Rural scene

A windy day, but bright and sunny. We packed a basic picnic and headed out. This drawing took maybe an hour, or a little more.

and a photo which I edited to black and white later. Most of the drawing was done outside, with minor adjustments at home.

Next time, I’ll include more sky, and avoid squashing the scene.

Alice Hawkins, Leicester suffragette

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an entertaining and informative talk in a local library. Peter Barratt was talking about his great-grandmother, Alice Hawkins, a woman born into an ordinary working family in 1863.

She left school at thirteen, working as a shoe machinist in Leicester. Her sense of injustice was aroused when she realised that women were paid far less than men, and this set her on the road to trade union activism. The Unions were much more concerned with the pay and conditions of male breadwinners and she became disillusioned.

In 1907 she took part in a demonstration and march in London organised by the WSPU. Votes for Women! She was arrested and spent seven days in prison.   In 1908 she spoke at a mass rally in Hyde Park.  In all she was jailed five times.

Her activism was supported by her husband Alfred, with whom she had six children. A busy woman, she gave speeches around the East Midlands,  raising support for the cause.  She died in 1946 at the age of 83.

For more about Alice, read this . There is also a book by Dr Richard Whitmore of Leicester, Alice Hawkins and the Suffragette Movement in Edwardian Leicester.

Here is my version of Alice:


Another church – Shangton, Leics

Shangton is now a tiny village, and was depopulated in the seventeenth century,  probably at the time of the Enclosure Acts. The church is visible from the quiet road leading to the village.

IMG_2913The churchyard is pretty small, and it’s not easy to get a wide view. This is a photo taken from the vantage point where I did the sketch. After about an hour we were feeling the effects of the chilly breeze, but were able to find a sheltered spot for coffee – and the sun came out as well.


I took the sketch home and finished it with the help of the photograph, and the black and white version below.Version 2



East Norton

This small village lies just north of the A47 Uppingham to Leicester road. It has a hall, almost hidden from the road,  and several old buildings which are now houses – once a police station, a pub and an old post office.

The church is quite small, and was quite golden in the winter sunlight.


There are many bigger trees in the churchyard than there were in 1793.img_2826

Inside is a memorial window and a small plaque announcing that East Norton is a ‘thankful village’, one of 54 in England which saw all their men return safely from World War 1.


There is a brass plaque in memory of two brothers who died on Active Service in the Great War. They are Captain John B. Matthews M.C. and Captain William F. Matthews, the sons of Major and Mrs Matthews. Neither of these brothers ever lived in East Norton.

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And here is my version of the church.

Alfred the Great

No burnt cakes here. I started drawing kings and queens about a year ago, from a reference book. My motive was not any love for royalty or the institution, but simply to try to learn the names and dates, which I never bothered to do before, although I did ‘A’ level history long ago. Inability to answer quiz questions was a much stronger motivation than exams.

I’d done all the ones from William the Conqueror onwards, but none of the earlier ones.

This was a fairly quick copy of a photograph of his statue in Wantage.