Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 2nd June, 2007

PatchPatchPATCH IS THE KIND OF DOG you come across in children’s stories. He’s got so much character that he projects himself into my sketchbook page without much effort on my part. You can infer his thought processes from his pose.

Drawing him reminds me of what artist's model Quentin Crisp said of posing for a drawing class: 'It's not enough just to sit; you've got to sit like mad!'

When Patch is sitting up on his hindlegs, his front legs don’t quite comfortably reach the floor so they shake, as you sometimes find your leg doing when you’ve got it held in some odd position.

PatchYou might not immediately guess that he’s got a Cruft’s champion and best-of-breed in his ancestry; he’s a Parson’s Russell. His alert, perky posture and his confidence and friendliness (he doesn't go off and hide in a corner when strangers like me come calling) make him a gift to draw.

Of course it would be easier for me if he didn’t jump up on the bench and start licking my face!

My lingering cold has meant that these quick sketches of Patch, made when we called on a friend, are the highlight of my sketchbook for this week. Apart from that, all I managed to summon up the enthusiasm to draw in the two weeks following last Monday's Spring Bank Holiday was a budding bramble growing by the shed and a knife and napkin at the fish & chip restaurant.

young robinbramblenapkinFirst Flight

A robin has been busy taking food into the ivy and pyracantha that festoon the larch-lap fence behind the greehouse. Last week we saw one of the fledglings. Not quite in control, it flew into the kitchen window then went and sat, stunned but otherwise apparently unharmed, behind the pots of blueberry by the back door.

The adult bird soon came and the two flew off.