Thursday, 29 March 2012

Nice place to live

The sun is out
The grass is riz
I want to live
Where Wordsworth is.

So said viewers of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location (prop. Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer). South Lakeland topped the pops in an online poll to find viewers’ preferred place to live. Of course, if they al buy second homes here then those of us who are here already may have to go live somewhere else.
This was one story in this week’s sun-soaked, soaraway Westmorland Gazette. The other concerned unused space at the Westmorland General hospital. Have closed bits down, administrators are surprised to discover they’ve got rather a lot of room and are wondering what to do with it. Rent it out to Channel 4 viewers?
These were the topics for this week’s cartoon. You can see my sketches below. For the editor’s final choice, wander lonely as a cloud to my website.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Deity Joke

Easter is on the way.
In the Lake District, it’s easy to spot this despite the holiday’s date-shifting, month-jumping intransigence from year to year; just look at the local businesses gearing up for visitors.
This week there was Another Sign.
And lo, a decorator in the Dales didst sit down to eat his sandwiches when he saw the face of Our Lord and Saviour™ staring at him from out of the wall. Not being particularly sore afraid, the decorator didst finish his lunch and then gave the face of Jesus a couple of coats of emulsion.
But not before taking a photograph, which is proudly displayed on page 3 of this week’s Westmorland Gazette.
Not being one to give up the opportunity to offend for Lent, here is my take on the matter. Eight cartoons were submitted (I was trying for twelve of course) but only one didst make it to the front page. See which you prefer and then get thee to my website and see which one met with the editor’s approval.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


Last Saturday, the Westmorland Gazette and LibDem MP Tim Farron organised a march through Kendal. Not in support of Canada geese but to campaign for a new radiotherapy unit for Westmorland General Hospital.
In my years on the front page of the Gazette, I’ve done innumerable cartoons about the  hospital. 25 years ago the cartoon was campaigning to have the thing built. Now we’re trying to keep bits of it open. And all around us, the LibCon government is happily trying to dismantle the whole NHS.
This march was a big thing and the Gazette pretty much cleared the front page for it in today’s paper. The cartoon got a bit squished as a result but it did make me determined to cover the story.
The Gazette’s editorial team were not so sure. There was considerable debate about which cartoon to use, especially as I was trying to tie two stories together in the one cartoon - one of them from the wider, national news.
You can see the six alternatives below. Which would you have chosen? 
Comment below and then sashay over to my website to peek at the one which graces the front page of this week's newspaper.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


Newspapers are a fast-moving environment. The news waits for no man (or cartoonist).
Up to a point, Lord Cropper.
In the world of the regional newspaper, some stories come around again and again. This week’s Westmorland Gazette stories were good examples. The Morecambe Bay HNHS Trust is still gathering headlines, with the resignation last week of its director. And this week it is being sued for negligence.
And out on the balmy shores of Windermere, the Canada geese continue to draw attention; 2600 petition signatories (including Bill Oddie and Brian May) want to save them but the National Park Authority wants to cull them. In fact, the Park wants to go on a culling spree and extend it to Grasmere and Coniston.
Here are this week’s rough sketches for the front page cartoon. One or two may look familiar. They’re the sort of stories where the prudent cartoonist banks ideas, knowing the topics will come around again.
To see which hit the front page, visit my website here.