Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Brigg Trail

Wednesday, 24th January, 2007
Nellie the narrowboatTAKING A SCHOOL PARTY around Horbury Bridge gives me an opportunity to see familiar scenes through their eyes. They're 7 to 9 year olds so what seem to me like recent changes to the local landscape took place before they were born. Living memory for me is history for them.

treeArmed with clipboards, we’re completing a town trail; reading or sketching road signs, looking at buildings, bridges and the local park, and counting and naming the narrowboats in the canal basin; Geisha, Kittle and Patendale.

Nellie the narrowboat (left) is no longer moored by the lock gates to the Calder (which are now never used) and the barge that is there now fills the width of the lock. I drew Nellie for my last Sushi Sketchbook (before I went on to larger formats) Four Corners of Horbury.


Chalk & Talk

Brig TrailBack at the school, I go through what we’ve seen and draw this map as we discuss each place we visited on the trail.

It seems strange that blackboard and chalk have disappeared from classrooms. The squeak of chalk, the way words & diagrams disappeared into dust when the teacher rubbed away the day’s lesson and the occasional risk of a blackboard rubber flying through the air towards some pupil who wasn't paying attention are now history themselves.

archI find it tricky to draw on the computer-controlled white-board, especially since I’m so tall that I keep standing between the projector and the image I’m drawing. I have a habit of picking up a handful of ‘marker pens’ from the pressure sensitive rack below the board, confusing the computer as to which colour I’m using.

Pick up one marker pen and you can then draw with your finger. Run out of space and you can scroll down the page and draw more but you could do that in the narrowboatsdays of chalk; I remember our geography teacher having a canvas roller blackboard that gave him three separate areas to draw in, one of which was gridded into squares. That was a state of the art blackboard in 1963.