Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wilfred RIP 2007-2009

Sadly poor old geriatric Wilf the hamster shuffled off to the big wheel in the sky last night. He was found just now looking very pathetic and cold. Hazel shed a few tears and we buried him in the garden with all the other hamsters, blackbirds and Flo the Bunny who occupy the little graveyard by the tree house. A polish neighbour came out to hang things on the line and waved - probably wondering what this strange english ritual is with the bundle in a tea towel being buried under the apple trees?


I was flattered that Schmapp should ask for this image for their latest thingy - not sure whatit is really- a widget? on iPhones and the like. The image seems very tiny so here is the larger one of Hazel and Archie at the Tradescant Trust Garden Museum near Lambeth Bridge. Schmapp have put it up the road near St. Thomas's for some reason?! Its next to the Archbishops Palace in an old church.

This was taken a couple of years ago on a trip to London. The Garden Museum is undergoing restoration I think so maybe not open yet but the gardens are lovely- if small and a welcome oasis from the traffic of the embankment and Lambeth Bridge Road. You can see also the graves of Captain Bligh (pictured) and other notables.

Captain Bligh's Grave

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sickly Week

We are all proper poorly as some old radio star used to say. Hazel has had a terrible cold and sore throat for a week and since talking too much at college has lost her voice completely. We can't find it anywhere. I told her not to go in but she was determined not to have another day cancelled. The doc has suggested complete rest from talking,even whispering is bad apparently. So Hazel is writing notes on a little pad. Its like living with a trappist monk.
Archie has been off school too with a bad cold. He's gone in today though.
I went to round the town this morning and did usual tour of the charity shops but didn't find anything. Got flowers, bread and garlic in the Co-op on the way home.
Fun in the post office - some dilly dallying at the till and then the womam behind the counter ran out of money so had to go and get some - meanwhile the queue is building up and lot of tutting and head shaking is going on. She comes back and the old chap in front wants some tobacco - cigarrettes? no tobacco in a pouch! In a what? A pouch- oh a pouch etc etc. More tutting and head shaking- gasps of disbelief etc. for ever growing queue. Then it came to my turn . A book of second class stamps and one 56p stamp please. She starts to tear off a one pound stamp - no just one 56 pence stamp for a postcard to america. Oh 56 pence - is that for 0ver 200 milligrams? No its for a postcard to AMERICA! More tutting and fuming from assembled throng. She puts an 81p stamp in front of me. No a 56pence stamp - that's a 8ip stamp! O dear. Tut tut- fume fume. Lots of murmering. I'm getting quite agitated too by now. Eventually I get what I want and get my change and wonder if its the right change but cant be bothered to check after all that hassle over a stamp. I shall get them from Oxfam in future- its easier!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spring Rolls Round Again

Very mild at the moment and signs of Spring in the air which is welcome after all the cold and frost etc.
Yesterday I took the Canon scanner back to Argos as it wouldnt work properly. I was a bit miffed to say the least as it had been working fine for the last couple of weeks and I was enjoying adding old slide films and negs. to Flickr that have been languishing in an old box for ages. The good thing about Argos is they always exchange goods or give money back within 30 days of purchase. So now I am looking around for another scanner - hopefully one that isn't so prone to breaking and has large negative scanning option. I think I have found just the job with an Epson 4490 but I'll have to get it online or go to PC World in Warrington which seems unlikely.

Poor Wilf looks like he won't last much longer. We thought he had snuffed it last weekend but has bravley battled on despite all the bumps and lumps and bald patches he has. He staggers out of his ball of bedding for a drink and hardly eats anything- looking very bedraggled and ancient , like a hamster version of a one-eyed Yoda.

Went to a boot sale today at Lostock near Hazel's Mom's. It was in the local community centre and mostly indoors. I got some cheap DVD's including John Carpenter's version of "The Thing" with extras like a making of and a commentary which is always interesting. Also a Tommy Cooper video I'd not seen before called "Cooperama".
Hazel bought some books and a box of drawing pins. Audrey and Doreen were late getting up as usual so they were just setting off as we popped in to say goodbye and pick up the fairy cakes they gave us. Hazel's Mom walked very slowly and carefully holding out the the tin of cakes as I was looking elsewhere and when she gave them to me I tipped them up to shove the tin in my carrier bag with all my other goodies. She looked horrified and exclaimed "No!" But no harm done - the icing and cherries were still intact!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A nice but exhausting day yesterday - getting up at 5-45am to get train (thankfully not late ) and get to Manchester for a lovely big breakfast in the college canteen. We had a look round the exhibition of art school technicians work in the Holden Gallery. Some nice stuff including some small paintings on plaster of wall fragments a bit like the Boyle Family.
Andy Sykes- ace animator - gave a talk to the 1st years later which we sat in on which was fun. He had pinned up some of his drawings to colour in- he holds these "coulering in" evenings in shopping centrs and places. He showed his animations and film of the artists working at the AYUP animation space at Bradford's Museum Of Film & Television or whatever it's called.
An interesting talk and he seems to be doing well since leaving the Interactive Arts course a few years back.
We had lunch with him in the staff canteen and ate out sushi from M&S . We did buy some fruit crumble though and I think it was plums but not sure!
Archie ordered a new resonanting uke at Johnny Roadhouse. He plays the other one all the time so I'm sure he will find it useful and a slightly different sound as its made of metal.
In the afternoon Archie and I walkded down to the Whitworth Art Gallery and saw the exhibition of Surrealism. Some great Max Ernst collages but not much else to write home about. The modern stuff was pretty awful.
Then walked back to the station via the Cornerhouse (nothing showing ) and home.
Archie was so tired he fell asleep later and didn't wake up until 10 p.m.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

I made Hazel a collaged card and gave her some chocs. Walked to town before H & A got up and back at 10am. They were still not up the lazy pair. Mind you it has been a long stressful week for both of them what with students and open days and "catch up days" etc.
I didnt find much in town- just a loaf of seedy bread and the Independent with free CD in it.
In the afternoon we all went to Lady Hayes with Audrey to mooch around the antiques and buy some of Bob Carolgee's candles from his shop.
I took the Flip camera and took a few snippets. Hazel found tons of stuff for her blog including packetsof anceint needles and some sewing gadgets- things to thred needles and other bits and pieces. Archie bought a book about Nature for his art class project.
Audrey bought a few things too - postcards a,d a rubber stamp that says "Best Wishes". She showed us the production line of home-made cards when we stooped off for tea at Granma's.
Peeked in the window of one gallery to see the Tardis and Daleks but didnt go in. Found some nice recycled Indian lamps made if tin in one shop. Hard to choose which one to get but eventually plumped for the biggest which Hazel bought me as my Valentines present. It hangs in the back room now- over the dining table and sends out rays of patterned light on the ceiling with a small candle inside. I'll have to take a photo of it if I can.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chicken Rock

Fat Larry Homes and his clucking geetar! One of my favourite instrumental chicken songs of all time I think.
Nice day yesterday when old friends Tony and Pene came over for lunch. It was Pene's birthday so we rushed out to get her some flowers and chocs at local supermarket and get some nice food in. I made a vegetable soup and cooked a mushroom quiche with some salad. We had a cake a bit later on. I neglected to take any photos which was a bit remiss of me.
Watched a bit of my staggering performance in the film "Dead City" we got inthe post on DVD today. Its the cheaply made zombie film we were in shot at the old Regal cinema in Northwich before is was gutted. Very funny to watch again. Some deleted scenes and documentaries on the extras disc we are looking forward to seeing.
have been digitising some old slides and negs using the new Canon scanner which seems to be working ok so far despite a few early glitches. Probably my fault. Pushing the wrong buttons.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Matchbox Stuffing

We have been matchbox stuffing this weekend - we know how to enjoy ourselves! This is Archie's effort soon to be added to the Flickr group of International Matchbox Stuffers League or whatever it's called. I was just remembering the game we played at Basildon Boys Club - filling matchboxes to see who could get the most items crammed inside and somebody though this would be a fun idea to run with and its grown into this group now of nearly 100 people all madly searching their drawers and tins for tiny things! ( I have mentioend this before ina previous blog - this is bad sign - obviously going a bit senile !)
Yestrday we went to knutsford to mooch around the charity shops and peek into the posh shop windows at all the snooty Knutsford folk. Some are very freindly i must say and in one gallery/craft shop I was given a cup of tea. A new venture to bring in customers the nice girl said - maybe a few chairs and tables at one end.
It made a nice change and lubricated the vocal chords. I still didnt see anything to buy though - all a bit twee and crafty for me.
I found some great DVD's in a charity shop including The Exorcist with extras and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd which I wanted to see and the cinema but never got the chance. We watched it last night. Hazel psent most of the time hiding behind her cushion whenever the blood started to flow and there was copious ammounts of it! Fantastic to watch though - amazing sets and costumes and atmostphere. The singing though started to grate after a few songs and they all started to sound very similar. It made me think of the awful Blood Brothers which is an unfair comparison really but the only one that came to mind.
Hazel bought some clobber in a sale- a new victorian looking blouse and a cardie. I wanted to buy a paper but they don't have a newsagents on Knutsford it seems - its all boutiques and antigue shops and wine bars.
Looked into the Penny Farthing Museum/cafe place but it was packed with "ladies who lunch" and so difficult to take a phot of all the old bikes hanging from the rafters. Took one outide with Hazel leaning on a sign post and bike that someone had made from an old plough or maybe a washing machine?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A 100 Small Things

This is a frame from a very short animation I did using Monkey Jam free software. I realise I didnt have the patience to carry on with it. It looked rubbish anyway and took far too long. I used to have patience - I did spotty paintings that took months to do. I make collages now as they are far quicker and people seem to like them more.
Have been collecting things to put into a matchbox. So this is how you spend your time? Its for a project on Flickr. So far i have put in my matchbox- a pebble, a hairgrip, a pin, a needle, a ticket, a sticker, a button, a plastic duck, a popper, a match, a tiny mirror, a bead, a bit of wire, a leaf, a grain of sand, a granule of sugar and a badge. Hoping to find more things today. We used to play this game at the Basildon Boys Club before returning to the hut to drink lemonade and listen to the Everly Brothers on an old scratchy 78.
Yesterday i went to town and bought a very heavy DK book called "Chronicle Of The Cinema"- 100 years of the Movies for a quid in the market I nearly gave myself a hernia carrying it home. I was going to cut it up for collages as it has some wonderful old film posters inside its 920 pages- nearly all full colour. But it's far too nice really and Archie might find it useful for his Film Studies course he is doing for "A" level at 6th form college- presuming he gets the right grades for his GCSE's.

The snow that everyone else has been getting and grinding the country to a halt hasn't appeared in Cheshire- just a smigeon and its all melted. So no chance of that dusty sledge being used any day now. Its been hanging in the shed gathering cobwebs for the last ten years!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Glove Weather

Find more videos like this on OPEN Fluxus

Whether or not we wear them is another matter. This one spotted on out walk round Shackerly this afternoon. Brrrr! it was freezin'! Glad to get home again.
No boot sales today- at least none we knew the whereabouts of. Betty said there was one in Winsford but we tried to find it before and went on a wild goose chase.
Yesterday we just did the fortnightly big shop at Aldi.
Its started to snow. The weather forecast said it would- blowing down from Russia. They can have it back anytime!
We watched the directors commentary extra on the Little Shop Of Horrors DVD last night which was fun and insightful. Frank Oz explained a lot of things well and surprised us by saying the man eating plant wasnt shot at the same speed as the rest of it when singing as the puppeteers couldnt move the lips quick enough to sync. with the vocal track. So Rick Moranis? had to move very slowly so when it was speeded up it looked like the right speed. Also they changed the ending as the preview audience didnt like the way it ended with all the good guys getting eaten by the plant! What an admission!