Messing about, here and there

Friday January 28, 2005

Copyright owner not known...
Have at you,
you bounder!

Noodling around the Internet this morning I found a great reference on Peter Cooper’s blog, pointing me to a page on self-defence with a walking-stick. The pictures are wonderful! I can just see myself in a few month’s time, slipping through the dark and mysterious alleyways of London, me and my stick a dire threat to any passing foot-pad.

I’m sure the owners of the webpage won’t mind me copying a bit of one of their pictures to provide a smile here.

While talking about other people’s pictures, I should turn back to yesterday’s entry, where I invited people to puzzle over the origin of a small drawing of a sailing dingy I ‘borrowed’ from a famous English children’s book. I dropped clues, knowing that not everyone shares the depth of my love of these old things, but I’m not sure I need have bothered, because the answer came back firm, strong and hearty: “It’s Arthur Ransom!”

And so it is, from Swallows and Amazons, where it closes off chapter eleven in my edition.

I do love Ransom’s drawings, for their simplicity of line and the purity of their excitement. So far as I know the only place you can easily get to see them is in the books, which earn their place on my bookshelf year after year and have done so for as long as I’ve been able to own my own small library.

Nancy and Peggy departing from Wild Cat Island in 'Amazon'; from 'Swallows and Amazons', by Arthur Ransom
a small inspiration

Hey ho. Back to the day, which turned out to be quiet and mostly peaceful. At one point Graham had to disrupt the whole house by sealing off the kitchen, donning anti-dust mask and clothing, and scraping the worst of the decorative plasterwork from the ceiling. Fixing plastic sheeting to contain the dust and debris takes longer then doing the actual job, as does vacuuming it all up at the end. By the time he was finished, I was desperate to get to the bathroom, the other side from where I’d been sitting in the study, and Dolly was desperate to get through the barrier, not for any biological reason but simply to assert her slowly emerging position as Absolute Monarch of the Household.

Other than that, peace has been the order of our day. Dolly slept. Graham DIY’d. And me, I pottered about, tracing a path from computer to book, to drawing board and back to computer. I did a fair amount of sleeping, too.

We are past the darkest doldrums of the year now, and the days are lengthening. Even so, there are periods in most days when all I want to do is follow Dolly’s example and snooze my way into Spring.

In the garden the green spears of Spring bulbs, daffodils for the most part, are well through the soil. They don’t seem to be in a rush but it’s good to see them even so. Daffodils bring so much joy with them, both for their happy voice of the present and for the memories they bring of Springs Past. If I can keep up the pace on Project Watercolour I hope to be about ready to tackle some flower studies when the first blooms break in sufficient quantity to cut a few and bring them indoors.

Pen and wash from my 1995 sketch book; I may have made this study from a picture in an art-book but I really don't remember now...



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