soggy cedar refuge

Possibly my worst tree drawing so far, but I’m determinedly posting it anyway. When I went out in the rain this morning, I knew a certain cedar in the flower garden section of Greenwich Park where I could shelter, and I thought it would be fun to make a sketch sitting inside the tree.

It didn’t really work. I didn’t feel wet, but the occasional Big Drops falling on my sketchpad started to add up after awhile, and I had to quit when my pencil stopped making marks and was actually lifting off bits of paper. So the picture didn’t capture the tree’s snug darkness, I’ll have to try again when the weather’s a bit drier.

The cedar wood smelled nice and homey. I come from the Pacific Northwest where cedar played a huge part in the daily lives of the Coastal Native Americans, providing everything from dugout canoes to longhouses to clothing. But the carved cedar masks used to scare me senseless, I’ve only been able to appreciate them in the last fifteen years or so.

Today I went to Highgate to meet up with writers Candy Gourlay and Keren David (both longlisted for next year’s Carnegie medal, hurrah!). We’re speaking together on a panel called Social Networking: a blessing or a curse? at the Winter Conference of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators this weekend, so we pooled our knowledge of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and all that. Candy and Keren love Facebook, Keren’s really into Twitter, and I’m still a LiveJournal homebody; it’s my comfortable Internet base, while the other bits are more of what I do to make sure my blog doesn’t go totally unread.

Keren David, me, Candy Gourlay

On the way back, Candy and I spotted a little painted piece of chewing gum on the pavement, possibly made by artist Ben Wilson or someone who’s doing the same thing:

And I snapped a couple photos of The Shard, a newly emerging massive building next to London Bridge Station. If a building can be said to look fierce, The Shard looks mighty fierce.

Paired with Guys’ Hospital, the buildings look like a strange, robotic Sphinx and pyramid of sorts.

Hey, and guess what! Neill Cameron turned up at Philip Reeve‘s son’s school on Dartmoor last week, and the first Philip heard of it when Sam came home very excited about Mo-Bots. Here’s Philip’s entry about it, and Neill’s blog post.

More soon about last weekend in Oxford, but I left my notebook at home.

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