line.gif - 1064 Bytes
red admiral

Bright Day

Thursday, 26th September 2002, West Yorkshire

small cumulusAs I walk down into the valley across the fields from Ossett there's a blue sky sparsely dotted with the kind of small white cumulus clouds that Monet would evoke with a few ragged brushstrokes. Gulls gather in a field below my old school. The panorama from Woolley Edge to the foothills of the Pennines sparkles in the warm September sun.

gullsEven on this exposed slope there's only the gentlest of breezes and I'm amazed how quiet everything is. I feel that if someone across the valley in Middlestown two miles away was to shout 'Halloa!' to me I'd be able to hear them.

It's a rare experience in this populous part of the county.

Barber's Shop

barbersThe excuse for my short walk is a visit to the hairdressers. I've got into the habit of calling at my mum's hairdressers. They don't do many beards there, but they make a good job of mine. I have to walk past a traditional barber's shop to get there but I'm not tempted to call in. As a schoolboy calling at the barbers in Queen Street after school meant half an hour's wait listening to a barber's shop conversation which, in my memory, was always about cricket, something way beyond my comprehension.

There were no hairstyles as such, just short back and sides. Even at that age I had a fascination for the visually diverse and the haircuts of the day seemed boring, uniform and conventional. Historical periods, anything but our own age, seemed to me to be much more visually exciting and the juvenile comic strip stories I wrote, recounting the epic films and the sword and sandal B-features I'd seen, are full of long-haired, bearded vikings and biblical characters.

When long hair became fashionable in the 1960s and I became an art student that was all the excuse I needed. I've had the beard ever since and I've shaved only a couple of times in my entire life. Unfortunately I can't manage the long hair these days!next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; ''