Christmas Carol drawings

Here are a selection of drawings that illustrate the recording (links enclosed below) I have made reading Dickens’ Christmas Carol:

christmas carol opening by TIM.jpgmarley  coming into the room by TIM.jpgscrooges door by TIM.jpg

the window.jpgscrooge suprised by TIM.jpgmarleys ghost by TIM.jpgshaded scrooge by TIM.jpg



Chain Reaction

I was doing some work on the development of mediaeval armour mostly because I was shown two pictures which I have copied and both were dated earlier than I think could actually be possible given the quality of armour that they show. Check my notes below (bottom 2 pics).

chain mail by tim 1.jpg

This picture is supposed to come from a manuscript dating from the battle of hastings , or is an image of the battle. Almost impossible, I would think from the way the sleeves of chain-mail (the term is itself an anachronism anyway invented by Water Scott) and the helm of the knight in the centre.

from moleskin armenia by tim.jpg

here is a scene from an Armenian manuscript. Deeply charming but cannot be earlier than mid 12th century. The shorted haubergeons stitched onto the surcoats quite apart from the very rounded helms that suggest something between the norman nasal helm and the later sugar loaf.

Anyway, whatever their historical origins, I loved the characters in the two pictures and the way the figures are grouped. There is some sort of animation in both pictures.  And I love the tent in the first picture…

chain mail notes 1 by tim.jpg

chain mail notes by tim2.jpg

Episode 1 AMERICAN HISTORY’s Biggest Fibs

luct worsley's American History's Biggest fibs illustrated by TIM.jpg

First episode of Lucy Worsley’s new programme screened tonight. Very pleased to have done the illustrations and animation throughout. This is a picture with a few images and quotes that I drew watching the broadcast.

American History’s biggest fibs

lucy worsley- coming soon -THURSDAY bbc4.jpg


The first of three episodes begins on Thursday on BBC4 this week. I have completed animated linking sequences and inter-titles throughout the 3 programmes as I did in the previous series (“British History’s biggest fibs”) The imagery this time is drawn from American posters and typography- the title sequence itself should remind people of the currency which is a good start!

Lucy, as ever, is brilliant!


american history's biggest fibs.jpg

Teaching English

below are some tips and vocabulary for writing and especially for getting through the IELTS exam


Everyone talks about grammar. At least they do in Russia!

I think this is maybe to miss the real problem in learning English.

One of the most difficult things for english learners is to master vocabulary. Most text-books focus on grammar, because that is something that can be tested and taught in a very formalistic way, but, actually, there is very little grammar in modern English.

The hard work comes from learning and using synonyms correctly. In terms of listening, that mastery of vocab is expressed in a knowledge of collocations- how words stick together. This means that we can anticipate the sort of things we hear because we are used to the way one word naturally attaches to another. Instead of listening to every single word, we listen to the sense of what is being said and anticipate which words will be used.

In terms of the two essays, the graph essay (1) needs to be clear and precise. The second essay needs similar clarity but evidence of development. Idiomatic vocabulary throughout as well as “linking words”

Here are some valuable


linking words


at the moment

at present

right now

these days


in the past



at that time

years ago

when I was younger




I think one important thing is

I guess one difference is

I suppose the main difference  between A & B is


Causes and Solutions

I imagine it’s because

it appears to be

I guess it’s because

the main reason is

it is caused by


I suppose the best way to deal with this problem is

I reckon the only answer is

the best way to solve this is

**there are three important points: firstly (A), secondly (B and thirdly, finally, (C) (this is my preferred option always- the tricolon) This can often come across as very formal so be careful!


Giving examples

For example

for instance

such as

like (use in speaking, not so much in writing. Do not over-use this word)


Being clear and precise

What I mean is

What I want to say is

As I was saying


contrasts and concessions


on the one hand (remember two hands) on the other hand







even though




in spite of


by contrast


in comparison


another option could be/ might be



Linking words for writing

in addition






not only… but also

as well as




in that case

under these circumstances


Because of this,

thus, therefore, so



in that case

this implies that

if so, / not


giving examples:

to illustrate

to clarify

in other words,

such as


for instance






in addition


in the same way that

not only… but also




in particular



obviously (be careful- if something is obvious, there is no point in saying it, and if it is not obvious, then you have the wrong word!)

of course








on the whole,

as a rule



in brief

to summarise,





Here is a rough speaking test:

Speaking test


– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– Where are you studying or working?
– Do you like your school or your company?
– Do you want to change your school/company?
– Do you usually drink water?
– Do you prefer to drink bottled or tap water?
– Is bottled water expensive in your country?
– Why is that?
– Do you like shoes?
– How often do you buy new shoes?
– Have you ever bought shoes online? Why / why not?

Cue Card

Describe a part of your country that you find interesting. Please say

– What and where is it?
– How do you know about it?
– What activities do people usually do there?


– Why do you think this place is interesting?
– Why do people love to visit some parts of the country?
– Why do people want to settle in certain places?
– What are the main differences between places to visit and to live in?
– Why are people different in different parts of the same country?


Next time: vocabulary for Pie charts and graphs (Essay 1)


I put up a small talk about the origin of the Greek gods with some illustrations that copy statues and various paintings. Art work below!

cronos by TIM


Apologies for beginning with an image of Cronos but it makes some sense.

The teaching of mythology brings children and adults into contact with other world cultures, but it is also a chance to introduce some of the great works of art and literature. Norse mythology, for instance gives us a huge insight into the development of English in much the same way that greek mythology once found a natural home in Greek and latin classes at school.

Here is a link to the youtube talk I have just posted. Do check it out, subscribe and add comments if you wish!


hestia by TIMjuno in sky by TIMjuopiter and juno in Farnese by Timleto and children by TIMbirth of venus after Botticelli by TIMPoseidon by TIMcastration of Uranus by TIM


What Disney added to the whole thing is significant. Just as he introduced children to classical music and dinosaurs (religious groups stopped him linking evolution to the development of man so there is no ape-man animation in the Rite of Spring, just dying dinosaurs), so too he introduced us to classical mythology. It is all oddly coloured and the Disney publicity machine went wild about a particular loganberry colour- but there is so much in the Beethoven segment that is worthy, albeit a conflation of Bacchus/Dionysos and Silenus.

tribute-to-ward-kimball-bacchus-by-timuranus by TIMathena in Louvre by TIMPersephone and hades after Bernini by TIM


Always important to remember that Dionysos was a dangerous god. I will do something later on the Bacchae by Euripides!dionysos fantasia and statues by TIM

One of the delights of mythology is in identifying why stories arose. For instance, the golden fleece is located in Colchis, now in Georgia.  Recent excavations in Vani revealed panning in the river and a gold rush that must lie behind the legend. Jason was a prospector – it’s a  pre-history version of “Paint your wagon”, one of the great American musicals utterly destroyed by a film that was cast with non-singing leads. More on that another time!


hermes by TIM.jpg2nd-century-roman-copy-in-louvre-by-tim.jpg


The Baby Zeus was hidden from Cronos by being suspended between earth and heaven in a hanging basket, and when he cried, an army of Cretans danced furiously to drown out the sound. The is is the origin of much Cretan dancing! Zorba would be proud!infancy of Zeus by TIM.jpgcopy of Romanelli Cronos by TIM.jpgGoddess vatican by TIM.jpg