Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Winter is fast approaching and locally the weather has taken a turn for the worse with a strong gale from the SE battering the coastline. The vital lifeline ferry link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland is ploughing her slow passage down the NE Coast having left the Islands at 5.30pm last night, Onboard are 95 hardy souls whose original intentions were to arrive in Aberdeen this morning at 7am, but with this Harbour now closed due to the weather they are heading for Rosyth on the Firth of Forth with an estimated arrival time of late tonight.

After some 30 hours or so at sea, many will feel it will have been the worst sea journey they have ever experienced. Having said that, being more of a sailor than an airman myself, given the choice in a flying gale, I would still opt to be tossed around the ocean for hours than be flipped about inside a cigar tube thousands of feet in the air, while strapped into a space no bigger than a cupboard. Doubtless there are many who would rather do neither. Bert Thomas (1883-1966) cartoon probably captures the spirit of sea travel in winter which hasn't changed a lot in a hundred years.

Transcription below:

GARRULOUS PASSENGER: "Oh, Captain, I've crossed the Atlantic dozens of times in all kinds of weather and never remember feeling so ill. I wonder what's the cause ?"
CAPTAIN: "Bad memory."

Friday, 12 August 2011


This is one of the busiest days in the shooting season, with large amounts of game being shot. The date itself  being the traditional start of the shooting season for Red Grouse is enshrined in legislation through the Game Act of 1831. Since UK Law says that the start of the season cannot begin on a Sunday it has sometimes been postponed to the 13th August. Whatever day it starts on not all Red Grouse are in danger though, as shown here by George D Armour (1864-1949) cartoon where a serious lack of skill on the part of the shooting party has in fact resulted in very few actual birds having been shot.

Transcript below:

PROPRIETOR OF SHOOTING: (inspecting game-book after being away) "The boys didn't get many birds, but you've entered 'various' too often. I like everything put down."

SCOTCH KEEPER: "I couldna' juist dae that. Ye see there was a gillie and twa dogs, no' to mention some sheep and Sandy's auld coo."

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Now that we are well through what is called ‘Summer', the daily delivery of postal mail has a number of holiday postcards arriving from far and distant places, showing beautiful sunny scenes and gorgeous views of exotic locations around the world. While grateful that friends and family are having a lovely time enjoying the summer sun, we in turn appear to be languishing back home in a never ending spell of cold, wet and misty days.

The bright summery spell we all enjoyed back in April, May and parts of June have long since disappeared into the memory banks, and in turn we mope about muttering and complaining of the weather. Amidst this plops yet another card through the letterbox with comments about hot, sunny days and the time spent enjoying all that these holiday resorts have to offer. Hamilton Williams (circa 1920) cartoon shown below typifies our summer weather at the moment, and highlights the old rural Post Office pastime of reading the postcards arriving from all over the world prior to delivery.

Transcript below:

HIGHLAND POSTMASTER: (to party sheltering from the rain). "Wull ye no come in oot o' the rain, yer Leddyship, an' I'll gie ye a wheen postcairds to read to while awa' the time? There's some gay queer anes by the last post!"

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


This week sees The International Island Games being held in the Isle of Wight and were founded in the Isle of Man in 1985 and today include 25 member islands in, or associated with, the nine sovereign nations of Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, plus the Caribbean. They stretch across the globe including the Falkland Islands, Greenland, St Helena, Bermuda and the Shetland Islands among 20 others.

There are approximately 4000 participants competing in 14 different sports over the 7 days. Of all the sports being contested Shetland has become one of the top medal winners in the swimming with 5 Gold Medals, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze. Four of the Gold Medals being won by Andrea Strachan with her team-mate Amy Harper picking up 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 2 Bronze, and young Felix Gifford collecting the final Bronze Medal. 

This amazing performance from such a small island will no doubt result in a flood of hopeful people of all ages trying to match these young swimmers valiant efforts. Bert Thomas (1883-1966) cartoon shows the helpful encouragement given to those just starting out in the sport by the poolside instructors.
Transcript below:

INSTRUCTOR: "That's better, Sir; you ain't swallerin' so much water -
doing more to the gallon, so to speak."

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


After an absence of some 3 months, while I have been sourcing some more ‘new’ old cartoons to share with you all, I thought that this being the longest day it would be a good time to re-start the blog. Today is the first day of summer according to that fountain of all knowledge – Google – and so with that in mind I have chosen a holiday related cartoon from George Belcher (1875-1947) It’s good to see that while summer visitors get a lot out of their holiday and return refreshed and invigorated by their stay, they in turn also leave a lasting legacy with their hosts!

On another note, I would just like to thank the authors of the following blogs for listing "CARTOONS OF OLD" among those that they follow regularly:  Desperate ReaderShetland My Love, and Auld-Rasmie . Thanks to them the number of ‘visits’ have increased dramatically over the last few weeks especially, and if you are one of the new readers, welcome, and I hope you enjoy these old cartoons and have a laugh at them with us all.

Transcript below:

VISITOR TO VERY QUIET SEASIDE PLACE: "And what ever do you people do with yourselves in the winter ?"
LANDLADY: "Oh, we talks and laughs about the people what stays 'ere in the summer."

Monday, 28 March 2011


This past week has seen a series of events, all of which could lend themselves to an old cartoon. The start of the Easter School Holidays, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby, and the advent of British Summer Time and the annual battle with all the various digital time keeping devices programmed into every piece of equipment nowadays. The final of Dancing On Ice and the start of the Formula One World Championship. Out of all these I plumped for a Motoring Cartoon from the early 1920’s by George D Armour (1864-1949), showing the dangers that driving at speed can bring.

Transcript below:

MRS O'BRIEN: (who has been instructed that she must on no account speak to the chaffeur when driving). "Chaffeur! chaffeur! I must spake! Mrs Rafferty hasn't been on the back sate of the kyar fur the last ten minnuts!"

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Friday 18th March 2011 was ‘Red Nose Day’, being the biennial telethon highlight of the charity Comic Relief. Originally it was set up in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and the comedian Lenny Henry in response to the famine in Ethiopia, and whose stated aim is to “bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people, which we believe requires investing in work that addresses people's immediate needs as well as tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice”. http://www.comicrelief.com/about-us

One of the fundamental principles of the charity is where every single donated pound (£) is spent on charitable projects. All the operating costs, such as staff salaries etc., are covered by corporate sponsors, or by the interest earned on the money donated, while it is waiting to be distributed. Since it’s inception in the 1980’s over £650 Million has been raised. Each year the style of the ‘Red Noses’ change and in 2011, for the first time, there were three different types available. Charles Grave (1886-1944) cartoon below draws attention to another form of Red Nose.

Transcript below:

LONG-SUFFERING VICAR: (to teller of plausible tale). "I'd no idea that the lack of the train-fare to Leighton Buzzard could have such an extraordinary effect upon the nose."

Monday, 14 March 2011


The Annual Crufts Dog Show has just announced the winner of the Best in Show from a total of 21,000 other dogs. This annual competition organised by the Kennel Club, began in 1891 and celebrates its 120th anniversary this year. The Best in Show prize has been awarded for the past 83 years, during which time 41 different breeds have won the title. This year a black flat coated retriever called ‘The Kentuckian’ was declared Best in Show, and a Basset Griffon Vendeen resplendent in the name ‘Soletrader Peek A Boo’ was Reserve Best in Show. The names folk give their dogs are often weird and wonderful, though pedigree breeds often have to have these grandiose names to show their lineage. Thankfully the Best in Show retriever is just called ‘Jet’ when he’s home in South Queensferry, Scotland. George S Dixon (b. 1890) cartoon highlights the often very British obsession with dogs being virtually human in many owners eyes.

Transcript below:

OLD LADY: "Now, before you give him his food I want you to say, 'Diddums Dinkie want oos dindins?' And if he yawns he's not quite ready."

Sunday, 6 March 2011


World Book Day this week was an ‘event’ designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading for the enjoyment of all. Children especially are encouraged to explore the pleasures of books and reading, and so build up a love of words. Writing narratives in any novel often relies on the use of slang to add an air of authenticity to the story, depending on the characters and where they are placed in society. Frank Reynolds (1876-1953) cartoon highlights the pitfalls of the use of slang in everyday life!

Transcript below:

MISTRESS TO NEW MAID: "Mary, you haven't half dusted the drawing-room."
MARY: (highly gratified). "Ah, not 'alf I 'aven't."

Sunday, 27 February 2011


With the Sea Trout season opening on the 25th February and the Brown Trout Season on the 15th March, thoughts of anglers the length and breadth of the country are turning to their annual battle with the wily fish. Many an ardent fisherman has tales to tell of the ones that got away, and in the Highlands of Scotland, gillies are looking to a new season of guiding, cajoling and informing many a newcomer into the ‘tricks of the trade’. George D Armour (1864-1949) cartoon shows that even the tactics of an expert can sometimes be proved wrong.

Transcript below:

SELF SATISFIED TYRO: (who in spite of disregrading expert advice has caught a "fish")   "I was a bit too cunning for that one, Duncan."
DUNCAN: (gloomily extracting the fly) "Ay, there's daft idjits in the watter as weel's oot o' it."
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