Again, a grey, damp dawn, totally lacking in inspiring light, but as I was approaching the chestnut avenue, I was tickled to no end when a dog-walker came racing toward me with a wild look in her eye, calling out, "Beware the conker trees!" as she rushed by. As I sat beaneath this one, I did fear slightly that it might eat me or something, but all it did was hurl sodden conkers (perilously close to my head). The past couple times I've been in the park, I've noticed a lot of Chinese people gathering big bags of chestnuts off the ground. This time, when I asked a lady about it, she said she boils them to eat. I thought they were horse chestnuts, I didn't realise they were edible. Then I got a lot of Chinese people gathering around and telling me in stilted English about the people in their family who also like to draw. It was a nice, sociable kind of morning.
I met up with Philip Reeve last night at the House of Illustration party (more about that soon but a quick pic here), and afterward we chatted more about drawing and writing and such. For his drawings, he's been using a 2H mechanical pencil on fairly ordinary A4 paper, which at first surprised me, but then made me understand how he could get such sharp lines (such as the lichen on this tree branch).
Back at the Fleece Station, we're gearing up for the Alexandra Palace Knitting & Stitching Show! It runs Thursday to Sunday, and this'll be a new one for me. If you're there do stop by our booth to say hi to Gary Northfield, Stitch London coordinator Lauren O'Farrell and me, and to Derek the Sheep and Vern and Lettuce.
Edit: I helped make some of these badges! (Here's a list of what we'll be selling, plus Gary and I might do a few on-the-spot watercolour paintings.)