I’m Back (Again)

It’s true… I struggle to update this blog regularly and I have for the last decade, really. (I have a large archive of “legacy blog” postings, not currently online, which was a mixture of personal and work—going back to the year 2000!) Partly it’s because social media put a real dent in blogs—regrettably, for me, as I have always disliked so-called social media… and only real popular blogs have weathered the storm somewhat unscathed. So it’s a major disincentive to bother with a blog when you know no one bothers looking at it unless you personally prod them into doing so!

And life itself—the complications, the distractions, the tragedies, the endless quest for income and stability… it’s heavy. Who needs to blog about that or prioritise blogging to a silent or non-existent audience instead of focusing on important stuff?!

Well, who knows. I’d like to keep the blog alive regardless, although I also realise that when I emphasise work over personal, as I have done the last few years (hence keeping the archive of more personal or trivial stuff offline lately), that can be even less interesting! To some folks, anyway. We’ve all become our own personal reality TV show channels, sadly. I don’t regard this as progress, to be honest. Just because it’s a new development socially or culturally doesn’t automatically mean it’s an improvement.

Anyhow…

Speaking of the above-mentioned life complications and tragedies, one of them came in early May. I took a week’s holiday in Wales with my colleague, friend and landlord, Mr Steve Green—my first visit to Wales, where I spent most of my childhood Summers, in more than 30 years, astonishingly. And it was mostly a great time, even if my revisit of the campsite/town where I spent so much time as a little kiddie was cut a little short. (I need to go again sometime! I didn’t explore it as I really wanted to.) But on the very last day, five minutes before we were due to head back for home… Steve’s little dog, Oscar, bolted through the front door and squeezed through the front gates of the cottage.

Which led directly to the main road where frequent cars are apt to speed by with little regard for road safety.

One such car hit Oscar and didn’t trouble itself to stop (as required by the law)—and the local vet could do nothing to help him as he’d sustained huge brain damage.

Five minutes before we were heading back for home. Really.

You couldn’t make it up. Sickening. A nice holiday basically ruined.

RIP, Oscar. Only three and a half years old.

Oscar, RIP

Tikki the Westie is fine, anyhow. She has missed Oscar a fair bit, but dogs are a lot less emo than humans overall.

All that being said, I’ve been working on a bunch of things recently and I’ll be posting some of that in the coming days. Not all of it—not sure what I’m doing with it all right now. But expect a lot of new artwork. And for a change, some of it’s actually quite good! 🙂

You see, one thing I’ve been working on is upping my game, artistically. I do consider myself a writer who draws a bit. Sadly, I have secured little or no serious attention for my writing. Very frustrating. So that’s driven me towards trying to improve my visual work, even if I know that writing remains absolutely the strongest aspect of my work.

And so, I’ll be posting some of my recent toiling imminently. Stay tuned, if you’re out there! Anyone? Hello? HELLO?!

I’m Back! Meet Tikki!

Yeah, I’m really back, and there will be a flurry of catchup postings coming up. It’s been a weird few months.

Last time I was here, it was to write about the passing of my Westie, Fred, aged 14. Not long after that, Steve “adopted” Oscar, a two-year-old miniature Yorkie. It was nice to have a dog back in the house without too much of a break, and he’s awful cute…

Oscar

But… BUT… for me, there was a Westie-sized hole and it wasn’t getting filled so easily.

Enter Tikki. She was born in March 2017 and came into my life in mid-April this year.

Tikki

No one can replace Fred, but she’s a great companion in her own right!

And Oscar and Tikki do get along… some of the time. At other times, not so much. What the hey.

Tikki And Oscar

Next up: some work from recent months and news on various projects!!

Fred H, RIP (2004-2018)

So: a belated return to posting on here, but it’s for a very sad reason. After getting over the New Year slash January funk, around January 24th, my beloved dog Fred started to get sick. At first it was extreme exercise intolerance, soon followed by alarming breathing difficulties and severe weakness/lethargy.

An initial vet appointment early in February gave us a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis (apparently common in Westies) and suitable meds were given. I was not convinced or happy about this diagnosis; I had my own suspicions/fears, which later turned out to be correct. Anyhow, after a week or so, there was no improvement… and in fact, Fred had started to experience very obvious fluid build-up in his belly, which was having a big impact on his mobility and comfort.

We ended up going to a different vet by mid-February, and this time received the diagnosis I’d feared: Fred had terminal stage congestive heart failure. They drained his belly and started him on new meds (Vetmedin and Flurosemide), but in less than three days the fluid build-up (which was making it very difficult from him to lie down or rest) was becoming obvious once again. The drugs seemed to be doing nothing at all. We took him into the vet again last Saturday (Feb 24th), fully expecting him to not be coming home… but the vet we saw recommended an additional drug (Cardalis), as a last resort.

Again, this drug had no impact on his condition, and Fred was suffering mightily from the fluid in his stomach, hardly able to get any sleep at all—and finally his declining appetite completely vanished too. We had no choice but to take him in and have him put to sleep, last night (Feb 28th).

He was born on March 14th 2004, so he had a run of 14 years, more or less, which is a good lifespan. He wasn’t far from 100 years old in dog terms; and he’d seldom been ill enough to warrant visits to the vet. He remained quite active and full of life until the last five weeks. So this is not a tragedy… I keep telling myself, because I am so fucking upset it can’t be put into words. It’s just the way in which he was a permanent fixture in my life for so long… a constant companion, and for some spells my only companion. He was there and a comfort when my mom died 12 years ago. He was a rock. We were quite fond of each other!

Nothing else to say right now… I’ll be posting some new work shortly… for now, here’s a gallery of Fred through the years… for my own enjoyment/therapy, but I hope you like them.

Fred, May 2004
Fred as a puppy… May 2nd 2004

Me & Fred, November 2004
Me and Fred… November 2004

Fred in London, October 2006
Fred in London… October 2006

Fred, September 2008
Fred in HIS Chair… September 2008

Fred & Toy, May 2010
Fred and his BESTEST Toy… May 2010

Fred, November 2010
Fred Smiles for the Camera… November 2010

Fred, July 2013
Fred in Bearwood… July 2013

Fred, June 2015
Fred in the Back Yard… June 2015

Fred, July 2015
Fred in the Sun… July 2015

Fred Wearing Glasses, May 2016
Fred Wearing Glasses… May 2016

Fred & Cigar, September 2016
Fred and His “Cigar”… September 2016

Fred, February 2017
Fred Looking Adorable… February 2017

Fred @ 13, March 2017
Fred’s Happy 13th Birthday… March 2017

Fred, September 2017
Fred Looking Sharp… September 2017

Fred, February 2018
Fred Looking Hopeful… February 24th 2018

Me & Fred, February 2018
Me and Fred… February 24th 2018

Fred's Final Walk, February 2018
Fred Bravely Takes His Final Walk… February 28th 2018…

The last one is the final photo ever taken of him. He was gone less than 30 minutes later.

But never forgotten, my old friend…

“With Chips”

Okay! This is the second and final strip celebrating the tenth birthday of Club Comicana Vamporama. It’s also the last new J&M strip to go on here for a while, probably, as I’m working on Club Vamporama #1, an actual PRINT comic. The cover is finished; I might post a preview sometime.

More later, etc. Hope you enjoy the comic… it’s a hint of things to come…

With Chips

Art: Yez Truly; Script: LizzyB