The Cinder Track Boggle

Just a few yards from my mum’s house in the North Yorkshire village of Burniston is The Cinder Track; the old disused Scarborough to Whitby railway line. It was in use from 1885 to 1965 but is now a route through delightful countryside for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. I’ve been walking the skinny dogs along the stretch between the villages of Burniston and Cloughton for many years and it looks beautiful in any season but last week it was particularly festive. Mother Nature had decorated the trees with giant fuzzy baubles and shiny red globes. Garlands of frosted ivy clung to dry stone walls while pale bare boughs thrust upward to the sky like picked clean turkey bones. The air was sharp and clean and the winter sun cast a glow to rival any string of fairy lights.







The skinny dogs and I were having so much fun exploring The Cinder Track that we failed to realize how late it was. Dusk was falling.




It was then that Mischa Skinny Dog heard something in the hedgerow….


Out from the undergrowth came crashing a hideous creature. I instantly recognised it to be a Boggle, an unpleasant breed of elf. A few miles up the track is Boggle Hole, a cave in the cliffs where these mischievous little characters dwell. What was he doing so far from home? I had little time to ponder the question as he grabbed hold of me and dragged me toward an old gnarled tree. An opening appeared and we disappeared into the trunk with the Skinny Dogs hot on our heels.  How they fought that hairy beast. The Boggle quickly surrendered and pushed the three of us back out onto the track.

I swear we were gone but minutes and yet I found three weeks had elapsed with Christmas nearly upon us! Strangely, no-one had missed me so I fear a Ziggy Changeling may well have been abroad. She kindly did all my Christmas shopping and snogged all the men at the works Christmas Party. (Something I clearly would never do.) But she appears to be technophobic as my blog has not been attended to.

But I am back now, and would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May the only elves you meet be Santa’s Little Helpers.


The Cinder Track Boggle

Fact or fiction? You decide.


I Spy An Elf for All Hallow’s Eve

Hallowe’en or All Hallows Eve is the time of the year when the door to the OtherWorld is left ajar and the souls of the dead dine with the living. It is also an opportunity for elven folk to slip through unseen as they mingle with guising mortals. It is easy for an elf to remain undetected amongst so many people caked in face paints, smeared in fake blood and sporting gruesome masks. Would you be drawn up short by someone with pointy ears? Not around Hallowe’en. But if you know what to look for you’ll find an elf or two.

Elves have incredible night-time vision. Their pupils dilate to let in as much light as possible and often reflect light back, like a dog, or wolf. I spotted this creature weaving her way amongst the Hallowe’en revellers around Newcastle Central Station late on Wednesday evening. Eyes as black as coal gave her away.


Fact or fiction? You decide.

Pheasant Feather Faery Hat

I find feathers delightful, in fact I would go as far as to say magical. How can something so insubstantial allow a creature to fly? Over time I had gathered quite a collection and created a “feather tree”. The skeleton of the tree was actually a raffia and wire cone that was used to train a plant into a topiary shape. But I inter-twined my downy treasures until they smothered the cone. This year we had an inordinately large amount of moths in the house and they decimated the feathers. However, I did manage to rescue my pheasant feather, which turns up in a great many drawings. Here it is in this fair elven hat.


Mist, Mint and a Mini Cooper S

The weather up North has been fantastic this weekend and I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy it with friends in Northumberland.

It started with early morning mist in the Coquet Valley.

Ready chilled mint growing wild in the hedgerow

Autumn colours.

Local wildlife.

Hoare frost on the car roof.

The stunning Cheviot Hills.

Some jolly fine classic vehicles.

including my mate’s newly restored Mini Cooper S

And finished off with a beautiful sunset.

But even though I was out in the growing gloom, I still didn’t meet the Simonside Duargar

How did you spend your weekend?

29 Faces in September; Wolf Wyrm

At last! Number 29 in the 29 Faces in September challenge. It was also the most challenging of the challenge because he exists  as a character I’ve been working on for a while.

Working in a museum of children’s literature, meeting authors and reading tons of YA fiction is having its effect and I’ve been writing my own story. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to jabber on about it here.)  But this little sweetie plays a pivotal role as a shape shifting, maiden munching bad guy. Or maybe he’s just misunderstood. He’s described as a wolf headed Wyrm, which is a kind of dragon that roams about these ‘ere parts, The Lambton Wyrm being the most famous.


Thank you so much to everyone who’s popped by, “liked” or left comments during the 29 Faces in September challenge. And well done to everyone else who has been taking part.

29 Faces in September; A minor miracle

After a day at work, glass of rewarding wine in my hand I chatted to my Mum on the phone and doodled this. He turned out a rather supercilious  looking individual.  Considering the light was fading, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and the alcohol was going to my head it’s a miracle I ended up with anything at all. But as he is the only thing I’ve had the chance to draw today, he is face 23 in the  29 Faces in September challenge.


29 Faces in September #4; Derwent the Desk Guardian

I would like to introduce you to Derwent. He’s a tiny ted with a huge responsibility. He guards my desk.

Derwent makes sure that everything I need, creatively speaking, is always at hand and that nothing goes missing. He sharpens pencils, throws out dud fine liners and occasionally answers the phone. Derwent is also good at thumbing through the dictionary and thesaurus when words fail me.

All this and he’s only 4″ tall.

Do you have a Guardian of the Desk?


He’s always on the move, so it had to be a quick sketch.

Fact or fiction?

You decide.