Tuesday, 26 July 2022


 As one gets older, it is a lot easier to use a Tour Company with a reliable reputation to sort out one's travelling arrangements.  We have enjoyed bus trips through Turkey and Morocco with excellent , friendly, well-educated and informative travel guides.  We decided to use the same mode of travel to Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro.  All three countries were fascinating one way or another.  Stunning architecture is part of the charm as well as lovely mountainous scenery and the glorious coastline.  I was able to spend time doing the following sketches.  Cats , for instance are an integral part of Montenegro.  They are everywhere, mostly well-fed and tame.  There is still quite a way to go for Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina to reach European Union standards but Croatia is well on the way.  It is a lovely clean country with lots of green parks and beautiful beaches.  Our final week spent in a large hotel in Montenegro was very pleasant.  The food was outstanding, delicious with a multitude of choices for all palates.  The staff were hospitable, efficient and friendly.  I will not dwell on the negative aspects of any of the countries because they were far outweighed by so many positive and happy experiences. 

Click on the photos for a larger view.  

Thanks for looking and joining me in my memories.

Sunday, 12 June 2022


It is ages since I last wrote anything in my Blog.  Somehow,  it seems to be neglected with all the other social media taking precedence. Time to add a word or two and a few sketches.

A trip to Ulm on a 9 Euro train ticket had its ups an downs. The journey there was a pleasure with decent seats and everyone adhering to the rule of wearing masks on public transport. Returning was rather different but that is another story. I want to remember the fun and positive parts of visiting this amazing city. It is simply beautiful. The towering cathedral , apparently the highest church steeple in Europe or in fact anywhere, dominates everything. Inside its elegant arches and beautiful floor were a highlight for me. I am in the process of finishing a very challenging sketch.

The old fishing quarter with its charming houses along the tree-lined Danube River was also an ooh and aah experience!!! I loved the market on M├╝nsterplatz.

It had no cheap and tatty stalls but rather every conceivable vegetable , flowers and fruit. I was particularly entranced with the variety of herbs. For an example, in my horticultural ignorance, I was bowled over by the number of varieties of Basil.

Albert Einstein was born in Ulm. There is a memorial where his family home once stood. I researched a little of his life story and decided that as physics was one of my worst subjects at school, I would concentrate on the personal side of the man.
Here are two sketches.

Thursday, 8 July 2021


 There is a beautiful deciduous tree in the garden.  It was a delight to watch it put on its Spring underwear on the bare branches of winter. The leaves began darken and it had a lush and full coat of green. 

A few weeks later the branches were full of blackbirds and on closer inspection, it has produced small red berries.  The warm sun ripened them to a deeper shade.  There was a feeding frenzy.  I had no idea what type of tree it was.  As I have said in a previous post, my botanical knowledge is somewhat negligible!  A German friend told me it was Felsenbirne tree. This set me off on the usual Google search and I could not find an English translation so checked out the botanical name.  It is an AMELANCHIER of which there are numerous species. I then looked up the common name which was June Berry, Sugar Plum, Wild Plum and several other names. To me it looked much more like a berry than a plum.  I think I will stick with June Berry. What would we do without the internet??

I decided to do a quick line and wash sketch in my sketchbook as all that research deserved a painting as did the beautiful tree.  So here it is. I hope you enjoy both the Haiku and the drawing.

A tree full of birds

June Berry Tree Restaurant

Delicious juicy fruit

Monday, 28 June 2021


 Now before I even begin to wax lyrical about gardens , plants, the birds and the bees,  I must get one thing straight.  I do NOT have green fingers.  Practically every house plant that has ever had the misfortune to have been bought by me, has died a miserable death.  I am also not a botanist and barely know the common names of plants, let alone their botanical ones.  However, I do love gardens whether wild and natural or more formal, the natural being my favourite.  

I now have a lovely little terrace garden with herbs and flowers, a bird bath (self made) and believe it or not nothing is dying on me.  Crossing my not so green fingers!! The herbs are my special joy because there nothing nicer than popping outside and picking your own  for a delicious Mediterranean dish. 

Added to the botanical pleasures are the visiting birds and bees.  I enjoy the funny , fat , little bumble bees who against all aero dynamics are air bound.  There are sparrows, finches, robins and tits who come to the bird feeder (not self made). My favourites are the pair of blackbirds.  He has a shining black coat and a bright yellow beak; a very handsome fellow.  Mrs. Blackbird (or Amsel) as she is known in Germany, is a little less spectacular and in fact rather plain.  She makes up for it by being incredibly bossy and very much the queen in the garden.  When she takes a bath, no other bird is allowed to interfere with her ablutions.  Should a sparrow dare to encroach, she puffs herself up , opens her beak and sends him on his way. She then proceeds to give herself such a vigorous wash with much splashing , that I have to replace the water in the bird bath. I love her.

Sitting quietly and enjoying the colours and shapes of the flowers and the antics of the Mr Amsel digging in the garden, I was inspired to write a short Haiku and do a quick sketch of the various flowers and of course the blackbird.

It was fun and I hope you enjoy it too.



Monday, 14 June 2021


 It has been a while since I have written anything in my Blog.  A tough couple of months lies behind me.  We had only been in rented house for 8 months when the owner decided to give us notice.  He had sold his large house for a lot of money and was living in a luxury apartment. Unfortunately he and his wife did not get on with their new neighbours.  In Germany one has the right, as long as you intend living in the property you are letting, to give your tenants three month's notice.  It was in the middle of the Corona crisis and it was almost impossible to find new premises.  For the first time in my life I had a very severe panic attack.  I could not breathe, my heart was racing and I felt as if I were suffocating. The emergency doctor was called and I was rushed to hospital. 

We must have had a guardian angel because, we eventually found a very nice ground floor apartment with a lovely terrace.  It is situated on the outskirts of our small town and nestles in a gorgeous garden.  Actually, I am a lot happier than I was in the large modern home we had rented. The only thing missing is the sunny studio but a plan will be made. 

My muse totally deserted me and I was in a stagnant place as far as my artwork was concerned.  However, things have settled down and I find myself excited about sketching again.  

We went for a long walk in the snow covered fields and met this little fellow. I had never seen a white stoat before.  He was delightful , scampering and jumping through the snow and every now and again, stopping to have a good look at us. 

I had this idea to write Haiku poetry. This is a Japanese form of non-rhyming short poetry often with a nature theme.  I thought this would be ideal for me as I love so much about the natural environment and the creatures that live there. Illustrating these poems is going to be a joy and this is my first one. I hope to fill a sketch book in 2021. 

Sunday, 10 January 2021


 Why are old timer cars, buses, motor cycles, and other forms of transport so sought after?   I think it is because they are virtually 'handmade'.  

In today's highly mechanised world robots lift and place large pieces of metal and machinery together transforming them into a vehicle .

When one sees a vintage motor car, one pictures a mechanic dressed in a stained overall.  In his pockets are spanners, screwdrivers and other tools.  He bolts parts together, tightens screws and works on the engine and eventually stands back seeing his work come to life.  Out comes the polishing cloth and he lovingly shines the chrome and lacquer. Before him ready to be sold is a beautiful vehicle.

To me , as a very unmechanical or is it non-mechanical female, my love for old timers lies in their beauty.  I am fascinated by the lovely upholstery, the horn for a hooter, and running boards along the sides.  I love the wood panelling and I once saw a vase for flowers built onto the dashboard.

The beautifully crafted mascots which adorn the bonnets or radiators symbolise  the car company. 

I am no expert and have little idea of the difference between antique, vintage or classic cars.  To me they are simply old timers and they fascinate me.

A Rally took place in our small town of Bad W├Ârishofen. The owners were dressed in clothing that reflected the the period of the vehicle. Leather suitcases were tied onto the back of some of the cars. 

I spent a fun time with my sketch book. Here are some of my sketches.  Hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, 3 December 2020


This will be the strangest and saddest Christmas for many folk. The Covid19 Virus has impacted on family and social life with a huge bang.

In Germany where I live and no doubt in many other countries in our world, Christmas is very much a family get-together time. Attending church services, sharing gifts, and enjoying a special festive meal is an integral part of the festive season.

I will miss the small Christmas Market which takes place each year in our small town. Warm scarves, caps and gloves and cosy jackets are the winter apparel. The delicious smell of roasted almonds, and sizzling grilled sausages make one's mouth water. Meeting friends one hasn't seen for a while and warming our hands around a glass of mulled wine is an absolute joy. My heart goes out to the stall holders who will not be making any money this year. There are normally stalls with homemade jams, biscuits, knitwear and jewellery. I always manage to find special and unusual Christmas gifts for friends.

We are fortunate in that we are able to go for walks in the beautiful farming area and the forests which surround us. This is not the case in several other countries and folk are confined to small apartments. I think especially of the elderly who are so often alone and the young families with small children. There are many folk who are lying in hospital beds attached to tubes and machines as those brave carers and medical staff do their best to help them survive the virus. I think about them especially and wish them well.

I have just had news from a friend in Hamburg , a beautiful city in which we lived when we first came to Germany. She and her husband have both been tested for Covid19 and the results are positive. I wish them  well and may the symptoms be light and recovery speedy.

Despite the sadness, the loss and the fear, Christmas is still a time of giving and thankfulness. I wish all my readers, wherever you are in the world, that you and your families may be spared and that you stay healthy and positive.

I have learned one thing during lockdown and that is; there is always something creative we can do. Whether you are an artist, a writer, musician, crafter, or in fact every one of us,  there are ways we can improve our skills or learn a new one.

May you enjoy PEACE, HEALTH and perhaps discover a new and exciting path in your lives. 

Warm hugs from chilly Bavaria.