A ‘Joyful’ Illustration

Whilst I was continuing my perpetual cleaning spree of my study, I unearthed this picture from my college days’ archive.  It is a coloured pencil illustration that was given to me circa 1997 by a friend and fellow student, Hazel Joy Shields, known to her friends as Joy.  I got to know Joy in my second year at College and what made the biggest connection between us was the fact that she was from the North East, (Blyth, Northumberland to be exact) and I was from Durham.
Joy's picturecompleteforblog
My nickname from my friends at Cumbria University of Arts was ‘Quiffer’ due to the wave-like quiff I had in those days and in this illustration Joy has drawn me with my distinctive hairstyle.  I am rather pleased that she has drawn my caricature as the wizard, (with the obvious power over the smoke-breathing dragon) and not one of the helpless knights quaking at the sight of it.  The knight in pink armour is my friend, Paul Drury, who hails from Huddersfield and the green-clad knave with the blonde hair is my friend, Andrew ‘Andy’ Smith from Wakefield.  I don’t know if either of the two Yorkshire lads will have seen this illustration or not before or whether it will be a surprise for them…

It was wonderful finding this illustration, still in perfect condition, amongst my papers, as it has brought back so many happy memories of my days of yore in Carlisle.  This cartoon illustration was done before the adventures of Harry Potter came into being, but maybe Joy had a bit of the foresight to see the potential in wizards, castles and knights in shining armour…

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Thoughts On – Starting College

I remember this time of year back in 1985 when I was thinking of moving from my family home and little village to start my Higher National Diploma (HND) studies at Cumbria Institute of the Arts, in the city of Carlisle.

Cumbria Institute of the Arts logo

I had massive amounts of nervous energy, as I am not the most confident or outgoing person, and was worried about my studies and my digs (mostly worried about anything there was to worry about). Luckily, after my friend, Sandi, and I had struggled to find ‘digs’, we moved into Wigton Road and found ourselves in good company with two great lads from Yorkshire, Paul and Richard. Looking back at our student life gives me a laugh or two now. It was like living an episode of the ‘The Young Ones’ in reality, with exploding ovens, bonfires burning in the back garden and large slugs in the bathroom that would leave you speechless. Add two escaped pet white mice and you’ve got the recipes for a good comedy series!

After a year at Wigton Road, we all moved to Howard Place, which was much nicer digs, although I have mixed feelings about living there too. What with a resident ghost that stalked the staircase, and food that ‘disappeared’ out of cupboards at night, it was enough to send a chill down the spine. These were not nearly as scary as the amount of dirty crockery and cutlery that was amassed in the sink when you arrived home, tired and hungry, after a hard day studying.

I made some other good friends during those years, including: Linda, Cathy, Fiona, Rachel, Joy, Andy, Penny and Adrian, to name a few, most of which are still in my life via Facebook, alongside my original housemates, Paul, Richard and Sandi.

It all seems like a long time ago now, but my worrying nature is still with me (a leopard can’t change its spots) and I empathise with all of those that will be starting their studies next month. Nothing is quite as bad as you would imagine (and I have got a good imagination!). Just remember, some research at the University of Cincinnati found that eighty-five percent of what we worry about NEVER happens. It also discovered that 79% of us handle the remaining 15% that does happen in ways that surprise us with our ability to turn the situation around.

 Perhaps this quote from the author Mark Twain, sums it up most effectively:

 I have been through some terrible things in my life,
some of which actually happened. Mark Twain (1835-1910).