A skunk stripe

sea, ocean, blue, cuttle fish, spiny squat lobster, starfish, white-sided dolphin, seahorse, quahog clam, sea pen, marine conservation zones, blue belt, children, the wildlife trusts, illustration, illustrator, Hannah FoleyI am now catching most of the dawn on my early morning bike rides. The sky ahead of me is full of radiant hues of pink, apricot and lilac. The bright Lenten moon sits on my shoulder. The air is full of the sound of bird song, and far above my head, a skein of geese rhythmically beat out the pace of their journey.

In the garden we have been planting seeds. Sweet peas, peas, tomatoes and sunflowers are uncurling their toes in the warm dark earth. Much to my surprise my rudbeckia purpurea, which failed to flower after planting out last year and which I was ready to give up on, is putting up dark red leaf tips.

Wren is sporting a white stripe down the back of her head, just like a skunk. I had been glossing a doorframe and she’d come looking for me. Pat, pat, shuffle, pat, pat, shuffle. Hello Wren. She gave me an enormous smile as if to say, I have found you mum! Then she noticed the paintbrush. She peered quizzically around my leg. Wren is not a speedy crawler by any stretch of the imagination but she does have this amazing trick of suddenly flipping from a crawling position, across a right angle, to plant herself on her bottom, sitting bang in between me and whatever it is I’m trying to do. It’s fast as lightening and she did it right then. Her back hit the corner of the freshly glossed doorframe. She looked up at me beaming and the tilting action against the doorframe spread more paint right across the top of her head. She frowned. She had just picked up on the strange sticky sensation on her fuzzy scalp and my alarmed cry. She turned and put out an exploratory hand to pat the paint. Bemused, she shook her head and in a neat reversal of her right angle trick she was off across the room. Pat, pat, shuffle, pat, pat, shuffle. Leaving a little white hand print pattern across the carpet as she went. We have scrubbed and scrubbed but it’s going to be another week or so before she finally loses her skunk stripe.

This is a poster I did recently for Wildlife Watch magazine (the in-house children’s magazine for the Wildlife Trusts). A nice thing about doing this poster was that I wrote the text too. The team at Wildlife Watch were super lovely to work with. The poster is going to form part of the Wildlife Trusts campaign on Marine Conservation Zones. You can find out more about the campaign here.

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