Caught the train to Nottingham from St Pancras last week, happy to see my photograph of railwayman Roland Hoggard in the station. From Nottingham station en route to find the bus to a friend’s house, heading up to the Castle I passed this plaque by the canal. The river Leen joins the canal here. Some years ago there was a canal museum in one of the converted warehouses, where you could view water running underneath the building.
Walking up towards the Castle, presently closed for a refurb, I called in at the Trip to Jerusalem pub built into the sandstone of the castle rock. I was told as child that this was where soldiers called in for their last pint before setting out to the Crusades.I stayed a couple of nights with my friend J. In the morning I found one of her childhood toys outside my bedroom door.
We travelled to Leicestershire to see an Arts and Crafts cottage at Stonewall. A very helpful guide called Tony Curtis showed us round the gardens.
My niece and her family live in Nottingham. I spent a happy time with the children watching butterflies being born – Painted Ladies, delivered by post in caterpillar form. I sat with the children, watching the butterflies’ trembling emergence and gentle fluttering as they tried out their new wings before being released into the wild the following day. The butterflies that is. What delight!
Have you been to Nottingham? What are your favourite things there?
Preparations last week for the publication by Design For Today of my leporello Hand Book of hopes and dreams. You’ll be able to meet all sorts of characters, and draw your own hopes and dreams at my workshop on 23rd September at the Bouncing Off The Wall event.
It was 32 degrees in London recently, pollution levels were high and I began to croak and wheeze. I just had to get away and breathe some sea air. That’s my excuse anyway. I checked the weather forecast, packed a small suitcase with wet weather gear just in case – British holiday habits die hard – and set off for the south west. My Penzance B&B room was tiny, more like a ship’s cabin, but that suited me because I could lie on my narrow bed and immerse myself in the blue dazzle of sea and sky.
It just happened to be Unicorn Derby Day at the nearby Art Deco Jubilee Pool (of seawater). I counted at least 31 unicorns racing to the sound of the Ride of the Valkyries blasting out on the PA system.
Just finished the last pages for The Hand Book of hopes and dreams, published by Design For Today, coming soon! Unfold the pages of this leporello book and meet a sailor, an Arctic explorer, a conjuror, a fossil hunter, a detective and many more … What are your hopes and dreams?
Some of the small images included in The Hand Book …Due to be published in September 2018.
On friday I joined the start of the Stop Trump march, to show solidarity with thousands of others protesting about the visit and actions of this racist, misogynistic, mendacious and shameless President. In the words of the characters above, ‘Cluck off, Trump!’
Copernicus stayed in a building here on Kanonicza street – the site is now a hotel , and I was hooked. My bedroom was up in the roof, with a huge bed like a box pew, and a skylight. Could I watch the stars at night? Sadly these days there’s too much light pollution from the city. But I could dream …
Krakow had always intrigued me. It seemed like a magical place, as well as resonating with a turbulent and complicated history. I could look down from my tiny bedroom window onto the ancient street below, its shining cobbles leading up towards Wawel Castle.
Opposite was the Bishop Erazm Ciolek Palace , filled with ecclesiastical treasures from the 12th to the 18th century, including funeral accoutrements in a darkened room echoing with melancholy music.
I went on a tour of the Collegium Maius where Copernicus studied, lunched on delicious soup made from pears, parsley and mustard at Wierzynek, one of Krakow’s oldest restaurants.
This character may look familiar, but it’s not Homer Simpson, it’s mid-twentieth century Swedish cartoonist Oskar Jacobson’s character Adamson, who found his way into Poland and other European countries, the USA, Japan and China.
I loved this exhibition, not just for its original and rare artwork, books, toys and other merchandise but the cutouts and 3D installations – the nineteenth century ‘cafe’ where one could sit quietly and read comics from that time, and the crazy studio of Papcio Chmiel, creator of the little monkey Tytus and others, seen above with curator/architect/exhibition designer Tomasz Trzaskalik.
Here I’m sitting next to Zbigniew Lengren’s Professor Filutek from the 1960s. You can also meet Dennis Wojda and Krzysztof Gawronkiewitcz’s strange inhabitants of Mikropolis, and many more before Teraz Komiks! closes on 22nd July. Don’t miss it!
Yesterday briefly joined painter Dan Llywleyn Hall , Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, film-maker Jane Gull and many other artists in Euston Square Gardens to make drawings of the Gardens’ remaining trees, soon to be cut down by HS2 to make way for a temporary taxi rank in front of Euston Station. Some of the trees are over 200 years old, and are not only to be valued and cherished for their beauty and elegance, but for their generous role in alleviating the toxic air from Euston Road, one of the most polluted roads in London.
There’s an exhibition of work in the Crypt Gallery, St Pancras New Churchyard, Euston Road, London NW1 2BA, open 11-4 daily. Private view 29th June 6-9pm. Earlier this year, the church’s vicar and another activist heroically chained themselves to one of the ancient and threatened plane trees, protesting against their destruction by HS2.
Below, in the Crypt Gallery yesterday, a detail from one of Dan Llywleyn Hall large paintings, showing ghostly figures using the Gardens, and my drawings in situ. Many more wonderful drawings and paintings there.