Friday, February 29, 2008

Art Gallery Tips

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Here's another silly animation using the Crazy Talk software I bought the other day. I'm just using the pre-programmed faces but you can put your own images on to animate it says but I haven't figured out to do it yet. I'll have to watch the tutorials again .

This morning we went out to get some shopping for the weekend. Hazel has a nasty cold so we dint stay out long. She's gone back to bed now. I got some pins and screws to hang my collages up in the local library next week - fame at last!
Also cheap DVD's and Cd's- the sort they give away in Sunday papers. Among them were Baghdad Cafe, Battleship Potemkin and 5 tracks by The Strokes. Also was given a big book of Horror Films in the Salvation Army Shop as they said it was too horrible to sell! It has a nice photo of James Whale's Frankenstein's monster on the cover. There are some gruesome photos inside but you see far worse in the tabloids these days.

It's pouring with rain now so glad to be home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things That Go Bump In The Night

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Woken at 1a.m. by strange and disturbing vibration of corner of bedroom. We thought it was a poltergeist or alien articulated lorry landing outside. Hazel looked out the window but could see nothing. We lay in bed wondering what it was for ages before dropping off again. This morning discovered it was a rare, 5'3 on Ricteur Scale, "earthquake" - the biggest for 25 years. The epicentre was miles away in the Fens. Nice to know we didn't imagine it all!

Went to town today for a nice walk. Quite warm - hot in duffle coat. I found an amusing bit of software to play with called Crazy Talk in a charity shop for a couple of quid. I made the above animated cat reading one of my cut-up poems with it. Chortle!

Archie had a go when he got home and I almost had to drag him off the PC he was enjoying it so much.
Popped in Co-Op for bread on way home. Its getting more popular- I had to wait in a queue of three!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barb & Des Visit

A week seems to have flown by without much bloggage. You havent missed much although we did have a nice visit from my sister Barb and her other half , Des. Who are still here in fact and will be going back via Nottingham today to drop in on Des' Mum.
The above was taken outside the candle shop at the Craft Centre who's name escapes me for the moment. This is as exciting as it gets! Hazel managed to find some cheap automatic candle snuffers to put on her blog. We tried them out last night and they work too. A pound for set of four.
We also went into the crafty shops and the sweetie shop and Archie bought some Green & Blacks.
The day before we showed them the delights of the new Co-op and a walk round Shakerley Mere to feed the ubiquitous ducks. We had a nice take-away curry ( I cooked the rice and nibbles ) and we watched a bit of a dull film about wine tasting in California "Hilarious" and " Extremely funny" say the blurbs on the video cover, but they must have been watching a different film!
Bumper crop of free DVD's in sunday papiers this week including "My Left Foot" with Daniel Day-Lewis who coincidentally won the best actor at the Oscars last night. Also Fellini's "La Dolce Vita".
Nice to see so many Brits get oscars including short animation and costumes and special effects etc.
Below is a corner of the "Garden Gnome" compound at the Craft Centre at Blakemere. Nice to see Andy Capp make an appearance after many years in the doldrums.

Monday, February 18, 2008

First Boot Sale Of Year

Brrrrr! Its cold- too cold really for standing around at boot sales but amazingly quite a few brave souls at the Witton Albion FC boot yesterday. Hazel bought this great brass whistle complete with wooden pea for 50pence. The green mould was free! I didn't find much, loathe to get my hands out of my warm pockets! In the end I came away with the second series of The Peep Show on DVD for 20p. Archie bought a quoit/frisbee thing for dogs to catch? Maybe he is training Wilf to fetch things.
Later we went for a walk around Shakerly as it was very sunny and had warmed up a tiny bit. Watched the ducks slide across the frozen sections of lake trying to avoid the flying crusts that Archie was flinging. BRRRrrrr!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Antiques Fair

Archie has been burning the midnight oil and made this silly video last night. Too many late nights taking their toll!
Just back from an antique fair at the crafts centre in Blakemere.. Not many stalls really but enough to make the pound entrance fee worthwhile. Hazel bought some old ciggy cards of the wartime home guard and home defences etc. also some old battered Beanos from the 60's for Archie. H'es still sleeping ofcourse after his late night of creativity.

Later. They've gone out to get some groceries. Archie got up at 2:30pm and had some soup. I made a big pan of leek,carrot and potato. We had awarm pretzels with it and cheese. Yum!
Watched some of the FA cup on the telly. Good to see Bristol Rovers get into the quater finals. Its Man. U. and Arsenal on later.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

International Yo-Yo Day

I hope you all have your yo-yo's ready? I've got mine. Hazel gave me this one for Valentine's Day - also a collection of Snap card games and some useful CD sleeves. I gave her a collage and some chocs.
Just back from a walk into town. Got a nice book about snowballs by Andy Goldsworthy in the library sale for 75p. What a great idea- rolling snowballs down mountains into the town and leaving them in sunny snowless streets to melt. Some were stored in deep freezes in winter and bought out again in summer to confuse people. Thats soemthing we didnt see much of in Norway thinking back on it- no big snowballs or snowmen? Maybe they have so much snow they got bored with all that business a long time ago!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh Mr. Porter!

"I got a train to Birmingham.
But they dropped me off at Crewe"

Something like that. I forget the exact words of that old song. A great film by Will Hay too. Not sure what came first - the film or the song?
Anyway, a nice sunny ride with Hazel, Archie and Audrey to nowhere town. It used to be somewhere back then- a big railway town and it still is in some respects though the railway is less important now. The flea market is the main draw for me personally and today it was buzzing- crowded with punters, shunters and old junk.
Hazel found lots of weird metal stuff for her blog including some "pudding charms" on their original card. I doubt whether Health & Safety would allow such a thing these days- spoiling our fun, choking on tiny bits of sterling silver- how dare they! Also in her gander bag were some knitting implements, stitch holders, pins of various sorts and weird nickel silver container with hinged lid that looked like it once contained a miniature bollard.
My finds were less esoteric - DVD's of latest King Kong and extra disc of stuff, Wizard of Oz with extras and jerry Lee Lewis in concert in the 80's when he was still "The Killer" with all kinds of guests- Van Morrison, Dave Edmunds, Brian May etc. Also some books including american photographs of the every day, and one about books with strange titles , "Kipper Racing For Fun & Profit" was not one of them.
Archie moaned continually as all teenagers are wont to do. "I feel so depressed", "I hate this town" "Why did I come?" etc. for two solid hours. We will leave him behind next time!
Not sure what Audrey bought but she had bags of the stuff and was sweating profusely when we caught up with her outside the Oxfam shop.
Hazel beeped quite few cars and lorries and white vans on the way home as they were determined to cut her up. They obviously see her car as something very slow and unthreatening.
Home now and a quick lunch of pancakes, egg and beans. They have been out in the garden as it's so springlike. Archie has been weeding and sweeping path and Hazel burned all the accumulated card in her mexican stove.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book Sale

Walked into town this morning despite the frozen pavements. It wasn't as bad as it felt - not as slippy as last week. The library book sale was still on so I got a few things including some world music from Kenya and Spain on CD and a DVD of a strange film called Milwaukee Minnesota and described as "hilariously funny" on the cover- we shall see. Bruce Dern is in it but not heard of the other actors. It also has some extras including a directors commentary with Alan Mindel and "Catching Fish" game that sounds intriguing!

Not much else in the way of bargains. Nice sunny day- it soon warmed up and felt rather overdressed in my duffle coat and snow boots.

Archie eventually got up in the afternoon. He's becoming a bit of a night owl since half term hols. started. He's been making flash turorials for You Tube.

Better make some gravy as Hazel will be home soon and the sausage rolls and whats left of the nut roast need a bit of liquid.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leek Man Strikes Again!

Look at that silly hat. Even the Norwegians thought it funny and they wear some odd headgear. On holiday it's fine but never in England! Unless it really gets cold but it seems to be warming up. Another lovely bright sunny day today. Ideal boot sale weather, unfortunately there wasn't any around here. The first of the year is next week when I expect it will be p***ing down!
Hazel de-frosted the fridge and freezer today and a chunk of ice that could sink the Titantic dropped out of it and had to be manuoevered into the garden with a fork lift truck. No, not really - a slight exaggeration. But a thrid of the fridge WAS ice so we had loads more space afterwards and so Hazel had to go out to Aldi and get some more stuff to fill it up. Even Archie was lured out of his bedroom and away from Rune Scape to sweep the garden path and go into town for some new slippers.
I stayed in to add some Highlife from Ghana to the blog and watch part of the African Cup of Nations( which Egypt won ). I also made a nut roast for dinner using the weird rubber "tin" I got for Xmas.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ooh Me Eye!

Very amusing animation just found on a blog. Not sure who made it but will infestigate further.

It's from a blog called Wonderhorse.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Barry Wenden Visit

Delighted to find an e-mail from old art school chum Barry waiting for me yesterday morning saying he might pop over as he was nearby in Stockport at a meeting. So busied myself cleaning up and tidying a bit ( not that he'd notice ) incase he did show up. Eventually he did after a few TOm TOM diversions. It was like terrible sit-com , trying to give directions over the phone and Barry nowhere near where I thought he was! Anyway, eventually he got here and we had a nice chat as I cooked the dinner ( spinach and egg bake ) and caught up with the last 12 years or whatever it's been. Barry said he met Archie when he was a baby so that goes back a bit. Barry is still the same and he said I hadn't changed much either which was nice of him - a bit more snow on the roof but a boiler full of clinker. He told us some amusing stories about his travels in France and Clochemerle and the village life where he is head of the committee which brought The Vicar Of Dibley to mind.

Thankfully Hazel arrived home early and so was able to distract Barry while I finished off the vegetables and lay the table etc. Archie showed him his latest animations and we talked about the pro's and cons of the digital age.
It was very easy to get drawn into misty eyed reminiscences of our student days in Manchester and Archie must have been thinking " what a couple of boring old codgers!"

Around 7 he had to head back to Northampton - a good 2 and half hour drive he said. We promised to visit in the Summer but can't see Hazel driving that far!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Marbury Walk

Went for a nice walk in Marbury yesterday afternoon despite the biting arctic wind. The usual duck feeding frenzy with the remains of a stale loaf. Mad dogs and englishmen and women with sticks in their mouths diving in the icy lake.
The bird hide was very busy with tits, finches, blackbirds, a woodpecker, two sqirrels and a rabbit. We expected them to break into a Disney song and dance routine for our benefit but they didn't. A cheeky robin came up very near and I was able to take a few close-ups of him.
Then to the pet shop to buy a log stuffed with goodies for Wilfred. Hazel went in the "interiors" shop next door to buy some candles and laugh at the weird ornaments that they expect you to buy - garden gnome lamps, Liberace's candle-bras and other hideous kitcshy stuff.

On Saturday we went to the cinema in Knutsford to see "I Am Legend" which Archie wanted to see on the recommendation of a school chum. It was two hours of sheer torture- don't go even if you are a big Will Smith fan, it's awful!

Hazel went out this morning to clear the car windows of frost and mistakenly sprayed herself in the face with noxious de-icer - she said it made her smell of cat wee.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

National Potato Day

I think Monday is National Potato Day so in celebration of this wonderful versatile vegetable I have chosen this collage "Couch Potato" as the start of todays bloggage. I do hope you will all tell me about your potato adventures . I plan to roast a few tonight and tomorrow maybe some mash with lots of butter. Yum!
Hazel has dusted off the folding potato stand from the shed in readiness. Oh no- it's the stand for Archie's keyboard. His piano teacher Bruce has told him that having the keyboard on the floor isn't really conducive to practicing ones scales and chords etc.

It's pretty icy this morning and the pavements are tracherous- reminding me of the slippy walks in Norway recently. The overnight snow has melted and re-frozen which makes things worse. Even so, I slipped along to the newsagents to get the Guardian which has a free DVD of Eisenstein's "Battleship Potatokin" inside! This ofcourse is the Russian classic film made in 1925 about a riot by sailors when their potato ration was cut. It includes the famour scene on the Odessa steps when the helpless citizens are shot with spud guns by the Tsarist police.