Bit disappointed that the vital printing felt for my press didn’t arrive as I hoped on Saturday. So while I understand the seasonal postal problems; I have exhausted all possibilities as regards the lino cuts I have prepared.
I have made a protective cover for the dream machine ; it won’t be paraded along the catwalks of the Parisian Fashion houses but it will keep the dust off!
I have packed some Xmas presents … which have been sadly neglected since the advent of ‘printing press’
… Especially as the the autumn harvest of Dragonwell is good this year! Also, I am off to an art class ; more a show and tell but hoping to talk about some projects for spring next year. I am waiting for my printing pad; to arrive so I can begin printing with my new press ; it is delayed I expect, because for those other less attractive seasonal happenings! I remain hopeful it will arrive today if not I have a plan and that will no doubt feature tea and some cake … even a humbug like me will find some joy today and with you too I hope!
Soon it will be 24th December and that means work for Father Christmas. ” Blooming Christmas again,” he mutters as he gets out his nice warm bed … and so begins a most surprising and delightful Christmas story, for Raymond Briggs’s Father Christmas is a true original and not the usual stereotyped kindly white-haired old gentleman.
Briggs’s Father Christmas is certainly a kindly white-haired old gentleman, but he is so much more as well; he is inclined to be grumpy, he is very fond of a cup of tea, loves to sing in the shower and is in fact, the most thoroughly human and endearing Father Christmas imaginable. His exploits are drawn in a series of strip pictures, filled with every detail and very funny, which occasionally erupt into full page spreads.
This is a picture book is to warm the heart of any humbug … young or old. It is Raymond Briggs’s own affectionate tribute to a universally beloved character.
I love to walk the streets of towns and cities. I have been to some of the greatest cities in the world including London, Athens, Edinburgh, Rio and others. Of course, my experience has only been that of a visitor and superficial. I would love to live in a city like Paris, London or Lisbon, so I could have a true experience, not just the high life but also some of its lowliness.
Like Charles Dickens who was considered the poet of London life, his novels were as much dramas of situation as of people.
In our Mutual friend he describes the piles of dust in the dim taxidermy and skeleton shop; the expensively icy interiors of the wealthy, are portraits of those who live there.
Charles Dickens, we understand had a keen sense of place; as a boy while his father was in debtor’s prison he worked in a blacking factory and lived nearby in a rented room. He was an abandoned child in a city of strangers; he was exposed to a unique situation. He had the key of the street; that, with his literary gift he was able to demonstrate all that happened during his urban walking.
His novels like his streets are full of intrigue, followers and those being followed, lovers and criminals, it is told like a colossal game of hide and seek.
Sometimes, he wrote of his own experiences of London, he walked so fast and long that no one could keep up with him. He was a solitary walker and roamed for many reasons. He describes himself in the Uncommercial traveler as a town and country walker like an athlete. I am always on the road rising before dawn walking thirty miles to the country for breakfast. The road was so lonely and the step so monotonous that he fell asleep. In a later essay, as tramp, he walked in a straight line to a definite goal or he loitered with no object ; a pure vagabond.
Sometimes, he like to walk as policeman on a beat, even his idlest walk should have destination and a duty!
Yet despite the throngs and the business of those who populated his books, his London was often a deserted city and his walking a melancholy pleasure.
In an essay about the visiting of abandoned cemeteries he wrote ‘ Whenever I think I deserve particularly well of myself, and have earned the right to enjoy a little treat, I stroll from Covent Garden into the City of London, after business-hours there, on Saturday, or -better yet-on a Sunday, and roam about its deserted nooks and corners’.
Then there was Night walks the essay begins ‘Some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep, referable to a distressing impression, caused me to walk about the streets all, for a series of several nights.’ He tells us that these walks from midnight til dawn as a curative of his distress, and during them ‘I finished my education in a fair amateur experience of houselessness.’ What we now call homelessness ; and remains still a less attractive part of city life.