Much as I enjoy drawing the weekly, front page cartoon for The Westmorland Gazette, I occasionally need a holiday. This presents the editor with a problem. Put in a little message ("Our cartoonist is on holiday. His home is currently empty and contains a load of worthless junk but you might find something worth putting on eBay.") or just fill the space with something else?
Some years ago, we hit on a couple of alternative solutions; remote cartooning and crystal ball gazing.
The remote cartooning works OK, if I don't mind the holiday being interrupted. It's a bit weird drawing about Kendal traffic whilst sat in Cape Town in view of Table Mountain, but I have done it. (There was a shooting outside the hotel as I sketched, just to remind me I wasn't in the Lakes.) But it is an interruption and sometimes, you know …
So back to the crystal ball gazing. This relies on two things (1) long-running stories or (2) a definite news event in the diary for the following week.
Last week I thought we had both CBEs (crystal ball events). The Lake District National Park had sold off bits of the Lake District and there was the chance it was going to keep the identity of the purchasers secret.
Excellent. Two cartoons done and sent as alternative options (one tying in with a then-current and, rather tediously, still current national story).
But news had other ideas and the focus shifted. So neither cartoon was used. You get the chance to see them below. Trust me, they would have been funny if the story had panned out …