, smart house. Set back in a large corner plot. Bushes and trees and a neatly trimmed lawn. She walked up the gravel drive, her feet crunching so loudly she was certain any occupent would hear her coming.

She knocked on the big blue door. And gazed through the frosted glass to see if she could see movement. But nothing but silence greeted her.

She knocked again, should she post the key through the brass letterbox, or wrap it in some paper from her bag and leave a message?

There was no reply so she pulled the key out of her bag. But she looked at the door lock. Why not? She knew she was being nosey but…. She lifted the key and unlocked the door. ‘Hello’ she called loudly. ‘Anyone home?’ No reply again…. She walked further in, looking around. A marble floor, beautiful paintings on the wall. Swag curtains on the windows, made of blue and green velvet. That was just the hall! Gradually she explored the downstairs area, reception rooms, beautifully decorated and furnished. A dining table set in a plush dining room. Each more luxurious than the last. She passed admiring glances over the fully fitted kitchen. An island! How did people afford such luxury?

Suddenly she heard the front door slam… She hadn’t locked it, whoever was there would have noticed that. ‘Who’s here?’ came a loud male voice. She stood still and silent, the shout came again, louder now, exploring. Heavy footsteps running upstairs. Now was her chance. She ran into the utility room where she had seen the back door. Keys hung on a board together with a Swiss army knife. Scrambling she tried to find the key to the back door. Keys fell, crashing loudly to the floor. ‘Who is there? ‘ Louder, closer, feet rushing. I’ve got to get out, anywhere, maybe I can hide in the back garden or find a side gate? She thought in a panic…..

Outside, running. Towards the gate. Feet running after her, he grabbed her wrist. Thrust the knife blade towards her throat. ‘Who the hell are you?’ he screamed in her face…..