Pond in a Pocket-Park

Longlands Road, Dewsbury, OS ref: SE 233229

LEAVING my mum for her physiotherapy session at Dewsbury Hospital, I set off in search of a takeaway coffee then head off with it, via a gap in a stone wall, into a pocket-sized park, no larger than a football pitch.

As I sit down to draw this Water Mint, Mentha aquatica, growing in the pond, I crush some of its leaves that are growing on the bank in the mown turf, releasing a delicious cool, clean aroma of spearmint.

Three juvenile and one adult Moorhen dabble around the pond and come out to peck about on the grassy slope. A Blackbird sings from the trees in the leafy margins of the park.

Yellow Flag

The heads of Great Reedmace, Typha latifolia, are bursting into feathery white seeds, while behind them a few Yellow Flag Iris, Iris pseudacorus, are starting to unfurl their flowers.

Still on my learning curve, I refer to a book and add a few botanical terms and Latin names. Iris was the Greek goddess of the rainbow but pseudacorus means false.

Typha is from the Greek name for the Reedmace, while latifolia means broad-leaved.

Landscape Format

This little park is the perfect place to take a short break from a morning spent in or on our way to waiting rooms; in the doctor’s earlier I’d had to make do with drawing my hand – again!

I’m inspired, as I often am, by starting a new sketchbook. I gave up on my previous sketchbook – a birthday present from a kind friend – because I didn’t like the absorbent and rather thin paper. For my pen and watercolour wash work I prefer a thicker, smoother cartridge, so it’s back to a Pink Pig, made at a factory not far from home up at Emley, and this time, with travel to wilder places (rather than travel to waiting rooms!) in mind, I’ve gone for a spiral bound A5 (about 8 inches x 5.5 inches) sketchbook in landscape format. It seems perfect for the drawings and notes I’ve got in mind but it’s a format that I’ve used only once before, as far as I remember. With printed booklets in mind I usually go for portrait format.

I’d like to go for colour whenever I can (I finished off the sketch of my hand in colour later) and for wildlife . . . whenever I can escape through a gap in the wall.