LINDISFARNE – Holy Island

Lindisfarne – Off the North-West coast of England in Northumbria

Below is a selection of sketches and photographs based on my previous visits to this beautiful historic and sacred island off the North Sea coast of England

VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013

SCOTLAND – Pen & Wash

A Gallery of my pen and wash sketches of notable scenes visited in various parts of Scotland – Highlands and Islands

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

  1. Ailsa Craig – Firth of Forth
  2. Castle Tioram – Loch Moidart
  3. Castle Dtalker – Argyll
  4. Castle Tioram – 2
  5. Glen Lochranza – Isle of Arran
  6. Lamlash – Isle of Arran
  7. Newton Stewart – Galloway
  8. Rannock Moor Sunset
  9. The Road To The Isles

The Husband Creche

In 2010, whilst visiting Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, the largest town (about 8,000 people)  in the Outer Hebrides, I came across McNeill’s Bar, or, as it chose to describe itself at the time,  ‘McNeill’s Husband Creche’.

I composed the following verse in recognition of the establishment’s attempt to provide succour and support for its wedded male population in their hours of need.  

Just leave your husband here, my dear.

You know he’s feeling rather queer.

Yes, park him in a cosy pub

While you go off and buy the grub.

He’s a babe if truth be told,

He will be as good as gold.

So shoot off while the coast is clear,

You know he’d dearly love a beer.

As long as he has got his drinks

Let him have his 40 winks.

While you for those bargains search

He’ll be happy in his crèche.

And when you have no more to spend

He’ll let you take him home to tend

To his desires, his every need,

Wash his clothes, provide his feed,

Tend his pains, caress his ego.

Lassitude is now his credo,

For as he’s just retired you know

You now must reap what you did sow.

Word Of The Year

Staycation – the word of 2020 –
Is here again, and life’s still empty.

A holiday at home? Exciting?
Two weeks in prison – more inviting.

Last year’s buzzword here again,
Bring along your ball and chain.

For that’s now this year’s buzzword too;
So much to dream, so little to do.

Shall I fly or book a cruise?
No longer is it mine to choose.

Stay at home or nearby?
Get me to the airport and let me fly.

A Covid passport will be needed,
All other options now conceded.


Travels in my Atlas

‘ATLAS’ . . . Pen & Pencil: WHB – 2021

I travel the world from my Atlas,
As the breadth of my shoulders attests;
I live in its enthralling pages,
My adventures are found in its quests.

As I try to envisage each country –
Its shape, its contiguous states,
I take in its valleys and mountains,
Whatever its landform dictates.

I travel its rail and its highways,
I swim in its rivers and lakes.
I take in its size and its people,
Its history of floods and earthquakes.

I note Its capital city,
Attempt to remember its name,
Its flag, its size and its neighbours,
And whence its languages came.

And when I have finished my travels
I put down my Atlas and sleep.
And consider the pleasures of travel,
A delight and incredibly cheap.

Escape From Lockdown

Escape From Lockdown

Where shall I go?
I await inspiration.
Don’t fancy The Broads,
Try a brand new location.

The Weald is too flat,
The Highlands too high,
The Lowlands too low,
I’ll put them on standby.

The Gower is too near,
The Wirral too far,
The Pennines too high,
And too hard on my car.

I like the Welsh Marches,
But they don’t like me;
Of the Wolds and the Marshes
I’m no devotee.

But I do need a break,
An escape from this lockdown.
I’ve a yen for new vistas –
Corfe, Pwllheli or Plockton.

Coast, country or town,
I won’t be prescriptive;
Just find me a bolt-hole
And I’ll get descriptive.

Not foreign this time,
The risk is too great.
To be locked in on return
Is something I’d hate.

So let it be England,
‘The home of the free’,
Though where we get that from
Is a mystery to me.

I haven’t felt FREE
Since restricted in Spring.
I must get away,
Break my bonds, have a fling.

I could try the Dales,
The Downs or The Lakes,
The Peaks or the Fens,
I’ve got just what it takes.

For adventure, for risk,
I’m up for them all
So just hide my face mask
I’m no more in its thrall.

Yes, I’m off to Bognor,
That ‘Bugger’ of a town,
The best place to be
To end my lockdown. 

“Bugger Bognor!” were the alleged last words of King George V in 1936, in response to being told that he would soon be well enough to visit the seaside resort Bognor Regis on the south coast of England.

 

The Guardian of Hell

Hell-Norway

In Norway for a holiday
I chose to take a train.
I found a railway manager
Standing in the rain.

I asked him how I’d get a train
From here to Tromso town.
He looked at me askantly,
Then put his flag and whistle down.

Pausing a while, he sighed a sigh,
“Just go to Hell ” he muttered.
I thought how rude, how quite uncouth,
Such harsh words to have uttered.

I didn’t like his acid tone
I felt so hurt, and, sadly,
Wondered what I’d done to him
That made him treat me badly.

But then he started telling me
About a town called ‘Hell’,
Sitting on the Tromso line
A place where many dwell.

How the long-suffering railway chief
Had laboured to dispel
The reputation he’d acquired –
‘the Stationmaster from Hell.’

So at last I understood
I repented feeling badly.
Now I’d love to go to Hell,
Pay respects quite gladly.

Then standing by the station sign
I’d take a snap as well,
To show how I admired him,
This Guardian of Hell.

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