I still draw horses

by | Sep 9, 2021

My grandfather Edgar Taplin served in the air force, the RAAF. He wasn’t a flyer but a courier who rode a motorbike, delivering messages between the lines. We only know his function because there are photos that survive him.

He was my mother’s father who migrated from the UK to Australia in his 20’s a couple of decades earlier.

His grandchildren called him Puppy.

He and I were close. I liked it when people said we were similar, commenting on our looks and mannerisms.

He would laugh freely at my kid jokes.


We still had talking to do

My parents were born in the early 1940s, amid the Second World War.

My mother did not meet her father until he returned from war and wondered who the strange man in the house was.

The war was the backdrop to their childhood and remained an omnipresent yet unspoken part of their growing years.

My memories of Puppy are a caring, purposeful, smiling yet slightly taciturn man who taught me how to draw, mostly big sheets of butcher paper with the thick oily tradie pencils from his outdoor workshop. He showed me how to draw horses. He was patient and generous with his praise. I felt good being with him.

I was fascinated by his RAAF cap, which I found one day when digging through some old stuff in a spare room at his home. While he would reluctantly place it on my young head when I badgered him, he refused to put it on his own, and I wondered why.

I learned later he didn’t march on ANZAC Day.

In my teens, I was gifted Puppy’s RAAF cap after he died suddenly from a stroke.

It was my first real experience of death. I treasure the cap.

As I have got older, I see the likeness that people spoke about and feel good about him and where I have come from.

A daily reminder of my grandfather.


Yet another David Whyte quote from his book Consolations:

“Courage is the measure of our heartfelt participation with life, with another, with a community, a work; a future.”


How to draw a horse.

The following video is my lesson on how to draw a horse, the same lesson my grandfather taught me when I was a kid.

…and a timeless song lyric:

Street Fighting Man – Rolling Stones

Always enjoy a good protest song, and also celebrating the remarkable life of Charlie Watts:

Ev’rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
‘Cause summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
But what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man, no

Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
But where I live the game to play is compromise solution
Well, then what can a poor boy do
Except to sing for a rock ‘n’ roll band
‘Cause in sleepy London town
There’s just no place for a street fighting man, no

Cameron Schwab
CEO & Founder


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