I have tried painting in the past but have no real talent in that department; however, I have always loved to draw. Some years back I bought the book “The complete book of drawing by Barrington Barber – the best £15.00 I ever spent, for Scotland’s winter days can be cold, dark and long.
I have a dear friend and neighbour who will be 80 years old in a couple of weeks’ time, so I wanted a card but not bought but something personal from me.
What will be the theme of the card, well; she is a retired English school teacher, loves the sea, and travel and she is a writer – she has already, locked away in her broom cupboard of a den, managed to produce three novels, to date.
I started with a simple cover – less is more.
Then I thought 1942 was the year of the horse. I needed the horses to be Chinese, those beautiful simply black and white paintings they do so well.
Drawing the outline was easy peasy, then I tried shading them in with pencils, photocopy came next but it did not look right, I had to print off a copy and go over the pencil shading to get something close to the finished drawing.
I tried printing on both sides of the paper but it was really too thin and the ink showed through from the other side. Finally, I added another sheet of paper.
Writing is easy – all you have to do is cross out the wrong words
People born in the Year of the Horse are sociable, hard-working, friendly, and tend to be popular. On the flip side, they tend to be impatient and short-tempered. Horses get along with tigers and dogs, but not with rats.
Then I had to add something about the sea and the shore, so remembering the time I had Tim (my little Yorkshire terrier) I started writing silly little poems. We would daily walk the sands of Elie, and this is where all the words came from.
Lady Janet Anstruther
A bell would ring out around the town,
To tell that Lady A was going down,
For her daily dip in the sea,
And since the lady preferred to swim starker,
She would wish no Mr Nosy Parkers.
Wee Tim (my Yorkshire terrier)
Today snow came to our shore,
Already maybe an inch or more,
But bother our Tim, not a puff,
He finds it most exciting stuff,
By lunch, the snow has turned to sleet,
Wet and mushy under foot,
Now Tim, in doggie coat and Wellington boots,
Now wouldn’t that be a real doggie hoot,
But Tim preferred to keep his paws bare,
Well at Tim, other dogs would stare.
Sometimes Tim forgets his age
Get our Tim oot and down the shore,
Chasing the wee dug from next door,
Running around like a loon,
Until he is almost falling doon,
Home stretched out, now totally spent,
You never saw a dog more content.
I picked a garnet from the shore,
Once in vogue, alas no more,
Polished by the lapidary’s sand,
Then set in silver by a craftsman’s hand,
Hung as a pendant from her throat,
Or warn, Sunday best, upon her coat,
Now it lies at the bottom of a drawer,
Neglected, forgotten, out of vogue.
Tim and I explore the beach,
Wide-eyed in wonder at all it does teach,
Watch a gull, hang in the air,
No string holds her there,
The mighty sea, that ebbs and flows,
But where does all the water go?
I love when waves crash onto the beach,
Retreat, regroup, and advance once more,
Feel foaming surf between my toes,
Halcyon days I do adore.
House martins and swallows in erratic flight,
Gulls dive seaward from astonishing heights,
Curlews nest in rough grass nearby,
A Skylark sings its song so clear,
High, high, up in the sky.
Commercialisation has made cards and decorations very professional at a fraction of the cost of making your own. But who does not long for Christmas time when we as children cut up strips of paper and made colourful chains and fairies, Christmas bells, to decorate the tree or to hang from the living room ceiling?
When I add up the cost,
What we have gained,
What we have lost,
I can’t help but think,
We have all been taken for a ride.