Friday, October 11, 2013

Heading home

I'm so lucky to return to what I call Da Bonnie at the end of a week on tour down South. After meeting and sharing my new book with over a thousand very small children, it's utter bliss to come back to the land that nourishes me. The journey North, through a land shading towards autumn, is beautiful. Through the Lakes and Lockerbie, past velvet greenclad Leadhills, swallowing up the miles to Waverley, my heart growing lighter as each clicketty clack of the train brings me closer to those I love.

And, it has to be said, to ma ain pillow. Oh! The wrestles I've had with disobedient hotel foam pillows in the wee small hours. They do not take a telling. Pound and fluff and prod as I do, they remain stubbornly bouncy, hot and uncomfortable.

And home is so quiet. So very quiet. On tour we've had traffic, other hotel guests ( may their larynxes temporarily shrivel) pinging lifts ( dear god- ALL night?) drunken passersby, screaming, roaring women- at four a.m? My heart goes out to them but also, please, somebody, make it STOP.

So home, with its 5am milkman and 7.30 tractor. With its raucous dawn chorus of blackbirds. With its starlings that nest in our roof. Home.

With my lumpy old feather pillow. Home.

With all that sustains me and all that I love.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Packing burnt sticks

After the wardrobe crisis which I'll spare you, I have to pack a portable studio to go on tour. This is so I can
a. Do 'live' drawing, although one suspects they'd sell a lot more tickets for 'dead' drawing.
And b. Keep a drawn diary at night, after the day's work is done.

Last year, on tour with What's the Time Mr Wolf? I tried to be all 21stC and drew a tour diary straight onto an iPad, but d'you know what? It looked totally hideous. I am too much in love with the tools of my trade- pencils, charcoal, chalk, watercolours- to find that their digital substitute can come even close to touching the same deep pleasure centres as, say, the glorious happenstance of a stipply, puddled wash in watercolour or a grainy swipe of coal-black charcoal shading to sea fog that perfectly captures the mood.
So. Here's what I packed for next week's drawing. I only hope my phone is up for taking photos and that the 3G signal will relay it all to you.

More to come. X