Thursday, 31 May 2012

Buzz off, Queen

This week's sun-soaked, soaraway Westmorland Gazette features a number of exciting stories but two in particular leapt towards my cartoon eye.

A primary school in Yorkshire has been invaded by a swarm of bees. 

And it's the Jubilee.

That's it. You don't need to know any more. 

Here are the choices of sketches that I presented to my steamed editor. To discover which one graces the front page of the Westmorland Gazette, rush out at once and buy a copy. Or gather up your skirts and head to my website.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tweeting the twaffic

Let me take you by the hand to the Auld Grey Town - the little market metropolis of Kendal which nestles (as all rural towns do, according to the media) on the edge of the Lake District.

It is a place of castles (it had two), traditional architecture and quaint, gated yards (built to keep out the naughty Scots in times gone by). It is the home of Catherine Parr, The Blessed Wainwright, Kendal Mint Cake and a variety of exciting festivals throughout the year.

It is also the home to far too many cars. So much so that some streets - including Lowther Street - are a veritable porridge of pollution.

Much has been done to try and alleviate this problem. A few years ago, Kendal Department of Pointless Fiddling rearranged the traffic system, hoping to confuse motorists to such a degree they would all go somewhere else instead.

That didn't work so now they have come up with another plan. One which is bold, innovative and, above all, fearlessly trendy. They are going to use social media.

Yes, coming to a smartphone near you, messages on Twitter and Facebook, urging motorists to leave their cars at home and visit Kendal by foot or public transport.

I imagine it will go brilliantly and can see nothing wrong with the plan whatsoever.

Here are my cartoon sketches about it for last week's Westmorland Gazette. To find out which one made its way - by foot - onto the front page of the newspaper, cycle to my website now.

Once upon a time in the Lakes

Once upon a time there were four people in suits who lived deep in the forest in the Lake District. Their names were Gavin, Giles, Charlotte and Araminta because they all worked in marketing for the Cumbria Tourist Board.

"What we need," said Giles, "Is more visitors."

"Gosh, yes," said Araminta, "But how do we, you know, like, get people to come here?" (Araminta had spent too much time with young people and wasn't very articulate. Or whatever.)

"We could hold a Festival," said Gavin, who liked festivals because he used to go to them when he was younger and smoke things which gave him ideas.

"Festivals are so-o-o yesterday," scorned Araminta.

"I know," said Charlotte, who had a brain, "Let's market the area to movie people and then we can get lots of films made here and people will see them and want to rush up here and see where they were filmed."

And so this is what they did. And the movie people came and did all their filming in the Lake District and then a few months later, Snow White and the Huntsman appeared in the cinemas and everyone was happy.

And a few weeks later, a court jester did cartoons about it for the local scroll and this is what he showed to the bad ogre his editor. To see the happy ending, visit the jester's website, which isn't deep in the woods but over here.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Writing is on the Wall

Grasmere is famous as the home of William Wordsworth. Everyone knows Dove Cottage but the poet's other two houses are less familiar to the general public.

This year, that changes. Allan Bank is now open to the public. It was the house that Wordsworth lived in after Dove Cottage but for 200 years it has remained closed to the public.

It's a fine building, despite Wordsworth's famous comment on it being "a temple of abomination" when Mr Crump built it. And it's in a lovely location. But it is a little undecorated.

The National trust had a bright idea about this; get the public involved. No, visitors don't get handed a brush and a tin of Thingy and Ball post paint - they're asked to write their ideas on a wall in the house.

This has been such a success it made this week's Westmorland Gazette and thereby fell under the stern gaze of the cartoonist.

Here are the three sketches submitted to the editor. To see which one graces the front page, rush to my web site.