Saturday, December 29, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Won't be sorry to see the back of 2007 as it was pretty ropey , especially in March when I was ill for a while. Some highlights though were our 10 days in Llandudno and seeing Ken Dodd, seeing all the family in the summer in Basildon and at my neice's wedding and seeing Archie's latest animation at the Cornerhouse on the big screen. I'm sure there were other things too. Oh yes, and meeting up with my old chum Trevor in Stafford after a gap of eight years and visiting our old friends Roger and Jilly in Sussex before they moved to London.

This week we have been to the sales but didnt find many bargains. Northwich isn't renowned for its shopping experiance!
Archie has gone over to his old friend Jacks today to clump about his allotment in big muddy boots. Hazel has been in a cleaning and tidying frenzy as we have visitors tomorrow - some friends of hers from Walsall and Cardiff coming down for the day for dinner and a chin wag.

I have been playing with my new toy - a USB turntable which sits ontop of the PC and you can turn your vinyl into MP3's and put therm on your blog - or MY blog. It's great and a lot easier than the CD recorder used to be though can't hide away in my room like I used to.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Good Elf To You All!

Merry Crumble and Good Elf to all my readers! All three of you! I should have a photo here but I'm busy stuffing the nut roast and boiling some sprouts to a mushy pulp.
Maybe add one later.

Tony and Penny gave Granma some novelty crackers to pull today. They had numbered whistles inside and here we are trying to play "Jingle Bells".

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Slippy Ducks

Zombie Crimbo!

Had a fun evening last night at the premiere of the zombie film, "Dead City",we were in as extras last year at a small bijou cinema near us in Knutsford. We parked next to a graveyard too which seemed appropriate! We thought of dressing up for the occasion in some zombie make-up but luckliy we didn't as nobody else had come as a zombie so we would have stuck out like sore thumbs!
It was a charity ticket event so lots of people in bow ties and suits and party frocks. We shuffled in and sat at the back with a free orange juice and poster. The film was great for a first effort by a 22 year old and fun to see us staggering around the old Regal cinema - a good shot of me looking rather like Quasimodo!
A few "zombies" lurching about afterwards at midnight as we returned to the car , mostly drunks from nearby pubs! Luckliy none of them wanted to eat our brains. We drove home through the icey mist shrouded Cheshire lanes looking out for odd figures lumbering and groaning into the headlights.

This morning we braved the cold to venture into town for some ear infection drops from Boots as Archie has been complaining of a sore ear these last two days. The lady in the chemist gave us a phone number to ring as they didn't like to advise us. Got some extra bread and Sunday Times. Then to Shackerly with a whole fresh loaf to feed the skidding ducks and ice-breaking swans on the lake which was mostly solid eccept for bits of a channel round the edge where frantic water fowl had broken it up into slivers. The baby swans took the lead being chivvied by the parents who pecked their offspring from behind in a most nasty manner. Some amusement when the ducks slid about after the bread chunks. Ah the simple things of life!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Xmas is Upon Us!

Archies animation for Xmas is HERE. You must be warned though it's not for people of a nervous disposition! I added a soundtrack to try and cover Santa's groans.

Teenager's eh?
Meanwhile the cards have all been sent out and the presents wrapped and the cake stirred and mince pies eaten and another load made and they were eaten too! Its not even Boxing Day yet and I feel bloated and unhealthy. Goodness knows what I'll feel like next week!
We popped into town this morning to get a few "bits" and I got my Christmas haircut. I look rather chilly round the old lug'oles. My neck feels itchy with all the clippings. Then to LIDL to get some de-icer for the car but they didnt sell it but managed to fill a trolley with all manner of junk- biscuits, those german cakes, beer, wine, custard, pickles and not forgetting the baby cheeses.

Archie is just home from school complaing about his teachers. The one that made them watch half of "TROY" on video yesterday and then didnt play the rest today but made them watch "Friends". Very educational!
The house across the street where Mr & Mrs Mather used to live is being gutted by a builder. Sounds like he will do a good job and restore the old windows and improve the look of the place which was pretty awful. Its been empty for years so rising damp and leaky roof need to be seen to. He's just filled one skip full of MDF and crappy kitcen cabinets etc. and another has just arrived to be filled.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Ducks!

Hazel wondered why I hadn't uploaded some photos of the ducks and the walk the other day so here they are. Actually this is more sticks than ducks! Choosing pooh sticks for the bridge a bit further along. Hazel is wearing her new coat made from an old duvet. She says it's incredibly warm- just right for those freezing train journeys to Manchester.

There was one very tall and lanky duck which made us laugh but it seems to have wandered out of the frame. There was also a huge baby swan which seemed to be eating everything he could get his beak into- dogs, squirrels, small children etc.

Walked to town and back yesterday to try and post some cards and packets but the queue was coming out of the PO into the street so I gave up. Will try again this morning. It was the last day of posting abroad I think so some people might get there cards a bit late. Sorry!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Duck Feeding

Here's the wonderfully anarchic Killer Rabbits that sadly broke up about ten years ago. We never actually got round to seeing them live which is a constant regret in my life. I think about it every day - if only I'd gone to see them when I had the chance!
Luckily we have this snippet of their act that Roger Rabbit just sent me.

Went for a walk yesterday as it was quite nice day for the most part. Went to Shackerly to fling our unwanted dry crusts at passing mallards. The seagulls usually grabbed it, followed by a goose and then a swan and then a coot, until eventually a weird daisy chain of feathered creatures flew off into the distance. I made that bit up.
It was good to get out into the fresh air. We were going stir crazy inside- trapped for two days by the constant rain and wind.
Trapped wind can be very nasty.

We finished off enveloping most of our crimble cards so will have spend a fortune of stamps today to post them all. We made all the cards- maybe we should have made all the stamps too and saved some money!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Turner Prize

A day trip to Liverpool to see the Turner Prize exhibition with Hazel and some students from the 1st year. They went by train from Manchester but we made our own way there via Hartford Station. It only takes 35 minutes. It wasa horrible blustery wet day though and thankfully the journey there was pretty good despite the odd shower. Hazel bought herself a coat/duvet from Gap. It was for Norway really but it was so cold she decided to wear it straight away! I wish I'd bought one too as I was freezing and my old coat smelled like a wet dog by the end of the day!

The Tate was pretty empty- not surprising with the cost a cuppa and a not chocolate being the better part of a fiver! Ate a our sneaky sandwiches under the table like felons. The Turner Prize gallery was incredibly dull and cheerless - rather like walking into a prison. I hated it all and all the students , bless 'em, hated it too.
It was a releif to walk downstairs and look at some more interesting stuff in the other galleries. Even the Bridget Riley's looked more lively after the stuff upstairs.

Came out to be blown back into the Maritime Museum by horizontal hail and biting wind. My umbrella turned into an origami vampire bat and nearly flew away. My face felt like it had been slapped with a frozen haddock.

Good to get home after running the gauntlet. Dodging the Liverpool traffic was bad enough. The place still resembles a giant building site and every other person we passed had a Wimpy jacket and hard hat on!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Our annual trip to Manchester's Exposures Student Film Fest. yesterday where Archie had one of his animations shown on the big screen which is always a thrill. Got the train into Manchester at some unearthly hour when it's still dark. Sun just coming up as we got into Piccadilly station. Had a naughty breakfast in the college canteen. Archie piled a big mound of beans onto his toast and added scrambled egg and two fried potato wedges! He's a growing lad.
The film showing lasted about an hour which is just long enough. Interesting mixture as always with plasticine animation from schools and documentaries from older students etc. Archies stood up well and got a good response and they all laughed in the right places. He was a bit nervous but enjoyed the spotlight I think. Afterwards went for dutch pancakes and chocolate sauce in the open air Xmas market. Shame about the drizzle!

Hazel went back to work but we looked round the shop s for a bit. Archie was keen to drool over the Mac's in the Mac Shop in the Arndale Centre. Had fun looking at Wilf on the iPhones and leaving his twitchy nose on the desktop for others to find. Asked about microphones - chap was very helpful and even looked on the web for us to see if they had cheaper ones elswhere. Got 1-30 pm train back intime for tea and toasted bagel.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

WEakly Doings

Another week zipped by. Just back from the Lostock church Xmas fair. Got a bag of junk including some old videos for 20p- a complete Flash Gordon serial from the 40's with Ming The Merciless! Hazel wasn't impressed. Also a DVD of Three Amigos with Steve Martin etc. Also 20p- silly prices. A battered paperback I bought of Black Dwarf scripts was 30p ? Barmy!
Archie won some awful gifts on the tombola stall which I suspect Auntie Audrey will find in her stocking this year. I had a go and got 5 blank corks and one had 47 written on it- this turned out to be a pair of gloves made from mouses ear'oles ( as my old Dad used to say ).
Hazel won the "higher/lower" card game with some other chap standing in for Bruce Forsyth who had a prior engagement.
Granma found some tawdry postcards and Audrey bought a big cream cake which we ate later with some tea. Very nice it was too. Freshly made this morning.

Earlier in the day I went into town for a walk but didnt find much - some stocking fillers I can't mention here and collected the photos from Boots for our Xmas card. 7p each which is pretty good. Cropped rather badly though which was annoying. My fault for not measuring the sides properly.
I folded and cut 60 cards on the dining table. Padded ofcourse with some card. Glued on all the photos. 40 more for when we get more card.

Watching the recording of "Later" earlier with The Who - who were o.k. and Reverend and The Makers who were good and a great banjo player called Bella Fleck? Nice to see Robert Wyatt on there too being interviewed.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fickle Flickerings

Another week nearly gone and not much to show for it. I rejoined Flickr again which was probably a bad move. Nice to share some new photos though and a few old ones from the Leigh Jones Archive. I'll try and get a Flickr widget or whatever they are called at the side here to click on.
Went for walk into town this morning. Very frosty but lovely bright sunshine. I didn't find much just a video of some strange puppet animation with Prof. Stanley Unwin as a vicar who fights evil secret agents and spies. Sadly he doesn't do any of his famous gobbledegook talk - not in the bit I watched anyway. I can see why it never caught on! It's by Gerry Anderson who made Thunderbirds, Super Car, Space 1999 etc.
Made a chilly bean pot crossed with a curry tonight. Also we had chinese vegetable spring rolls that Hazel bought at Morrisons yesterday. It was a weird mixture but seemed to work.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Wilf!

Its' Wilfred's birthday today, or the anniversary of the day Hazel and Archie bought him from the pet shop - a year ago. He celebrated by dragging a seedy cake topped with a slice of banana down to the slope to his little house.
Otherwise it's been a dreadfully dull, wet and miserable day.

Yesterday was better and we went for a walk to Marbury and fed the ducks. A new bird feeding station had been built nearer to the hide so we got a better view of the robins, tits and finches flying down for the bits of crust Hazel put on the platform.
Afterwards went to LIDL to get some groceries whilst Archie went in the pet supermarket to get hamster treats. Fascinating eh?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Behind With My Doings

This week seems to have whistled by and here it is- Friday again.
Winter really has started this week with very cold frosty starts to the day - mostly in the mornings. Hazel had to scrape ice of the windscreen yesterday but today wasn't so bad. Too cold to point and my efforts to smash a hole in the concrete for a new gate post came to nothing. Really we need a big sledge hammer or a pneumatic drill - throwing large rocks at it was pretty hopeless!
Today I did some shopping in town- found a great Popeye DVD with some really old Fleischer Brothers films. I think we have some of them already but a couple I dont remember. Also Lee & Herrings "Fist Of Fun-Live" on video which isnt as funny as I remember them being in the mid 90's. Alright for 20p though. Got a pile of books and CD's from the Salvation Army shop which was having a sale. From the market book stall got a great old 60's "HOMES" magazine with lots of collage material in - ugly rooms to fill with strange people and perculier objects. I have a head start here!

Discovered , after a few phone calls, that DHL will charge 94 quid to send a parcel to Norway ( door to door ) but only 31 quid at the post office, which I thought was expensive anyway!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Seasonal Artistic Disorder

Hazel took this photo of the woodpecker on our nut feeder. It's a bit blurry but these digital cameras are useless at distance shots through slightly grubby windows. We've not seen him since. The bouncy squirrel came again yesterday and was doing all kinds of acrobatics on the bird feeders- hanging by his tail etc. He managed to chew through a bag of peanuts and they all cascaded to the ground and all the birds swooped down and carried them off! Doh!

Good news about the zombie film we were extras in - will be shown over Christmas at local tiny cinema in Knutsford - a charity premiere no less. I expected it to go straight to video so a chance to see it on the big screen will be a treat ( I think?)

Went for a walk yesterday before lunch to get rid of a bag of mouldy bread rolls at Shackerley. The ducks,geese,swans, and sea gulls were apparently starving and quite a feeding frenzy went on 'til the whole lot went in about 5 minutes - feathers flying everywhere! I think some of those ducks are zombies as they have a funny look in their beady little eyes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Charity Market

It was the annual charity market in town today. I went with Hazel despite the drizzle. It was a pretty dissapointing affair with mostly ticketed prize stalls ( what the devil are they called? ) and old tat decanted from the charity shops. I bought a CD of music from South Africa. Not sure what Hazel bought. She had her eye on a folding cake stand but I sneered at it -later it had a price label of twenty quid which seemed a bit steep. Hazel went off to get a smaller folder for her photos to send to Norway and I did the rounds of the other shops- Help The Aged, Oxfam, Age Concern, Red Cross, Scope etc..

Hazel took loads of photos of the fireworks in Verdin Park- this is one of the best.
I painted the rest of the bathroom as it was drizzling again when we got home. Will have to do the "pointing" tomorrow if the weather is better.
We are back onto "Grim Fandango" on the PC. Archie is further on than me. I got stuck half way through last time I played it.
Hazel is in her workshop this afternoon - bashing some bits of metal into shape.
Archie said his day at school was dull but not as horrible as he feared. He's off on a school trip to Liverpool tomorrow so hopefully that will be a bit more fun. He's really down on school at the moment. I felt the same when I was his age- couldnt wait to leave.
Time to go and make a fish pie.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

24th Anniversary

I can't quite believe it's nearly a quarter of a century that Hazel and I have been together, well since our first date at a bonfire party in Alsager. It was a couple of years later that we actually moved in together and that as we say is history. Archie thinks it was ancient history ofcourse- all those new romantics and the miner's strike - when they still had a thing called conductors on the buses! Those were the days!

Hazel gave me a lovely "string collector" badge/brooch thingy to put on my lapel made by her in her workshop. Its brass or copper or nickel- not sure which and stamped with the words "Bear Feeding" which is what we soppily called our first date for some reason - long forgotten in the mists of time. Hazel will no doubt remind me - silly old duffer that I am!
Also a box of chocs. I made Hazel this card. She said "Are you going to shoot me?" No reason for the target on the head - just a nod towards one of my heroes Joseph Cornell. I also gave Hazel a weird metal gadget I found on the market- a pipe cleaner in its own tubular metal scabbard.
Tony Eve took this nice family portait at my 60th. although I do look rather mad!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bonfires and Sparklers

It's that time of year again when we re-enact the Somme and the long nights are filled with the barrage of cannon fire and the smell of cordite! Last night it was the Verdin Park spectacular with a big crown gathered in the bonfire light to see 5, 000 quids worth go up in smoke in 15 minutes. It was worth every penny for the guy mister. The addition of some half dozen tiny hot air ballons made it even more charming as they followed each other up into the starry sky and lot lost amid the flashing lights of planes landing or leaving Manchester airport.
We stood a bit further over this year as not to be deafended by the roundabouts and swingthingy fairground ride blasting out drum and bass.

Today we went to Sainsburys to get some stew making stuff and nice poppy seed bread to dip into it. We usually go to tescos or Aldi but Sainsburys made a change of sorts and was very busy. Thud bang whizz fizz! and that was just the items falling off the trolley into the back of the car.

Granma and Audrey came round for another bonfire and smaller display of fireworks at 5 today. they boguht most of them and the bread pudding. I made the stew and the sausage rolls ( from a packet actually ). It was pretty nippy but the rain held off long enough for the roman candles and raindrop clusters etc. were let off and sparklers waved and the guy that archie made got burnt. Poor old Guy. he didn't last 5 minutes. Archie melted a plastic soldier and then we went in for food and hot drinks.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


There was a woodpecker on the birdfeeders hanging in the garden this morning. Hazel could hardly get the words out as she gazed transfixed out of the window whilst typing something- "It's a a a thingy!" I didnt even know they ate peanuts? Must be a shortage of weevils to peck for- or whatever insects they eat. We see them and mostly hear them in the woods when out walking but never dangling from the garden shed! I tried to take a photo but alas they all turned out blurry in my haste and no tele-photo lens. hazel took some too but she's not uplaoded them yet. Hope she had better luck. I shot out the bathroom window too but they were even worse - atmostpheric glimpses of leaves and twigs.

This is another of Archie's collages from the lovely "Architecture" book he is making for school.
Yesterday I wandered into town for a walk and got a few things including two videos- Clerks and Come back Jimmy Dean by Robert Altman. Hazel borrowed an interesting DVD from a fellow tutor called "Tin Tin Et Moi" by a Danish director about his meeting and taped interview in the 70's with Herge- Tin Tin's inventor/illustrator. The whole film has been constructed around the audio tape with animations, illustrations, photos and interviews with people close to Herge a bit like the film about Ray Johnson.

The Timberwise chap came and looked at the damp patch and said it probably was something to do with the gate post outside that was leeching rain water in- along with poor pointing. He promised to get the skirting board and behind it replaced if we did the poiting and gate post. Not sure if we get our money back for the survey though as it seems to be only partly their fault under the terms of the guarentee. Fingers crossed. We might try and do the jobs ourselves as pointing seems easy enough if rather tedious.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

A bit late but still a couple of hours to go. Taken the glowing pumpkin out of the window now the succession of tiny imps and mini Harry Potter's etc. have dwindled. A few fireworks going off nearby. A spooky family moving in a couple of doors down - they picked a good night for it! One cannot usually go by outward appearances but they looked very dodgy to me. Are those scary masks or their real faces?? Gulp!
Watched a suitably skin crawling film "Jeepers Creepers" which probably wasn't a good idea. It was pretty silly for the most part and what one might expect.
A few sweets and toffees left over in the basket we can nibble at our leisure.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Archie Tecture

Archie is making a great collaged book for the art class in school - on the theme of Architecture. Here's the cover . Its got lots more inside including a great pop-up page with a house. Will try and copy some more sometime.
Went into town today as it was sunny and quite mild. Got a few things for crimble and a new colour ink cartridge that we seem to get through in no time. Partners do there own brand I've discovered which are 3 or 4 quid cheaper than Hewlett P. and last a lot longer ( it says on the packet ). Let's hope so. Found Archie some old "OINK" comics from the 80's - they look a bit like VIZ but not as rude and have a piggy theme running through them. Shame they didn't last very long. Also some cheap videos including Alan Partridge and the Hannible Lectar pre-qual "Red Dragon".
I made a collage for the latest Scrapiteria theme of The Fall this afternoon. I was tempted to make one with Mark E. Smith in it but had second thoughts!
Archie carved a pumpkin head the other day and last night used some of the leftovers to make a pumpkin and vegetable soup which was rather tasty even if I say so myself. We had some Austrian part baked pretzels with it which were delicious- piping hot from the oven. Yum!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

John Hegley Lecture

A nice day on Friday when we all got up at 5-30am to go to Manchester on the train to see and hear John Hegley do a "lecture" at the MMU. It was still dark when the train got to Piccadilly so very strange to be walking through the empty gloomy streets of Manchester to the University buildings at All Saints. Having been a student in Manchester in the 60's it was even odder for me as these weird feelings of deja vu kept lurching into my addled brain.
Time for a big breakfast in the staff canteen before John arrived at 10. He got Hazel running around for him doing scans and photo-copies of sheets he wanted to send to Time Out and some for the students. One was a drawing of a long beaky sea bird that I've forgotten the name of - gherkin? gravy boat? glue gun? no I can't remember. Hazel will remind me no doubt but she's asleep at the moment. Oh I remember now - it was a guillemot!

The photo above is one I took back in 2002 when John came for tea. I neglected to take any at the lecture but Hazel did but they are still in her camera.
The lecture was great ofcourse- John sang some songs accompanying himself on the mandolin and read a couple of poems- two new ones for a project about biology- how to make biology more accessible for kids. Songs about the guillemot and osmosis. Also some old favourites like Omoeba ( we had to draw an Omeoba ) and design a CD sleeve for the first release whilst he went off to get a coffee.

Amazing how much you can cram into an hour. John projected all the drawings of guillemots with hats , rockets and additions onto the screen and had amusing comments to say about them all. The students seemed to like it, some saying it was the best lecture they'd ever been to.

After a short signing session we went off for lunch in the staff canteen. John had battered cod and boiled potatoes and mushy peas. We had mushroom soup and cheesy bread. Had a nice chat and mulled over the drawings again then John had to rush off to the station to get a train to Edinburgh.

Hazel went back to college to do some work and Archie and I got the bus to Piccadilly and then walked to the Arndale Centre which was very crowded with shoppers to the Apple store. Archie drooled over the latest laptops and other gadgets for a while and then we got the train home. Phew! Quite an exhausting day. I can see why Hazel is so knackered by the time she gets home!

John, Michael and Archie in All Saints yesterday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sorting Office

Went to the sorting office this morning to help Treena with the mail art exhibition. I took down the Handy Postcards and put up the feet shaped postcards I"ve been sent for the "Let Your Postcards Do The Walking" project. The deadline was next March but a month has gone by without any new participation so seems a good time to bring the proejct to a close and show all the cards I have accumulated. It took ages juts to take down the hands and peel off the Blu-Tak from them . Treena put up the Post Office project she's been doing for the last few months. Lots of people came in to collect parcels and make enquiries about change of address issues etc. so it was nice to see that the work gets seen if only for a few moments.

Home again to see if Archie was o.k. He'd made himself a toasted cheese sandwich so he wasn't hungry thankfully.
Hazel e-mailed to say she'd been to a lecture at the Cornerhouse. It sounded extremely tedious and dull. The students thought so too apprently. Her cough is getting better and we managed to get some sleep last night which made a nice change!
I tried to encourage Archie out to get some fresh air but he was on that wretched Rune-Scape all afternoon with short interlude watching "Who's Line Is It Anyway" on Dave.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another Week Gone!

The days just seem to whizz by and the Autumn really has arrived in all it's nippy glory. I can't remember most of it but we had the gas man in to fix the hot water ( diaphram broke in boiler ) . Also a plumber came to give price for leaky pipes in bathroom. Said he might be back later in the week but no sign of him. What do we do that frightens them off?
Hazel has a nasty cold and nagging cough which has disturbed her sleep. Archie had tummy trouble and had Friday off school. He's better now. He's had his haircut and suddenly looks very long and lanky. I think he must be having a growing spurt.
Today there was only one boot sale at LA Fitness and it was pretty busy considering how blinkin' cold it was. Only found a Ken Dodd video and PC game which doesn't work for some reason. Hazel bought some pitch pipes and glass coasters with signs on them which read "Toxic", "Inflammable" and "Corrosive".
Archie stayed in bed to do some more growing no doubt.

This afternoon we went for a walk around Marbury- down to the lake to feed the ducks, swans and geese. Also saw some squirrels doing gymnastics in a tree by the bird hide and a rare white squirrel in the car park letting down tyres or whatever mischief they get up to.
Home for nut roast and all the trimmings. Hazel and Archie had corn-on-the-cob for starters but I can't stand the stuff- it gets stuck in between my teeth and really annoys me.
Have connected the Freeview set top box to the small TV in the back room now so can watch all manner of junk whilst browsing the blogs and suchlike. Discovered a new channel called Dave ( I know what a stupid name! Unless you are called Dave ofcourse!) which shows laddish shows from the archives like Top Gear, Who's Line IS It Anyway ( quite funny still ) and Red Dwarf etc.

Photos show the strange black pellets left in Marbury. Archie and Hazel tried to push one but it didn't go far. No more conkers - we looked.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Autumn Walk

Spotted this fly on a mushroom (or is it a toadstool?) yesterday on our Shakerley walk. He was very kind as to pose for a few moments whilst the clever camera got him in focus.
The photo of us all sitting on a bench was a bit fuzzy so havent used that. Taking digital photos is a bit hit or miss with me- at least you don't waste pounds on film and printing costs!
Below is Archie's pointing nose which is useful for pointing out ducks and wrens behind logs etc.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Got Blisters On Me Fingers!

This is Archie and new guitar strap he got for his birthday. I took another of him blowing out the candles on his cake but thet was a bit too blurry.
Just back from a walk around Shakerley Mere and feeding the bird life with our stale crusts. No boots today. Shame as it was quite a nice day. Passed the pub nearby that is in the top ten for Gastro pubs - as featured in the Sunday Times. We havent tried it though imagine it's expensive and they have a big waiting list. Give me a chunk of crusty bread and lump of cheese and pickle any day!

Sat waiting for the mouse to appear but no sign. A motley collection of short arsed dogs went by with their motley owners.
Archie saw a kingfisher but we missed it - a blue flash and it was gone.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On The Fiddle

Roger pointed me towards this great clip of Wilbur Hall from a Spike Jones TV Show in the 50's. Amazing stuff. I think Little Tich used to have a pair of those long boots also.
It's Saturday once again- the week has whizzed by. Have mostly been blogging and collaging. Waiting round for the postman who sometimes arrives and sometimes doesn't due to 24 and 48 hour strikes. Thankfully its all been settled now.
Maybe go and see Rat-a-tooey today as part of Archie's birthday treat. It's on in Knutsford.
I walked into town the other day and bought Archie "Ice Age 2" on DVD as a bonus present. It has directors commentary and bonus short film and other extras which is always interesting. Maybe our Staurday night "family film" if there isnt much on the box and there usually isn't these days! My leg has gone to sleep so better get up and walk around and get some milk and papers from local shop.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Archie's Birthday

Quite a busy day today what with it being Archie's 15th birdbath and all. He opened some cards before he left for school but saved most of his presents until later.
We had to pop down town this morning to get his cake and candles etc. Took another big bag of vids. to the charity shop. They have a lot of trouble shifting them so probably not to keen to take them these days but they put on a brave face and accepted them saying "Thankyou, lots of people are getting rid of their videos- they are copying them onto DVD now you know." Really?
Treena came round for lunch and brought back some unsold books and money from the book fair last week. We had a nice chat and Hazel showed her the URBIS installation on Second Life she and some 1st years are doing at the moment.

Later, Granma and Auntie Audrey came round for tea and cake and to sing "Happy Birthday" and fire poppers and search internet for knitting patterns,

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Der Blues

We went out to see and hear the Daniel Smith Blues Band the other evening at Archie's school. Sadly only a handful of people turned up to enjoy an evening of boogie woogie and bluesy tunes. It was part of the Cheshire Touring Network who organise events and concerts in village halls etc. A few years back we saw The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain doing a similar concert at Plumley before they got big and appeared on Jools Holland's show and the Barbican etc. Can we expect to see Dan and his chums on this years Hootenanny? You never know. They are certainly good enough .
We bought a CD and Daniel signed it with a squiggly flourish that looked like a three year old had done it!

Archie has sorted through his Beano and Dandy swaps and taken a huge bag to the charity shop I could hardly lift. Hazel managed to drag it down the stairs and into the car. I've done my back in too many times to attempt it!
Now he's cleared his Lego city away you can actually walk into his room without tripping over things.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Virus Alert!

Amusing new video/animation from Weird Al Yankovich. Well, it makes me laugh anyway.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Throbbing Corn Stooks

Walked to town this morning despite dull achey corn on little toe. Thankfully the back-ache has eased off so no need to go back to the doc's for fizzio-therapy. I bought some cornplaters in Drug-U-Like which apparently "cushions the corn and softens the skin allowing gentle corn removal". I can't wait.
Also bought a DVD of old Betty Boop cartoons for 49p in a charity shop. Betty in Age Concern said there was no boot sales this Sunday as far as she knew. Hazel will be glad to hear it as she is working every day this week and will enjoy a lie-in for a change.

Nice mail today from Big Al Davies- a CD of songs sung by people beginning with the letter "B" - Blind Faith, Kenny Ball, Syd Barrett, Mel Blanc etc. a nice eclectic mix that sounds just right for October. Also some lovely Flickr mini-moo cards and stickers!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Wonderful World Of Culler

This should be a green, and this should be violet. How the world looks different in glorious colour!
It does take time though- all that extra html code you have to employ to make the type sing.
That last green looks a bit like the first though and it was a completely different code!
I think this clour lark is going to take some time in sorting out.
Salmon should be a nice one I think?
This will hardly be readable I would think?
Yes, I thought as much!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Boot Sale Peeps

Several boots on today at Weaverham, Hartford , Lostock and Verdin Park but I think the Verdin Park one got cancelled as we overheard someone saying the gates were locked and so they came to Weaverham instead- indeed a big backlog of cars and vans outside when we arrived. We were a bit earlier than usual. Archie had stayed in bed.
Weaverham was the biggest and best with stalls spilling onto the playing field and in the playgrounds and car parks. I got a great little Sony mini-disc player with some discs for a few quid which works perfectly - so made up for the rubbishy one I bought a few weeks ago. Hoping to get a microphone for it so I can make some "field recordings".
Also got a couple of game and a Tin Tin book in french for Archie, hoping it would help his french study.
Hazel bought a few odds and ends including garden tape and flower arranging spikes, and odd metal things we can only guess the use of! Also some plants and bananas.
At the next one at Hartford which was only a third as big- I didnt find that much but Hazel bought a few more metal doo-dads and an old Super 8 projector ( Bell & Howell ) which weighs a ton for such a small thing!

More Book Fair Picks

This is the "pop-up" workshop we attended. Archie admiring the house he built. We all made one very similar. The chap who's name I forget has written many books and does workshops in the U.S.A. and all over. He made it seem very easy with instructions even a child could follow- though a mother and her three kids had to leave as the baby was screeching so much it was becoming a bit irksome- I could see the poor pop-up man getting very annoyed but managing to keep his cool .

Archie in his element- strumming on a banjo in Johnny Roadhouse's music emporium.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

2nd Manchester Artist's Book Fair

Hazel managed to set the alarm to go off for 6a.m. instead of 7-30 so up pretty early to get to Manchester for the Artists Book Fair at the Holden Gallery in MMU. We went by train and got there about 9-45 in time to have some breakfast at the health food cafe place in All Saints. It took ages to arrive though despite us being the only customers. So we missed the lecture by Maria Fusco which was very good apparently. She is about to start running a book course at Goldsmiths.

Treena was kind enough to let me put some of my tawdry books on her table of wonders which she was running with her friend, seen here trying to escape the camera's impertinent gaze. It was quite slow at first but later got quite busy and bustling. Not much room to move in fact and quite hot! It was good to see a few people we know including Tony, Penny and Nick who was looking after the MMU table. Hazel was glad to see that some of her new 1st years had taken the trouble to come along.

Nice to meet also Francis Van Mael (Red Fox Press) who had come over from Ireland for the fair and had a load of nice books he had bound himself and some names I recognised from the old mail art days. Later we swapped a few books which was nice and I promised to send him something for his latest project on the theme of "Salt & Pepper".

For lunch we opted for a sandwich in the office and then to library to see more artists books and a wonderful Rowland Emmett cardbourd model of the train he made for the Festival of Britain in 1952. The Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Railway.
Hazel took a photo of it having filled in the necessery forms in triplicate and submitted finger prints and DNA etc.
Archie insisted on going to the music shop "Johnny Roadhouse" and looked at the guitars and tried a couple of banjos. A helpful assistant showed him how to tune and told him the differences between the various sorts - open back and solid etc
He might have one for Christmas. More of that tomorrow..I must mention the great pop-up workshop too which was held in a nearby room. We all made a little house with a porch and conservtory and trees and a fence and the whole thing could be flattened and then springs up when you open the pages! Gosh! Photo tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Caged Birds Cannot Fly

Amusing animation Hazel found whilst browsing a particular website that has asked Achie to submit some work.
Found a peice of gravel in my muesli this morning. Will be looking for more tomorrow and maybe make a nice gravel path in the garden with my finds.

Frank Randle and Chums

I found this great bit of old film whilst researching Frank Randle for my Boot Sale Sounds blog. Have just uploaded some old radio shows, profiles of great british comedians.
The newspaper article about Archie was a bit mixed up. Archie thought they were asking about the Underexposed film fest. but they had a press release from the Co-op Young Film makers fest. so the description of "Gotto Wee" being about a hamster with a viking helmet makes no sense atall! Newspapers eh? Never believe anything you read in them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It's that time of year again when Archie gets his animations into various Film Fests. This time it's the Co-Op Young persons film festival in Bradford where one of his animations is showing in October and in December it'll be the forth year for the Underexposed Student Film Festival at the Cornerhouse in Manchester.
The local paper phoned him up yesterday and did an interview and a photographer arrived a couple of hours later to take as photo for todays "going to press".

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boot Sales Galore!

Well, two actually, which was fun though we didn't find many bargains. The First was at the Black Greyhound pub car park next to the Bengal Dynasty curry house. I found a few Steptoe and Son videos for 25p each but when I got them home realised I had most of them anyway! Hazel bought a small light bulb on it's original card. Archie didn't get anything and moaned all the time about how cold it was and how he wished he'd stayed in bed - we wish he had too!
The other boot sale was in Anderton and was larger and had a community hut to go in where tea was served and more stalls were set up. I found a video of Ricky Gervais's second live show "Politics" which should be amusing. Hazel found two metal "stitch holders" which look like large elongated safety pins. Archie stayed in the car reading the Sunday Times.
After lunch we watched abit of "This Is Elvis" that recorded from BBC2 last night and then went out for a walk before we turned into potatoes! Went to Marbury with our stale bread to feed the ducks and geese. It was quite crowded with lots of families for the sponsered walk for the forgetful old people society ( I can't spell outzymers ? ) . It sated to drizzle so we didnt stay long. Bumped into our old neighbours who were walking for charity.
Here we are in the bird hide but no birds to be seen - birdfeeders and tables empty still with no seeds or nuts. Its best in the winter when they flock to the birdfeeders and you can see all kinds of birds there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Just made this collage for mail art project in Bexleyheath of all places. This morning we had to wait in for the PC chap to come again and fix the PC which he mended (new motherboard and processor ) but we had trouble loading games and there was no sound. So luckily after an hour and half of muttering and tweaking he got it right again ( touch wood ) and so Archie will be glued to Roller Coaster Tycoon for the next few days i expect. Sadly we have lost a bundle of stuff that was on the hard drive which was like "mashed potato " apparently so will have to aquire them as and when we need them.
Afterwards we went to town with Audrey and narrowly missed being hit by a lunatic who bounced of the kerb and lurched towards us giving us a fright! The library sale was still on so got two more CD's - Sophie Tucker and Al Jolson. The "Help The Aged" had a sale on- fill a bag for a pound! The shop was packed full of people stuffing clothes and books into bags. We managed to fill three between us. Got Archie some guitar tutor CD's and a Beano mini-comic amongst other things.
Its the school open evening tonight and Archie has been asked to go and play his guitar in the music block. He was only too happy to oblige.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

School Musical Evening

Here's a clip that Hazel took on her digital camera of Archie ( on the right ) playing his guitar in the school musical evening last night which was fun though the plastic seats were very uncomfortable and I was beginning to wriggle about after an hour or so. It was all very well organised and you didnt have to wait long for the next performer to do their bit. This was the concert that was cancelled in July due to flooding. Quite a wide variey of music from solo instruments like flute and guitar to west end show tunes and rock numbers. Archie seemed to enjoy playing and he hopes to do more in the coming months now he has extra music lessons.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Doctor Syrup

I mustn't sit here typing this for long as I'm convinced it's bad posture, crouched over the computer is giving rise to my back and leg problems. I went to the doc's this morning and he said it was probably this and I should put warm compresses on and continue with the ibruprofun. If it hasnt gone in two weeks I should go back again and maybe have some articulation or whatever it's called. X rays are a last resort he said as the rays are not very good for you.

Archie did this amusing collage I saw on the front of his sketch book. A chip off the old block eh?
Here's a drawing from inside-

I'm going now and not sitting down to computers for the rest of the day. I wonder if a can?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hartford Boot

Just back from the sunny Hartford boot sale which was very busy and full of interesting and cheap stuff. Archie didnt want to go so we left him a slumbering. He asked us to get some Lego base boards for him as he's got back into making things again and he gave all his lego boards away - silly boy. We didnt find any but he seemed happy with the Dinky dustcart Hazel found and the DVD of Unfortinate Events with Jim Carey with a big rubbery nose. Other DVD's included Monty Python's Holy Grail with extra disc of out-takes, making of etc. and Fargo ( Coen Brothers ). Also on a brotherly theme, a CD of the Best of Sparks.

Hazel got a good haul of metal doodads and thingamys including some curious fishing tackle and pins with leafy end bits - all on card. Alos a Katita automata jumping insect clockwork thingy for 20p. Her other stuff included a nest of padlocks, Ikea frames in their wrappers ( great for postcards in the loo ) and some coloured pencil lead re-fills in a metal case. All will eventually be displayed on A 1 Scrap Metal I should'nt wonder.

She's gone off again with her Mum and sister for another rummage.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Invited for lunch by our old friends Tony and Penny in Alsager yesterday so we drove over for eleven and sat in their lovely flower filled garden and had some tea and "sand" biscuits. I accompanied Tony to the local tip to deposit some cardboard and plastic bottles he had bought all the way from his aunties house in Essex! We pondered on the carbon footprint they had already aquired. The tip was very like all tips these days and seperated into bays for wood, metal, cloth, garden rubbish, paper etc. Sadly you don't get to rummage in other folks rubbish anymore like the good old days. It made me think of the times in Brentwod when we lived quite close to a local tip that was suurounded by woods and when all the council workers had gone home all the scavengers lurched out of the trees and began pick over the days dumpings. I used to find all kinds of treats among the fould smelling debris. Amazing that I never ever cut myself our caught anything nasty! A wooden monkey from a fairground I found there still hangs in our hall to this day. One evening I found a big sack of unopened letters complete with SAE's to the BBC for some programme or other - those stamps came in very handy being on the dole at the time and very skint. Now I am content to sort through other peoples in charity shops and boots sales!

We went for a nice meal at an old Marsdens pub at Whobblyston? nearby. It was packed full of pensioners all having hot pots and crusty rolls. We plumped for the cheesy pancakes and beans. The pint of strong bitter made me very light headed and sleepy - I should have stuck to orange juice. It made a nice change to go out for lunch which we seldom do and good to see old chums and have a chat too.
We got back just as all the kids were coming out of school and wandering shambolic in the road like a plague of zombies. Archie was showing off with his guitar so thankfully arrived a bit later. He was miffed he'd missed out on a pub lunch.
Hazel opened the late birthday present from T &P and the very heavy package turned out to be a DIY box made from planks the Swedish design gurus call a Snack!