Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Crumble!

Here we are gathered round the festive twig. Had a nice day out yesterday in Liverpool despite the gloomy weather. Good to see the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the Tate although we felt it could have been a bit more fun - for the kids. A nice maze or a Mad Hatter's Tea Party or something. It was all a bit too serious and celebral despite the inclusion of Bill Woodrow and Peter Blake. Lots of stuff that really shouldn't have been in it. Also popped in the Walker to see the Matisse books but as Hazel said the gallery lacked that spark - felt a bit isolated and empty. Some terrible pretentious twaddle on at the other gallery I always forget the name of. No festive joy there. We had lunch in the Hole In The Wall which was a mistake as it was very busy and we waited ages for our egg on toast which turned out to be an egg toasted sandwich with a side salad. Which we didnt mind too much as it turned out cheaper. A lot of noise though from rowdy diners.

Didn't do much shopping as it was so incredibly crowded with queues forming outside some trinket shops - so obvious still lots of money about.
Popped into the Oxfam and the Comic shop and found some books we liked but not the price. I've done most of my Xmas shopping anyway. Just some chestnuts and puff pastry to get and we shall be almost there!

Friday, December 16, 2011


A blast from Christmas pasts here , 1968/9 maybe , under the influence of something I'm sure though probably nothing more than Thrimpton's Old Perculier.
My earliest memory of Xmas was going to a big department store in London and having a ride of Santa's submarine to his fishy smelling grotto under the North Pole. Elves with fins and flippers? I can't quite remember that clearly but seem to remember the fishes and penguins swimming magically past the port holes ( canvas strips on pulleys being cranked along ) as we chugged along and then lead out through another door to where a red coated plump Neptune of a Santa was waiting to ho ho ho and give out presents. It may have been a tin of water colour paints in the gaily wrapped parcel or that may have been another time.
Another vivid memory must have been around Xmas time - a snowball fight in Corringham in Essex where we lived just after we moved from London. It was a pokey first floor flat in a row of delapidated houses. We accessed our flat up some rickety wooden stairs to a balcony and the kitchen door. A tin bath hung on the wall outside. Gas mantles and the radio worked with a big car battery on the side board. Anyway, I was throwing snowballs down from the balcony to passing urchins and they in turn threw them back. I had not realised the door to the flat was open and snowballs that missed me found their way into the kitchen and made quite a mess. Mum wasn't very pleased when she found them half melted on the lino floor.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Who Ate All The Pies?

Weird dream just before I woke up about finding collaged soggy boxes of old gramophone needles in a fly tipping area by a bus stop. I was telling the people at the bus stop how awful all this fly tipping was and secretly thinking " heh heh, I have the gramophone needles though". The collages on the boxes were old ladies cooking pies but they were infact all mechanical inside like robots seen in section.
I looked through my collage archive on Flickr and found this one I did a few years ago. It's about the nearest the dream gets though pretty sure the collages in the dream were in black and white.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Trunk Calls

Not a particularly busy weekend though we did manage to sort out the Xmas card photo - dressed up in our silliest festive jumpers and hats we posed around the the festive twig with dangly pine cones that Archie made copying the illustration in the Ladybird Book of Things To Make. Going to get 100 printed today and make up the cards over the next week or so. I bet you can't wait!
Also the boot sales. The one at Witton was a bit of a disaster due to the inclement weather. Only three stalls outside and three inside. Luckily the i-Insect lady was there so bought two off her. Hazel bought some last week and I was keen to get some of my own. Trumpety trump!
Archie bought a huge bag of old Ultimate Real Robot magazines with attached bits of cyborg to make for a quid. The lady selling them said 50p first of all but Archie thought this too cheap and doubled it. When he got home however he realised 50p was too expensive for the pile of mouldy smelly crap he had bought in the dim light of the shipping container that served as a stall. He threw most of it in the bin!
The one at Antrobus was a lot busier but a quid to get in which was a bit steep. They even had a few stalls outside. I bought two old steam train books and a DVd of "Spiral Staircase" " a Hitchcockian thriller". Hazel got loads of stuff from the 20p stall including a lovely old 1937 copy of the Radio Times with extra Coronation of King George 6th colour supplement. Worth it alone for the amusing adverts for sheds, dog food and Liver Pills. Also a King George 6th glass fruit bowl, a potty, a set of cutlery and all manner of other tat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nuclear Family

Havent really done all that much of note lately but a quick update. New blog seems to be faltering slightly with me the only one adding to it. I thought it was a good theme too - Family. This is one I did which seems to have gleaned lots of comments on Flickr. Strangely other collages which I consider much more accomplished have been ignored completely. Again I seem to be at odds with the world around me! Nevermind - it helps me focus on my collage work which was the main reason for starting a new blog in the first place.

Besides the alternate daily shopping trips and healthy walks we have been to the boot sales which continue despite the Winter weather. The one at Witton, although small, comes up with bargains week after week. Last week I got a huge bag of stuff mainly because it was so cheap - DVD's , CD's and books. More stocking fillers. Hazel found some great creepy crawly i-insects which run on tiny batteries and whizz about looking very authentic. Only a quid each and in the shops they are sometimes as much as six quids!

They still keep trying to get planning permission for the land at the end of our garden which is annoying. They have been turned down several times already so hopefully they will be again though in the current climate one wonders.

Hazel has been poorly with a nasty sore throat and laryngitus so off work for a week. Amazingly I havent caught it ( touch wood ) but Archie had a mild dose of it but cleared up pretty quickly.
Keep taking the tablets!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will & Adela's Wedding & Guy Pile

Here's the first guy pile with the one I made at the front. There's a better photo of me dancing with it that Hazel took but seems to be horizontal and no idea how blogger can twist it round.
A lovely time was had by all needless to say though we did feel a bit like gate crashers as we didnt know anybody- only Will & Adela. The disco wasa bit loud ( showing my age here! ) so glad when it stopped and the guys were called for and we danced around for the judges. Needless to say we didn't win any prizes - some amazing elaborate ones had been created.
Here's the lovely bride and groom singing a heart warming duet by two pink piggy cakes . No fireworks though but some cows looking over a fence and lots of kids running around high on icing sugar and pop I imagine! Coincidentally it was our anniversary so an interesting way to celebrate it. Now we shall never forget Will & Adela's as it's the same day as ours and the Bonfire Night which in itself is a massive clue and sticks out like a sparkly rocket on the calender.
Outside the Hotel in deepest Cheshire the guys are piled up before the big dance off. That's not Nick Clegg at the front next to Cow Guy.

PS. We had to take our guy home and rather than burn him we took his papier mache head off and put it on a shelf in the front room so now he looks down at us while we watch telly.
We labouriously unscrewed the balls of newspaper inside used as stuffing and flattened them ALL out again for putting in the recycling bag. The clothes and slippers are going to Oxfam.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

28th Anniversary

Hard to believe that Hazel and I have been together for 28 years now. It don't seem a day too much as old Peter Sellers used to sing to his Old Dutch. Hazel gave me this lovely old variety bill she found in a charity shop today and a nice little tin lady robot with saucepan lid bosoms.
I made her the card below. There are kisses on the bottom but they missed being scanned.
We off out later to a hog roast and disco to celebrate Will and Adela's marriage so that should be fun especially the home made guy fawkes competition. Our guy has been falolloping about in the back room for ages now and itching to get out there and strut his funky stuff! More photos soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Library Sale

This spell of warm weather has made all the little flies appear again. One is just flitting around in front of the computer monitor making "V" signs at me - that's what it feels like anyway - buzz OFF!

Some more catching up to do -

Tony and Penny came over to join us at the Crafts Centre near Tarporley last week. They hadnt been before so we showed them the delights of the candle shop, ye olde wishing well, pet shop aquariums etc. Hazel was busy so she just stayed for lunch in the cafe and then went home to do college work. We also looked round the antique emporium and bought some postcards.

Two boot sales on Sunday at Hartford business park and Witton Albion. Got a few films including High Fidelity and Woodstock (directors cut). Archie got a few things including some nice Ladybird books and a dial and a light switch. Hazel got a few bits of crockery and other bits and bobs that will no doubt turn up on her collections blog shortly.

Archie is making a stop motion animation with his friend Hannah upstairs . We watched the rushes of the first one the other day and it looked hilarious , even without a soundtrack.
Nice that he has found some creative arty friends at the new college he goes to.

More bargains at the library sale today including a nice book about Signwritten Art with lovely old shop fronts in. The other day I found some DVD's for a quid including Gainsbourg about Serge that looks interesting though not too keen on his music. Also a triple CD of Island label stuff from the 60's and early 70's. Nice to hear Dr. Strangley Strange again!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

More Postcards From Home

A little behind in our orders - said the shop keeper to the boy sitting on the bacon slicer. Those were the old days ofcourse when they HAD bacon slicers on the counter in corner shops. Like the one Mrs. Turpin had down Hamlet Court Road in Westcliff - not far from where this picture postcard was took (See bottom card ). My mother lived nearby also for a few years - two roads back in Second Avenue.
This and few more postcards were purchased recently from the antique emporium avec le Crafts Centre which I can never remember the name of. Anyway, we always like a to buy a few and sometimes a nick nack or two if the price is right. We are spoiled rather by charity shop and boot sale prices so anything over a pound sounds extortionate!

This one was from the Oxfam . I collaged it afterwards for the Flickr group "Post Collage". Funnily enough found some of my own postcards there last week too. So did Archie's friend Hannah who knows a bargain when she sees one. She asked Archie " What's your Dad's name?" and when he told her she told him about the postcards she'd found and was keen then to see the original collages. So that was strange. I found out a few more to give her. I still have tons of "The Arses of England" somewhere but they have been buried in a cupboard or the shed or somewhere I expect.

Anyroad. Catching up with the news. Had a proper haircut. Won't need it doing until Xmas! Hooray! Will and Adela came over for dinner. They told us all about their wedding preparations and the Bear festival thingy at Brereton ( this Saturday ). Also saw them in the Cheshire Open Studios last Sunday which was fun. We bought one of Adela's lovely etchings and watched Will chase a fly with a giant wooden fork.

Went to the "Stuff A Bag For A Pound" sale at the Age shop. Got all kinds of junk - they really shouldn't let us in those places!
making a guy for Will and Adela's welding celebrations. They won't tell us what it's for but not to burn they said. So making an effort to make mine as interesting as possible. He has a papier mache head now and ready for painting.
Also compiled and sent of the Issue 22 artist book assemblings which have haunted me for the past few months. Glad to get shot of them! I sewed all the spines in the end which was a right palarva! Never again!

Went to Imperial Wart Museum North with Hazel and some of her 1st years who all seemed very nice. Took a lot of photos which you can find on Flickr. Also saw the small Andy Warhol exhibit of "Divas" which was ok but seen it all before really. Got the tram back to Piccadilly and the train home.

Hazel's old school chums Tracey and Mark came over via Manchester to take their daughter Daisy back to college. They live down in Cheltenham I think? Had tea and cake and nice chat - showed them round the house as they had never seen it before.

Phew! it's been very warm lately - a real Indian Summer which is nice though a bit too hot at times. Poor confused plants and trees think it's spring and started flowering again!
Its a bit cooler today thankfully and more like Autumn.
Went on a nice walk with Hazel to Anderton via Carey Park ( see Flickr ) and had coffee and shared cream scone in the cafe overlooking the River Weaver. Saw lots of strange sights including a book shop narrowboat pitched on the tow path, a boat that sold coal, oil and kindling, a baby toad and poor lost baby swan.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Andy Plant

Fascinating film about automata maker Andy Plant.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Where The Knuts Come From

Went to a big boot sale in Knutsford today on the Heath. A Fun Day in aid of the Scouts and Guides I think. No second hand woggles or knotting badges to be seen though. The sun was shining so a good turn out. Organised parking which is awalys good though the chap next to us left his driver's door open. We kindly closed it for him incase he really had wandered off distracted by the thought of bargains!
I didnt get much really considering the many stalls. Nice to find some buff card wallets that will be good for the assembling book covers I am making at the moment. 14 people have promised to take part but only 4 have sent pages so far which is fine by me. I would quite like a copy myself and if 14 people send pages I would have to go without a copy! Serves me right for not getting my sums correct.
Also got two DVD's of films that are unknown to me - I Love You Philip Morris ( with Jim Carey) and J'taime Paris by work by 20 directors all submitting 5 minute love stories set in Paris.
Hazel got a nice old air raid wardens bicycle lamp which was made it illuminate your front tyre and little else (whoever she might be?). Also a new dial for Archie's dial collection. He got some rubbish trucks so he was happy. Dustbin lorries rather than trucks that are rubbish!
The postcards here are from our jaunt to the antique place near us the other day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

River Weaver

Nice walk the other day along the River Weaver from behind the Memorial Hall to Hunts Locks. I can't belive it's taken us so long to do this walk after 12 years of living in Northwich. Really quite an attractive part of town which is ignored by most of the population. When we first came to see the area we went to a Water Festival on the river which was quite exciting with artists doing performances and duck races etc. but that sadly was a "one off" event that was never repeated for some reason.

Hopefully the new Northwich rejuvination programme or "vision", whatever they are calling it these days, will focus on the river and not spoil it with car parks and huge supermarkets as threatened before. Town planners and councils have a nasty habit of messing things up.

This was then and now is 24th August. Just back from Chester. A nice morning despite the traffic chaos due to roadworks by the Park & Ride. Got a nice old Victorian Inventions book with tons of old illustrations to make good use of. We had a copy somewhere so this is a spare. Had some veg. sausage rolls from the Pound Bakery outside the cathedral in the sun. Curious jazz duo by the market cross . Good keyboards but trumpet player was pretty awful. Thankfully the town cryer and his mini-me came over at 12 and stopped them making a racket for a while. Well, they just made another kind of racket with the bell and loud voice and the awful jokes. Then posing in the stocks with tourists. I'd left my camera at home for a change so you'll have to use your imaginations.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


I must at least write a short bit about our wonderful holiday in Norway. We have stayed there before ofcourse with out dear friend Esther and her family. This time it was slightly soured by the terrible bomb and murders but despite this we found the Norwegians full of good heart as always. We took part in a candlelit march for the victims in Hamar on our third day there. Some very moving speeches and songs although we didnt understand the words the emotions were deeply felt.

We went to the cabin on the fourth day which is up by the Swedish border by lake Osen. A very beautiful tranquil place we went once before in 2005 and always wanted to go back too. There was no running water which was tricky but Esther had filled lots of drums and bottles at the local pump so we used that. The wet wipes came in handy too!
Archie took lots of nice photos and managed to get close ups of the freindly weasel and wood vole down by the lake side. Went for walks and had some interesting meals. I cooked the first one - pasta and tomato sauce and warm crusty bread in the mall electric oven. We used paper plates and cups to eliminate a lot of washing up.
Delicious breakfasts of local produce - brown cheese and jam, fish paste and a caramel spread called Pana I think.

On the Saturday we went to the local fair and junk market in the village across the lake. Lots of nick nacks and ornaments to sort through in the old community hall. Also a nearby craft fair by the two churches. One was very old and contained a beautiful hand painted and carved wooden alterpeice. Had a home made waffles with jam and sour cream bought from a stall outside and sat in the sun whilst jangling horses and carts went by giving rides around the village. We went back the following day too to catch the end of the sale - all you could stuff into a plastic bag for 100 krona ( about 10 english pounds ) Esther manages to get 90 candles , a cheese holder, ornaments, comics and tons of other stuff into her bag without it bursting! Also went to the nearby beach . Archie and the kids braved the cold waters. I stayed under an umbrella as I'd got a bit of sun burn and looked as red as beetroot!

Nice to get back to Hamar and have showers after three days at the cabin. We needed them!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Auntie Olwen R.I.P.

Sad news from my sister Barb yesterday about the death of my last Auntie , Olwen. I wrote about her in this blog in 2008 so will add it here. In the photo above she is on the left in 1947 after just coming out of the WRENS probably. That's my Mum in the middle, expecting me. My Auntie Iris is on the right. Photo taken probably in the garden in Highbury North London where my parents lived in digs just after the war for a short time.

"It will take me ages to find the very small photo I have of my Auntie Olwen so here's one of WRENS scrubbing the sides of a boat during the war. Not sure if Auntie "O" used to do such things but she did get rowed round Grimsby harbour by a sailor boyfriend she said- the nearest she got to any ships whilst she was in the navy during the war. She was just on the phone to me and it's hard to get a word in when she gets going - all about her childhood and the war etc. I expect I'll be like that when I'm 85 or whatever age she is.
She also told me about when my mother carried her into the Broadway cinema in Pitsea as "babes in arms" got in free. She was 7 at the time! My mother who must have been about 9 or 10 had some cheek! She spent the three pence entry money she saved on sweets. Olwen confessed it was very embarressing when the usherette came round and shone her torch on her and she had to pretend to be very tiny.
She also told me about Pitsea at length- a bigger place than it is now - having been swallowed up by Basildon New Town which did not exist in the '30's. They used to live in a bungalow down by the Station Hotel, opposite the market. I explained that the market has been gone many years. She seemed incredulous - "What, Pitsea market gone?!" Yes, and the cinema is now a Bingo Hall and has been for 25 years or more. "Never!"
Pitsea school is still standing and was "new" in the 30's she said- she remembers the teachers quite well- the four masters and the one lady teacher Mrs. Peace. I said I remembered only one teacher as her name was Mrs. Ramsbottom which always stuck in my mind and the howls of laughter from my mother whenever I told her what Mrs. Ramsbottom had been up to that day. I only went to Piteas school for a year back in the mid 50's , before the new Greenstead School was built in Basildon, just down the road. You had to walk miles down a concrete path , through fields and old bungalows to get to Pitsea school. As a five or six year old it was common to send children on their own to school in those days. With my satchel heavy with Shipham's bloater paste sandwiches ( if we were lucky!) or jam if things were a bit tight that week.

Auntie "O" also told me that she left school at 13 and worked in a shop in Southend for a while and then in Grays at the State cinema as an usherette. then she joined the WRENS ( Woman's Royal Navy Service ) . Or did she go to Grimsby to work in a rope making factory? Yes, that's it. She was told she could avoid being called up to fight if she worked in a factory doing essential "war work". But then joined the WRENS as she fancied the uniform and the sailors! "

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Mr. Melk

Back from Norway after a delightful week with our friends Esther and her children. More photos and video soon but first a funny Norwegian advert that Vilde showed us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marsden, Leeds and Glossop

Back froma nice coupla days in Yorkshire thee knows. Got my collages back from Leeds. Thankfully our old mate Dave drove us there and so Hazel didnt have nervous breakdown going round appalling one way sytems and roundabouts. Also went to Andy Thornton's warehouse of old detritus and theme pub furniture. Archie took hundreds of photos for his Summer project. I took a few to be added to Flickr and here later. Stayed in quaint stone cottage by a babbling brook. Early morning duck alarm at 6. Drove back via Glossop for cheese pasty and mooch round the charity shops. Sat Nav behaved this time and we were sent round some charming lanes and byeways and not the Oldham bypass as before.

Friday, July 15, 2011

PC Problems

Old PC was playing up so much Hazel got me a new one for my birthday only it took ages to find the right one and still not sure. This Acer with Core i5 and Windows 7 seems pretty fast after the last sluggish geriactric but still having problems- not sure if its browser related or not. Cant seem to publish anything in blogger so this really is a test.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Marbury Walk and Boot Sale

Quite a busy week what with one thing and another. First it was the exhibition and open evening at Sir John Deans College to see Archie's "A" level artwork and the rest of the art department in the brand new building. Archie had some of his tin boxes ticking away on a looped film projection. The boxes were switched on every so often but the noise was so great he had to limit it to a couple of minutes for fear of everyone running out screaming holding their ears!
Then we went to Marbury for a walk and had a nice pub lunch nearby in Cumberbatch or is it Comberpatch? The barman was a bit grumpy and we almost walked out but we ordered some sandwiches which were fantastic and huge. We ate them outside in the small beer garden overlooking some old farm buildings. A handy man nearby was watering some hanging baskets with a pressure washer.
The next day we went over to see Treena and look at her latest crafts and art in her lovely leafy back garden. Also had fizzy pop and cake. Hazel bought a few things and ordered a larger collage/ fabric piece for which we supplied the frame.
Just one boot sael this week at Verdin Park which was pretty packed and a fun fair was nearby - part of the Northwich Carnival celebrations. Got a few DVD's including a very nice Ealing Classics boxed set for a quid. Hazel bought some plants crocodile clips and Kilner jars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


My old chum Phil from Leeds came over to pick some of my work up last Saturday and we drover over the Pennines to hang the work on Sunday ( Father's Day ) which took a while and I have the blister on my hand to prove it! I stayed over at Phil's place in North Leeds for a couple of days so I could attend the Private View at the Tonic Gallery in the Leeds Royal Infirmary ( built by the same chap that designed the House Of Parliament ). Its an amazing place and one expected Florence Nightingale to wander down the corridor at any moment.

Phil and his son Trispian and grandchildren.

The following day I wandered around the city centre looking for art and architecture of which there is an abundance. The City Art Gallery has a some fine old paintings including some nice Stanley Spencers. Also trudged all the way up the hill to the University to see the student degree shows. Horrible new office block type building though with unhelpful receptionist who just pointed to a pile of maps and postcards and told me to find my own way through the maze of civil service type corridors. The work thankfully was more interesting than the building they were made in.

The Private View was well attended in the evening and nice to see Andy Sykes there- the ace animator and ex-student of Hazel's. We had lots of drinks and nibbles supplied by Phil's lovely friend Gil who ran the pub over the road to which we retired afterwards for more of the same and a fine buffet in the back snug or whatever it was called.

The lovely old Leeds Market Hall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Manchester and Nantwich

Went to Manchester on Friday with Archie on the train to see the MMU shows in the Art School - mostly the Interactive Arts 3rd year show but we did wander round the Fine Art bit and Foundation etc. Had nice but very filling fish and chips and mushy peas in the staff canteen for lunch. Hazel was busy looking after the show and showing people round. A flavour of it in the short Flip video above.
A bit crowded in the evening so we left quite early after going to see the Illustration and Embroidery shows.
The next day we drove over to Nantwich to see Adela's "Bee" performance at the church hall where she had Will dressed up as the Queen Bee and the small select "audience" had to don our bee keepers robes and veils and attend her her needs - massage the feet, feed Crunchy Bars, arrange flowers and fan with small electric bees! All very bizarre but great fun.
We went in a few places showing art works as part of the Nantwich Arts Festival of which Adela's show was part. Mostly very dull and traditional landscapes, portraits etc. We got caught up in a vintage car rally on the way into town - a Nissan Micra amongst all the MG's and Stags looked very out of place!
Had a cheese pasty whilst watching a frantic bongo player compete with the church bells!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Remembering Ivor

Postcard from Ivor back in 1991. Painting by Peter Edwards in the National Portrait Gallery, London. 1989. On the reverse it reads " Dear Jones and Leigh, Thank you for your letter and book and lovely April rubbish badge. I think it is a good thing for society that you exist. Please continue to do so. Yours Cutler."

I think Hazel met Ivor Cutler first at the Tate where she used to work part time in the Clore bookshop in the Turner wing in the early 90's. Later he bought some badges from her at the Festival Hall where she was showing some of her inventions - another of his favourite haunts ( the Poetry library was upstairs somewhere ). He used to sign books in the book shop downstairs too. Some time later he phoned us up for some reason, probably about more badges and invited us over to his flat for tea. How could we refuse! I'd always enjoyed his drollery on Peels "Top Gear" and his appearance in the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" as the tour guide Buster Bloodvessel. He was a bit of a cult hero.
So we went to his flat in North London - I can't remember exactly where now and he met us on the doorstep as we tried to ring the bell. We assumed it was an elaborate joke and this was someone else's house! But there he was on his old bike festooned with bags containing cakes etc. We went up three flights of stairs to the very top flat ( he must have found this difficult when he was older ) and showed us into a rather shabby but bohemian looking room with posters and hats and all manner of exotica on the walls. Curled up postcards, photos, maps etc. It was a bit like walking into Steptoes back room in Oil Drum Lane! he gave a us a quick tune on his old wheezy harmonium. He didn't play much he said as he had very bad arthritis in his fingers. After tea and cakes we had a chat about his career- meeting the Beatles etc. He was concerned that Hazel didn't pronounce some words very clearly and gave her a written out speech "work out" he had devised to try.
Some days later he came over to our tiny flat in Lambeth Walk to have tea and cakes with us. He was incredibly kind and helpful and phoned up a nearby childrens book publisher (Walker Books )to try and get us some work. I did get some illustration work but sadly the SNAP comic venture went bust after a few weeks.
But unfortunately our short lived friendship came to an end when Archie came along - Ivor insisted we get on with our lives and leave him alone. I did send him some postcards but got a curt reply saying " Please no more correspondence - I am 74!"
I had this made up into a 1000 stickers by able label - a firm he used alot for his "stickies" - and sent him 500 to use on his envelopes.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Give Peas A Chance

First collage from the great book of old TV ads I found in Chester recently. Added to new theme at Scrapiteria.
Yesterday , another wander around town and the charity shops. They must be sick of seeing me in there by now but I am drawn like a fly to muck. In the libray sale got 4 DVD set of Live Aid so can enjoy again Status Quo, Queen, Dylan, etc. in all their hirsute glory. Also CD's by the Maccabees and Dave Edmunds. 50p each! I ventured into the new Pound Planet shop where the old Tai Craft Shop used to be but it was pretty dull. I wouldn't pay 10p for most of it! Good to see a couple of new shops in town though after so many bit the dust over the last few years - including a Sue Ryder. O well, better than nothing.

Saw a man driving his tiny tot in a remote controlled car in town - he was walking behind and stearing with a hand held controller thingy. The 2 year old sat motionless with his hands by his sides as it whirred along.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chester Bargains

Another shopping trip to Chester on Saturday. Drove in early for the Park & Rude ( grumpy bus driver ). Hazel went off on her own round the clothes shops and I did the charity shops etc. Saw these giant figures in the indoor market - for some parade or other I presume. Didnt find that much but bought a couple of nice books in the cheapo bookshop in the mall that was closing down. Old TV set adverts from the USA. Some really great images that will be turning up in collages pretty soon I'm sure. Only two quid each so don't feel too bad about cutting one up and saving the other.

Met up for lunch by the town cryer chap who was waiting for the noon bell to toll so he could amuse the tourists with some corny patter.
We escaped to the sausage roll emporium and afterwards a welcome de-caff coffee in our favourite cafe. It has big armchairs and sofas you can sink into and rest those tired feet and achey legs!

Today it was just one rather damp boot sale at the Co-op in town. Surprisingly several stalls there despite the grey clouds and threat of more rain. Betty was there and she said there is another

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I seem to be a little behind in my bloggings for some reason. I thought I had blogged about our trip to Cardiff but seems I haven't. Most remiss of me as we had a great time courtesy of my old art school buddy Rick Cox and his lovely wife Alison who made us feel very welcome and let us stay a couple of nights.
Before we got there though we drove - or Hazel very bravely did - down via Shrewsbury and Knighton and popped into the Acton Scott Farm Museum which was really nice and great place to have our picnic lunch ( see above outside the old school house ).
Lots to see including the farrier making a horse shoe, a man sawing a big log, big brick ovens ( as seen in the TV prog.about the farm ) and folk dressed in the garb of the day- sewing doilies and knitting ploughs etc.
Well worth a visit if ever you pass that way. Some stunning countryside around the Welsh borders.
Getting into Cardiff was a little more scary despite the Tom Tom who led us a merry dance. Hazel was getting quite nervous by all those huge roads and roundabouts - which lane do we get in? How should I know?! Anyway we finally made it and Rick took us to the Chapter Arts Centre to see an attend an opening of a dreadful exhibition - scrawly drawings pinned to batons. The book shop was more interesting and Archie bought a Royal Wedding sick bag that some enterprising artist had made. He bought it with the 5 pound note he found in the car park at Acton Scott.

After watching a bit of the Royal Welding shinnanegans the following morning we walked through the park to the Castle and had a look around there. Amazing place with very ornate rooms and battlements, a keep and dungeons with Vera Lynne singing in them ( to keep up morale during the war ).
Then a look round the shops and the long walk back through the park, In the evening we were taken by Rick and Alison to the Bay Arts opening ( so much art in Cardiff!) and he shows us his studio upstairs. Then to the docks to see the new buildings ( see above). Afterwards a wonderful chinese meal nearby which was the tastiest Ive ever had. Our treat ofcourse.
The next day Rick and I went to Bristol to the Spike Island Open Studios and the Arnolfini to see a great book arts fair. Met up with lots of people I knew including Mark Pawson, Red Fox Press and Tony and Penny Eve. Not enough time to see it all and I'd run out of money so only had enough to pay for lunch and buy three badges.
Art overload now by this time so glad to get back to Cardiff for relaxing evening with some of the ISSUE participants ( an assembling book that Rick started some years ago ) and delicious food that Alison prepared.
It was home the next day and got caught up in traffic again despite being Sunday and going a different route. Eventually made it back to Acton Scott for a break and a sandwich we bought at an ASDA store. Took us 5 hours to get home!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yorkshire Derbyshire Trip

Went over to see our old chum Dave in Yorkshire last week for a couple of days. Hazel bravely drove over the Peaks via Glossop where we stopped off for some lunch and wander around the charity shops. Then on to Marsden via that village where Foggy and Nora Batty live. It's a bit of a tourist trap though so avoided the crowds of geriatrics having cream teas at Cleg's Cafe or whatever its called. Last Of The Summer Wine country. Didn't see any old codgers sliding down the cobbles in an old bath - most suprising!

Dave introduced us to his new neighbour who had bought his barn and converted it into a very nice little cottage - with three bathrooms no less! Amazed at the transformation. Walked round the village and popped into the only charity shop open. Bought some snacks at the health food shop.
In the evening had a nice walk along the Huddersfield canal just behind the B&B we were staying in. Had a delicious and filling meal in the swanky restaurant before retiring. Very warm though and when in night by Hazel trying to wedge open the broken sash window with a pile of paperbacks ( see her blog )!
The next day we went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with dave driving. It was supposed to be 40 minutes but Dave forget his sat nav and we drove around Wakefield for 45 mins trying to spot a sign to it. Found it eventually and managed to park despite the place being choc-a-block. I didn't realise modern sculpture was so popular! Beautiful grounds and so much to see including Jaume Plensa, Mel Brimfield and Andy Goldsworthy etc. You needed a whole day to see it all really and we just had a few hours.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Enjoying a few days out into the Cheshire countryside. Yesterday to Frodsham and the Lady Hayes crafty junk emporiums. The lanes still had quite few daffodils along the verges which was nice to see although some were passed their best.
Not mush cop at Lady Hayes which seems to have gone down hill - now full of expensive modern repro and tat. Hazel managed to find a few jokes and a sheet of old buttons. Also a nice brass magnifying thingy on three legs for looking at fleas.
I didnt get anythings. Hazel's sister Audrey came too and got a few nick nacks.

The big car boot at Chelford was a bit of a marathon last Sunday. Hundreds of stalls to look round and a bouncy castle shaped like Noah's Ark. I managed to resist taking of my shoes and going for a bounce!
Got a few films including The Crazies, The Road, and Nathan Barley, Hazel got a few things but I forget what. Tins? A nice one of Southend Pier and another with a squirrel on the inside of the lid, Good for keeping your nuts (or bolts ) in.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Every Day Is Like Sunday

My mother would probably have preferred a bit of Frankie Vaughn or Robert Earl but Morrisey is my choice for a rainy Sunday.
Went to two indoor boot sales - one in Tarporley and the other in Winsford. Both were very quiet and more pleasant than usual - not having to squeeze through the crowds to see any bargains. Didnt find much though- some cheap frames and a DVD. Hazel got a few plants for her Mom who came over later for a slice of cake and some tea. Archie showed them his new tin whistles and animations which they hadn't seen. The rain came down.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Knit Yourself A Badger Day

I seem to be a little behind in my bloggage as Stanley might have said. Two legends here on the Parkinson show sometime back in the 70's I imagine.
No boot sales last week and the one before that was a complete wash out. We did try the new antique place in Barnton though which used to be an old pub called the Red Lion - it has a lovely view of the chemical works by the River Weaver. Quite expensive and really not much of interest. Afterwards a walk around Marbury and Hazel bought some herbs in the garden centre - Thyme, French parsley and Rosemary. For pots by the back door.
Malcolm the PC bloke came round the other day to delete lots of temp files from our ailing computer. I could have done that myself if I'd known where they were! He added some AntiSpyWare app. and charged 60 quid. Gulp! I shall try and fix it myself next time. It seems a little better now but not 60 quids worth better!

Not much else to report. The usual shopping trips into town - no real bargloaders to speak of. Don't forget to knit yourself a badger!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jammin' With Hegley

Nice to see John Hegley yesterday who came over from Manchester on the train for lunch. We were hoping to go for a walk but he missed the earlier train so we only had a couple of hours to eat and discuss the things on the walls that John seemed interested in. Archie was encouraged to get his ukulele for a quick jam session after lunch of goats cheese quiche, salad and crusty bread etc. I managed to capture the last 90 seconds of it ( see above). Hazel was playing the old crunchy cornflake cluster box. We gave John a lift to Crewe station afterwards so he could get back to London. Off to Scotland next week for gigs he said so try and catch him if you can. While he was here he coloured in a copy of his latest little book on the Donut Press which is called The Adventures Of Monsieur Robinet which has 3 new line drawings added in this edition. He took from his pocket some tiny fragments of crayon which he carefully held in his fingertips and coloured in the illustrations. We lent him some coloured pencils but he seemed to prefer these crayon pellets. They smudge better apparently.

Previously..... did I mention the Fire Engine Museum in Tarporely? There is one indeed which looks like a large shed but has a big arched door filled with glass and inside is an old horse drawn fire engine ( without the horse ) surrounded by other fire fighting paraphenalia like brass helmets and stirrup pumps etc. It was closed being a Sunday but hope to go back sometime to look more closely although you can see it all quite well by looking through the front door!

"Tarporley first had an independent station in 1866 and there as been a fire station here ever since. At that time, 1866 - 1957, they were situated at Park Road.

The Park Road site has since become the location for the Fire Brigade Museum, housing various memorabilia plus a horse drawn Shand Mason pump owned now by Maurice Hunt, one of our retired firefighters. Maurice also acts as curator for the museum, opening up and closing the doors at each end of the day.

In 1957 the station moved to a new location in the centre of the High Street until 1993. This has since become a chocolate shop known as "The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop". Whilst the fire engine was housed at High Street, the fire service Land Rover still resided in the old "hearse house", that should speak for itself, it's where the hearse used to be kept long ago, which is right next to the old fire station in Park Road.

In 1993 we moved to our present address in Birch Heath Road. "

Monday, March 07, 2011

The King's Peach

Not been to see it yet. Archie has and said it was OK. Too hyped up for my liking. All the cinemas near us have closed now so have to go miles to see films anyway. Quite happy to watch DVD's. Have quite a pile to get through as it is.
Still, it's nearly Spring and the sparrows are twitterpated or high on sunflower seeds - one or the other.
Nice weekend of trips out to Chester on Saturday and Tarporley on Sunday.
Met up with Hazel's chum Alex, who used to work at Manchester Art Gallery, She lives in Sheffield so quite a train journey to get to Chester. She'd never been though so a treat for her to see the Roman Wall and the River Dee ( Hazel and Alex went on a boat trip ) and the shops ofcourse. Plenty of buskers out in force. A would be Jimmy Page playing Led Zeppelin riffs and a violinist with backing track that is cheating a bit I always think. Also various folkies and a tiny tot duo on guitars.
I went off on my own to scour the charity shops but didnt find any bargains. We met up at lunchtine at Spud-U-Like ( Spudoolickay as Victoria Wood once said ) and ha d a very boring spud with a mountain of cheese and tuna on top with horrible plastic cutlery! Wont go there again! Mind you it did give us a chance to see the Roman ruins in the basement.
Later we wandered around some more until my feet ached and met up again for a coffee in a posher coffee shop with proper cups and spoons. Then back to the bus stop and the park and ride- waved Alex off to the station and her train home.
The indoor boot sale at Tarporley was much like previous sales - I seemed to be looking through the saem piles of books and records! I did buy some films though including Galaxy Quest ( an old favourite), Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Bill Bailey in Concert double disc set. Hazel bought some embroidery for her friend and a tin pencil box.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Nice day out to Knutsford to meet up with Tony and Penny. First we did a tour of the charity shops and suchlike. Hazel popped in a clothes shop whilst me and Archie looked in the crafty art/card shop. Didnt find any bargains. Archie bought a china pig with a slot. Some project he has in mind.
Then we met up with Tony and Penny at a pizza place which was incredibly noisy being half term - full of toddlers and kids making a racket. Could hardly hear yourself think!

Nice pizza though . I had the goats cheese and spinach.
Afterwards we wandered around for a while trying to find out where to have a coffee. Penny Farthing was packed also so went in the Visitors Centre to see the tapestry that 3,000 locals made. A helpful lady volunteer told us all about it.
Back to the Penny Farthing Museum Cafe which was not so crowded now and we found a seat next to some rusty boneshakers.
Waiting in today for the gasman again. Seems to be an ongoing saga! Hope he arrives soon - I hate waiting around for people to turn up.
Out for a walk this morning in the sunshine - lovely springlike weather, Felt very overdressed in my duffle coat. Had to turn the central heating off as it was so hot indoors.
Ideal day to put a new roof on the shed - nevermind. Hopefully it will nice again tomorrow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Teddy Bare

New animation from Archie he made today on Flash.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bum Diddy Bum Bum!

A new "ish" artistamp sheet for Mary Anne who mentioned his stamp book and the possibility of a Yoko Ono page to got with the Fluxus page and Ray Johnson pages etc. Ken Friedman? Those others who were artistamp pioneers. So inspired I made this for him. Used some old "Cult Mail" frames and some bottoms (Yoko made a film called "Bottoms" - I think John Lennon's bottom was imortalised in it ) Anyway seemed like an obvious thing to try - having found some bottoms in an old book by Alas Smith and Jones annual.

The last few days have been a bit frustrating with the broadband playing up and finally going off altogether. The engineer who came today said it was the old Netgear router. So gave us a BT home hub version which worked straight away and got up to 14 megs. Even the engineer was impressed who only gets 4megs where he lives. he says its because we live about 500 yards from the telephone exchange!

We had a nice chat about the how far computers have come over the last twenty years - getting all nostalgic for the Atari, NES and Megadrive etc. The trouble is it all goes out of date so quickly. Even two year old computers are considered old hat and rubbish now- things moving apace! Its hard to keep up with technology.

Thankfully the gas men have gone and taken their piles of rubble and traffic lights with them. Hazel is still waiting for them to return and paint her white line again which had tow holes drilled into it and big tarmac patches turning it into a couple of hyphens.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Liverpool Trip

Another week or two has flown by and I'm lagging behind with my bloggage.
I've forgotten most of it but last week we went to Liverpool , all three of us and met Adela and Will at Hartford station. No room on the car park so had to park down a side street. A nice sunny day after all the rain and wind. A and W took us to a nice tea place they knew called Brew close to Oxfam- where all the trendy shops are. Had time for a chat and a croissant and coffee before heading round the corner to FACT where the first part of the Nam June Paik was on. Mostly videos alas but some interesting rooms - one with a big cone you could lie underneath as spirals of multicoloured light were projected upon it from above - rather like falling down a rabbit hole . Most alarming so had to get out of the room quite quickly before I was sick! The chap sitting in there looking after it said he found it very relaxing! Hah!
Then to the Bluecoat to see a nice mixed show with general theme of "Underwater" and included a Bill Viola video and a huge submarine propped up on one end made of wood and frottaged paper ( see above ). Also a nice sub automata attached to wriggly squid. Also nice were several trumpet shaped fog horns with sounds of the sea playing through them suspended in mid air. Went for lunch in greasy spoon type cafe nearby and had cheese toasties.
Then to the Tate to see earlier Nam June Paik stuff which had some nice robots made of piled up old televisions. Lots of old TV's with new innards playing Fluxus type videos of jangled image bank stuff. Starting to get a headache after all this and all arted out! So we made our way home soon after W & A headed back to station. Popped in a few shops first including the Pound Shop but didn't buy anything.

Today I am waiting in for the gas men to dig up our old pipes and replace with new plastic ones. They are doing the whole of Northwich it seems. have been noting their progress - getting closer and closer - with much trepidation for months now. Finally in our road and making a right mess - traffic chaos and parking chaos too. Hazel luckily found a spot over the road on a neighbours frontage while they were away on holiday. Now they are back and she is still there - so don't know where she'll be parking next. Hoping the pipe would be fixed today but doesn't seem likely what with the holes full of water and slow progress generally.

In the meantime making some collaged and rubber stamped pages for Issue 21- an assembling book thing for a friend of a friend. Only 14 pages so quite manageable. Have found a few old camera adverts and finished it off this morning - enveloped and ready to post.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dials (New Improved)

Latest version with 8 dials that Archie has been making for his "A" level art project.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We bought some Spring Green emulsion for the front room recently at B&Q so the other day I did the first couple of walls and moved half the furniture around so I could get paint onto the walls and not on the pictures, objets d'arts and nick nackery etc. The process of moving all the clutter and collections took longer than the actual painting!
Today I did the second half of the remaining walls which if anything was even harder as I have to move all the stuff from the mantlepiece and the big mirror that is above it- not to mention the toys, candles, gew-gaws and whatnots! Also had to move part of our DVD collection so I could access the shelves round the back of the telly and toy cabinet. It took a while and uncovered lots of spiders , fluff and dust. So had to hoover and dust a bit which isn't my favourite occupation. Then who DOES enjoy it?

It does look a lot better now its done ofcourse so well worth the time and effort.

We have a new cooker now and still trying to figure out it's various knobs and dials. I managed to burn the lasagne the other evening but it tasted fine if a little crunchy! I have a newly rebuilt tooth so was wary of crunching too hard and breaking it again! Yesterday the brussel sprouts were a bit underdone so still trying to get it right. It is a better oven than the one we used for 12 years though which was the cheapest we could afford at the time. This one has extra thick glass doors and you hardly know its on - which is part of the problem!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Archie's latest art project made from recycled biscuit tins mostly - for his "A" level course.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

A relative of Key Hole Kate ( remember her?) that Hazel found at the antique place at the Crafts Centre the other day when she took Audrey over to do some shopping. She also got a big bag of candles from the candle shop. Audrey got some blue and white china so she was happy.
So that's Xmas and New year's over for another year - another decade zipped by at quite alarming speed! We have new toys to play with and more inches around the waste to loose. I'm not making any New Years resolutions though as I know from past experience they don't last past January. One collage a day maybe? We shall see.
Archie is home from his party at a friends and catching up with some sleep on the sofa. Hazel is making some bread in the bread machine. We intended on going for a walk but it's raining and murky. Catching up with some bloggage. Set recorder for Bee Story and Wall-E this afternoon. We had fakey bacon and scrambled egg sarnies for lunch. New Scrapiteria blog theme is "House" so off now to cut out some likely bits from the old mags that Will and Adela gave us for Crimble.