The Westmorland Gazette columns…

Christmas: A Time For Getting Then Leaving

SO, this is Christmas. Which as Cliff Richard says, is a time “for giving” and a time for “forgiving”. I know it’s fashionable to say you only like giving, but … Continue reading

24/12/2014 · Leave a comment

How To Survive A Cumbrian Winter…

SO, we are in the embers of the year now. The Octobers, Novembers and Decembers. The clocks going back is also the start of the “sick season” in Cumbria, so … Continue reading

20/11/2014 · Leave a comment

Skegness, Grimsby And The Real North

SO, I’m driving along the A180 which is the long, flat ‘freight road’ that leads all the way to Grimsby docks. The A180 is full of huge 18-wheeler artics with … Continue reading

07/11/2014 · Leave a comment

The Sheep That Came Back From The Dead…

SO, the sheep was dead, I was sure of that. It had got its neck and head horribly twisted and tangled in the wire fencing in the top field. Trying … Continue reading

21/09/2014 · Leave a comment

Music, Mud, Mayhem At Kendal Callin

SO, it’s 3.47am at Kendal Calling and I’m in my tent. All I can smell is wet grass and all I can feel is the earth fracking from tremors of pounding … Continue reading

15/08/2014 · Leave a comment

A Fortnight Of Sunshine In The Lake District

SO, the sun shone for a fortnight, pretty much. I could dwell on the tepid showers that fell on Saturday night – filling the garden with a salty smell of … Continue reading

15/08/2014 · Leave a comment

The Majorca Columns

COUNTING THE SLEEPS, 13 STONE OF SUITCASES AND THE SCAREPORT SO, it won’t be long now before we’re strolling down the Avenue de la Magnolia in our Raybans and diving … Continue reading

23/07/2014 · Leave a comment

Swifts, Bats, & The Midnight Lost Toad

SO, there are ‘winged things’ buzzing in the garden; terrorising the kids. I’m on the last page of Ulysses and these periodic, window-shattering shrieks are stabbing at my peace. The … Continue reading

17/06/2014 · Leave a comment

Parking Meters & Turning Off Lake District Lights

SO, there’s several grass fires smouldering away across the parish at the moment. Ambleside is ‘under siege’ after Sainsbury’s, then Premier Inn cosied up to flutter their boardroom eyes. And … Continue reading

26/05/2014 · Leave a comment

A Magnum Of Lambrini And A Stranger On A Shore..

SO, it was last Saturday morning and I was driving from shop-to-shop searching for a Magnum of Lambrini. Apparently it’s not a brand high on South Lakeland soirees. Everywhere I … Continue reading

17/05/2014 · Leave a comment

Insomnia, Midnight Fighting Cats And Writer’s Block…

SO, it’s half four in the morning and I just cannot sleep. It’s not quite light so I go downstairs, make a pint of coffee and ruminate on this week’s … Continue reading

02/05/2014 · 1 Comment

Good Friday And The Great Easter Cannonball Run To The Lakes…

SO, it’s Good Friday as the Mother Superior pulls a big right on to Kendal bypass – plunging us in to the Great Easter Cannonball Run into the national park. … Continue reading

25/04/2014 · Leave a comment

Ambleside, Sainsbury’s, Corporates and the LDNPA

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ellis Butcher originally intended to use this week’s column as a follow-up to last week’s cliffhanger. This was where he wrote about the departure of the Mother Superior … Continue reading

11/04/2014 · 1 Comment

The Day I Blew Up The Garden And Why Five Drinks Is Never Enough…

SO, the Mother Superior has gone with the kids and the suitcases. The house is empty but for me, the dog and the goldfish, who cower under their faux stone … Continue reading

04/04/2014 · Leave a comment

Violent Gales, Ode To A Tree And The Kendal Chainsaw Massacre…

SO, the tree has gone; gone with the wind. Felled by an unseen hand on a black, swirling night of vandalism. A victim of last week’s gales. A proud 25-footer, … Continue reading

21/02/2014 · Leave a comment

A Stay In The Lakes Part 2: Cold Rooms & Warm Bars

PART TWO: SO, we’re still on our one night stay in the Lake District, or the “minibreak” as The Mother Superior kept on calling it. On the phone, telling her friends. … Continue reading

21/02/2014 · Leave a comment

A Stay In the Lakes Part 1, And One Night In Heaven….

PART ONE: SO, we’re on a one night stay in the Lakes. One night in heaven! One night in heaven! (That’s enough M People references! It sounds very dated. V.1990s!) … Continue reading

10/02/2014 · Leave a comment

Glasgow Part 2: Gucci Bags and Beggars

SO, we’re in Glasgow or ‘Glesgae’. It’s Saturday night but we’re in TGI Friday’s having finished our meal. I’m picking up the tab and picking barbecued ribs from my teeth … Continue reading

24/12/2013 · Leave a comment

Glasgow Part 1: High End Toiletries At The Hilton

SO, we’re in Glasgow. (Pre helicopter accident, I might add.) This is the original city of culture – long before people in London started dishing the rosette out to places … Continue reading

12/12/2013 · Leave a comment

We’ve Had A Death In The Family…

MAY 16, 2013: LET’S get a goldfish, I said out of nowhere… They’re low-maintenance pets. Canvassing support, I turned to the Mother Superior: “They’re very calming…and they’ll teach the kids … Continue reading

27/09/2013 · Leave a comment

Part 5: Holidaying With The Big Sis, KFC And A Pizza Hut

So, our Cornish holiday is almost at its end. We have climbed cliffs, walked causeways, built sandcastles and swum in warm English waters. We have played Gin Rummy endlessly. We … Continue reading

20/09/2013 · 3 Comments

Part 4: Holidaying With The Big Sis, Cockles & Stress Residue Medicine

So, we’re in a beer garden in Looe, Cornwall. The kids and I have spent eight hours on the quayside hauling crabs up the harbour wall using a long line … Continue reading

06/09/2013 · Leave a comment

Part 3: Holidaying With The Big Sis, Howler Monkeys & Silverbacks

 So, we finally arrived at our site in Cornwall. The lawns are obsessively-tended here and the hanging baskets get a lot of love. We drove past a sign: CHILDREN UNDER 10 … Continue reading

05/09/2013 · Leave a comment

Part 2: Holidaying With Big Sis; Saw The Movie and £1K Curtains

So, we’re tanning it through back country rural Gloucestershire – trying to find our stopover to break the run down to Cornwall. Whenever we pulled over for toilets, midges descended … Continue reading

23/08/2013 · Leave a comment

Part 1: Holidaying With My Sister, Adele And A Kingsize Bottle Of Gin

SO we were just coming off Junction 36 onto the M6 when I asked the Buddhist Big Sister: “So when did you officially break up from work?” “I haven’t!” she … Continue reading

18/08/2013 · Leave a comment

New photos: Cornwall

30/07/2013 · 1 Comment

“I Don’t Like That Andy Murray”: Mams, Morecambe & A Week Off

HAD a week off last week. It was spent mostly catching up, sorting out. Read a lot, wrote a bit and got out taking photographs. I also caught the multi-millionaire … Continue reading

05/07/2013 · Leave a comment

Pics: Sun Up Over Morecambe This Morning

25/06/2013 · Leave a comment

What To Do In Ambleside At 4am?

THERE’S not a lot to do in Ambleside at four o’clock in the morning. I can vouch for this after laying there in my tent last weekend, needlessly wide awake. … Continue reading

07/06/2013 · 1 Comment

The Goldfish Police And The Pet Death NVQ

“LET’S get a goldfish,” I announced out of nowhere. “They’re low-maintenance pets.” Canvassing support, I turned to the Mother Superior. “They’re very calming…. and it’ll teach the kids about death.” … Continue reading

17/05/2013 · 1 Comment

PICS: Keswick To Barrow Walk #k2b2013

I’M full of a new respect for the Keswick to Barrow walkers today. We often hear a lot about the worst in humanity, but some of its best was up … Continue reading

11/05/2013 · 1 Comment

PICS: Leeds Weekender

I’VE not been to Leeds for 20 years and went on a stag weekend recently. It’s an amazing city to photograph with some impressive new buildings and colourful citizens. Enjoy … Continue reading

09/05/2013 · 1 Comment

PICS: Classic Car Rally In Cumbria

THE place to drool over nearly 100 vintage cars in Cumbria today was “checkpoint 20” on The Flying Scotsman London To Edinburgh Rally. Checkpoint 20 is better known as The … Continue reading

20/04/2013 · 1 Comment

PICS: What’ll The Lads Do On (Easter) Monday?

WHEN I started this blog, I didn’t want to focus exclusively on ‘postcard Cumbria’. Cumbria is a Wonderland, but lives have been lived here, industries lost. This brings me to … Continue reading

01/04/2013 · 1 Comment

Knocking on Wordsworth’s Door In The Lake District

A danger of living in the Lake District is having it all on your doorstep, promising to ‘do it one day’ but that day never coming. It’s been a couple of … Continue reading

14/03/2013 · 4 Comments

PICS: Art Exhibition In Natland

WHAT does 50p buy these days? Not a lot. But it did buy entry to this weekend’s Art Exhibition at Natland and Oxenholme Village Hall, featuring over 100 acrylics, oil paintings, … Continue reading

10/03/2013 · Leave a comment

Your Bellied Rooves

THE constant creative challenge in the Lake District is how to write or record a place eulogised for centuries?  Are there any valid descriptions left? Has every subject been photographed? I believe in Haveagoetry. I had the words … Continue reading

19/02/2013 · Leave a comment

PICS: 24 Hours Left To Go To Sine Dubio (Without Doubt)

THERE’S been a large empty picture frame touring the Lake District. The idea being that it’s sited somewhere scenically-strategic and the ever-changing view becomes a work of art itself.  Here’s my go below. It’s connected … Continue reading

16/02/2013 · 1 Comment

31 Days Of Photos, Or A Month In The Life Of A Tree

08/02/2013 · Leave a comment

‘The Point Is To Scare The Crap Out Of Them’

COUNCILLORS get a bad press. As a population, we condemn their mistakes and ignore their successes. It’s not the media’s job to applaud them for getting it right – that’s … Continue reading

30/01/2013 · 3 Comments

PICS: For Chris Hill: The People’s Republic Of Barrovia aka The Tropic Of Walney

SCROLL DOWN FOR PICS An old work friend of mine, Chris Hill, commented on this blog earlier. He mentioned how some of my photographs of Morecambe remind him of his home … Continue reading

15/01/2013 · 6 Comments

The Wild Cat Of Wild Ennerdale

I’m not great with a camera but will always have a go. I am proud of this photograph; but more because of the beauty of the creature involved. This Blue Persian … Continue reading

15/01/2013 · Leave a comment