The Lime Green Sketchbook

3.30 pm; THREE Long-tailed Tits join the Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit and Blue Tit already at or around the bird feeders. While most of the other birds are going for the sunflower hearts in the feeders or spilt below, the Long-tails go for the fat-balls.

A Wood Pigeon lands on the ivy in front of our next-door neighbour's. The ivy berries, now ripe, are probably the attraction.

Great Tits, Blue Tits and sparrows will also go for the fat-balls but we don’t recall seeing any of the finches feeding on them.

We’ve given up on putting out peanuts. They get left whenever sunflower hearts are available and they soon go soft.

The downside to this is that peanuts – especially red bags of peanuts – are particularly attractive to Siskins and, so far, we haven’t seen this small finch at the feeders this winter.

New Sketchbook

So far I’ve been saving my lime green A5 landscape format Pink Pig sketchbook for natural history subjects; I managed to draw 14 pages last year between mid-May and the beginning of August before events took over and I had to be content with a few snatched moments of natural history in my regular sketchbook.

That regular sketchbook, a black A5 portrait format sketchbook with soft, bleed-through cartridge paper that I’ve never cared for, is now complete and the drawing of the lime
green sketchbook (above) is the last that I’ve got room for.

I’m now going to use the green for my everyday sketches but, of course, I’m hoping that on most days that will involve natural history.

Chimney drawn from the optician's waiting room last month.

The little black book contains so many waiting room sketches – I take my mum to about 50 appointments through the year, and then there’s our regular visits to dentists etc on top of that – so the lesson that I can learn is always to carry some ‘natural form’ object with me, for those inevitable unplanned periods where I have to wait a little longer than expected; a pebble, a leaf, a fossil or a feather for instance.

The most popular waiting room subjects in the little black book were architectural details (11), chairs (7), hands (4), trees seen through the window (3), piles of magazines (2) and my shoe and the reception desk at the doctors (1 of each). There are also three sets of sketches of the goldfish in the dentist’s.

Café Rouge

Here are the last couple of sketches drawn on location in the black book this lunch time at Café Rouge in Meadowhall between my first one-to-one session learning a bit more about my new computer at the Apple store and heading off to Orgreave with a consignment for our book suppliers.

You might be thinking whatever happened to our ideal of getting back to healthy eating, well, apparently the grilled chicken with roast vegetables and bulgar wheat amounts to just 600 calories.

How many calories the chocolate and banana crepe contained we didn’t trouble ourselves to find out.


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