Monday, April 23, 2018

London Weekend

Nice couple of days in sunny London to see Archie and Meriel's group exhibition over at RAW Labs in docklands. Stayed with our old friends Jennifer and Matteo in leafy West London by Hyde Park where we went for nice walks to see some art at the Serpentine galleries and watch the swans hiss at passing dogs. Also the parakeets that love apples. More art at the Welcome Museum and the Design Museum - thanks to Meriel who got us in to see the Hope Not Nope exhibition . We ache all over now after all the walking.

West Wharf Gallery , Cardiff.

I have a few works in this show about the assembling artist book ISSUE that is in it's 20th year - a special celebratory exhibition with some of the poeple involved. I curated an issue a few years back and have contributed to half a dozen or so over the years. Lost count now.Always a treat to get in the post. Thanks to old Southend Art School chum , Richard Cox who started it with a couple of his mates in Cardiff. here's photos of the PV he sent me. Sadly I couldnt go due to prior commitments.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Vagrants and Weston Boot Sales

Nice morning over Nantwich way to two boot sales - the first at Vagrants wasa bit chaotic and muddy. The second a bit further on at Weston was much larger , round the edge of a cricket field and better organised. Got a few bargains at each including a massive frame ( too big really but only £3 ) some sewing stuff, plants, rulers, heavy rusty weight, heavy rusty old flat iron, letters on a wooden board (?) and a lovely pewter thimble in the shape of an acorn. Home in time delicious mushroom and squeaky cheese bun for lunch.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Whitegate Boot Sale

First boot sale of the year at Whitegate FC which isn't far from us, over the hills and down some pretty country lanes lined with daffodils etc. Our neighbour Beth came with us. Found a few bargains including two DVD's - Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte with Bette Davies. We watched What Ever Happened To Baby Jane last night on DVD so this will make a good follow up. Also some plastic guns for Archie's collection, sewing bits and bobs, a hole punch, glass paper weight for Hazel's sister ( she hides them amongst all the others - fun seeing if they are spotted!). The weather was a bit iffy so not many punters or stalls - still it's early days yet. When the weather really warms up it should be much busier. Home for cheese and olive bread and pickles for lunch. Later Beth has invited us for a curry at her place so that will make a nice change from me cooking.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Marbury Country Park

Spring in the air yesterday as we walked round Marbury Country Park to see the daffs and hear the woodpeckers etc. Lots of daft dogs about too - one which covered my duffle coat with foaming slobber as he romped by - his owner shouting "Tarquin, come away you naughty dog!" More crumpled features and waggy tails passed by and thankfully vanished round the edge of the lake. Nice peaceful walk to the canal and round the woods to the car park. Still free as the machine seems to be permanantly broken. Hazel got some primroses and herbs in the garden centre too. Also popped into a small textile arty crafty show in the rangers hut. Some dogs outside waiting for their owners ( see above ). Hazel pointing at sound of woodpecker ( above ). Home for fish finger bun and raspberry cakes that Hazel made.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Not sure how the squirrel fits in but rushing to get this done before going out. Sunday was very cold and icy so we stayed indoors all day. the last indoor boot of the Winter was on too which was hard to miss but the roads looked trecherous and neither of us in the mood to venture far - even walking there would have been too risky - frozen impacted snow on the pavements etc. Hey ho! Caught up with some mail and collaging. Hazel gave me a vanity case to collage that Audrey had given her - she had three that all fitted inside one another. Decorated with cutesy flower pattern. Now half covered in manly pics from old DIY mags etc. The snow melted later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018


Nice walk at dusk to see the starlings gather on pylons over by the TATA factory. Hoping for a murmuration but they were mostly just sitting on the wires and pylons and chirping away. A passing dog walker said the best place to see them was Neumann's Flashes. Maybe another walk on Friday.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Art and Weather

Not the church in Great Budworth but a reasonable facsimile. Lovely exhibition there yesterday by our friend and neighbour Beth Barlow who was showing assemblages, I suppose you could call them, mixed media pieces in boxes mounted upon various church furniture including the bier ? that the coffin is carried on from church to grave side. A nice pub lunch beforehand in the George and Dragon across the road. Full to bursting we had to eat a bit slab of coffee and walnut cake in the church provided by the friendly folk who came along to host the event and set up a craft stall and one with cheese and wine for anybody who wanted it. Phew! It was cheese and crackers for tea that night after all that! Beth gave a very interesting talk with questions from the Curate who organised the event and is keen to get more visual artists to use the space. It's a lovely old church and sadly I neglected to take my camera along so I could show you the stained glass windows, the ancient chests, the mouldy pews, the organ pipes, gargoyles, carvings etc. The weather chaos inflicted upon most of the country has hardly touched Cheshire though it has been freezing and not very pleasant. At least we haven't had to dig ourselves out of snow drifts!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Fire Fire !

The scene at the end of our road yesterday after firefighters took three hours to put out blaze at local school. Arson is suspected. It wasn't me - honest guv! Road was shut so we had to make diversions to get to Alsager to have lunch with the Eves and Dave Smith. Nice sunny day - a bit too bright for driving really. Nice food and chats. Tony showed us his holiday snaps from Oz. Looked quite idyllic - on the Gold Coast - swimming every day. A bit of a rude return to Blighty with the snow and ice - they wish they had stayed there I think! Home by 5 as Hazel doesn't like driving in the gloom of dusk. Ate rather a lot so had cheese and biscuits for our dinner.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Boot Sale Bargains

Another indoor boot at the Memorial Court today - not many bargains but found a boxed set of Buddy Holly and Crickets ( and Clicks ) for £2 which seemed like a bargain - lots of songs I've never heard of as well as the hits. Hazel got a few bits and bobs including an ostrich egg ( with free goose egg ) for a quid, sewing sets, needles, forks, wrapping paper etc. Afterwards we went to Marbury garden centre to get some rosemary and hanging plants for the hanging basket which looks a bit sad at the moment. Then to Granma and Audrey's to keep at arms length as they have the lurgi. Collected a pile of logs from the tree they had cut down in the front garden.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Monday, February 05, 2018

Busy Sunday

Firstly the indoor boot sale at the Memorial Court - quieter than usual. Got two DVD's and some indelible pens. 3 packets of 3 for £2- but only bought one as not sure if they were working or not. They seem fine so wish I'd bought more. Pens are always useful. Hazel got a few bits and bobs including some overalls for Archie, some toffee tins, first aid tin, 2lb weight, easter egg made from card and bargain of the day - a mortar and pestle for 50p. Chaos and confusion in Aldi afterwards as some dozy bloke bought back an electric toothbrush that wasn't working and the till operator scanned it through thinking he had just bought it. So she had to call for the manager to sort it out - fill in forms etc. Meanwhile, massive queue building up! The manager was pretty hopeless too as instead of taking the man's toothbrush to one side to sort it she just left and the poor till operator had to deal with it - filling more forms whilst we all stood there like lemons. Hazel had enough and stormed out leaving all our purchases on the conveyor belt for the manager to sort out. What a mess! Will never go back to Aldi on a Sunday. Wednesday is much quieter. We went to the co-op instead and got what we wanted in no time. A bit more expensive but worth it. Our arty neighbours Beth and Simon came round for lunch. I'd made a lasagne and salad. Hazel bought the pudding in M&S - tart citroen (lemon tart) with creme fresh? and ice cream. Afterwards we had a silly game of Dixit. Nothing like Brexit thankfully but almost as incomprehensible! Later making pages for latest ISSUE assembling artists book. Rubber stamping the pages and laying them out on Archie's bed to dry.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Indoor Boot Sale

Braved the elements to go to the indoor boot at Memorial Hall. Our neighbour Mark was there on a stall and we bumped into Beth Barlow briefly who was covered in snow. Got a few bargains including a pile of stamp pads, a Tiger Tim annual, books about water works and sewage systems ( lovely old engravings ) a Vimto badge , a skipping rope, a set of old plastic price labels in guineas, etc. etc. Glad to get home in the warm.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Walk To Weaver Hall Museum

Nice slippy walk in the sunshine to the Weaver Hall Museum to pick up some stuff and looks at the latest exhibition of textile art. Not really my cup of tea but appreciate the work that's gone into making those tiny embroideries etc. Slipped and slid round Vickersway Park to see the handsome strutting cockeral and his mate and some budgies etc. in an aviary. Nobody else in there on such a nice day which seemed a shame.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Chester Archive

Nice morning despite losing train ticket. Got to Chester early to have a look around a few favourite shops and then to the Cheshire Archive down by the River Dee. Very friendly and helpful bunch assisting the small group from VAC doing research into various topics. I choose Randolph Caldecott the Victorian children's book illustrator as I was keen to see his correspondence with drawings in the margins. Sadly they only had the one but lovely to look through his sketchbooks and other ephemera. Becky was my "archive buddy" and was very helpful at showing me round and keeping her distance when she could see I was engrossed in looking at pages and ephemera. Caldecott was very prolific and always had a sketchbook about his person to draw the back's of people's heads and bonnets etc. also lots of what looked like shopping lists! Yes, annoying to discover I had lost my return ticket so had to buy another - luckily just enough cash on me to do that but couldn't do more shopping as I'd hoped so back early for late lunch

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Marbury Woods

Nice walk around Marbury Woods this morning looking at the trees and leaves and twigs. Communing with nature. Nice new bench where the old rotten one used to be. Good that this one is straight and not sloping like the one in the Crooked House at Peter Pan's Playground in Southend. Found a new set of steps and gravelly bit with grotto - a limpid pool nearby. Along the mere to observe the swans and ducks etc. A bit nippy but not as bad as the recent chill. Afterwards we went to Granma and Audrey's for coffee and a chat. Sorted some junk they wished to be sent to the charity emporium.

Monday, January 08, 2018

FRoz to the Boz

No penguins around today but was cold enough for some. Hazel was up early - first day back of the new term - train strike too so she wasn't happy! She had to scrape the car - drive to Hartford ( after the car coughed and wheezed a bit ) and then a train to Crewe to get another train into Manchester. Luckily she got a seat and knitted a square - an ongoing quilt/blanket project. She measure journeys by how many 4 inch squares she can knit. Crewe to Piccadilly is just one square - quite a fast train. Usually the Northwich to Piccadilly takes up two squares at a pinch. Sometimes she'll listen to the radio. Sometimes chat to one of her "train buddies". Thrown together in adversity - they form strong friendships - and go on day trips when the weather is more agreeable. I walked to the post office later when the ice had thawed a bit. It wasn't too slippy underfoot. Then to town and some shopping in the charity outlets but no bargains to be had. The afternoon was collaging and emails etc. I cooked a quorn roast for dinner with all the trimmings - some left over for tomorrow's sandwiches. Tryin to cut back on sweets and chocs but Hazel made some truffles before Xmas and they need eating up before they go bad! Nom nom!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Windy Day

Ventured out despite the terrible wind ( no jokes about too many sprouts please! ) and off to town for shopping. Popped into post office to queue up with my parcel. £8-50 to U.S. A. Signed and Tracked. Then the charity shops for a quick rummage - nothing to be found . Then the library but nothing caught my eye. Then off to Sainsburys with Hazel to get some of their famous chocolate drink powder we are addicted to. It's expensive but better than cocoa or similar beverage. I think it has some kind of drug in it! Also got some bread with "ancient seeds" whatever they are? I dread to think. Home again and researching Randolph Caldecott the Victorian childrens book illustrator who was born in Chester and went to Manchester Art School like what I did. Possibility of going to the archive in Chester to see some of his work amongst other things with the VAC folk. Maybe an exhibition attached in the Summer.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

New Year Starts!

Determined to update my blog posts more regularly this year - will see how far this goes - always start out with good intentions, like the diets! Hazel enjoyed brightening up the back garden with candles and twinkling lights as she does every year. No Archie this time to make his "match display" but plenty of eyeball delights despite the drizzle. Thankfully the rain stopped as we got nearer 2018. Surprise guests this year - Beth from round the corner came along armed with rum and coke - she brought her friend too for a nice chat and let some party poppers off and drink some toasts to the starry night and big moon. Lots of rockets this year from our neighbours entertained us too. I must admit I did watch a bit of Jool's Hootenanny but came outside at 11.55 to wish everyone well for 2018. Woke the next day with head feeling a little fuzzy from the proscecco. We intended going for a walk but the rain came in the afternoon so cancelled that for another day. Watching lots of crap on the telly mostly but did enjoy last two episodes of "Feud" a mini-series about the later years of fading film stars Bette Davies and Joan Crawford. I usually hate American dramas but this was above par and Alfred Molina was in it. Hazel made a loaf and I made another chestnut roast for dinner. Later on watched DVD of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which wasn't as amusing as the first one. Yawn! Time to hit the sack!