Sunday, December 31, 2006

Merry New Year's Eve!

Just back from Crewe and dropping Jackie off at the rail station before the worst of the weather hit. Very windy and wet now.
Yesterday we had a few friends over for lunch and dinner. Hazel's old college chum Jackie from Cardiff got a lift up to Brum with her boyfriend on the way to Coventry. She got a lift the rest of the way with old chum Leslie and her family Carl and Bethan. We had a veg. sausage rolls and quiche and salad for lunch. Archie entertained us with some power-chords. Bethan who is 8 going on 35 told us about her ballet class in great detail - seems she has the same teacher that Hazel used to in Walsall. Hazel thought she was ancient then but in reality could only have been in her twenties!
Later I made a curry and had some Tesco's curries to make it a bit more interesting.

Jackie blew on Wilfred as he climbed his cage and he fell over backwards. Jackie slept on the fold out sofa-bed. Hazel used to her Tom Tom to find the way to Crewe even though she knew the way. Tim, the manly voice, told her to go another route which was a little disconcerting. We got there in good time. Stopped of at a posh Waitrose on the way home to get the Sunday papers and some bagels etc.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Boxing Day!

Another quiet Xmas at home very much like last years infact. I just read the blog entry to see what we did and it all sounded very firmiliar! We had our nut roast again at Granma's and Audrey's and the usual fussing in the kitchen and the heaps of food piled high on our plates. I waddled back to the armchair after the huge pile of washing up - Granma managed to use every pot and pan in the house! I dozed off whilst watching the Queens Podcast to the nation. Later we played a tortuous long game of Monopoly in which I managed to aquire three properties that hardly anybody landed on and I always seemed to be in jail or owed the tax man, never won any beauty contest prizes and paid out high rents to all the money grabbing landlords sat around the table.

Archie wanted a remore controlled helicopter and Santa managed to find him one. So far it has flown about two feet and crashed into several ornaments. At Granma's he played Silent Night punk style on his geetar and rattled several ornaments.

We plan to be more healthy today and have a walk over to Marbury. More nut roast to eat up as I made an extra large one. Delicious it was too with chestnuts and cashews etc. I should have taken a photo of it as it came out the oven , the puff pastry all golden brown and humming quietly to itself.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Archie hasnt made a Christmas card this year though was working on a Sams Xmas animation but not sure what happened to that? Anyway, heres an old card he did when he was seven.
More shopping yesterday but didnt really find that much. It was very cold so glad to get home again. I bought the local paper and Archie makes the news again with details of how you can access his animations on the Guardian website. Also pictured were some of the pupils at the Xmas Music Concert rehearsal at the High School but Archie was away that day and so isn't in it.
The tree and decorations are up now and look very nice. The tree is the right shape for once. Sometimes you buy them all wrapped in netting and when you get them home and the netting taken off the branches ping out in most perculier shapes! Last years was very bottom heavy and a bit lop-sided.

Hazel ventured to Tescos and said it was hell. No surprise there then! Our pantry is groaning with all manner of unhealthy commestibles.

Have been invited for mince pies and mulled wine at a neighbours tomorrow. Last year we stood in the garden whilst the other neighbour burnt some car tyres in his back yard! Ah the festive glow of Firestone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Xmas Concert

We went to the schools annual Christmas Concert last night which was o.k. especially the bit Archie was in with the Guitar Club band playing "Sunshine Of Your Love" ( see above ). He was meant to play in another section but hadn't rehearsed that bit due to an oversight so dropped out. It was far too long and the solo violins and keyboards were pretty hair-raising but some of the singing was good and thankfully they stuck with lively show tunes and carols and didn't attempt any opera this time.
At the interval they had mulled wine and mince-pies to queue up for - I've never seen Hazel out of her seat so fast! The mulled wine was obviously the non-alcoholic variety as it had no effect on me whatsoever! Granma and Audrey had tickets for this too but Audrey was still feeling a bit under the weather and Granma doesn't like to travel in the fog. It got quite thick in the evening too and you could barely see further than 100 metres.

Today Archie went on a school trip to the Regal ( the last ever I fear ) and saw again "Happy Feet" which he didn't mind as he enjoyed it the first time but given the choice would have gone to see something else. We went to the garden centre to look at the garden stoves. Hazel bought one for her Mom as it's her birthday tomorrow. She likes burning rubbish so an ideal present. We had to hide it in the garage at Granma's whilst she closed her eyes and promised not to peek.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More Shopping

Sorry PLG - here's your lovely box of flotsam you sent on our living room window sill. It has pride of place next to a box of old beachcombed ceramic dolls heads and marbles I found on the Thames and one of Hazel's many pencil sharpeners.
I did some more shopping today but didnt find much. The library sale had a few tatty CD's including an 80's triple pack with a DVD included. Also songs featured on adverts over the years in another double. These are all things for me and I should be getting presents for Hazel and Archie! I did buy a couple of things but can't tell you because they read this and it would spoil the surprise.
The friendly woman in the charity shop remarked on how blustery it was but not as cold as December normally is. I agreed, adding it was quite mild and I felt overdressed in my overcoat and scarf. This started her off about Christmas in general and how she'll be glad to see the back of it. I agreed and adopting my Victor Meldrew persona I suggested it was a racket and costs too much money. Oh yes, and all the cards you have to buy and the presents and the food! Cor, lummy what a couple of old grumpy codgers!
Not much in the post- just one card for Hazel and a Trailfinders catalogue. Yes, a cruise round the melting ice caps would be most illuminating I'm sure and would get us away from all this Xmas lark!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nearly ready for Crimble.

We've got t' trimmings up!
Originally uploaded by Roger B..
Roger B. over at Flickr posted this great pic of a 50's room from the York Museum. It reminds me so much of Xmas of my childhood even down to the pathetic paper chains we made ourselves and the board games on the brown art deco carpet! We actually have that fireplace in our back room and considered many times if we should rip it out but after seeing this I don't think we could!
Nearly all the cards have been posted. Just a few more presents to buy and the big Christmas shop ofcourse that nobody is looking forward too - stuck in Tesco's with trolley rage!
Just had one of my poems turned into a song at Songs For Poems. A great idea for a blog. Some of his other creations are very good too. Go and have a listen.

Audrey is looking better but staying in bed. We popped in yesterday to deliver some chocolate mousse she requested - ideal medication for absessed tooths she said!
We went into town to get some shopping and look round the library sale. I didn't get much. Hazel bought herself some gifts and gave them to me to wrap up for her. She likes surprises.

Archie took his electric geetar into school today for rehearsal - he's playing in the Christmas Concert next week with the guitar club band. Silent Night is definately one they won't be playing!

Monday, December 11, 2006

That's A Doozie!

Wilfred gets cleaned out
Originally uploaded by wastedpapiers.
That's what the doctor said when he saw Audrey's swollen face when Hazel toook her to the Infirmary last week. It was discovered she had a thematic tooth - whatever they are? Needles to say she was in quite bit of discomfort and could hardly speak - poor thing. When going through the surgery on her crutches and her face swollen to twice its size she mumbled to a small boy with a bloodied nose " Don't worry - the doctor will put you right" but it must have sounded like the idiotic mumblings of the Elephant Woman to the small child who recoiled in horror ,Hazel said.
Wilfred continues to entertain us with his acrobatics and cute posturings. Archie can feed him and stroke his back now without getting a nip.

No Sunday Boot sales this week or forseeable future so we have been making, folding, stamping cards and shoving them in envelopes. Audrey fainted again and was sent to bed. She went out to get the Sunday papers when told not too. Archie went to badminton lessons down at the High School. He says he's improving and almost beat the 10 year old girl with her arm in a sling.

Went to a musical evening at the school last week. Did I say? Archie had been volunteered to dress up as jolly cockney barrowboy in a short excerpt from "Oliver!" and did a dance with two girls. His face was a picture. Hazel tried to take a sneaky pic. but i don't think it came out?

Hazel learned she has an exhibition earmarked for the Kunstbanken Gallery in Hamar, Oslo in 2008 so she is thrilled with the thought of going to Norway again in the Winter rather than the Summer and equally horrified that she must find the work to show. Still , she has 12 months in which to put something together.

Hazel took her Mom to the SocialClub Xmas "do" the other night and amused that all the regulars seemed to be dressed as overstuffed pixies or fairies in pink tu-tu's!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Archie in local paper

Here's the newspaper clipping I mentioned. The photo of Archie doesnt look too bad and not atall like the one he described.
The article goes onto say how he's got 4 films into Exposures this year and he's been animating since he was 7. Surely not? I suppose it must be as he made some plasticine animations long before he got into Flash . How time flies!
I had to drop a DVD of a couple of his films off to the Guardian office today for possible inclusion on their website. I'll let you know if this happens.
I had to go for my two year eye exam and thankfully they haven't got any worse. I bought some bread and a couple of stocking fillery things. Walked home in the drizzle.
A nice Franco & OK Jazz CD in the post so will go and listen to that now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Manchester visit

Manchester Town Hall
Originally uploaded by wastedpapiers.
Just back from 24 hours in Manchester. We stayed overnight in a hotel so treated ourselves to a wander round the Continental Market by the Town Hall where a huge inflatable? Santa who was peering over the top. It was peeing down with rain yesterday so wasn't as much fun or festive as it usually is. We bought some dutch pancakes with cream and chocolate sauce and scoffed them under the dripping eaves of a nearby beer German tent. We tried to get into a film but they had all started so bought tickets for a 9p.m. showing of Tin Burton's "Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D" We went for a hurried but tasty pizza in a nearby basement. We were feeling very tired by the time the film came on and I could quite happily have nodded off in the cinema but pumpkins and snowballs kept flying out of the screen at me and kept me awake! The big 3-D specs you had to wear made everyone look like Brains out of Thunderbirds. The film made your eyes ache. I can't see it catching on. Still it was something we couldnt see anywhere else!
Then we trudged back to the hotel in the rain and watched TV and had a nightcap.
The real reason for the trip was Archie's 4 films at the Underexposed Film Festival at the Cornerhouse the next day at 11a.m. which we attended after a hearty breakfast in the college refectory. The films were generally very good and Archie's got a good reception and some laughs Sadly the end of the DVD they had all the films on was corrupted and Archies last film and his best "Gotto Wee" coudn't be shown. The staff at the ~Cornerhouse apolygiused profusely and let Archie pick any book in the bookshop he liked as compensation. So he now has a very fine and heavy copy of The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams.
It was sunnier today for a while so did some more shopping. Archie wanted to drool over the gadgets at the Apple shop again. Hazel had a headache so we didn't wander long and got the train back to Northwich just in time to meet all his mates coming out of school which was bad timing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Busy Sunday.

Archie on BBC 2
Originally uploaded by wastedpapiers.
Well, first we got up early for the boot sale at Wittington Youth Club which was pretty pitiful but at least the rain had stopped. Mots of the stalls were inside the "hut". Hazel bought a Muppets In Space video for Archie and thats about it I think.
Then home for breakfast. Then we watched Archie's animation again on the recording I had made. Some other nice animations especially a lovely pirate one made out of plasticine by a primary school with all the appropriate piratey noises - Jim lad! Ahaaarrgh! Shivers me timbers! etc. ( made by speeded up teacher? ) Archies stood up well amongst all the graduate stuff.
In the afternoon we went to see " Happy Feet" at the Regal. Which was great, amazing to look at if a little overlong like most films tend to be these days. We stayed to watch the credits roll at the end and and they went on for ages with huge lists of people like "Lighting Directors" ( about a dozen!) Lighting assistants ( hundreds!) etc. What amazing teamwork.
Then home through the towns twinkling Christmas lights to fold some more crimble cards and stuff them into envelopes. I missed the "Life Before Vinyl" prog. on Resonance radio again. Nevermind.
Oh, yes I forgot to mention that Archie went to play badminton in the morning too after we got home. A bit too windy and wet for a walk in the afternoon and we had piles of stale bread too!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Archie's animation on BBC 2

Just a quick blog to let you know that Archie's animation ( not sure which one ) is on the Blast late strand where the Open Universtity goes featuring young filmmakers. He just this minute got a phone call telling him about it so couldn't tell you any sooner. Set your videos. If it's not tonight it might be tomorrow as I see there is another Blast at 2a.m. until 6.a.m. After looking at the website I can see it says Animation is the fourth hour of Sunday morning slot.