Wrapping up Winter

View from Blacker Hall restaurant, 12th January.

It’s the last day, meteorologically speaking, of winter but at times it has seemed more like spring today. It’s a good time to go through my pocket sketchbook, to upload the drawings that didn’t made it into my posts.

The View from Brontë Tower

For so much of the winter, we’ve been preoccupied by medical matters, especially in Barbara’s brother John’s gradual recovery from a stroke at the beginning of December. He’s now back home and doing well.

The stroke unit at Dewsbury Hospital is on the fifth floor of the Brontë Tower, with views, on a clear day, of the tops of the Pennines. They were at their most striking one clear sunny morning, after a snow shower over the moor tops.

Shooter’s Nab (on the right).

Looking southwest from the ward on the 13th January, I found it fascinating to explore the hillside with my pen: the pattern of pastures on the lower ground, picked out by thin patches of snow; the old drystone walls and the rows of trees. Probably more fun than getting out there on foot on that particular morning; it was probably muddy and piercingly cold.

When mist obscured the view, I resorted to drawing John’s water jug and orange juice on our regular visits. I’m not the ideal hospital visitor!

Weather from the West


On the 9th of January, we’d had rain, with brighter weather coming in from over the Pennines, patches of sunlight picking out the distant buildings of Huddersfield.

A distant gull drifted across, creating a bright highlight. Green hilltop pastures and blue breaks in the cloud swept colour across the dour landscape.

Naturalists’ AGM

Looking back through my pocket sketchbook for the winter months, I realise that the main chances that I got to settle down and sketch were during those hospital visits, however, a coffee at the Caffe Capri gave me the chance to draw the spire of Horbury St Peter’s Church and the Annual General Meeting – the 165th Annual General Meeting! – of the Wakefield Naturalists’ Society, gave me a chance to draw the projector table.

We’ve got minutes from the Society from the early 1950s which still refer to the person in charge of the slide projector as the ‘lanternist’. I’d love to have seen one of those early Victorian lectures at the Nats with magic lantern slides.


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