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Deer Shelter Sycamores

Thursday, 16th January 2003, West Yorkshire

deer shelter

The Deer Shelter at Bretton Country Park, between Wakefield and Barnsley, is built into the hill, embanked around. Its three arched chambers lie beneath turf and tree roots.

On this sunny morning I get so absorbed in drawing the tracery of sycamore branches - they remind me of a great gothic window - that by the time I take a late break for lunch I'm so famished and so tense after the concentration of drawing continuously for such a stint, that my hands are shaking. I can hardly hold my spoon steady as I eat the pea and ham soup!

There might be another reason why I feel so shaky; even in this old shelter I canít quite shut out the world. A couple of potentially nasty conservation issues are popping up on my horizon and, try as I might, I canít quite get them out of my mind as I draw. The anger and frustration that I feel are probably adding to that tremor in my hand.

A Letter from a Friend

letterSo, how to relax? - One of the pleasures of lunch in the café is that I can sit quietly at a corner table and write. Much as I love e-mails there's something delightful about a hand-written letter from a friend, and itís just as enjoyable writing them.

Whether reading one of my letters is so enjoyablejackdaws is another matter; thereís usually an awful lot about my work in them plus loads of angst about the feelings behind it. But what about gossip and scandal - the stuff that really makes letters interesting? I'm afraid there's not a lot to report when you spend your day in the company of crows and jackdaws!

Although they seem to have plenty of raucous comment to make to one page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; ''